Subscription Boxes for Homeschoolers: Little Passports

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Subscription boxes.
Chances are you’ve heard of them. You might even subscribe to one. Maybe you get a makeup subscription box or a snack one, but have you considered using subscription boxes in your homeschooling?
My family primarily uses IXL for our homeschooling right now. We’re a bit eclectic since we have such an emphasis on Chinese and Japanese learning for our kids, but IXL is the primary math/language arts program we use. In addition to that, I like to supplement our homeschooling with things like reading and, you guessed it, subscription boxes.
Little Passports is a box we found out about several years ago. It’s got a huge emphasis on teaching your kids about life in different states and even different countries. When you subscribe, you’ll basically receive an all-encompassing lesson plan and lesson each month. It makes homeschooling with unit studies and topic studies very simple, so if you’re a busy mom who doesn’t want to worry about over-planning, this might be perfect for you.

In addition to a US-based subscription box, Little Passports also has a world geography box, a box specifically for younger kids, and a science box. They also have a ton of great information for homeschoolers and parents on their blog. For example, this post on 9 ways to say thanks around the world can be a great post to share with your kids as they learn about new places!

One of the most important things my kids learned while we were traveling was how to say “thank you.” When you go to a new place, even if you aren’t fluent in the language, just being able to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language can make traveling much easier. It also shows a huge amount of respect to the people you’re speaking with, so I love that Little Passports has these resources for parents. (So even if you aren’t interested in subscribing, check out their blog! There are tons of free articles you can enjoy and learn from.)

For more information about Little Passports, visit their website. Then leave me a comment and tell me what you thought!

Have you ever used a subscription box program to homeschool? Tell me about it in the comments!

The Rational Preparedness Movement: A 30 Year Old Brainchild of Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel

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Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel,   Author of Rational Preparedness:The Blog and Rational Preparedness:A Primer to Preparedness, 2012

          I came to preparedness in 1981, the result of graduating with a new nursing degree and then passing licensure as a registered nurse. At the time, registered nurses needed to start discharge planning from the time a patient was admitted to the hospital. Part of discharge planning was how such a patient, on discharge would survive a normal emergency.  For example, if a patient with ALS went home on a portable ventilator, how would he survive either a failure of the ventilator, a power outage, or other emergency. Before a patient with a long term care or equipment need could be discharged, this type of emergency planning needed to be completed. This type of planning also needed to be done on new diabetics, those with special dietary needs, etc.  Today, hospitals are no longer staffed so that this level of preparation can be done before discharge. Today, it is more often done by the employees of a medical supply equipment company, the patient’s family, or even the nurse at their primary care physician. Sometimes, disaster planning for a newly discharged medically dependent patient isn’t done at all.  This was my first introduction to disaster preparedness.
                    In other positions I had afterward, other nurses and staff knew that post discharge disaster planning for patients was an interest of mine, and so I did a fair bit of it. After awhile, I created post discharge templates for different disease processes or for different equipment needs.
                    The fact is that we all need to make reasonable plans for normal disasters. Depending upon the location in which we live, ice storms, snowstorms, protracted power outages, flooding, earthquakes, forest fires are all possibilities, for all people, as well as those with a medical issue.
                     In the 1980s, I also became aware, through a patient family, that there were fairly large numbers of people who were preparing for an interruption in normal society where they believed that they would need to function for months or even longer without the benefits of normal society.  Some of them were stockpiling food for seven years or more.
                     The problem is that although preparing for normal and reasonable disasters is an intelligent thing to do, particularly if you have a vulnerable medication or machine dependent family member. However, diverting large sums of your income to seven to ten years of food, saps money from the present day. It also takes money from your relative who might have a limited lifespan on Earth anyway.
                     It was at this time that the Rational Preparedness movement was born.  My plan for Rational Preparedness, is that people make reasonable plans for the reasonable types of disasters that are most likely to occur within the next ten to fifteen years or so.  It is not possible, or even financially expedient for most families to make disaster plans for all of the possibilities.  My point was that purchasing gas masks for your children, and a pair of night vision googles for yourself, means that your children might not have the funds and opportunities that allow them to excel within the world as it exists today.
                   Therefore, my contribution to the preparedness community was the concept of Rational Preparedness.  This means that each family should prepare for reasonable disasters that are most possible in the area in which one’s family is living.  Each family should make plans to “Shelter in Place” or “Evacuate Family” (including pets).  Most every disaster will fall into either the category of sheltering in place or evacuation of family.  If course, when people with medical issues, children, pets, farms or other issues consider this concept, it becomes more complicated.  A diabetic child requires more supplies during an evacuation than a child without medical issues.  Sheltering in place with a great grandparent who normally gets pharmacy supplies each week could be challenging when the power distribution and roadways are impaired for a time for some reason.
                    In 2011, I agreed to do a series of podcasts, using the name Rational Preparedness. The series was well received.   I also began the blog Rational Preparedness, so that listeners could find not only a synopsis of the broadcast, but urls for the information I may have quoted or for suppliers for helpful items with regard to preparedness, both medical and otherwise. 

                    In 2012, my book, Rational Preparedness:A Primer to Preparedness was released.  The concept of the book is that it would introduce families who did not have a prior history of knowledge with regard to the topic,not only an introduction for the need to make advance preparations for disasters, but to read the book quickly, and to begin a solid framework of family disaster planning within the space of one weekend.
              Since the release of the book, work on the blog has continued. Rational Preparedness:The Blog now has more than a thousand votes as a favorite blog within the category of preparedness and survivalism.

               It probably should not surprise me, but at least twice now a US based website, and a facebook group has formed using the name Rational Preparedness, which attempts to capitalize on my thirty years of experience in this field, on my book and on those who have followed me. The website also seeks to sell products and is therefore using the name for which I am known to sell goods that I may not endorse or approve.   I have also been made aware that a foreign source has reproduced and is selling my book, for which I do not receive royalties.

          When seeking reliable information, please make sure that not only the name Rational Preparedness appears, but my name and photograph appears on the work as well.   Rational Preparedness: the blog and Rational Preparedness, the book are both fully copywritten materials and the use of these intellectual properties without permission is a violation of United States copyright law. 

 Official Links:

Rational Preparedness Blog    Official

Rational Preparedness Book    Link for Official Copy of Book

Author of Rational Preparedness_Amazon Author Page

Top Seven Articles on Prepper Website for the Week! Just In Case You Missed It! (1/20/18)

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Here are the Top Prepper Website Articles (by clicks) that appeared over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks. But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 1/14/18 – 1/20/18




My favorite: Easy Improvised Fire Starter

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Funny thing is, I use this fire starter all the time yet never thought about bringing it up here. I suppose it’s so simple and obvious I thought everyone did it (or some variation) but apparently that’s not the case.

This is by far the most common fire starter I use. I have more commercial stuff for kits but for a BBQ or to start a fire around home, start the fireplace or during a picnic this is what I do. Whenever there’s a BBQ party this is very convenient because the materials needed are already handy. People often act completely surprised as if you’re McGyver or something.

I bet there’s several variations but what I do is press one paper napkin into a ball and wrap it with the other, making somewhat of a cup.

Then I simply pour some vegetable oil inside. The paper ball absorbs most of the oil and the paper napkin acting as a cup keeps it from pouring out.

Place it in the fireplace or grill with the wood piled around it and light it up.

That’s it. It burns for a good few minutes, the more oil it has the more it burns, and it burns very hot too.

Give it a try next time!


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

My favorite: Easy Improvised Fire Starter

Click here to view the original post.

Funny thing is, I use this fire starter all the time yet never thought about bringing it up here. I suppose it’s so simple and obvious I thought everyone did it (or some variation) but apparently that’s not the case.

This is by far the most common fire starter I use. I have more commercial stuff for kits but for a BBQ or to start a fire around home, start the fireplace or during a picnic this is what I do. Whenever there’s a BBQ party this is very convenient because the materials needed are already handy. People often act completely surprised as if you’re McGyver or something.

I bet there’s several variations but what I do is press one paper napkin into a ball and wrap it with the other, making somewhat of a cup.

Then I simply pour some vegetable oil inside. The paper ball absorbs most of the oil and the paper napkin acting as a cup keeps it from pouring out.

Place it in the fireplace or grill with the wood piled around it and light it up.

That’s it. It burns for a good few minutes, the more oil it has the more it burns, and it burns very hot too.

Give it a try next time!


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

TGN Team Favorites: Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

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Gifting can be hard—am I right? Especially with the high-pressure, romantic holidays like Valentines Day! Not to worry, we’re here to help….

The TGN team thought it would be fun to look beyond the cliché of teddy bears and a dozen roses and really think outside of the chocolate box. We came up with a few unique Valentine’s Day gifts that keep on giving, all year long! 

Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

What better way to show your Valentine how much you love them than with a thoughtful gift—that keeps on giving? Let’s take a closer look at some truly unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wine |

Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, organic family farms, which is quite the contrast to today’s commercialized and processed wines. Dry Farm Wines is just real wine like you’ve never tasted before!

These wines are not only organic, but also sugar free—making them perfect for the waistline! If you follow a paleo or keto lifestyle, then this is the wine for you. 

We don’t just love that these wines are organic and sugar freewe love the monthly (or bi-monthly) subscription. You can sign up for the Friends of the Farm Wine & Social Club and choose whether you want to receive your delivery monthly or every other month. And shipping is always free! 

Dry Farm Wines originate with natural farming and traditional winemaking practices, including:

  • Natural, organic or bio-dynamic viticulture/farming
  • Dry farming (no use of irrigation)
  • Old-growth vines, generally 35-100 years
  • Hand-harvested fruit from low yields
  • Minimal intervention in the vinification and aging
  • Wild native yeast in fermentation
  • No commercial yeast for flavor alteration
  • No or minimal filtering/fining
  • No or minimal use of new oak
  • No or minimal addition of sulfites
  • No chaptalization (adding sugar to the grape to aid fermentation)
  • No chemical additives for aroma, color, flavor, or texture enhancement

Sharon Says: “I love Dry Farm Wines because they taste fantastic, with deep, rich flavor profiles.  And they don’t wreck my blood sugar because they are certified ketogenic … meaning the have essentially no sugar content. I also feel really good about how they demonstrate environmental stewardship because they are farmed using old-world, sustainable farming techniques.  And, every batch is tested and certified to be free of any glyphosate, pesticides, herbicides, etc.  I LOVE Dry Farm Wines!”

Dry Farm Wines |

Butcher Box

Butcher Box - Monthly Meat Delivery

Butcher Box provides monthly or bi-monthly delivery of thoughtfully sourced and ethically raised meat directly to your door! Grass-fed and -finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage-breed pork are humanely raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, ever.

Here’s how it works: You simply choose a curated box or build your own, and it’s shipped directly to your door! Easy! You can choose a large or small shipment depending on the size of your family, as well as choose a monthly or bi-monthly subscription. And the best part is that you can update the contents each month to spice things up! 

We love Butcher Box not only because of the quality of the humanely raised meat it provides, but also because the subscription makes putting highly nutritious meats on the table easy and convenient.

Ruth Says: “I love Butcher Box because not everyone has access to local grass-fed ranches. They make it accessible to everyone and deliver it right to your doorstep. This is meat that you can truly feel good about feeding to your family.”Butcher Box

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh |

Amazon Fresh is an unlimited grocery delivery service provided by Amazon that you can add to your Prime membership. While this may not be for everyone, it could be a great alternative to weekly grocery runs if you have a large family or a busy schedule. It’s like giving the gift of time for Valentine’s Day!

Amazon Fresh will add an additional $14.99 per month on top of the cost of your annual Prime membership—but you will get unlimited delivery. Each order must total at least $50, however many of us already spend more than that on our weekly grocery trips.

The service offers a really impressive array (thousands!) of fresh and boxed organic, non-gmo options. And now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, you can even have their house brand, 365, delivered right to your door!

Amazon Fresh |

Thrive Market

Thrive Market | Organic, Non-Gmo brands you love - for less!

Thrive Market is an online shopping club that offers organic and non-gmo products at 25% to 50% below retail prices! There is $59.95 annual membership fee, and all orders of $49 or more ship free. Thrive says their members usually make back the cost of membership in the first two orders. 

The best part about this company is that for every new paid member, they donate a free membership to a family in need! 

We love Thrive Market because they provide easy and affordable access to a large variety of organic non-gmo groceries, nontoxic cleaning products, organic beauty products, and so much more!

Thrive Market

Raw Spice Bar

RawSpiceBar | Monthly Spice Subscription

Raw Spice Bar is an inexpensive monthly subscription that delivers fresh and flavorful ready-to-use spice kits to your door. What better way to supplement your Butcher Box and Amazon Fresh service than with clean, healthy spices?

Raw Spice BAR

Well, what do you think? Will you be thinking outside the chocolate box this Valentine’s Day and giving a gift (or two) that keeps on giving?

Please note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for TGN to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!



The post TGN Team Favorites: Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts appeared first on The Grow Network.

Food… it’s whats for dinner

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The usual scene: me carefully scrutinizing the meat department at my local Albertsons for remaindered meat. Annnnnnnnnd….pork tenderloin:So, the pork tenderloin was marked down from $10.99 to $5.00 each. Not bad…but not good enough for my tastes. Fortunately, they were marked down to 30% off because today was the last day to Sell By:

I head over to the meat counter.

“You’ve got nine of those pork tenderloins marked down 30%. I’ll take ’em all and empty out your bin if you’ll markk ’em down to 50%.”



And thats how you wind up with receipt that says “You saved: 77%”. Or, put another way, dang near $99 at regular price but in my freezer for $22.50.

So…that’s a nice little score to go into the deep freeze. And it frees up a chunk of cash to buy silver today since it took a bit of a tumble and dropped down to a low of $16.55 before bouncing back. I caught it at $16.75 but still feel good about it.

Book Review: The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing

Click here to view the original post. I discovered The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing at a local discount book store, and now that I own it, I would happily pay full price for a new copy if I should ever lose or destroy this copy. This is not a recipe book, although it does contain some recipes. This is a troubleshooting guide, as well as a reference packed full of charts and tables. If you want to know the chemistry behind your brewing, become consistent in the flavor of your finished product, or just start brewing, then I recommend The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I personally

The post Book Review: The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Free PDF: NWS Coaches Guide to Lightning Safety

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The National Weather Service’s PDF Coaches Guide to Lightning Safety gives good guidance to coaches and other responsible parties on how to keep safe from storms. Each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. On average, about 70 people are killed and many others suffer permanent neurological disabilities. Most of these tragedies can be avoided if proper precautions are taken. When thunderstorms threaten, coaches and sports officials must not let the desire to start or complete an athletic activity hinder their judgment when the safety of participants and spectators is in jeopardy. The Coaches Guide

The post Free PDF: NWS Coaches Guide to Lightning Safety appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Portable Solar Panels – Enjoy Your Outdoor Adventures Worry Free

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Helping You Find The Best Portable Solar Panels For Your Next Great Adventure

There’s been a recent boom in portable solar panels. And their increasing popularity has taken the survival world by storm.

Why? Because they’re so incredibly useful in wilderness and emergency situations. Not to mention how convenient they are for camping and outdoor adventures.

These portable devices turn solar energy from the sun into usable electrical power. Energy to power any device that relies on electricity to function all while on the go.

Portable everyday carry gear such as:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • GPS units
  • Flashlights
  • Headlamps
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Etc.

The key here is the portability of these solar chargers.

People have been installing large solar panels systems for years now. The market for large solar generators has also been on the rise recently as well. And while these systems are no doubt powerful, they are not mobile.

That’s why the latest portable solar panels are so exciting. They allow you to harness the power of the sun with a device that fits in your backpack or pocket!

So today, we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • The Benefits Of Owning A Portable Solar Charger
  • Who Are Portable Solar Panels For?
  • Best Portable Solar Panels For Camping and Survival
  • Best Portable Solar Setups
  • Pros/Cons Of Portable Solar Chargers
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Portable Solar Panel Charging A Phone

The Benefits Of Owning A Portable Solar Charger

Portable Power

So the first reason you should own one of these devices is power on the go.

If you enjoy camping, hiking, hunting, or any outdoor adventure, you should invest in one.

That way, you can keep all your small electronic devices charged and at the ready, just in case. Whether it’s to call a loved one, stay on track with a GPS device or charge some batteries for your flashlight.

Not to mention the benefit of powering a cell phone in an actual emergency situation.

“Free” Power

Next is solar power is “free” power – after you’ve invested in a way to capture it and store it. Sure, portable solar panels cost more than a few packs of batteries, but it’s a just one-time investment.

An investment that will easily pay itself off over time.

After the initial investment, you get to charge your devices anywhere for free.

Backup Power

If you’re a regular visitor of Skilled Survival, you’ve thought about your power failure options. If you haven’t, now is the time!

When the power grid goes down, all your home devices have a finite power life remaining. Once the battery hits zero, it becomes an expensive paperweight until the power comes back on.

All those survival books on hunting and foraging you saved to your tablet? Gone.

The full-color step-by-step survival guides on your laptop? The ones detailing how to build everything from a single night shelter to a full log cabin? Lost without power.

And while GPS satellites will continue to send data, it doesn’t matter if your GPS devices are dead.

So they’re smart for small-scale backup energy systems.

But why should you invest in a portable solar charger and not an extensive roof solar array/battery bank system?

First off, large rooftop solar systems are great.

If you can afford to add them to your home as a backup power system or to get off the grid, you should. But, they’re not portable.

It’s a good idea to have a sizeable alternative energy system for survival. But it’s still helpful to have a smaller scale system for your everyday carry devices.

Who Are Portable Solar Panels For?

Campers and Backpackers

Portable solar charges are great for camping in remote sites or the comforts of a state park.

At either location, you’ve undoubtedly come across times when you’re getting low on power.

Being able to charge up the camera for a few more photos or to boost the GPS for you to follow your trail out is a great option. And as portable solar panels get smaller and more efficient, you’ll hardly notice it in your pack!

Solar chargers are quickly becoming essential gear for camping.

Hunters and Fishermen

Most hunters and fishermen carry at least a cell phone and a flashlight with us into the field these days.

More and more, they’re also carrying camera equipment, rangefinders, and a GPS. That adds up to a lot of different spare batteries and chargers.

A portable solar charger can take advantage of downtime in the middle of the day to charge all your devices.

Backcountry Travelers and Emergency Situations

Every winter, we hear stories of a family outing turned deadly. When someone blindly follows a seasonal road and find themselves stuck in freezing cold weather.

Many times, these people used up their vehicle battery to keep warm. However, eventually, their vehicles become powerless. And their cell phones start dwindling along with their chances of rescue.

Using a portable solar charger to gain a few minutes of cell phone power can be enough to send an emergency text. It can also help ping a cell tower, giving searchers a general search area to focus on.

Best Portable Panels Camping and Survival

For your first solar charger, we think you should consider a small, portable model. Here are a few of the best portable solar charges we’ve used and own.

Survival Frog EasyPower Solar Power Bank (Internal Battery)

Survival Frog Solar ChargerThe EasyPower Solar Bank (from Survival Frog) is dead simple and convenient. No moving parts and the only cords you need are the USB cables for the devices you want to charge.

It works with any device that has a USB port and provides up to 5,000mAh of power. That’s enough to charge a smartphone 1-2 times.

The built-in power level gauge is excellent for tracking your remaining charge. Or estimating how much more solar time you need to top off the battery. And, with the dual USB output jacks, you can charge two devices at the same time!

It’s also non-slip, with molded grips in the sides and rubber caps for the USB jacks. It includes a heavy-duty shock-proof design. This means the EasyPower can handle a beating and keep working.

portable solar panel

The body also includes a large handle at the top, making it easy to hang from your pack or in a sunny spot. They even include a small carabiner to do just that!

The EasyPower only takes up about as much space as a paperback book, 5.5”x3.0”x0.5” and 5.5oz.

It’s a GREAT option for anyone looking for a quick solution to keeping crucial devices powered up.

Lantern Solar Solar Power Bank (Internal Battery)

Lantern SolarThis week, I had a chance to test out the Solar Power Bank, from Lantern Solar.

The width and height measurements of the Solar Power Bank are almost the same as the EasyPower (5.4”x3.0”). But, it’s 0.25” thicker and weighs a roughly 2oz more.

It turns out those couple ounces must ALL be the extra battery.

The stand-out feature of the Solar Power Bank is the 10,000mAh internal battery. This is a massive amount of stored power – enough to charge the newest smartphones nearly four times!

Lantern Solar BankThat power is all accessed via a pair of 5.0V USB ports – one 1.0A and one 2.0A for faster charging on larger devices.

Wrapped around that large battery is a rubberized shell. It also has a small metal clip on the back to hang the unit in the sun or from a pack strap.

It’s not the most secure clip, but it’s enough to position the solar panel while in camp.

There’s also a subtle white panel on the back of the Solar Power Bank, which turns out to be nice diffused LED light. This is good for in camp chores and finding the zipper in the tent at night.

Pressing the power button once will turn on the internal battery status light. This shows you how much charge is left. Holding the button down for a couple of seconds will turn on the rear light. Hold it down again, and the light turns off.

Lantern Solar Charger

Simple controls and easy to do even with gloves.

My only gripe with the Solar Power Bank is the rubber dust cap over the USB ports. It’s not easy to get seated all the way and feels somewhat fragile. It’s also not a very secure cap, so I’m sure I’ll get dirt and grime inside the ports at times.

This is not the end of the world, but I wish the caps were better designed since the rest of the unit seems so well-built.

I’ll see how long it holds up to everyday use, but it’s a very minor issue. One I’ll gladly deal with in favor of the extra battery capacity.

The team over at Lantern was kind enough to provide 100 (20% off) coupon codes exclusively for our readers. Click here and proceed to checkout, then use code SOLARSALE20 to see if there are any coupon codes remaining. But you’ve got to hurry because they’re going to go fast.

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Kit (External Battery)

Goal Zero Battery Recharge KitThe Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Kit is a polished setup consisting of two major parts.

1 – The Guide 10 Power Pack
2 – The Nomad 7 Solar Panel

The Nomad 7 solar panel is a compact little unit at 9″x7″ X1.5″.

It weighs in at about 13 ounces.

That’s slightly heavier than some other comparable units. But that’s offset by extra features and a lot more durability than the competitors.

First off, the two solar panels are well protected in a robust nylon housing.

It folds up with magnet closures and has lots of attachment points to secure the unit.

This makes it easy to hang it outside your pack or clip it to a chair in camp.

On the back of the panel, there’s another nice touch – a zippered cable management pocket.

Opening it up, you find several options for connecting your devices.

There’s a standard USB outlet, providing up to 5V/1A straight to your phone, tablet, or anything else with a USB cord. Next, to that, there’s a 12V “Solar Port” which allows you to plug in a car adapter.

Finally, there’s a “Mini Solar Port,” which plugs into a wide array of Goal Zero products. There’s also a Mini Solar Port input – which allows you to chain together several panels for more power.

The accompanying Guide 10 power pack is more than just a simple battery pack.

It’s a compact battery charger with some nice features. It accepts four rechargeable AA batteries which pop right into the unit for charging.

Once they’re topped off, you can use them in anything that takes AA batteries. Then pop in four more rechargeable AA’s to keep the energy production going.

There’s also an adapter to fit AAA batteries, so if you find you use more of those that will come in handy.

My headlamps nearly all use AAA batteries, so I’ll get a lot of use from this.

The Guide 10 also includes a small white LED bulb. So you can use as an emergency flashlight or for quick light inside the tent at night.

It’s enough light to adjust your sleeping bag, find something you dropped, or open the tent flap to get out. And it’ll last over 100 hours on one charge.

If Goal Zero price is a concern, look for an integrated battery solar charger instead (which we just covered above). Integrated chargers are battery/panel in one-piece units. So there’s nothing left behind and no cords to snag or break.

They’re often more rugged than folding systems too. But they often have less efficient cells. And they require more sunlight to charge a comparable amount of energy.

As with most things, there are always tradeoffs but you tend to get what you pay for.

Check out our review video below of the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit.

Click Here To Enter To Win a Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit!

Make sure you click the link above and enter to win the Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit being reviewed in the video. This solar recharging kit was sent to us for free from Goal Zero for the purpose of this review and giveaway.

Thank you Goal Zero!

A Few More Portable Solar Charger Options

The 3 solar panels we just covered are the ones I’m most familiar with and have personally used. However, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones on the market.

Here are several more highly ranked solar panels you might be interested in.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best Portable Solar Setups

I own three portable solar charger models (the ones reviewed above). Two have an internal power pack, and one is paired with an external battery pack.

I use them differently for different reasons.

Shorter Trips – Internal

The internal battery systems are best for short duration trips. Ones where I won’t need more than one night’s worth of light or a partial GPS charge.

Enough power to find my way back to the truck, transverse backcountry mountain trails or navigate an afternoon canoe trip.

These small solar chargers are lighter and take up less space in my pack than larger units making them excellent choices for “get home” bags, bug out bags or survival kits.

Longer Trips – External

For longer trips, I turn to the external battery model. These allow me to use one battery pack while I charge a second.

This setup is larger and bulkier. But along with the weight increase, you’ll also get more power generation.

Instead of trying to power your devices directly with this setup, you’ll use the portable solar panels to power an external battery bank.

Charging a battery pack in this way, allows you to set up the charger in the most convenient location. And this prevents you from being tethered to it at all times.

With the GoalZero Kit above, an external battery bank was provided. However, this is not always the case.

Purchasing An External Battery Bank

If you purchase a portable solar panel that doesn’t come with an external battery, then you should buy one.

Many companies make USB battery packs. But, I prefer the most capacity for my dollar. These are usually the generic and off-brand battery packs.

Look for ones with a capacity of at least 10,000mAh and a price around $25. It should have one 2.1A or higher outlet for fast charging and a few extra outlets are always useful.

For example, The Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger fits the bill.

The other bonus of charging battery packs (besides pure storage) is managing the variability of incoming solar power.

Yes, most battery packs will accept a wide variety of incoming voltages. But “smart” devices are more restrictive on the incoming voltages.

This steady power requirement is to protect the internal circuits. But this built-in device protection makes direct solar charging challenging.

For example, voltage variations trick my phone into disconnecting. This issue happens whenever a cloud passes overhead and sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

So it’s better to charge a battery pack first and then use the stored power to charge your devices. This setup allows you to buffer out those pesky variations.

Thus, providing steady and consistent power to your devices.

Pros/Cons Of Portable Solar Chargers

As with any device, there are pros and cons to owning one. So let’s cover the advantages first and then go over a few challenges.


  • No Fuel
  • No Trace Left Behind
  • Silent
  • Modular
  • Lightweight

Let’s dive into each of these in more detail.

No fuel Needed

Solar is a clean energy source. You don’t need liquid fuels or gases to run a generator. You don’t need to burn wood to generate heat to create energy like bio stoves.

Instead, portable solar chargers just collect the heat from the sun to excite cells. These excited cells convert heat into energy.

You get to capture the sun’s energy rays hitting the earth day in and day out. And while the sun’s energy is technically a fuel source, it’s abundant, available and free.

No Trace Left Behind

Like the “no need for fuel,” you also capture the energy without leaving any trace behind.

It’s both a clean and zero impact energy solution.


In survival, you never know when evasion is the goal. One critical aspect of evasion is silence.

Capturing energy without a fire or a loud generator will keep your location hidden.


Many of these solar devices can be daisy-chained together to create a more powerful system.

Hooking up 2 or 3 or 10 portable solar chargers in series will increase your power capabilities.

This means you’d be able to capture more solar power faster. Allowing to you to either power larger devices or fully charge your battery packs more quickly.

So buy one portable solar charger today and invest in more in the future. By doing this, you’ll grow your solar systems output over time.

Light Weight

Many of the original “portable” solar panels were quite bulky and heavy. By comparison, new portable solar panels are much lighter and more compact.

Many of the smaller models are the size of a deck of survival cards. And feature integrated batteries for power storage – and still weigh under 8oz!


  • Sun Required
  • Need Separate Battery Pack To Store Power
  • Variable Output Issues
  • “Perceived” Durability Issues

However, I believe the “cons” of a solar charger is either misunderstood or can easily be overcome.

Sun Required

The obvious argument against solar is that it only works when the sun is shining. That’s both true and false. To be sure, at night, your solar charger isn’t going to be providing you with any electricity.

That’s why you need to pair it with a battery pack in the first place, right? But what about cloudy or overcast days?

The latest photovoltaic cells used in solar panels are more efficient than ever. They can convert a larger percentage of the incoming sunlight to electricity.

So while they may drop in output on a cloudy day, they can still charge your devices over more extended periods.

Need Separate Battery Pack To Store Power

Solar cells don’t store power; they only convert solar to energy.

To store power, the device must either have an internal battery pack or you’ll need to invest in an external one.

Variable Output Issues

First off, the angle of sun influences how much power is produced.

Pointing solar cells directly towards the sun captures the most amount of power. But, this requires constant fidgeting.

It’s a pain to continuously manage the orientation of the charger as the sun moves across the sky. No, it’s not time-consuming and only needs to be done on the hour, but it does mean you can’t leave it for very long.

In desert climates, dust on the panels will reduce efficiency and keep you from charging even in full sun. Also, the window tint in most cars is enough to reduce the collected power.

“Perceived” Durability Issues

Another misconception with solar chargers is that the photovoltaic cells are extremely fragile. Again, both true and false.

Large solar panels (the ones used on roof systems) are sandwiched between layers of glass, laminate, or acrylic.

This allows them to take 120+mph winds, hail, and falling branches. The chances of breaking one of these after installation are significantly minimized.

On the other hand, portable solar charger designs have made some vast improvements. The latest ones are built for more rugged treatment than earlier versions.

They often feature plastic instead of glass. They also now have rubber or plastic bodies surrounding the cells.

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Final Word

If you’ve read this whole article, I know you’re serious about adding a portable solar panel to your survival gear.

I’d encourage you to get one for each family member and to be sure to test how it works with your devices.

Chances are, you already have small electronics in your EDC and Bug Out Bag. And you may even depend on them in an emergency.

Solar power is an EASY upgrade to your survival gear and your survival plans.

It’s a smart survival insurance policy. One to guarantee access to communications, navigation, light, and information when you need it most.

Jason K.

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

The post Portable Solar Panels – Enjoy Your Outdoor Adventures Worry Free appeared first on Skilled Survival.

What Bushcraft Gear You Shouldn’t Forget To Pack

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There are some essential items you must have with you whenever you are on a trip in the wild. The items are enumerated on this list. You can carry more than the items on this list for your trip. Just ensure that you do not lack any of the Bushcraft gear on this list.

Rucksack: You’ll need a rucksack to carry your Bushcraft gear. Get one that can carry all your items. Don’t go for a bag that is too big or too small. You’ll need smaller rucksacks for shorter trips. The rucksack you carry should be comfortable and must come with padded chest straps and hip support.

Walking boots: You need the right pair of shoes to walk comfortably in the wild. Do not go for a long trip with a new pair of shoes. You need to spend some time breaking the shoes in. If you don’t do so, you may have blisters on your feet. Do not go for fashion shoes, trainers or other types of shoes. Get walking boots as they protect your feet from the effects of hard walking and they are strong enough to support your ankle.

Walking Socks: Socks will protect your feet and keep them warm if needed. Get good walking socks.

Compass and Map: Yeah, we wrote that. Traditional navigation devices are still needed even if you have a GPS with you. Ensure everyone in your team knows how to use the compass. Bushcraft skills like reading maps and compasses are highly useful in the wild.

Extra clothing: You can get wet anytime and catch a cold. Spare clothing will prevent you from having cold or hypothermia. No matter how short a trip is, get a spare change of clothes. Go with gloves and hats for further protection against harsh weather.

Clothes that are waterproof:  Waterproof clothing will protect you from moisture and rain. You still need to go with waterproof clothing even if you don’t expect rain.

Bivvy bad or survival sack: A bivvy bag is a mix between a small sleeping bag and a survival sack. A survival sack is a bag that will keep you safe during emergencies and insulate you better than your clothes. This is necessary if you get delayed or lost.

Cooking supplies: This may not be necessary for short trips. Cooking supplies include a stove, plate, cutlery, mug and pan. Take food items like instant noodles, coffee and others. If you aren’t going to carry a stove, at least go with something that can start a fire, so you can signal for help if needs be.

First aid kit: A first aid kit is a must have for emergencies. It should contain essential items like bandages, sterile dressings, antiseptics etc.

Insect repellent and sun shade cream: Get a good sun cream to protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun. In the wild, there are some insects that can bite you. Use insect repellent to protect yourself from them.

Water: Go with a lot of water in bottles. During your trip, you might come across streams and other water bodies. Carry a water purification system with you so you can get clean, drinkable water.

Knife: A knife is an important Bushcraft gear that will be useful for various tasks.

Flashlight with extra batteries: This is important even if your trip isn’t going to take place in the dark. You might be late, and you could face unexpected fog or cloudy weather. Extra batteries are necessary. It wouldn’t do you much good to have a flashlight without backup batteries.


Long Trips

If you are on a long trip that will take you more than one day, you need to carry the following Bushcraft gear with you.

Sleeping mat: The ground is usually cold. A sleeping mat will protect you from the cold ground. You can get an inflatable mat or a foam mat. Inflatable mats are lighter and more expensive. They are better than foam mats.

Sleeping bag: There are various types of sleeping bags. They have different tog ratings and weights. The tog rating is a measure of how warm they are. You can get the bags in shops with different season descriptions. One season sleeping bags are for the summer season alone while 4 season bags are fine for any weather. A 3 season bag will be fine for early fall, late spring and summer. Ensure you get a sleeping bag that is a minimum of 10 degrees colder than the lowest temperature of the place you are passing the night. This will protect you from the unexpected cold weather.

Tent: Tents come in various sizes. Each member of your team can opt for a small, one-man tent or you can pack a single tent, large enough for every member of your party.

Spade and toilet paper: You need these for defecating.

Clothing items

The most important protection you have are your clothes. They will protect you from cold, heat and other things. It is important that you maintain your body temperature when you go for trips. Your body temperature must be kept within 96⁰F to 102⁰F. Good clothing will protect you from hypothermia and overheating. It is better to have several thin layers among your Bushcraft gear than having a single thick one. Dress in multiple layers and pack clothes in multiple layers. Every layer of clothing will trap in air that will insulate your body.

The post What Bushcraft Gear You Shouldn’t Forget To Pack appeared first on Survival Preps.

How to Pack Your Bug out Bag for Survival

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How to Pack Your Bug out Bag for Survival More often people talk about bug out bag in the context of the items to include. However, it is also ahead to know how to pack your Best bug out bag for survival. Thinking of an emergency, the essential items to pack could be numberless. You …

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A Fundraiser For Angel

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Many of you which have read this blog know Angel as one of the people that went through a lot of the crap (receiving a lot of personal attacks for asking valid questions) that Kenny Lane (KDMLA) and I did with IIITard. She’s had a devastating loss which Kenny covers here. If you can, please […]

Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers

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The post Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The quest for the perfect lawn is endless. We invest in high-quality lawn mowers, in new grass seed, aerators, and lawn sprinklers. But there’s something that many people new to lawn maintenance forget: a lawn edger. Lawn edgers can produce clean lines of separation between your grass and the driveway, sidewalk, or garden beds. They … Read more

The post Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Radio rambling

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I don’t know if the local radio programming changed, or if my schedule changed to the point that I fell into the time slot…BUT…. what is up with this Alex Jones guy?

I mean, I’ve got a bit of tinfoil lining my ranger cap but this guy is out where the buses don’t run. I mean, I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories, and from people who said them with a straight face and earnest seriousness, but this guy is just…

Now, of course maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the MK Ultra programming by the Illuminati is reacting with the chemtrails and nanobots in my flu shot. I mean, that’s perfectly reasonable, right?

It was like Coast To Coast AM for people who don’t have trouble sleeping.

Bushcraft Essentials You Need to Learn

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When you start to get into survival techniques and are interested in improving your skills, chances are that you have come across the term “bushcraft” and probably got overwhelmed when you looked for more information on this topic. In this post we are going to look at some of the bushcraft essentials that you should learn.

The word bushcraft is probably most commonly used within countries such as Australia, New Zealand and also South Africa, however it is used within other countries as well. The Australian that is known as Les Hiddins who was also commonly referred to as the Bush Tucker first introduced the term Bushcraft.

So what is bushcraft to begin with? Well, bushcraft is a very broad term which basically encompasses all outdoor living and survival skills that date back millennia.

For most people, the wild and lonely places of this world can be a source of immense beauty, solitude and physical challenge, and they attract millions of visitors to mountain ranges, ice caps, deserts, forests and wetlands around the world.

However, uncertainty and the outdoors go hand in hand, and so it is very easy to find a simple recreational activity in the wild becoming a struggle for survival, almost in the blink of an eye.

Think about it. It could range from a lack of experience and preparation leading to something simple like a miscalculation on food rations on a long hike in the mountains, leaving you far from assistance with dwindling supplies.

Imagine an accident such as a capsized boat on a kayaking trip, losing vital equipment at the bottom of a lake and leaving you soaked and cold on a wild shoreline. A simple slip on a trail leaving you injured and unable to traverse the miles left to go before you reached your planned shelter.

How many of us carry the right supplies in our cars to cope if we ran out of gas on a lonely highway, far from a town and with few if any passers-by willing to help? Mastering essential bushcraft skills can be a life saver when you find yourself in critical outdoor situations. Not only are these skills very useful, they are very enjoyable and rewarding to practice.

With that being said, lets look at some of the bushcraft essentials and how you can learn them.

Bushcraft camping

Wild Camping

You need to get out there. More often. Land access does get in the way. I’m not discounting this. But it is possible to find places you can go regularly to camp in the woods.

It does not matter where you live, every area has at least a few suitable spots for wild camping. Yes, it is not the easiest thing to do, but just get out there.

Walk into the wilds, set up camp and spend the night there. It’s good for your bushcraft soul. Whatever level of experience you have, plan some nights out over the coming year.

Some of you have never spent a night out before. There’s nothing to be frightened of (or ashamed of). Plan some overnighters. Once you gain more experience, plan to camp out for at least a night or two each season – spring, summer, autumn and winter.

If you are used to camping in the woods, get into the hills. And if you are used to camping in the hills, find some woods to camp in and have a campfire.

Campfire Bushcraft Skills

Fire Lighting

Fire-making is the most important skill for any woodsman to master. With fire, you can warm yourself, dry your clothing, and make your water potable.

These are the simplest of things you may need from your fire on a daily basis around camp, but its usefulness goes further than any individual piece of kit.


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You’ll need fire to cook your food, to create needed ash, to char materials for future fires, and to keep away the boogieman in the middle of the night. By the fire, you will spin the yarns of your adventures and dream of future ones.

The campfire is the television of the woods, ever changing and surfing the channels as it burns through the night.

Water Purification Bushcraft Skills

Understand Water Purification (Properly)

I receive a lot of questions regarding water. Some people won’t camp out because they worry about water.

We need 3-5 litres per day and if you are going to spend any time moving through a landscape, camping out, even for a night, you need to get to grips with water purification.

You need to understand the five contaminants which might be present in water – turbidity, protozoa, bacteria, viruses and chemical pollutants – and the different protocols for dealing with any combination of them.

It’s not difficult if you strip it down to first principles and make the effort to understand the problem you are trying to solve in producing potable water for yourself. A bit of research and you will be up to speed. Then you can start to apply this knowledge on your overnight camps.

Cooking on campfire Bushcraft

Campfire Cookery

Even with very basic cooking equipment, you can create delicious one-pot meals from fresh ingredients. These can be purchased and taken with you.

Later, as your ID skills improve, you can add foraged ingredients. In a single stainless steel cooking pot or billy can over the campfire, I can cook a meal some people would not think of producing at home.

Indeed, I have taught people to cook meals over a fire, who have never cooked anything other than ready meals at home. If you want to accelerate your cooking abilities, then of course lots of cooking outdoors will help, but also consider experimenting with recipes at home.

Pretty much all of the recipes I cook on expeditions were practiced at home first, then taken to the woods and cooked over a campfire, simplified and optimised for the context.

Anyone who has come on a canoe trip with me can tell you how much flavoursome good food can be produced in an overnight camp. Then, of course, you can go large.

Adding more complex meals to your repertoire, roasting joints of meat – over the fire or in Dutch ovens – creating elaborate multi-pot meals, baking bread, Yorkshire puddings… anything you might think of taking out of a recipe book at home can be done on the campfire by building up experience, step by step, over time.

Bushcraft Plant Identification

Tree and Plant Identification

At the core of Bushcraft is a viable investigation of nature. To have the capacity to utilize any plant or tree for any reason, you first have to identify it. Without a doubt, many woods will burn great, however beyond identifying a material as dead, dry wood, there is some subtlety required, even inside the context of burning fuel.

Which woods burn rapidly, delivering a great flame for quick boils or signal fires, which wood creates a ton of heat and embers, which woods deliver less smoke, for use inside your shelter, which woods are useful for smoking meats and fish, which woods are best avoided for any of the above?

Keeping in mind the end goal to apply this information, you must be able to to identify the relevant species. And that is only a few aspects of burning wood.

Clearly, when foraging for plant foods, your identification skills must be solid. Nothing should be going into your mouth for ingestion unless you are 100% sure of what the species is. Yes, a practical skill level is required to apply bushcraft skills, but the fundamental skill, the part which comes first in any of the processes mentioned here is the correct identification of the relevant resource.

Research your destination
If you are planning a trip make sure that you know as much as possible about the area you are going to. Look at guidebooks, buy as high spec maps as you can afford and speak to local guides and experts.

Carry the right equipment
Even if you are going out for a day hike you should make sure that you have the right equipment to keep you safe and warm and able to get to safety in the event of an emergency.

Keep a first aid certification current
Even if you are not intending to go for long hikes in the wild or be involved in any risky activities it is good practice to keep a current knowledge of first aid techniques. You never know when they will come in handy.

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How To Dispose Of Old Or Worn Out Firearms

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Even if you buy a good quality gun and take proper care of it, a gun is still a tool. As such, it will eventually wear out or be damaged to a point where you can no longer use it without putting a lot of money into repairs.

Once a gun reaches this point, and you have decided not to repair it, you can do one of two things – Keep it or get rid of it. If you choose to keep an old, or worn out firearm, it may be possible to turn the parts into something else once the weapon has been deactivated.

Regardless of what you choose to do with the gun, you should always do the following:

  1. Unload and visually inspect the firearm to ensure that no bullets are in the gun.
  2. Record the serial number of the firearm and take pictures of it for your records.
  3. Check with your local and state law enforcement agencies to see if the have any programs or restrictions.
  4. Give the gun a good cleaning.  An old firearm that is clean will usually sell or trade better than a dirty crapped up one.  If you decide to repurpose the gun, it will also be much easier if you start off with clean metal.

Legal Issues You Should Address

If you are turning firearms in to the police, start off by reviewing the guidelines about what kinds of guns are legal or not yet banned in your state.  For example, if you have semi-automatic rifle in a state where they are banned, you may need to wait until there is an amnesty program.

In a similar fashion, if you wish to surrender a machine gun that is no longer functional, you will need to review federal guidelines and amnesty programs for these weapons.  It will also be in your best interest to discuss these matters with a lawyer if you are determined to get rid of the weapon.

Before you turn a weapon in, make sure that you know the history of the gun.  The police or sheriff departments will run the serial number on the weapon to see if it is stolen.  If the firearm turns out to be stolen or you can’t legally own it, thus surrendering it could cause you to wind up in prison.  If you still want to get rid of the firearm, talk to your lawyer to see what can be done.

Regardless of the weapon type or its status, it may still be possible to legally turn in a firearm as long as it is fully deactivated.   A deactivated firearm is made permanently inoperable, and is therefore no longer considered a firearm.

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Technically speaking, since the gun no longer fits the definition of a firearm, according to the BATF, it is no longer subject to firearms related laws. For complete information and definition of Deactivated Guns, refer to 27 CFR Section 478.11.

As with any other law, contact a lawyer and make sure that you are aware of all changes in legislation that can lead to you being accused of a crime.

Aside from avoiding problems related to the gun type, it is also important to consider your gun ownership status.  In this case, if you aren’t supposed to own a gun, turning one in without an amnesty can get you arrested and convicted of a felony.

By the same token, if you plan to sell or give the gun to someone else, it is important to make sure they can legally own a gun.  Make sure you review all current laws in your state and get legal advice before assuming that your planned transaction is legal as well as the method by which you plan to proceed.

Where to Get Rid of Unwanted Guns

Surrender the Gun

To Your local Police or Sheriff’s Department During an Amnesty Program.  If you have firearms and ammunition that you no longer want to keep, turning them in to your state or local law enforcement is the easiest option.

Before you just walk into the police or sheriff’s office call them on the non-emergency phone line and describe the situation.  Depending on the policy of the station, they may ask you to walk it in, send officers to pick up the weapon, or schedule an appointment to bring it in.

Most amnesty programs melt down the firearms and keep very accurate tracking records. This is done so you can check to confirm that the guns you turned were actually destroyed.

Turn it in at a Gun Buy Back.

Depending on where you live, there may be enough money and interest in buying back guns via a community program.  Usually, there are no questions asked at these events, which makes getting rid of an old, useless gun quick and painless.  You will also get some cash for each gun you turn in, or other incentives that may be of interest to you.

Donate it to Training Programs.

There are many groups that use firearms to train with and have small budgets to buy training weapons and ammunition.  If you feel that the firearms maybe misused, have it deactivated first.  Deactivated firearms can be used as training or demonstration aids, however they cannot be used for any kind of live shooting.

Donate it to a gun Smithing school – When a gun is no longer useable, there is a chance that a gunsmith can still restore it.  Student gunsmiths will not only be able to meet this challenge, they will learn a lot in the process.  In addition, if the weapon happens to be rare, or of interest to a local gunsmith, you may want to give it to him or her to repair for their own use.

Private Sale.

In most states, it is still legal to sell a firearm to someone else via private sale, or through a gun auction.  As long as the buyer can legally own a gun, you can try this method.

Sell to a Gun Shop.

Even though you may think the gun is not worth fixing, a gun shop may still be interested in using it for parts. They may also have contacts with various manufacturers or other people that may be interested in the gun.  Just be sure to get all of your paperwork in order so that you have proof of how you disposed of the gun.

Once the gun is accepted by the gun shop, it is up to them to follow any applicable laws.  If the gun winds up in the wrong hands at some point in the future, at least you can prove that you sold the gun legally and were not part of what happened after that point.

Donate or Sell the Weapon to a Museum.

Before you part with an older gun, make sure you do a careful research on the serial number. You never know who may have owned the gun, or what role it played in a historical incident.  If you find something of historical interest that fits into a relevant museum collection, they may be willing to buy the gun from you.

Video first seen on Gunscom

Even if the gun is not operational, it is the historical value of the piece that matters.  In this case, the museum may be willing to pay more than other market venues, and then simply write the cost off their taxes.

Deactivating a Gun and Repurposing It

Before you deactivate a gun, look it over carefully to see if there are any parts that can be sold.  For example the grips, sights, or other parts may still be salvageable and of interest to someone else.  Take these parts to a gun store, or try to sell them through some other means.

When it comes to the receiver, do not forget that someone with an FFL license must handle the receiver transaction and transport.

If you are not able to get rid of the gun or do something with the parts, then you may decide it is best to make sure weapon can no longer be repaired or fired. From there, you can choose to do any number of other things with it. In order to deactivate most guns, you will need to do the following:

  • Weld the action closed.  Once the action is heated and fused in this manner, it loses its tempering.  It can no longer be safely fired even if someone tries to open up the action and make it operable. The gun will more than likely explode when fired.
  • Weld the barrel to the action.
  • Hammer a tight fitting steel rod down the barrel, and then weld it into place at the muzzle end. This will effectively destroy any rifling and make the barrel completely useless.
  • If you have a Class 3 weapon, the laws are very specific about additional steps you will need to take.  For these weapons, you will need to use a gas ax to make them inoperable.

Once the gun is deactivated, you can do whatever you want with it.  For example, if the gun has some kind of sentimental value, you can turn it into a paperweight.  Alternatively, you can mount in on a plaque, a lamp, or even a wall hanging.

Depending on the gun type and the size of the parts, you may also be able to turn them into jewelry or key chains.  For example, if you deactivated a revolver, you may want to take the trigger or something else to fashion into something wearable.

Some people also incorporate deactivated gun parts into sculptures representing completely different subjects.  Since many of the parts of the gun are made from good quality metal, you can fashion large, outdoor sculptures as well as smaller ones designed to stay inside.

You may also want to donate the gun to an art club or some other venue that will use them for this purpose.

If you happen to be skilled in metallurgy, and have a forge on hand, you can also shape the metal parts into something else. In this case, you might want to make a knife or something else that would have survival value.  Do not forget that you will still have to harden the steel in order to get as much use as possible out of whatever you decide to make.

What About Having a Gun Melted Down?

If you want to be totally sure that your firearms are destroyed forever, take them to a foundry.  The firearms will be cut up and melted down as you watch as long as you make arrangements to this effect.

Unless you are watching, there is a chance the weapon will  simply be cut up, stored in a barrel, and melted down when there is enough scrap to make it worth while to the foundry to start a smelting run.

Disposing of old or worn guns can be complicated because of legal guidelines.  Once you clear these hurdles, you may still be unable to find a buyer, or even someone that will accept the gun as a donation.  Under these circumstances, there isn’t much you can do other than repurpose it or sell off the parts.


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Raising Chickens – The Perfect Solution To Self Sufficient Living

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When it comes to self-sufficient living, nothing quite compares to the benefits of raising chickens in your backyard. Our small flock of hens provide us with so much more than just great tasting eggs. They also help eliminate weeds, keep

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Hardscaping Projects for Your Backyard

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest post from Valknut79 to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!

Your home should be your castle. For all the talk in the preparedness community about bugging out and heading for the country, unless your home is under direct attack, it is a far better plan to attempt to stay at home. It’s where your food supply is, it’s where your clothes and your tools are, and hopefully you have a solid, dependable roof over your head.


The fall and winter is usually the last time that you’d think about your outdoor areas, but it’s the ideal time to start planning for what you can do this spring and summer to help improve your home’s preparedness plan. Here are some great features to consider when creating your plan:

Food & Water Storage

Your backyard might not be the first place you think of when you start considering food and water storage, but it’s actually quite convenient.

The ideal food storage idea you can have in your backyard is a root cellar. If you’re creating a big one, you simply need to dig a large hole, build supports for the wall, and set up some form of ceiling with an air flow, add an entrance, and you have a walk-in storage solution for many of your vegetables that will keep your produce cool for the season.

Smaller root cellars can be as simple as burying a cooler in a shady spot, or digging a hole and covering the area with something. These are not the greatest or largest solutions, but they’ll work in a pinch.

Putting a survival cache in your own tree is also an option. PVC pip can be used to create an airtight seal that can contain anything you think you might need in order to survive. What’s nice about the cache is that in case of a fire, flood, or home invasion, at least you’ll have something you can use to get you through a tough time.

For Water Storage, a cistern is an excellent solution. Cisterns are usually buried under your lawn, but could be free-standing. In either case, this is something you likely will want to have professionally installed, as mistakes could lead to thousands of gallons of water flooding your property. Either way, these large storage tanks take much of the guesswork out of storing water for an SHTF situation, and are made large enough that they will be useful as water for people, plants and cleanliness.

If not a large cistern, then how about a rain barrel connected to your gutter system. When well managed, rain barrels are a great method of securing a source of water for your survival garden at least, and for your family in a pinch.

You could also consider installing a pond or large fountain, which would be the most scenic water storage choice, although likely the least practical for usage, as the water would require a more significant filtering and cleaning process before use.

Living Space

This past summer, when considering my preparedness plan, I noted that one thing we really needed was a redundant way to cook our food. We have gas appliances in our home, and I have a propane tank attached to the grill outside, but otherwise, we had no dedicated space or method for cooking. We solved this by putting a firepit in our backyard, along with a simple firewood storage box to keep nearby. Now we have a dedicated cooking area that will last as long as we keep getting branches from our trees (in other words, forever).


We ended up using our firepit so much that I installed a pergola, a few garden trellis walls, and a patio stone floor, and now we have almost a “room” outside where we can cool off, warm up, or camp out quite easily with minimal equipment. I’d feel comfortable out there with just a blanket if the weather permits.

My wife and I also like to adapt the kid’s stuff towards preparedness in some way. Our daughter’s play area includes a triangular set of trellises, and during the summer months, we plant pole beans around them to create a kind of teepee. Her tire swing and treehouse are built into our sugar maple, which we tap annually for syrup. She also has a small playhouse with a few built-in planters outside and a living roof that has a few herbs growing on top.

If you have the space for a shed, you could easily build one of those as a guest house, useful for storage, and if it’s far enough away from your main home, an easy bug out location on the premises in case of fire, flood or other catastrophe.

Food Growth & Gardening

Of course, in an SHTF situation, your backyard will serve as your grocery store. Raised plant beds are easy to install in any grassy area, and are perfect for growing all manner of veggies. Simply purchase the wood or bricks you wish to use, and lay them out in the area you choose. Build the wall at least four to six inches deep, and you’ll have enough soil to grow a bunch of different veggies in. If you want to go the extra mile and put landscaping fabric underneath, that may help control weeds, but it’s not necessary, and many people (myself included) have had mixed results.

In addition to raised beds, you can consider creating miniature greenhouses. Build a box with a glass or plastic lid that can be easily raised or propped open so you can work in it, and ensure that that area gets plenty of light. During the winter months, you can plant a large number of vines or crops in these mini greenhouses that can provide fresh foods year round. This is also an ideal spot to start your seedlings in spring.

Once the end of the growing season hits, you’ll be very thankful if you created a compost pile where you can get free dirt and fertilizer. Enclosed three-bin systems are very easy to build, and provide the easiest long-term plan for gathering compost, but a simple garbage can purchased from the hardware store can function as a tumbler. Some people I know don’t even have bins, they simply have a pile covered with a tarp or wrapped in chicken wire. Compost is excellent for growing crops and a good way to reduce the amount of garbage you throw away every week.

In case you don’t have a lot of room, there’s still plenty you can do to garden. It’s possible to grow fruit trees in large pots, or if you have even a little room for planting in ground, you can maximize space by growing vine plants like cucumbers, pole beans and squash on trellises. Espalier is a method of growing a fruit tree next to a wall, and is ideal for creating a smaller fruit tree that actually makes very large and wholesome fruits in a small area. Arbors also work for maintaining a small tree in a controlled area. This method works best for pear plants and apples. It’s easy to grow many veggies in pots as well.

If you have the space and the equipment, there is no better “greenhouse” solution than a Walipini. A Walipini is a dug out section of earth that is enclosed with a clear plastic or glass roof. Underneath, you have a 12-month greenhouse that can help your plants endure in any climate. A traditional greenhouse is an option as well, but may not offer the 12-month guarantee of a Walipini.

We got most of our ideas for our backyard from two sources – Pinterest and our local botanic gardens. Both of these options offer a wide variety of alternative options for growing plants, and their hardscapes are not only beautiful, but often have tutorials attached.

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The post Hardscaping Projects for Your Backyard appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

5 Easy Bean Soups That Will Save You Money

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I hope you enjoy making some of my 5 easy bean soups that will save you money today. It seems like the higher the price of meat goes up the more Mark and I eat bean soups. I’m actually fine with that because I could easily be a vegetarian full time. I was just cleaning out the pantry to find some cans I could throw together for dinner tonight. I do cook beans in my pressure cooker sometimes, but since we’re down to two people, I tend to buy more cans of beans. I love the convenience of the cans, and yes, I examine the cans before they go in the shopping basket to make sure I can pronounce all the ingredients.

I buy cases of canned goods when they go on sale. The beans I like the best are pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, vegetarian refried beans, white beans, and chili beans, to name a few. When my daughters were growing up we always bought bags of pinto beans. We also ate a lot of homemade refried beans.

I have learned to eat canned refried beans on a tortilla without cheese. In my younger years, I would not have eaten a burrito without cheese. Well, I’m pretty much staying away from all dairy. I love adding a can of green chilies to the refried beans, and of course salsa I could drink from the bottle, well almost. Safe Salsa Recipe To Bottle Yourself

As you know, we can always add another can of beans to stretch a meal. Gotta love it!

Yummy Bean Soups

1. Mexican Chicken Soup


  • 3-4 cups of cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or instant garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
  • 1-4 ounce can green chilies, chopped
  • 2 cups of canned pinto beans
  • 1 quart of chicken broth


Combine the ingredients in a large soup pot and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until heated through.

PRINTABLE recipe: Recipe by Food Storage Moms

2. All-Time Favorite Chili


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2- 16-ounce cans kidney beans undrained
  • 2-16-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2-14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2-16-ounce cans of chili beans, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 1-8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 packages of chili seasoning (or just throw in some chili powder and cumin like I do)


Grab a frying pan and brown the hamburger, drain the fat and add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil, turn it down. Simmer for two hours on the stove, or cook in your slow cooker on low for about four hours.

PRINTABLE recipe: Recipe by Food Storage Moms

3. 30-Minute Taco Soup


  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1-16-ounce can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1-16-ounce can of corn, undrained
  • 1 package taco seasoning packet (or just throw in some chili powder and cumin like I do)


Grab a soup pan to brown the hamburger and the chopped onion, drain the grease if any. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes or combine the ingredients in a slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours. Serve with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

PRINTABLE recipe: Recipe by Food Storage Moms

4. Ham Hock Bean Soup


  • Ham Hock
  • Ham hock left over from having served a spiral sliced type ham or chunks of leftover ham
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon sweet basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste (my secret ingredient-optional)
  • 3-4 cans 15-ounces white beans, not drained
  • Water to cover ham


Place the ham hock in the slow cooker, cover with water after all the ingredients are placed in the slow cooker. I like to cook this on low in my slow cooker all day for about 6-8 hours. I love the “set and forget” dinner idea.

PRINTABLE recipe: Recipe by Food Storage Moms

5. White Chili With Chicken


  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3-15-ounce cans of white beans, drained
  • 16-ounce jar salsa
  • 8-ounces of Monterey Jack Cheese with jalapenos cut into cubes
  • 15-ounces of chicken broth
  • 15-ounces of sour cream (ADD JUST BEFORE SERVING)


Brown the chicken in part of the butter with the chopped onion until cooked as desired. Combine all the ingredients, except the sour cream, in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir in the sour cream right before serving.

PRINTABLE recipe: Recipe by Food Storage Moms

These are five of my very favorite soups I make all the time. Just about every recipe can be made vegetarian if you want to skip the meat. There is something about bean soups, you can always add a few more beans to the soup pot or slow cooker to feed more people. Please store beans, they are inexpensive and a great source of protein. God bless you for being prepared. If you have the desire, invite some neighbors over to your home for some soup and bread. If someone is ill in your neighborhood they would love a pot of soup. I promise. Stay well, my friends. Wash your hands and eat healthily and stay away from crowds, if possible.

French Bread In One Hour by Linda

My favorite things:

Slow Cooker

Soup Ladle

Copyright pictures:

Soup: AdobeStock_59334443 by Brent Hofacker

The post 5 Easy Bean Soups That Will Save You Money appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Safe Plastics For Food and Drink (Food Grade)

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Plastics that come in contact with your food or drink ‘should’ be safe based on the following general information. Look for the Recycle symbol (often on the bottom of the container) and read the number located inside the symbol. The following list cross-references the recycle number (recycling symbol) with what is generally considered safe for food (or not safe).   Plastics Considered Safe for Food & Drink #1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) #2 HDPE  (high density polyethylene) *see note below #4 LDPE  (low density polyethylene) #5 PP  (polypropylene) Nalgene Wide Mouth 16oz Bottle, BPA/BPS FREE   Plastic Water Bottles or Soft

The post Safe Plastics For Food and Drink (Food Grade) appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Great Depression Foods that Helped Americans Survive Famine

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For the Americans, the time of Great Depression is unforgettable. It was the nation’s most serious economic tragedy during the time of modern history. The biggest misfortune was the fact that the nation’s working class had the full burden of it squarely on their shoulders due to which they wrestled badly for their survival during … Read more…

The post Great Depression Foods that Helped Americans Survive Famine was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How to Turn a Handgun Into a PDW using KPOS kit from FAB Defense with a SIG Brace

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Carrying a handgun for self-defense (where lawful) is one of the most basic steps of being a prepared person. The old saying is that “God made All Men, and Samuel

The post How to Turn a Handgun Into a PDW using KPOS kit from FAB Defense with a SIG Brace appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Primitive Weapons!

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Primitive Weapons!

Primitive Weapons!
Host: Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!

This week on the GunMetal Armory, we  go much deeper into the Armory where we store the Primitive Weaponry. Our topics will cover things like the AtlAtl, throwing/thrusting spears, blow guns, clubs & impact weaponry, tomahawks & hatchets, knives, bow & arrow, arrowhead types, bolas, throwing sticks, slings, etc.

Listen to this broadcast or download “Primitive Weapons” in player below!

Continue reading Primitive Weapons! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.