How to Choose a Good Campsite As a Bug Out Location

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It seems that these days the internet is filled with articles about bugging out. It sounds like many of you have decided that this is a better cause of action than bugging in. That very well may be the best choice for you. The question remains, though, if you are planning on bugging out, even as a last resort, where are you bugging out to? Do you have a bug out location that is stocked and ready or are you going to be one of many looking for a semi-permanent campsite?

If you are among the group that will be looking for a campsite, here are some suggestions that may help you.

  • Avoid privately owned land, if possible. National and State parks, forests and wildlife refuges are all possibilities. The park rangers will probably be home taking care of their families in a dire scenario. This also means there won’t be any law enforcement, so choose your location carefully.
  • Get out of sight of roads, railroad tracks, and other areas where people are likely to be traveling. A very detailed map of the area, including topography, will help you identify spots that are far enough away from highly trafficked areas and yet be accessible for everyone in the group or family, including children.
  • Keep any fires that you have to start small or better yet use a Dakota fire hole. Be aware of giving away your position not just by a campfire but also sounds and smells. Begin now to learn about noise discipline. Also think about how you’ll prepare food without tell-tale scents giving away your position. (A Sun Oven, in particular, is one cooking device that is tightly sealed and does a good job of keeping cooking smells confined. Once the oven is opened, however, and your food is finished, all bets are off.)
  • Defensibility — The campsite should be surrounded by natural obstacles, limiting access. High ground is preferable, for visibility. However, visibility works both ways. Don’t get silhouetted. Once you’ve found a spot that works for you, you can always add “man made” obstacles, such as large boulders, felled trees, and the like. After a rainstorm or two, they will very likely blend in with everything else and the man-made aspect won’t be obvious.
  • Think wildfire. Always take this into consideration during fire season. Make sure you have a way to evacuate, if needed. This puts you in a dilemma — do you stake your campsite far from any human contact and, thus, limit virtually any evacuation route or stay nearer to civilization in case the worst happens? It will have to be your call and could also depend on the season and current weather conditions.
  • Stay out of low-lying, green, grassy areas. These will collect water if it rains and the ground may be damp, although they may appear at first to be an idyllic location. You will also be easy to spot. However, camping near one of these meadows may be helpful when hunting wildlife, since they provide grazing areas for deer, rabbits, and other mammals.
  • Camp uphill from streams or rivers. This will protect you from flash floods and sudden rises in water levels created by releases from dams. Keep in mind that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, and you’ll need at least one gallon per day for each person in your group. For me, access to a reliable and convenient water source trumps just about everything else on this list.
  • Look for protection from wind and storms.
  • Check the site for poisonous plants, dangers of falling rocks, overhanging branches and animals, and teach your kids and grandkids what to avoid.
  • Stay back from standing water to avoid insects pests like mosquitoes. Stocking up on mosquito pellets and mosquito netting would be a wise move.
  • Look for a flat place for your bed and campfire.
  • Is there a good source of firewood and kindling?
  • Check for food sources: edible plants, animals, fish.
  • Check for the availability of good water, but don’t be too close. Water will attract people, bugs and wildlife. Be aware that others, once finding a water source, my decide to camp there as well.
  • In the winter, it will be colder in the bottom of ravines and valley or near low-lying rivers. Camping 20 – 30 feet higher can make the difference of several degrees.
  • If your gear is in bright colors make sure there is enough brush and grass around to camouflage them, but if you have the choice, from now on only buy gear that will blend in.
  • Keep your cooking area separate from your sleeping area. Odors will attract wildlife and possibly people.

People can walk right by a well hidden campsite.

Now I have given you a list of all the best options for choosing a campsite for a (temporary) bug out location. If you have to hide from people, you may have to make some hard choices and break many of these rules. Personally, I will bug in until it becomes more dangerous to stay than to leave.  The roads will be a rough place. For me setting up a semi permanent or permanent campsite is one of my last options. Keep in mind, that as members of your group/family age, you’ll have other issues to take into consideration.



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How to Choose the Right Backpack

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Backpacking season is in full swing, with many folks being on the trail since March and April, en route to completing their thru-hikes. Some of these folks are seasoned hiking veterans and have dialed in their packs for maximum carry efficiency and load, while others are learning along the way, tweaking and changing as they go along. A few things to keep in mind before buying your pack will help prevent you from tweaking, changing, and wasting money on a pack which is ill fitting and painful to carry.

Choose your gear before you choose your pack.

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Hike Your Own Hike

After last week’s gear shakedown, I knew I would have to hike my own hike. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the hiking and backpacking community, you’ll have undoubtedly heard the phrase “hike your own hike.” It basically means keep your nose out other people’s business and worry about your own.

We’d been planning this shakedown for a couple of weeks. It was our chance to gauge what did and didn’t work. Walking twelve miles, half going uphill, seemed like a great way to test us and our load out.

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Hike Your Own Hike

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After last week’s gear shakedown, I knew I would have to hike my own hike. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the hiking and backpacking community, you’ll have undoubtedly heard the phrase “hike your own hike.” It basically means keep your nose out other people’s business and worry about your own.

We’d been planning this shakedown for a couple of weeks. It was our chance to gauge what did and didn’t work. Walking twelve miles, half going uphill, seemed like a great way to test us and our load out.

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4s Approach to Clothing for Hiking and Backpacking

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Clothing and Layering systems for outdoor adventures have been discussed ad nauseum. Rightly so, it is a first defense essential against heat and cold exposure. No matter how many times it is discussed, it still seems to confuse people.

Your clothing’s primary function is to keep you warm, dry, and offer protection from the sun. Their secondary function are to protect you from insects and small scrapes. There is a delicate balance which must be observed when deciding on your clothing. Putting on a heavy jacket while covering miles on a hiking trip, while keeping you toasty, can cause you to perspire making you wet from the inside which ultimately works against you.

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A Hike to Say Thank You for Your Service

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When my daughter deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, I knew I had to do something in support of her service. It had to be something meaningful to her and me, something special.

She was only seventeen and still in high school when she decided to serve her country. She would leave for basic training two months after graduating high school and then graduate basic training on her eighteenth birthday.

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5 Primitive Skills That Will Come in Handy When SHTF

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If you’ve been part of the prepping community for any length of time you know that when SHTF, life is going to change substantially. You may have an EDC and a BOB and even a bug out location ready and waiting for disaster to strike. But have you really taken the time to think about … Read more…

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Preventing Tick Borne Diseases

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It’s Monday morning and you’re returning to work, all smiles, after a wonderful weekend backpacking with friends. By Wednesday, all of a sudden, you’re not feeling so well. You’re feeling a bit of nausea and weakness. Sitting around for too long also makes you experience joint pain. “What could it be?” you ask yourself. “Maybe I’m catching some sort of bug from one of my co-workers,” you tell yourself. While that may be true, it is likelier you’ve brought a stowaway with you from your weekend adventures and you’re experiencing classic symptoms of a tick-borne disease.

With backpacking and hiking season in full swing, it is important to know tick season is also in full swing. And these little stowaways are quietly lying waiting to hitch a ride on an unsuspecting soul.

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View Ranger Mobile Phone Navigation App

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For about a year now, I’ve been using View Ranger Navigation on my Galaxy phone. And while there are no shortages of navigation apps out there, This app just really called out to me with some of it’s features.

Available for both android and apple, this app is free for download. One of the key points I liked about this app, unlike others, is I didn’t have to set up an account to use it. Of course to really enjoy all of the features registration is needed. But the key features are all available without registration.

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3 Excellent Weapons for Survival

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Even without a natural disaster or SHTF event, deadly situations arise unexpectedly. Confirmation of this is available via the home invasions, rapes, muggings, and other violent crimes flooding police scanners weekly. The right weapons for survival on hand can catch an opponent off guard and give you and your family members time to get away … Read more…

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Drinking Too Much Water Nearly Killed Me

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“Drinking too much water nearly killed me!”

That’s how the story started on a first-aid course I was teaching. I was into the middle of my spiel on hyponatremia (water intoxication) when one of the students blurted out that statement.

“It occurred on an organized long distance bike ride,” he continued. “We were riding along a ridge and I started to feel sick and was developing a headache. I thought I was just dehydrated and needed to rest, so I drank more water, but the headache was getting worse. I knew something was wrong and needed to go to the hospital. Luckily I wasn’t alone on the ride and an aid station was near by.

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The Importance of Rest in the Back Country

I was fairly new to the business and eager to make connections and keep clients happy by being available when they needed me. I had already booked a project and now a different client was contacting me for a different project all together. The first job would end about 3 a.m. and the second one begin about 7 a.m. that same morning. I was young and full of myself, so I agreed to do the second one. Needless to say, I was a wreck. I couldn’t think clearly, I was moving slowly and I was caught dozing off a couple of times. Not a good way to keep a client happy.

That little experience is not unusual. People are doing it all the time, with reckless abandon, and getting into fatal accidents.

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The Importance of Rest in the Back Country

I was fairly new to the business and eager to make connections and keep clients happy by being available when they needed me. I had already booked a project and now a different client was contacting me for a different project all together. The first job would end about 3 a.m. and the second one begin about 7 a.m. that same morning. I was young and full of myself, so I agreed to do the second one. Needless to say, I was a wreck. I couldn’t think clearly, I was moving slowly and I was caught dozing off a couple of times. Not a good way to keep a client happy.

That little experience is not unusual. People are doing it all the time, with reckless abandon, and getting into fatal accidents.

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The Importance of Rest in the Back Country

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I was fairly new to the business and eager to make connections and keep clients happy by being available when they needed me. I had already booked a project and now a different client was contacting me for a different project all together. The first job would end about 3 a.m. and the second one begin about 7 a.m. that same morning. I was young and full of myself, so I agreed to do the second one. Needless to say, I was a wreck. I couldn’t think clearly, I was moving slowly and I was caught dozing off a couple of times. Not a good way to keep a client happy.

That little experience is not unusual. People are doing it all the time, with reckless abandon, and getting into fatal accidents.

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The 10 Essentials Revised and Improved

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Developed in the 1930s, by Seattle based Mountaineers club, “The 10 Essentials” were items listed as needed to respond positively to backcountry emergencies and accidents. Over time, the list morphed from an item approach to a systems approach, an improvement, but still fundamentally lacking in some regards. With some critical thinking and a couple of tweaks, however, the list can be solid.

The classic 10 essentials are

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Early Morning Hike Checking Out Useful Plants

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By 3:30 a.m. I was already tossing and turning. After laying in bed for a while, I finally decided to get up. It was 4:00 a.m. by now and I was getting in the shower, ready to start my day. Funny thing is I really had no where to be, or anything really to do. I just wanted to get up and get ready. I guess It’s not entirely abnormal. I’m usually up between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning.

After checking some emails, I headed out the door and on my way to the convenient store for my usual morning stop. By now it was 5:oo a.m.

“Hmmm! Guess I’ll head over to the local hiking trail and get an early morning hike in,” I thought… Off I went.

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Chicken Fried Steak Throwdown

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I loves me some chicken fried steak. And I try to make it a point to have some in my travels across the states. I’ve not yet found what I would call the Cadillac of chicken fried steaks, but I’ve sure had some tasty meals in my search.

Now there’s one cowboy’s chicken fried I’m eager to try, cuz if you can beat Bobby Flay in a head to head throw down, I’m bet’n it’s gonna be the best I’ve ever had.

Sum y’all may’ve never hear of him, but he sure seems to be a household name round the cowboy culture.

Okay hoe’d up. Let me reboot. Trying to write in a cowboyish tone is giv’n me a headache.

Kent Rollins, rather cowboy Kent Rollins, is a bonafide chuckwagon cook, and if watching his videos don’t put you in a bushcrafting mood, I’m not quite sure what else will.

Born and raised near Hollis Oklahoma, Kent has been a cowboy all his life. He’s…. Ah hell let me just provide the blurb from his website,

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Ham-O-Can Redux: The Operator G1 from Hardened Power Systems

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Call it a radio go box or Ham-O-Can, the Operator G1 by Hardened Power Systems IS the Ham-O-Can…only better.  The original Ham-O-Can video is here.  This comms box is one awesome piece of kit.  Check it out: Products in the video: HPS Operator G1 Midland MXT 105 Operator Magnetic Kickstands New 15 Watt Midland MXT …

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The Website Has Changed. Here’s Why

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If you’ve followed this site and this is your first visit in some time, you’ll notice quite the change in look. Aside from the overall look and feel, I made a conscience decision to close down the online store.

The decision to close the online store really had nothing to do with sales, more the confliction with my core philosophy. Here I am the guy whom always admonishes the pervasiveness of gear hype and aggrandizing, yet I’m not behaving in a manner congruent with my beliefs. I’ve all but rid myself of all my outdoor gear, as an affront to the mainstream idea you need this widget or that gadget, yet here I am selling those very chachkies. Who was I kidding? Every time a sale would come through I would feel guilt. I was not being true to my beliefs; moreover, I was conceding to an ideology I do not believe in.

Christian Noble, of Master Woodsman, some time ago wrote, “I hate gear. Outside of doing what its supposed to do, it really gets in the way… physically, psychologically, and especially financially.”

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Buy Experiences Not Things

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The concept of “buy experiences not things” is not new. Studies have been conducted and countless articles written about the idea.

I’ve just returned from the PNW (Pacific Northwest). The memories I bring back will last me a lifetime, but aside from my clothes and hygiene kit, I couldn’t tell you what else I packed to save my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I could tell you what I had, but I couldn’t detail on which day I wore or used what. More importantly, in no way did I ever feel anymore exhilarated and excited or my day improved because I wore or adorned a specific item. I couldn’t tell you what clothes my colleagues wore or what knives they used while we were together. But What I can tell you are the stories we shared, the laughs we had and the places we visited.

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I’d Rather be Caught Dead Than Caught with a Ferro Rod

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“I’d rather be caught dead than caught with a ferro rod!” That was the comment I made to a fellow instructor this past weekend. To him, however, it came as no surprise. He knows I have a rather oblique and critical view of the survival industry. “It’s not that I think the ferro rod doesn’t work,” I said. “It works well for what it is and is great bushcraft tool. The problem I have with it is it’s billing. It is billed as the ultimate emergency fire starting tool. It creates the mind set of the be all end all of fire starting when in reality it violates my basic tenet of survival—Can a five year old do it?”

He listened on in silence as we walked down the trail. I can only think he was thinking, “Oh boy, here goes Alan again on one of his wild rants”

“You know, Rob,” I said. “I’ve run thousands of students.

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Try making hardtack: A great, cheap addition to your survival gear

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Looking for a way to use up surplus flour, or make a cheap trail food or durable survival ration? One answer may be hardtack, a baked, unleavened wheat cracker. As a survival food, hardtack has a proven track record.

by Leon Pantenburg

Vicksburg, MS: My gray-clad brothers-in-arms and I  hunkered down to eat. In the morning, we would do battle with those “heathen Yankee horde” Civil War re-enactors at Champions Hill, between Jackson and Vicksburg,  Mississippi.

I was “under cover” on assignment for the Vicksburg Post to photograph the battle, one of the biggest re-enactments of the year. Except for the Nikon safely hidden  in my haversack, my gear, weapons and accouterments were authentic in every way.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Since I was working for the Post, I had to represent the home team and be a Confederate. (This probably caused a minor earth tremor in Ruthven, Iowa, as my great-great-grandfather, James Hallowell,  92th Illinois Infantry, rolled in his grave!)

My only excuse was that like most Confederate soldiers, I had been drafted, thought “The Cause” was illogical, had no choice about being there, and wanted to go home!

I ‘d learned a lot about being a Civil War infantryman in one short, sweltering afternoon: the food was absolutely awful; our wool uniforms were too hot, and felt like you were wearing a sweatsuit: the Kepi-style caps provided no sun protection and the canteens were too small.

The Sargent, sensing my discontent (because of  my constant whining and complaining) picked on me.  He proclaimed to all within hearing distance that I was a “slacker,” and called me a “baboon” when I dropped my canteen during drill. As darkness fell, the re-enactors would sleep under wool blankets, not to stay warm, but to fight off mosquitoes.

But the food was the worst. Dinner was a piece of hardtack, a fatty piece of bacon toasted on a bayonet over a campfire;  horrible boiled coffee brewed in my tin cup and a wormy-looking apple. After eating my meager meal, I was ready to either desert or form a raiding party to attack  the Yankees and get some real food!

A hardtack biscuit

A modern hardtack biscuit

Hardtack is one of the original trail and emergency foods, and it is worth considering if you are a prepper or are interested in wilderness or urban survival.

The advantage is that hardtack is easy to make, transports easily and will last a reasonably long time if stored in appropriate containers. The disadvantage is the bland taste, and traditional toughness.

Even after yeast was discovered by the Egyptians, there was a purpose for unleavened breads. It was easy to carry and durable, so it was standard fare for hunters and warriors.  Centuries later, Christopher Columbus took unleavened bread on his journeys.

Hardtack remained a staple in the New World. During the early settlement of North America, the exploration of the continent, the American Revolution, and on through the American

Hardtack was a durable, if bland-tasting, field ration.

Civil War, armies were kept alive with hardtack.  A basic concept in war is that the side that keeps its soldiers from going hungry will probably win.

Hardtack is also reasonably nutritious. Wheat flour is more than 10% protein and includes Vitamin B. During emergencies, people can live for quite a while on just bread and water.  Although raw flour is hard to digest, in the form of hard bread, it is edible.

No one has determined just when, or how, during the American Civil War, hard bread began to be referred to as hardtack. Apparently,  it was first called hardtack by the Union Army of the Potomac; although the name spread to other units, it was generally referred to as hard bread by the armies of the West.

Regardless of the time frame, if you’re a history buff, prepper or hard-core survivalist, you should consider including hardtack in your emergency food supplies or survival kit. A guaranteed conversation starter at any campfire, campout or outdoor event, hardtack can have a useful place  in today’s survival kit.

(It only takes a few additional ingredients to turbocharge  the nutritional value of hardtack. To each cup of flour in the recipe, add one tablespoon of soy flour, one teaspoon of wheat germ and one teaspoon of powdered milk. There is no difference in the taste, and these ingredients combine to make the bread a complete protein.)

There are many versions and varieties of hardtack recipes: Try some of these to start out.

Army Hardtack Recipe
  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces


After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.

The fresh crackers are easily broken, but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistency of fired brick.

Swedish Hardtack

I cup water

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 tbsp. honey

3 cups rye flour (or 1 1/2 cups rye & 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

1  1/2 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (optional)

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix liquids together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the mixtures, stirring to moisten throughout.  Form a ball.  On a floured surface, flatten the dough, and roll out thinly. Cut into squares and prick each cracker with the tines of a fork a couple of times.  Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 425° F for around 8 minutes, checking to be sure not to over-brown.  It is best served warm.

Mix: two cups of all-purpose flour and a half teaspoon of salt.  Use more salt for authenticity. Mix by hand. Add a teaspoon of shortening and a half cup of water, stirred in a little at a time to form a very stiff dough.  Beat the dough to a half inch thickness with a clean top mallet or rifle butt.  Fold the sheet of dough into six layers. Continue to beat and to fold the dough a half dozen times until it is elastic. Roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness before cutting it with a floured biscuit cutter or bayonet. Bake for about a half hour in a 325° F oven.

The basic ingredients are flour, salt and water. General directions are also similar: Dissolve the salt in water and work it into flour using your hands.  The dough should be firm and pliable but not sticky or dry. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into squares 3 inches by 3 inches.  Pierce each square with 16 holes about ½ inch apart.  Bake in oven until edges are brown or dough is hard.

Preheat the oven to 400° F For each cup of flour add 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix salt and flour with just enough water to bind. Bake 20-25 minutes.  The longer you bake the hardtack, the more authentic it will appear.

A Sailor’s Diet

In a separate container, mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
  • 1/2 cup melted bacon drippings or shortening.

Combine the two sets of ingredients. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about a quarter inch.  Cut out circles of dough with a large drinking glass dipped in flour and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 5 1/2 minutes at 450° F.

Let the hardtack cool on a wire rack before serving with jam or jelly.



The COMPLETE How To Build The Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle

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We’ve been on this series for some time and here it is, the COMPLETE How To Build The Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle.  Bug Out Vehicles, they can mean different things to different people.  Not all “bug outs” may be permanent, some could be.  In this video we talk about the fundamentals of building a bug …

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Exploring the High Desert

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I knew with all the rains the high desert and it’s rolling hills would be turning beautiful shades of green. And yesterday I had the opportunity to explore an area of the high desert I’ve been meaning to get to for some time.

The drive up to Agua Dulce was uneventful, other than the winds attempting to blow my vehicle sideways. The winds are fairly predictable, however. Mornings and afternoons are typically much more windy as the sun’s rays warm up the air hovering just above the earth’s surface. The warming air then rises and is displaced by the cooler air that sits higher in the atmosphere. This is what causes the winds. As late afternoon approaches and the temperatures drop, the sun no longer warms up the air as it did earlier in the day and their is no warm air to rise causing winds. [I digress]

As I drove to my destination, just a coupe of miles from Vasquez Rocks,

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Henbit, Plant of the Week

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We’re slightly over a month into Winter and already, here in Southern California, we are seeing wild greens popping up. And one of the most noticeable early bloomers, amongst many, is henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). And certainly yesterday, during my wild plants class, this little mint was making its appearance in a grand way. It was growing so rampant, it was difficult getting around it without trampling it. Fortunately, this abundance just provided more pickings for a wild green salad.
Henbit often goes unnoticed, as it blends into the background of growing grasses and other wild plants. But this small low growing European native is found throughout North America and its mild sweet taste makes a welcome addition to any wild salad. And once recognized, you will notice this plant growing in a lot of places you may frequent. It prefers light dry soil as well as cultivated soil. It is often found along roadsides, in pastures, yards and gardens. In my case, it grows rampant in my backyard, but is just as easily found in areas I hike.

Henbit is in the mint family and shares the typical mint characteristics—square stem and opposite leaves. It is often confused for purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum), but is indeed different.

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Not Carrying a Knife for Wilderness Survival

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On a recent walkabout, one of the students asked where my knife was. I paused the walk, turned towards the group and said, “I don’t have one”

“You mean you forgot it?” the student asked

“No, I mean I don’t carry one.” I replied while I noticed his riding on his hip. As I looked about, I noticed others had their knives on them as well, not all but some.

“Not even when you’re in the outdoors?” another asked

I guess I must not be following the mold of what an outdoors person is supposed to have or not have when hiking along.

“Actually, no. Outside of teaching classes which involve the use of a knife, like carving, cutting and sharpening, I don’t carry a knife at all.” I responded.

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Wild Plant Scout Trip 17JAN17

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I set out earlier today on a scout of one of my favorite local haunts. It’s an area I frequently conduct classes at. The area is a riparian zone and very rich with a diverse flora.

I entered the dirt parking lot and noticed three other vehicles parked, but no one around. I gathered they were on a hike along the trail that parallels the creek.

Exiting the vehicle I heard a sound I’ve never heard there before, the sound of a roaring river. No way, I thought, as I walked over to what was supposed to be a creek. The creek was a roaring river. The area in the photo is typically a dribble, very easily crossed by stepping on small stones to get across; not today, however.

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Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now

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Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now via Preparedness Advice

The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.

First, do a bit of research on the flower, make sure you have it correctly identified. This foraging book is one of my favorites and the author is a well-known foraging expert. Second, make sure you know which parts can be eaten. If you are interested in learning to identify edible plants like the ones on this list or growing a garden with all the herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers you could possibly want, check out this book and this book.

Interestingly, as you learn more about foraging in your backyard and elsewhere, you’ll find that not every part of a plant is edible. It’s important to have some fundamental foraging knowledge before you start picking random plants and eating them!

Angelica Anise Hyssop
Apple blossom Artichoke
Arugula Bachelor Buttons/Cornflower
Banana Basil
Borage Calendula
Carnation Chamomile
Chicory Chives
Chrysanthemum Cilantro/Coriander
Citrus Clover
Dandelion Daylily
Dianthus Dill
Elderberry English daisy
Fennel Freesia
Fuschia Geraniums
Gladiolas Hibiscus
Honeysuckle Hollyhock
Hyssop Jasmine
Johnny Jump Up Lavender
Lemon verbena Lilac
Linden Mallow
Marigold Marjoram
Mint Mustard
Nasturtium Oregano
Okra Onion
Orange blossom Pansy
Passionflower Pineapple sage
Primrose Radish
Red clover Redbud
Rose Rosemary
Rose of Sharon Runner bean
Safflower Sage
Savory Scented Geranium
Snapdragon Society garlic
Squash blossom Sunflower
Sweet Marigold Sweet William
Thyme Tuberous Begonia
Tulip Viola
Violet Winter Savory

It’s good to know that the flowers of these plants are edible because they’re a source of nutrition and flavor that would otherwise go to waste. Sample a single petal, or small piece of a petal, before assuming you’re going to like the flavor. Get a good foraging book or two, preferably one with a few recipes to get you started. Try drying the petals and seeping them in hot water to make teas or chopping up the edible blossoms, leaves, too, if edible, and adding them to biscuit batter or on sandwiches and in salads.

The beauty of this very long list is that there is something to be found in every growing region, from deserts to the coldest climate areas. Many of these flowers will be found in the wild, such as wild violets. I’ve made a printable checklist of these flowers so you can have a copy on hand to keep with you as you forage.

In the future, I plan to write posts on some of the flowers on this list along with pictures and identifying information, as well as a few edible weeds. However if you have these in your yard you don’t need to wait for me.  Learn about the plants in your yard or area today.

Updated by Noah, January 14, 2017.

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Check, Call, Care The 3 Steps of Survival

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Anyone who’s ever taken a Red Cross CPR course has undoubtedly heard of Check, Call, Care. It is the foundation for dealing with a true survival situation.

Though many people dislike him, Bear Grylls has a similar survival philosophy, granted it is not exactly the same. Regardless, his emphasis is the same. Grylls approach is Protection, Rescue, Water, and Food. Protect yourself from immediate danger—exposure, animals, injuries, etc. Signal for rescue and finally keep hydrated and fed until rescue arrives.

So, how can Check, Call, Care be expanded into our wilderness adventure plans? It’s actually very easy.

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It is difficult to quantify the perfect EDC. Our ever changing lifestyle is a big factor in what determines the perfect EDC. In essence, the perfect EDC is dynamic and fluid, never right and never wrong.

I’ve always been very reserved speaking about my EDC. Several years ago, however, I made a video of what I EDC’ed at the time. Like anything else you publish online, it was met with some criticism, but meh, I wasn’t bothered by it. It was based on what I was doing on a daily basis, it served it’s purpose. As time went on, interests and jobs changed, so did my EDC. My EDC changed dynamically to meet the needs of that new interest or job. Often times I would take things out or add things in, but there was

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Schrade SCHF51M Frontier Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife Review

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I have to start out by saying, that I really respect Taylor Brands – the current owner of Schrade knives. Since their acquisition of the company, they’re really listening to the consumer and they’re constantly improving design. What’s more impressive, is the fact that they’re keeping the price LOW! The new 2016 line could be the […]

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Condor Bushcraft Basic Knife Review

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At first look, it could very well be confused for a steak knife – but it’s much more than that! The design is actually very similar to the Leuku knives carried by the Sami people.  While the Leuku’s are generally a larger knife, it’s the very definition of a bushcraft knife. They use these for chopping, woodcrafting, butchering, […]

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Condor Nessmuk Knife Review

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The Nessmuk is based on George Washington Sears‘ (A.K.A – Nessmuk) design of what he thought was the best knife a woodsman could possibly carry.  Nessmuk was an avid woodsman, and his popular book Woodcraft and Camping was (and still is) considered a “manual” for outdoorsman all across the globe.  I highly recommend picking up a copy, […]

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Condor Kephart Survival Knife Review

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The Kephart is another quality, budget offering from Condor.  It’s based on the original design from Horace Kephart, who was an avid woodsman and author for the early days of Field and Stream magazine, as well as several books shown here. Specs and Review Link Blade Length: 4 1/2″ Blade Thickness: 1/8″ Overall Length: 9″ Blade […]

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Condor Bushlore Bushcraft Knife Review

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The Condor Tool and Knife Company offers a huge selection of affordable cutting tools. The company traces it’s history all the way back to 1787 in Germany, while the majority of it’s current products are now produced in El Salvador. You can find tons of reviews on YouTube and several popular forums. Blade Length: 4 […]

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Joshua Tree Day Trip

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Joshua Tree is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Visiting there feels like you’ve landed on another planet. At least that’s the feeling I have every time I visit, today was no different.

I headed out early this morning for a meet and greet with one of the directors of Joshua Tree and to recon the area I will be teaching a two day survival course in March.

The drive there was uneventful. The rolling hills coming into Cherry Valley were already turning green, a welcome sight. San Gorgonio Mountain was covered in snow which made for a picturesque backdrop.

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Zen Action Steps for a more Enjoyable Hike

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The beginning of any new year is always filled with well intended resolutions. Kicking off the new year with a nice hike through the woods is certainly good food for the soul.

Before you set out on your hike, here are some Zen action steps you can use to really help make your hike more enjoyable.

Do not consume alcohol the night before— There is nothing worse than attempting to go hike with a hangover, no matter how minor it is. If you drink, you might actually talk yourself out of going the next day. Cloudiness and being hungover keep you from being in the moment.

Watch what and how much you eat— Eating too much or the wrong kinds of food

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2017 Spring has Begun in Southern California

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Yesterday, Jan 2, I went on my first hike of the year. And while much of the country is still seasonally dormant, Southern California is coming alive.

I often kid with people and tell them SoCal has only two seasons, green and brown. For the most part, it seems to be true. Our green season can begin as early as December, when the first good rain fall typically begins. Often times, by Late March and April many areas begin turning brown. I guess one could say some of SoCal begins it’s Spring in December and it’s Summer by April. In the area I enjoy, February is peak Spring. [I digress]

The day was beautiful. The ominous clouds set a backdrop stark in contrast to what we are used to—Sunny Days.

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Uncommon Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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swim goggles

We all know what our bug-out bag essentials are, right? 90% of the items we packed are pretty much the same for all of us… but what about the other 10%?

In this article I want to give you a list of “uncommon” survival items that some people have in their backpacks. Not just because it’s fun but because I want to give you some fresh ideas on what to pack. If, by the end of this article, I get you to say “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, I’m gonna add item number 7!”… then the article is useful and I haven’t written it for nothing. If I fail, feel free to share your own weird survival items in a comment below so you can improve on this list.

Caveat: I’m not saying you need to start packing all these items. These are just a few ideas that may or may not make sense to your particular situation. Your bug-out bag essentials should have priority and you should always keep your backpack as light as possible by only packing what you need.

#1. Floss

Floss is lightweight, takes very little space and hard to find post-collapse. But the really cool thing about is that it has a bunch of other uses, such as tying things up, to use it as fishing rod and so on.

#2. A hand-crank chainsaw

Hand crank chainsaws are ultralight, compact and can be used in both rural and urban scenarios. You never know when you come across a tree that your car is helpless against.

#3. Fishing net

Do you have rivers near your location? A net might bring you much needed food besides the little you’ve already packed.

#4. A hand fan

If high temperatures are a concern, a hand fan might be a lifesaver. Small, compact, lightweight and cheap – perfect for a BOB.

#5. A razor

A razor has many more uses besides shaving (which won’t be a priority when disaster strikes, anyway).

#6. A foldable skateboard

Skateboards allow you to travel at speeds of over 10 miles per hour while walking is usually done at about 3mph. The fact that you can also fold it means you can put it in your bug out bag (though I have a feeling you’ll take it for a spin every once in a while).

#7. Tweezers

Cutting your nails without tweezers is hard. They take little space, they’re dirt cheap and might be unavailable when the brown stuff hits the fan. You might want to consider putting them in a Ziploc bag to avoid water getting to it and getting it all rusty.

#8. Condoms

Condoms have many uses besides the obvious one: they allow you to carry water, they can be used as a flotation device or even as a lens to start a fire (by filling them with water).

#9. Swim goggles

I’m not trying to scare you by telling you you’re gonna end up in a river somewhere, fighting for your life but, if you do have to cross one, wouldn’t it be better if you were equipped?

Besides, you can use these googles in other situations, such as when there’s tear gas or when you give your kid the important task of trying to spark a fire.

#10. An alarm clock

I know a bug-out bag is supposed to be as light as possible but some people think an alarm clock could be useful. This is NOT something I personally pack (or intend to) but maybe you want to…

#11. A Frisbee

Frisbees have more uses than just for playing. You can use them to sit on or to prepare food on them for example.

#12. Fly fishing lures

You’re gonna want to fish, at least that’s what most bug-out scenarios suggest…

#13. Pipe cutter

This could be really useful in urban scenarios where you’ll encounter a lot of pipes. Let’s not forget that PVC pipes have a lot of uses pre and post-disaster as long as you can cut them to the desired length.

#14. Paper clips

There are dozens of uses for paper clips, from lock picking to using them as a worm hook, zipper pulls or even to make a small chain. You may also want to keep them in your edc kit, your car’s BOB, your get home bag and so on.

#15. An extra pair of underwear

Needless to say, you may not have the luxury of having your wardrobe with your when it hits the fan. But an even bigger question is, what will you do if the only pair of underwear when bugging out is the one you’re already wearing?

Put an extra pair of underwear in your bug-out bag. In fact, make that two, and you can thank me after SHTF.


Ok, those were it. I realize I could have added a lot more of these unusual items but I tried to stick to the ones that you will actually need. Take this article with a grain of salt and, if you feel the need to add some of these items, how about you build a second BOB with non-essentials that you may or may not be able to take with you as you evacuate?

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2016 A Year of Change

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With 2016 firmly in the rear view mirror, I look forward to the road that is 2017.

Like anything else, we are in a constant state of change, even if it means all some of us are doing is sitting on the couch, staring at the clock, and watching the seconds slip by. How we choose to pass the time determines our path and helps shape our personal growth. Sometimes decisions and actions must be made which help clear the road for that growth. Often times, however, those decisions and action can be divergent from everyone else, or even evolved from some of your own long held beliefs.

It is no mystery I have a far different, even controversial at times, wilderness survival and preparedness philosophy than the community as a whole. And though we share the desire for the same end result—stay alive—in order to be true to myself, I’ve had to carve my own unfettered path, free of biases and ideologies.

November 2015 would be the last time I logged into facebook, spending just enough time there to hit the account delete button

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Alternative Weapons for Self-Defense and Survival

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For most people, stockpiling weapons for hunting and self-defense in a survival situation means choosing the best combination of firearms and bladed weapons. But there are some people for whom firearms aren’t a feasible or desired choice. If you’re one of those people who prefers not to use firearms for hunting and self-defense, if you want a backup to your blade, or if you are unable to use firearms for some reason, below are a list of alternative weapons you can consider.

Deterrent Weapons

No conversation about alternative weapons would be complete without pointing out the usefulness of deterrent weapons.  Sometimes the best way to win a fight is simply not to stick around long enough to lose.  The weapons in this section can be useful to deter or distract your opponent so you can escape safely.

Use deterrent weapons in a survival situation you’re not planning to stick around to defend your territory, and your only goal is to distract your opponent long enough to get away. Sometimes your only option is to grab whatever item is closest to you. But if you don’t have any practical self-defense or hand to hand combat training, you will want to make getting training a top priority.

  • Pepper Spray, Bee, or Wasp Spray
  • Keys
  • Dirt or Sand
  • A ball bat, shovel or metal rake
  • Bleach or Cleaning Solutions
  • Boiling Water or Cast Iron Pan

Air Soft Guns

If you are seeking non-lethal alternatives to firearms, you might consider one of the many airsoft guns on the market or even one of the airsoft guns you can make yourself. Airsoft guns are lightweight, quieter than a traditional firearm, and ammunition is accessible and inexpensive to stockpile. An airsoft gun will not kill or maim your opponent, but it can be used to distract them long enough for you to get out of reach.

Defensive Weapons

Bows and Compound Bows

These are long-range weapons and a good alternative in a survival situation. They are used primarily for hunting, but if you are skilled in its use, it can be used to defend your territory. Bows and Compound bows are one of the cheapest weapons to make, obtain and own because with the right know-how and practice; you can make your arrows and even a bow from natural materials.

Of course, there are also more modern crossbows you can purchase that release arrows with a trigger, but it may not pay to channel Darryl Dixon in a survival situation once Martial Law is declared. Confiscation of all firearms and recognizable weapons is likely early on. Far better to have the skill and knowledge to make your own for hunting and self-defense once you reach your bug out location.


Although it may seem antiquated, the spear was probably one of the most widely used weapons in history and are still useful for self-defense, hunting, and even fishing. Spears can be thrown to hit a target farther off or thrust into an opponent at close range. They require more strength and practice than other alternative weapons but can be made entirely from materials found in the wilderness if needed.


A slingshot is another great alternate weapon during a survival situation. The huge benefits of using a slingshot as an alternative weapon are that it is relatively easy for most people to use, you can make one yourself using just a few materials. Use a Y-shaped branch and stock up or scavenge surgical tubing, a bicycle tube or thera-band strips.

Consider one of these 14 slingshot designs by Jorg Sprave of The Slingshot Channel. He even includes one you can make yourself and one specifically for self-defense that includes a flashlight and a canister of pepper spray.

Flare Guns

A rocket flare fired from a flare gun signals for help during an emergency, but the benefit of this as an alternative weapon is that it’s not a target during a weapons confiscation raid. There aren’t many opponents who will give you much trouble if you shoot them in the stomach or chest with a ball of fire from a rocket flare gun.

Obviously, there are many more alternative weapons to firearms for a survival situation. To choose the best weapon to use to protect yourself and your family following a SHTF event, consider your options carefully. Make sure you review the pros and cons of any alternative weapon you choose and take the time to learn and practice using it so you will be confident in its use when it matters most.

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The Survival Expert Paradox

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With so many variables in play, the idea of survival expert has always made me cringe. To call yourself a survival expert has always made me feel you’re a jackass. Oh and be sure I’ve had more than my fair share of encounters with you survival donkeys.

I recently came across an article [here] on the Survival Sherpa website succinctly describing the relation between survival and expert:


My buddy Tommy runs a popular Facebook group and put an interesting spin on this disturbing online trend… something I’d never thought of but makes total sense.

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Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants

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Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants via Preparedness Advice

Everybody likes to get something for free and here’s a huge collection of free manuals for you to download. I have not had a chance to review all of them so I can’t say that everything they suggest is accurate. Many of them are hundreds of pages long, so take your time reviewing them and making note of the books or pages in books that you may want to print out.

Urban Preparation Kit, Part 1, On Body Kit

Traps and Snares

Wilderness Survival Skills

Surviving Terrorism

Wilderness Survival

Survival Water Purification

Preserving Game Meats

Nuclear War Survival Skills

How to Build a Debris Hut

HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan

Combat Survival Evasion

Cold Weather Survival: A Way of Life

Cold Weather Survival

Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making

Alpine Living for SAR

Aids to Survival



Survival In Cold Weather Areas

Survival, Evasion and Recovery

NEWER US Army Survival Manual

Marines Individual Terrorism Survival

USMC Winter Survival Course

Wilderness Evasion: A Guide to Hiding Out and Eluding Pursuit in Remote Areas

USMC Summer Survival Course

Free Manuals on Edible & Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 2

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 3

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 4

Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada

Survival Medicine

Survival: How to Make Herbal Preparations

Edible Medicinal Plants

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition

PDR for Herbal Medicines

Healing Pets With Alternative Medicine

Ethnobotany of the Forest Indians

Edible Wild Plants

Edible and Medicinal Plants

Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herb Craft

A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes & Herbal Medicine

Common Edible Mushrooms — Be careful here. It’s recommended that you never eat a wild mushroom without personal instruction with an expert forager/herbalist.

A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure


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Survival Uses for Bandanas

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The bandana is an item that is on practically every list of recommended survival gear, and for good reason.  It’s incredibly lightweight and has many different uses in survival situations.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to carry several in your survival kit, and not just one.  To give you an idea of just how versatile a bandana really is, here are a list of uses.


Perhaps the most obvious use is as a neck gaiter.  In cold weather, this will help to keep your neck warm, while in the summer, it can help to protect your neck from a sunburn.  Hypo and hyperthermia are not to be messed with.


When you have a headache, soaking a bandana in water and then setting it over your head will alleviate pain if you don’t have proper medications such as ibuprofen.  This is also something you should do if you have a fever and need to bring your temperature down.


If you or someone in your group sustains any kind of an open wound on a leg or an arm, you’ll want to fashion a tourniquet above it, to inhibit the flow of blood. Tying a bandana tightly above the site of the wound will work great for this.


Of course, perhaps the simplest medical use for a bandana would be to just use it as a bandage over an open wound.  Place a clean bandana over it and then tie it down either with a cord or another bandana.


A tourniquet and a bandage aren’t the only first aid uses a bandana can have. You can also use it as a sling in the event of a fracture. You have to tie the corners of two bandanas together or tie the bandana to a cord for it to be long enough to wrap around your neck, but it will work.


Instead of a sling, you may have to use your bandana to tie a splint around a broken arm or leg to help heal the fracture.  Find two sticks and place them on either side of the fractured limb, and then tie them in place with the bandana.

It may be primitive, but a simple bandana and stone may be what gets you dinner.  If you’re going to rely on a sling for hunting game, or for defending yourself for that matter, it’s imperative that you know how to use it.  For this reason, collect a pile of stones and spend a few hours training yourself in using your bandana as a sling until you get the gist.


Simply cut up a bandana into smaller and thinner strips to serve as cords.  Obviously you won’t be able to put it back together.  This technique should arguably only be used if A, you have another bandana to fall back on, and B, you have absolutely nothing else to use as cordage.


A brightly colored bandana may not be the most effective signal in the world (smoke signaling or a mirror reflecting the sunlight will be better), but it’s still better than nothing if you need to get someone’s attention quickly.


This is likely how you will find yourself using your bandana most of the time. There are many reasons for why you would want a rag or a washcloth in a survival situation, the vast majority of which have to do with cleaning and personal hygiene.  Assuming that you don’t have an actual rag with you, can you think of anything that would serve this purpose better than a bandana?


While images of old western outlaws with bandanas over their faces may come to mind here, what we’re referring to here is using your bandana as a means to protect your mouth and your nose from inhaling anything they shouldn’t: smoke, toxic chemicals, or dust.


It’s imperative that your firearms be well taken care of for them to work properly. If you have any with you in a survival situation, you’ll want to wipe and dry them down daily to prevent rust or corrosion from setting in.  However, this will always be more difficult if you’re stuck in the wild with limited resources.  Fortunately, a bandana will work excellently as an alternative to a normal gun rag.  While you can use your whole bandana to wipe down the exterior of the gun, you can also cut it down into smaller strips or patches to wipe the internals.


All of the metal gear in your backpack can make a lot of noise when it’s all clanging together, but you can strategically place your bandana(s) in between those metal items to reduce the noise as much as possible.  This will be key if you’re hunting game and need to be as quiet and stealthy as you can.


If any of the straps on your backpack break, you may think this means you now have to actually carry your backpack in your arms.  Fortunately, an ordinary bandana will serve as an excellent remedy.  Simply tie your bandana tightly to the two ends of the strap that broke and you should be set.


It’s not the most pleasant use for a bandana by any means, but if you don’t have disposable tissues with you to serve as a handkerchief, there’s always your bandana.


This means that you’ll be sacrificing your bandana obviously, but if you need fire desperately to cook food or warm yourself and you can’t seem to get anything going, it could be worth it.  Cut the bandana into small pieces and thin strips.  If it’s dry, it should take a flame easily, but even if it doesn’t, you can soak it something flammable such as Vaseline, hand sanitizer, or chap stick, and it should convert a spark into a flame almost instantly.  You won’t want to sacrifice your entire bandana for this use, so it may be wise to just cut a single thin strip and then leave the rest of the bandana intact.


You can use your bandana as a net to catch fish in a stream.  Either tie the four corners the bandana to the end of a stick, or tie two corners between two sticks and then wade through the stream when you find a fish.  While it may be difficult to catch a single fish with this method, you should be able to catch several if you come across a school of small minnows, for example.


The main purpose to wearing a hat in a survival situation is to keep your head warm, especially in a cold climate.  But if you don’t have a hat, the next best option will be to simply tie a bandana around it.


Folding up a bandana, or tying the four corners and then filling it up with a few leaves, will be better than nothing if you need a pillow to help you get a good night’s sleep and conserve your energy for the next day.


As you can hopefully see by now, there’s perfectly food reason for why most survival checklists have a bandana near or at the top of the list.  Bandanas are just so small, lightweight, and cheap that there’s practically zero reason not to include at least one of them in your bug out bag, get home bag, inch bag and even as part of your edc kit.  Better yet, you should try and include at least two or three so that you always have backups.

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Fallkniven A1 Review

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Today, I’m going to be reviewing the Fallkniven A1. I don’t normally review stainless steel fixed blade knives, because I was a die-hard high carbon steel guy. Don’t get me wrong – I still love high carbon steel, but this knife is a wonderfully crafted and insanely strong cutting tool that would be right at home […]

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Winter Weather Survival – Survival Vehicle Prep

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I hope everyone is enjoying the Winter Survival series! If you need to catch up, here are the links for Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3. In this article, I want to talk about survival vehicle prep – or why you should prepare your vehicle for the winter weather ahead. You don’t have to be extreme […]

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Ontario RAT 5 Review

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Quick Company History The Ontario Knife Company was formed by three gentleman in Ontario County, New York in 1889. Their early production knives were manufactured with a water-run grindstone, loaded up in a pushcart and sold throughout the neighboring countryside. In 1902, the company moved to it’s current location in Franklinville. The company went through […]

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TOPS Dragonfly 4.5 Review

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Quick Company History TOPS Knives was founded in 1998. They set out with a mission to create the highest quality knives around. They classify their knives as “tools designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real life experiences of many Operators with backgrounds in Military, Law Enforcement, outdoor professions, and Martial Arts”. They have […]

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TOPS BOB Fieldcraft Review

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Quick Company History TOPS Knives was founded in 1998. They set out with a mission to create the highest-quality knives around. They classify their knives as “tools designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real life experiences of many Operators with backgrounds in Military, Law Enforcement, outdoor professions, and Martial Arts”. They have worked […]

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Schrade SCHF51 Review

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I have to start out by saying, that I really respect Taylor Brands – the current owner of Schrade knives. Since their acquisition of the company, they’re really listening to the consumer and they’re constantly improving design. What’s more impressive, is the fact that they’re keeping the price LOW! The new 2016 line could be the […]

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Mora Bushcraft Black Review

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Mora’s are definitely one of the most popular knives in the bushcraft and survival scene – and for good reason. The most important reason, for anyone, is the cost. Every model that they offer is super affordable. They’re also insanely tough, even though they’re not a full tang knife. They even feature some of the […]

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Winter Weather Survival – Food Storage and Water Treatment

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Ok everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far.  In part 3 we’re going to discuss food and water storage.  As I mention in the article, I’m writing a food storage article right now that’s going to be huge.  But for now, this is some basic stuff for anyone to consider…nothing over the top. […]

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Winter Weather Survival – Emergency Shelter

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Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the first part of the winter survival series.  Again, I’d like to thank you for coming by and if you have any comments just leave them below and make a conversation happen.  We just ask that you keep things relative and healthy!  I look forward to hearing from you. […]

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Winter Weather Survival – The Basics

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Preparing for the Winter Season Depending on your geographical location…preparing for possible winter weather emergencies should be standard practice.  Early predictions from weather experts call for above average snowfall for nearly half of the country for the 2015-16 winter season.   Click on the image below for a link to the Farmer’s Almanac discussing particular […]

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Becker BK2 Review: The Best Survival Knife?

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Since I’ve been on such a knife kick lately, I thought I’d write up a Becker BK2 review. Ethan Becker is an avid outdoorsman and the man behind this popular design. The Becker line is also manufactured right here in the USA by Ka-Bar, which is an iconic and reputable company. The BK2 is claimed by many to […]

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Biased Assimilation and Your Survival

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Ah, yes, Biased Assimilation. That polarization which occurs when your beliefs become your religion and any new contradicting evidence is ignored, or twisted in a way which supports your beliefs.

This election cycle, actually all election cycles, proved biased assimilation is alive and well. Biased assimilation is that cerebral disorder which prevents us from being objective. If we have a firm belief in one party over the other, because of biased assimilation, we tend to follow news and events which favor that party, and dismiss news and organizations which may contradict our views, regardless if they are correct. Of course, this biased assimilation is not only reserved for politics. Every segment of society, including bushcraft and survival, suffers from it. Biased Assimilation, is that fault which makes people look like idiots. It is that fault which prevents people from being objective and take in new information

As an example, It is a well known fact people in the survival community hold in high reverence the ferrocerium rod (ferro rod). So convinced are they the ferro rod is the epitome emergency fire starting tool, they are quick to dismiss or make excuses for its shortcomings. Often times, they will attack and dismiss the more common and easier to use every day items in defense of their precious ferro rod.

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15 Over the Counter Medications Preppers Need to Stock

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15 Over the Counter Medications Preppers Need to Stock via Preparedness Advice

Over the counter medications are well worth stocking. Many of them were originally prescription medications and some still are but in larger strengths. Most preppers are on a budget, so take advantage of coupons and store sales to stock up. Keep in mind that all medications should be stored in cool, dark, and dry locations to maximize their effectiveness.

These over the counter medications can be used to treat many conditions including:  headache, fever, sore throats, dehydration, ear ache, menstrual cramps, heartburn, arthritis, ulcers, diarrhea, allergies, hives, congestion, dizziness, mild anxiety, nausea, vomiting, poison ivy, athlete’s foot, ringworm, eczema, insomnia, backache, gout, diaper rash, yeast infections, and many more common illnesses.

I recommend that you keep an eye on the OTC meds most commonly used in your household and stock up on those first. If you come across a bargain on one OTC or another but your family would rarely use it, buy it anyway. Family health conditions change and it might come in handy for barter. Also, go ahead and buy disolving tablets and liquid forms of the medications you use most often, if you have kids or grandkids.

Also highly recommended is a dependable medical reference book to guide you with medicine choices, side effects, and dosage amounts. The last thing you will need in a crisis is for a loved one, or yourself, to have a severe reaction due to a OTC medicine. The Pill Book is a reliable reference book, and I favor this book for information about medical care when there is no doctor available and you have to be your family’s medic.

15 Over the counter medications

1. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)

Ibuprofen can be used to treat pain and inflammation, including headaches, earaches, sore throats, sinus pain, stiff neck, muscle strains, menstrual cramps, arthritis and back pain. It is useful for reducing fevers, but is not good for most stomach pains.

2. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)  

Acetaminophen is used for many of the same conditions as Ibuprofen, however it will not reduce inflammation. It can be rotated on a 3-hour basis with Ibuprofen when pain is severe. Combined with ibuprofen it will work similar to codeine to reduce more severe pain. This should only be done on the advice of a Doctor.

3. Aspirin, 325mg  

In addition to Ibuprofen and acetaminophen you should stock Aspirin.  Aspirin has been used since the late 19th century as a pain-reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory.  However it also has the ability to thin blood.  So it can be used to treat people who need  anti-coagulants or have heart problems. Read this article, How Aspirin and Willow Bark are Similar, for more information.

4. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

An inexpensive antihistamine, diphenhydramine is primarily used for drainage due to respiratory infections and nasal allergies, in both adults and children. It is also indicated for allergies, hives and itching, including itchy rashes such as poison ivy. This will make some people sleepy.

5. Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert)

This is an antihistamine that is useful for treating allergies. It does not make people sleepy. Stock dissolving tablets for children and the elderly.

6. Loperamide (Imodium)

A very effective over the counter medication for diarrhea. It has been said that a single Imodium, throw into a swimming pool, could turn the water to cement, but this is not true! Stock it in both adult and children’s strengths.

7. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

Pseudoephedrine is effective at relieving congestion in both the upper and lower respiratory tract due to infections, allergies, chemical irritations, and mild asthma or bronchitis. Not recommended for children under 6.

8. Meclizine (Bonine, Dramamine)

This antiemetic drug is available in both over the counter medications and by prescription.  It relieves nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and vertigo-like dizziness.  I use the over the counter form for vertigo and it helps.

9. Ranitidine (Zantac) Omeprazole 20-40mg (Prilosec) Cimetidine 200-800mg (Tagamet)

All of these over the counter medications are available for the treatment of heartburn, ulcers, and other acid-reducing conditions. Ranitidine is inexpensive and well tolerated. If you find yourself experiencing stomach pains from prolonged use of a pain reliever, these medicines can help protect your stomach.

10.  Hydrocortisone cream

The 1% version of hydrocortisone is the strongest over the counter steroid cream available.  It is safe for use in both adults and children in treating inflamed and/or itchy rashes such as eczema, poison ivy, diaper rash, and other minor genital irritations.

11. Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin, Bacitracin, Bactroban)

Triple antibiotic ointment is normally applied at the site of injuries to prevent infections.  It should be noted that triple antibiotic ointment won’t cure a deep infections.

12.  Clotrimazole (Lotrimin), Miconazole (Monistat)

These antifungal medications can  be used to treat Athlete’s feet (tinea pedis), vaginal infections (monilia), ringworm , and jock itch (tinea cruris).

13.  Mucinex (Also known as Glyceryl Guaiacolate or formerly Guaifenesin) 

This is a drug, which reduces the thickness of mucus secretions. In respiratory infections it helps your body to expel phlegm. It is available in liquid or tablet form.

14. Calamine lotion

This is useful for the treatment of poison ivy or oak. These conditions may become much more common after a disaster, due to spending more time outdoors.

15. Gatorade powder

While this would not normally be listed with over the counter medications, it can be effective for rehydration.

The above over the counter medications will let you treat many different conditions and not cost you an arm and a leg. Watch the sales and buy generics whenever you can. Remember I am not a doctor and am not giving you medical advice, use these medications as directed on the packaging or as advised by your doctor.


This article updated by Noah, 11/27/16.


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How I Lost My Cool at a Survivalist

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And just like that the vein in my neck started to pulsate. I sat their with a look of disbelief. Did I hear correctly? Are you asking me to address you by your title? You smug sob. How is your title relevant to the matter? Your attempt to postulate outside of the appropriate setting causes me to have absolutely zero respect for you. And now anything you say next will only be challenged and have zero value. So much for what I thought was going to be a mutual exchange of information.

This happened not long ago, when I had to go visit my son’s school over an incident which occurred in the classroom. I thought I was going to have an amicable discussion with the principal, but when I greeted her

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Cognitive dissonance and Survival

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one day a fox happened across a vine of grapes growing across the top of a roof. On the vine were growing grapes. Though try and try as he may, the fox could not reach the grapes. The fox finally stopped and concluded the grapes were probably no good anyway and walked away. This is a classic example of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort one feels when having to contradicting beliefs. In order to quell the disharmony, one postures in a way that creates more internal harmony. The fox convinced himself the grapes were no good in order to not feel discomfort in his lack of ability to reach the grapes. Similarly, a person who buys an expensive car might come up with virtues about the car which may help negate the fact the car is uncomfortable on long trips. When it comes to gear, one may take solace in the fact an item only cost a few dollars as way to make up for the item being dented or bruised. Surely had one paid full retail would the dent or bruise be unacceptable. Cognitive biases are often used to help firm a position and reduce dissonance.

Cognitive Biases prevent rational thinking and often lead to illogical behavior, so to are how many decisions made when assembling gear in the name of being prepared and survival.

Many people swear by mini kits. They are the last line of defense against ones survivability. It is the kit used when all other options are exhausted, or one’s primary kit has been ripped away

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5 Survival Things You Shouldn’t Compromise On

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4x4 bug out vehicle

Ok, ok, so you might ask yourself: what can you compromise on when it comes to survival and preparedness? A lot of things, particularly when it comes to using everyday items to solve problems or when you’re solving redundancy issues. If you already have a veritable flashlight collection, it doesn’t matter if your 6th one is from a Maglite or some knock-off.

But some things you should never compromise on, because your life and the life of your family may depend on them. Let’s talk about those for a moment.

Clean Water

I know some people are tempted to drink water from a river that looks clean, but that doesn’t mean it’s full of bacteria. If shelter can be improvised, clean water cannot. Keep a water bottle in your bug out bag, one inside your car and always keep a portable water filter at hand. If you’re bugging in, you should think about additional ways to obtain it, such boiling it on a small propane stove (to kill bacteria) and even stock up on refills for those Brita water filters that remove some heavy metals.


Imagine this: you’re speeding on the highway, anxious to get to your BOL when, all of the sudden you’re stopped by a gang of thugs. What do you do?

We’ve seen this in Europe recently: the African and Middle-Eastern migrants that were forced to live in a camp near Calais, France, would constantly attack trucks and even a school bus at one point. Do you know what to do if that happens to you? Do you have the reaction time to defend your family, or will you freak out?

I think people are misled by “survival documentaries” where they depict bugging out as being a walk in the park. Maybe it will be, or maybe it won’t.

Just look at the atrocities happening to the migrants on their journey form the Middle East to Europe. Rape, starvation – those camps are anything but safe, and we’ve seen something similar during Katrina when average folks and thugs alike were all crammed in the Louisiana Superdome – eye witnesses said it was horrible.


Stories from migrant and FEMA camps are more than enough for us to realize that our freedom should not be compromised. It’s better to be out there in the woods than taken into detention camps where, in theory at least, you’ll be safer and have access to supplies.

During Katrina, it was only a matter of time until all the food they had there started to rot, (after they ran out of electricity). Supplies are never enough and, sanitation and hygiene are always a problem when large numbers of people are crammed together into tight places. Now, I’m not saying you should run around through the woods when there’s a hurricane, but if you do it right, no disaster should ever take you by surprise and cause you to share a room with thugs and rapists.

Your Bug Out Vehicle

Believe me, the LAST thing you want is to for it to stop working when you’re desperate to get to you your bug out location. Sure, you can always go on foot, but that could take days and will be exhausting to say the least. Besides, when you’re in your car, it’s a little difficult for people to physically harm you.

That being said, you need a solid bug out vehicle that’s always equipped and always in good shape. One other thing you should do if you have the budget is bulletproof it. Things like using run flat tires, installing bulletproof windows and even steel-plated armor for the exterior.


Knives, guns, primitive weapons – all of these need to work flawlessly. With a little bit of research, you can find plenty of quality items at the right price. The Internet is full of scams but also of reviews on forums, blogs and on Amazon – real people sharing their experiences with every product.

Speaking of knives, one thing you should probably do is have two of them. A larger, bushcraft knife that you can rely on for rough tasks (including chopping wood) and a second, smaller one that you can keep as a back-up. Swedish company Mora makes very good carbon steel budget knives.

Final Word

I wish I had some memorable ending for this article, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you take survival and preparedness and that you never try to cut corners.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is the thing that sums up well everything you read on this page, and what it means is, you should never cut corners when your life and the life of your family is at stake.

Sure, you may try to wing it with some aspects of survival, such as stockpiling less in favor of having the skills to acquire food and water, but some things are just too important not to do them right.

The post 5 Survival Things You Shouldn’t Compromise On appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Dan’s Depot is Now Omega Gear

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The Early Days:

Over 5 years ago my best friend Dan Bacon and I decided to get into the survival business.

Dan was very knowledgeable about survival and military gear and I was an avid outdoorsman that was good at internet marketing.

Dan was out of work and I was running several other businesses so I decided that I would give him a shot at running a business. So Dan’s Depot was born, and we couldn’t be more excited. A few months later we had a warehouse in Elizabethtown KY, full of gear and we were off to the races.

Growing pains:

2012 was a challenging year for Dan’s Depot. After only a few months of sales, the warehouse was a mess. Dan never ran a warehouse before and was struggling to keep up with orders. He was also trying to create content, videos, and ship products. He was overwhelmed and needed help. So I decided to grow our team and move the warehouse to a larger location in Lexington Ky.

Our team was comprised of many old friends and people that I knew needed work.

Nate Cheeley was one of my best friends from high school and was now running the warehouse. Jeff Baldwin, another good friend from high school was helping me with marketing and e-commerce. Lee Hester was an award-winning marketing director and was brought on to guide our marketing team. Ethan McDaniel was a friend from church that was helping us with Social media. Adrian Knight was another friend that was helping us with our customer service. Dr E was another friend from church that made guest appearances now and then and was writing medical articles for us. Mike Puente and Vince Jamero were outsourced employees that helped us with development and design. Mary J Humes was working on our content and kept a constant supply of articles on our blog and social media. We hired Craig Caudill, the founder of Nature reliance School. He started working for us writing content, doing videos and helping us create new products and services.

Our sales were higher than ever and the survival industry was booming. Craig helped us come up with our own survival kits.

The big Crash:

Everything thing seemed like it was going well and the business looked to be profitable by the end of 2013. That is when my other main business, Longley Marketing, took a nosedive. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was making the majority of my income from Search Engine Optimization and Google just made some big changes. These changes put most of my business friends out of business overnight. Thankfully we had enough to pay the bills but not enough to keep Dan’s team fully funded. So I had some tough decisions to make about Dan’s Depot and the future of the company

Moving to NY and More Changes for Dan’s Depot:

Things just weren’t picking up so I decided to downsize the business and run lean. Also, my dad and grandfather were having health issues back in NY. So my wife and I packed our bags and moved to Upstate NY to be with my family. It was a difficult decision to make and when we moved we took the Dan’s Depot inventory with us. My team now consisted of Dan, Craig, my cousin Jason, myself, Mike and Vince. We cut things back quite a bit but were still not very profitable. Dan’s Depot was paying everyone but me and I was running out of money pretty quickly. So we tried for another year but couldn’t make it work, so we downsized again. This time it was just Craig and myself working with Mike. Dan had went back to work as an electrician and helped me out now and then and Craig, Mike, and I were working on the business when we could.

Finally, in 2015 I had to let Craig go and I temporarily closed Dan’s Depot. I would make posts now and then on social media but wasn’t able to get things going. Dan’s Depot seemed like a big failure. I was still very passionate about the survival and outdoors industry but just wasn’t sure where to take the brand.

Closing Down Dan’s Depot:

In the spring of 2016, Dan told me that he was going to join the Army. I tried to talk him out of it a few times as he was 34 with 5 kids, but he was determined and enlisted in the fall. This was the final nail in the coffin. It was then that I decided to close Dan’s Depot for good. Dan will always be one of my best friends and I love him to death.

I appreciate all of his hard work on Dan’s Depot and wish him the best of luck in the military. I also appreciate all the loyal customers that we have had over the years and thank you for your business.

Where to go from here?

So now what? I still love the outdoor and survival industry and enjoy helping others be prepared. Also, I am not the type of person that gives up easily. After doing some thinking, praying, and soul searching. I decided to re-brand Dan’s Depot as Omega Gear.

About Matt Longley and Omega Gear

I am a father of 3 amazing little boys, Caleb, Ryan and Andrew. Jennifer, my loving wife of 8 years, is a wonderful person and an excellent cook. We love to sing and are both strong Christians. Since we moved to Upstate NY we built a new house, grew a large garden, and can and dehydrate our food. Between keeping up with our country home, gardening and raising 3 kids, we have been pretty busy. Lately, I have been learning more about carpentry and blacksmithing with a future goal of building timber framed cabins.

My goal for Omega Gear is to focus on high-quality survival gear. I plan to do product reviews, how-to videos, and sell some products here and there. I have several knives that I have been manufacturing with a German friend of mine that are really nice and I also have been sewing some of my own survival gear from high quality, ultralight materials. I am excited about the future of Omega Gear and look forward to serving you for many more years to come.

My Revised Book, Emergency Preparedness & More

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EP&More 2nd Edition_v7It has been a while since I have written a new post, since I have been enjoying a bit of time off, as well as working on new projects. One thing that I am very pleased with is that Noah has taken good care of this blog. Information continues to be widely shared and you are getting to see some different points of view.

I have been working on revising and updating the second edition of my book, “Emergency Preparedness and More, A Manual on Food Storage and Survival. I’m happy to announce that it is now available on Amazon.

The second edition contains approximated 100 new pages, plus updates to many more. It consists of 23 chapters that cover a wide variety of survival topics, such as figuring out the amounts and types of foods needed in order to be self-sufficient and how to package this food for long-term storage. After reading this book, you will be able to answer important questions that include:

  • How do you cook your food without electricity?
  • What type of medical supplies should you have on hand?
  • Do you know how to purify your drinking water if the water system fails?
  • How should you navigate precious metal trading?

All of this and more is included in this easy to read book.

In addition, I am working on a new book that deals with a different area of prepping. This should be coming out in the spring. You will hear more about this later. While I will never start another new blog, I intend to stay somewhat active in helping people. I do have a Facebook page Peppers Books and Info, in which I share posts from some of my favorite blogs, like The Survival Mom and of course Preparedness Advice

You will see occasional posts from me on this blog in the future.  In the mean time, I wish you all well and may God Bless you.


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Survival Paranoia

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Few people have ever heard of Thomas Gray, let alone heard of his work, yet one of his coined phrases is as common as cars are on the street. In his “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” This 1700s poet was responsible for the phrase “ignorance is bliss.” More correctly, in his ode it reads “Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.” Simply translated; if someone is happy not knowing the truth, it would be foolish to tell them the truth and burden them with the knowledge. As an example; If I see someone, a child perhaps, caught up in joy and happiness, is it wise I tell them their pet died? Eventually, yes, though I dare not inform them at that moment, for fear of ruining their bliss.

Though grateful for the knowledge I’ve acquired throughout the years, I sometimes wonder would I have been better off not knowing some things? The angst I’ve experienced leading up to certain events was often worse than the event itself. In hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have known before some misfortunes that lay ahead. Instead, I would have rather dealt with it when it unfolded. Of course, this is not true for all events. It is often prudent to know of certain things before they happen, so one can better prepare. Ahh, but there in lies the paradox. One can get caught in the mire of analysis over something that is supposed to be fun and relaxing. This analysis paralysis can lead to paranoia and take the joy out of what was supposed to fun and now plagued it with uncertainties and doubts.

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7 Financial Preps You Should Do ASAP

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It’s no secret that the maneuvers on Wall-Street as well as in stock markets around the world are not only killing the middle class, but they also caused the financial bubble we’re in right now that is about to burst. Many of us (myself included) are concerned about a financial disaster that will cause entire … Read more…

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Homesteading Summit “movie trailer”…JUST RELASED!

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This “movie trailer” for the Homesteading Summit was JUST RELEASED!
It’s a pretty inspiring 50,000 ft view of what you can expect in the week ahead, watching the Mother Earth News Homesteading Summit!
This 100% online event is set to kick off this coming Monday, October 31st.
35+ speaker, over 7 full days.
Covering topics that include modern homesteading, growing your own food, raising healthy livestock, sustainable off-grid living, and so much more.
Watch the movie trailer above!

And when you’re ready:
Sign up to watch the Mother Earth News Homesteading Summit here:
Everyone is welcome, and it’s complete free!

But don’t delay, you wan’t to register before October 31st!

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Siphoning Gasoline from Newer Vehicles without Damaging Them

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Siphoning Gasoline From Newer Vehicles Without Damaging Them via Preparedness Advice

The other day I received this e-mail on siphoning gas from cars:

“While doing some maintenance work on my gasoline powered electrical generator, the thought struck me that back in the old days, and in case of an emergency, one could always siphon gasoline out of their car’s gasoline tank and use it to run things like generators. However, that seems to be not the case nowadays. I tried inserting a conventional siphon hose into my tank but it “bottomed-out” on some obstruction before it touched any gasoline. I looked under the hood of my car (2001 Toyota Highlander) for a place where I could tie into my fuel line. I found none.

A cursory examination of the bottom of my fuel tank revealed no drain plug. So, I went to a local auto parts store and asked the folks if they had anything to siphon or pump fuel from the tank on any modern car or pickup truck. They had no suggestions.”

In the past, I can remember when we used to siphon gas out our cars to fuel our lawn mowers or other small engines. Siphoning gas out of the older vehicles was easy, but when was the last time you tried to siphon gas out of a car? It has been years since I have tried. In a real disaster, like an EMP strike, obtaining gas from damaged vehicles may be necessary to keep older vehicles running.  This got me to wondering how to siphon gas from the new cars.

NOTE: Wondering if any vehicles will still be operating after an EMP? Be sure to read my note at the bottom of this article. If you’ve read One Second After, you may be surprised by my findings.

A little research into modern-day siphoning, revealed that all new cars have an anti-rollover valve on all the openings into a gas tank. These valves also act as a siphon prevention system, which is the reason why nearly all the siphon devices and pumps sold these days are useless. However, there is a way to do it without damaging the vehicle if you have the right tools. Most gas thieves today simply drill a hole in the gas tank, take what they can, and let the rest run out on the ground. But there is another way.

The anti-rollover valve is a ball or butterfly valve. This leaves enough room for gas to flow through the fueling tube into the tank, but if the car flips over and gas begins to flow the other direction, the ball moves to the inlet and blocks the gas from escaping or the butterfly flap closes.


Small pumps like this one will make siphoning gas a lot quicker.

The trick to siphoning gas without damaging the vehicle is to use a small diameter, stiff hose like the ¼-inch hose that runs to your refrigerator icemaker. Cut the end at a sharp angle and spin, or “corkscrew”, the hose as you insert it. It may take you a few tries to master this.  Now, siphoning gas through this small tube by gravity is slow and can take up to eight minutes for a gallon of gas. If you can find a small hose with a hand pump like this one, it can go much faster.

You may want to carry a larger hose for vehicles that will accept it. Just remember that stealing gas in illegal and should be avoided.



Most every reader of One Second After is convinced that virtually every vehicle on the road will suddenly stall and be incapacitated forever. Dr. Arthur T. Bradley, NASA electronic engineer and author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, disagrees. He says there are so many variables that will affect whether or not the electromagnetic surge will damage vehicles that he believes only 30% or so will be damaged. The rest may experience a slight glitch and then resume running. This doesn’t mean transportation will be a piece of cake in a post-EMP world. With millions of vehicles stranded on every type of road, bridge, and tunnel imaginable, transportation would still be difficult.

This article updated 10-24-16.

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Figure 4 Spring Snare (Halcon Snare)

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Not knowing if I am ever going to complete the book I started writing two years ago, I decided to release this from what has already been written. Additionally, I actually did a video on it a few years ago which I will post at the end of this article. But at least with the article, one can get a much clearer description of how it all goes together.


You ever watch the scenes in the movie “The Rundown”, with Dwayne Jonson, where he gets lifted into a tree by a snare? How about “Return of the Jedi” when Chewbacca grabs that chunk of meat and triggers a net trap, sending him and the crew up into the tree? I’ve always loved traps of that style. In the bushcraft world, traps that would work on that scale simply aren’t realistic, because the Achilles hill of all spring type traps is the anchor. More often than not, an anchor is buried into the ground—a peg of sorts.

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Why I got Rid of All of My Outdoor Gear

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“That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff. Sometimes you gotta move and get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff”

Those were the words George Carlin uttered as part of his famed “Stuff” routine in 1986 [Video Below]. And while on the eve of my move, I keep hearing his words in my head. I feel like I have too much stuff, albeit not nearly as much stuff as all the stuff other people have. Forget about the fact that in the last two years, save for my fishing rods, I’ve gotten rid of all my outdoor gear—dutch ovens, backpacks, outdoorsy clothing, lanterns, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, etc.— all of my stuff still takes up two boxes each about two feet by two feet by ten inches high and yet I still feel like it’s too much stuff.

While I’m no minimalist, by the extreme definition, I’ve always been spartan and get easily annoyed with stuff just sitting there not being used. I don’t collect, keep or save things for the sake of memories and emotions. Things for me must serve a useful purpose, not satiate or elicit an emotion. Things must make sense in use, not just create a use for it to make sense— “Without purpose, there is no purpose.” Sure, I like the ideology of certain things, but rarely will I act on an ideology without thinking it through logically. In the event I do act impulsively, driven by ideology, and purchase something, I soon after end up getting rid of the item, or return it.

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We Finally Found The Best Gas Masks On Amazon

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You can survive 2 weeks without food, around 4 days without water, and only minutes without air.

So if you’re looking for reasons to have the best gas mask on hand to save your life or just need one for home projects, you only really need one, and that’s your life my friend.

But where are you going to find these masks with the best quality and also for the best price? Also how will you know that what you’ve paid is really buying the best? After all, you’ve probably never bought gas masks before, so we’ve done the research for you and polled buyers who shared the good the bad and the ugly to tell us which gas masks were the best!​

Quick list of what we’ll be looking at

Why would you need a gas mask?

That might be a naive question, but it’s one you should ask yourself if you’re willing to spend the money on one, right? So why do you need one, are you preparing for biological warfare, volcanic ash covering the earth, wildfires polluting the air? You need to know these things in order to make the best buying decision. 

Everyday chores/work

​We forget that us humans can do a lot of stuff to mess up our breathing quality. Whether that’s woodworking in a not so ventilated area, doing inspections in places that are less than sanitary, or painting the inside/outside of the house with a spray gun.

Having a gas mask can come in handy if you’re a handy man ;)​

Biological warfare

This is the most pressing of all the possibilities of needing a gas mask. With the invention of mustard gas in the first world war, the deadliness of man made gases hasn’t subsided much.

And with the development of technology there are some pretty nasty things that can be done with a gas canister. From planting diseases, causing blindness, and a host of other unpleasantries, a gas mask would be a handy thing to have just in case.

Volcanic Ash/Soot

Among all the natural disasters that loom over our heads on a daily basis, the threat of a volcanic explosion or sulfuric geyser going off in certain parts of the world are a threat to the air we breathe. Literally. 

Just the explosion from one of these natural forces would be enough to decimate a population surrounding it, but it’s the after effects that the majority of the world needs to be ready for.​ Because these forces will spout all sorts of noxious fumes into the atmosphere, the winds will carry them far and wide, and before we know it the air is so thick with soot or gas that we can’t breathe to save our lives.


If you’re a firefighter of any kind (thank you for your service first and foremost!), you know the dangers of smoke inhalation. The masks the firefighters wear aren’t to keep their faces cool or just to complete the outfit, their masks supply life giving oxygen because the air has been sucked out by the fire or the smoke is too thick to breathe.

Yes it is attached to an air tank, but for a brief time you’ll be able to survive with a mask filled with condensed air.

And since our planet is starving for water more and more each year, the threat of wildfires is increasing exponentially.​

What makes a gas mask the best?

There’s a lot to consider when buying your mask, and the fact that movies and tv have made them almost comical and a parody makes it hard to find one that actually works and isn’t just a prop. However, there are a few things that are easily distinguishable when surveying the best ones.

Make sure it’s NBC marked/approved

NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) approval is paramount when buying your mask. As we said earlier, most masks are just props now so make sure yours meets these requirements. If it is truly NBC approved there should be designated spots for WORKING respirators. 

If there’s just a solid case, then you know you don’t have the real thing.​

Ease of use to use a gas mask

This sounds basic, but it’s important. There are parents in the gulf war who killed their children because they didn’t realize they had to remove the cover on the carbon filter of the mask.

You don’t just strap it on when you think one of the kids are sick, even though we’ve all been there, but you keep it safe and decontaminated so it’s ready for when it really counts. Like when it’s been broadcasted that a natural disaster has happened miles away and you have time to prepare.

One thing to keep in mind is that the gas mask won’t work if you’re already exposed before you put it on in a chemical warfare situation.​

Does your mask have a one use filter?

To keep masks from becoming contaminated after use, some producers make these masks for one use and that’s it. While that’s smart it might not be that cost efficient for the consumer. So when you’re shopping around make sure you find masks that are reusable.

Obviously all the masks that we will be recommending are for multiple uses.

Our recommendations

SAS Safety 7650-61 Opti-Fit Full-face APR Respirator

For most people, the silicone finish on the sides of the face piece sealed the deal for comfort when wearing the mask for long periods of time. The nose guard helps to reduce the fogging in the face mask. This is an extremely popular choice if you’re doing some DIY stuff around the house, when it comes to saving your life in a natural disaster, there’s been no real tests done.

The debate on if this mask is truly a comfortable fit while wearing glasses rages on, but from what we’ve seen from those who’ve bought it, the overwhelming majority haven’t had a problem with the fit while wearing glasses. Click here to get yours

3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6700, Respiratory Protection

When it comes to reusability and an increased field of view, no one does it better than 3M! The wrapped shape of the mask surrounds your face and makes peripheral vision a possibility when wearing a gas mask. Also the facets for air filters on either side allow you to just switch filters when needed, and not replace the whole mask.

While the shape contours to your face, the mask itself can be rather stiff. Not so stiff that it’s meant to fit only one person, but stiff enough to cause some discomfort and make the seal around the face compromised. Wearing glasses with this mask is not recommended with the stiffness.​ Click here to get yours.

SGP Israeli Style Civilian Protective Gas Mask 

The israeli style gas mask is usually what people think of when they think disaster preparedness. For one it’s one of the most popular because of the price. At under $20, whereas most useful masks are over $100, the israeli gas mask is the bare bones in functional gas masks. And if you’re goal is to terrify the neighbors then this should do the trick!

One problem people have been having when they buy these masks from amazon is that the air filters are expired. Which isn’t good business, but also doesn’t render the mask useless, all you have to do is go buy a new air filter which should cost less than the mask itself. Click here to get yours

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WTF Is A Shemagh And What Is It Used For?

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“Really, you’re going to wrap a rag around your head and call it useful?”

Said the first person who ever saw me wear my shemgah on a hunt in Montana.

First of all I think we should clarify that the shemgah really is a useful item to have in your tool belt. And even though it’s become a bit of a trendy item in the last few years, that doesn’t defeat it’s usefulness as a multifunctional item.

The correct pronunciation of it is schmog, and we’d like to shed some light on the utility of this piece of clothing, where it came from, how it could help, and most of all HOW TO TIE THE DARN THING! That gave us all fits more than anything in the beginning.

Want to test one out already?

Our top pick for a disaster preparedness shemgah

Where did the shemgah come from?

It might be fairly obvious that this headwear came from the middle east, as most of the people who are seen wearing it are there. And due to their desert climate this thing really comes in handy over there to keep your head safe from the sun. They typically use it like a bandana to shield the tops of their heads and the rest of their face from the harsh effects of the sun, leaving their eyes just enough room to see straight ahead.

Since they first encountered it, many other nations militaries have adopted the useful headwrap. Like Britain, Australia, and the United States to name a few.​

What are the shemgah’s uses?

Usually multiple countries militaries don’t adopt the same garb just because it looked cool on their troops. Nope, the shemgah’s functionality as a tool and piece of clothing is almost limitless!

Image source:

Face Protection/Insulation

Most of all this garment is worn as a head dress to guard the wearer from harsh winds, the sun, temperatures, and as camouflage. In the middle east sand storms are a common problem, and if you don’t have anything to protect your exposed skin when you’re caught in one of these it can feel like you’re having broken glass thrown at you at tremendous speeds!

Which is where the shemgah was used by the locals and adopted by the militaries that came through as time passed.

Effective Camoflouge

As it was mentioned earlier, the added benefit of camouflage comes with this handy piece of cloth. Mostly in that it breaks up the natural shape of a human head on shoulders. Even though we like to think of ourselves as smart creatures, humans are pretty basic. We recognize shapes, colors, sounds, and the like.

​If you confuse the shape at a distance it becomes almost unrecognizable. For instance we learned with Bear Grylls that if you’re able to distort the outline of just your shoulders and up, you might as well be invisible walking through the jungle. 

If you don’t believe then try for yourselves. Have someone stick branches and leaves down the back of their shirt, wear cloth to cover most of the head, and have that person walk towards you from an unknown time and direction. Odds are you will hear them before you see them.

That’s because when you look for people you’re looking for shape, and if the shape you see doesn’t match what your brain knows to be a persons shape, then you won’t recognize it.​

Extra cordage or a filter

If using the shemgah to stop bleeding becomes more important than camouflage or comfort then it makes for a great tourniquet! Especially if you get one that’s made of quality materials.

Also if you reach a pool of water but need something to filter out the large bits then just unwrap the shemagh and go to work! As you can see there’s an almost unlimited number of uses for this thing, and having one around wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

How to tie a shemgah

This can get pretty confusing to explain with just text, so we’re going to pass this one to Creek Stewart, who is a fantastic bushman and just happened to write a guest post for art of manliness on this topic!

Clearly it doesn’t take too much work to figure out how to make one of these things work. I mean if it came down to it, you could probably just wrap it around your head and call it a day.

image source:

Hopefully we’ve done an alright job of informing you of this “new” article of clothing known as a shemagh, and explained how it could fit into your must haves as a disaster preparedness individual. Because whether you’re prepping for a flood, volcano, emp, or whatever, eye protection, camouflage, and warmth are all going to be needed when the shtf!

You can pick one up at amazon if you like. And we’ve done the heavy lifting of finding the best value for your money so…

Looking for the best shemagh for the money?

This one has the survive the wild seal of approval. Whether that means a lot to you is dependant on your experience with us, and hopefully your experience with this article was a good one 😉

Have a great day!​

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Best Concealed Carry Holster For Glock 19

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When you own one of the best selling concealed carry handguns on the market, it’s pretty obvious that there will be even more options for holsters for that weapon.

But which one is the best, like really the best?

We’ve scoured the web, been in contact with military vets, law enforcement officers, defense contractors, and a few other questionable careers involving guns to say the least. And while most of them boast the obvious truth that this is the best handgun to own, the right holster for your gun is a different story.

We’re going to explain how we determine what is truly the BEST holster later, because that is a very subjective term, but we feel that the criteria we use to whittle this list down to 5 contenders makes it a pretty safe bet for the average concealed carry individual.

Quick list of what we’ll be looking at

New to concealed carry or gun ownership?

image source: Outdoor Hub

​Since we know not everyone reading this is a seasoned army vet, or law enforcement officer, we understand that there might be some questions. Like why you need a holster in the first place, will these holsters work for other glocks/guns, what makes these concealed carry holsters the “best”?

So in this section we’re going to go over our reasoning and answer a few common questions new gun owners and concealed carry licensees have​.

Why do I need a holster for a concealed carry?​

​It’s true, technically you don’t NEED a holster to carry, but it makes that process a whole lot safer!

All you have to do is ask Aquib Talib why you should always have a holster​. The Broncos cornerback had apparently gotten too drunk with his hand gun, (that he didn’t have a permit for) floating around in his waist band, and it went off! The bullet entered through his right thigh, and exited his right calf.

Avoiding shooting yourself in the foot is more than an expression when it comes to carrying a deadly weapon on your person.​

Image Source: Omaha Outdoors

What’s the most comfortable spot to carry?

Truth be told, I don’t think anyone has ever added an extra two inches to the inside of their waistband and ever felt more comfortable.

But the waist is the most comfortable and accessible of the places to carry.

You can get ankle holsters, body rigs, and other other body holsters, but accessibility is key when carrying the weapon. After all you’re carrying it because you want to use it, right? Hopefully you don’t view this as a way to add resistance training to your life.

So carry it on your hip or in the small of your back for the best comfort.

What makes a holster the “best”?​

image source: Alien Gear Holsters

We love answering questions like this, because it’s not enough to give something a title of the “best” this or that. There needs to be evidence and criteria that establishes whatever it is as being the obvious BEST choice.​

When we selected these holsters we were looking at customer’s reviews on comfort, quality, and ease of access. These are the things that seemed to seal the deal when it comes to buying a concealed carry holster.​

Gould & Goodrich Trouser Holster

The G&G trouser holster is a great travel holster, or busy person’s holster. The leather makes for a comfortable fit, and won’t pinch or scrape the way plastic/metal concealed carry holsters would.

It has a snug fit that some have complained about, but in reality you want your weapon to be secured and not able to fall out if you get tossed around a bit. The snug fit could also be from the leather. And once the leather is broken in you won’t have much trouble from it.

One concern though is that this holster only has one clip on it, and if you enjoy carrying at 3 or 6 o’clock that could be problematic. The single clip is suited for carrying between 3 & 6​, that position in between allows more freedom for the single clip. But if that’s a deal breaker then move on. 

It’s not worth the discomfort or altering your draw position.​ Click here to get yours

Alien Gear-Cloak Tuck

Well the good news is this holster is on the third generation of this holster, so all the bugs have been mostly worked out. The double clip design is meant for comfort in all positions, from 2 to 6 o’clock. This holster molds well and is fitted to the glock 19 like a glove!

The only complaint that we’ve found on this holster is the difficulty to fit other generations of glocks into the holster, or questioning why the glock 26 gen 4 doesn’t fit. So if you’re reading this article then you obviously only care about the glock 19, so that’s all sorted out.

By the awards this company has won with this holster, it’s really a great buy. And while it’s not the cheapest, it’s certainly worth every penny!​ Click here to get yours

Concealment Express- KYDEX

The Concealment Express is another single clip holster that has the glove like fit to keep your glock 19 as flush to your side as possible.

Now this is a fantastic holster, but there is one complaint we’ve had over and over about it, and that’s that the edges that touch your skin haven’t been filed down. And that’s something you can take care of yourself no problem, just thought you should know before you bought it and thought we recommended a painful holster :)​

Other than a sharp edge, this is a great holster and the clip on this sucker is serious business! There’s not much of a chance at all of it slipping or moving around. Click here to get yours​

Blackhawk A.R.C.

This is hands down the best concealed carry holster if you’re on a budget with your glock 19. It’s the minimum viable concealed holster that will serve it’s purpose with no frills or special features. Which is what most people are looking for.

However, there is one neat feature it has that some other holsters have that comes in handy. And that’s the ability to adjust the amount of resistance it takes to pull your glock from the holster. This may seem like a small thing, but if you’ve been used to pulling from a holster with a firm grip, and now you’re having to adjust to a tighter holster it could be bad in the situation you need to use it.

Aside from that this holster is exactly what you would need in a concealed carry holster for your glock 19. It’s not fancy, but it doesn’t need to be to serve it’s purpose. Click here to get yours​

Blade-Tech Klipt 

Our last shout out for the best concealed carry holster goes to the blade-tech company with their klipt holster. This single clip concealed carry holster ensures trigger safety when the glock is properly  inserted into the holster with an audible click and lock. This prevents any unnecessary misfires that could result in damaged legs or other valuable body parts…*wink wink* 

One complaint we do have about this item is the fact that the clip extends an inch and a half out from the gun. Which isn’t bad if you’re going to be wearing baggy clothes, but for those who want a truly invisible carry, this might not be your holster of choice.

And our one take away that we loved about it was the almost spandex fit the holster had on the gun. Only coming one quarter of an inch off the gun, that makes for a pretty comfortable wearing experience. Even though, yes the clip still comes out farther than it should, it’s a pretty comfortable holster. Click here to get yours.​

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Shaving in the Outdoors

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Some people need a cup of coffee. Others go for a run. Some go straight to the kitchen for some bacon and eggs. These are some of the morning rituals many go through upon waking. For me, I can not get my day started without a shower and a shave. I won’t even venture into the kitchen, den, or any other part of the house without first taking a shower and shaving. It doesn’t matter if I have no where to go and all I wish to do is watch television. It doesn’t matter if I showered before bed. Shower, shaving and getting dressed is first in the morning. It is a ritual which sets the tone of my mood for the day. If I can’t have a shower, at the least I need to have a wet wipe bath. Come hell or high water though I have to shave. That scruffy feeling about my neck, from a day old growth, is a no go. So fanatic I am with that, I often shave twice a day. It doesn’t matter if I am growing a beard. The neck, however, will be shaved religiously, as well as my head. To that end, my grooming ritual can be challenged when I am camping. None the less, It must be done, or I am in a foul mood until it can happen. It is paramount in establishing my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). After a good smooth and clean shave, I feel unstoppable and anything is possible… That is not hyperbole. As a result, I tend to spare no expense in my pursuit for shaving nirvana. Weird, right? At the same time, however, the expense has to make sense.

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How to Cook a Raccoon

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How to Cook a Raccoon via Preparedness Advice

When was the last time you cooked a raccoon?  For most people that would be never. Yet for many years, raccoons were on the menu for the Native Americans and the pioneers. In parts of the south, raccoon hunting is still popular.

Raccoons have a wide range, living all over North America. They are easy to trap; my neighbor has caught quite a few when trapping to cut down the skunk population. He uses live traps and most of the time just releases the raccoons. These traps are humane and quite inexpensive.

But raccoons are edible, and if cooked right, they’re quite tasty. Most of us aren’t used to eating many wild animals with deer and elk being the major 2 exceptions. This book explains not only how to cook many different types of wild game but how to butcher them as well. It would be a good addition to your collection of survival related books.

When you dress the raccoon, be sure and remove the brown bean shaped glands under each front leg and on both sides of the spine. Then remove as much visible fat as possible. Then go ahead and roast it or make a stew.  Here is a recipe for roast raccoon.

  • 1 raccoon cleaned and cut up
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves

Set several boney pieces aside and bread the rest in the flour seasoned with the salt and pepper.  Then brown the pieces in the cooking oil in a good frying pan.  Drain off the excess oil.  Put the meat in a roasting pan; add the onions and bay leaves.  Cover and bake for two hours at 350 f or until tender.

Take the boney pieces that you set aside and cover them with water. Simmer the pieces until the attached meat is tender.  Use this broth to make gravy.

As with any animal, if it looks sick or in poor condition do not eat it or skin it. Raccoons do carry rabies.


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