Survival 101: The Effects Of Dehydration

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Hand and water in desert

Dehydration is no joke. Whether hiking the Grand Canyon or spending another day at the office, staying hydrated is essential to health. The human body is at least two-thirds water, and once its liquid content is reduced, bad things start to happen. Let’s review mild to serious effects of dehydration to help your water intake efforts.

Mild Effects

Mild side effects of dehydration are mainly just unpleasant, but still serve as indications that water replenishment is necessary. These effects include bad breath, dry skin, tiredness or lethargy , dry mouth, and less urine output and/or darker urine. Other signs include thirst and few or no tears when crying.

Moderate Effects

Moderate side effects of dehydration include muscle cramps, constipation, dizziness, and headaches.

Severe Effects

Severe side effects of dehydration include rapid heartbeat and breathing, sunken eyes, fever and chills, swelling of the brain, seizures, hypovolemic shock, kidney failure, coma, and death. Seizures, for example, occur due to electrolyte imbalances. Such imbalances cause involuntary muscle contractions and even loss of consciousness. Hypovolemic shock is one of the most serious effects of dehydration; it happens when low blood volume creates a drop in blood pressure and bodily oxygen. Kidney failure is another life-threatening complication indicating the kidneys are no longer able to function, resulting in a buildup of toxic fluids and waste in the body.

Tips for Preventing Dehydration

Causes of dehydration include excessive sweating, vomiting, frequent urination, and diabetes. Diabetics are also subject to dehydration due to high blood sugar levels and medications that result in frequent urination. Prevent dehydration by always keeping a bottle of water with you, especially if participating in physical activity under extremely hot temperatures. Opt for water-heavy foods such as cucumber and watermelon, and avoid dry, carb-filled snacks that contain a lot of salt.

Drink at least eight glasses of room-temperature water per day to stay hydrated. Ice water sits in your stomach until the body cools it!

Have you experienced severe dehydration? Share your story in the comments!

Why Salt Is Important To Survival

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Household Uses of Salt

Add salt to your emergency kit if you haven’t already, as this mineral is an essential to human life. The body does not produce salt, but it needs it for survival. Salt is necessary for correct nerve transmission as well as sweat, blood, and digestive uses. Let’s take a quick look at why salt is something you definitely want in a survival situation.

Health Aid

One of the traditional uses for salt is as an aid for anyone sweating a whole lot. The body loses sodium via sweat and urination, which is why salt tablets are administered when a person is sweating like a racehorse. Its function as a sodium replacement has made it a popular military product.

Food Preservation

Salt has been used as a food preserver for thousands of years, particularly in the preservation of fish and meat. It draws moisture from bacteria present on food sources, which slows the oxidation process. Since bacteria are a type of microorganism that requires moisture to survive, salt is an effective preserver of meat. Fish and meat in a 20-percent salt solution do not require refrigeration!

Wound Treatment

Salt works as a highly -effective wound treatment when mixed with water. The resulting saline flushes bacteria from wounds while also inhibiting the growth of new bacteria. Mixing 10 grams of salt in one liter of water is recommended to create a fantastic wound solution. Mix the solution in a plastic baggie or water bottle for best results, as slight pressure is needed for effective wound flushing. Simply puncture a hole in the baggie or bottle to clean said wound.

A mixture of salt and water also makes an effective treatment for sore throats and canker sores while also contributing to overall oral health.

Know of any other salt survival uses? Share them in the comments!

How to Avoid Blisters During your Hike

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finding the best hiking shoesAs much as you love hiking, it is doubtful you love the resulting blisters. If you cannot seem to win the blister war no matter how broken-in your hiking boots are, don’t fret. Use the following tips to enjoy blister-free hikes that have you talking about the beautiful views, not the wounds on your heels.

Change Your Socks

Keep your socks dry to reduce, if not eliminate, friction. Wearing broken-in boots with dry socks are two of the best things you can do to keep blisters to a minimum. The minute you feel your socks getting wet, change them.

Prevent Moisture Buildup

Prevent moisture buildup by sprinkling feet with corn starch or foot powder before putting on your socks and boots. You may also wish to place petroleum jelly on your heels or any other hotspots. If you feel a hotspot coming on, apply tape or moleskin to stop it from becoming a full-blown blister. Moleskin is a type of artificial skin that is cut into various shapes and sizes.

Wear Two Pairs of Socks

Wear two pairs of socks to move the friction site. The outer socks should be a thicker material, with the inner sock serving as a liner to soak up moisture.

Air your Feet

Air those pups out when taking a hiking break. Remove your boots and socks to allow your feet to breathe. Soak them in a stream or river if you like, but make certain they are completely dry before you continue with the hike.

Utilize Insoles

Wear comfortable, supportive insoles to enjoy better boot fit and reduce peak pressure. Insoles made of neoprene are considered the best, as they provide the right amount of cushioning.
If you do sustain blisters despite your best efforts, disinfect and bandage them if they are broken. If the blisters remain unbroken, leave them alone.

What are your best blister prevention tips? Share them in the comments section!

13 Top Paracord Uses

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paracord 550 group

That paracord bracelet you received from a survival-minded friend is a wonderful thing to bring on your next hiking or camping adventure. It is also a fantastic item to place in your bug-out bag or 72-hour emergency kit. Take a moment to review some of the many uses for the paracord bracelet to further your survival knowledge.

Thread

Use the inner strands of your paracord bracelet as thread. Repair torn clothing, rips in cloth gear, etc.

Tow Rope

Make a tow rope from your paracord; a single length of the cord is capable of handling 550 pounds!

Clothesline

Let clothing dry in the breeze with a few lengths of paracord.

Substitute Belt or Shoelace

Keep your pants up and your shoes tied with your paracord bracelet.

Animal Snare

Create an effective animal snare with a length of paracord. Such traps require strong ropes.

Shelter

Use paracord to hold up tent canvas or other sturdy shelter materials.

Fishing Line

Separate strands within your paracord and add a hook to make a nice fishing line.

Stitches

Sew an open wound back together with strands of paracord.

Bear Bag

Keep food away from hungry creatures with paracord. Use it to string a bear bag up high!

Zipper Fix

Use your paracord to replace a damaged zipper pull.

Backpack Tie

Tie items to your backpack with paracord to keep your hands free while hiking.

Animal Leash

Keep Fido or Fluffy (hey, cats camp too) secure by making a leash with your paracord.

Dental Floss

Forget your dental floss or tape? Use the inner strands of your paracord as makeshift floss.

These are only a handful of the many uses for paracords!! What are your favorites?

The Ground is Moving: Tips for Surviving an Earthquake

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Earthquake Survival Preparedness

Imagine the ground under you is moving and you’re in the middle of an earthquake. It’s pretty scary, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not exactly possible to predict earthquakes, though they can be anticipated. The natural disasters mainly occur near edges of tectonic plates (hello, California); however, they can occur anywhere. Learning what to do in the event of a major earthquake is an essential survival skill to have, and one that allows you to walk away with hopefully no more than a few minor scratches and scrapes.

Let’s look at a few tips for effectively surviving an earthquake:

Before the Earthquake

Take inventory of your home and move any heavy objects to safe locations that don’t involve shelves. Avoid hanging heavy pictures or mirrors over sleeping areas and be sure to anchor heavy appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters. Anchor bookcases, dressers, and entertainment units to the wall as well.

Stock up on emergency supplies and store flammable liquids in a safe space. Learn how to turn off your gas, electricity, and water while you’re at it.

During the Earthquake

Stay indoors, if possible. Find a safe location, such as along an interior wall, under a sturdy desk, or under a solid table. If you’re cooking, turn off the appliances and look for cover. Remember to stay away from windows, mirrors and other heavy objects.

If you’re outdoors when the earthquake strikes, move to an open area as quickly as possible. The idea is to avoid any area where falling objects  such as buildings, trees, signs and power lines can hit you. If you’re driving, slow down and stop on the side of the road. Don’t stop on a bridge or overpass. The same is true for power lines, large signs, and trees. Stay in your car.

After the Earthquake

Check for injuries on your body before helping others. Assess building damage as best you can; if you suspect serious damage, move away from the structure and find a safe place, such as an a open field. If you’re indoors and you smell a gas leak or similar problem, herd everyone outdoors to a safe location. Stay clear of all power lines and anything else that looks hazardous.

Have you survived an earthquake? Feel free to share your best tips below!

Save Money with DIY Makeup

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DIY MakeupLearning how to make your own makeup not only saves money, it saves your skin from the nasty chemicals so many cosmetics feature. There are numerous organic options available these days; however, learning to make your own foundation, lip gloss and eyeliner is pretty darn nifty. It’s also handy in the event of a zombie apocalypse that includes the total destruction of your makeup case.

Review the following recipes to get started:

Foundation

If you’re a fan of mineral makeup, you’ll love this foundation recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon zinc oxide or arrowroot (zinc provides more coverage)
  • 1 teaspoon gold mica dust (for smoother, more radiant skin)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon natural clay powder
  • Up to 1 teaspoon finely ground cocoa powder OR bronze mica powder (or both) to achieve desired hue
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of translucent mica powder for really oily skin

Directions

Mix ingredients until you achieve the right color, and keep the stuff stored in a clean, small glass jar with a lid.

Blush and Lip Gloss

Use beets to create blush as well as lip gloss!

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon organic almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic beet root powder
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure lanolin or shea butter

Directions

Add about 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and place a glass measuring cup inside the pan. Turn your stove on low heat. Place the shea butter or lanolin and almond oil inside the measuring cup. Stir until melted, then add the beet root powder. Stir until completely mixed. Strain the mixture if desired through muslin or other applicable fabric to remove any chunks, then place the lip gloss/blush in a small glass jar with a lid.

Eyeliner

Want to make non-toxic eyeliner and help your peepers out? Try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 teaspoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 – 2 capsules of activated charcoal (for black eyeliner) or ½ teaspoon cocoa powder (for brown eyeliner)

Directions

Mix the ingredients thoroughly to create smokey eyeliner. As with the above options, store the mixture in a clean, airtight container. Be sure to use a clean brush when applying to avoid contamination.

Feel free to share DIY makeup tips in the comments section!

Would You Move into a Tiny House?

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tiny houseThe tiny house movement continues to gain momentum, and it’s not crazy-hard to understand why. While moving into a 200- square- foot home is a huge change if you’re used to living in a 1,000- or 2,000- square- foot residence, there are many benefits to tiny house living. If you are looking to seriously downsize, review why a tiny house might be exactly what you need.

Save Money

Tiny homes are unsurprisingly huge money-savers. There’s no expensive mortgage weighing you down every month, which allows you to lower your expenses and put money into savings accounts and the like. Most tiny houses are mortgage-free, or they require making small, manageable manageable payments. In other words, you are saying buh-bye to the mortgage stress that accompanies large houses.

Minimalist Living

Do you look around your house sometimes and wonder how you acquired so much stuff? A tiny house provides an excellent chance to cull, as only so many things fit. The decision to move into a tiny house allows you to get rid of items you no longer have use for and invest in multi-use pieces that save space.

More Time

Cleaning a big house sucks serious time out of your day. A tiny house saves you gobs of time, as it takes about two minutes to vacuum, among other cleaning benefits. Your tiny home subsequently gives you time to do anything else, from reading to hanging out with friends to taking day trips and more.

Portability

Tiny houses are often built on trailers. The ability to take your home with you makes it possible to travel as you wish and enjoy location independence. You’re never stuck in one location permanently when you opt for a tiny house.

Environmentally-Friendly

Another benefit of a tiny house? You’re reducing your carbon footprint. Tiny homes need much less power and allow you to “tread lightly.”

These are just some of the benefits surrounding tiny homes! Pretty nifty, right?

How To Prevent Food Spoilage During A Power Outage

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Prevent food spoilage with power outage

The power has gone out in your home, meaning the food in your fridge and freezer might be subject to spoilage. Most foods remain just fine so long as the outage does not last more than four hours and you are not constantly opening and shutting the appliance. If you are not sure what to keep and what to throw out following an outage or if you want to know how to prevent spoilage, review the following tips and tricks to ensure the next power issue in your home does not result in food poisoning.

The 40 Degrees F Rule

Let it be known: If perishable foods such as meat, dairy products, fish, and leftovers have been kept in temperatures above 40 degrees F for two hours or more, throw them out. Never, ever taste food to determine if it is safe or not, and throw away anything that has made contact with raw meat juices.

In terms of dairy products, most hard cheeses, grated cheeses, and butter are safe so long as you don’t open your fridge 50 times.

The 24/48-Hour Freezer Rule

A freezer that is half full will stay cold for up to 24 hours. One that is completely full will hold for about 48 hours.

Coolers and Ice Chests

If you know a power outage will be occurring in your area, invest in a few coolers, assuming you don’t already own them. Fill them with recently-purchased ice and use them to pack perishable foods. Surround important food items such as the aforementioned perishable products with ice to keep them edible.

Should the power outage last more than a day, pack another cooler featuring the items from your freezer. You may also want to consider purchasing dry or block ice if you expect a long power outage.

What have your food experiences been like during power outages? Share your best tips in the comments section!

5 Tips For Raising Chickens

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Raising Chickens at Home

Have you decided your backyard needs a few chickens? If you’re interested in raising chickens on your property and have checked for restrictions with your local government, enjoy getting started with your new project.

Let’s take a look at some of the best tips for raising feathered friends behind your house.

Purchase Chicks

Purchase chicks from a local farm store and keep the little guys in a box placed in your garage or shed. Position a heat lamp within the box to keep them warm, and line said box with newspaper. Add food and water. If the chicks are huddled together, lower the lamp so they enjoy more heat. If the birdies are staying away from the lamp, position it so it is less severe. Provide the chicks with chicken feed until they are between eight and 12 weeks old, then mix laying pellets in with the feed. You will eventually need to switch to laying pellets only, especially if the chickens are roaming around your backyards pecking their little hearts out.

Build a Secure Coop

Your next chicken-raising task is to erect a very secure coop. Whether you build it yourself or commission the project, keeping your chickens safe from predators is essential. Coyotes, raccoons, hawks, foxes, owls, dogs, and skunks loooveee them some chicken, so make certain all windows are covered with chicken wire and that the birds can run under the coop if necessary. The wire protects chickens from the outstretched paws of raccoons, while the ability to hide under the coop protects them from predatory birds.

Provide Plenty of Water

Provide your birds with a constant flow of water, though what size waterer you require depends on the size of your flock. Three-to five-gallon waterers are generally best for larger flocks. Make certain it is easy to clean, as chickens will defecate in the water bowl —and everywhere else.

Change the Straw

Change the straw in your chicken coop weekly to deal with the aforementioned waste issue. Cedar chips are another good option, as they absorb moisture and have a pleasant scent.

Keep Their Personalities and Laying Schedules in Mind

Remember that chickens have personalities too! Watching them interact and play together is a pastime for many chicken owners. Also remember that no two chickens have the same laying schedule, and some may lay every day for a month before taking a little break and laying every other day after that. Make sure they have healthy food, water, and plenty of light to maintain a viable laying schedule. Chickens have about two years of good layin’ in them before they reach retirement. Feel free to keep them as pets until they die of old age!

Do you have any other chicken-raising tips you would like to share?

3 Ways Animals Can Help You Survive

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Attracting Birds to Your GardenCan watching animals help you survive if stranded in the wilderness? Absolutely. Animals know a thing or two about survival, after all. They let you know when stuff’s about to go down! Here are some of the many ways animals will help you stay alive until it’s rescue time:

Danger

Keep a weather eye on the animals around you, as they’ll tell you when a huge predator is about to make an entrance. Birds make great emergency alerts, as they’ll often squawk like crazy when danger is near. Blue Jays in particular do this, while any quail, pheasant, or similar bird that runs out of a bush or other brush in a hurry is a sure signal something unpleasant is nearby. If you weren’t the one to cause the bird to vacate its previous area, you can be darn sure something else did.

Birds and other animals will also fall silent when a big, bad predator is close. If you notice one or several animals doing what they normally do and then stopping for seemingly no reason, something is amiss.

Bad Weather

Use animals to let you know when inclement weather is on its way so you can find shelter as soon as possible. Cows are notorious for lying down when it’s about to seriously rain, while birds flying lower than usual and skimming the ground are another indication that bad weather is about to manifest itself. Birds normally fly high in the sky, but changes in air pressure make them zoom towards Earth.

Another way to tell there’s a bad moon, er, storm on the horizon is when animals disappear. Again, a drop in pressure lets them know it’s time to head home and that you should do the same (even if it’s a makeshift shelter).

Water

Let animals help you find sources of water.  You can tell there is water nearby when you see lots of animal tracks in conjunction with swarming insects and bird flight paths.

Animals can also help you find food, as they usually aren’t going to chow down on stuff that’s deadly. However, it’s important to remember animals are willing to try any number of foods, including stuff that may be toxic. Use your best judgment in these instances to avoid getting sick.

What else can animals teach us about staying alive in the wild? Share tips in the comments section!

Increase Vitamin Intake With This DIY Tea

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pine needle tea
Pine needle tea is made from, you guessed it, pine needles. The drink is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A, it acts as a decongestant, and it also quenches thirst. Learn how to make pine needle tea and add it to your growing list of survival skills.

Gather Needles

Pick one or more cups of fresh pine needles. The greenest ones are best. Rinse the needles with clean water to remove all dirt before chopping them into pieces with a clean knife or any other applicable tool you have.

Boil Water

Heat water to a rolling boil in a saucepan or (again) whatever you have that works. Place pine needles in your mug or cup and pour the water over them. Make certain all faded and damaged needles are removed before you pour the water.

Stir and Steep

Stir the needles until they pale in color, or allow them to simmer on a low temperature for about 20 minutes if you have the resources. Cover the mug and let the tea steep for another 20 minutes.

Add Lemon and Enjoy

Add lemon or honey to your tea and enjoy once it once it’s cooled a bit! You may want it to steep overnight, as it will be stronger and more nutritious. Steeping pine needle tea overnight turns the liquid a reddish color.

There you have it: an easy way to make pine needle tea!

Do you have any tips to add? Share them in the comments section!

Stay Put, Stay Alive

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What to do if you are lost when hikingDid you know the majority of people stranded somewhere in the woods/jungle/desert/etc. are rescued within 72 hours? This means staying where you are is a great, great thing if you find yourself alone in the wild. Review what you need to do while awaiting rescue to help yourself as well as those looking for you.

Don’t Panic

To quote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic. Panicking will not help you in any way; it simply leaves you upset and likely a bit dehydrated from hyperventilating. Take a few deep breaths, tell yourself that you’re making the best of the situation until you get rescued, and remind yourself you have the survival skills necessary to remain alive in the wild for a day or three.

Build a Fire

Building a fire is the key to warmth, keeping large predators away, and letting rescue teams know where you are. There are’s numerous options for making fire in the wilderness without matches or lighters; however, if you have such items with you, you’re already one step ahead. Place green vegetation on top of the fire to create smoke and alert people to your location.

Use Reflective Materials

Reflective materials such as mirrors, metal, and anything else that sunlight bounces off of is another way to alert rescue teams to your whereabouts without having to move an inch.

Make Noise

Whether using whistles, pieces of metal, or your own voice, making noise is also key in letting people know where you are. This doesn’t mean you should scream your head off within the first 20 minutes and lose your voice, but any noise you can make will help your cause. As with fire, it will also keep animals away, as our four-legged friends tend to steer clear of loud noises.

Remember, save your energy and avoid dehydration by staying where you are.

Have you ever been stranded somewhere in the wild? What did you do to let rescuers know where you were?

Keep Your Stuff Safe: 4 Excellent Cybersecurity Tips

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cyber attacksIdentity theft is unfortunately a common problem in today’s tech-dense world. Rather than leaving yourself vulnerable to thieves, put a few tips into practice and make it very difficult for unscrupulous characters to hack your stuff.:

Stay Up -to -Date

Keep the security measures on your laptop, smartphone, and all other “‘smart’” devices updated. Failure to do so makes your information that much more accessible to thieves.

Change Your Passwords

Change passwords for all major accounts every 90 days. Make sure the passwords are hard to guess, and not the name of your cat. Use different passwords for every account and make sure they include a few numbers and symbols. The more complicated the password, the more protection you’ll enjoy.

Understand the Signs of Malware

Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of malware, adware, viruses, and anything else looking to infect your devices. Most malware and related nastiness appears legitimate, such as a “warning” telling you your computer is infected and that you must visit a certain website to rectify the problem. Visiting said website is what infects your computer with a virus. The same is true of emails supposedly from your bank or other financial institutions saying your account is closed and you must open an attachment or visit a website to fix it. Learn the many different ways thieves and hackers try to access your information. Remember, if it seems suspicious or too good to be true, it is.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Stay away from public Wi-Fi services. Sure, free Wi-Fi is a beautiful thing, but it also opens your device up to hacking, particularly if you don’t have a firewall and other anti-theft security software installed. Virtual private networks (VPN) are recommended over public Wi-Fi. It’s also a good idea to ensure your phone or laptop doesn’t pick up whatever Wi-Fi it senses, as it’s another way for thieves to access your information.

A few other cybersecurity tips include:

  • Keeping your location setting off unless you need it
  • Refraining from posting too much personal information on social media platforms
  • Utilizing security patches as needed
  • Using a password on your mobile devices as well as your laptop
  • Keeping sensitive information off of your devices as much as possible
  • Knowing the signs of spam and scams

Has the above information jogged memories of cybersecurity lessons you’ve learned? Share them in the comments section!

Emergency Kit: Your Four-Legged Friend Needs One Too

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pet emergency kitsYou may have your emergency kit packed and ready to go in the event of a disaster, but what about your furry family member? The kitty or doggy in your life needs an emergency kit too, especially if the animal requires medication or other special treatment. Let’s review what your pet emergency kit would entail so you can get started on one today:

Food And Water

Okay, this may be glaringly obvious, but your pet emergency kit definitely needs food and water. Pack at least one bag of dry food and as many cans of wet food as you can fit, as well as plenty of bottled water. Several days’ or a week’s worth of food and water is generally best.

IDed Collar & Leash with ID

Many pets get loose during natural disasters, and unfortunately some never come home again. Keep a collar featuring an ID tag with the pet’s name and your contact information in the kit, as well as a leash. These extra items are helpful if you need to secure your animal during an emergency, and they also provide necessary information, should the cat or dog be separated from you.

Medications

All the medications your animal takes must go in the kit. Again, a few days’ or a week’s worth of options meds is what you want. You must rotate the medications as needed to avoid giving your pet expired  drugs in the event of an emergency.

You’ll also do well to add first aid items to the kit, such as hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting,  milk of magnesia to absorb poison, and an eyedropper to administer medications or flush your pet’s eyes. Gauze and non-stick bandages to stop bleeding are recommended as well.

Important Documents

Copies of medical records, proof of ownership, and any other important documents are yet another emergency kit must, as is the phone numbers of your veterinarian. Make sure your contact information is also written down, since having a separate paper as well as the ID tag is recommended.

Additional Items

Other items to add to your kit include:

  • Favorite toys and blankets
  • Bowls
  • Towels
  • Cat litter and box
  • Cleaning supplies (for litter boxes, etc.)
  • Photographs of the pet
  • Grooming Supplies

Anything else a pet emergency kit should include?

 

7 Awesome Home Hiding Places

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diversion safe outlet Photo credit: Amazon.com

You might not realize it, but your home is actually loaded with hiding places! If wanting to hide various items around the house as part of your bug-out plan, review the following super -cool and innovative spots for keeping stuff hidden.:

Fake Plant

Maintain one or a few fake plants around the house and bury money or other essential items at the bottom of the “soil.”

Top Of Doors

Drill holes in the top of interior doors and use them to hide cash, jewelry, or anything else that’s small and valuable. Simply make the hole and insert a metal tube to keep the stuff in place.

Picture Frame

Hide important documents between the picture and the cardboard backing in a picture frame. Secret storage areas behind pictures on the wall is a classic trick; however, few think to look in the frame itself.

Rock/Aspirin Bottle

Glue a rock to the top of an aspirin bottle to make your own Hide-A-Key. Bury the bottle, but (obviously) keep the rock exposed. Use it for keys or other small items you’d rather keep outside of the house.

Freezer/Aluminum Foil

Disguise important items as food by wrapping them in aluminum foil and placing them in your freezer.

Wall Clocks

Purchase one or more wall clocks that feature hidden storage components. They’re great for cash, jewelry, and other small but very valuable items.

Paint Cans

Buy faux paint cans (find them on the internet — it’s not hard) and use them to store all kinds of things. Situate them among real paint cans to throw burglars off the scent. Flowerpot safes are another option.

What are your tips for hiding stuff in your home? Any creative ideas not on this list? Share them in the comments section!

Coyotes & Bobcats: Small(er) Predator Encounter Tips

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coyote predatorCoyotes and bobcats are among the smaller predators in our world, but that doesn’t mean they can’t rip you apart if they have the inclination. We’ve already discussed what to do should you encounter a cougar, bear, moose or shark, so let’s take a brief look at how to handle smaller predators without serious injury.

Coyotes

These members of the wolf family are known for their cunning and adaptability. They generally keep to themselves unless gathering to howl at the moon. They have no issue being brazen should they realize humans aren’t a threat. If you happen upon a coyote, do not try to feed it unless you want a wild animal sniffing around your property a whole lot. Throw rocks or yell at it to scare it away, and don’t keep garbage or pets outdoors. If you are walking your dog in a coyote-heavy area, put it on a leash.

Coyote attacks on humans are rare, but they do happen.

Bobcats

The wild kitties are increasingly present in urban areas thanks to their adaptable natures. They possess the ability to attack and take down animals up to eight times their weight; however, they will likely flee the scene if you come upon them. If a bobcat takes up residence on your property, you don’t have much to worry about unless you have pets or livestock. If that’s the case, block as many entrances to your property as you can, and never leave food out, whether it’s pet food, garbage, etc.

As with cougars, you don’t want to run if you see a bobcat, as it might mistake you for food and begin a pursuit. Back away slowly and make a lot of noise instead.

Other small predators include badgers, but they pose little threat to humans despite their somewhat ferocious-looking appearance. The honey badger is especially amazing, as its thick, rubber-like skin is one of the many reasons the animal has been dubbed “the world’s most fearless creature.”

Have you encountered one of the above animals? What was your experience?

Bet You Never Thought Of Doing This With Your Coffee Filters

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alternative coffee filter usesDid you know coffee filters are capable of much more than filtering coffee? That’s right! The stuff you use to make your morning brew offers a plethora of little-known uses, many of which are helpful in survival-esque situations. Let’s check out some of these many uses to help you strengthen your survival/homesteading skills.

Window Cleaner

Use coffee filters to clean windows without the lint. Mix together ¼ cup vinegar with 1 cup water and use the filters as a cloth to clean windows, chrome, mirrors, or anything else that needs to shine. No annoying paper or lint specs left behind. They even clean glasses, CDs, and DVD players.

Tea Bags

Turn coffee filters into tea bags when necessary. Simply place loose tea in a filter and close the opening with string.

Potted Plant Liner

Line the bottoms of planters with coffee filters to stop fine dirt particles from making their way through the planter holes and creating a mess.

Shoe Polish

Crumple a coffee filter into a little ball and use it to shine the heck out of shoes.

Shoe Deodorizer

Deodorize sweat-filled shoes by pouring baking soda into a coffee filter, tying it with twine, and placing it the offending footwear.

Facial Blotting Paper

De-grease your t-zone with coffee filters if you don’t have any actual blotting papers available.

Laundry Static Reducer

Place a drop of lavender or another favorite essential oil on a coffee filter and add the filter to your washing machine. Clothes come out static-free and smelling great.

Food Holders

Use coffee filters as food holders for little hands. They work well with tacos, pita sandwiches and hot dogs, and they also serve as drip catchers when placed underneath frozen pops and around ice cream cones.

What are your favorite alternative uses for coffee filters? Share them in the comments section!

The 5 Best Herbs for Container Gardening

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Inexpensive Herb GardenIs your container garden flourishing like it should, and you’d like to add a few herbs to the mix? There are plenty of options that do wonderfully in container gardens, so check a few out and enjoy using your own herbs in assorted recipes.

Basil

Ah, the popular Italian herb. Basil is a fantastic choice, as the annual is quite hardy following root system establishment. Such establishment takes about six weeks, with basil needing plenty of sun and moist, fertile soil during this time. It makes a wonderful companion to thyme and parsley, so why not group them together and create one big herb-tastic container?

Rosemary

The scent of rosemary is beloved for a reason; it smells heavenly! If you’d like to add this special herb to your container garden, be sure to grow it in its own pot. Unlike the aforementioned option, rosemary prefers to go solo. Use quick-draining soil to maintain growth, and place the herb in full sun.

Thyme

This herb is yet another culinary favorite that flourishes within a container. It’s super hardy, so you won’t have to do much in terms of maintenance, though Thyme does enjoy well-draining soil and full sun. Prevent the soil from getting too wet; thyme doesn’t like it!

Sage

Sage will grow and grow and turn woody, which makes it a great choice for container gardening. It’s much easier to prevent the herb from taking over your kitchen when it’s in a container! The herb is also celebrated for adding structure to a container garden. Use moist, well-draining soil and place the container in full sun to keep sage healthy.

Mint

Mint is a container-friendly herb that, like sage, can become invasive if left to its own devices. It does well both in partial shade and full sun, and requires well-draining soil. In addition to its culinary uses, mosquitoes detest mint, so it’s a natural mosquito repellant.

Additional Options

Other favorite herbs for container gardening include:

  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon

Which herbs are your favorite for container gardening, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Wilderness Survival: Basic Medical Tips

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wilderness first aidFinding yourself stranded in the wilderness is hardly a recipe for fun; however, a thorough or at least partial understanding of how to survive will prevent you from becoming bear food. Some basic knowledge of medicinal plants and first-aid skills is very, very helpful when trying to stay alive in the wild, and with that in mind, check out the following tips to store in your brain’s “survival” section.

 Makeshift Sunblock

Dying of exposure is generally more likely than death by cougar, bear, etc. Exposure is not only uncomfortable if you get a sunburn, but it’s also dangerous when it comes to dehydration. Keep to the shade as much as possible, and protect exposed skin with ash, charcoal, caked mud, woven grasses or leaves. Any of these things shield flesh from harmful UV rays.

Burn Treatment

Aloe vera remains a celebrated treatment for burns because it works, and it works very well. The pulp of this succulent is what you want; simply break it open and pour the gel directly on affected areas. Aloe vera also works as an antiseptic, so use it on any cuts and scrapes as well as burns.

Infection Cleanser

In addition to aloe vera, there are many other medicinal plants that function as antiseptics. The pressed juices of wild onion and garlic work wonders, as do the crushed leaves of the burdock plant. If you have access to raw honey, use it as an antiseptic and burn treatment. Honey’s drawing powers suck nastiness from any wound and heal it something quick.

Antihistamine

Itchy skin finds relief with witch hazel or jewelweed poultices, which also treat rashes, topical plant poisoning, and sunburn.

Scalp Wounds

Lacerations and similar scalp wounds tend to bleed a lot. If no resources are available to help stop the bleeding, use your hair to tie and subsequently bind the wound. This naturally only works on those with long hair, but it’s an effective way to pull the wound shut. Tie hair from opposite sides of the wound to close it and keep it shut. Go with a square or surgeon’s knot to keep strands in place.

What are your best basic medical tips for wilderness survival? Share them in the comments section!

4 Tips For Not Drowning

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swimming survival skillsLearning how to not drown is pretty darn important, as death by water is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Water safety is an essential survival skill, so if planning any trips that involve the great blue sea, rivers, lakes, or any other waterway, check out the following tips so you and those you care about will stay aware and safe.

Don’t Panic

Remaining calm is one of the most essential things you can do in the face of danger. Whether unexpectedly falling into a body of water or finding yourself swept away by an ocean undertow, riptide, or huge wave, refusing to panic is very, very necessary. Many drown due to exhaustion because they start flailing around out of paralyzing fear.

If you’re in the ocean and an undertow or riptide takes hold of you, let it do its thing. You might be carried quite far from your starting point, but if you save your energy, you’ll be able to swim back to shore or have a lifeguard rescue you.

Swim at Designated Areas Only

Swimming in designated areas is a great way to stay safe. If swimming in the ocean, do so only when there’s a lifeguard present, and for goodness’ sake, don’t swim at night. The same is true of lakes and pools — it’s much better to swim with other people and lifeguards around. Rivers aren’t usually swim-worthy unless you come across a small pool free of currents. Currents in this type of waterway go every which way making drowning a very easy thing.

Remember, if you’re in doubt about any swimming area, avoid it.  

Tread, Tread, Tread

Learning how to tread water is another necessity in your fight against treacherous water. Treading water is often done in pools by those learning how to swim, but it’s helpful no matter what body of water you’re in. Currents can make treading difficult, but the more you know about staying afloat, the better. Treading takes little effort and may be the difference between life and death.

Additional Tips

 Other tips for not drowning include keeping a weather eye on your companions and having them do the same for you It also helps to respect the water you’re swimming in, especially the ocean. The ocean is incredibly beautiful and wonderful, but also a serious force of nature that demands serious respect.

 Have you any near-drowning stories? Share them in the comments section!

Camping & Out Of Soap? Try Wood Ashes!

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wood ash usesIf you find yourself in the wilderness without soap, don’t panic. It’s still entirely possible to clean your gear with…wait for it…wood ash. Wood ash actually makes a fantastic alternative when suds aren’t available or you decided to skip bringing bars of the stuff entirely to make room for other things. Wood ashes have been used as a source of lye in soap making for years upon years.

 Check out a few tips for making the most of your wood ashes:

 No Residue

First and foremost, it’s essential that your wood ash be free from assorted residues. These include food, plastic, or any other trash, as they could easily make the ashes toxic. Use pure wood ash instead, which may require building a new fire at a different location and letting it burn uninterrupted until you can extract the ashes without issue.

 Hardwoods Vs. Softwoods

Go for hardwood tree ash over their softwood counterparts, as hardwood trees are better for making soap.

 Super-Greasy Pots

Use the greasiest pot you have to make your ash-tastic soap. Add a little olive oil or fat to ease the soap-making process, then add a few cups of ashes. If some of your ashes contain charcoal, fear not, as it will only aid the scouring process.

Hot Water

Add hot water to your concoction–enough to make a nice paste. This results in potassium salts, which will mix with the fat or oil to create your soap. It may not be the prettiest soap ever, but darn if it won’t clean the heck out of your pots and pans.

Let the mixture to cool before slathering your pots with it, and allow the soap to stand for a few minutes before scrubbing. Rinse pots with water to complete the process.

Have any soap-making tricks to share?

4 Places to Discreetly Store Your Food Supply

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Knowing how to store food properly is a survival skill you don’t want to be without. However, stocking up on food also means learning how to store it effectively and sometimes even creatively, as you want to walk through your house without tripping over a bag of beans. Check out these creative options for storing food around your home, and feel good about your survival prowess.

Back Of Doors

Purchase assorted over-the-door organizers and use the space behind the doors in your home to store food. For example, hanging shoe organizers double as space for housing canned goods. They also work well for dry grains and beans.

Under Stairs

Use the space under your stairs for food storage, as you’re probably not doing much with the space anyway. (This is assuming you have space under your stairs, of course!) Hang a curtain over the space so it doesn’t detract from your home’s décor , or build shelves that fit perfectly under the stairs. You’ll be happy you did in a time of crisis.

Under The Bed

Make excellent use of the space under your bed by filling it with boxes of dry food goods. As with the space under your stairs, you might want to build (or purchase, no judgment here) a drawer for easy access.

Garage

Get more out of your garage (if applicable) and use it for food storage. Again, feel free to get creative with shelves, or hot-glue mason jar lids to a wooden board and fill the corresponding jars with dry goods.

What are your favorite food storage tricks? Share them in the comments section!

Don’t Get Eaten By A Bear & Other Wilderness Trip Planning Tips

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wilderness survival - trainingPlanning a long trek into the great, wide open? A wilderness trip involves a heck of a lot of planning so you don’t, um, die. Check out the following tips to ensure your adventure is one you’ll be talking about for years and years.

Research

Study the area you intend to traverse before you do anything else. Become as familiar with it as you possibly can, which includes learning about weather patterns, area wildlife, routes into and out of the woods, etc. Ensure you’re able to handle the terrain, whether it involves lots of dry desert or steep mountain passes, and learn about the region’s edible plants in case of emergency.

Let Others Know

Let friends and family know where you’ll be if you’re traveling by yourself. Tell them when you’re leaving and when you expect to return. If you will be in cell phone range at various times, let loved ones know you’ll call with updates on your trip.

Pack the Essentials

Pack what the National Park Service calls the “10 essentials.”

  1. Extra food
  2. Extra warm-when-wet clothing
  3. Compass
  4. Pocketknife
  5. Sunglasses and sunblock
  6. Flashlight with extra batteries
  7. Topographic map of the area
  8. First aid kit
  9. Matches in a waterproof container
  10. Fire starter or candle

Bring the Correct Clothing/Footwear

Face the elements by wearing layers of clothing. You can always take extra pieces off, but if you don’t have any to begin with, you’ll likely find yourself very cold and/or wet. Wool and polar fleece are two excellent materials, while cotton should be avoided, as it will keep you wet and very cold. Rain gear is another must and should include a quality raincoat, gaiters, and rain pants. Bring waterproof boots as well.

Procure a Tent with a Rain Fly

Purchase a tent with a rain fly if you haven’t already. Tents designed for three, if not all four, seasons are best.

Don’t Forget about this Other Stuff

Pack the following items for additional assistance when alone in the wilderness.

  • Ice ax (if applicable)
  • Cover for keeping your pack dry in wet weather
  • Bee sting kit
  • Water sanitation tablets
  • Garden trowel for digging catholes
  • Toilet paper
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Portable cooking station/utensils
  • Extra water bottle

What are your best wilderness trip planning tips?

 

 

 

How To Find Water In Emergency Situations

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Wilderness Water PurificationThe body might be able to go for up to a month without food, but it won’t last more than a few days without water. The liquid is easily our world’s most precious resource, and finding it during an emergency situation is essential. Let’s review where to find water in emergency situations, both in the home and out.

In The Home

There’s actually quite a few water sources within your own home. Your water heater is one example; it requires turning off the circuit breaker or closing the gas valve before emptying the tank. Keep in mind your heater will sustain serious damage if you leave it on with no water.

Draining pipes in your home is another way to procure water. It requires shutting off the water lines in your house, then using the lowest faucet in your house to drain the pipes. Other options include melting ice cubes, using the liquid from canned goods if you’re really desperate, or the water in your toilet tank. Use the water in your tank, not the bowl, and only if it has not been chemically treated.

Boil or otherwise treat all water before you use it to avoid making yourself and friends/family members sick. Additionally, steer clear of the water in your waterbed if applicable, as such products generally contain additives so mold and mildew don’t flourish.

Outside The Home

Rainwater is one of your best options when looking for water outside the home, and it is easily contained in buckets and bins. Melting snow is also an option, as are garden ponds. Water is available in green bamboo shoots; simply cut them at their base to drain. Another possibility is tying tufts of grass together with clean rags, then squeezing the dew out of the rags after sunrise. Wells, springs, and other non-salt bodies of water also work in emergencies.

 As with water in the home, it’s essential to boil outside water sources or use water purifying drops or tablets.

 What are your best sources of water in an emergency? Share your tips in the comments section!

This Tiny Food Could Save Your Life

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Rice Food StorageDid you know there are more than 100,000 varieties of rice on this planet? White rice is merely one option, with brown and various long-grain rices being some of the healthiest foods you can ingest. Rice is also a highly versatile food that lends itself to all kinds of recipes, making it a fantastic dinner option in times of emergency.

Check out some of the many ways to cook with rice before buying it in bulk:

Pilaf

Make a rice pilaf using whatever spices and veggies you have lying around that blend well together. (If unaware what a pilaf is, it’s pretty much just rice with assorted spices and veggies.) For example, if you have cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, you’ve got yourself a yummy ‘lil pilaf, especially when paired with basmati rice.

Tostadas

Rice is a staple in many Mexican dishes. It’s not usually part of tostadas, however Alicia Silverstone has a yummy “tostada” recipe in her book The Kind Diet that involves the super grain. Think brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas, celery, carrots, cucumber, sunflower seeds and avocado. If all you have is some beans and cheese, they work just as well with rice and tortillas to make a hearty tostada option.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is another easy option that requires cooking a few veggies first, such as daikon root, garlic, onions, and carrots with olive oil, then adding the rice.  Again, work with what you have, and throw that rice on a skillet.

Red Beans And Rice 

This New Orleans staple simply consists of rice and — you guessed it — red beans. Brown rice is the better option, though most red beans and rice dishes feature white rice with a pile of red beans in the middle.

Salads 

There are plenty of salad recipes that incorporate rice, such as chicken/wild rice salads. Other ideas include black beans, rice, and onions with veggies such as tomato and celery.

These are merely a few of the many ways to use rice! Other ideas include burritos, cheesy-rice casseroles, and cilantro-lime rice among lots more recipes. It also simply works on its own as a side or an entire meal if necessary, and is very inexpensive!

What  are your favorite rice recipes? Share them in the comments section!

This One Simple Tool Could Save Your Life

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survival-axe-hatchetThe hatchet was immortalized in the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Remember reading it in your middle school English class? It’s the tale of a city boy whose plane crashes in the vast Canadian wilderness. He survives, though the pilot isn’t so lucky; he learns how to stay alive in the wild for 54 days with nothing but — you guessed it — a hatchet.

The small axe is one heck of a survival tool, and it lends itself to numerous applications that help you not die. Let’s review some of these applications before you go hatchet shopping.

Fire Starter

A hatchet is very helpful when needing to start a fire. It not only makes it much easier to cut large pieces of wood, but also functions as a striking tool to create sparks. Make sure to use your hatchet for this purpose only if necessary , such as when dealing with a lack of matches, paper and flint strikers. This is to avoid premature dulling.

Defense

Finding yourself face to face with a large predator such as a cougar or bear is never ideal, and there’s no running away, as it sends a clear message that you’re food rather than a potential threat. If nothing else works and the animal runs at you, it sure is helpful to have a hatchet in your hand. Use a hacking motion to maintain your defense.

Ice Cutter

Cutting ice and hard snow for water is much easier when you have a hatchet, as is digging out a snow shelter.

Splint Assistance

Should you need to create a splint, a hatchet again comes in super handy. It makes it easy to cut and fashion a splint, whether for you or an injured party member.

Light Reflector

The metal section of a hatchet works as a light reflector, which sure is helpful if you’re alone in the wilderness and need to be rescued!

Hammer

The hatchet’s back end works as a very nice hammer.

What are your favorite uses for a hatchet? Share them in the comments section!

5 Nifty Personal Care Products You Already Have at Home

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toilet paper emergency tipsAs with cleaning supplies, there are plenty of household products that function as emergency personal care products. Whether you simply forgot to pick up must-haves at your local retail store or are otherwise in dire need of a cleanser, moisturizer, shampoo, etc., knowing what works in an emergency is one sweet survival skill.

Check out the following common household items to see what you can use the next time you’re in a beauty bind.

 Olive Oil

Ah, olive oil. It’s one of nature’s greatest gifts, and lends itself to a variety of beauty applications. Use the slick stuff as makeup remover, moisturizer, and deep conditioner. It also works as an excellent conditioner for cuticles, a shaving cream, and it can be combined with sugar to create an effective lip scrub. One other trick: One part olive oil and two parts antibacterial soap cleans your makeup brushes.

Tissue Paper

Run out of blotting papers? If you have old tissue paper lying around, use it to absorb excess oil from your t-zone. It works just as well!

Sugar

White sugar makes a powerful scrub, whether you combine it with olive oil or not. Simply take handfuls of the white stuff and scrub your body. It’s much cheaper than commercial scrubs and does a fantastic job of sloughing dead skin.

Baking Soda

Baking soda works as a wonderful dry shampoo, and is a lot less expensive than its commercial counterparts. Simply sprinkle the stuff on your scalp and brush or tousle your hair to revive and freshen strands. Adding a little baking soda to your current shampoo helps remove product buildup.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is similar to olive oil in that it provides an astounding number of uses, including those for beauty. Use it to deep-condition tresses, moisturize skin and lips, remove makeup, protect against razor burn, combat stretch marks, treat acne, encourage hair growth, and so much more.

 

Pretty nifty, huh? What are your favorite emergency beauty products? Share them in the comments section!

These 4 Products You already Own Make Spectacular Cleaners

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baking sodaWhether you’re in the midst of an emergency and require cleaning supplies or simply forget to buy what you need at your local retail store, don’t fret. There are numerous items around your home that serve as excellent emergency cleaning supplies. Such options are highly effective, non-toxic, and cheap! What more could you ask for?

Check out these products that make spectacular cleaners.

 White Vinegar

Ah, white vinegar. Is there anything it can’t do? The clear liquid is the best all-purpose cleaner you’ll ever use, as it’s a powerful disinfectant capable of being used on pretty much any surface you can think of — glass, wood, laminate, countertops, etc. As with every other cleaner on this list, we’ll mention it’s 100% natural, so breathing vinegar’s fumes won’t kill your brain cells. What it will do is clean and disinfect your entire home, killing mold and mildew instantly.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is applicable to almost as many surfaces as white vinegar, but it does especially well in kitchens and bathrooms. Because the white stuff is so abrasive, it destroys mildew, mold, soap scum and any other nastiness lurking around tubs and sinks. Keep an open box of baking soda in any room that features an unpleasant odor, as it neutralizes horrendous smells.

Lemon

Need a quality cleaner, but don’t have anything except lemon in your fridge? You’re in great shape. Lemon is another powerful disinfectant with a laundry list of applications, including the cleaning of chrome, cutting boards, sinks, and most other surfaces. Add lemon juice to water to make a fantastic cleaner, or simply use wedges to clean your kitchen sink and other surfaces. The fresh scent will also leave your home nice and deodorized.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another common household product that serves as an excellent cleaner. Use it to get stickers off of glass, get  paint off your hands, fix scratches on leather furniture, clean cast-iron pans, polish stainless steel, and much more.

What are your favorite emergency cleaning supplies? Share them in the comments section!

Tips For Planting A Survival Garden

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Organic GardeningAlways wanted to grow your own garden? How about a survival garden? Creating your very own food supply is a wonderful survival tactic that comes in mighty handy in the event of a disaster or food shortage. Check out a few beginner tips for survival gardening and get plantin’.

Make Room

Create space to plant your garden by removing rocks, plants and other debris from your chosen area. Be sure to eliminate all weeds, as they choke and smother the veggies you want to grow. Till the earth as needed to ensure all weeds are gone; loosen 6 to 12 inches of soil for best results. Don’t forget to pick a spot that gets plenty of sun!

Add Fertilizer

Enrich the soil with organic matter unless dealing with dirt you already know is rich with nutrients. Add a three-inch layer of compost, grass clippings, old manure, or decayed leaves to give soil a nice boost, and remember to work whatever you use into the earth.

Choose Your Veggies

Opt for vegetables and herbs that grow well and are easy to store. If possible, look for drought- and disease-tolerant options. Find out what planting zone (growing climate) you’re in, and choose organic seeds that thrive in such conditions. Read manufacturer planting instructions or discuss best practices with your local farmer or nursery.

Water Your Plants

Determine the watering needs for each type of vegetable and herb you’ve planted and make sure they get the water they need to flourish.

Store Your Food

Store food from your survival garden in a root cellar if possible. Root veggies such as carrots, beets, potatoes and turnips obviously store well in these cellars. If you don’t have access to a root cellar, a cool, dark food pantry will suffice. Canning food and using a food dehydrator are best for storing food as opposed to freezing what you have.  Freezing requires electricity, and as soon as the power goes out, your stored food won’t have long for this world.

Have you planted a survival garden? Share your tips in the comments section!

Cook With Your Thermos! A Few Emergency Cooking Methods

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thermos cookingWhether out in the big, bad woods or the middle of a disaster, knowing how to cook in an emergency is a beautiful thing. There are actually lots of ways to enjoy a hot meal on the proverbial fly, even if all you have is a thermos!

Check out these emergency cooking methods.

Thermos Options

Would you believe most slow cooker recipes are doable in a thermos? You’ll obviously have to use a lot less food, and you’d definitely need a quality thermos, but yes, it’s very possible. Types of food you can easily cook in a thermos include rice and beans, soups, chili, stews, oatmeal, freeze-dried food, noodles and other pasta, and even meats such as chicken.

Cooking time varies depending on what food you’re working with. For example, rice is going to take longer than noodles. Boil the food before sticking it in the thermos in order to cook it properly. You may have to experiment to get the right cooking time for each option, but that just means you’re honing your nifty survival skills!

Iron Options

If you’re wondering if “iron” refers to the de-wrinkling appliance, you’d be right. Your iron is actually a great little cooking tool, particularly for reheating food, though you will need a power source. Wrap vegetables, fried foods, chicken, or fish that’s already been cooked in about three layers of foil, and turn your iron on its highest setting. Use an ironing board or other viable surface, and place the iron on the wrapped food for three to five minutes. If your food contains “juices,” make sure they don’t drip onto the ironing board.

Solar-Powered Cooker

Additional emergency options depend again on whether you have access to an electrical outlet, or if the sun’s out. Solar-powered portable cookers are a great option, as you don’t have to worry about a viable outlet so long as the sun is shining. Such cookers are low-tech devices, with large-scale options capable of cooking food for hundreds of people.

Emergency Power/Hot Plates

There’s also emergency power options to look into, and hot plates. A hot plate is simply one burner, but it works very, very well. If you invest in emergency power solutions, you’ll be able to use a hot plate or similar appliance no matter how long the power’s out.

What are your favorite emergency cooking methods? Share them in the comments section!

Which Kind Should You Get? External Vs. Internal Frame Backpacks

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best pack for backpackingLooking to purchase a backpack for your upcoming trek over the river and through the woods? Camping backpacks fall into two main categories, internal and external frame. Both offer plenty of benefits, and which one you need depends on a number of factors, including how much hiking you’re doing, what time of year your excursion is taking place, and more.

 Let’s review the pros and cons of each option to help you make a decision:

 Internal

Internal frame backpacks feature a metal — usually aluminum — frame that supports the pack from the inside. It helps place weight on your hips, which is the best place for carrying weight because it makes it easier for you to maintain your center of gravity. Internal frame backpacks are considered ideal for long treks over all varieties of terrain, as they form to the body and make it easy to stay balanced.

 Internal frame backpacks typically feature one large compartment, which can make packing a little challenging. There’s also the sweat factor. Because the backpack is so snug against the body, it results in a whole lot of sweating, especially if hiking when it’s warm. Some packs include aeration features so your back gets to “breathe,” but how well such features work is up for debate.

External

External frame backpacks feature — that’s right — an external, highly rigid aluminum tube frame. They’re designed to carry heavy loads on long hikes; however, they don’t do so great on rough or otherwise uneven terrain. These packs don’t conform to your center of gravity the way internal options do, and besides, they are heavier. They feature lots and lots of compartments for easy packing, and they provide space and subsequently aeration. External frame backpacks are usually reserved for long trips requiring a lot of gear and not a lot of climbing or challenging hiking.

Internal frame backpacks have become the preferred option; however, if storing lots of gear is necessary, you may wish to go with an external frame pack.

Which do you prefer and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Emergency Water Storage Ideas

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7gallon-5gallon-water-storageHumans may be able to go a month or more without food, but we’re dead in a matter of days without agua. It’s our planet’s most precious resource, and storing it in case of emergencies or a zombie apocalypse is a fantastic survival tactic. Check out a few ideas regarding emergency water storage and make sure that whatever you store the precious liquid in is clean. Very, very clean.

Water Bottles

Purchasing several packs of water bottles from your local grocery store is a pretty obvious water storage idea, but one that’s still worth mentioning. If you decide to stack your emergency storage space with water bottles, make sure they and all other plastic water containers aren’t sitting near a heat source. This causes the plastic to melt a bit, and subsequently leach chemicals into your water.

Edible Plastic Containers

“Edible” in this instance does not refer to the containers themselves, but rather what they house. Edible plastic containers are used for water, juice, milk, and soda, while inedible containers are used for soap, laundry detergent, etc. Recycle edible plastic containers and use them for water storage, but again be sure to sanitize them first.

Glass Bottles/Jars

As long as you keep them in a safe area where they won’t fall and shatter into a million little pieces, glass bottles and jars make great water storage containers. Think mason jars, glass soda jars, glass apple cider vinegar jars, and any other viable glass container. Glass jars can even take a little heat without chemicals leaching into the water because they’re, you know, glass.

Heavy-Duty 5-Gallon Containers

Heavy-duty containers capable of holding up to five gallons of water are another emergency must-have, as they make storing a whole lot of liquid easy.

Other water storage ideas include water bricks and collapsible containers. You may also want to invest in water treatment kits and filters to ensure optimal sanitation.

What are you best water storage tricks? Share them in the comments section!

Canning Tips & Tricks For Beginners

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Canning tips for beginnersLearning how to can your own food is one sweet survival skill. Whether you want to preserve food in preparation for any upcoming zombie apocalypses or are simply interested in learning more about this important skill, use the following beginner tips to get you started.

Equipment & Sterilization

Necessary equipment includes jars (duh), lids and a canner. Water bath canners are recommended over pressure canners when you’re starting out, though you’ll only be able to can certain types of food with the former (more on that in a bit). You may also want to procure tools, such as jar-lifting tongs and a ladle. Once you have all of your equipment, sterilize the heck out of them. Sterilize the jars, rings, and lids by first washing them in warm, soapy water. You’ll then need to boil them to ensure total sterilization. Leave the lids in the hot water until you’re ready to can to avoid contamination.

The Golden Rule

The golden rule of canning is “acidity is everything.”

“Foods that do not have acid require pressure canning. These are foods such as green beans, peas, corn, potatoes and many others,” notes Dr. Jean Weese, professor and extension specialist at Alabama’s Auburn University. “When you place food with no acid in a jar and seal it with a vacuum, you have created a great place for Clostridium botulinum to grow. This organism, when placed in the vacuum environment, can start growing and create the deadly botulinum toxin, which causes an illness known as botulism. If a person consumes even a small amount of this toxin it can result in death.”

Eeesh. If intimidated by the thought of using a pressure cooker to can assorted foods, Weese recommends starting with jams and jellies, as the recipes are easy and you won’t die if you make a mistake.

Water Bath Canning

Since we’re discussing the basics of canning, it would be silly not to mention the mechanics of water bath canning. Once you’ve filled your clean jar with food and applied the lid and threaded ring, you’ll submerge the jar in boiling water. How long said jar must remain in the water depends on what you’re canning. Removing the jar from the water allows heat and any air to escape, creating an airtight seal that will keep for at least a year.

Remember to let the jars cool fully before labeling and storing them. Add the date to every label as well as the recipe, if so inclined.

Have any canning tips to share? Leave them in the comments section!

Why You Definitely Want Superglue in Your Survival Kit

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super glue for survival kitFlashlight, canned goods, Swiss Army knives and superglue? You may not think the adhesive belongs in your survival or bug-out kit, but it does. It really, really does. Whether you use the name-brand stuff or some other knock-off, this ultra adhesive is a welcome addition to any survival kit. Let’s find out why, shall we?

Wound Care

While putting superglue in your eyes, mouth, or other orifices is definitely not recommended, the adhesive is excellent for closing wounds. Use it only if sutures and butterfly strips aren’t available, and never pour the glue directly into a cut. Simply close the wound and apply the glue to seal and keep it shut. Avoid any activity that will reopen said wound.

Leak Repair

Have a leak in your water bottle? Allow the bottle to dry out completely and fix the affected area with glue. Let the glue dry before adding water.

Weapon Creation

Superglue works very well in the creation of assorted weapons, such as adding a spearhead to a long pole.

Shoe Repair

If there are tears in your shoes, use superglue to repair them. They’ll last a little while longer, and you won’t have to go without footwear.

Fishing Tackle Repair

Superglue is also recommended as fishing tackle repair. You may use the stuff to construct DIY lures and flies from whatever materials you have access to as well.

Tips and Recommendations

The toxicity of the glue depends on the brand, as some are waaaay more toxic than others. Keep this in mind when using the glue on wounds and in water bottle repair, and remember that the glue itself won’t last long once you open it. Pick and choose the best time to use it, and use it only when you really need it.

Have you used superglue in an emergency situation? Share your story in the comments section!

How To Save On Heating Costs

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saving money on your heating costsDid you dread opening your energy bills last winter due to astronomically high heating costs? Rather than weeping every time your bill comes in the mail this year, put a few energy-saving tips into practice. There are plenty of ways to save on heating costs so energy bills stay within reason.

 Weatherstripping

 If you think the gaps around windows and doorframes don’t matter, well, you’re wrong. Sealing air leaks via caulk and other weatherstripping materials is an essential part of any energy-saving plan. Plus it’s something that makes the home waaaay more comfortable. Get rid of drafts, and see if you don’t notice your heating bill decrease.

 Furnace Filter

 Have you cleaned your furnace filter recently, or ever? Clean filters mean furnaces and air conditioners don’t have to work as hard, because dirty/clogged filters are harder to get through. And if it’s harder for air to push through filters, your furnace and air conditioner will be working overtime; higher energy bills will result. Clean the filter about once a month, and change it every three months or as needed. This action also vastly extends the life of your furnace.

 Thermostat

Setting your thermostat as low as possible during the winter and as high as possible during the summer is another way to save on energy costs. Even lowering it one degree is enough to make a difference. Shave a few degrees off your thermostat and use other means to stay warm, such as layers of clothing, blankets, and a fireplace, if applicable.

Insulation

If your home is lacking insulation, you’ll literally pay for it. Start with the attic, since heat rises, and seal ducts and pipes. Leaky ducts alone make up 10–30 percent of heating costs.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Switching to an alternative heat source is another way to save money on energy costs. Geothermal heat pumps, for example, are highly cost-effective options that use the ground to maintain a comfortable home. These ground-source pumps have been around since the 1940s and feature the ability to heat and cool the home as well as provide it with hot water. They’re also very quiet and require little maintenance.

Try these and other methods to save on heating costs this winter!

How do you keep winter heating costs from skyrocketing? Share your tips in the comments section!

Death Valley Hiking Tips

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Death Valley Hiking TipsTo those who don’t know what Death Valley is, well, let’s just say the name can conjure serious fear. Death Valley National Park is the largest national park outside of Alaska, and occupies a section of California on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It’s known for serious, serious heat and very little rain and also features the lowest point on the North American continent.

If you’re planning to hike part or a significant chunk of Death Valley, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into. Check out a few key hiking tips to get you started.

Best Season

The best time to hike Death Valley is from October through April. Hiking in the middle of hot summer is recommended only if you have a death wish, and even the spring and fall are hot as all get out. Hiking in winter is therefore ideal, especially if you want to walk the lower elevation trails. Hiking the salt flats and anywhere else below sea level should be avoided when it’s extremely hot.

Water, Water, Water

There’s no hiking anywhere without an adequate water supply; however, this is especially true of Death Valley. Bring more water than you normally would to hike this area. The National Park Service recommends two liters for short day hikes in winter, and one gallon or more for longer warm season hikes. More water is also recommended for overnight hikes.

Snakes

Death Valley features a whole slew of snake species, but the rattlesnake is the only one you really need to worry about. These snakes give themselves away with the oh-so-chilling rattle sound; if you leave them and all other wildlife alone, you should be just fine.

Mines

In addition to the crazy heat and snakes, Death Valley features numerous abandoned mines — 10,000, to be exact. Only a very few have been sealed off from the public, and there’s the possibility of poisonous gas lurking within. There’s also the possibility of a mine collapsing on you should you dare to enter one. So again, unless you have a death wish, stay the heck out of the mines.

If you’re a hiking newbie, stick to the easy-to-moderate hikes. Have fun, and be safe!

Have you ever hiked Death Valley? Share your tips in the comments section!

How to Stay Warm in an Emergency Situation

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styaing warm in a disasterAs much as emergency situations suck, it’s still important to keep your wits and do what you have to do to survive. One of the keys to coming out of an emergency situation virtually unscathed is to keep warm. Unless your emergency happens on a hot day, you’ll need to stay warm if you want to, you know, live.

Let’s check out a few tips for staying warm during disasters.

Couch Cushions and Pillows

Couch cushions and pillows work well as makeshift insulation, as do mattresses and towels. Line a room’s walls with these materials to stay as warm as possible.

Staying Dry

One of the most important things you can do to stay warm during an emergency situation is to stay dry. Change out of wet clothes as soon as you can, because if you’re wet, it’s very challenging to get warm.

Layers, Layers, Layers

Wearing as many layers as you can fit on your body will certainly help you stay warm, though images of Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story may flash through your head. Start with a highly insulating base layer, such as long underwear or anything with moisture-wicking abilities. Then add a few more intermediate layers. Finish with an outer layer that’s both waterproof and windproof. Remember, you can always subtract layers. Also remember to keep hands and feet warm — wool is probably your best option.

Staying Active

Remaining as active as possible helps keep your body temperature up, so do what you can — walk, run in place, etc. Just remember not to work up a sweat, because you’ll lose heat via evaporation.

Fun With People

The more people you can squeeze together, the better. Body heat is powerful, and if you’re with enough people, you may not need all those layers.

Have you had to keep warm in an emergency situation? Share your stories in the comments section!

Large Event Safety Tips

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Staying safe in a crowdPlanning on attending a huge festival or other sizable event that’s sure to draw hundreds, if not thousands, of people? As fun as these events are, it’s important to stay safe, as various unpleasant things can occur. Rather than finding yourself in a sticky situation or facing serious injury, learn how to best protect yourself. Check out the following tips to help you get started:

Familiarize Yourself

Become as familiar as you can with the event surroundings. Most events provide maps, so be sure to obtain one and keep it on you at all times. You never know when you may need it, and it will also help you locate all exits, restrooms, concessions, first aid tents, etc.

Remember to Hydrate

It doesn’t take long to become severely dehydrated, which leaves you susceptible to dizzy spells and fainting among other problems, particularly if it’s crazy-hot out. Bring a canteen with you or other refillable water bottle and remember to stay hydrated throughout the event.

Have a Plan

If you’re going to the event with a large group, have a plan in case one of you gets lost. Designate an area as your meet-up spot, such as by the restrooms or a certain booth. Ensure everyone has their cell phones on them as well, which you can also use as part of your check-in system.

Don’t Make Yourself a Target

Forget waving your wallet around or carrying bags that pickpockets can easily stick their paws in. This makes you an obvious target! A money clip is a great thing to have since you wear it under your clothes and therefore keep it separate from other necessary items such as your phone and keys. If possible, hide important items within your car.

Remain Aware

Whatever else, make certain you stay aware of what’s going on around you. If a situation happening near you seems suspicious or dangerous, walk away from it and alert any authorities if you think it necessary.

Use these tips to stay safe during all large events you attend! Have fun!

Do you have a large event survival story? Share it in the comments section!

Dangers Rodents Present

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RodentSure, most rodents are relatively cute and cuddly-looking, but that doesn’t mean you should pick them up or keep them as pets. Rodents present a variety of dangers and are among the bigger challenges for pest control companies. Let’s review some of the dangers rodents such as mice and rats present and how to ensure they stay the heck away from your home.

Parasites

Rodents play host to a number of parasites, including mites and the dreaded ticks. Mites and ticks carry deadly pathogens.

Germs

Rodents don’t have to harbor parasites to cause trouble. Their urine and feces contain germs that wreak all kinds of havoc on human health. As if that weren’t enough, rodents are capable of depositing hundreds of fecal pellets in the span of a week. They can also urinate in thousands of areas within the same time frame.

Diseases

Rodents carry a whole slew of un-fun diseases, which are transmitted via excrement and direct contact. Examples of the many viruses spread by rodents include rat-bite fever, the hanta virus and oh yeah, PLAGUE.

Property Damage

In addition to making you and your family sick, rodents pose threats to property such as books and clothes.

Tips For Keeping Rodents Out of Your Home

Keeping any and all rodents out of your house may seem like a lost cause, but fear not. There’s plenty you can do to ensure mice don’t take up permanent residence in your home. If you have a cat, you’re off to a great start, as mice and rats aren’t going to venture where kitties are waiting. Depositing fur and even urine-soaked litter in high-traffic rodent areas of your home also helps keep the little twits away.

Other tips include sealing all holes and cracks in your home and checking your foundation for gaps. Never leave food out or keep trash cans with food in them open. Store food in sealed containers instead. Get rid of dense vegetation around your house as well as stacks of firewood against or near the home. Pick up fallen fruit from backyard trees if applicable, and never leave garbage cans uncovered. You’ll attract raccoons and possums in addition to mice and rats.

Have you dealt with a rodent infestation? Share your tail, er, tale of horror in the comments section!

[HA1]Maybe a little more detail here? How do they pose a threat? By chewing these items?

Dangerous Amphibians

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Golden poison dart frog

You may really love amphibians, or you may find them completely gross. Either way, it’s a good idea to know which ones can potentially kill you, especially if planning on visiting assorted jungle locales. Let’s review a few of the most dangerous amphibians on the planet and what they can do to you.

Golden Poison Dart Frog

Generally speaking, if you see a brightly colored frog, run in the other direction. Bright colors are a telltale sign the animal is poisonous. The Golden Poison Dart Frog, for example, is bright yellow with greenish-black legs. It resides in the rain forests of Central and South America, and features poison so toxic even small amounts of the stuff can kill you. We’re talking 0.0000004 ounces of poison. Yep. The poison attacks the nerves and muscles, and ultimately causes death via respiratory or muscular paralysis.

Colorado River Toad

This chubby toad is also called the Sonoran Desert Toad. It lives in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Both skin and venom are poisonous, with glands the main defense system. The poison is enough to kill an adult dog; however, the chemicals it emits are also used in drug consumption. They cause auditory hallucinations and euphoria when smoked, but should not be taken orally. In other words, do not lick this toad.

Blue Poison Dart Frog

The Blue Poison Dart Frog lives in southern Suriname, South America, and can be found near moss-covered rocks and small streams. The frog is bright blue with dark blue and black spots on various body parts. It secretes poison to keep predators away. While the amphibian may not be as deadly as the Golden Dart Frog, it’s still a good idea to maintain a good distance.

Other dangerous amphibians include the common toad, cane toad, Pacific newt, American toad, and Fowler’s toad, among others.

Have you had a run-in with a dangerous amphibian? Share your story in the comments section!

Yosemite Park Hiking Tips

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Yosemite National Park HikingTipsGearing up to do some serious hiking in the stunningly beautiful Yosemite National Park? Before you lace up your hiking boots, do yourself a favor and check out the following tips to ensure you don’t get eaten by a bear, suffer heat exhaustion, or just have an unpleasant trip in general.

Avoid Wearing Cotton

Among the best Yosemite-Park-related hiking tips is to leave the cotton undies at home. What you want is polypropylene underwear and clothing, as they wick moisture away from the body rather than allowing it to stick to you and creating unsightly rashes.

Go For Waterproof Options

Planning on hiking a “mist trail”? Yosemite has a fabulous waterfall that makes the adjoining trail mist-tastic, so bring a raincoat and waterproof clothing if you wish to try this option.

Keep a Headlamp With You

One of your most essential pieces of hiking gear is your headlamp, whether hiking Yosemite or anywhere else. Even if hiking during the day, it’s still a good idea to have your headlamp with you.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Don’t ever leave for a hike without plenty of agua. The National Park Service recommends drinking at least one quart of water every hour to avoid dehydration and the unpleasantness that follows.

Don’t Leave Without Sunscreen

Remember to slather on the sunscreen unless you love the lobster look. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses while you’re at it, and bring a lip balm that contains sunblock. Your kisser can get burned too!

Bring the Insect Repellent

Yosemite is chock-full of mosquitoes, so bring whatever bug spray you favor and apply it every three to four hours.

Invest in Hiking Boots

If you don’t have hiking boots, now’s the time to invest. They provide the traction and support other shoes can’t match.

Another general hiking tip to keep in mind? Hike on established trails! Failure to do so could easily result in run-ins with the aforementioned bear among a slew of other problems.

Have you hiked Yosemite? Share your experience in the comments section!

Best Survival-Based TV Shows

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survivorman

There’s a whole slew of survival-themed television series out there, some of which fall into the “reality” category. Others are fictitious, but easily serve as potential warnings about the future. Check out a few of the best survival-based television series and maybe learn a new skill or three:

Survivorman

Survivorman was a Canadian-produced television series that aired on the Outdoor Life Network starting in 2005. The last of the specials aired in 2014. The show followed host Lee Stroud as he used his survival skills to last in various remote areas for up to 10 days at a time. Stroud brought very little food, water, and equipment to each thoroughly scouted location.

Falling Skies

The post-apocalyptic/sci-fi series starring Noah Wyle ran from 2011 on TNT until August of this year. Wyle played Tom Mason, a former Boston University professor who helps lead a group of civilians out of Boston following an alien invasion. This invasion nearly destroyed the Earth some six months before the show begins. The aliens’ goals are outlined in the fourth season, which includes — surprise! — enslaving humans.

Man vs. Wild

Man vs. Wild is a survival series starring Bear Grylls, a British adventurer who is left stranded in various locations around the world with his film crew. Most of the time Grylls is in a jungle or forest, and he occasionally has a celebrity companion, such as Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller. The series aired from 2006 to 2011 on the Discovery Channel.

The Walking Dead

What survival show list is complete without The Walking Dead? The horror/apocalyptic series aired from 2010 to 2015 on AMC and begins with deputy sheriff Rick Grimes waking up from a months-long coma to find he’s living in a world overrun by zombies. He eventually meets up with his wife and son, and together with other survivors tries to make it in a crazy, zombie-filled world.

Did your favorite make the list? Honorable mentions go to Marooned with Ed Stafford, Extreme Survival and Survivors.

Archery Safety Tips

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Archery Safety TipsWhether you’re channeling your inner Katniss Everdeen or simply want to learn more about archery, it’s essential to take safety tips to (proverbial) heart. This is important not just for your own safety, but to avoid shooting the eye out of those around you. With that in mind, let’s review a few excellent archery safety tips so you enjoy each and every shooting session.

Inspect Your Arrows

Take a good, hard look at every arrow before you shoot it. Look for cracks and other signs of damage, as a damaged arrow could easily snap and injure you or anyone nearby.

Wait in Line

If engaging in archery practice with a bunch of other people, it’s important to know your lines. Literally. First, there’s the waiting line where you stand patiently with other archers to take your turn. Next, there’s the shooting line, or the line you stand at to shoot your bow. Finally, there’s the target line, but it’s mainly used as practice for young archers.

Don’t Point

Never, ever, ever point your bow at anything other than your target, even if there’s no arrow drawn. This will help you create correct shooting habits. While you’re at it, never draw your bow if there’s something between you and your target, even if you don’t intend to shoot it.

Load First

Refrain from pulling your bow back if there’s no arrow drawn, as it could damage the bow or you. Ouch. Load your arrow before pulling the bow back — always.

Take It Off

Take off your watch and any jewelry before you begin shooting, as such items could interfere with the process.

Listen Carefully

Listen closely to your instructor whether shooting indoors or out. Your instructor will let you know when you can shoot, when you can’t shoot, and provide plenty of other vital information.

Use these and other archery safety tips to stay injury-free during practice sessions!

Are you an experienced archer? Share your best safety tips in the comments section!

More Survival Tips From ‘The Walking Dead’

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the-walking-dead

Can’t get enough of The Walking Dead? Whether you’re a huge zombie fan or simply became enthralled with this particular show, there are plenty of survival skills to take away from the much-celebrated AMC series. Let’s tack on a few more tips to those we’ve already discussed.

Stay in a group

Take a cue from the cult series as well as any herd of wild animals and stay in a group if you can. More people equal more skills, especially if some in the group know how to wield a knife. Or a crossbow. Or a, well, you get the idea.

Remain aware of your surroundings

You might not have zombies to worry about, but that doesn’t make staying aware of your surroundings any less important. After all, you don’t want to turn around and find yourself face-to-face with a bear. If you’re lost, camping out, or otherwise wandering around the wilderness, keep a weather eye out at all times.

Don’t flip out

One of the most important aspects of survival is staying calm and cool. Freaking the heck out means you aren’t breathing properly, not to mention drawing attention to yourself and your group. You don’t want to get the attention of any nearby predators or crazy people, so remember to take a few deep breaths and think about your next move.

Use what you’ve got

The heroes of The Walking Dead know a thing or three about being resourceful. They regularly take full advantage of what they have around them and are expert scavengers to boot. Making the most of anything you find — anything at all — is a great way to keep yourself, you know, not dead.

Catalog these and other tips — such as procuring food, shelter and water — for when you’re faced with a dire situation!

Have you found yourself stranded before? What did you do to survive? Share your tips in the comments section!

Survival Tips From Animals

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PorcupineSurvival skills are pretty darn important, and there’s much to be learned from the animal kingdom. Most animals have several very effective ways to protect themselves from predators, with methods ranging from the practical to the bizarre.

Let’s check out a few of the many ways the animals in our world protect themselves from harm and how their skills can help you out of sticky situations:

Flee From Danger Like Zebras

The black-and-white-striped African members of the horse family flee from predators by staying in groups. If you’re going to flee, doing so with a bunch of other people is usually the best way. However, if you’re turning and running from a large animal such as a bear or cougar, it’s probably not going to end well.

Fight Back Like a Porcupine

When faced with a predator such as the aforementioned cougar or bear, it’s sometimes necessary to fight back. Running will only make them think you’re food, but if you fight back, they’ll realize that maybe you aren’t their post-lunch snack. Porcupines fight back via their oh-so-sharp quills, which rise up at the first sign of danger. While you might not have quills to defend yourself, using your fists, any nearby branches, and anything you have or can reach will certainly help.

Blend In

Many animals use camouflage to protect themselves, such as the chameleon, octopus, and squid. Wearing clothing that blends into your surroundings can help you survive, as can taking steps to blend, such as rubbing mud or dirt on yourself. While you don’t want to get mistaken for a deer and get shot, the ability to blend and subsequently disappear can be a very great thing when trying to survive.

What are your favorite survival tips from our animal friends? Share them in the comments section!

Types of Dangerous Insects

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Whether you love them or wish the world could do without them, insects are a part of life. Some are harmless to humans, some bite the heck out of you but cause no lasting damage, and some are very, very dangerous. Learning which ones are the most dangerous is a great survival skill to have, as it allows you to identify the bad ones from the ones you might roast if desperate enough.

Let’s review a few of the most dangerous insects on the planet.

Deer TickDeer Tick

Ticks are vampiric insects that send most people screaming from the room — or tall grass area. The deer tick is especially problematic, as it can infect its host with the dreaded Lyme disease. And while the disease doesn’t kill instantly, it does result in heart problems, stiff joints, and other health issues that plague victims for years.

WaspWasp

If you aren’t allergic to the wasp’s sting, you’re in good shape. If you are allergic, you can go into anaphylactic shock and possibly, you know, die. Some 53 people die from wasp sting allergies every year. Eeesh.

Kissing BugKissing Bugs

Kissing bugs are found in Central and South America and the southern United States. Their mouths feature sucking tubes that drain their victims’ blood. Yuck. What’s worse, these insects spread the Chagas disease, which causes chronic neurological disorders, heart damage and digestive system destruction.

Japanese Giant HornetJapanese Giant Hornet

These hornets grow up to 3 inches in length and top all other stinging insects for the most painful sting. Their venom contains eight different chemicals that cause un-fun problems such as tissue damage. Plus it leaves an odor that attracts more hornets. Greeeat. The insect kills around 70 people every year.

Anopheles Mosquito

Anopheles Mosquito

Mosquitoes carry fatal diseases, such as malaria, in addition to vying for the title of “Worst Insect Ever.”

Have you had a serious or near-fatal experience with a deadly insect? Share your story in the comments section!

Types of Dangerous Plants

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Whether you have a green thumb or can’t tell the difference between an Ohio Buckeye and a Virginia Creeper, it’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of poisonous plants. It’s an important survival skill to have should you find yourself lost in a wooded area, as it prevents ingesting the wrong thing and meeting the grim reaper.

Let’s check out a few of the most poisonous plants on Earth, shall we?Oleander pink

Oleander

The oleander is a versatile shrub featuring large clusters of pink, yellow, white, or red blooms. Its leaves and branches are the poisonous parts, and cause serious digestive problems in addition to affecting the heart. It is also capable of killing you.

foxgloveFoxglove

The foxglove has been described as a “magical” plant thanks to its lovely drooping purple, white or pink flowers. Capable of growing up to three feet, the plant, despite it’s magical looks, causes heart problems when consumed, no matter which part you eat. It also results in cramps, nausea, vomiting, mouth pain and diarrhea.

elephant earElephant Ear

This tropical plant features large greenish-black leaves that look like, you guessed it, elephant ears. As with the foxglove, all parts of this plant are poisonous. Consuming elephant ear results in severe burning of the mouth and tongue, as well as tongue swelling. If the tongue continues to swell, it can block the throat air passage and cause death.

lily of the valleyLily of the Valley

Lily of the valley plants are also called mayflowers and feature a pleasant scent. Blooms are small and white, and leaves are broad and green. Ingesting this plant results in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and mouth pain. It can also cause a slow or irregular heartbeat. All plant parts are poisonous.

Other dangerous plants to be avoided include iris, monkshood, yew and daffodil, among others.

Have you ever ingested a poisonous plant? Share your tale of horror in the comments section!