Free Fire Friday (Gun Talk) 31 July 2015

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Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!

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Survival Gear Review: ShotLock Handgun Solo-Vault 200M

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Shotlock Review

If you want fast access to your handguns in your home or automobile but also need to keep them secured from shotlock gun safe prying eyes or hands, then you should consider owning an individual gun vault.  Securing your guns is obviously important for safety reasons, but have you considered securing your firearms might protect you from criminal negligence charges should they be stolen or misused by someone else?   How about the possibility that your home insurer will be more likely to replace a stolen firearm if it was safely locked up?  And let’s not forget that many doctors are now required (groan) to ask patients about firearms in their home.

By Ed, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

About The Solo Vault 200M

The “Solo-Vault” 200M is Shot Lock’s entry into an increasingly crowded field of hand gun vaults.  The 200M differs Best gun safefrom some other types of vaults in that it isn’t made to be mounted between the studs of your walls and hidden behind a picture frame, but instead is intended to be in a more accessible location or even to be a portable safe. For example, you could use the six provided screws to attach the safe to the top of a nightstand, underneath a desk, on the backside of a closet door or it could be bolted in place in your vehicle.  The portability aspect of this safe really appeals to me.  I can safely have my handgun stored in any room in my house or garage.  When in my truck and I need to secure my handgun for those “gun free” zones or when going on hikes where I need to leave my gun in my vehicle, I can secure my weapon (and other valuables) in my safe.  The Solo Vault 200M has port holes that accept up to 5/16” cables to attach your safe to some secure object (I like attaching it to my seat belt anchors).  For added security, instead of using the standard cable gun locks, I use a full size padlock in the port holes and then attach that with heavier gauge, coated wire rope.  An additional use for the Solo Vault could be for the transportation of your weapon on airlines.  Please note that if you’re thinking of using this or any other safe to transport your handgun on the airlines, always check with them first as requirements seem to vary from one airline to the next.

The Pros

Right out of the box, the Solo Vault 200M impresses you with its heft, solid construction and finish. It features Gun Safe Review Shotlockmilitary grade 14 gauge steel construction, reversible left or right opening doors and a flanged, no-pry lid with dual locking hooks. (Sadly, I was not allowed to perform destructive testing on this unit in order to gauge its security so I’ll need to leave that to Consumer Reports or some other testing agency.)  The unit’s interior (which is felt-lined, by the way) measures 7.25” x 3.875” x 2” which is claimed to hold up to a full sized framed 1911.  I didn’t test it with a 1911, but both my Glock 23 and S&W “J” Frame fit in easily with room for an extra magazine and a couple of speed strips.  Attached to the safe is a sturdy, retractable carrying handle – a nice touch that adds to the portability feature that I talked about above.

Unlike the electric version of the Solo-Vault from Shot Lock, the 200M is purely mechanical in operation (EMP Proof).  The good news is that there are no batteries or wires to worry about.  The bad news is that the key pad only provides a “click” when a key is pushed and no visual or other audible feed-back.  Opening the vault with no external light source could take some practice and may lead to key pad errors in a panic situation – choose your combination code wisely, grasshopper.  Operation of the vault requires pushing the aforementioned keys and rotating the open/close lever about 45 degrees.  This operation is straight-forward and the operating mechanisms are solid. Changing the combination is easy enough if you the follow the instructions carefully.

Also Read: PWS MK214 Battle Rifle Review

Note that removing the lock cover necessary for changing the combination requires some gentle prying of the cover Gun Safe Review Shotlockand will not just slide off like the instructions state – that’s kind of a testament to the close tolerances of the unit.  The vault comes with a set of three keys for key lock operation – turn the key 90 degrees and rotate the open/close lever as above.  Some folks dislike having key operation because it reduces the security aspect of the vault and the keys themselves must be secured.  That’s a valid point, but I personally would rather have a key backup for my senior citizen moments, not to mention the fact that if you do decide to pack your safe in your carry-on luggage, you would need to have the key inserted for TSA inspectors.

The Cons

My only two complaints on the Shotlock Solo-Vault 200M that I tested are that the key lock mechanism was loose and not functional.  While I had the cover off changing the lock combo, I tightened three fastening screws which solved the problem (what – they don’t have Loc-Tite in China?).  My other complaint was that the lid, while secure when locked, did not close flush with the base.  I added a foam strip to the interior to prevent it from rattling when driving around with it in the car and to give it a more solid feeling.


What to do with your handgun when it’s not on your person can be a vexing problem.  You must strike a balance between keeping your weapon out of the wrong hands while still having it readily accessible when needed.  While a biometric unit may provide quicker access to your gun (that’s subject to debate) and a full size safe will provide more security, an individual gun vault provides a more than acceptable compromise between the two options.  In summary, the Solo Vault 200M is well constructed, versatile and provides adequate security with reasonable accessibility at a very attractive price point.  For me, it’s a good investment for the peace of mind it provides.

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You THINK You’ve Stored Enough Water: WRONG!

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I’ll be straight up with this one: I forgot to pay the water bill.  As sure as I’m sitting here at my desk I can see the notice sitting next to me, the one that says something about paying by a certain date or a disconnect will happen.  What can I say, we were out of town and then had family in town, life got busy and I blew it.  This has never happened to me until today and it was and continues to be an eye opening experience with respect to water storage for SHTF.

I Screwed Up

Today my wife and I got home from work about the same time.  I usually go inside and crack a cold beer, sit on the couch and flip on the local news to see who got shot/stabbed or similar.  My wife doesn’t even come inside but instead starts to water her flower pots or whatever it is she does outside.  She came in the house and went to the sink and then turned to me and said: “hey, our water isn’t working.”  I stood there for a minute wondering how this was possible, did a water main break somewhere that we didn’t know about?  After 30 seconds she stared a hole into my soul and said: “DID YOU PAY THE WATER BILL?”  Ouch…that shook my memory and I immediately knew I had screwed up.  I ran upstairs, called the water company and paid the bill.  Thank you sir, but your water won’t be turned on until tomorrow.  Yikes!

The GOOD News

We have plenty of water stored on site, at least I thought so.  Cases and cases of bottled water which we rotate out frequently.  55 gallon drums of water which are treated and good for at least 5 years and additionally, 10 water bricks which I wrote about in a previous article.

Water Brick Standby

Water Bricks on Standby Outside the Bathroom

Theory vs Application

I did the calculations and thought that we had a good bit of water on site, not even taking into account that I have a river close by which we could access (and I have tested for potability).  I suppose I didn’t realize that when the taps really go dry just how fast what you have stored goes away.  I mean I thought about it and thought I was prepared, but when I saw it in action it was shocking!

Currently the taps are dry at my house.  We have pets that need water, we need to take showers and there are toilets to be flushed…and I’ll be needing some coffee in the A.M.  Before you get started I know what you are thinking, when T-SHTF less showers will be taken and water conservation will be at an all time high, but for now we can relax a little and use a bit more for luxury type functions (showers?).

The Plan

I decided that we should use the water bricks as they are the easiest to transport and utilize.  My wife and I both smelled pretty terrible from previous gym workouts, needed a shower and toilets needed flushed as I didn’t plan on utilizing a hole in the yard just yet.  On a side note I thought we had one of those hanging camp showers, turned out we didn’t (maybe I need to buy one).

Water Brick in the Tub

Water Brick in the Tub

The shocker was this: just how fast the water goes away.  We almost entirely drained one water brick after both taking rather quick showers using sparse amounts of water and refilling the toilet tank after a flush.

1 Toilet Tank Refill, 2 Showers, What Remained

1 Toilet Tank Refill, 2 Showers, What Remained

Cold Water to the FACE

I keep all of our water storage in the basement.  I have to tell you that splashing that cold water on me while taking a shower was definitely an “ah ha” moment.  It was cold, almost ice bucket challenge cold!  At first I tried using the spigot that came with the water bricks to regulate the flow but that was useless, I just opened the top and dumped it on me in quick bursts.  As someone who has taken many cold / field showers, that was VERY cold indeed.

The Bottom Line

This little experience was a real eye opener.  Here we are barely 5 hours into a “no water” experience and we are through 1 of our 10 water bricks via normal operations and that doesn’t even account for cooking food, hygiene, animals etc.  I had always estimated 2-4 gallons per person per day but when seeing it in action, after only one day, it has been a real eye opener.  My only advice would be this: when you think you have enough water stored…GET MORE.


Another 5 gallons used this morning for various tasks: hygiene, toilet use, dish washing, general consumption.  Bear it mind it hasn’t even been a full 24 hours!  Water goes very quickly and you use it for more things than you might realize, something I’m finding out right now at the house.

One other point: portability.  I’m glad I have the water bricks and 1 gallon jugs, makes hauling stuff up from the basement easier.  If all I had were large barrels it would mean pumping the water out into another bucket etc etc.

The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

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Gerber T hawk 2I have been a fan of Gerber products since my family sent me one of their MKII fighting knives while I served with the 101st ABN. Div. in Vietnam. And I have used a lot of their products since. So when I stared hearing about their Downrange Tomahawk, I decided to look into it.

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Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Equipment Reviews, Knives and Edged Tools, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Beggining preppers, Bug Out Bag, Doomsday prepping, New preppers, Survival and Prepping, Survival ax

Five Sounding Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Home Prepping Security

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The future trends of home security seem to hint at more integrated systems and ones that are a lot more accessible for normal households.

The general lack of Home security has always been a problem despite the overarching need for them. According to, in the USA alone one burglary happens every 15 seconds and one robbery every 1.5 minutes. In a survey, 90% of burglars who were interviewed admitted that they avoided homes that had some form of alarm system and in 2012 74% of uncompleted intrusions are credited to audible alarm systems.

Despite these numbers, most households still don’t install home security systems because of the prohibitive cost.

However with the current developments in technology and the rapid decrease in the cost of security systems, it’s likely that the industry will grow even more in the coming years.

It’s important to keep up with these home security trends because they let us know what’s available in the market. Compatibility is another reason, especially if you’re a DIYer. You’ll always want to make sure your systems are future proof (upgradable).

So for those interested, here are today’s trends in the home security industry.

    ISC West 2007 - 9
    Photo courtesy of Exacq via Flickr, Creative Commons

  1. IP and integration is in

    Traditional home security videos used to be done in analog and a lot of systems existing today still use analog for videos because it’s generally cheaper. But with the direction that technology is headed and with the understandable consumer desire for much more integrated systems, IP (Internet Protocol) videos are being pushed forward. They have better resolution and are more compatible with current and future security systems.

    Access control, intrusion detection, alarm systems, and the like are being integrated into the IP technology trend as well because it’ll allow for much more flexible systems and easier control.

  2. CeBIT-2014-Cyber-Security-7357
    Photo courtesy of CeBIT Australia via Flickr, Creative Commons

  3. Rise in cyber security

    Another expected trend in the industry is a continued rise in systems that will protect individuals and organizations from cyber attacks.

    This becomes relevant to home security because the continued integration of security systems to the internet and its use of networking technology makes these systems vulnerable to unauthorized remote access.

    Analog systems require actual physical presence to access or manipulate so cyber attack is not a problem but IP based security systems are remotely accessible. Integrated systems will have to communicate with each other over the internet or over a network and this is where a potential threat can arise.

    Signals being sent from one device to another can be intercepted and false signals can be broadcasted to fool an alarm system into thinking that nothing is wrong.

    The security community is aware of this though and is actively conducting research and development to ensure that their systems are safe from both physical and cyber attacks.

    Awareness seminars are conducted at events like Blackhat and DefCon where individuals and organizations in the security industry come together to discuss the trends and issues that should be addressed in the field.

  4. exacqVision Android app
    Photo courtesy of Exacq via Flickr, Creative Commons

  5. Better integration with Mobile Technology

    Given the technological capabilities of current mobile devices and the “mobile everything” trend, access and control of home security systems through the use of mobile apps will become even more popular.

    This is possible because of the developments in mobile technology and the continued integration of IP into home security systems.

    Your phone or tablet can become the control center for your system. You’ll be able to activate or disable locks and monitor activity in your home through streamed video. This will allow users to comfortably leave their home and control centers without worrying about a decrease in functionality.

  6. Big cable and telco companies are entering the security industry

    Companies like Comcast and AT&T have started offering security services to their subscribers.

    Their entry into the industry means greater competition for traditional security companies especially since they already have a large base of households subscribed to their other services; and being bigger companies have larger budgets.

  7. Bonecam mockup
    Photo courtesy of Csete via Flickr, Creative Commons

  8. Continued increase in DIY systems

    Not everyone will be able to afford a complete home security system and continued support from companies that install them. This shouldn’t be a problem however for the experienced few who can create DIY home security systems with store bought components. There are a number of online guides available for homeowners who feel they’re up to setting their own systems up themselves.

    There are a lot of companies that offer affordable DIY home security devices that can perform some of the functions of a complete security system. Remote video surveillance systems as well as sensor systems are some examples of these. Their advantage is that they’re low cost and are a one time purchase (no monthly fee required).

    Granted that these may not be as robust as full systems that even include call center support (alarm verification and dispatches), but they are cheap and can perform some of the needed security functions well enough.

Some people will continue to patronize their favorite security companies of course but a segment of the market will appreciate these less costly “alternatives”.

The trends in home security have always been tied to the continued evolution of technology.

Before home security was as simple as connecting an alarm system to the phone. Now consumers want remote monitoring, integration with mobile, and generally more automated systems.

The one thing that has never changed however is that what consumers really want is peace of mind. The means to provide it may change depending on what’s technologically and economically feasible.

At the end of the day, homeowners will always seek peace of mind.

Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.

Shelter Building: The Basics

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Shelter Building Basics

A previous article talked about the importance of shelter placement, so we will not discuss shelter locations in great detail other than to say it may be one of the more important aspects when it comes to your safety. Today’s article will discuss other aspects of shelters such as size, and materials and why you need one regardless of temperature and weather.


In cold weather you want it just big enough for your body, and whatever gear you have. The smaller the shelter the easier it is to heat and to retain your body heat. You also do not want to expend a lot of energy and materials building your shelter.


If you start out unprepared to shelter overnight or even shelter for a few hours then you will have to construct a debris hut or find a natural shelter. Something as simple as breaking a frigid wind or blocking the hot rays of the sun can save your life.

In cold weather however, you will need to insulate your body from the cold ground, so you will need materials such as leaves, pine boughs, pine needles, and dried grasses for ground insulation. A simple waterproof ground cloth would not provide enough ground insulation in cold weather.

Mylar blankets can be used for emergency shelters if you have cordage and other means of securing the material, otherwise a slight breeze can carry the blanket away. Use the blankets along with forest debris. Once you have a debris hut built line the inside with a Mylar blanket to reflect heat in cold weather and use on the outside in the summer to reflect the hot rays of the sun away from the shelter.

Once you have the poles in place any forest debris can be used to help repel rain and snow and to block cold winds and even the sun. Your shelter can be as simple as placing some stout saplings against a fallen log or you can build a tepee style shelter by creating a tripod and filling in the sides with saplings and forest debris.

You can scoop out the soil under a fallen log to create a body sized depression. Pile some debris on one side to create an ad hoc lean to shelter. Build your fire so it reflects into the depression, but of course be careful not to set fire to your new home.

Soil and snow make great insulators for the sides of your hut, but it will require some work to make your hut as warm as possible. It is important to set out on your day hike or other outdoor adventure prepared to shelter overnight. Tarps and Mylar blankets and even the heavier Mylar blankets are lightweight and can be carried in any pack or even folded/rolled and lashed to your body.

For those that think they do not need a shelter at night in the woods in the summer months probably should never get caught in the woods after dark. Once the sun goes down you can get ground fog which can soak your clothing and settle on your skin, and then once the temperature drops you may very well feel cold. Hypothermia can develop at temperatures around 50° F. Cool air combined with high humidity/moisture could spell problems.

You cannot simply drop to the ground and go to sleep. You need some protection from insects, four legged predators, and even reptiles to some extent. Shelter is important and it must be planned for, and be adequate any time you spend a night in the woods.

Pack for the seasons. In the winter a tarp/poncho may not be sufficient for overnight. They are ideal for blocking cold winds for a few hours, or providing shade in the hot sun, but for overnight in extreme cold you may have to use a tarp or poncho along with forest debris to make a warm shelter. Know the terrain and weather patterns before you set out so you can pack your kit accordingly.

The post Shelter Building: The Basics appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Growing Tips for the Suburban Survivalist

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Urban Man says – if you are not growing anything in your backyard, on your balcony or even on a windowsill then you are not taking advantage of learning new skills sets nor getting the value of growing (and eating) your own healthy food. And least I mention saving money. In a depressed economy or monetary hyper inflation, the value of growing your own food cannot be over stressed.

You cannot open an internet browser without seeing former Senator Ron Paul warning of a dire economic collapse coming soon. This is echoed by Stansberry Research, The International Investor, Zero Hedge and many others.

Even growing a couple tomato plants, maybe a potato patch, or even just a squash mound or two can provide lessons learned on growing foods, give you some confidence and a sense of accomplishment, save you money and you may very well need that small garden to survive.

This is a main stream internet article on growing your own small garden and I re-post it as we cannot read, research or save enough articles on growing foods as I fear we are going to need these skills and soon.

10 Tips For Growing Your Own Food In Your Garden, by Sarah Wexler on Yahoo! Food.

There are plenty of good reasons to grow your own vegetables: you’ll spend less at the grocery store, you’ll know exactly what went into growing them, and you’ll have a sense of pride every time you enjoy that just-plucked-from-the-stem tomato.

“You’ll have a great variety of fruits and vegetables, and they taste so much better than anything from the store that’s been sitting on the shelves for days after it was picked,” says Suzy Hancock, general manager at Portland Nursery in Oregon. It’s true — you’ve never tasted a carrot so sweet or a cucumber so crisp as the ones you eat right from your own garden. Here’s her advice for starting your own successful veggie plot at home.

1. Build raised beds. Pick a part of your yard that gets full sun (that’s four to six hours a day), and construct — or buy pre-made — raised beds. They’re easier to weed and warm up faster than the ground, so you can start planting earlier and get better results. It’s also easy to attach hoops to a raised bed that you can cover in case of cold nights or pests like moths or birds.

2. Fill with good soil. Buy potting soil and mix in native soil from the yard as well as compost, mixing so the ratio is half compost, half soil. Mix in a dry organic fertilizer, which is good for long-term feeding, like E.B. Stone Organics Sure-Start, though you’ll still need to add compost every year to replenish your soil. Since vegetables like a close-to-neutral pH soil, buy a pH testing kit at the nursery and see if your soil is neutral. It’s often too acidic; if so, add lime.

3. Wait for warm nights. In spring, it’s generally safe to plant greens (lettuces, spinach, kale, Swiss chard), cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Plant other veggies too soon and you could kill your starters, so hold off until nighttime temperatures stay above 55 before planting peppers, tomatoes, and squash. The most cold-sensitive plants are melons and cucumbers, so plant those last, only when you’re fairly sure temps won’t dip again.

4. Plant the right fruits and veggies. Corn isn’t good for a small space, since it takes a lot of room and doesn’t produce much. Though plant starters are often sold in six-packs, don’t be afraid to scrap some or give to a neighbor; one zucchini plant is likely all you need because it’ll produce so many. Raspberries and mint are both invasive, taking over a whole garden if they’re planted, so use containers to keep them separate from the rest of your plot. Fennel doesn’t do well when planted next to veggies and tends to die. Generally, look for dwarf or bush varieties of plants, which don’t take up a lot of space even when they’re fully grown. A genius hack: buy grafted plants (often done with tomatoes), which are two varieties of the fruit or veggie growing from one plant, so you get double the variety without taking up twice the space.

5. Sequester your alliums. Alliums including onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and garlic are so much more fragrant and delicious from your own garden, but they tend not to play well with others; they can have negative effects on artichokes, asparagus, many kinds of beans, lettuces, and peas. Plant your alliums in separate containers or at least two to three rows away from its foes and it won’t be a problem.

6. Stagger your returns. Plant a mix of vegetables that mature over different time frames. That way you’ll have a steady stream of produce over the whole season, rather than so much ripening at once that you’re scrambling to use it all before it goes bad. The little plastic sign that comes with the plant will tell you the average number of days before it matures; at the nursery, look for a mix of traditional and early-maturing plants to spread your haul throughout the season.

7. Consider companion planting. This is a technique of pairing plants together that can benefit from being near each other. For example, basil generally thrives when planted next to tomatoes or peppers, but not as well when its neighbors are beans or cucumbers; find the whole list of happy plant pairings here. Generally, root vegetables like radishes, beets, and carrots do well when planted between leafy greens, since the root veggies take up a lot of space under the soil, while lettuces don’t have very deep roots.

8. Follow spacing guidelines. The plastic signs that come with your plants will give a guideline of how much “personal space” each needs from the plants around it. Rather than thinking you’ll get more veggies if you just pack more of them into your raised bed, crowding them in can reduce air circulation, leading to pests like aphids. If the plant’s instructions say three inches, give it at least three inches, and consider it room to grow.

9. Plant flowers, too. No, you’re not going to eat them, but flowers like marigolds are more than a pretty touch. Though it’s a myth that they keep bugs away, marigolds actually do help your veggies thrive by attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

10. Close up shop. After you’ve harvested your crops and you’re putting your garden to bed for the season, get rid of dead foliage to avoid pests, then cover with a thick layer of compost. Or, plant beneficial cover crops like vetch (in the legume family) or beautiful red-topped crimson clover; when you turn it under in the spring, it will add nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil — making for an even better garden next year.

Urban Man

How To Choose The Best Lightweight Tent For Camping, Recreation, and Bugging Out

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best lightweight tent

We recently published a great article that provided tips for building shelter in any survival situation, which we highly recommend that you read and familiarize yourself with. However, while learning to build shelter from found materials is a skill we feel everyone should have, there are also many advantages to carrying a tent with you for excursions into the wilderness.

Having a tent saves the effort and time of preparing shelter from scratch – allotting you more energy to expend on other aspects of your camp – and can provide life-saving shelter in cases of extreme weather or ready-made shelter when bugging out at night.

Whether for backpacking, recreation, or bugging out in a disaster, having a tent on-hand can be indispensable. However, especially in disaster scenarios, size matters: the smaller and more lightweight your tent, the better. In the case of your bug-out bag, not only are you looking for gear that is light enough to be carried over long distances, but also that doesn’t take up so much room that other survival essentials are left behind.

What is ‘lightweight’? Generally, for a one-person tent, it can be as light as a few pounds, with anything up to approximately seven pounds still considered lightweight.

Choosing the Best Lightweight Tent – Features to Look for

When choosing the best lightweight tent, there are generally two features that are must haves: weatherproof and waterproof; and ease of set-up.

Weatherproof and Waterproof

All it takes is one night out in a torrential downpour to learn the importance of having a lightweight tent that is also properly fitted to withstand the elements. To ensure a lightweight survival tent that is sure to shield you from the elements, we recommend using a bathtub bottom, extra tarp, protected seams, and a rainfly.

best lightweight tent

Click the image to see the best price for the Hilleberg Janu and user reviews on Amazon.

Bathtub Bottom

When I purchased my first survival tent, the key feature I looked for was size to accommodate the large group I was camping with in the northeastern U.S. during the summer. I soon regretted focusing on size and not looking into different fabrics and sealing methods as we were hit by thunderstorms on three out of three trips. Even with a tarp underneath the tent, the interior floor was soaked.

Learn from my mistake: the best lightweight tents will come with a bathtub bottom – a bathtub-like floor that extends several inches up the sides of the tent before attaching to the walls, ensuring no seams are sitting on the ground. The bottom panel is also treated with a chemical water sealant (typically polyurethane) to lock out moisture.

best lightweight tent

Click the image to see the best price for the Morrison Mountainsmith and user reviews on Amazon.

Extra Tarp

Even if you’ve purchased the absolute best lightweight tent, it is still advisable to bring along an extra footprint tarp that can be laid under your tent to protect from punctures that can result from roots, sticks, and rocks.

best lightweight tent

Don’t risk damaging the floor of your tent! Always lay a tarp or ground cloth underneath.

Most bug-out or survival tents will generally come with a custom-sized tarp, but if yours doesn’t, simply use a regular tarp and tuck the edges an inch or so inside the perimeter of the tent. Remember that if the ground cloth extends beyond the edge of the tent, rain water can collect and be driven between the tarp and the tent; it’s always best to let rain roll off your tent straight onto the ground.

Protected Seams

When looking for seams that will keep out the elements, folded seams with double stitching are much more durable and effective at keeping out water than single seams. Additionally, taped seams provide extra strength and protection as they have an extra layer of fabric sewn into the seams.

To further protect your seams from the elements, pretreat them with water sealant. Set up your tent outside on a dry, sunny day and treat all seams by applying water sealant to all threads both inside and outside (including those along doors and on the rainfly), allowing all seams several hours to thoroughly dry and then repeating the treatment. For optimal performance, apply water sealant annually.

Tent Seam Sealants    
Gear Aid Seam Sure
Coghlan’s Seam Seal
Silnet Silicone Seam Sealer
Coleman Seam Sealer
Kenyon Seam Sealer #3 – 4 Pack
Aqua Seal Water-Based Seam Sealer

Click the images to view current pricing on Amazon.


To test your seams to see if they are watertight, simply give them a pull: if tension is created on the seam and you can see light coming through the stitching holes, the seam is not watertight.


Most double-walled survival tents will come with a coordinated rainfly that can be drawn back to provide access to the tent. Choosing a lightweight tent with a rainfly is a simple and easy way of ensuring weather and waterproofing.

Ease of Set-Up

best lightweight tent

Practice setting up your tent as soon as it arrives to make sure your know how it works. Image via Andrew Bowden on flickr.

The best way to ensure that you will be able to quickly and easily assemble your lightweight tent in all manner of situations is to actually go out and practice! You don’t ever want to find yourself in a camping or (especially) survival situation without having practised setting up your tent.

While practice makes perfect, there are certain features that will make your survival tent easier to carry and set-up, including poles, stakes, stake loops, and guylines.


Generally, when looking for the best lightweight tent, your choices for poles will be between aluminum, fiberglass, or no poles. For backpacking and survival we recommend aluminum tent poles over fiberglass as they tend to be stronger, weigh less, and be easier to repair.

Aluminum is a stronger material than fiberglass, necessitating less to achieve the same strength; the added weight of fiberglass will be miniscule when camping in the backyard, but extremely important when heading for the hills with your BOB where every ounce counts.

best lightweight tent

Feeding the tent poles through a full sleeve is much easier with two people. Image via Jason Pratt on flickr.

Additionally, aluminum can be easier to repair than fiberglass. When fiberglass fractures, it can tear your tent and does not lend itself easily to repairs; if your fiberglass pole breaks, it will most likely need to be replaced. Conversely, aluminum will typically bend before it snaps, giving you more of a chance to perform long-lasting repairs – an advantage that is crucial for long-term survival.

There are, however, advantages to using fiberglass poles. For one, fiberglass does not corrode, whereas aluminum poles will – although they can be treated with anti-corrosive coating, it will eventually wear off, especially in wet climates. Also, fiberglass is typically priced a little lower than aluminum.

best lightweight tent

This tent uses partial sleeves and clips to hold the poles, which can make for quicker set up. Image via Lotzman Katzman on flickr.

Stakes, Stake Loops, and Guylines

For anyone who has ever been camping, you know that it doesn’t take much of a breeze to send your tent rolling through the trees, potentially ripping or breaking it. Stakes are what keep your tent from blowing around and are an essential part of your tent shelter kit; using them properly can very literally mean the difference between a secure shelter and losing your tent completely in a survival situation. Choosing the right stakes for your survival tent can be equally as important as choosing the best lightweight tent.

best lightweight tent

It doesn’t take much of a breeze to send your tent rolling! Image by Beau B on flickr.

Stakes should be driven into the ground at a slight angle, away from the direction of force of the line. Ultralight titanium stakes get the job done at 0.2 oz. apiece, but are likely to loosen in soft or loose terrain. Although they are quite thin, they are less susceptible to bending when hammered into place. Aluminum stakes are a sturdy option and can handle more abuse while being driven into the ground; however, they are also heavier to carry around. Steel stakes are the heaviest, weighing about an ounce apiece but are also heavy duty.

best lightweight tent

V-beam are especially good in loose soil, snow, and ice. Image via Michael W on flickr.

The shape of the stake will also have an effect on how easy it is to drive in and how well it stays put. If you find yourself in loose soil or sand, there are Y-beam and ‘V’ stakes that work well in these conditions and come in plastic or aluminum varieties. If you’re expecting snow, a curved stake with holes in it goes in easily and freezes in place.

Tent Stakes Design & Material Best For Weight Per Stake
Tent Tools Ultralight Aluminum Tent Stakes (8-pack)
Y-Beam, Aluminum All terrains, especially loose soil and sand 0.46 oz
TOAKS Titanium Shepherd’s Hook Tent Stake (6-pack)
Shepherd’s Hook, Titanium Packed and/or rocky soil 0.2 oz
MSR GroundHog Stakes (8-pack)
Y-Beam, 7000-series Aluminum All terrains, especially loose soil and sand 0.46 oz
TOAKS Titanium V-shaped Tent Stakes (6-pack)
V-Beam, Titanium All terrain, especially snow and ice 0.4 oz
10-Piece Galvanized Steel Tent Pegs (10-pack)
Shepherd’s Hook, Galvanized Steel Moderately packed soil
Short excursions
1.0 oz

Click the images to view current pricing on Amazon.

best lightweight tent

Using a large rock to guy out the line in sandy soil. Image via GrejGuide on flickr.

If you happen to find yourself on extremely rocky ground or without stakes at all, there is always the “big rock, little rock” method that you can use, as seen in the video below:

A final point to consider is how your tent will anchor to the stakes. Most tents will have nylon webbing loops at the base corners and sometimes midway up each side, as well as on the rainfly. These loops attach either directly to stakes or to guylines then to the stakes, to secure your tent and help keep its shape.

Depending on what type of stake you are using, you may wish to tie small loops of paracord to the webbing in order to better grip the stakes. Paracord is an excellent choice for long-term use as it has a high propensity for withstanding fraying due to friction. Measure out the amount of paracord you will need for your tent and pack that amount right in your tent bag, so that it will be available quickly in a bug-out situation.

Paracord Storage

To ensure your lines are taut, we recommend using guyline tensioners, which are plastic sliding devices that make adjusting your guylines easier than with tying knots; however, a tautline or midshipman’s hitch will also get the job done.

Additional Considerations For Choosing The Best Lightweight Tent

When selecting the best lightweight tent, especially for survival scenarios, in addition to the features covered above, you will also want to consider the amount of vestibules and storage pouches, shape, and color.

Vestibules and Storage Pouches

Having extra storage space can be a huge advantage – especially if you intend on bugging out for a long period of time – but is not as crucial as some other features. If your lightweight tent comes with plenty of storage space, great, but don’t add unneeded weight simply to try to fit in better storage.

A-frame tents will typically have a vestibule at either end while dome-shaped tents will usually have a rainfly that extends beyond the entrance to create a small, sheltered space.

The interior of your tent may contain mesh pockets for holding smaller gear, such as flashlights and multitools, which allow you to keep these important tools at-hand and available when you need them. Another useful feature you may look for in your tent is a loop at the apex, which is perfect for hanging a lantern from a caribiner to illuminate your tent at night.

best lightweight tent

Boots stay dry in an enclosed vestibule without mucking up your sleeping quarters.


Generally, there are two shapes your tent will come in: A-frame and dome. The biggest drawback of an A-frame tent is the lack of headroom allotted along the sides. How big of an inconvenience this is depends on the number of occupants; for a single-person tent, this is much less of a concern than for an entire family.

Dome shaped tents tend to have a square footprint and therefore allow for more vertical space close to the sides, making them an excellent choice when there are multiple people needing to fit inside. Additionally, domes provide slightly better weatherproofing as rain sheds more easily and wind passes over more smoothly due to their aerodynamic shape; however, these advantages diminish the larger the dome as surface area becomes a factor.

best lightweight tent

Click the image to see the Mountainsmith Genesee and user reviews on Amazon.


In most situations, the color of your tent will have little to no effect on its performance; however, keep in mind that dark colors (which absorb more light energy) can raise interior temperatures (beneficial in cold climates while detrimental in excessive heat), and bright colors (such as yellow or orange) do not blend well with natural landscapes and can be easily spotted (if staying hidden is a priority, choose earth tones or camouflage patterns).

best lightweight tent

When blending in with the surroundings matters, look for muted browns and greens when choosing the best lightweight tent.


Your choice of capacity will depend on your needs. Generally, the manufacturer will state the maximum number of sleep pads that can fit the footprint of the tent. This makes for a cozy but comfortable fit. Taller people or those with a larger build may benefit from going for one size larger than the actual number of people the tent is intended for, or going with an A-frame style which tends to be longer.

Additionally, if you are looking for options for a get-home bag, there is no need to lug around anything larger than a one-person tent. In the summer or as a back-up, a simple single use mylar shelter may suffice.

best lightweight tent

Click to see the Emergency Shelter Tent and user reviews on Amazon.

If you live in an area where low temperatures and precipitation are a regular occurrence, you may choose to upgrade to a full one-person tent. This is especially useful not only in harsh weather conditions but also if your journey lasts more than one night. Mylar shelters are not intended for repeated use but a one-person tent can easily be taken down, re-packed, and set-up again.

best lightweight tent

Click to see the Snugpack Ionosphere and user reviews on Amazon.

Our Top Picks For Best Lightweight Tent

Lightweight Tents Key Features Capacity Ideal For Weight
High Peak Outdoors Maxxlite Tent
• Bathtub bottom seals out rain and snow
• Aluminum poles offer structure
• Rain cover forms a vestibule at either end to store gear
2 Cold weather
Rain, snow
6.70 lbs
Emergency Shelter Tent
• Include attached paracord for easy set up
• Doubles as a survival blanket
• Dual mylar layering is tough and insultating
2 First aid
Day hikes
0.50 lbs
Eureka! Timberline 4 Tent
• Well-ventilated with windows that are hooded by the rain fly
• Interior mesh pockets, loops, and gear loft for storage
• Weight to size ratio makes it a good choice for a family of 4
4 Families
3 season backpacking
7.81 lbs
Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent
• Slim 20″ x 6″ bundle easily fits into most packs
• Quick and easy to set up and take down, includes aluminum stakes
• Fits one person plus a good sized pack
1 Long-term use
Moderate temperatures
3.34 lbs
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
• Bathtub floor with taped seams keep out the rain
• Rainfly creates additional 14 sq ft vestibule
• Aluminum “V” stakes stay put in a variety of terrains
• Includes reflective guylines with tension adjusters
2 Rainy or windy climates
3 season backpacking
4.69 lbs
Wenzel Alpine 3 Person Tent
• Weather Armor polyester fabric seals out the elements
• Bathtub bottom with mud mat to keep interior clean
• Fiberglass poles
3 Small families
Economical option
8.00 lbs
Mountainsmith Genesee 3 Season Tent
• Fully enclosed rainfly with protected top vents
• Superfine mesh keeps out insects
• Reflective guy lines include plastic tighteners
4 Families
Windy and rainy climates
6.56 lbs
Hilleberg Jannu 2 Person Tent
• Low profile is effective at shedding sleet and snow
• Strong side wall and frame stand up to high winds
• Asymetric vestibule protects entryway and decreases draft
• Well worth the price for alpine camping
2 Harsh winter conditions 6.81 lbs
EUREKA Apex 2XT Tent
• Double-coated StormShield poylester fly and bathtub bottom to protect against weather
• Rain fly can be rotated 180 degrees for easier set-up
• Inner tent mesh wall provides good ventilation
• Heavy duty Coleman fiberglass frame is freestanding (do not have to thread through fabric sleeve)
2 3 season backpacking 5.75 lbs

Click the images to view current pricing on Amazon.


Carrying a lightweight tent that offers an immediate shelter option can provide a real advantage over scrounging to find materials to build shelter, especially in the dark or harsh weather. However, trekking with a survival tent the many hours (or days) that may be needed in a bug-out scenario could prove extremely tiresome; for this reason, it is imperative that if you are going to pack a bug-out tent, pack one that is lightweight and therefore easy to carry across long distances.

Additionally, the less weight and space taken up by your tent, the more room left for you to pack other essential items you will need while bugging out.

When choosing the best lightweight tent for your needs, size and portability will always be your primary concerns. Secondary considerations should be the tent’s ability to stand up to the elements and how easy it is to set up. Additionally, look for vestibules and storage pouches, the best shape for your needs (A-frame vs. dome), the color that will perform best in your situation, and the desired capacity.

Your Thoughts

Do you think a lightweight tent is worth the extra weight in your bug-out bag and/or get-home bag? Do you have any tips or gear suggestions that have made it easier for you to set up a tent? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!



The post How To Choose The Best Lightweight Tent For Camping, Recreation, and Bugging Out appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Did You Reassess Your Preparedness Level after the New Yorker Story?

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West Coast Map Earthquake

The New Yorker published a story July 20th, 2015, in which they detailed the destruction a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami would cause in areas of the Pacific Northwest. The story is called The Really Big One (Schulz, 2015).

The danger zone that the article is referring to lies just north of the San Andreas Fault line. It is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, and it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and ends near Vancouver Island Canada.

There are a lot of technical details in the article and it is easy to get lost in the weeds when reading it, but the take away is that essentially experts predict that a massive quake could happen along the fault line any day now.

According to FEMA everything west of Interstate 5 would be toast if what has been described were to occur. Well if it were to occur there would of course be massive destruction and likely any estimation made before the quake would be a conservative estimation, because no one knows for sure.

The story had a visceral impact and some people panicked. The New Yorker is considered a reputable magazine in many quarters, and not some doom and gloom website that is always predicting the sky will fall tomorrow. When tomorrow comes there is always another tomorrow in which the sky will fall. This article resonated with people and according to some retailers emergency kits are flying off the shelves, because of the news story.

Sales of emergency-preparedness kits have skyrocketed after The New Yorker last week published a story about how an earthquake would destroy the Pacific Northwest (Lacitis, 2015).

American Preparedness CEO Steve O’Donnell was quoted as saying that his company sold an average month’s worth of emergency kits in a single day right after the story was published (Lacitis, 2015).

Another company that retrofits homes for earthquakes stated the waiting list for clients went from 3.5 months to six months after the story came out. People wanted on the waiting list for the services the company provides.

Experts reveal what most of us already know and that is that things go in cycles. People will be hyper vigilant and eager to prepare for a period, and then it wears off. Emergency kits will be hot items for a time and then taper off.

However, according to a survey conducted by the city of Seattle only 25 percent of the citizens are prepared. This is good news to some extent because the national average is only four percent, only four percent of the population is ready for a crisis. That leaves far too many not prepared, and those unprepared may be as big of a problem as the crisis itself in the days after.

Kits prepackaged for you and ready to use right off the shelf are apparently popular, because people will spend money so they do not have to worry about gathering the items here and there themselves.

The kits however could be put together at home, and it might be cheaper to do it yourself, and you can control the quality of the items as well. It is the convenience factor for some, so the kits are popular.

Those that buy the kits, and then stick them in a closet without inventorying the items are only buying the kits based on the emotions at the time. Everyone is buying them so “I better get one too” is how some see things. A few do not even know why they need to prepare, but they get caught up in the rush. The city of Seattle is now recommending that everyone have 10 to 14 days worth of supplies so why not just buy one that is ready to use may be the thinking of some people.

Preparedness Has To Be Taken Seriously

Earthquakes are not a new development, but the story reminded people that live in earthquake prone areas that the big one could come at anytime. If the so-called big one did strike, then ten days or even 14 days worth of supplies would probably not be enough.

You do not prepare because someone else says it is the thing to do. You have to know why you must be prepared, and then know what you need to be prepared. You may very well survive the event, but can you survive the days and weeks after.

It really is unfortunate that it takes a glaring news headline to spurn people into action and yet given all of the alarm generated only 25 percent of the people living in Seattle have prepared for such an event.

Experts have been predicting the big one for years and it could in theory happen any day now, and the fact that no one knows, means you do have to be prepared for it to happen any day now.

Lacitis, E. (2015, July). Retrieved 2015, from

Schulz, K. (2015, July). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015, from

The post Did You Reassess Your Preparedness Level after the New Yorker Story? appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

3 Survival Commands Your Dog Should Know

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Not only is your dog a good companion, but he or she could potentially save your life in a survival situation. With the proper training, you can transform your cuddly puppy into a smart, disciplined survivalist. Training takes time and patience but there are some commands you can teach your dog that could help you […]

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3 Survival Commands Your Dog Should Know

Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Not only is your dog a good companion, but he or she could potentially save your life in a survival situation. With the proper training, you can transform your cuddly puppy into a smart, disciplined survivalist. Training takes time and patience but there are some commands you can teach your dog that could help you […]

The post 3 Survival Commands Your Dog Should Know appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Emergency Warning – Cincinnati Area Potential for Riots

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Dear Friends, Update 7/29/15 @ 1500 – Body cam video released TODAY.  Watch HERE> Tomorrow at noon, the body cam video of The University of Cincinnati Police Officer…

‘X’ Marks the Spot: Free Software Helps Map Your Future Homestead

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Written by Matt Sevald on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald. Matt has created a unique mapping extension for Google Earth that as he explains below will allow preppers to search for their perfect future homestead site with information Matt has compiled on various threats. This is a powerful tool that Matt has […]

The post ‘X’ Marks the Spot: Free Software Helps Map Your Future Homestead appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

September 2015 – Everything Points to This Month

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As I’ve mentioned to my readers, I feel like something critical is going to start this September.  I do not think it will be “the end”, but it…

Shifting Gears After Job Loss

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     I haven’t mentioned this, because we have been rather busy in the interim, but several weeks ago, one of my adult children, who works for a technology company, was laid off.  It’s always tough to deal with a job lay off and all the implications of such.  The subject employer is restructuring their large technology department and many people who made high salaries there will be out of a job. This will be true across the country for employees and managers of this particular company.

                 When I was young, we were taught that we could make ourselves virtually lay off proof.  Being a valued employee, taking all the certifications and courses offered or possible through an employer, and doing a really good job with whatever the undertaking were just a few of those strategies.  However, there is no such thing now.  Perhaps, rather than making ourselves lay off proof, it probably makes sense to follow some of the strategies that maximize our marketability to other companies. Perhaps, gathering the ability and flexibility to shift gears rapidly is the skill for which we should be working.

1. NEVER live within your means, ALWAYS live below it.  Always save as much money as you can for rainy days.  Where you should put your money can and does change, but that you should save does not. Pay yourself first, preferably directly from the paycheck if possible. Then live on what is left.  Adjust this sum regularly, as needed.

2. Always keep an updated resume.  My kids have ten different versions of current updated resumes.  They do this because one focuses on one aspect of their education and training, and another focuses on others.  My eldest son, for example, doesn’t include much detail on his resume concerning his sculpture degree, when applying for a technology job.  However, when applying for a fabrication job, he might go into some detail regarding his welding experience.    My nursing resume wouldn’t have too much detail on my writing, although it is mentioned.

3. Keep a hard copy manila file of names and addresses of companies to which you would apply if your job today went South.  When there is a sudden layoff, it can be hard to recall the possibilities if you don’t have the prework already done.  If you know the names and contacts of manager and human resources workers, that might help too.

4. Whenever you can, gather the names, addresses, e-mails and phone numbers of the people with whom you work and the managers and bosses that you believe would give you an excellent reference. Jobs and companies change so quickly now that it can be very hard to verify your employment somewhere.  There is absolutely no one left at Lockheed who was there when I was an industrial nurse.  

5. When people leave your present employer, stay in touch with them through Linkedin or via phone etc.   Many times, someone who has left your prior employer has gone to a company that may well be able to hire you too. Sometimes an encouraging word to a prospective employer from a new employee, is all it takes to get you hired too.

6.  This should go without saying but always treat everyone well.  Student nurses who once did clinical under me have later finished advanced degrees and have been my boss in future years.  My treating everyone well is why people know me to have integrity and why it has been rare that I have been treated badly in the workplace.   The other way of looking at this is that the people you treat well on the way up will be there for you on the way down.

7. Network not because you share the same profession, but because you are a human being genuinely interested in the people with whom you have worked.  Spontaneously networking doesn’t work well.  Networking in the long term does.

8. Always keep a 3-6 month emergency cash cushion at the place of your choosing.   In Mr. Obama’s “improving economy” it can take six months and an awful lot of resumes sent out in order to translate into an actual job offer.  That new job may not offer the salary to which you were accustomed.

9. If you are married, and you can, if both of you work, try to save the equivalent of one salary after taxes.

10. In the good times, try not to invest in really expensive cars that cost a great deal to maintain.  Always research the cost of car parts and routine maintenance of the car before buying it.  I think a BMW is a lot of fun to drive, but I don’t like paying for even the oil and air filters on such an expensive car, and I’m not even going to start talking about Mercedes Benz, a Jag,  or a Bentley !  During a job loss a car whose parts can be found at the local Advance Auto will be a great blessing.

11. When you do buy a home, and chances are you will, buy a basic home in a decent area that will be a home for all seasons.   A McMansion might suit you as a young executive, but it won’t suit you during hard times, and its maintenance and retrofits may be expensive. A cathedral ceiling could make the home hard to heat and cool.  Consider a home with a bathroom on the main floor in the event that you or someone else breaks a leg and can’t navigate stairs for a time. Homes with a full bath and a bedroom on the first floor also make it possible for you and your spouse to “age in place” if you wish.  Since we can’t possibly anticipate everything, life becomes about maximizing our choices in the future.

12.  Long term supplies of emergency food is not just for tornadoes, floods, civil unrest, etc.  Sometimes, especially after a job loss, we need the cash we have to pay the mortgage or to make hard copy resumes, our friends might take to work with them.   I know several families who ate out of their emergency pantry while their family was out of work.  It was the first thing they began to restock, once they were employed once again.   Food banks are wonderful, but many of them are stretched beyond capacity, as people like me who used to give regularly to them, can no longer afford to.

              My eldest child was able to find another job within the same company.  Of course, no job is guaranteed, and anything can happen. Entire departments implode sometimes.
 Best wishes to you and your employment, wherever you are.

Solo Hiking

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Seattlebackpackersmagazine is a site that I hit all the time.  Lots of great info.

Liz Forster wrote the following post 7 Tips for a Successful Solo Trip.  It is a great read.

Hiking and camping can be some of the most peaceful, and often spiritual, activities. It reminds us to open our ears to every rustling leaf and chirping bird, gaze at more than just the ground in front of our boots and return to the core of why we love carrying a heavy backpack through the woods. As simple as walking in the woods can be, though, hiking and camping alone requires an additional self and outer awareness that group members usually supply. Here are some tips for embarking on your first or hundredth solo trip.

2 Medical Procedures You Can Do at Home—and Avoid the ER

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Here are two tricks to remove a ring from a swollen finger and find a tiny speck in your eye.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

These two medical techniques are among the most popular I’ve ever shared here. They’re little-known but easy to master, and they often solve a couple of daunting, frustrating problems.

Since I published them over two years ago, readers have told me again and again that these tips have allowed them to avoid expensive doctor visits. So I thought they were worth recapping, to make sure you have them in your back pocket. They could save you time, money, and lots and lots of frustration.

1. Use Floss to Get a Ring Off a Swollen Finger

Most rings are pretty perfectly fitted for the wearer. So when the finger swells, even a little, no amount of tugging will get the bauble off. It’s a panic-inducing situation, watching your finger expand around that metallic tourniquet.

But much of the time, all that’s needed to slip the ring right off is a little dental floss or duct tape. (Add lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, to help even more.) Watch this video for the trick.

Interestingly, since I published this tip, some people have told me they had better luck with the duct tape than the dental floss.

If the technique doesn’t work (or if your finger’s circulation is halted) and you need to have the ring cut off ASAP, use an ice pack and elevation to minimize swelling until you can get to the doctor, as detailed in the post that accompanies the video.

2. Flip Your Lid to Find a Hidden Speck in Your Eye

If you’re certain there’s a tiny something is in your eye but you can’t find it, this flip-your-lid technique may reveal it. “I was pretty sure I was going to experience death by eyeball before I found this article,” one reader, Autumn, said. Frustrated people who’d been trying for hours to find a speck have told me this trick worked.

However, if you try it and you still can’t find anything, the “object” could actually be a scratch or ulcer. Use antibiotic ointment until you can see a doctor. If you want, for comfort, make an eye patch by taping gauze over your shut eye. This will stop painful blinking. (Be aware, though, that your depth perception will be off. And wear sunglasses outside because your patched eye will make the open eye’s pupil dilate more.)


Have you ever used either of these tricks or something similar?

(Please share this post with friends! You never know when it might make someone’s day.)


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Four Things To Consider Before Buying A Bug Out Location

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bolWe have all heard about the need to have a bug out location. I actually prefer to call it a second home as I don’t intend to use it only when I need to bug out.  After all, this is an investment, why not use it on a regular basis. Regardless, there are four important […]

The post Four Things To Consider Before Buying A Bug Out Location appeared first on Vigil Prudence.

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 5 – Knife Sharpening, Knives & The Law, Bears In Sweden And More…

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I answer questions about bears and camping in Sweden, bushcraft/survival knives and what we do with them when we are travelling or in public places, knife and oilstone recommendations for a beginner to learn bushcraft knife sharpening, where to park our car when going for a multi-day hike and how to stop getting bothersome bits in our boots…

This first appeared on Paul Kirtley’s Blog. If you like my content, CLICK HERE to get 20 free videos today.

Long Term Food Storage – A Comprehensive Primer

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By Denis Korn                                                                     foodheart


The language of long term food storage – defining and clarifying terms, product options and related information

As the awareness and motivation to store food provisions for extended periods of time grows with every alarming headline, I have been asked to once again post one of the important 15 Foundational Articles.  This is valuable basic overview of long term food storage issues.

I am frequently asked, especially by newer preparedness planners, for a concise overview of food storage basics.  I am thankful for many new readers that have found this blog in the last few months, and I feel that this article: A Comprehensive Primer on Long Term Food Storage is so important that I am posting it again as we approach critical times.  It is directed towards the serious planner who requires information that summarizes the key points of the food storage process.

With so many preparedness websites and blogs and so many instant experts it becomes increasing difficult to know who to trust and what to believe.  This is by no means an easy task.  It takes serious research and asking the right questions – and expecting accurate answers – discerning the truth is challenging and daunting.  I know this is difficult because I not only receive numerous phone calls for help, I personally have seen and heard distortions, inaccurate information and blatant deception.

For over 40 years I have been intimately involved in the preparedness, outdoor recreation and natural foods industries – as a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer, educator and consultant.  You are invited to read any of the articles at this blog that relates to your interests and be serious about answering the many questions posed and researching what I have conveyed.  I hope you will trust my experiences and insights.

Cook versus No-cook

A primary decision needs to be made, as it relates to the specific long term food provisions that you want to procure. Do you want foods that require cooking or do you want foods that require no cooking – or perhaps some of both?

Cooking required food reserves are simply foods that need to be cooked – boiled, fried or baked – in order to be eaten.  Examples include: traditional grains and beans, pasta, bread – egg – pancake mixes and some soup and stew mixes.

No-cook food reserves are foods that can be eaten as-is, or after hot or cold water is added to the foods, and being reconstituted for a short time, are then eaten.  Examples include: freeze-dried and some dehydrated ingredients, meals and mixes, granola, supplements, fruits and powdered drinks.



  • Readily available
  • Low cost
  • Familiar to those currently cooking from scratch
  • Basic unprocessed foods


  • Requires a significant supply of water and energy (heat source – gas – electricity – wood –etc.) – both of which may be in short supply during emergency conditions especially in vulnerable locations
  • Requires time to prepare – could be a significant disadvantage during the chaos of an emergency
  • May be difficult to prepare if one lacks cooking and recipe creation skills
  • Heavy
  • Beware of so called “long term” pouch food companies that use the marking line of “just-add-water” and “freeze-dried” meals.  Many companies use these terms to give the impression that their foods are easy to prepare and have freeze-dried ingredients which have a positive reputation.  Read the labels carefully!  Many companies market their meals as “freeze-dried” yet they contain no freeze-dried ingredients!  Also, you must cook these meals in order to prepare them.



  • Small amount of water required to reconstitute ingredients and meals
  • In emergency situations, freeze-dried foods can be eaten as-is
  • Pre-blended meals are familiar and nutritious if manufactured by reputable companies
  • Minimum time to prepare – could be a significant advantage during the chaos of an emergency
  • Easy to use


  • Higher cost for food preparation technologies utilized
  • Food ingredients are processed to some degree

Pouch versus Can

These can be commercially available dried food products packed in pouches and cans, or empty pouches and cans for do-it-yourself packing.  Pouches referred to in this section are ones that have a good quality metal foil barrier with an adequate thickness as one of the components in the layering of the pouch (3 or more layers required).  Metalized, transparent or plastic only pouches are not suitable for long term storage of food.  Cans are rigid-wall metal cans with the proper seal.



  • Convenience of smaller units of product for storage
  • Empty pouches are readily available online for do-it-yourself
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • A good variety of meals and ingredients are available from established and reputable manufacturers
  • If properly sealed with an oxygen absorber and stored properly, shelf can be 5 to 10+ years


  • Very susceptible to puncturing and pin-holing (rough handling, squeezing, bending and forcing a pouch into a container may create very small holes in the pouch).  This compromises the integrity of the seams and pouch material resulting in the loss of an oxygen free atmosphere.
  • No protection from animal destruction or penetration
  • Must have quality materials used in pouch construction – difficult to ensure if buying empty
  • Many commercial pouched foods are low quality and use questionable materials – must do research
  • If do-it-yourself, pouch must be sealed properly
  • Must be stored properly or there is a risk of damage
  • Beware of companies marketing their pouches as 20 – 25 – 30 year shelf life – this is a scam



  • The most reliable for long term food storage – 10 to 25+ years
  • Properly sealed cans with oxygen absorbers, can create an oxygen and moisture free atmosphere for a very long period of time
  • Rugged construction – can not be penetrated by animals (except maybe a hungry and aggressive bear)
  • Easy to store and handle


  • Increased cost for dried foods commercially packed in cans for long term reserves
  • Not practical for most of the do-it-yourself packers – cans and sealing equipment are not easily obtained – when they are available they can be more costly than pouches and to be cost effective empty cans need to be purchased in large quantities

NOTE:  If protected from potential breakage, properly sealed glass canning jars – quart to 1/2 gallon – with an added oxygen absorber, can be an excellent container for smaller quantity dried foods.  Glass and metal are the only materials available with a zero gas transmission rate – required for long term storage.

Calories versus Servings

A common marketing tactic used by many food companies today is to promote a given number of servings in an assortment, and sometimes to even state that an assortment is good for a given period of time with a given number of servings.  In the preparedness market place today, where people may have to depend on daily food rations for their nourishment, only knowing the number of servings in an assortment is close to meaningless and the information insignificant .  Why?  Because a “serving” quantity and quality can be anything the company wants it to be.  You need more information.

The standard for comparing one reserve food product with another has traditionally been to compare the number of calories of similar products or meals.  This is done by comparing the calories by either: knowing the stated calories and the weight in a given serving of a product; or the number of calories of a food product in a comparable sized pouch or container.  This enables comparisons of similar items from different companies – comparing apples with apples.  Even the government on their mandated nutritional information requires the calories be listed – and the source of those calories.

How many calories does the company recommend one should consume per day, and how many of their servings will it take to achieve this number?

Now you can do the math and compare the real cost and value of one companies products to another.  What is the cost per quality calorie?  What is the cost for supplying the proper number of calories for the time period in your emergency scenario?  Don’t forget it is the quality of the calories that is critical.  Sugar is not quality calories!

Here is the important issue:  The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for the average adult person is 2,000 calories a day (reputable companies generally allow 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day in formulating their assortments).  There are companies who promote a 500 to 1000 calorie per day allowance!


Generally long-term refers to a time period of three – four years or longer.  Many seek food products with that will last up to 30 years.  In the real world there are few situations where one would rely on 30 year old food, however with the application of the proper technology and storage conditions it is possible to still consume 30 year old food.  Boxed, wet pack, frozen, high moisture foods and canned grocery items are not considered long-term for purposes of this primer.

Shelf Life/Shelf-Stability

This term refers to the viable and reasonable life that can be expected of a food product in storage.  During this time the food product must still have significant nutritional value and be palatable and acceptable.

The 7 factors that effect shelf life and stability are:  temperature – moisture – oxygen – infestation – handling – light – time

Food Storage

Simply stated, food storage refers to food provisions that one stores for a long term.  These food products usually have a long shelf life and can be relied upon during times of need or emergency.  There is a diversity of different foods in various forms that can be utilized for a proper food storage program.

Do-it-Yourself Packing

This can be cost effective, customized, fun to do, involve friends and groups, localized and creative.  Before you start packing your foods, be clear about what it is you want to store and for how long.  Are the foods appropriate for your plans?  Do you know how to prepare them?  Do you have an adequate quantity?  Do you have all the equipment necessary to prepare your foods?  What is the nutritional quality?  Are the containers you are using effective for long term storage?

Nitrogen/oxygen free atmosphere

Basically there are 2 reasons for wanting to store food in an oxygen free environment – (1) eliminate the possibility for infestation and contamination from insects and microorganisms, and (2) control oxidation, which leads to the rancidity of fats and oils, foul taste, off color, and nutritional deterioration.  The lower the oxygen levels – the more effective in preserving the integrity of the foods stored.  Lower oxygen levels are directly related to shelf life.

Some foods are more susceptible to oxidation deterioration than others.  It is important to know how susceptible the foods you are storing are to oxidation, because as you will see the type of container you store your foods in may at some point no longer be an adequate oxygen barrier.

Crucial Questions

The serious and conscientious preparedness planner is encouraged to carefully and honestly answer these 12 crucial questions.  These questions apply not only to long-term food storage planning, but also all preparedness planning.

  1. What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
  2. How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?
  3. What attitude are you willing to embody and express during the uncertainty and stress of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist?
  4. What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?
  5. During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?
  6. Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?
  7. Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?
  8. Do you have an understanding of the financial implications of your projected emergency scenarios?
  9. What are the special needs of yourself, family, or others you care for that might arise during the scenarios you find likely?
  10. In your expected emergency scenarios will you be stationary and remain where you are, or is it possible you will have to be mobile and relocate?
  11. What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?
  12. In your expected emergency scenarios what transportation options will be necessary and available?

Evaluate the entire list at 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

Preparedness/Disaster Planning

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

The initial assessment

This consists of 6 basic questions that you are encouraged to answer that will lead you along the matrix to your destination:

  1. What is your attitude concerning emergency preparedness?
  2. What are the circumstances or scenarios and their severity you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
  3. What is the length of time you will be affected during these scenarios that you will be required to rely on your preparedness supplies?
  4. For whom and how many are you preparing?
  5. Where will you be?
  6. How serious are you and how much time, effort, and money are you willing to devote to research, planning, and action, and with what help?

Disaster Scenarios

We live in a time of unprecedented options and potential scenarios that could create challenging and disruptive circumstances.  What is required is serious evaluation of current events for taking effective action.  The delivery of essential goods and services is so interdependent on a multitude of diverse factors, that a breakdown in any one area can have severe consequences on our daily life.  Here are some potential scenarios for your consideration:

Acts of God – Man made disasters – Earth Changes:  Earthquakes – Government Regulation/Control – Catastrophic Weather – Flood – Martial Law – Asteroid/Comet – Fire – Food Shortages – Pole Shift – Hurricanes –  Societal Breakdown – Solar Flare/CME – Storm/Ice/Snow – Civil Disobedience/Riots – Tribulation/Religious – Tornado – Medical Emergency – Severe Earth Changes – Drought – Economic Emergency/Collapse – Power Outage – Major Accident – Mud Slides – Terrorism Attack – Tsunami – Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack – EMP  (Electrical Magnetic Pulse) Attack – Personal Issues – Bombing – Job Loss – War – Illness – Cyber Attack – No Internet – Unforeseen Emergencies – Financial Loss – Famine/Food Shortages – Grid Breakdown/No Electricity

Trusting Suppliers – Food & Supplies

Preparedness planning is a prudent and wise action to take.  This search for provisions however, can create a dilemma – Who do you trust?  Remember, you and your family are relying on preparedness products, especially food and water options, to sustain you during critical times.  Some situations can be so catastrophic as to have life or death consequences.  It is this very real potential scenario that compels me personally to take the process of emergency planning very seriously.

Numerous preparedness dealers and websites have recently appeared on the scene, and many are claiming the virtues of their products and are hoping to take advantage of current demands.  I have been in this industry for a long time, and I have seen numerous companies come and go as political, economic, or prophetic issues dominate the news.  With the advent of the internet, it has become even more difficult to assess the reliability of online companies.

Many companies are conscientious and dependable – as a previous manufacturer of food reserve products I have had business relationships with a number of these companies over the years.  Unfortunately many are very questionable.  I have examined their products, their data, and the accuracy of their information – it ranges from inadequate, to unclear, to erroneous.  It is hard to believe that businesses promoting products and information essential for survival in an emergency can be fraudulent and dishonorable, however there are companies who prey on fear and greed and are not principled nor respectable.

USDA Inspection

To package meat products legally, shelf-stable food manufacturing establishments must be federally inspected to comply with the strictest USDA standards for truthfulness in labeling, ingredient conformity, wholesomeness, and cleanliness.

Storage Conditions

NOTE:  The six conditions listed are chosen because these are factors in which we have the control to optimize for the longest reliable shelf life.  TIME is the one factor that we can not control – and it does have a significant effect on the shelf life of various foods.  Nutritional value is lost with many foods over time.  To know with certainty the viable nutritional value of all food reserve items at any given time after a lengthy period of storage – is at best complex or most likely mere conjecture and guesswork.  What we can do is to apply proper planning procedures – do your research with trusted resources, rotate and consume your storage foods, and be realistic about how long you will really need the foods you choose to store.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 5 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 5 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.



This is a specific technology that refers to foods which have been frozen and dried at low temperatures in a vacuum chamber.  Moisture is removed by a process known as sublimation.  The term “freeze-dried” is often used to designate a dried food product that requires no cooking.  Some meal blends will contain a variety of no cook, freeze-dried, dehydrated and other drying technologies.

Unfortunately, there are currently unethical preparedness food “marketing” companies that claim to provide “freeze-dried” foods, however their foods either need to be cooked and/or contain little or no freeze-dried foods at all.  Buyer Beware – read ingredient declarations and preparation instructions.

  • Advantages:
    • Foods retain the highest nutritional value, taste, texture and appearance.
    • Foods do not “shrivel up”, therefore retaining their original shape.
    • Foods reconstitute easily in hot or cold water- can be eaten dry if necessary- no cooking required in preparation.
    • The only method used to dry meat products for long term shelf life.
    • The chosen method of drying by the military, pharmaceutical companies, supplement manufacturers, and those concerned with nutrition and flavor.
    • The lowest moisture content obtainable- resulting in long shelf stability.
    • Excellent for fruits, vegetables, and meats.
    • Very lightweight.
    • The Benefits of Freeze-Drying – From a Major Processor’s Site

      • Retains original characteristics of the product, including:
        • color
        • form
        • size
        • taste
        • texture
        • nutrients
      • Reconstitutes to original state when placed in water
      • Shelf stable at room temperature – cold storage not required
      • The weight of the freeze-dried products is reduced by 70 to 90 percent, with no change in volume
      • The product is light weight and easy to handle
      • Shipping costs are reduced because of the light weight and lack of refrigeration
      • Low water activity virtually eliminates microbiological concerns
      • Offers highest quality in a dry product compared to other drying methods
      • Virtually any type of food or ingredient, whether solid or liquid, can be freeze-dried
  • Disadvantages:
    • Energy intensive- requires special equipment.
    • Higher cost.
    • Limited number of processors.
  • Note: There are many newer technologies which can dry specialized foods such as grains, beans, pastas and some vegetables and still retain taste, nutrition and “no cooking required” reconstitution- at a low cost.


This is a general designation for all foods that have had water removed. It includes a number of different products and dehydrating techniques. Methods of drying include:

    • Air drying
    • Spray drying
    • Drum drying
    • Belt drying
  • Most commonly “dehydrated” refers to: vegetables, fruits, spices, and beans.
  • Spray dried items include- milk powder, dairy and cheese powders, fruit powders, vegetable powders, egg powders, and oil powders.
  • Most “dehydrated” vegetables and fruits are dried at high temperatures for short periods of time.
  • Advantages:
    • Reduced weight
    • Long shelf life
    • Lower cost
    • No waste- compact
    • Easy to use- large variety
    • Many suppliers
  • Disadvantages:
    • Many products like corn, peas, and green beans have to be cooked to reconstitute, resulting in increased time and loss of nutritional value.
    • High temperature drying of some items reduces nutritional value and taste.
    • Texture of some products is altered from original.


The items in this category are wet packed in foil or plastic “flexible” packaging. MRE is a military term that stands for “Meals Ready to Eat” and was designed as combat rations for the military. Retort (available in many grocery stores and catalog companies) refers to the heating process, which give these products a longer shelf life. Self-heating meals are packaged entrees that contain everything necessary to have a hot meal anywhere. The individual flameless heaters were developed for the military.

    • MRE’s are complete meals- entrees, side dish, dessert, drink, and condiments- all in one large pouch.
    • All items in this category require no refrigeration and have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years. MRE’s can last 3- 6 years if stored in cooler temperatures.
    • MRE’s were designed by the military to be eaten for no longer than one month at a time. Extended reliance on MRE’s exclusively could cause digestion issues.
    • Items are excellent for immediate use and easy preparation of familiar foods.


This category includes dozens of varieties of grains, beans, legumes and seeds, and can be utilized in numerous forms such as; whole, cracked, flaked, instant, flour, pasta and sprouted.

  • Advantages:
    • Very economical- little cost for significant nutritional value.
    • Easily obtainable.
    • Stores well for long periods of time.
    • Versatility of preparation options and diversity of uses – many can be sprouted.
    • Historically relied upon during emergencies.
    • Reproducible – grow new crops.
    • If prepared and utilized properly, can fulfill total nutritional needs for some time.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Can require large quantities of fuel and water to prepare.
    • Requires significant preparation time to utilize all the diverse benefits.
    • Susceptible to infestation if not properly stored.
    • Requires preparation knowledge. Most people do not know how to prepare basic commodities.
    • If not prepared properly or suddenly introduced into the diet in quantity, grains and beans can cause significant digestive problems.
    • Heavy- Not easily transported if you need to be mobile.
    • Many people have allergic reactions to foods in this category.
    • If you rely on only grains and beans for nourishment for an extended length of time, you may have problems digesting these foods; especially if you don’t normally incorporate them into your diet. Preparation diversity is critical.
  • It is essential that those who choose to rely on commodities know how to properly prepare and use them. It is important to obtain good cookbooks and product information before you buy. Do not count on only a few grains and beans- diversity is very important.
  • Tips:
    • Smaller grains (such as millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff) and smaller beans and legumes (such as aduki, lentils, split peas, mung, and small whites) will require less time, fuel and water to prepare.  Most are great for sprouting
    • Combine like sized grains and beans when cooking for a complete protein meal.
    • Pressure cookers and pre-soaking of most beans will significantly reduce the cooking time of grains and beans.
    • Newly “rediscovered” ancient grain varieties such as amaranth, quinoa, kamut, teff and spelt, are highly recommended because of their superior nutritional value, unique taste and preparation convenience – available at natural food stores.
    • To reduce cooking times for whole or cracked grains, try adding a handful to a thermos, or similar insulated container, add boiling water and let sit all day or overnight. (Use at a ratio of one part grain to one +/- part water by volume). Add dried fruit, nuts, sweetener etc. and enjoy a no cook hot cereal.
  • Uses for wheat:
    • Whole grain, cracked, flaked- cook for a hot cereal or side dish.
    • Flour- baking, pancakes, sauces.
    • Sprouting- eat raw or add to bread.
    • Soaked wheat (rejuvelac – a cultured sprouted wheat drink) – soak cleaned wheat in pure water 1-2 days. Drink water and eat wheat.
    • Gluten for protein source- rinse flour many times to produce gluten product. Cook in recipe.
    • Wheat grass juice- grow wheat in shallow trays with soil or outdoors in the ground, cut at 6″-10″, juice wheat grass, mix small amount with fruit or vegetable juice.
    • Diastatic malt- ground and powdered dried wheat sprouts, a natural sweetener.

Grocery shelf

This is the category people are most familiar with and the one most will start with when beginning a storage program.

    • Store products you are familiar with.
    • Shelf life varies. If possible contact manufacturer. Generally canned items will last 1-4 years, glass jars 6 months- 2 years, boxes and packages 6 months- 1 year.  Many folks believe quality canned foods stored in cooler conditions will last years beyond ‘best used by’ dates.
    • Buy extra each time you shop.
    • Buy case quantities.
    • Rotate supplies.
    • This category contains items that will complement and supplement other food reserve programs.
    • Mark date purchased on container

Comfort foods

During emergencies it is important to have foods available which are special treats and personally satisfying. These include:

    • Fruit drinks- sodas (all natural of course)
    • Candy- crackers- chips- cookies (also all natural)
    • Chocolate- drinks and bars
    • Popcorn
    • Puddings- cake and muffin mixes
    • Dried fruit and nut mixes
    • Teas- herb teas- coffee
    • Meat Jerky’s


It is not only a good idea to eat fresh sprouts normally; it is an essential during any prolonged emergency where fresh vegetables are not available. Sprouts are live, highly nutritious nutritionally dense foods that contain essential elements for healthy living. They contain enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and much more. In an emergency it can be your only source for important nutrients. They are easy to grow and cost very little for so much value. You can sprout grains, beans, seeds and nuts.

    • Get a good book on sprouting.
    • If possible, use only non-sprayed, pesticide free seeds – preferably organically grown.
    • Sprouting equipment is easily assembled with household items such as glass jars, screening, cheesecloth, or you can buy a number of different sprouting kits.
    • Sprouts are usually eaten raw, and some sprouts can be lightly cooked like beans or used in baking like wheat and rye.


Very important in emergency situations when a nutritional diet may not be available.

Many products have 2 to 3 year shelf life.

    • See your natural food store for details.
    • Many products can prevent health problems and illness naturally.
    • Whole food green concentrates are highly recommended. Also, multivitamins, green products, B-complex, vitamin C, seaweeds and immune system strengtheners.

Home Canning/Drying

With an abundance of fresh foods always available, canning and drying your own is very cost effective.

    • Obtain books and literature on canning and drying.
    • Take classes and talk to experienced individuals.
    • Get the proper equipment or learn how to build you own.
    • Know how to properly store canned and dried foods.
    • Canning supplies can be scarce in an emergency. Stock up on jars and lids.


If the scenarios you anticipate to occur indicate a disruption of normal food supplies for a long period of time, then you will want to consider planting and maintaining a garden.  Obtain quality, non-hybrid, organic if possible, fresh garden seeds.  Get good gardening books and equipment.  Learn how to properly store seeds – this is critical – for next seasons planting.  Different seeds have varying viability and germination rates over time.

  • It is always a good idea to know basic gardening techniques. If you have a long term planning strategy, gardening is a must for a continuing supply of fresh and nutritional foods.
    • Identify the best foods for your local growing zone.
    • Consider building a green house.
    • Learn how to compost.
    • Use non-hybrid- open pollinated seeds. You can then harvest seeds for the next season.
    • Learn how to save seeds properly. Store seeds in as cool and dry a location as possible.
    • In an emergency situation emphasize “whole plant varieties”. These are plant varieties that can be eaten whole at any point in the growing process. Examples include:

– Carrots – Cauliflower
– Beets – Chard
– Lettuce – Dandelion
– Cabbage – Kale
– Broccoli – Celery
– Radishes – Herbs
– Spinach
– Save seeds of wild edibles.

    • Using shallow trays with a thin layer of rich soil, learn how to grow wheat and barley grass for juice (highly nutritious!), and unhulled sunflower and buckwheat for fresh salad greens

Appliances/Equipment- Food Preparation

  • Cooking pots/utensils
  • Solar oven
  • Alternative stoves- grills- grates
  • Portable stoves that use twigs, pine cones and small wood pieces
  • Fuel- gas/diesel/propane/wood/charcoal/fuel oil/kerosene/shelf stable additive for gas or diesel
  • Generator
  • Sprouting jar/rack
  • Mill/grinder
  • Wheat grass juicer
  • Canning equipment/supplies
  • Pressure cooker
  • Books
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Food containers- plastic/glass/plastic bags/foil
  • Package your own- equipment/supplies
  • Water-purifiers/filters/additives/distillers/containers
  • Camping equipment
  • Non electric can opener


  • Clean water of course is essential for survival. While it is possible to go for weeks without food, after 3 days survival is at great risk without water. Make absolutely sure you answer the following questions.

o How much water do you have available to you in an emergency?

o Will you have enough to clean foods you have stored?

o Will you have enough to cook foods that require lengthy boiling (beans, grains, pasta)?

o What quantities will you need to reconstitute “no cooking required” freeze-dried and dehydrated foods?

o Will you want to wash pots and utensils?

o Do you know how to obtain, store and/or purify water?

o Will you have enough water for sprouting and/or gardening?

  • Plan on at least 1/2 gallon a day per person to survive. One gallon a day per person is considered minimum for drinking, basic food preparation, and basic hygiene. Two gallons for basic bathing, laundry, and cleaning.

Water Sources – Storage – Treatment


  • Natural
    • Ponds, lakes, streams, springs, rivers, ocean (use desalinators or distillers only)
    • Know all local locations before an emergency and check quality.
  • Wells
    • Have non-electric collection options available – hand pumps, special buckets, and solar pumps.
  • Bottled , commercial
    • one to two year shelf life – Rotate.
  • Around the house
    • Pools, spas, waterbeds, hot water heater, toilet tank, hoses, pipes – purify before drinking.
  • Collection ideas
    • Snow, rainwater, dew.
  • Survival techniques
    • Plants, underground sources, moisture collection, solar still – get a good survival manual.


  • Specially packaged purified water
    • Water in small foil pouches or aseptic fruit juice like boxes – 5-year shelf life.
    • Blue Can canned water – packed in specially lined aluminum cans with at least a 50 year shelf life.
  • Large containers
    • Food grade plastic, concrete, water bladders, cisterns – above or below ground.
  • Small containers
    • Food grade plastic – new is best, numerous types available (If previously filled with food or beverage, used containers can impact tastes and odors), glass. Never use container that held chemicals or cleaners.
    • WaterBrick water storage containers in 3.5 and 1.6 gallon size containers are highly recommended.


  • Devices
    • Portable hand operated purifiers- when rated as a “purifier” the device will kill viruses and filter bacteria and protozoa. Limited types available.
    • Portable hand operated filters- will filter out most bacteria and protozoa. Many types available.
    • Drip/gravity filters and purifiers – counter top transportable units that filter water slowly by gravity.
    • Bottle purifiers- Easy to use, just fill and drink from bottle.
    • Pen like devices- Insert in a glass of water. Utilizes ultra-violet light as a purifier.
    • Desalinators- manual and electric. Removes salt from seawater.
    • Distillers- electric and non-electric available. Steam distills and purifies any contaminated and salt water.
    • Survival Still Non-Electric water distiller is highly recommended.
    • Kitchen units- usually requires water pressure and uses carbon filter element. Some units can be modified to manual use.
    • Boiling- kills viruses and bacteria after 10 minutes (add one minute for every 1000 feet above sea level). May not however kill cysts such as Giardia.
  • Additives
    • Liquid chlorine bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite – only ingredient) – 6-8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) per gallon of clean water, double for cloudy water. For 5 gallons-1/2 teaspoon for clean water, 1 teaspoon for cloudy water.
    • Iodine (2%)- 12 drops per gallon for clean water, double for cloudy water. Has distinctive odor and taste. Not for pregnant or nursing women or those with thyroid problems.
    • Purification tablets- Iodine or Chlorine- Follow instructions on package. Some brands may not kill Giardia.
    • Stabilized oxygen- A relatively new method of purification. Many swear by it, do your research.
    • Katadyn Micropur (Chlorine Dioxide)- Effective against all microorganisms. Meets EPA purification guidelines.
    • Colloidal Silver- New and becoming more widely available. Worth investigating. Reported to eliminate numerous harmful elements.

Water Storage Tips

  • Store water in a cool, dry, and dark location.
  • Store away from odors, waste products, and petroleum based products (if using plastics – plastic containers can absorb odors).
  • Periodically check containers (6-12 months) and add additional additives if necessary.
  • Water preservatives in liquid form are available.
  • Rotate containers if possible with new water.
  • Don’t use metal containers for long term storage.
  • Use water filters on water stored for long periods of time.


  • How much and what kind of fuel is available in your local area?
  • If you want hot meals, boiling water or hot water for clean up you must have a fuel source. If the foods you store require cooking to make them digestible (grains, beans, etc.) you must have fuel to boil water. Sources include:

o Wood, pellets, pine cones, plants.

o Paper, trash, cardboard, cloth.

o Propane, butane-bulk and in small canisters.

o Natural gas.

o Heating oil.

o Kerosene, gasoline, diesel.

o Candles, paraffin, fuel gel.

o Coal, charcoal.

o Rice hulls, corn cobs.

o Electricity.

o The sun- solar ovens, cookers.

The post Long Term Food Storage – A Comprehensive Primer appeared first on Learn To Prepare – Expert Emergency Preparedness Information.

How Much Money Do You Have in Your Bug out Bag?

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The bottom just dropped out all of your warning triggers are telling you that it’s time to pack everyone into the family bug out mobile and leave town before it gets worse. Much worse. You thought ahead which is fortunate for you and your family. You have a vehicle adequately equipped for the journey to […]

The post How Much Money Do You Have in Your Bug out Bag? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

9 Natural Home Remedies For Nausea & Upset Stomach

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Nausea within itself is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying cause. There are literally dozens of reasons why your stomach can become upsets. Ranging from allergic reactions, motion sickness to food poisoning, while the causes of nausea can vary the need…

The post 9 Natural Home Remedies For Nausea & Upset Stomach appeared first on .

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Gear Packing List

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Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

Last month I wrote about transitioning my chocolate lab, and hiking partner, Coco to the Merrick Backcountry raw infused dog food line. That spurred a flurry of emails and questions via social media asking about hiking gear and packing lists for dogs. I was making preparations to take Coco on a short hike right as I was publishing the last blog post, so I figured that I’d use that as an opportunity to pull together a list of what I usually take on a trip with her. To my surprise it was more than I realized.

Carry Weight Considerations for Dogs

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

As a general rule of thumb a dog can comfortably carry approximately 25% of their [ideal] body weight. Coco weighs 86lbs so that would mean that her overall skin out weight would be in the region of 21lbs and would include her backpack which weighs 1lb 12oz. This rule of thumb is based on a gradual ramp up of weight over several trips and also assumes that the weight is evenly distributed. Dogs love to have a sense of purpose and duty, so I try to let her carry as much of her own gear as she can.

Big Things First

I usually start my packing routing by looking at the largest, bulkiest, or heaviest components first. In Coco’s case, and I’m sure this will be true for most dogs, that’s going to mean her backpack and her food. Those are easily the two biggest weight considerations. Dog food is not only a heavy component of a doggie’s packing list, it can also be rather bulky one depending on the type of food they are used to and the duration of the trip. For the latter reason I like to limit the length of the trips I take her on to one or two days.

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

Coco’s Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused dog food is a dry kibble mix that weighs 6.5oz for two cups. She normally eats four cups a day (two in the morning and two in the evening) so that’s 13oz of food per day not accounting for any snacks. For a two-day trip I like to have enough food for two full days even though I know that part of the beginning and end of the trip will be driving to and from the hike – it’s easier for me to factor this way and typically results in a little left over. This is what two days of her dry kibble looks like – I bag it in serving sizes of two cups each and make sure it is all in water tight bags, dogs (especially labradors) LOVE water! In addition to carrying her own food I like to have her be responsible for a few of her other things such as: her tennis ball, furry toy, and her collapsable food bowl. Other than the collar that she wears, I carry pretty much everything else that she needs.

A Typical Dog Packing List

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

If you’re not sure what a packing list for a dog looks like here’s what I typically take with me for a trip with Coco. A few of these are optional or adjustable depending on weather, distance, and duration.

I also make sure that I am the one carrying her treats and I store them in an easy to reach location like my pants pocket or the hip pockets of my backpack. Positive real-time praise followed up by a treat makes for a loyal and well behaved pup! Always make sure that you have a toy for fun, like a tennis ball, and a comforter for sleeping at night.

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

What Does Your Doggie Packing List Look Like?

I’m always interested to hear feedback on how others do things. My doggie packing list for hikes has evolved over time based on the trips we’ve gone on, yours may be vastly different. If you have tips or tricks to share, leave a comment and/or photo below – I’d love to see. I have a couple of other posts planned related to hiking with dogs, if there is something in particular you’d like to know about be sure to mention that too.

The post Hiking with Dogs: Food and Gear Packing List appeared first on Brian’s Backpacking Blog.

Crazy! Justin Bieber’s Illuminati Video Signals 2015/16 as the End Times

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If you’ve ever dabbled, even lightly, into illuminati symbolism, you’ll find that the symbols have been cleverly crafted into works of art so that they remained relatively unseen….

A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing: Tips For Anglers Just Starting Out

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Fly Fishing

Due to its grace, beauty, and slower pace, many people find fly fishing to be a very calm, soothing, and relaxing, sport; even those who possess intense, type A, personalities.

On the other hand, it can also be very exciting when the fish are striking your fly on every cast and, it can be very frustrating when the fish are refusing your fly and yet, are taking others right beside it.

Also, it never, ever, fails that no matter how experienced a fly fisherman you are and, even when you know it is there, if there is a tree within casting distance, you will get caught in it!

Therefore, all fly fishermen are required to posses the patience of Job along with a deep appreciation for the challenge the sport presents as opposed to the number of fish that can be caught in a day.

Beyond that, there is a certain amount of knowledge that is also necessary such as knowing how to choose an appropriate fly fishing outfit for your intended purpose, how to cast a fly, how to read the water, and how to choose an appropriate fly pattern.

But, as long as you have the patience for it, and adopt the right attitude towards it, fly fishing can be one of the most magical and rewarding outdoor experiences you will ever have!

First you will require a certain amount of gear. For instance, you will need a fly rod, a fly reel, a fly line and a tapered leader along with an appropriate selection of flies.

Depending on your location, you may end up fishing from a single kayak or a tandem kayak.

But, when you look at fly rods, you will see that they are rated numerically according to their length and their line weight. So, how do you choose the correct one for you?

Well the first thing to be aware of is that because a fly has very little weight and a lot of wind resistance, it requires a weighted line to cast it and the more wind resistance a fly has, the heavier the line required to cast it.

Furthermore, line weights range from one weight to fourteen weight and, they feature numerous different types of specialty tapers such as Trout, Bass, Carp, Tarpon, ect.

A Discussion on Line Weights:

Line weights one through six are generally thought of as freshwater line weights while line weights six through fourteen are generally thought of as saltwater line weights.

In addition, freshwater line weights two through six are generally thought of a being equal to saltwater fly line weights six through ten such that a 2 weight.

Freshwater fly line is roughly equal to a six weight saltwater fly line and a six weight freshwater fly line is roughly equal to a ten weight saltwater fly line.

On the other hand, some freshwater fish such as Steelhead, Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Pike, and Muskie do require seven to ten weight outfits as well.

However, the main concept to keep in mind is that more delicate presentations are required when casting to skittish fish in clear water such as Trout, Bonefish, or Snook.

It’s worth noting that when fishing in more turbid water or in water with a surface broken by rapids or wind, then heavier line weights can be used.

Furthermore, the larger the fish species is, the heavier the line weight you will need because the fly rods designed for them are stiffer.

Choosing the right Rod:

Of course, once you have chosen a line weight, you will need to choose an appropriate fly rod along with a fly reel that has enough capacity to hold the line.

In most cases, you will want to choose a fly rod with the same numerical rating as your fly line and then choose an appropriate rod length.

For instance, fly rods generally range in length from 6 1/2 feet to 14 feet with the 9ft. 5wt. being the single most popular freshwater fly rod and 9ft. 9wt. being the single most popular saltwater fly rod sold.

But, for fishing on small, brushy, streams or in tight quarters, a shorter rod is often a better choice whereas, when fishing large rivers or in the surf, a longer Switch or Spey rod is often the best choice.

In addition, you should be aware that fly rods are generally available in three different actions consisting of slow, medium, and fast and that slow action rods are best for casting at close ranges.

They require less fly line (and thus less weight) to be extended beyond the tip of the rod to load whereas, fast action rods require more fly line to be extended beyond the tip of the rod in order to load.

As a result, they are best for casting over long distances and, medium actions are meant to bridge the gap between the two.

Choosing the right Reel:

Like your fly rod, fly reels are designed to carry different ranges of fly line weights and thus, fly reels for lighter line weights will have smaller diameters and whereas, fly reels for heavier line weights will have larger diameters.

Fly reels are also classified by both the size of their arbors (the spool in the center of the reel that the line winds around) and the materials that they are made from.

For instance, a fly reel may have either a standard, mid, or large arbor size and it may be made from either a molded composite material, cast aluminum, or machined aluminum and it will have either a Spring-and-Pawl or a Disk drag system.

As a general rule, molded composite is the least expensive and the least aesthetically pleasing whereas, machined aluminum is the most expensive and is the most aesthetically pleasing.

Also, Spring-and-Pawl drag systems are lighter but weaker than Disk Drag systems and thus, Spring-and-Pawl drag systems are good for small fish whereas, Disk Drag systems are best for larger fish because they have more stopping power.

Fly Selection:

Then, in addition to an appropriate fly rod, reel, line, and tapered leader, you will also need an appropriate selection of flies.

However, the type of flies you choose will depend upon the particular species of fish you intend to pursue as well as the location you are going to be perusing them in.

For instance, Trout flies differ greatly from Smallmouth Bass flies and both differ greatly from Bonefish or Tarpon flies.

Also, patterns for a specific species tend to vary from location to location.

That means when it comes to choosing flies, it is often best to contact a fly shop in the area where you intend to fish to inquire what types of flies you should purchase.

Wrap Up:

Regardless of whether you choose to fish freshwater or saltwater, the sport of fly fishing has grown to encompass all species of fish that will take a lure both on the surface and deep beneath it and thus, the fly fisherman is no longer limited to mountain streams and wily Trout.

Learning the ancient art of fly fishing somehow seems to provide you with a closer connection to your quarry than fishing with other types of gear and thus, a greater reward when you finally land that trophy of a lifetime.

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing: Tips For Anglers Just Starting Out appeared first on Wilderness Today.

Simple Life Sunday #73 Featuring 2 Sugar Free Dessert Recipes

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Simple Life Sunday

Simple Life Sunday

Thanks so much for joining me for Simple Life Sunday.  Grab your cup of tea or coffee and sit down with me and join me while I look through all the wonderful posts everyone has shared! Before you leave be sure to share one of your favorite posts.

WOW – it has been a while!!  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your summer!!  It has been quite crazy here in the wilderness – as you know the Mountain Man’s joined Jesus in heaven and shortly after that my parent’s were visiting and my Dad not only visited the ER, but spent several days in the hospital.    Not to mention, it is just a CRAZY time of year here – we are now have our goats grazing which has been awesome in keeping the yard mowed and providing us with some very happy goats and just so you don’t think we are living this amazing simple life and are void of those crazy happenings – both of our trucks are down and we got a car to get us around and it too is having some issues.  Just know we are now an exception and surf those crazy times too, but even though we have those moments that we just shake our heads and say “It Is What It Is!!”, we are still very blessed and have so many awesome things going on!!  It is all about contentment and a choice to put more value on our blessings than our misfortunes!

Here is one of the exciting things that has happened here at Trayer Wilderness since our last gathering…  I am an officially published author!!  WOOOHOOOO

The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook - Volume 1 - Final

The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook ~ Homesteading The Traditional Way ~ Volume 1 is now available on our website for sale here, but I encourage you to join our newsletter and receive it for FREE!

If this isn’t blessing enough, my next book will be available in August!!

How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle Coming Soon new

I am thankful for SOOOO much – God blesses me daily!!

What are you thankful for today?  (Share with me in the comments – I would LOVE to hear from you all!)

I would like to announce that due to my time constraints this time of year we are going to do the Simple Life Sunday a little different and see how it goes!!  The  Simple Life Sunday will be open for a WHOLE MONTH!!  So you can join me every day if you like and share a new post for a whole month!  I want to see this page FULL of all kinds of wonderful posts!!

AND Every time you share a post this month – share something you are thankful for!!

At the end of the month, I will choose the ones that have really captivated me and share them on our Pinterest page!

I would like to thank Taylor Made Homestead for sharing their 2 Sugar Free Dessert Recipes!  Sugar is responsible for so many of our pains and struggles and it is great to have options and alternatives!  Thanks for sharing and I hope this benefits many of you that are having to be cautious of your sugar intake.

Blessings to your and yours and again What are you thankful for this month???

(Every time you share a post this month – share something you are thankful for!!)

 Thank you for sharing and I would like to invite  you to join Kat’s Sunday Social (our sister hop).

I look very forward to seeing what you will have to share this week!

If you are interested in being notified as soon as the Simple Life Sunday is live, feel free to subscribe to our notification newsletter.

Trayer Wilderness


God bless you and yours and may your day be filled with Simple Pleasures!

Tam (MWJ) ♥ <><




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Paid Endorsement Disclosure:   This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting and keeping us up, educating, inspiring and running!  ♥

The post Simple Life Sunday #73 Featuring 2 Sugar Free Dessert Recipes appeared first on Trayer Wilderness.

Common Mistakes While Bugging Out

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An article posted by Selco on the SHTF School on April 11, 2015. Selco always writes good stuff on website.
[Source: Link to article: post collapse]

Bugging out is something that I once failed to do, because I did not even realize that it needed to be done, actually I saw what was happening but I did not „process“ the information in correct way, so I stay and had to go trough whole period of watching, doing, and getting hit by violence, together with being cold, hungry, sick and everything else.

Because bugging out is so important and survival done right is often not getting into survival situations in the first place I stress importance of bugging out (if you are not already live in great bug out location anyway).

Consider the following couple of mistakes that I witnessed (more than one time):

Right moment Guy figured out that SHTF, something happening in the city, hears screams outside, shots, confusing news on TV, he rounds up his family, puts all bags in his car, they are armed and they go out in order to reach their bug out location in hills some 50 miles away. After one mile of traveling angry mob who just plundering local mall stops the car, pull them out, and beat them, and then kill the guy, he managed to kill few of them before that, but they were hundreds. He is dead. End of story.

If you woke up in the middle of the night, because something strange happens in your town, some event, maybe terrorist attack, or martial law put into effect or whatever, sit down and think for a moment. Your mission is to leave the area and reach your bug out location, do not confuse that mission with any urge to panically run. If you go into the panic you will make mistakes, and it is definetly not time for mistakes. You would be surprised to know how many people are prone to panic, and how many of them end up dead because of that.

Try to gather some information, and act accordingly to that information, who, what, when, how long, where.

Try to figure out what is happening before you start to bug out to your bug out location. What are problematic areas? Who is in control? You will never have perfect information but it is better than having no information at all.

Speak to neighbors, listen to the radio and TV and look on Twitter and other social media. Yes that often means you will need to postpone your trip, maybe for hours, or sometimes for even days. You need to choose the best moment to leave the area (if you already missed to leave the area before SHTF).

“Right way“ SHTF and family get in their pick up, with trailer full of good equipment for SHTF time. They managed to go some 20 miles down the road, where few cars simply „get them“, block them and take everything from them. They manage to save their lives or maybe not. Who knows.

Real problem here is not having right and good equipment, and lots of it. Real problem is that we are being constantly bombarded with information that we (preppers and survivalists) need to have right equipment (a lot) in order to survive. Because without it we are gonna end up dead. We are being instructed that without “things“ we are lost, we are not even right survivalists.

So when SHTF we are becoming something like prisoners of our things. Guess what? I am preparing myself to bug out in my sneakers, with pistol and plastic bag. If I have to I will collect everything else what I need on my way to my bug out location. Do not get me wrong, of course I have my bug out bag, my plans, and my useful stuff for trip to my bug out location, but the point is that I am really expecting that I will find myself in situation where I need to reach bug out location without all those things. Do not accept philosophy that things will save your life. Things will help you to stay alive, but your (correct) mindset will mainly save your life.

Anyway, plan to have what you need at your bug out location (already prepared), do not rely too much on things while you are bugging out, you need to be able to get things done with minimal equipment that’s why skills are more important than equipment and in best case you have both. Right mindset One word-ADAPT.

If you are bug out plan plays out excatly like it should you are a very lucky man. Consider the fact, that most of you are making plans to cover hypothetical SHTF scenarios, that you seen on TV shows, read about it somewhere, member of family went through somewhere, or simply you had couple of bad experiences. It is normal. We need to guess and it is best we can do.

You are building your plans based on that, nothing wrong with that. Except that everything may go wrong in one moment. You have plan to go through the city from point A to point B then to point C etc, and then to reach safe point somewhere. All good, but SHTF and your youngest son is still in school, your car is broken, and at point B in your plan something weird is happening, some kind of riot, let say with all chaos and confusion some trucks with money are rolled over right at your point B and now you need to find out a new way quickly, and your whole plan is gone, you do not know what to do. Welcome to reality! Reality usually likes to blow all your good plans to pieces. But point of planning is to COVER as many problems as you can, so make sure you play through as many scenarios as possible.

For example if you have just one way out of the city it is bad plan, it needs backup and backup of the backup.

UrbanMan’s comment: Remember PACE Planning?

Prepare for the fact that your plan will be wrong right at the beginning, and that you need to make new plan very soon, (and couple of more new plans until you reach your bug out location.) Do not end up dead because you wanted to stick to your plan because it looks good, while circumstances changed hourly around you. Survival is about quickly adapting to new situations. That is why it always helps to take a map and whatever else you need to have good sources of information to make new plans on the go. These were just few of the most important things to consider when bugging out. How do you plan to bug out.

Urban Man

Two Is One and One Is None: What is your Single Point of Failure?

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Another great one by Wilson Foedus:

Some technical difficulties range from “Wow, that was annoying,” to the type of events that can make you want to lose your religion.  The constant prompts to “listen carefully as our voice menu options have changed” annoy me, because I am constantly caught up in the spin cycle of man’s evolution for automated phone answering…

Continue reading

The post Two Is One and One Is None: What is your Single Point of Failure? appeared first on Pantry Paratus.

Avoiding And Dealing With Snake Bite

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RattlesnakeThere are very few places in the world where snakes do not live. And many of them are poisonous. In North America, there are a number that you need to avoid being bitten by. And if you are bitten, there are certain things you need to do. In SHTF scenarios you may be forced to deal with snakes in ways you are not normally used to. You will probably be out of touch with usual medical facilities, so if you are bitten you will have to handle it yourself.

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Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Beggining preppers, Doomsday prepping, New preppers, Snake bite, Survival and Prepping

Free Fire Friday (Gun Talk) 24 July 2015

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Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Aftermath Radio on BlogTalkRadio

35 Reasons the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the Ultimate Outdoor Vehicle (Pictures)

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Jeeps are Rad PictureIf you are an avid fan of the outdoors then you know that very few vehicles are as capable as the Jeep Wrangler when it comes to off-road adventures.  The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in particular has exploded in popularity since the 4 door model became available in 2007.  The Jeep unlimited matches plenty of space with balance, looks and top level off road capability right off the assembly line.

While there are plenty of capable trucks and SUV’s, few vehicles can match the following that the Jeep brand has.  Add in the limitless ways you can modify your Jeep and you have an awesome utility vehicle that’s basically like one big Lego set for adults.  Jeeps are the perfect off-road vehicle no matter what adventure you are planning on taking.  They are amazing in the desert, over rocks, in the forest, through dirt, and as you’ll see from some pictures below, they are even rock solid going through water (as long as you aren’t flooding the engine bay).

One of the primary points of the versatility of the Jeep Unlimited happens to be how many different ways it can come equipped.  Hardcore outdoor enthusiasts will love the 4 door option with half doors and a soft top which is primed to roll through perfect weather outdoors.  Someone who might be more of a weekend warrior could easily choose a hard top with full metal doors and be a little more comfortable with some added creature comforts on the inside of the vehicle like leather seats and an automatic transmission.

Enough yammering on from us, below you will see 35 reasons why the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is filled with pure awesomeness.

Photo via Creative Commons by Jim Pennucci

Above is the what we like to call the “Big Green Monster.” This Jeep is fully customized for offroad adventures.

Photo via Creative Commons by Jim Pennucci

Another shot of the Big Green Monster, you can tell it’s been lifted, has larger tires and wheels as well as other mods.

Photo via Creative Commons by Scubabrett22

The Silver Jeep above looks like it’s in it’s very own natural element off-road in the snow.  The light bar is a nice touch.

Photo via Creative Commons by Scubabrett22

Love the transformers badge.  This jeep looks right at home in the forest.

Photo via Creative Commons by DavidJoe

Some Jeeps were born to be desert rats.  This one looks like it’s playing the role nicely.  Jeeps were made to be driven with the doors off.

14295012324_18abed0e19_kNothing like a great afternoon by the lake to setup your weekend.

Photo via Creative Commons by Scubabrett22

This Jeep has been customized with cut fenders in the front to help improve the articulation of the front tires when it’s off-road.

Photo via Creative Commons by Scubabrett22

The top light bar is a nice touch for those that life in areas where it’s not very well lit, especially if you are off-roading at night.

Photo via Creative Commons by Scubabrett22

The front bumper has been shaved to allow for greater flexibility off-road – it’s a beast.

Photo via Creative Commons via BigMikeSndTech 

This 2015 Rubicon looks amazing just as it is.  The sunset orange color goes great with the gunmetal grey stock Rubicon wheels.

dreamstimelarge_43490809There’s almost no mountain or hill that’s off limits when you are off-road in a JK Unlimited (The 2007 – 2015 models are known as JK’s)

dreamstimelarge_43606480Nothing like stopping for an afternoon picnic on the water.

dreamstimelarge_43679908The high desert usually begs for a little adventure, this Jeep looks to answer the calling.

dreamstimelarge_43680072While most people would be turning around, this JKU is taking on the river in full force!

dreamstimelarge_43680100Rock climbing is a specialty that most JKU models have no problem attempting.

dreamstimelarge_43709392This is probably one of our favorite pictures.   Absolutely awesome outdoor landscape and a perfect reason to own a Jeep, no matter what country you live in.

dreamstimelarge_44476041Jeeps love to go coastal!  This epic view is just another example of where we’d like to spend any afternoon.

dreamstimelarge_46044234Jeep off-road caravans are extremely popular.  Jeep clubs across the US will often setup places to go together off-road and help each other out.

dreamstimelarge_46044421More pictures of the caravan – we’d love to be a part of it!

dreamstimelarge_47502725Dirty Jeeps just flat out look cool.

dreamstimelarge_47504707While we would never advocate potentially flooding an engine, this is something we’ve always wanted to try!

dreamstimelarge_47504715Perfect place to setup for a lazy afternoon.

dreamstimelarge_48003769Again, Jeeps absolutely love to go coastal!  We’d love to be there right now!

dreamstimelarge_48003772Just a little mud, trip – no big deal!

dreamstimelarge_48432946Just a big enough of a river to give the Jeep a nice bath!

dreamstimelarge_48432962Nothing like taking a little hike once you get to your destination.

dreamstimelarge_51799459Winter water driving can be scary, but it’s just another day at the park for your average Jeep.

dreamstimelarge_52393898Looks like a perfect place to camp out for the evening!

dreamstimelarge_52737964Some of the more aggressive trails are pretty easily traversed by the Wrangler Unlimited.

dreamstimemedium_32933966Playing in the water is always a good idea as long as it’s not too deep!

dreamstimemedium_40577142Jeeps love to go to the beach, especially in areas of Baja and coastal Mexico.

jeep wranglerThis Jeep is seeing some serious duty up in Alaska.

Jeep WranglerThis Jeep looks to be having a blast taking on some high desert mountains.

Jeep Wrangler in the desertWhy not go out and play in the REAL desert?  Jeeps are perfect companions in off-road areas like Glamis.

The post 35 Reasons the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the Ultimate Outdoor Vehicle (Pictures) appeared first on Wilderness Today.

Survival Fishing Kit: Worth the Time or Useless Gear?

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Imagine a gathering of 10,000 preppers at a convention somewhere in the heart of Las Vegas and at that convention every single prepper had brought their own fully stocked bug out bag. The same bug out bags that each person had diligently packed using checklists gleaned from various prepping blogs, YouTube videos and their own […]

The post Survival Fishing Kit: Worth the Time or Useless Gear? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Review of the MagSim Loaded Magazine Simulator

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MagSim_LMSFor us preparedness-minded people there are a lot of things we’re expected to acquire. Top on the list are necessities like food, water and energy needs; medical supplies and equipment; fuel and energy reserves; hunting, communication, and survival gear as well as many other things.

However, the acquisition of tangible “stuff” is not the only thing we need — it’s also crucial that we acquire skills.

In our family one of the skills we hold in high regard is firearm related skills. However when it comes to firearms training, the cost of ammunition nowadays makes it somewhat prohibitive for us to practice as much as we would like.

Because of this, I’m always looking for new equipment or gear that can help keep my firearms training as cost effective as possible. As an example, I recently posted a review of the SIRT laser pistol, which I found to be a very effective practice tool.

The only downside I found with the SIRT pistol is that it’s not a good tool to practice malfunctions. There’s no way of racking the slide or mimicking malfunctions because there is no working action.

Well, a friend of mine had recently developed a tool that fills the malfunction-practice gap. And best of all, it allows you to use your own firearm (currently any 9mm, 40 S&W, 45, 223/5.56).

It’s called the MagSim Loaded Magazine Simulator (LMS).

Reviewing the MagSim LMS

To practice my malfunction drills, up until this point I’ve typically used snap caps. The problem with snap caps is that you’re constantly having to pick them up, reload your magazines, and then set up the malfunctions again. For me, I would get quickly bored of this monotonous process and it would impact my training cycles. Worst of all, if I was training outside and the snap caps fell into the dirt, I would often times transfer dirt into my magazine and pistol action if I wasn’t careful (definitely not a good thing).

The benefit of the MagSim LMS is that it does not require you to continually reload your magazines with snap caps. It does this by simulating a live around in the magazine. This allows you to rack the slide and reset the trigger without the slide locking back, and at the same time you don’t have to worry about the extractor grabbing the LMS “round” and getting ejected when the action breaks open — requiring you to never have to reload a bunch of snap caps again.

In a nutshell, the MagSim LMS allows you to safely dry fire with your magazine in place just as you would with a normal loaded magazine (hence the “Loaded Magazine Simulator” nomenclature). Again, this is especially effective with malfunction practice because you never have to waste time picking up and reloading a bunch of snap caps (and it’s safer because there is no live-round lookalike going into your magazine).

For the last few weeks now, I’ve been practicing my malfunction drills with both my AR-15 and Glock pistol using the LMS. In both cases I’ve seen some nice improvements around my speed and automation with the malfunction drills – not because the LMS gives me any special abilities, but due to the fact that I can now put in a whole bunch more cycles in the same amount of time as before.

The MagSim LMS in Action

If you’re interested in checking out how the LMS works, my friend put together some nice LMS demonstration videos that you can watch here:

MagSim LMS Demo

MagSim AR15 Malfunction Clearing


The MagSim LMS has definitely found a place in my training regimen and I highly recommend it.

If you’re interested in learning more about or purchasing the MagSim, be sure to visit the website here: MagSim LMS.

Again, it’s available in .40 S&W, .45, 9mm as well as .223/556mm for the AR-style rifles.

Stay safe guys and happy training.

Teaching The Classics

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I am happy to announce that Lake Lili has agreed to be a regular contributor to Just Plain Marie. Please enjoy this month’s homeschooling article about teaching the classics – something I am just as passionate about!  This is a long article packed with information about classic English literature and how to teach it to […]

The post Teaching The Classics appeared first on Just Plain Living.

The Day After The End of The World

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

We spend a lot of time on the Prepper Journal discussing the steps you need to take to prepare for some horrible event occurring in your lifetime. This could be as simple as a loss of a job or more serious and life threatening like a hurricane,wildfire or tornado. The steps you need to take […]

The post The Day After The End of The World appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Lemon Balm Cough Drops

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That’s right! I actually did it! Found a good use for lemon balm. One that I will want to make again!

I have allergies here, I don’t know to what (my doctor is just not real good) so I cough a lot. I play violin and it vibrates my throat and causes more coughing. Once I start coughing there is nothing to do but just let it happen. My throat stays clogged. Cough drops help. I like the lemon and honey ones. So I had been looking at recipes for making cough drops at home and came up with the idea to use the lemon balm.

Lemon balm is in the mint family. It is considered a calming herb as some studies have shown that it reduces stress in people who took it and another herb valerian. Oil from the leaves contain terpenes which play at least some role in the herb’s relaxing and antiviral properties. It also contains tannins, which may be responsible for lemon balms antiviral effects. Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which can calm muscle spasms, numb tissues and kills bacteria.

I went out and collected a large handful of lemon balm from the wild jungle of them that grow at the end of our house and I rinsed them off.

I boiled them for 5-10 minutes and then drained off the water. You need enough water after you drain it for 2 1/2 cups. 

Put the 2 1/2 cups back in the pan and add 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Bring to a boil. Turn the fire down to medium and let it keep boiling. (I have seen recipes that just use honey but I just thought that would be too strong a honey taste). 

You have to boil this to the hard ball stage on your candy thermometer. Then shut it off and give it a minute to cool before you start dripping it from a spoon onto a lightly greased sheet pan. Just so you know, this was the second batch I made. The first one I used waxed paper and they are still stuck on that waxed paper in my trash can so I strongly suggest you just lightly grease the pan.

It didn’t look like much but I needed two pans.

Let it cool and then take the tip of a sharp knife and gently pop them off the pan.

They do stay slightly sticky so you have to dust them with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to each other. I then just wrapped them in the  paper towel and put them in a paper bag which I hope will keep moisture away as we are so humid here all the time. 

These did taste really good and I hope will be useful with my cough.

Home Remedies For Hair: For Added Strength, Shine & Body

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For millions of men and women, the goal of cultivating and sustaining a beautiful head of hair is universal. Although the desire for strong, illustrious hair is widespread, there are literally hundreds of reasons why your hair is lifeless, dull or thinning. The three most…

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Eating crickets

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Like virtually all of you, I grew up in a culture where bugs were gross and I would never consider eating them. However, as I’ve traveled the world I’ve come across a few cultures where bugs are considered food. It turns out bugs are nutritious and as safe to eat as any other food source (keep in mind how much attention we pay all down our food chain making sure our food is safe and remains uncontaminated). Being curious by nature, an adventurous eater, and wanting to be prepared for who knows what, I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to eat various bugs. I’ve had ants, ant eggs, bees, water beetles, june bugs, crickets, cricket larvae, some sort of beetle I don’t know what it was, unknown (to me) grubs from a river, silkworms, and forest cockroaches. I’ve really enjoyed some of the ant recipes, but my favorite of all are always crickets.

bats and insects

From l to r: bats, forest cockroaches, silkworms.

Recently I found myself in Cambodia and was able to observe how they caught crickets. The crickets were caught out in their fields, then sold in restaurants, marketplaces, and roadside stands. Apparently, crickets are attracted to light; and judging from what the Khmer people were using, they are particularly attracted to violet or reddish fluorescent lighting. The farmers would attach such a light above a sheet of plastic hung vertically low over a basin of water. At night the crickets, drawn to the light, would unexpectedly hit the sheet of plastic and fall into the water. There, they would drown or become otherwise incapacitated. In the morning, the farmers would go out to their cricket traps and collect several pounds of nutritional and delicious insects.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

I recommend frying your crickets and seasoning them with garlic, onions, soy sauce, etc. I’d avoid eating insects I suspected might be contaminated with pesticides; as with other foods, a safe source is ideal. When you don’t know if an insect is edible or not, keep in mind that brightly colored, spiny, or hairy bugs are often poisonous. No meal of insects has yet made me sick.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

If you would like to try some insects for yourself now before you find yourself in dire straights, I recommend you look for a supplier of quality insects and grubs intended for pets such as birds and reptiles.

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Episode 64 Survival Shelters

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James and Mike A Day In THe Woods Autoimmune Diseases

James and Mike


Survival Shelters

This week we talk about Survival Shelters. I started watching some Youtube videos from an Australian guy. In one he quickly makes a semi permanent shelter using the wattle and daub method. In the video he uses only primitive tools. He uses stone axes and vines. Makes the clay pot to carry water to make the mud for the walls.


Mike and I discuss several survival shelters you can make. Some can be used for long term survival. I talk about how I would not mind living in a primitive hut made from wattle and daub.



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Podcast #108: Interview with Erica Mueller of

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Mountain Woman Radio - Episode 108 - Erica Mueller - Mom PreparesJuly 22nd, 2015: In today’s show I had the absolute privilege to interview a dear friend of mine, Erica Mueller of  Listen to her story – she has SO much to share on her homesteading and simple living experiences – I know you will thoroughly enjoy the interview. Important News The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook ~ […]

The post Podcast #108: Interview with Erica Mueller of appeared first on Trayer Wilderness.

Vehicle EDC Gear List: Don’t Leave the Driveway Without It

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Your EDC gear that you carry daily can be used in millions of ways. It could be something as trivial as having a light to shine into a dark room for greater visibility or as serious as a weapon to defend your life or the lives of others. We carry and advocate EDC (Every Day […]

The post Vehicle EDC Gear List: Don’t Leave the Driveway Without It appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

8 Jars of Organic Carrots

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As some of you who are friends we me on facebook know, we finally bought a new, larger air conditioner that actually keeps the house nice and cool so now I am able to do more things inside…like canning…that I have been wanting to do but it was too hot to do before. Anyway, today was a canning day. I had gotten these bags of organic carrots this week marked down to $ .99 each plus I had gotten two vegetable “party” trays that also had two sections each of carrots in them (for $2.50 each. They also had a section of celery, broccoli and podded peas that I will use for other things). I took them all out of the bags and sliced them up mainly because Phil likes them this way.

That pan wasn’t quite large enough and I had to switch to a bigger one. 

I brought them to a boil and boiled them a few minutes. Meanwhile the jars were put in the canner and were sterilizing.

Then I packed the carrots into the jars, ran a knife around the edges to remove air bubbles, added about a 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar and then into the pressure canner for 25 minutes.

After all eight jars were filled there was some left…

..I put it in a freezer bag. Just the right amount for a meal.

And here are all the jars. The tops have all popped down and they are ready to be dated and labeled and put on the shelf.

Four Ideas to Make Your House More Damage Proof

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Your home is an investment and the last thing you want is to lose your home to a disaster like a hurricane, flood, or fire. You need to take direct action to prevent these risks as well as taking out insurance. Know the dangers in your area and get to know good prevention and emergency plans. You should consider these four ideas to make your house more damage proof and last longer.

Get Reinforced Exterior and Garage Doors

Typical exterior doors aren’t very good at resisting the impact of flying debris or even high winds. Your first step should be to replace any doors leading outside with impact resistant ones. These doors can resist incredibly intense impacts from the heaviest debris thrown around by a storm. They will barely dent, and will almost never break. If you live in a high wind area it’s a great investment and can save you money on heating and cooling if they are properly sealed as well. You should reinforce your garage door as well with kits or even new doors altogether.

Put a Sump Pump in the Home

Water can do more damage to a home than a fire in certain cases, and if you’re area is a risk for flooding, you’ll want to put a sump pump in your home. The pump goes at the lowest point in the house and will turn on when water starts collecting. It will automatically pump the water back outside. A sump pump can prevent water from ruining your home and get you a head start on clearing out a flood. It is usually best to install a backup sump pump just in case there is a problem with the primary unit.

Install Storm Shield Windows

Your windows are a major vulnerability. It is suggested you install storm shield LLC windows all around your house if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. These hurricane windows from Naples FL are made to withstand being hit with fast-moving and heavy pieces of debris even during powerful hurricanes. They will not shatter and send glass all over the inside of your home. Storm shield windows also prevent damage without affecting the appearance too much.

Keep Your Property Free of Debris

An important step to take in any home is to keep your property free of debris. Items like fallen branches, dead trees, and piles of junk can all potentially damage your home in a disaster like a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or could even ignite a fire. You might even have to contend with destructive pests living in junk you have laying around. Always keep your property clean and free from anything that could potentially damage your home.

Properly prepared homes are able to weather storms, hurricanes, and other disasters with minimal to no damage. The amount of time you put into preparing your house will pay off in the end. You should start taking steps today make your home more damage proof and will last you a lifetime.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Infographic: Displacements Due to Natural Disasters – Spending and Solutions

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Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on […]

Kayaking down the Shenandoah River

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I was recently asked by my coworkers to take a day and go Kayaking down the Shenandoah River then join them for a cookout. While the adventurous side of me was honored and willing to jump at the chance, there was side of me that was shouting, “NO WAY!”. I have done many things in my … Continue reading

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10 Uncommon SHTF Paracord Uses

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I don’t know anyone involved with preparedness and survival that hasn’t heard of, seen or even purchased paracord. Be it a survival bracelet or a 100ft coil, you stow it in your Bug Out Bag for an emergency situation.

I am a strong believer that you should know HOW to use each and every single piece of gear in your pack before you need it. There is no point trying to learn on the job, so to speak. That approach could mean all of your best laid plans fail because you didn’t invest the time upfront.

In this article, we will take a look at 10 uncommon uses for paracord. They are easy to do and I recommend you try some of them out once you’ve finished reading.

They could save your life one day.

Where To Get High Quality Paracord?

Getting a “good deal” on survival equipment should be a secondary consideration – Quality is the primary concern. You need to be able to trust the paracord you have and you do that by buying high quality paracord.

There are a lot of vendors out there for paracord.  I support my local shop most of the time and you should too, if you have the option. If you don’t have any paracord close by, then check out Amazon for 100 foot sections at a good price.

Let’s get to the paracord projects!

Project #1 – Fishing Lure

Procuring food will be high on the agenda if you decide to bug out or when the delivery trucks stop running. Feeding yourself and your family will be a skill that every man and woman will need if they are to survive.

Fishing is one of the ‘easiest’ forms of catching food, plus it expends very few calories when compared to stalking, hunting and trapping animals for example.

Not only can paracord be used as a fishing line, but also a lure. A Lure is used to attract the attention of the fish and is a kind of Trojan horse, in that it’s designed to be something it is not and hidden in plain sight.

In the video above, you can see how she frays the ends and each strand of the cord to make it more attractive to the fish and to look like bait.

Project #2 – Fishing Line

That’s not all those small inner stands are great for, you can also make an improvised fishing rod and line from a long piece of wood and a few meters of an inner stand that has been split down to it’s single most thread.

Combine this with the fishing lure mentioned above and you have everything you need for a spot of fly-fishing.

Project #3 – Paracord Net

During a SHTF event, a net made from paracord can be used for a number of applications, such as:

  • Gear and vehicle concealment
  • Catching fish, turtles and other food
  • Shelter roofing to add leaves and other materials
  • A hammock

The examples above a just a few ways to make use of a paracord net, watch the video below to find out how to make one from scratch.

Project #4 – Sutures

Most top grade paracord has at least five strands, most of the time you will find seven small strands enclosed within the outer casing. These inner strands are what provide the strength to the paracord.

On their own, they are tough but fairly weak. However, combine them and you have some seriously strong stuff. The outer casing itself is weak and shouldn’t be separated from the inner strands and used to bear any weight alone.

One of the great uses in a SHTF situation is to remove one of those inner strands, which can then be split down even further to make a thread that is thin enough to thread through the eye of a needle.

If you have an open wound that needs to be closed up, you can use this to do so, whilst this is only a temporary measure, you will feel like Rambo afterwards!

It is easy to make these smaller strands by taking just a single length of inner paracord strand, and twisting it between your fingers until the 2 smaller stands come away from each other. They can then be spliced apart easily.

Project #5 – Sewing and Gear Repairs

By using the same method used in the last section to create small thin strands, which have a load capacity of around 25lbs each, you can perform running repairs on your gear.

Think about it, you have a pack full to the brim, bursting with all the gear you need to survive. Now say you snag the pack on a branch and it tears open, or one of the straps breaks under the heavy load.

You can use these smaller inner strands of cord to sew your gear back together and get on with the task in hand.

Obviously this will require you to have some sewing needles in your pack or on your person, however you can improvise by using a stick that has been sharpened to a point and simply tie the cord onto the end.

There is a downside to this however in that the holes in your gear will be larger and make the attachment points weaker.

Project #6 – Snares and Traps

I also mentioned trapping as a low-calorie expending way to catch your dinner. Setting snares and traps is a great way to spend some time when out in the wilderness in a survival situation.

You may have seen these spring-loaded traps before. In the video above, the young man uses string. Depending on the type of animal you are aiming to catch, paracord is much better suited due to it’s high breaking strength.

Project #7 – Replacement Boot Laces

Even if you have a bug out vehicle, the chances are you are going to have to spend some time on foot getting to your bug out location and/or protecting your home from opportunistic looting.

A good pair of sturdy tactical boots are perfect and will last a good few years if looked after. However, it’s the boost laces that often are the first point of failure I footwear.

They can get snagged, you can pull them too hard and they break. They degrade over time from the water, dirt, strain and the general wear and tear you put on them.

Paracord is a perfect replacement for your shoelaces. In fact, I swap out my laces each time I buy a new pair of boots for that very reason. It will stand up to pretty much anything you can throw at it and it can also be used for several other things such as the fishing lure I mentioned above.

Simply snip off one end to make the lure, and you still have enough lace to tie off your boots.

Project #8 – Splint, Sling and Tourniquets

A broken finger, or any bone for that matter, in a SHTF situation is amplified by ten because of the situational requirements on you when you need your body to be fully alert and functional.

A broken finger, whilst painful, is also manageable. To aid the healing process and to prevent further damage, simply wrapping the broken finger and the finger next to it with paracord will act as a splint that will be strong and sturdy enough to provide support.

Should you be unlucky enough to break your leg, you can also use paracord and a thick branch, about the thickness of your wrist, to support the leg.

If you have a broken arm however, you are in trouble and you need to get that arm secure and out of the way, again to prevent further damage.

By wrapping the paracord around the broken are a few times and then looping it around the neck and over your shoulder, you can have a makeshift sling.

If you have a large wound or have a member of your group who is losing a lot of blood, the first thing to apply is a tourniquet. Which, can be improvised by using a single length of paracord, tied off above the wound and then using a small stick, you twist the paracord to tighten against the leg and slow the loss of blood.

Project #9 – Bow Drill String

Making fire by friction is a skill all preppers and survivalist should possess. This is one skill that required practice and a lot of patience.

There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you complete your first friction fire. That’s not to mention the feeling of comfort and safety that comes from within, knowing you have the skill to keep making something that can keep you warm, cook your food and purify your water.

You can use paracord to make the bow-section of your bow drill set, as it is strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted by the drill.

Fire, or as woodsmen call it…the outdoors TV, is truly a remarkable survival tool.

Project #10 – Vehicle Hose Clamp

If you’re bugging out by vehicle and one of the clamps on the hoses in your engine fails, you can use paracord to cinch down tightly around the hose which will hold it in place until you can make a full repair when appropriate.

In fact, there are many uses for paracord with vehicles such as securing items to your roof and even to dip into the gas tank to soak up extra fuel which can then be wrapped around a stick for a torch or to help get a fire going in less than idea conditions.


I hope you got a few new ideas about what you can do with paracord. It isn’t just for making colorful bracelets! You should be developing your skills with paracord all the time so when you really need them, you can work effectively under pressure. That is what survival and prepping is all about.

What is your next paracord project? Let me know in the comments below.

10 Uncommon SHTF Paracord Uses

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Guest Poster: Billy Douglas
Co-founder at PrepperZine
Billy is an Outdoor & Survival enthusiast. He loves camping and hiking, and he has a garage full of gear to prove it! Billy hasn’t been prepping for very long so he’s far from an expert in the prepping area. You can follow along and read more from Billy as he earns his stripes at
Billy’s Fun Facts: Lives in the southeast, Georgia to be specific. Been to 49 of the 50 states. Idaho is the only one left and the target date is June 2015. Drives a beat up Ford F150. Enjoys the shooting range way too much

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 4 – Biting Insects, Wild Foods, Tree ID and Water Purification

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In this episode I answer questions about how to deal with biting insects in the woods, my favourite wild foods for foraging, how to use Alexanders as a food, how to go about learning more about trees and their identification as well as making sure you can find and purify enough water while on the move during a hike (rather than being static in a base camp)…

This first appeared on Paul Kirtley’s Blog. If you like my content, CLICK HERE to get 20 free videos today.


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Abby Quillen, Ghergich & Co and CustomMade bring us this wonderful infographic that details three different ways to create your very own root cellar.  You need a place to store all of those veggies your garden is producing anyway and what better way to get that done than by flexing those DIY muscles?!?


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Buried Treasure: Preserve the Harvest in a Root Cellar

Buried Treasure: Preserve the Harvest in a Root Cellar
Infographic by CustomMade


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Investigative Report: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Fish Antibiotics for Humans

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Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival DoctorI asked the editor of The Survival Doctor, Leigh Ann Hubbard (a professional journalist and my daughter), to investigate fish antibiotics for use in humans. Here’s her in-depth report. (Don’t miss our related report: Do antibiotic expiration dates matter?)

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival Doctorby Leigh Ann Hubbard

When you’re in a pinch, everyday items can substitute for many traditional medical supplies: honey for cough syrup, vodka for rubbing alcohol, a T-shirt and safety pin for a sling.

But there are a few must-have lifesavers nothing can replace. One is oral antibiotics.

When antibiotics came on the scene in the 1940s, they changed the world. Suddenly, with one little medicine—penicillin at the time—more people could survive serious bacterial infections like staph and strep. Antibiotics brought hope, health, and life.

Today, we have many types of antibiotics that work for different bacterial infections. If we lost access to them, we’d revert to the time when people died for lack of a pill. So it’s common for preppers to stock up on a round.

The challenge is these meds are only available through prescription. Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics for survival storage. But another option many preppers explore is fish antibiotics. They’re commonly sold in human doses and available without a prescription.

Despite the fact that buying these meds is common, preppers struggle to find an answer to this seemingly simple question: Are fish antibiotics safe and effective for humans? The only answers provided thus far have been speculative.

So we decided to delve into the topic, The Survival Doctor style, seeking evidence and expert insight. We spent weeks contacting pharmacists, drug manufacturers, veterinarians, and safety watchers. We located key experts who shared invaluable, never-before-reported information—some on the record, some off.

Interestingly, many other people wouldn’t speak at all on this topic. Granted, it’s one most experts haven’t looked into, and it’s controversial because of antibiotic resistance and other potential dangers of using antibiotics without a doctor’s guidance.

But the surprising reason some people wouldn’t speak on the record is companies selling fish antibiotics are walking a fine legal line. And this fact affects how safe and effective these drugs may be—for fish and humans.

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival DoctorGeneral Tips for Using Animal Drugs

Before delving into murky waters, let’s start with some general guidelines. Say you get your hands on a medication—antibiotics or not—that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in animals. Will it work for you too?

First, keep in mind that animal doses may be different from human ones. So make sure you have the correct human dosage. Also confirm that the medication can be safely used in humans. (Some animal meds aren’t safe for humans, and some go by different names than the human ones, so make sure you’re not allergic.)

If you’ve satisfied these two requirements, you still have a couple of other things to consider. Namely, even animal drugs that have the same name as human drugs may not be exactly the same. For example:

  • FDA regulations for animal and human drugs are determined separately. Animal drugs may contain fillers, additives, and impurities that aren’t allowed in human medications.
  • Medications are manufactured to absorb just right in the type of body they’re approved for. A cow has two stomachs. A chicken has a gizzard. A fish is tiny.

It’s up to you whether to take the med, but for an expert opinion, we asked pharmacist Jim Budde, president of the Society of Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists, if he’d take such a medicine. He says if it were FDA approved for dogs or cats and it was safe for people, yes, he would feel comfortable taking it.

But now’s the time we wade into those murky waters. Note that he said he’d take a product that was FDA approved. Believe it or not, there are no such antibiotics for ornamental fish.

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival DoctorAntibiotics or Cornstarch?

Yes, those popular antibiotics that are sold online for ornamental fish are actually not FDA approved, even for the fish. In fact, marketing these drugs for use in fish is illegal, according to an FDA source we spoke with. So is selling them in stores, the source said. (Preppers usually order these drugs online).

Therefore, there is no government oversight regarding the safety, purity or effectiveness of fish antibiotics. Budde likens the lack of FDA scrutiny to that of nutritional supplements: there is no guarantee that the pills contain what the manufacturers say they do, either in amount or purity.

For example, in the case of a 250-milligram capsule of amoxicillin, “There could be nothing in there—meaning no active ingredient. It could just be a bunch of cornstarch or other inert ingredient. Or it could have some amoxicillin but not 250 milligrams,” Budde says. “There could also be impurities in there that would cause harm when taken.”

In addition, the medication may not absorb correctly. A drug must be manufactured properly to absorb properly. For example, some should melt immediately in the mouth; some should dissolve in the stomach; and others must survive the stomach and dissolve in the intestines.

Budde acknowledges that some preppers don’t care too much about government scrutiny, but he notes, “That’s kind of the whole purpose of the FDA. It was created to ensure safe and effective medications. It’s the premise of the whole pharmaceutical industry these days—that what they make is pure.”

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival Doctor“USP Certified”? Not Really.

Some online prepper articles about fish antibiotics speculate that you can get around this lack of FDA oversight by making sure the pills are “pharmaceutical grade” and/or “USP certified.” Yet we found that neither of these terms means much when it comes to fish antibiotics.

“If it says ‘pharmaceutical grade,’ I personally wouldn’t know necessarily what to make of that,” Budde says. Neither would the FDA, which doesn’t regulate or define the term for animal drugs (or for human supplements, where it also often appears on labels).

“USP certified” seems more promising at first—until you look into the details.

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention is a nonprofit organization that sets quality guidelines for medications. They don’t assess whether a drug is effective or safe; they do set standards for things like storage, purity, and strength. To be sold in the U.S., a drug must pass these standards.

We could find no antibiotics for ornamental fish that are USP verified.

However, there are fish antibiotics whose appearance is identical to USP grade human antibiotics. They have the same coloring and imprints (codes printed on the pills), suggesting that they are, in fact, the same capsules.

We contacted one popular company that sells such fish meds. A representative, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that they are the same pills. They’re sourced from a manufacturer that makes them for humans, the representative said. The fish company repackages them.

Still, this does not mean the antibiotics are USP grade, even when a company claims they are.

That’s because, to be USP grade, the pill has to meet every USP standard for that medication. And the standards go far beyond ingredients. They also ensure medications are packaged, labeled, and stored correctly. For example:

  • Antibiotics are sensitive to heat, so they must be stored at room temperature. (Consider the shipment temperature as well as conditions in facility storage.)
  • Antibiotics are sensitive to moisture, so they must be stored in tight containers.
  • The pills must be tested to make sure they don’t have bacteria, mold, or yeast.
  • The packaging material must not interfere with the drug. For example, plastic shouldn’t absorb into the pill, nor the medication into the plastic.

The USP also has labeling standards, requiring certain warnings and guidelines to be displayed.

Finally, there’s the issue of expiration, which is especially a concern if a medication isn’t stored or shipped optimally. With no FDA oversight, there’s no guarantee of how old a medicine is.

Considering all these things, any fish antibiotic could pose problems to humans. Perhaps the biggest concern is its effectiveness may be reduced. In that case, the med may not work on your infection—or it could weaken the infection, only to have it resurge as an antibiotic-resistant version.

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival DoctorThe Gamble You May Not Have to Take

All this is not to say fish antibiotics would never work for or be safe in humans. If you had no other option, and you were certain you were not allergic to the fish antibiotic you got your hands on, it would be up to you whether to try it.

The point is, it would be a gamble. And antibiotics aren’t something you want to gamble with if you can at all help it because a life may be at stake.

If you’re planning for a time when you can’t get to a doctor and you’re going to store antibiotics, your best bet is to store human ones so you never have to make that choice. Generic human antibiotics are cheap, and some doctors will prescribe a round if you explain what it’s for.

However, with this power comes this responsibility: a personal stash of antibiotics should only be used carefully, knowledgeably, and as a last resort. In normal circumstances, if you can get to a doctor before taking antibiotics, do. This helps you avoid dangerous side effects, interactions, and antibiotic resistance. The doctor will also decide whether antibiotics will likely work on your infection (they won’t if it’s viral) and which of the many types of antibiotics is your best bet.

We are fortunate to live in a time when we have access to these life-saving medications. We don’t yet have to decide whether what’s good enough for a guppy is good enough for us. If we ever do have to make that choice, at least we can do it knowledgeably, having learned the facts, not just the speculation.

Leigh Ann Hubbard has been a health journalist for over a decade. She’s the editor of and the owner of Revolutionary Writing Consultants, a writing agency specializing in health.

Don’t miss our related report: Do antibiotic expiration dates matter?


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3 Techniques to improve your Mental Toughness

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There’s a reason why special operations forces use grueling, nearly torturous selection courses…they want to weed out the quitters and the weak…those without the mental toughness to keep going, even when they’re completely, totally and utterly exhausted.
If your will is broken, you’re done for.
Mental fortitude is the oft undervalued trait that more often makes the difference between triumph or defeat.

Even in every day life, you need self discipline and willpower to do what you need to and keep making progress towards your goals. 
Most of our caveman brains have a hard wired aversion to things that are difficult, uncomfortable or downright painful…even if they’re things we know and believe we should be doing. Instead, our brains want the easy, quick fix.
Case in point: physical training of any kind. Everyone knows you should exercise–but how many people don’t do it, or struggle to do so consistently.
Our brains are awesome at coming up with reasons for why we shouldn’t do those hard, uncomfortable things:
“I’m too tired.”
“I’m too busy.”
“I deserve a break.”
“This isn’t worth it.”
“I’m not having fun.”
It’s natural. It’s normal. There’s a big part of our brains that wants us to sit around and eat donuts. Eat, drink and be merry.
But, guess what? You can’t let that part of your brain win.
Luckily, there are simple mental techniques that you can use help to overcome your inner weakling. These may seem like minor, but they’re used by some of the toughest, disciplined and successful people in the world.
Here are three of my favorites:
A large number of big, daunting problems can be daunting, discouraging and overwhelming.
Breaking those problems down into smaller, more manageable pieces can make them easier to handle. Focus on the obstacle right in front of you; get over it and move onto the next.
That can mean breaking things down to one day at a time, one minute at a time or one footstep at a time. However small and manageable you need to in order to make progress.
Small goals lead to small victories, and small victories add up fast.
“Just get through the next day and you’re golden.”
“Just make it to the top of that next hill.”
“Just one more step…one step is no big deal.”

I’ve read dozens of accounts of special operation soldiers, survivors and others, and this is one of the most commonly used and powerful coping mechanisms.
Just Get Started
This ties in with compartmentalization. You can’t make progress if you never start, and starting is often the hardest part. Maybe it’s overwhelming, maybe you’re tired–whatever. 
So, tell yourself that you just need to do one, small thing–that’s it–and then you’ll be done.
And then you do that one thing, and hey–not so bad. Why not keep going?
I do this frequently with PT, when I’m tired and don’t feel like diving into an hour long workout session. I’ll tell that inner weakling to just do the one main exercise–squats, deadlift or bench–and then it’s okay to be done. That way I’ll at least get my workout in.
Sure enough, 95% of the time, that turns into the full workout session.
Give it a try.
Remember the Big Goal
“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.” — Unbroken

Keeping your eye on the prize–your ultimate goal–is a powerful motivator for making progress. Adopt the attitude that you are going to achieve that goal, no matter what–because it’s worth doing whatever it takes.

Great, meaningful victories require work. A lot of work. Years or even lifetimes of work.

That could be success at physical training, winning some competition or making it home to see your family again.

Visual reminders of your goal or motivation can be inspirational here. Arnold or Bruce Lee posters slapped on wall of your home gym. A picture of your family tucked in your wallet. Whatever you need to help keep you focused and working towards your goal.

Have another technique that helps you stick to your plans? Favorite motivational quote, person or book you’d like to share? Let the TEOTWAWKI Tribe know in the comments section.

Movie Monday – Texas Ranch House Episode 4

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This Week On Movie Monday

Texas Ranch House

Episode 4

I chose this series for it’s many similarities to situations relevant to preppers.  It incorporates some issues regarding homesteading as well as hosting a MAG on your property.  The goal is to place a group of people on a defunct ranch and have them live as they would in post civil war Texas to make the ranch a success.

We see a few issues regarding successful management, efficient use of resources, division of assets such as food from the garden, and getting along with employees.

 These films are presented as an exception to the copyright act as fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire. See bill c-42 article 29.

Movie Monday – Texas Ranch House Episode 3

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This Week On Movie Monday

Texas Ranch House

Episode 3

I chose this series for it’s many similarities to situations relevant to preppers.  It incorporates some issues regarding homesteading as well as hosting a MAG on your property.  The goal is to place a group of people on a defunct ranch and have them live as they would in post civil war Texas to make the ranch a success.

We see a few issues regarding successful management, efficient use of resources, division of assets such as food from the garden, and getting along with employees.

 These films are presented as an exception to the copyright act as fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire. See bill c-42 article 29.

New Study: More Carry Permits = Less Crime

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From the NRA:

A new study by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) finds that the number of people with concealed firearm carry permits has reached an all-time high, and that increasing the number of permit-holders is associated with a decrease in murder and total violent crime.

The study notes that the number of carry permit-holders has increased most sharply during the Obama administration, from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 12.8 million currently. Furthermore, coinciding with Pew Research Center polling finding that support for gun ownership and opposition to gun control is increasing among young people, minorities and women, the CPRC study found that carry permits are increasing more among minorities than among whites, and more among women than among men. Both sets of findings contradict gun control supporters’ claim that gun ownership is confined to elderly white males.

Gun control supporters continue to pretend that permit-holders commit crimes at a high rate, but the CPRC study concludes that permit-holders are “extremely law-abiding,” convicted of crimes at a lower rate than even law enforcement officers in some states.

This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%.

Overall, the study notes, between 2007 and 2014, as permit numbers have increased, “murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.”

In sum, the CPRC study validates what supporters of modern firearm carry laws have been saying ever since past NRA President Marion P. Hammer got the Right-to-Carry ball rolling with Florida’s adoption of a “shall-issue” carry permit law in 1987. Detractors in Florida and in states that adopted similar laws thereafter uniformly predicted dire consequences if people were allowed to carry firearms for protection, but those predictions have not come to pass. Americans who carry guns for protection have earned the trust of their countrymen, and that trust has become the foundation upon which further legal recognition of defensive firearm rights will continue to be achieved.

Don’t Fall Victim to Condition Oblivious

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Written by Egbert Throckmorton on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by another one of our readers, Egbert who normally joins the discussion in the comments section of our articles but has today taken center stage as the author of this post. Egbert shares his experiences with fear, victims and the predators who use these to their advantage and […]

The post Don’t Fall Victim to Condition Oblivious appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Battery Power After the Collapse

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Maha Powerex Multi-Charger

Being a huge fan of PACE planning and having redundancies for solutions to survival problems, I have a good supply of rechargeable batteries (both NiMH and NiCD types) and chargers. Some of these are the cheap versions from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but my newest charger is the Maha Powerex Multi-Charger which can recharge AAA, AA, C and D sized batteries. The several versions of AAA and AA chargers I have will also be used but give me a barter capacity as I believe many people in a collapse will have not thought about batteries for their vast array of battery powered equipment including radios and flashlights.

Click To Purchase

What I have yet to buy are re-chargeable CR123 3v, also known as Surefire Batteries, and a recharger for these batteries. While I have many Surefire flashlights, which are the best and brightest (considering lumen power) on the market, they are also power hungry so I have intentionally focused my flashlight and lantern procurement on AA power lights.

There is one more portable power tool that I’ll be adding soon, and that is the Batteriser which reportedly extends batteries up to 8x longer.

Click Here to read the Yahoo article and watch the video.

The article I was reading stated that it did sound too good to be true, but this new $2.50 gadget promises to bring your AA and C batteries back from the dead.

The article continues,….”You might be skeptical, but the Silicon Valley startup says it’s simply been able to take advantage of a well-known downside of standard batteries. The tiny device works by tapping into the unused energy in a regular Duracell or Eveready. A normal AA or C cell is designed to deliver a steady 1.5 volts, but as the power is depleted the voltage will drop. Once it slips too low, your TV remotes and toys and other devices will stop working. The Batteriser has boost circuitry that will boost the voltage from 0.6 volts to 1.5 volts and will maintain voltage at 1.5—which is a brand new battery.”

Apparently the physics department of San Jose State University also reviewed the Batteriser. “We tested the Batteriser sleeve in our lab and we confirmed that the Batteriser taps into 80 percent of energy that is usually thrown away,” said the university’s Dr. Kiumars Parvin in a statement given to PC World.

So what plans have you made for battery power after the collapse. Remember that in the beginnings or a collapse, much like a natural disaster,. food, bottled water and batteries are the first things that fly off the shelves. Besides who wants to put money into storing one use batteries?

Urban Man

Home Remedies for Gas | Natural Gas Relief That Works!

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Chances are you’ve found yourself in a gas emergency. No, we’re not talking about gasoline, but rather, intestinal gas formulated by the natural digestion process. Although your diet plays a direct role in the severity of gas, or flatulence, there are millions of people who…

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How Does Your Garden Grow…..In a Drought?

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Yes, believe it or not, this is my first Tomato of the Season.  Isn’t it a beautiful Roma?  We actually had two ripen yesterday and Rooster Senior and I sliced them on a cutting board, grabbed the Salt and Pepper, and ate them!  They were sooo good!  There is nothing like a freshly picked tomato from your garden!

Gardening in a Drought:

A few weeks ago, I began to write about Gardening in a Drought and how I planned to water my Raised Bed Garden. Some of the techniques that I am using come from a class I took taught by Caleb Warnock from Renaissance Seeds. 
I thought I would update you and also show you some of my thoughts on vertical gardening that I am using.
I bought these panels of wire mesh from my local big box hardware store.  They are used to reinforce concrete when it is poured.  
See the width of the openings? I can easily fit my hand/fist through the openings to harvest my garden.  The squares are 4 inches by 4 inches.  
Rooster Senior had these wire ties to attach the grid to the PVC Pipe.  Let me tell you about the PVC pipes.  Pieces of Rebar were pounded into the ground. Lengths of PVC pipes were placed over the Rebar for the vertical pieces.  T-fittings and elbow fittings were used to create the horizontal pieces to attach the wire mesh to.
I train my beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers to climb the mesh. This helps keep the vegetables off the ground, supports the vines/stalks, and makes harvesting so much easier.
We all have those rogue socks that we can never find the mate of…right?  These are nylon hose-type socks that I cannot find the mates to.
I used these socks to secure my Tomato stalks to the grid. These plants are heavy laden with Tomatoes already and need the support. I gently tied these to the grid which allows for them to continue growing without being constricted.
Here is another example of re-purposing these socks.  See the blue sock?

Keeping your Garden Watered during a Drought…

Here you can see a little visitor getting a bit of a shower.  You can also see how I water my garden with holes drilled in a PVC pipe.  I only water every 2-3 days and sometimes go longer.  Mr. Warnock says he goes as long as 7-10 days depending upon how deeply he has watered.  He taught me to look at the Panting Peonies. Essentially, I have planted squash and pumpkins (My Peonies). If they wilt during the day, but perk up at night, the soil still has enough moisture.  As my garden is watered per my lawn schedule, I rarely have gone more than 2-3 days.
I have also used my lawn clippings to cover the ground around my plantings. The Tomatoes have loved this.  The clippings hold in the moisture and keep my plants watered and cool.
Although difficult to see behind my beautiful Roma, the Tomato plants, peppers, and herbs are thriving with lawn clippings around their base.
I have also used Mr. Warnock’s lettuce seeds that are hearty enough to not only grow in my area, but also they are reportedly more drought tolerant.  You can see that they are thriving with the mulching and periodic water schedule.

Take Home Points:

  • The PVC pipe and wire mesh are reasonably priced.  It cost very little to make the Vertical piece of the garden. I was fortunate that Rooster Senior had pieces of Rebar that we used to hold the vertical frame in place.
  • The grass clippings/mulch really hold the moisture in the soil.  When the top of the clippings look dry, I have looked under them at the soil level. Honestly, there is plenty of moisture at the bottom of the clippings and the soil.  This has been a real surprise for me. 
  • The Peonies have been a pleasant surprise for me as well. It’s like a secret code.  I actually have not always been able to water my lawn on the selected days allowed in my area due to the drought.  The Peonies have been a big source of relief for me to ensure that my soil was still moist enough.
  • I love repurposing things when  I can.  Those errand socks, (although a little hillbilly looking), are working well.  
  • The specific seeds that are for my area (heirloom type) really seem to be thriving even in dry conditions.  I have been pleased overall to be blessed enough to use them this year.
You can grow a garden in a drought….and it can thrive.  Please know that if I can do this, anyone can.  My kids can tell you that gardening has not always been my strong suit.  This year, I am feeling very pleased with “how my garden grows”.

Try it!

Obama Compiling Detailed Personal Information on All Citizens

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     According to the New York Post. president Barack Hussein Obama has instructed his minions to create a vast database of detailed personal information on all Americans with particular interest in their race and ethnicity.    Mr. Obama seems to believe  that the expensive collection of information on banking, mortgages, ethnicity, neighborhoods, employers, healthcare, education, and how your children are disciplined in school, when married up to data concerning race will underscore a pervasive picture of US institutional racism.  It has been theorized that afterward an internet framework will exist allowing a legal basis for attornies to begin to hammer for reparations to African Americans.

      Here in Virginia the last person to collect detailed racial data for a specific agenda,  and to house birth certificates of the races separately was a physician and  eugenicist  Dr Walter Ashby. Plecker.  Plecker held the role of physician and head of Vital Records in Virginia from 1912 to 1946  He kept records with the agenda of proving that non whites were inferior and he helped to criminalize the marriages of anyone who was not 100% white.  Those with “one drop of black or Indian blood” were forever classified as non-whites and were only permitted to marry someone “just like them” so that “inferior blood and breeding would be prevented from spreading.”   His work is broadly regarded to be quite evil today.

       The last person who kept such detailed data on human beings without their knowledge was Hitler.

        For a moment, let me digress.   My ancestors never kept slaves.  On my father’s side, they left Scotland for England and when work was thin, my ancestor John Easson, a master builder,  became an indentured servant to the King of England  as one of the first European settlements on Nova Scotia.   If I recall correctly, in the 1730s,  after four years of indentured servitude to the project for the King, my ancestor was to have received forty acres via land grant and then be free to start his own business.  Sadly, things did not go well with the original settlement of Nova Scotia, and my great great great etc. grandfather remained an indentured servant quite a few more years than he originally intended.  The family had not recovered by the following generation.  Things were so tough that one of his sons spent some time in the Poor House in Annapolis Royal.    There is no doubt that my ancestors, who were lilly white, by the way, were treated as slaves and that the deals they were given were broadly unfair and favored the king.  This was true of many people of the era.  We all worked like dogs and many of us died early.   What am I to do ?  Shall I petition Queen Elizabeth for at least one of the bracelets from the crown jewels as restitution for the behavior of her ancestor the king ?   Of course not, because that would be ridiculous.  Queen Elizabeth can’t be held responsible for the actions of her ancestor, just as I can’t claim the laurels for the achievements of my own ancestors.  Arguments concerning restitution are equally as tenuous.

          On the other side of my family, my ancestors were Mayflower travelers who ultimately moved across the country settled in California as ranchers.  They also did not keep slaves.  They did employ some Chinese workers and they and their children worked right beside them because to do anything else would not have ensured anyone’s survival in such a barren and difficult land.  In fact, in my ancestry, there are also American Indian ancestors and a solitary Chinese woman.

        I am fortunate in that I have grown up knowing a great deal about my ancestry, and also knowing that my successes and my failures are my own. My successes have been achieved by the grace of God and by hard work. Almost everyone knows poverty at some time.  Everyone has it tough at one time or another, and life is never fair.

       I grew up, as did most of the people with whom I went to school, believing that God created all of the races and that God loves us all.  No race is superior to another.   I have friends of different races and ethnicities.  I don’t like everyone, just as I don’t profess to like everyone who is white ! Nice people come in all colors.

          The establishment of a database with racial information such as the New York Post says exists is proof of a couple of very concerning things.  One, it shows that Barack Hussein Obama is not thinking about the repair and rehabilitation of our crashing economy or about jobs for all races, colors, sexes,  and creeds.  Prior to his presidency, there was not racial perfection in the US, but as each generation of young people move through schools which are more or less racially integrated and more and more African Americans attain university educations and professional positions, the segregation of the races seemed more and more ridiculous.  Mr. Obama has done more to derail racial integration and to underscore racial slights that may have been imaginary, than anyone.   A racial database makes it seem as if Obama’s entire presidency was about revenge against caucasians for slights real or imagined.    At the very least,  Obama’s edict for the creation of such a database places him squarely in the category with Plecker, and at worst, may place him in a category with Hitler.   What is next Mr. Obama ?  Will we seize the assets of caucasians or simply  sterilize them ?

           This needs to be an immediate focus of Congress and of the American people.  Your private identifying information is your own. It should not belong to any government, particularly to an administration which has continually proven its general ineptitude if not outright dishonesty.

The Best Investment of the Year…and Beyond!

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NOTE: This article was previously posted on Your Preparedness Story.

Update – 2015 I didn’t put out the soaker hoses this Springr.  It was a big mistake.  Although they are connected to “city” water, and I rather use rain water, there is a big benefit of having your beds connected to a timer with these hoses.  I will definitely put them out for the Fall garden.

Photo by: Simon Cunningham

Those of us in the Preparedness Community know that the economy is on its last leg.  We don’t know when, but we know that it is inevitable.  The economy tanking is one of the things we prepare for.  Many approach this future by purchasing tangibles.  Anything of value that you can purchase now, will be much more cheaper than when people find out their dollars have lost their purchasing power.  So spending money on long-term food, tools, etc… makes sense.

But, I’ve also started looking at another item, my garden beds as a long-term investment.  If you can put in more gardening space  that will be used now, it will pay off BIG TIME in the near future!  (For my Gardening Link Bomb – Click Here)

We have all heard about the drought in California and how that is going to effect the price of many fruits and vegetables.  We also know that growing fruits and vegetables in our own backyard is healthier than purchasing them from the grocery store with who knows what sprayed on them.  So, spending money on your garden now, is well-worth the investment!

Recently, I put in a total of 38 feet of new raised beds. The soil required was 3.5 yards.  But, I couldn’t just have 3.5 delivered.  I had to have 3 or 4 yards.  I went with the 4 yards and had a ton left over.  Thank goodness I keep old trashcans to move leaves and stuff to the compost bin.  I lined my old trashcans, along with the new ones and filled up 5 trashcans with new soil!

I know that many people are buying silver and ammo and stuff.  I think all of those things are valuable.  But I also think that spending money on something that is going to really pay you back now AND later is well worth it!  Below I have included some pics as well as a video of my Sunday sermon where I talk a little about the project.  You’re going to have to excuse the backyard mess, I haven’t really focused on it since I’ve been working to get the raised beds in.







No Agony of De Feet

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I’m writing this post somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean from a coffee shop at Heathrow Airport as I get ready travel back to the USA. Besides providing a much-needed break from work, my three weeks in Europe have provided inspiration for posts that may help you in your preparations. This post is going to deal […]

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Ramen Recipes

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If you are like me, you have enough Ramen Noodles stashed to build a bunker. A bullet proof bunker. If you have ever eaten Ramen Noodles for a long period of time, they get to be a little boring. Here is something that you probably don’t know. There is a website that is dedicated to Ramen Noodle recipes. Check it out (link below). You might want to get some of the additional ingredients for when you are hunkered-down. Add a little zip, to your noodle brick!

Gear Review: Camelbak Big Chill

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Summer temperatures in Texas can get a little warm.  I love my Tervis in the office, but it was just not convenient for my mountain bike. I decided to put the Camelbak Big Chill to the test.
For fun, I rounded up some of my other water bottles to get them in on the action.  They were not all the same size bottles, so I used a 16 oz cup to place the same amount of ice in each bottle.  I only placed ice in the bottles and just measured how long it took for the ice to melt in each bottle.
At the end of 1.5 hours, ice was still visible in all the bottles.  The single wall stainless steel dropped first.  Then, my basic water bottle melted.  An hour later, my non insulated Nagalene and Stanley were done.  Not surprisingly, the two insulated bottles were the only ones still with ice.
The Camelbak Big Chill made 4.5 hours before the ice had all melted.  It gave out while the Tervis still had several ice cube remnants visible.  
The test started at 11:00 AM and outside temperatures reached into the mid 90’s.  The Camelbak Big Chill will not replace my Tervis around the BBQ pit, but it will definitely be my companion on my mountain bike excursions.  It might even replace my day hike water bottle.
Staying above the water line!

Free Fire Friday (Gun Talk) 17 July 2015

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Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Aftermath Radio on BlogTalkRadio

How We Dramatically Improved the Reception of Our Scanner

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We, like many preppers have a scanner that we use to listen to transmissions from emergency personnel such as police, fire, and ambulance. If there’s something going on in our neck of the woods, we want to know about it immediately. This is why we choose to listen to a scanner in our home. For quite some time, we’ve been dealing with “less than ideal” reception issues. Many of the transmissions that we heard were scratchy or garbled. In a lot of cases, we couldn’t pick up certain frequencies at all. This was in part due to the fact that…

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How To Get Rid Of Wasps: Includes A DIY Wasp Trap!

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There’s nothing as terrifying – and painful – as finding yourself surrounded by the buzzing of wasps or hornets. If you’ve spent any time in your yard or enjoying the peaceful serenity of nature, you’ve likely had an encounter with these flying demons. Regardless of…

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Epic Survival

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matt graham coverIf you know who Matt Graham is, you’ll be pleased to know his new book has just been released. If you don’t know who Matt Graham is He was one of the stars of “Dude  You’re Screwed” and “Dual Survival”. Aside from staring on those programs, Matt is a world class athlete,  having run the entire length of the California portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in record time, climbed El Capitan and came in third place running against over 30 horses. Matt is a modern hunter gatherer who has lived a good portion of his life off of the land using primitive skills. He’s run along side the Tarahumara Indians and has worked at BOSS where he’s lead month long hunter gatherer courses.

This book is not about tangible skills, as many would hope it is. This book is about Matt’s life and his journeys as he edges out his place in life as a hunter gatherer.

Choosing to walk, Matt covered hundreds, if not thousands, of miles on foot across great swaths of lands, including the Arizona, California, and Utah Deserts, relying on primitive skills to survive. He shares with the readers his near death experiences, as well as his accomplishments.

If you are looking to read something that is a nice departure from the common fare found in the genre—skills based books—this is a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his journey and recommend this book to any fans of survival.

Epic Survival

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If you know who Matt Graham is, you’ll be pleased to know his new book has just been released. If you don’t know who Matt Graham is He was one of the stars of “Dude You’re Screwed” and “Dual Survival”. Aside from staring on those programs, Matt is a world class athlete, having run the entire length of the California portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in record time, climbed El Capitan and came in third place running against over 30 horses. Matt is a modern hunter gatherer who has lived a good portion of his life off of the land using primitive skills. He’s run along side the Tarahumara Indians and has worked at BOSS where he’s lead month long hunter gatherer courses.

This book is not about tangible skills, as many would hope it is. This book is about Matt’s life and his journeys as he edges out his place in life as a hunter gatherer.

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Thoughts on the Chattanooga Shooter

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This is the alleged Chattanooga shooter

     Yesterday, a devout Muslim young man used a rifle to kill four marines at a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In the US, even soldiers are not permitted to bring weapons to work, when work is a facility, even rented by the federal government.   The devout Muslim young man actually attacked two facilities yesterday, but was killed by police before he was able to take additional lives.  There are other individuals this man injured and at least one of their lives still hangs in the balance.  Because they were not permitted to be armed while at work, the soldiers in the recruiting station were sitting ducks.

             The shooter is said to be a very pious Muslim young man who was raised in Tennessee. I will not dignify him or his actions by even stating his name.  He was born in Kuwait, had Jordanian citizenship and had been a naturalized American citizen. He held an electrical engineering degree from a Tennessee university. He was given all the opportunities we have available here. He is said to have belonged to a good family who are “good people”.   Classmates in high school remembered him to be “very bright”.   He squandered all the chances given to him by this nation, and he squandered his own life as well, and dishonored his family here.

           A few weeks ago I posted an entry where I explained that ISIS had hacked US military information and was publishing the names of military officers and their families. They actually created a “Hit List/Wish List” just in the event that anyone who was already in the US and wished to do them a favor would have a place to start.   If I knew this, then the US military certainly did, as did the FBI.  Were additional security measures taken in view of the ISIS hit list ?  Doesn’t an attack on a recruiting station does sound like a likely progression from such a list ?    Will the federal government revisit their policy concerning no firearms in federal facilities, even in the hands of soldiers ?

             Americans are not at war with Muslims.  However, radical Islamists have made it very clear that they are indeed at war with Americans and particularly with anyone who has ties to our military.  They are determined to bring the war home to us, and to our doorsteps.

              Americans need to remain watchful.   Anyone who is legally able to obtain a concealed weapons permit, should do so.  A gun is not a charm, however.  Simply owning one and carrying one does not protect you, in itself.  In fact, owning one without proficiency may actually place you at more risk as the weapon can be taken from you and used on you and your family.  A weapon is a serious responsibility.    One must allocate time and money to practice regularly and to become safe and proficient. Once one is safe and proficient, then time and funds must still be allocated for practice ammo to retain that level of proficiency.

                        Remember that in study after study, active shooters who encounter armed resistance tend to take their own lives, and this ends the incident.  Perhaps we should all be ready to be that resistance to an armed shooter.

  When ISIS fighters realize that at every turn, their band of operatives will encounter competent armed resistance 24/7 perhaps attacks on the United States homeland will become less appealing.

The prior post mentioned:

Gear Review: SOG Fasthawk Axe VS SOG Tomahawk Axe

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Blade Length: 2 inches  Weight: 19 oz.  Overall Length:12.5 inches
Blade Length: 2.75 inches  Weight: 24 oz.  Overall Length:15.75 inches

Performed a quick field test on some oak firewood in the backyard.  Smaller oak limbs(4-6 inches in diameter) were cut in half easily with both SOG axes.  The largest piece(10-12 inches in diameter) the SOG Tomahawk was definitely easier, but the SOG Fasthawk did the job as well.  In addition, I pruned some small limbs(4-6 inches in diameter) off trees.  Again, I could not find a significant difference in performance between them.

I found the compact size of the SOG Fasthawk to be worth the slight sacrifice in performance over the SOG Tomahawk.  The Fasthawk will be allocated to my EDC(Every Day Carry) and the Tomahawk will find a home in my BOB(Bug Out Bag.)
Staying above the water line!

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home Invasion

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Bugging out may be the best option for most of us when disaster strikes, but we should also consider bugging in as a worthy alternative. It may be the only option in some circumstances such as a home invasion. If you decide to stay put, you need to make sure your home (house, apartment, etc) is prepared for a potential home invasion.  Even if you plan to leave home when the riots start, you’re still gonna wanna fortify your home to decrease its chances of getting ransacked while you’re gone.

I think we have enough reasons to talk about all the various things you can do to prepare your apartment for a home invasion, what do you think? Here are my top tips…

Tip #1 – Strengthen Your Door

If you live on the fifth floor, there’s little doubt that, should someone attempt a home invasion, he’s gonna do it through the front door. Luckily, there are several things you can do to make sure they don’t get through:

  • Use longer screws to secure the door
  • Use a door barricade (most doors can be knocked down by a few kicks)
  • Get a bigger door (not always possible in an apartment setting)

On top of these improvements, the most important thing you can do is never leave your door open. Around 20% of all home invasions in the United States happen because the bad guys are very tempted by open doors and windows (Source: Bureau of Justice).

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home InvasionTip #2 – Install A Pick-Resitant Door Lock

Most locks are helpless against lock bumping. I won’t go into the details of this technique here but there are a number of types of locks that are “bump resistant,” such as the Abloy Protec2 Double Cylinder Deadbolt.

Of course, if you can have at least a couple of different locks on your door, that’s even better. It will surely discourage most burglars from attempting a home invasion.

Tip #3 – Your Other Doors Or Windows

Your other doors and windows are vulnerable too. Let me ask you a question – how easy it is right now for someone to click one of your windows open? Or, how easy would it be for them to break the glass from your balcony door?

To strengthen your windows, you can use plexiglass. Also, make sure all of them are safely locked when they’re not fully open. It’s also good practice to always lock them even when you’re at home. Don’t forget that a good portion of home invasions happen while the owner is inside!

Tip#4 -Designate A Safe Room

This could be your second bathroom, for example. It doesn’t need to be big, it just has to keep you and your team/family/group safe. You’ll have to strengthen its door just like you did with your front door.

Keep in mind that you might have to spend entire days there (worst case scenario, of course), so you’re going to need food, water, weapons, light sources, and a phone to be able to call the police (if police will be available).

One key aspect to keep in mind is the number of people it can hold. There has to be enough space for all of your group members.  If there are four or five people in your household, you might have to designate another safe room.

Whatever you do, do not attempt to open the door to face your opponent during a home invasion. If you have an escape route you can use, that’s fine, but don’t ever use the main door.

Tip 5 – Know Your Escape Routes

You may have only one shot at getting out of your apartment during a home invasion. The one thing you won’t have is time to think. Since locking yourself up in your safe room should be a last resort, it would be fantastic if you could have at least one way of getting out of there (through a small window, for example).

Now, I can’t possibly know what that route is, that’s something for you to figure out on your own. Maybe you have a fire escape, maybe you live on the first floor and you can use an escape ladder to climb down the window. Escape ladders, like this one, are relatively cheap on Amazon and provide good insurance for this scenario.

In fact, if you could have an escape ladder in each room, that would be even better. You can keep them under the bed, for example, and you can even have one in your bug-out bag, you might need to climb down at some point when bugging out.

Tip #6 – Install Early Warning Systems From Home Invasion

Having an alarm system or even a common bell that jingles every time the door opens could give you those much needed seconds to escape. You can also think about having and activating motion sensors at night.  A dog is also a great option for altering you of a home invasion.

Speaking of which, dogs can be a very helpful during home invasions but they can also be easily taken down with pepper spray or other weapons if the attacker is prepared.

Tip #7 – Know Your Neighbors

It’s always good to know who you’re dealing with. They may be really nice people or, on the contrary, they may be thieves themselves and just wait for an opportunity to start planning a home invasion when police may not be readily present.

Now What?

What I covered here on preparing your apartment for a home invasion is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to know more about how to protect your home, whether you live in the city, the suburbs or in the countryside, check out my other article here.

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home Invasion

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Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan
His dad was military. His grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But Dan doesn’t take orders from anyone. He’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s not just preparing, he’s going to friggin’ war!

…and we’re back…News from Rich and SurvivalRing…

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Hi folks, It’s been a while since my last post, although I’ve been in the backroom of SurvivalRing every day for months, keeping things tuned, tight, backed up, and secure. I’ve thought about posting a lot of things, and often I was poised and ready to add my thoughts to the blog, and at the […]