Top Seven Articles on Prepper Website for the Week! Just In Case You Missed It! (2/19/17)

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Here are the top 7 articles (by clicks) that appeared on Prepper Website over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks.  But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!

I’ve also included one honorable mention that I think you should read.

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 2/13/17 – 2/19/17

Peace,
Todd

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Solavore Solar Oven – Pic Review

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One of the big topics that has been consistent in preparedness over the years that I have run Prepper Website, is food.  People know how important it is to eat!  A few days of going hungry and you start to really lose energy and even the ability to focus and think straight.  Couple that with stress and expended energy to deal with your situation, eating isn’t a want, it is a need!

When it comes to preparedness cooking, you need options!  There might be times when you don’t have time to build and maintain a fire.  There might be time when you need to conserve your fuel.  There might be time when an open flame gives away your activities and your position.

One option for preppers is a solar oven. Until recently, I had only read about them and seen videos.  However, I now have some experience using the Solavore Sport Solar Oven.

The Solavore Sport Oven was shipped neatly packaged with clear instructions for setup.  Make sure you do read the instructions carefully and just don’t go to town removing the film on the lid that kind of looks like an anti-scratch plastic for shipping! It’s there for a reason. I almost made the mistake of ripping it off!  The solar oven comes with the solar box, clear lid, reflectors, two black pots, a temperature gauge and a WAPI.

My main concern and real trial was if the solar oven would cook the “usual” stockpile of food that preppers would store.  For me, that would include rice and beans.

My first attempt failed!  I waited for a sunny day, according to weather.com.  I started early in the morning and set everything up.  However, I lost the sun halfway through the day.  So, this is something that needs to be kept in mind if you’re cooking during an emergency situation.  You will need a backup plan to possibly finish cooking your food if you lose the sun behind clouds.

My second attempt worked!  Again, I waited for a sunny day. I set the Solavore Sport out before I left for work.  The cool thing is that I didn’t get back home till after 7 p.m.  The sun was already setting and the box was cool (January in Houston, TX).  The temperature gauge didn’t even register!  I thought I had another fail on my hands.  When I lifted the lid, I could smell the rice and beans.  I brought the pots inside and took a bite!  Everything was done to my satisfaction.  I made a bowl of rice and beans, added a little  Tony’s to it and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up.

Solar ovens don’t burn food.  So, you can leave your food in your solar oven all day and not worry about it burning.  There are so many things that you can cook with a solar oven. Solavore has recipes you can try – savory and sweet.

My advice is that you experiment and try cooking with your solar oven when you don’t need it, so you will know how it works when you do need it!  The beauty of the Solavore is that it is so lightweight and sturdy.  You can use this all year long, just as long as you have sun.  And, you don’t have to wait for an emergency!

You can purchase the Solavore Sports Solar Oven on the Solavore site.

Check out my pics below as well as videos that I have linked to by my blogging friend, Anegela @ Food Storage and Survival.  Especially pay attention to her video on the WAPI.  I think this is a BIG selling point for solar ovens.

This is a pic from my first attempt. You can see I had a ton of sun, but I lost it 1/2 way through the day. I also think I put in a little too much water. You’re supposed to put in 25% less water than you normally use in a recipe.  I didn’t read that part during my first attempt!

Second attempt. Setting up the rice and beans.  A lot less water!

Pic of the Solavore Sport Solar Oven. This pic was taken early in the morning before I left for work.

Already cool because the sun was setting when I took the pots out of the oven, however, the rice and beans were fully cooked!

A little Tony’s! I was just missing some cornbread!

The Solavore Sports Oven comes with the oven and lid, reflectors, two pots, a temperature gauge and a WAPI.

WAPI = Water Pasteurization Indicator. If you haven’t seen one of these in action, check out the video below.

 

 

Do you have any experience with a solar oven?  What is it?  Would you consider purchasing one for your preps?

 

Peace,
Todd

One Socket to Rule Them All! Tools for the Apocalypse!

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I’m of the belief that when the poop hits the fan, tangibles are going to be very important. The money in the bank will be worthless.  But if you have something in your hands that is of value, well, you will be in a much better spot!

As a prepper, I believe you should have food, water, medical supplies, a means to defend yourself, etc…  You should have an emergency fund.  And, if you are able, having some precious metals is good too!

But one other thing that I think is important is having good tools, specifically non-power tools. Think about it.  If you have tools, not only can you fix your things, but you could find work fixing other people’s things.  Good tools might be worth their weight in gold in a poop hit the fan scenario.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make wise purchases when it comes to tools.  I definitely don’t want to have a bunch of dollar store or inferior tools if I ever really need them.

So with that, I would like to share with you a tool that I recently purchased that seems to be a good choice.  It is a socket that can fit any nut and more.

I recently used it to change out the headlamp bulb in my wife’s vehicle.  I have to say that it worked just like it was supposed to.  And, it looks and feels like a very solid socket.

The socket is made by Blendx.  The tool is  the BLENDX 7mm to 19mm (1/4″ – 3/4″) Ratchet Universal Socket.  On Amazon, it has 25 reviews with 4.5 stars.

This socket will replace many other sockets since it can fit anything between a 1/4″ to a 3/4″ nut.  It will also grab other types of fasteners that need to be turned (see video below).

The socket is created with 54 small spring loaded rods inside.  When you push the socket down around a fastener, it grips around it and allows you to turn the socket.  It comes with a 3/8″ adapter.

Shown above with the Stanley Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver.

The socket only costs $9.99.  It is made in China.  I know many frown on the fact that it is made in  China.  But like I said above, it has good reviews.  From the Blendx Storefront page on Amazon, “BLENDX is a Professional Online E-commerce Brand offering trendy Outdoor Products and Home Gadgets.We have Overseas R&D center in Shenzhen, where’s the core of the Chinese manufacturing industry. By taking this advantages, BLENDX provides you various kinds of great products at the lowest possible prices.”

If you would like to purchase the same type of tool from another country, the Gator Grip runs under $39 and is made in the Czech Republic.

The video below is of the Gator Grip version.  But the Blendx version will work exactly the same.

 

Do you have one of these sockets?  How has it worked for you?  And, which tools do you believe would be important for a SHTF situation?

Peace,
Todd

Living Off the Grid with Solar!

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The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical appliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.

So, if you either live far from the grid or in places with no electric connection, you have no choice except to go off-grid. Ultimately, you must find out the cost of making the connection as well as what the cost will cover, before making an informed decision whether to go off-grid or not.

Considerations Before Going Off-Grid

1. What’s the cost?

Price plays a crucial role in your decision to go off-grid. Could you afford the cost of installing an off-grid system? If you’re planning to live in the location long enough, going off-grid is reasonable because you will adequately recover the costs you incur setting up your power system.

2. How much electric energy can you obtain from the available surface?

Do you intend to go off-grid and still maintain your current energy consumption rate? If your answer is yes, you’ll have to purchase sufficient energy harnessing and storage capacity. For homes occupying a quarter acre plot, the rooftop does not offer enough space to install sufficient PV panels. If you don’t have enough roof space either; buy high-efficiency PV panels, or you can reduce your power consumption, so that the power you can obtain from your roof space is adequate.

3. Will you have an increase in electric power needs in the future?

In any household; power consumption varies from time to time. Every time you add high-energy consuming appliances, the power consumption spikes. Put such factors into consideration while planning to go off-grid.

4. Battery security requirements.

Install, operate and maintain your batteries using expertly recommended procedures to eliminate risks. So, find out your battery safety requirements from the manufacturers. Also, avoid shortcuts while installing and maintaining your storage system, for your safety.

5. Care and maintenance

Consider the cost of maintaining your off-grid system.  Solar panels can come with a 25-year maintenance warranty. You will need to replace batteries and inverters somewhere between five and ten years.

System Sizing

1. PV Panels

The larger the size of the PV panel you are using, the higher the amount of electricity it generates. Weather conditions of your locality also play a role. So, you need to factor in Photovoltaic Generation Factor (PGF), which considers both the panel size and prevailing climatic conditions (refer to the attached map for PGF of your particular state). Use your area’s PGF to size your PV panels as follows:

Calculate daily wattage-Hour (WH) needed from PV panels by multiplying the sum of daily devices (WH) by 1.3 to obtain the total WH you require daily.  1.3 takes care of the energy you will lose while converting energy from one form to another as well as any copper losses.
Divide the result by PGF to get WH ratings of the solar panels required to support all your devices.

Divide the result by rated Watt-Peak output your PV panels can generate. Raise any decimal number to the next higher full number (for instance 4.23 to 5). The figure you obtain gives the number of panels you should use.

For example, The sum of daily devices WH is 2000kWh, the PGF of your state is 4, the total WH you require daily will be 2000*1,3/4 = 650 Watt-Peak. If your PV watt-peak is 200, then you will need: 650/200 = 3.25 or 4 PV Panels.

2. Inverter

Since power factor is practically less than 1 (varies from 0.85 to 0.99), take 1.18 VA to be equal to 1 W. If your total Watt-Hours is, for example, 1000, multiply the figure 1000 by 1.18 to obtain 1180 VA (or 1.18 kVA) as your inverter size. Make a habit of adding some extra to be on the safe side. As a result, acquire an inverter whose rating is slightly higher than the figure you obtained.

3. Battery

Size Your Battery As Follows

  • Divide your Watt-Hour by 0.85 to take care of battery losses
  • Divide the answer by 0.6 for the depth of charge
  • Divide your answer by minimum battery voltage
  • Multiply your answer by days of autonomy (the days you will use your system, yet PV panels aren’t generating energy) to obtain the AH (Ampere-Hour) of your deep-cycle battery.

4. Controller

Multiply the PV panels you require by WH (Watts-Hour) to get the total power your system will generate. Divide what you get by your battery bank’s voltage to get the current flow at any given time. Raise this current value by 25 percent to account for low temperatures before rounding it up to the next whole number. What you end up with is the controller size suitable for your system.

Reality Check

If you are planning to use an off-grid system, note that it’ll solely rely on the energy it generates. However, the fact that the sun rays vary from time to time, present you with a significant challenge. To design such a system in such a way that it overcomes the variations, you must spend a lot of money because you will have to use high electricity generating capacity coupled with a massive storage capacity. Your resulting system will, however, be efficient and more environmentally friendly.

To maintain your batteries, add water whenever the level of the electrolyte decreases below the electrodes, clean the terminals (using distilled water) and check connections as often as possible. Also, set up a proper charging routine for your batteries to last longer. Never leave your batteries in the uncharged state for an extended period.

If you live in an area that experiences unbalanced resources, you will require a fuel-powered quiet generator for home backup purposes. Nonetheless, you still need to invest in a modest home backup unit; to support crucial appliances during periods of emergencies.

Which is the best option: hiring a professional to design your off-grid system or installing it yourself? The former requires first establishing if the professional you are considering has ever installed an off-grid system. The latter requires attending classes so as to acquire the necessary skills and purchasing components from a reliable vendor (preferably local). Provided you are sure an off-grid system is best for you, do not take chances. Make sure your system is installed correctly and enjoy the independence of using renewable energy.

About the author: Victor Hill, an expert in generators who writes for and owns Trustworthy Power. He has a degree in Mechatronics, reviews the various types of generators, provides users with guidelines on how to choose, care for and use generators. He is a Quality Assurance Engineer at DENSO but spends his free time researching about generators and coming up with helpful information for users.

 

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PIC REVIEW: The Survival Shovel by Survival Hax

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One of the perks of running Prepper Website is that I get offers to review preparedness products and books.  I turn a lot of offers down, but I was happy to check out the Survival Hax Survival Shovel.

Before I actually opened the package, I did see a review by Zac from An American Homestead on the Survival Shovel.  Zac’s review isn’t a positive review.  At one point, the shovel breaks at the point where the shovel meets the handle.  But, in all honesty, Zac swings the shovel like a madman! 😉  To counter, Amazon shows 40 reviews with a total 4.5 stars.

It definitely isn’t military grade. The shovel costs just under $27.  It breaks down and fits into its own pouch.  The handle is hollow, which allows you to store small items, possibly tinder, since the top unscrews to reveal a ferro rod.

For this pic review, I will say that I don’t have a lot of “hard” dirt in my backyard.  I have a lot of garden beds.  So, I took the opportunity to dig out some ginger.  I know…not really putting it through a workout!

The shovel made quick work of getting to the ginger.  I feel it will dig through most dirt in a camping scenario.  I would not use it to try and go through roots or dig huge trenches!

If you are interested in this shovel, check out the Survival Hax website.

Survival Shovel – Packaging

Survival Shovel inside of the provided pouch.

Shovel components – notice the end screw top which holds the ferro rod.

The shovel locks in place by turning the big orange knob. Notice the ferro rod.

This was the point of failure in Zac’s video.

In the dirt

If you could smell the ginger…

Peace,
Todd

Food Storage: It’s the Little Things!!!

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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the little things make a big difference.” That’s true in preparedness and really true when we consider food storage! Let me walk you through a scenario.

The “hammer” has finally “dropped” and America is in the middle of TEOTWAKI. Chaos ensues and it is not pretty! After a while, depending on where you are located in the country (some places might take longer than others), things finally die down (maybe literally) and eventually a “new normal” emerges in American’s everyday life!

Maybe it looks agricultural. Maybe it looks industrial. Who knows? But one thing that everyone will have to do is eat!

Now, imagine putting in a long day of…working in the field, patrolling, working in a factory or whatever. Imagine working a long day and then coming home to sit down to eat…the same old, bland food.

Many people say that if someone is hungry, they will eat whatever is in front of them. I actually believe that. But, remember, we are now in a “new normal.” People aren’t necessarily hungry. It’s just that the food sucks! Can you imagine what that would do to morale eventually?

Now, what if the person responsible for making the food knew tricks and tips and knew how to make things that tasted good? What would that do for morale? Just imagine, dinner time would once again be the centerpoint of the day. Families would come together to eat a good meal and enjoy each other.

Now, many of us have food storage. Some of your food storage might include MRE’s and dehydrated Mountain House meals. But the bulk of most preppers food storage would include basic staples like rice and beans. After your MRE’s and Mountain House is gone, how will you cook your rice and beans and other long term food storage in a way that won’t eventually get boring?

The truth here is that cooking, knowing how flavors come together, knowing what to use and when, is an important skill, not only when the poop hits the fan, but it can also be very useful now!

I would like to announce that I’m partnering, as an affiliate, with Chef Keith Snow and his new cooking program that has been designed for preppers!

Many of you know Chef Keith Snow from his own cooking podcast and his appearances on The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko. He sits on Jack’s Expert Council when the topic is food.

In realizing the frailty of our system, he got serious about prepping and food storage. He also realizes the challenges that many preppers have when it comes to making their food storage taste good over a long time. He has developed a course to help his fellow preppers!
Keith has put together a course with 17 modules that covers everything from “What Food to Store” to the equipment you need to the specifics on food storage staples. He is just now launching it and adding to it weekly.

But, this isn’t just a course. When you learn how to really cook well, you are learning a valuable skill. You will use all your preparedness skills at some point. But you will eat everyday!

And, this course will help you save money because many of the main ingredients in the recipes are from food storage staples, which means they will be very affordable!

Good food at a great price…and learn a valuable skill?????? It’s a win-win-win!!!!

The cost of the course covers a lifetime membership and includes access to all of Chef Keith’s written materials as well as videos. The written material includes recipes and even items that you will want to purchase to add to your food storage.

Since the course has just launched, but isn’t completed yet, Chef Keith is offering an introductory offer to join his new program – $169. Again, this includes a lifetime membership and unlimited access to all of his materials, including a forum.

To sign-up for his course, CLICK HERE!

If you’re not convinced yet, and would like to get a little more information, subscribe to his mini-course which will get you access to a 45 page ebook in PDF , two written recipe with everything you need to know how to make these recipes and information from Keith’s perspective and rationale of the course.

To sign-up for the mini-course – CLICK HERE!

To put my money where my mouth is – I signed up for the course myself! I am excited to improve my cooking skills. I plan on putting out some of the recipes I try on my social media channels. Be on the lookout for them!

Peace,
Todd

FIREARM: First Thing to Do With Your New Pistol and A Short Survey

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In a recent article, I read that gun sales, even after the 2016 election, were still running high. Coupled with the Christmas holidays, there is a great possibility that there are quite a few new gun owners out there.  That’s a good thing for those of us who support the Second Amendment!

But with gun ownership, no matter why a firearm was purchased, there are some thing that need to be understood and learned, like the proper cleaning of your new firearm.  Since I haven’t come across a recent article on Prepper Website, I have decided to put together an article that links to several videos that I think are good for any gun owner to view.  Two videos discuss the need to clean your firearm before you shoot it for the first time.  This is due to the cosmoline that gun manufacturers put on the firearms before leaving their factory. Most new gun owners don’t know this.  The last video is a good generic video on cleaning your pistol.  Also, for future article considerations, I have created a short survey to ask gun owners their pistol of choice for home defense and/or concealed carry.  And don’t forget to get yourself a pistol cleaning kit and some lube – both which you will find endless debates about online! 😉

Although this first video uses a rifle as their example, know that you will find the same on your new pistol…to varying degrees.

 

NeverEnuffAmmo does admit that he talks too much for this short video, but you should still watch it!

 

And here is Iraqveteran8888, with a good generic and basic cleaning video.

 

I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave me a little info below (type and caliber), for future article considerations, on the pistol you purchased for home defense or your concealed carry handgun.

 

Loading…Peace,
Todd

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

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Here are the top 7 articles (1 VID) (by clicks) that appeared on Prepper Website over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks.  But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!

I’ve also included one honorable mention that I think you should read.

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 12/5/16 – 12/11/16

‘It Is Like A Nuclear Bomb Went Off In The Prepping Community’

What would happen if Martial Law were declared?

Building a Basic Defensive Arsenal

How The Next Great Depression Will Be Different From The First

Rules of engagement in a post SHTF world?

5 Best EDC Items

VID: These 5 Fish Antibiotics are GONE Jan.1! But that ain’t all…

 

Peace,
Todd

Top Seven (8) Articles on Prepper Website for the Week! Just In Case You Missed It!

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top7

Here are the top 7 (8 this week due to a tie) articles (by clicks) that appeared on Prepper Website over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks.  But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!

I’ve also included one honorable mention that I think you should read.

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 11/21/16 – 11/27/16

8 Things To Keep Under The Radar During A Blackout

The 6 Golden Rules of Surviving Martial Law

Did The Donald Kill Prepping?

Essential Tools and Gear for Long-Term Survival

5 Survival Things You Shouldn’t Compromise On

How to quiet a noisy generator

The Realistic Prepping Plan

5 Lifesaving Security Measures to Secure Your Home From Intruders

 

Peace,
Todd

When the SHTF, Will You Attempt a Final Trip to the Store? You Might Consider It!

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When the SHTF, Will You Attempt a Final Trip to the Store? You Might Consider It! When preppers consider SHTF scenarios, we tend to imagine that it will happen really fast.  The reality though might be way different. What if as a prepper, you see the writing on the wall, but everyone else doesn’t?  Would …

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The post When the SHTF, Will You Attempt a Final Trip to the Store? You Might Consider It! appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Pump-Action Shotgun – The Most Versatile Gun

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shotgun

Todd’s Note: This is a guest post by Vitaly Pedchenko, owner of Rem870.com.

A pump-action shotgun is without a doubt one of the most versatile survival shotguns in the world. One of the reasons for its versatility has to do with how well it performs and the multiple environments it is suitable for. When you operate the weapon, your hand will go on the specially designed handgrip near the stock while your other hand goes on the forend. From there, you just pump the forend back to eject the shell from the chamber that you just used and then pump it forward to replace the shell with a new one.

Pump-action shotguns are used for a variety of activities such as hunting, home defense, law enforcement purposes, survival, and even for stopping riots with non-lethal ammunition. Let’s take hunting, for example. If you are hunting deer and you see one running by in the distance, you may only have a couple of seconds to react before the deer runs away. That means you’ll have to hit the deer on your first try or else it’ll run away and you’ll lose the opportunity to get him. With a pump-action shotgun, you have multiple chances to shoot the deer within a much shorter timeframe. This increases your odds of hitting him before it can get away. As for home defense and law enforcement purposes, these can be a matter of life and death. If an intruder or suspect starts shooting in your direction, you’ll need to fire as many shots as you can to scare them off or incapacitate them. The pump-action shotgun is the most reliable in these circumstances and can result in your life being saved because of it.

Gun enthusiasts often refer to pump action shotguns as slide-action repeating shotguns because it describes how you slide the forend back to extract a shell and then pump it forward to load a new shell into the chamber. These shotguns only use a single barrel which is located on top of the tubular magazine that the shells go into. This is how the pumping of the forend is able to take shells out of the magazine tube and place them into the chamber. Of course, you have the option of replacing the forend with a better one if you know how to do so. Some shooters like to have forends with grips on them so it is easier to hold it more securely while they’re using the weapon. If you want to get really fancy, then you can even mount a tactical flashlight to the forend so you can see in the dark. Some forend upgrades, such as the Surefire Light Forend, features a light integrated right into the forend so you don’t even have to mount anything to it.

If you are a newbie to shotgun ownership, then you will find it easier to perform maintenance on the pump-action shotgun. Activities such as cleaning the bore and chamber of gunpowder residue and debris are much more simplified with the pump action shotgun. When it comes to firing the weapon, it will take a lot of practice to get comfortable with it if you’ve never fired a pump-action weapon before. After you have gotten enough experience operating it, you may want to perform certain upgrades on it that may be necessary for repair purposes or just because you want to customize the weapon to fit your needs. For example, a lot of shotgun owners get tired of the factory stock, forend, controls, barrel that came with their weapon. They’d much rather upgrade these parts to ones that allow them to use shotgun more comfortably. Making these upgrades is a piece of cake with the pump action shotgun.

There aren’t too many disadvantages with pump action shotguns. The only real disadvantage is that you cannot add a detachable magazine in order to reload the weapon quickly. You can’t just pop out the magazine and attach a new one like you can with most rifles and some other shotgun types. But if you are just using your pump-action shotgun for hunting or home defense, then it shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand, if you truly need to extend the ammunition capacity of your shotgun then there are tubular magazine extensions you can add. But it will still take some time to reload them after you use up all the ammunition that they hold.

About the Author: Vitaly Pedchenko, owner of Rem870.com – blog and forum about the Remington 870 shotgun. Competitive shooter and gun enthusiast. Author of the Complete Remington 870 Guide ebook.

Peace,
Todd

Solo Stove Pic Review & The Top Lit Updraft Method

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ss

Solo Stove recently sent me a Solo Stove Titan and Solo Stove Pot 1800. I fired it up a few times and wanted to share my observations with you through pics.

As I did a little research before receiving it, I learned that the Solo Stove is a one piece wood gasifier and should utilize a Top Lit Updraft (TLUD) system.  This is very different than you see Solo Stoves reviewed on Youtube.  In fact, the only really good example on Youtube that I found of TLUD is a Permies video. Most people who review the Solo Stove, use it like a tin can stove.  They build the fire at the bottom and start adding fuel.  This doesn’t utilize the Solo Stove the way it was supposed to be used!

TLUD works like this:  You fill the Solo Stove up with wood, really stack it in their good!  You then start a fire at the top of the wood stack.  As the fire gets going, the wood underneath, gets hot and produces gas.  This gas goes up the inside chamber of the Solo Stove and gets burned.  This makes for a very efficient, hot and smokeless fire.

The Solo Stove uses a lot of wood.  You’ll have to keep feeding it while you are cooking or heating up water.  But as you’ll see below, these are small chunks of wood.  So you really could do this with twigs and small sticks, whatever you find on the forest floor.  It is a small stove that will heat up your pot quickly.  I went from cold tap water to boiling water in 5 minutes, as you’ll see.

The only thing negative I have to say about the Solo Stove was getting it started.  This is not really the Solo Stove’s fault.  This was my fault.  But I purposed to not use anything else than what I could find outside.  I used dry grass/straw as my tinder.  I realized that I was trying to pack it too tight.  Once I got the grass started and then added to it by dropping it on top of the already lit fire, it caught quickly.

The Solo Stove Titan and Solo Stove Pot 1800 are solidly built!  These two pieces will go through a lot of abuse!  You can purchase the set on Amazon.

Below you’ll see the PICS I took  I added captions to each pic.

The bottom of the Solo Stove Titan. The grate allows for gas to channel up the side chamber.

The bottom of the Solo Stove Titan. The grate allows for gas to channel up the side chamber.

Notice the wholes at the top. This is where the gas comes out from the bottom. You'll see how they resemble jets of fire in another pic.

Notice the holes at the top. This is where the gas comes out from the bottom. You’ll see how they resemble jets of fire in another pic.

This pic serves to let you see how tall the Solo Stove Titan is. That's a Mora standing up next to it.

This pic serves to let you see how tall the Solo Stove Titan is. That’s a Mora standing up next to it.

Starting to stack the wood at the bottom.

Starting to stack the wood at the bottom.

Stacking more wood. The tighter you get it in there, the longer burn time you'll have.

Stacking more wood. The tighter you get it in there, the longer burn time you’ll have.

Smaller pieces towards the top of the wood stack.

Smaller pieces towards the top of the wood stack.

Dry grass and wood at the top. Having a little trouble getting it stay lit!

Dry grass and wood at the top. Having a little trouble getting it stay lit!

Realized I need to keep dropping dry grass on the top to get it to catch.

Realized I need to keep dropping dry grass on the top to get it to catch.

The stove is going now. I added the cooking ring.

The stove is going now. I added the cooking ring.

Placed the Solo Stove Pot 1800 on the cooking ring with two cups of water. Started watching my clock at 11:12.

Placed the Solo Stove Pot 1800 on the cooking ring with two cups of water. Started watching my clock at 11:12.

As I watched the water, I added more chunks of wood in the space provided.

As I watched the water, I added more chunks of wood in the space provided.

After two minutes, I start seeing signs that the water is boiling.

After two minutes, I start seeing signs that the water is boiling.

Check out those jets! That's the gas coming out the top chambers.

Check out those jets! That’s the gas coming out the top chambers.

After 5 minutes, my water is boiling!

After 5 minutes, my water is boiling!

You can see coals and embers at the bottom, but the fire is pretty much gone at this point.

You can see coals and embers at the bottom, but the fire is pretty much gone at this point.

However, about 30 seconds after adding 5 small chunks of wood, the fire comes back to life!

However, about 30 seconds after adding 5 small chunks of wood, the fire comes back to life!

The bottom of the stove after the fire is allowed to burn out.

The bottom of the stove after the fire is allowed to burn out.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 has convenient oz and ml markings on the inside. It also comes with handles that allow you to pick it up when it is hot, comes with a cover and has a three point carrying handle that stays in place.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 has convenient oz and ml markings on the inside. It also comes with handles that allow you to pick it up when it is hot, comes with a cover and has a three point carrying handle that stays in place.

The Solo Stove Titan nestles nicely inside the Solo Stove Pot 1800. The Solo Stove and Pot come with carrying pouches. This helps to make sure the inside of your pot doesn't get dirty!

The Solo Stove Titan nestles nicely inside the Solo Stove Pot 1800. The Solo Stove and Pot come with carrying pouches. This helps to make sure the inside of your pot doesn’t get dirty!

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 with the cover on and before I put it back in the pouch.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 with the cover on and before I put it back in the pouch.

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Top Seven Articles on Prepper Website for the Week! Just In Case You Missed It!

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top7

Here are the top 7 articles (by clicks) that appeared on Prepper Website over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks.  But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!  I also included one “honorable mention” – an article that might not have received as much traction on Prepper Website, but I think is important to point out!

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 10/23/16 – 10/30/16

1. 5 Things To Know About Bleach Storage

2. The Biggest, Most Likely Disaster You’re Not Prepared For

3. Just In Case: Preparing for the Evening and Day After Election 2016

4. 7 Financial Preps You Should Do ASAP

5. 50 Tips From the Great Depression

6. 7 Stupid Things People Do In Survival & Doomsday Shows

7. Reasons You Should Stockpile Coffee

Peace,
Todd

These Mistakes Can Ruin Home Security: Protect your family by avoiding these pitfalls

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Editor’s Note: As Prepper’s, we are usually looking for some big SHTF event coming in and disrupting our way of life.  However, it is more likely that your life would be disrupted by a more localized event, like a power outage, flood or some other natural disaster.  But there are other events that happen that we don’t always consider as having the ability to cause problems until they happen.  For example, having your house broken into, having a family member slip and hurt themselves or just plain not feeling safe in your house can cause problems for you and your family.  These events, with a little preparedness, can be minimized.  This guest post makes some good points and will provide some food for thought.

When it comes to planning your home layout, home security can be easy to overlook. The placement of furniture and lighting can improve or detract from the security of your home. It is possible to design a layout that not only makes the most out of available living space, but also keeps the family safe. Here are some tips to an effective and safe home layout:

Clutter Can Kill

In times of crisis, clutter can prove to be problematic. Consider the maneuverability you will need during a natural disaster, or when an intruder enters your home; if you feel you would be uncomfortable navigating around your home under these circumstances, it is time to reevaluate your setup.

Consider the flow of foot traffic, and position furnishings so they don’t create sharp turns. Forcing guests to perform acrobatics to navigate around the room can lead to slips and injuries. Furthermore, it can be a liability in cases of emergency. If a piece of furniture blocks the exit during an emergency, it can cost someone their life. Clutter can also make it difficult to clean, leading to worsening allergy and breathing problems.

Streamline the room as much as possible. Consider what the space needs are, and make a list of spaces that are needed. Estimate the square footage for each area. Then, organize the home so that these spaces are connected in a logical manner.

Not only do cluttered rooms look messy, but they can be dangerous to the elderly and disabled. Paths of travel should be a constant consideration. Avoid creating an obstacle course with furniture.

Avoid Blind Spots

Don’t create blind spots, and keep windows within view of seating areas. It is not necessary to place the couch against the wall, but seating should give a full view of foot traffic and all entrances. Not being able to see action happening in the room makes people instinctively uncomfortable. Family members might also be interested in knowing if someone is lurking out the window. Obviously, valuables should not be in clear view from any window.

Lighting is one of the more important design aspects for safety. There needs to be enough lighting to ensure that guests can transverse room-to-room at any time of the day without risk of personal injury or property damage. Stairs especially need a proper amount of lighting, as they cause an accident if too dark.

Creative planners can use light defensively. For example, an outdoor motion sensor connected to an indoor light is a clever way of dissuading criminals from entering a home. Finally, if security cameras are in use, areas under surveillance must have an ample amount of lighting.

Eliminate Hiding Places Outdoors

When planning the outdoor layout for security, there are some important rules to follow. Lighting plays an important role in security outdoors. Criminals are less likely to enter a home if it is adequately lit.

Prevent creating potential hiding places near lower-level doors and windows. Decluttering the home indoors has clear advantages, but one should also keep things uncluttered outside as well. Overgrown bushes and shrubs can offer convenient places for potential criminals to hide in waiting without being seen. Patio furniture can also create this same problem.

There are other measures one can take outdoors to improve the security of the home. Tree branches that are close to second-story windows can be undesirable access points, so be sure to keep trees maintained. While they are not necessary in most neighborhoods, homeowners may choose to invest in alarms, security cameras, or even bolster security with smart tech. With proper planning, it is possible to design a home layout that minimizes the risk of injury and bolsters security without sacrificing an appealing design

Every possible precaution should be made to protect our homes. Making the right decisions in home layout can contribute to the safety of our loved ones.

About the Author: Cody Hill is passionate about security and technology. His hobbies include traveling and sports. If he isn’t busy blogging about the latest gadget, you will usually find him shouting at his TV during an NFL game. 
Peace,
Todd

Top Seven Articles on Prepper Website for the Week! Just In Case You Missed It!

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top7

Here are the top 7 articles (by clicks) that appeared on Prepper Website over the last week, just in case you missed it! They appear in order, from highest to lowest clicks.  But remember, even the article at the bottom still received a lot of clicks!  I also included one “honorable mention” – an article that might not have received as much traction on Prepper Website, but I think is important to point out!

Top 7 on Prepper Website – Week of 10/16/16

1. 25 Items That Will Be Worth Their Weight In Gold After The SHTF

2. If Civil War

3. How and Where to Store Your Ammo Stockpile

4. OBAMA EXECUTIVE ACTION – PROTECT UNITED STATES FROM EMP

5. 8 ‘Weird-But-Essential’ Things You Aren’t Stockpiling (But Should Be)

6. The End State: 5 Triggering Events That Would Place the U.S. Under Martial Law

7. 32 WAYS TO BEEF-UP HOME SECURITY

Honorable Mention: How my family Stopped a Chronic MRSA Infection When Conventional Medicine Failed

For more great preparedness articles, visit Prepper Website or research a topic by visiting the Tag Cloud!

 

Peace,
Todd

Sitting Around the Radio (Like the Old Days) & The Days of Elijah

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I grew up in the days of Sony Walkmans.  I had a cool one.  It had an EQ and BASS BOOST.  I would carry spare batteries and pop in the newest tape, the good ol’ days!

Although we did sit around the TV in the front room as a kid to watch Prime Time shows, I’m not old enough to have lived in the real “good ol’ days.”  I don’t really remember the black and white era of TV.  I’m definitely not old enough to have lived through the times when the family gathered around the radio to hear the latest tunes and radio programs in the evening.

I am fortunate enough to have known my grandparents and heard the stories of when they would sit around the radio, that was real entertainment!  In fact, my dad and I were just talking about how real the radio program, The War of the Worlds, was to those who listened to it back in 1938.

 

 

My dad also recalls having the first TV in the neighborhood.  My grandfather would put the TV on the front porch so the neighbors could watch it too.

We think back to those days as safe, clean and respectful.  The entertainment didn’t need naked girls running around and the characters didn’t need to use four letter words every other sentence.

Many of us would love to go back to that simpler time.

But we are not without hope.  There is still good entertainment out there that engages the mind and is good for the soul.  In fact, you have the opportunity to sit around your computer, tablet or phone and feel like you’r back in those “good ol’ days.”

Mark Goodwin, of Prepper Recon, is releasing episodes of his new book, The Days of Elijah, Book One: Apocalypse-A Novel of the Great Tribulation in America, every Friday, starting October 7, 2016.

300x300-elijahThe Days of Elijah picks up where The Days of Noah left off.  Goodwin stats in the prologue that he chose to write the book as requests and feedback came in from readers wanting to know how the story continues for the characters that were “left behind.”

The Days of Elijah is the story of Everett, Courtney and Elijah after the Rapture of the Church, and how they experience The Great Tribulation.

As in all his books, Goodwin does a good job of mixing fiction with practical preparedness help.  One interaction between the trio revolves around stashing supplies in various places to have options in case one supply is compromised.

Then there is the spiritual and Biblical aspect that Goodwin weaves into his story.  He states very plainly in the forward that not everyone would agree on his timing of the events of The Book of Revelation.  He says that for the purpose of the story, some might consider his view a hybrid.

Like his other fictional books, Goodwin goes into  depth discussing End Times Prophecy, as well as other Biblical matters.  His writing will definitely get you thinking.

Even though you might not agree with his take on the Book of Revelation (*see note below), the story is a great one to read or listen to.  In fact, I have become so accustomed to listening to the “voice of Goodwin’s books”, that I actually miss the voice when I listen to other audio books.

CLICK HERE to visit PrepperRecon and listen to the episodes that have been released. Remember, Goodwin will release one episode a week on Friday.

If you don’t want to wait to listen to Goodwin’s free episode every Friday, you can purchase the audio version for a reduced price on Goodwin’s site.  By clicking here – you can purchase the audio book for only $11.95.  If you would like to purchase the paperback or Kindle, you can do so from Amazon.

Click below to read the reviews of Goodwin’s other books:

After reading a story like The Days of Elijah, some people might think, “What’s the use?”  The thing to remember is that no one knows what an economic collapse or End of the World scenario is really going to look like.  The point is to be prepared.  The more you are prepared, the more you can be confident in facing the future.  For those who are seeking guidance on being prepared, Goodwin, provides a FREE 67 page ebook on his website.  The ebook is a collaboration with David Kobler, SouthernPrepper1.  If you are looking for some guidance or advice, you should download his ebook.  For a direct link to his download page – CLICK HERE.

* I have written before, that my views on End Times Prophecy is to know or have a good familiarity with all the views and then keep my eyes open.  I think a closed minded “my way is right” view to End Times prophecy is not productive.  I always think about what happened to the religious leaders in Jesus’ time.  They were looking for a specific type of Messiah.  They missed the real one right in front of their face.  They got it wrong!

 

Peace,
Todd

The Bugout Formula – If You Have to Ask Yourself, It’s Already Too Late!

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bugout

Todd’s Note: I recently received the article below in an email from Michael R. He didn’t intend to send it to me as a potential article. He instead was passing along information that he had been thinking about, analyzing and trying to problem solve.  I thought that his information was important to pass along, being that I haven’t seen the effort (actual numbers) put into explaining why freeways and roads will become impassible if major cities tried to bug out in an emergency situation.  Michael makes a lot of sense.  After thinking through his information, I believe it is even more important to be aware of what is going on and either move now or choose to bug-in.  I don’t know if getting a jump start on bugging out will be possible.  If you have to think about it, you might be too late!

The simple common definition of “Bug Out” is traveling… and more specifically, traveling from a densely populated area to a less densely populated area.

Have you ever thought about the minimum amount of time that the perfectly prepared family who has a Plan and has practiced evacuation would need to evacuate to a predetermined bug-out location? Yes, there are a lot of qualifiers in this sentence but work with me here.

Let’s start by setting up the parameters as a challenge.

First, the only criteria for our perfect family, who are all at home in their metropolitan suburb, is they will only need to grab the most urgent essentials like medicine, then depart their home and arrive at their bug-out location within 12 hours to beat the challenge.

Well, that’s an easy challenge to win. The fastest transportation is our fully-fueled vehicle, since we have pre-deployed our resources in advance, so we’ll simply jump in our vehicle and be there in a few hours.

But since we’re cautious people, we’ll do some risk assessments using the tried and true, “What ifs.

What if our metropolitan city, in our case, Dallas, attempted to evacuate?

There are a lot of people in Dallas, but “a lot” is kinda’ vague. And only a few keystrokes reveals there are 451,000 houses in Dallas County.

A few more keystrokes reveals that each household has 1.8 cars, but it is reasonable to believe that an evacuation will cause families to travel as a unit in a single vehicle.  So, let’s think that at most 451,000 cars will hit the streets. However, it is safe to assume that not all residents will evacuate, so I’ll reduce the amount by 20%, leaving the potential for 360,800 cars on the road.

OK, now some fairly uncomplicated criteria: a car is 16 to 17 feet long, plus you might add a foot or two to compensate for sharing the road with an unknown quantity of 73-foot long tractor-trailer rigs and the 50-foot long travel trailers that those “almost prepared” will attempt to escape in.

All of which equals about 6+ million feet of vehicles, add to that 1 million feet of trailers and another 1 million feet of bumper space (1.5-feet between vehicles) divided by the number of feet in a mile – 5,280 equals 1,500 miles of vehicles.

OK – where could those 1,500 miles of vehicles go? A safe answer is anywhere out of Dallas, but let’s stick to major, high speed, traffic arteries like Interstate Highways. Dallas has 3 Interstates, meaning 16 lanes of outbound roadways available for use in a mass evacuation of Dallas.

One additional fact: Studies of actual highway traffic have measured vehicle flow rates as high as 2,000 vehicles per lane, per hour, at a speed of 60 miles per hour.

In a perfect scenario, 360,800 vehicles at 60 MPH will take 200 hours to evacuate Dallas – the math is 2,000 vehicles per hour times 2-seconds per vehicle divided 60 will equal hours – you might want to leave early.  

Here is the Total Breakdown

data

It ends up that you have 2,784 miles of vehicles wanting to occupy 956 miles of Interstate.

An omission that dawned on me as I was rethinking my premise – houses are not households – houses are houses – apartment are not included!!!

The Dallas Apparent Assn. says there are 201,599 apartments in Dallas county – but there is no average number of cars per apartment – the safest guess may be 1 car per apartment – add 40% to miles – so, 3,894 miles of cars wanting to occupy 239 miles.

Now if you think that everyone had a place to go – Mom & Dad’s house, a 2nd home, a farm or a camping place – and that they were evenly spread across the 6 major arteries out of Dallas, there would still not be enough road space

Figure it this way – 6 arteries times 4 lanes per artery times “X” miles – it doesn’t matter what “X” equals, the first bottleneck stops all traffic.

In an attempt to keep things simple, these thoughts were based on only Dallas County being evacuated and not any other city or town – not Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Arlington or Ft Worth. The compounding factor is simply beyond my simple premise. if you apply a simple advancement algorithm to the 11 counties that are 900 square miles each around Dallas county, the result is a multiplier of about 8 – instead of 3,000 miles of cars you have 30,000 miles of cars – my mind hit tilt way long ago.

Conclusions???

Some cautious conclusions come to mind.  It seems reasonable that in only 1 hour, cars leaving Dallas will be bumper-to-bumper or stopped on all paved roadways for 250 miles? Yep, total stop! Highways will become parking lots.  The majority of people will be poorly prepared for returning home and unprepared to walk to continue their journey to a place of refuge,  Add to that the idea that no relief vehicle could travel past the first creek because every bridge would be impassible from the people clustering around it for water, for family caregivers who won’t abandon the infirm or young.

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it is mathematically impossible for a family evacuation to a bug-out location located within 300 miles of home without a head start of 12-hours.

FYI: The equations had no allowances for lane stoppages, accidents or breakdowns. (Care to make a side bet on the probability of no accidents from a panicked mob? Me neither.)

To me this says hunker down or leave early…

A Short List of Recent Evacuations in the U.S.

The following is a partial list of some of the larger emergency event population movements in the past 10 years.  I did not include population movements for genocide, epidemics, famine, or armed conflicts/civil wars.

August 2005 – 484,000 evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. September 2005 – 3 million evacuated in Texas and Louisiana, including 2.4 million from Houston, Texas, due to Hurricane Rita. October 2007 – California wildfires forced more than 900,000 people in Southern California to evacuate.[16] August 2008 – 1.9 million people evacuate coastal Louisiana, including New Orleans, for Hurricane Gustav.[18]  August 2011 – A mass evacuation stretching from North Carolina to New York is ordered because of Hurricane Irene and its size.[21]

Current Situations. Bugging Out on Foot. More Questions than Answers

I am also perplexed at the current migration in Europe.  How are so many people feeding themselves on a 2,600 mile journey?  How are they traveling?  Who is underwriting the costs associated with this migration? We know there is food for the migrants because there is no outcry about starvation.  But where is the food coming from? On a daily basis, a million people consume an enormous amount of food.  We know that ramping up food production takes months.  Where is all this food coming from? Will the consumption of these food reserves cause a rise in food costs as producer stocks are depleted?

Todd’s Note: Michael gives us a lot to think about.  What do you think?  Feel free to leave your comment below.  Click the links for more info. on bugging out, bugout vehicles or bugout bags.  Also checkout these links – BOL and BOB.

Peace,
Todd

Securing Your Home – Necessary Steps to Take Before the Economy Completely Tanks!

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Securing Your Home – Necessary Steps to Take Before the Economy Completely Tanks! As the economy becomes more unstable and the “REAL” unemployment numbers continue to skyrocket, people are going to become more desperate.  Survival mode will begin to kick-in and those without, will do whatever they need to do to put food on the table, …

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Economic Tweaks: Changing Our Behavior on the Spiral Downward!

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spiral

I’ve been waiting for an economic collapse since I started prepping.  In fact, the economy was my main concern when I started my preparedness journey.  You can even see this focus when I started Prepper Website.  The first article I linked to was one from SHTF Plan called, “How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse.”  I’m still waiting!

Every year, every financial quarter brings new warnings.  Many preppers are waiting for the hammer to drop, but some are starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.  SHTF should have happened so many times by now, it isn’t even funny.

The problem that we might have is that we are looking for ONE BIG EVENT to cause the house of cards to come tumbling down.  I’m starting to believe more and more in what Jack Spirko said years ago, that we are going to experience a slow economic spiral downward.

If you look back at your finances over the last few years, haven’t you felt a little bit more of a pinch?  Things are more expensive.  Your money doesn’t buy as much.  You’re not putting away as much!  Things aren’t SHTF, but every year we lose a little.  One day we’ll wake up and realize we are smack dab in the middle of the SHTF scenario we were looking for on the horizon!

Start Adjusting Now!

One of the best things we can do is to start prepping now to stem off the erosion to our finances.  It’s simple, we need to adjust what goes out and start making better decisions.

There have been many articles written on this topic already.  So, I don’t want to rehash all that here.  But I do want to point out a few helpful things and then focus on the main purpose of this article.

Smart Financial Moves

  1. Budget – If you don’t tell your money what to do, it will do what it wants.  Just like you need a preparedness plan or a bug out plan, you need a money plan.  A budget is a money plan!
  2. Cut back on Services – You don’t need all the cable channels available to man!  You might not need the big cell phone plan you have!  I recently called my insurance company and saved a nice chunk on my auto insurance.  Take a little bit of time and see what you can get rid of.
  3. When you buy something, purchase a quality item so you don’t keep re-purchasing junk!
  4. Pay everything with cash!  Not using credit cards should be a no brainer!
  5. DIY – Learn how to fix things yourself!

 

DIY – Skills that Are Needed in Our Future Economy

I want to devote the rest of the article to the need for learning and knowing how to fix things. We have become so accustomed to just throwing away things that can be fixed for running to the store and buying that new item out of convenience.  But in our spiraling down economy, we might not have the luxury to just buy something out of convenience.  And usually, most things can be fixed for a fraction of what the item might cost new.

There is also the need to learn how to repair or replace things ourselves. For example, recently I replaced the toilet in the boys restroom.  It was a nasty, dirty job.  I had to run to Home Depot a few times to get the right part, but it saved me the cost of scheduling a plumber to replace it for me.  What would that have cost me?  I don’t know.  But I saved that money, plus felt good doing it myself.

I also saved a little $$$ when I changed out the battery in my wife’s tablet.  This one was a little bit more technical and well…I had to be real careful because I have fat fingers and I was dealing with some small wires.  But I did it!  All it cost me was the battery from Amazon!

And recently, I changed out the garbage disposal.  This is the one that had me really thinking about the money I was saving by doing these small repairs myself.  I didn’t detail every step, but I did take some pics.

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We’ve lived in this house going on 11 years.  I’m pretty sure this is the original garbage disposal.  You can see the rust in the screws and around the reset button.  This sucker was leaking from places it wasn’t supposed to!

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It was a messy job.  Old putty and gunk were coming off and getting everywhere!

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These pictures don’t let you “appreciate” the nasty gunk on the collar.

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The job would have taken 1/2 the time if I didn’t have to replace the collar.  The old garbage disposal didn’t have a quick connect!

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Give it up for the amateur repair man! 😉

How Am I Learning How to Do This Stuff?

How does one know how to fix things?  You learn!  Everyone has to learn at some point!  And today, we have great resources available to us on the internet.  Before I attempted the repairs I listed above, or others for that matter, I checked Youtube.  That’s right!  I sit down in front of my computer and pull up a few videos on the subject.  In the case of my wife’s tablet, I sat in front of my laptop and watched the video as I mimicked the repair in real time.

To change out the garbage disposal, I watched these two videos below first.

 

 

In the first video, the guy doesn’t punch out the dishwasher drain.  I realized that important piece of advice by reading the comments.  You can learn just as much from the comments when you watch a video!

The Other Missing Piece

One of the other reasons people don’t DIY repair is because they don’t have tools.  Tools are tangibles that you can hold on to.  If you purchase a quality tool, it will last forever!  If you don’t have a good set of tools, it would be a good idea to start adding and building a good set.  You can even find good deals at garage sales and some pawn shops.  If the SHTF, tools will be valuable!

Other Resources

There are a few other resources that you might want to consider if you are choosing to start DIY repairs to save money.   These resources are DIY books that have a proven record of good reviews and they are still in print!

Final Thoughts – Start Now, Get Some Experience!

Taking the time now, when you might have a little financial wiggle room, is the time to start learning how to fix and repair things on your own.  By getting a few projects under your belt, you will build confidence and feel comfortable tackling bigger projects.  You never know what you might be called on to repair in the future!

Peace,
Todd

Beans, Bullets & Band-aids – You’ll Wish You Had More Band-aids…AND Info.

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handbook

You’ll think you have plenty of medical supplies for SHTF, until you have to start using them!  Not too long ago, my wife cut her finger pretty good.  We went through a lot of gauze and bandages, changing that cut out twice a day.  I was shocked by how fast the gauze, tape and pads I had, started to get depleted.  And this was just a little cut!  What if it was worse and I couldn’t access medical supplies easily?

Medical prep has always been one of my concerns and focuses.  I believe that the other survival topics are a little bit more manageable.  Don’t get me wrong, in a true SHTF, it’s going to suck.  But I mean there are more people out there who know a little about gardening, water purification, cooking with little, cooking on an open fire, etc…  In our modern society, we have left medical stuff up to professional doctors and hospitals who go through a lot of training.

But if doctors are not easily available, then what?  You’ll be responsible!  Can you imagine seeing your child or grandchild hurting and not be able to do anything to help?  Like I said earlier, this was one of my main concerns starting out in preparedness.

I’ve said it before, one of the first sites I ever hit was Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy’s, Doom and Bloom.  They are Medical Professionals who understand the need to prep.  They approach their articles and videos from the possibility that help isn’t coming! Scary!

Like many of the preppers out there, I downloaded everything I could on medical preparedness.  I found When There is No Doctor and When There is No Dentist.  But like Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy point out, all of these materials leave the reader with the notion that professional medical services need to be sought after a patient has be stabilized.  None of the literature I found dealt with medical issues from the perspective that finding a medical professional isn’t an option.  Until Dr. Bones (Dr. Joe Alton, M.D.) and Nurse Amy (Amy Alton, ARNP) wrote one!

Dr. Bone sand Nurse Amy recently released the 3rd Edition of their very popular book, The Survival Medicine Handbook.  The 3rd edition has had been expanded and every subject is covered in more detail.  Also, every section IMG_20160903_193404 - Editedhas been updated too!

The book covers a ton of medical situations, see the pics below.  But there are also a few chapters that are very helpful that will come in handy to anyone wanting to take responsibility for medical preparedness, for themselves and their family.

One chapter discusses and lists a ton of medical supplies that the average person isn’t thinking about.  Since Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are both REAL medical professionals, I trust they know what is going to be necessary when it comes to medical supplies.  The chapter is broken down into kit sizes: IFAK or Personal Kits, The Family Kit, Natural Remedy Supplies and The Field Hospital.

One whole section in the book covers medications, from Over the Counter to Natural Relief to Stockpiling, it’s all there!  You also don’t want to miss the very important chapter on Antibiotics.

And like I mentioned in my previous review, you won’t want to miss the chapter on Essential Oils and Herbal Teas.  There is a lot of information that is very valuable!

Checkout the Table of Contents below…

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No one…let me repeat, No Prepper should be without this book!  I believe it is one of the most important prep items you can have!

You can purchase the new 3rd Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook on Amazon.

Be sure to visit Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy’s website, as well as their online store and Youtube channel!

Check Out these other Medical Related Articles:

Peace,
Todd

Lights Out! NW Houston Edition: Lessons for Non-Preppers!

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Lightsout

Anyone who wants to experience SHTF is out of their mind!  The fact is, it won’t be the book, movie, fantasy that many think it might be.  It will suck!  Every once in a  while, we get a little glimpse into what a major event might look like by watching and observing how people respond to the smaller, localized events.  And if we are one of the people smack-dab in the middle of one of those smaller, localized events, well, we get a chance to run through how we might truly respond.

On Tuesday, August 23, 2016, a small electric substation caught fire in NW Houston.  Why?  I’m still not sure.  But the fire caused a blackout that at one point reached 85,000 homes!

I was cooking dinner (spaghetti if you must know) and about to put garlic bread in the oven when the lights flickered and then went out.  Like every paranoid prepper, I checked my phone…relieved that it wasn’t the dreaded EMP that would end the world as we know it, I opened the shades to let natural light in and served dinner to the family.  As we ate, I checked my local area Facebook page, that posts information faster than even Twitter, and realized that the lights weren’t coming on anytime soon.

I checked the Centerpoint Outage Map website to see how far the outage reached.  Centerpoint maintains the power lines in the Houston area.  They also post updates on outages….more on that later.

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We waited for a while to see if the lights were coming on, but chose to head out to my parents since they had power and Centerpoint was saying it was going to be 10-12 hours until power was restored.  Why suffer?  It isn’t SHTF yet!

Natural light was still coming in since the shades were open, but it got dark fast!  I have PLENTY of lights around, so getting our stuff together was no big deal.  We packed up, closed down the house and headed out.

As we left the neighborhood and traveled down towards the freeway, we noticed that lights that were previously out were back on.  We called my in-laws, who live close by and they had power. We decided to go their to see if lights were coming on faster than Centerpoint said they would.

After about an hour, we realized that the lights weren’t coming on.  We decided to go ahead and head out to my parents since they were better prepared to handle us and lights were still flickering at my in-laws (they weren’t leaving).  Before we left, my neighbor texted me and reminded me to turn off my AC unit.  She said that last time the lights were out like this, her AC blew when the lights came back on.  I drove over to the house to turn off the AC and then we headed to my parents.

Power was restored sooner than the 10-12 hours that Centerpoint said.  We woke up a little earlier than normal to head back to the house to get the kids to school and get ready for work.

Lessons Learned

The lessons learned aren’t going to be anything new for the experienced prepper.  But they are good reminders.  This article also might be helpful for the non-prepper who is looking to have some supplies or ideas to be a little better prepared for emergencies.

Plan, Plan, Plan

The best thing anyone can do when thinking about emergencies is to have a plan and mentally rehearse what they would do and how they need to respond to be safe.  As I realized that the power might be off till the next day, I started discussing with my wife what we wanted to do: stick it out in a stuffy house (Houston heat & humidity sucks) or head over to my parents.  We talked about what we needed to start doing to prepare to leave the house and started getting ready. Read more articles about planning here, here and here.

You WANT to Have Lights and MORE Lights!

Like I said before, night comes real fast!  But, having light isn’t that much of an issue for me.  I have 3 flashlights strategically placed on our fireplace mantle.  I also have a rechargeable lantern by my bed.  But the light that we used the most were the emergency lights that double as nightlights.

Lite Saver - 3 in 1 Light

I have two Lite Savers, one in the kitchen (see pic) and one in the hallway.  They stay charged because they plugin to an electrical socket.  At night, they have a small LED light that provides a little light so you don’t kill yourself while you’re walking around in the dark.  The LED light automatically comes on when the room goes dark.  However, the light can also sense when electricity isn’t flowing in the house and then turns on the big light.  You can unplug the light and carry it around like a small lantern.  The light it provides is surprising!

It is always amazing to me how people don’t have the basics.  One lady on Facebook posted that she didn’t have a flashlight or candles, but she did have her solar lights from her flowerbed.  As preppers, we definitely know that trick.  But WHY didn’t she have any flashlights or anything else?  Come on!

Information

We live in an information rich time in history.  Of course, if we have a SHTF moment, information might not be so available.  But until then, you have a ton of information on your cellphone.  Hopefully, you’re not only using your phone to play “Words with Friends” or “Pokemon Go!”  You SHOULD bookmark important information sites so that you can easily access information.

Some examples are:

  • Your local power outage map.
  • Check to see if your neighborhood or community has a page on Facebook.  Like I said, mine posts information before you hear about it anywhere else.  Yes, you’ll have to deal with some weirdos, but it’s worth it.
  • See if your local police have an online scanner channel.  It’s amazing what you can find out by listening to police and other first responders.
  • Twitter.  Yes, Twitter!  This won’t necessarily help you in a local event.  Although, you could check to see if there was a city hashtag like #HouNews (see below).  But, Twitter is like that Facebook page I mentioned above, but on a world wide scale.  Many people use Twitter all over the world.  If something is going on, people will be tweeting about it.  Coup attempts, riots, war… you can get instant information as it is happening.
  • A good traffic map/APP is helpful too!
  • Besides your phone, a good emergency radio with SW or even a cheap Baofeng is helpful.


Think About Safety

It was dark when we were leaving the house…real dark.  People were still driving in the neighborhood.  As we were packing up, I thought about how we might look to thieves who might be driving around the neighborhood, checking out places to “hit” later.  We decided to leave one car in the driveway to make it “appear” like someone was home.

Later, when I went back to the house to make sure the AC was off, I was surprised at how dark the neighborhood was.  When the moon is not out, it gets dark…real dark.  I could easily see which homes had lights shining through the windows.  And I was instantly aware of any other light in front of homes or driveways.  Something to REALLY think about.

I won’t get into having a means of protection.  That should be a no brainer!

A Thought on Cell Phones

My cell Phone did well getting me a lot of information at first.  However, at one point, we all lost signal, including the ability to text.  I don’t know what kind of emergency power cell towers have, but it probably isn’t much if any.  It could have just been our service provider, but I’m not sure.

However, for those that were using their cell phones for any length of time, even as a flashlight, it would have been good to have a way to charge it.  Small cellphone battery chargers are very inexpensive!  Some of the big ones will charge your phone multiple times!

Food/Eating

We were lucky enough to have already cooked food before the lights went out.  At the worse, we didn’t warm up the garlic bread.  And, even if we needed to do something for dinner, we have plenty of food in the pantry and multiple ways of cooking it.  We’re preppers after all!

However, I was floored by the posts I saw on Facebook where people went out to their neighborhood restaurant, only to realize that they didn’t have power either….duh.  Some couldn’t buy food because the grocery store didn’t have power.  I read where some people just ate crackers because that is all they had.

In reality, someone who was really hungry didn’t have to travel that far to get to an open restaurant or grocery store.   But for goodness sake!  Have some food in your pantry!

If this would have been a major long term event, people would have gone hungry…very hungry.  It’s amazing to me how little food people keep in their homes.

Final Thoughts

We could of easily stayed at the house. It would have been a little warm (did I say Houston heat & humidity sucks already?), but just an inconvenience.  One reason why I didn’t object too much to leaving the house was to update Prepper Website.  I try to not miss a day!

Because we prep and plan, we were able to make decisions and had options on how to handle this evening.  If you are reading this and you don’t prep, taking a little bit of time to plan and set aside some supplies can make a big difference during a local event.  It’s just wise!  And if others are depending on you, it’s your responsibility to be prepared!

What would you add?

Peace,
Todd

Behold, Darkness and Sorrow: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt – Review

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Mark Goodwin is a thorn in my side!  Mark, who owns and runs PrepperRecon and the PrepperRecon Podcast, has written another book (series) called Behold Darkness and Sorrow: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt.  Like his previous books, this one is a page turner, which is the reason he is such a pain!

2016-227-Audio-book-Mark-GoodwinYou see, I don’t have the time to read books anymore, so I get his books on audio.  I work about 10 minutes from work.  So, I get about 20 minutes of this page turner a day.  It definitely isn’t enough!  So, shame on you Mark!

Kidding aside, Mark has really done another great job in book one of his new series.  I’m partial to series because I like to follow a story for a while.  Like his other books, Mark follows an End of the World type scenario.  And, as in his other books, Mark weaves a ton of preparedness and the Bible, all within a great plot with everyday characters that could resemble many average Americans.

Behold Darkness and Sorrow: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt, Book 1, follows three friends who live in Savannah, Georgia.  The main character, Danny, rededicates his life to the Lord and soon after starts to have apocalyptic dreams.  His dreams warn of disaster to come in the near future, in the same way Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream in the Book of Genesis.

The book isn’t only for entertainement purposes though.  Mark provides a lot of helpful preparedness advice for readers, as the main characters start to get prepared for their scary future.

During a visit to his grandmother’s, Danny’s brother-in-law gives him advice on packing a bug out bag.

“You should both put together a bug-out bag, in case you need to leave in a hurry.”

“I’m not sure what that is.” Alisa said.

 

Nick grinned. “It’s a bag, preferably a large backpack that won’t draw too much attention, filled with the essentials you’d need to keep you alive for seventy-two hours.”

 

Alisa nodded slowly. “Still not sure I know what that is.”

 

“Well, for starters, you know you need water to stay alive. You need a minimum of a half-gallon a day just to stay hydrated. That’s if it’s not super-hot and you’re not sweating a lot.”

 

Alisa looked at Nick. “So, I need to keep a gallon and a half of water in my buck-out bag?” “It’s bug out, like get out of town.

 

Not necessarily. You could, but a gallon weighs eight pounds, so your bag would be twelve pounds before you put anything else in it. I’d recommend keeping a half-gallon in your bag and getting a good light- weight water filter. Then, you can reuse your containers and refill them whenever you came across another water source. Streams, lakes, ponds and creeks are pretty common in this part of the country. If you lived in the desert, that would be a different story. You’d have no other choice but to keep the full three days of water in your pack.”

 

Danny listened closely to what Nick was saying. “How much does a good filter cost?”

“You can get a good one for under a hundred dollars. Katadyn and MSR both make high-quality portable filters.”

 

“Since we would be traveling together, could Alisa and I share one?”

 

Nick nodded. “Yes, but whichever one of you isn’t carrying the filter should at least be carrying water purification tablets. You can buy them online for five or ten bucks. Water is too important. You don’t want something to happen to one of your backpacks, then you’d both be up a creek. You also need some type of shelter. You can find a small emergency tent for around twenty-five dollars. Just make sure it weighs less than five pounds and try to find something in an earth tone color…

And the above is just a taste.  The book is filled with preparedness advice.  You might even find yourself writing down some of the advice to research a little further.

But for me, the main reason I really enjoyed this book is because Mark weaves in so much of the Bible. In fact, if you are a Christian Prepper, you might find some good Scripture and rationales for why you believe what you believe.  Or, it might even challenge you, stretch you and increase your faith.

In one scene of the book, Danny and Alisa have a discussion with Pastor Earl, the groups pastor in Savannah, Georgia.

“Pastors have also sat idly by while our country has abused our monetary system. Not that it was a sustainable system in the first place, but that’s another rabbit trail that we won’t go down tonight.  But, ancient Israel’s prosperity was directly linked to their obedience to God, throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.”

 

“What does that have to do with America? We’re not Israel.” Alisa put her chin on her hand and her elbow on her knee as she leaned in for the pastor’s response.

 

The pastor explained. “No, but in the book of Isaiah, God calls all the nations of the known world to account for their disobedience to him. Isaiah specifically has prophecies against the two major empires at the time, Babylon and Assyria. He also calls out Egypt, Cush, Moab, Damascus, and Tyre. Isaiah 34 is a blanket judgment to all nations. If God’s curses for disobedience are applicable to all nations, we might assume that his blessings for obedience could also be incurred. Does that make sense?”

 

Danny nodded. “Yeah, it’s a lot to take in.”

I highly recommend Behold, Darkness and Sorrow: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt, Book 1.  Again, I will warn anyone who picks this book up, like Mark’s other books, this is strongly Christian based.  If you don’t want to read a whole lot of Bible thumping, don’t get this book.  But, if you are a Christian Prepper, or just a Christian, you will find this book entertaining, inspirational and encouraging.

I listen to books on audio.  I think the voice who narrates the book does a good job.  The book is also available on Kindle and Paperback.  At the time of this review, this book has over 150 reviews and is rated 4.5 stars.  If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up!

Check out Mark’s other books:

Peace,
Todd

What If You Lose Your Go-Bag? Can You Still Survive?

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edge

NOTE: This is a guest post by Chris Hampton, author of Edge Walker.  Chris has graciously provided a free copy of his book in PDF.  You can find the link to download your copy below. – TS

Go-Bags are a popular, and very important, topic of discussion among preppers and anyone wanting to be prepared for all contingencies at all times, anywhere. It’s interesting and exciting to scan over someone else’s Go-Bag content list, but ultimately it’s a personal choice, what we put in our bags. Yet, what happens if we lose our Go-Bag?

In my just-released book, Edge Walker, the main character is taught by a mysterious grandfather how to survive in the wilderness. At the beginning of the book, the boy has no experience in the wild, but as a desperate society rapidly deteriorates around him, the old man teaches the boy how to make shelter and fire, find water in the desert, and hunt meat without modern weapons.

Just before the boy flees a city thrown into chaos, his dying grandfather tosses him a small backpack. It’s his Go-Bag, put together by the old man before succumbing to a deadly virus. In the pack are essentials for his survival. However, when originally penciling out the plot, I looked at the very real possibility that, at some point, the boy will lose his pack. What then? Out in the wilderness, without all the essentials of a Go-Bag, life becomes precious and tenuous, very fast.

dbf7cc9931fac85309063c52ff30575ddca6875f-thumbI wanted Edge Walker’s story line to be true-to-life regarding survival skills to be utilized in the wilderness. The outcome was interspersing chapters where Grandfather teaches the boy four fundamental wilderness survival skills: how to make simple shelters with the materials at hand, carve a bow drill and make fire, find sources of water in the desert, and hunt using the most basic of primitive weapons – the throwing stick. In the chapter where I introduced the bow drill and fire making, my aim was to write in such a way that the emotion of the story line was maintained while sequentially describing the method for making a fire kit:

“Once, after relocating west, the old man taught the boy about fire. They walked into the desert . . . Grandfather stopped at a three-foot-tall bushy plant and looked down at it. Kneeling, he broke off a dead portion, unsheathed his knife, and started carving.

 

The boy watched. The sun baked.

 

“This plant will make fire for you. Warm you. Heal you.”

 

Grandfather’s knife worked the soft wood. A flat piece, two inches wide and ten inches long with a squared edge, emerged. Another piece of a branch, six inches long, became pointed at both ends: a spindle.

 

He cut a third piece of wood to fit the palm of his hand. Putting these pieces down, Grandfather cut a longer branch, about two feet, and tied some paracord to it. The boy thought it looked like a small bow to shoot arrows.

 

Using the spindle, handhold, and bow, the old man quickly burned a small indent into the flat piece of wood. Then he carved a slice-of-pie cut, the wide part of the slice at the edge of the board, the apex touching the middle of the burned indent.

 

Next, he again twisted the six-inch spindle stick into the string of the bow with one end of the spindle fitted into the notched hole. The palm-sized handhold he put on top of the other end of the now-vertical spindle and pressed down.

 

Grandfather began scraping the bow back and forth, like playing a cello. The flat board smoked, the smoke curling up around the spindle. Fine dust filled the slice-of-pie notch, with smoke billowing out from where the spindle met the board. Suddenly, he stopped and tapped a glowing ball of dust onto a baseball-size bunch of fluffy tinder and deftly handed the fire kit to the boy.

 

Grandfather did not rush. He gently, quietly talked to the glowing coal.

 

“Always ask the coal to visit. And thank it when it does,” he said.

 

The boy watched. Said nothing.

 

Grandfather, with two hands, held the smoking ball up above his face and blew into it. Soon, smoke turned to flame. He gently put the flaming ball on the ground and, from what the boy saw in the old man’s eyes, lovingly stared at it.

 

“Life.”

 

The boy looked up at Grandfather, then back at the little ball of flame, and echoed Grandfather’s word: “Life.”

As he is taught primitive skills, the boy is reminded to keep his knife on his body and not in his Go-Bag. In this way, if the Go-Bag is lost, the boy still has what he needs to live safely and even lavishly in the wilderness – – a knife.

Later in the book, the ancient skills are enhanced with modern paraphernalia to illustrate the benefits of utilizing whatever’s available. After the boy is rescued from man-hunters by two strangers, he observes how his rescuers effectively combine primitive knowledge with modern effects to subsist and move across the landscape. One example is how the strangers serve food in a gourd, but cook in a metal pot:

“A small fire dances in the cave. Dinner is stewed rabbit with wild onions foraged when Jure did the perimeter check. Bae, once again, marvels at the ingenuity of these two. The meal simmers in a metal pot with walls that collapse each inside the other to compress down for easier packing. To use it, the sections of walls are pulled up to form the pot. Handy.”

And later, in Chapter 50, worn out Converse sneakers are replaced with Huarache sandals:

“Your footwear needs mending,” G says.

 

“Yes,” Bae answers. “My left sole came apart.”

 

The shredded shoes embarrass the boy. He glances down at his clothes and does a quick check, as he’s learned to do before traveling . . .

 

“Any ideas for your footwear?” G asks.

 

“There’s the town,” Ever says. “They might have a dump or store we can raid.”

 

“No way on the store. Too dangerous. Supplies to these outlying towns have stopped. Whatever they have in town will be closely guarded.” G pauses. “But a dump. Good chance old tires will be in a dump. We can make sandals for Bae.”

 

“What about straps?” Ever asks. “Strapping leather is hard to find.”

 

“Paracord.”

 

“Of course!” Ever blurts. “I forgot about that.”

 

“I’ve got paracord,” Bae offers. He can’t picture sandals made out of tires or how to make them. But he knows paracord and has a roll in his pack.”

If you have a foundation of proven, ancient, skills and a willingness to combine them with whatever modern paraphernalia is found on the landscape, chances increase dramatically for survival. But the most basic necessity for a successful experience in survival is, like the characters in Edge Walker, to always keep a knife somewhere on your body, in case everything is lost, especially your Go-Bag.

To download a FREE COPY of Edge Walker in PDF – CLICK HERE!

– Chris Hampton

This Is Getting Ridiculous! Prepper Origami?

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PO454

Ok…Ok… Here me out!

Yes, the Prepper Community gets a lot of weird stuff that comes our way.  Marketers see a niche and they go for it with gusto.  It’s just a matter of time before someone comes out with a prepper or “tactical” broom.

But I’m not trying to take something out there in the world and force it to apply to the Prepper Community to market something.  I simply have an idea that might help you if you were ever in need.

We learn skills (foraging, fire craft, water purification, shelter building),  because we know they will serve us well.  What if you had the skill of origami?  No, I’m not suggesting you start making paper dragons.  In fact, I’m only suggesting you learn one…the paper cup.

Yes, I might be stretching it, but what if you were in a situation where you didn’t have a cup, canteen or thermos and you needed to hold water?  You could use your hands, but you could be dirty or there might be so little precious H20 that you don’t want to risk it going through your fingers.

In all honesty, I would first scavenge for a plastic bottle or something else I could use.  But if all else failed, if I had a piece of paper, I could make a paper cup.  And the bigger the paper, the bigger the cup.

This short video tutorial walks you through how to make a paper cup.  It is so simple.

 

 

Just to make sure you realize I haven’t lost my mind here or over on Prepper Website, I would always suggest that you carry around some sort of container.  For your BOB, the wide mouth Kleen Kanteen will work nicely.  You can boil water in the Kleen Kanteen if you need to.  You could also go with a steel Military type canteen with a cup.  Or if you want plastic, a Nalgene water bottle works.  And don’t forget that you should have some tinfoil in your Altoids Tin.  You can make a quick cup out of that too.

Even if you never use a paper cup as a prepper, it might be a cool trick to wow your kids or grandkids.  Who knows, you might get creative and make the perfect reusable paper cup that you can boil water in for survival.  If you do, cut me in please!

Peace,
Todd

 

Hurricane Preparedness: Making Sure Your Office is Ready!

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Hurricane Preparedness

Living on the Gulf Coast, I am all too familiar with Hurricanes.  This infographic will provide a lot of good information for anyone wanting to know about Hurricane Preparedness and especially those who might own businesses.

Click to Enlarge Image

Preparation is Key: How to Make Sure Your Office is Hurricane Ready

From Quill

 

 

Peace,
Todd

Position Yourself for Financial SHTF – Practical Steps for Paying Down Debt and Saving Money!

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Money1

We’ve all been expecting it!  In fact, some of us are baffled that it hasn’t happened already. Many who are paying attention to the global economy expect a time when this country and possibly the rest of the world experience economic SHTF.  One thing though, no one exactly knows what it will look like when the proverbial economic balloon goes up!

As a result of not knowing, we could stress and worry.  Some of us prep food, water and supplies.  But besides prepping the basics, one of the things we should do is position ourselves to be in the best spot possible for a financial SHTF scenario.

To be clear here, a financial SHTF scenario doesn’t have to be the meltdown of the global economy.  When that happens, everyone will be in the same boat and those who have made an effort to position themselves will fare better.  However, people find themselves in financial SHTF scenarios everyday when they lose their jobs, have a medical emergency and have no insurance, lose a loved one who is an income earner, etc…  Hopefully, the information in this piece will provide relevant information to help anyone prepare for a future financial SHTF scenario.

Two Economic SHTF Scenarios – Two Extremes

When preppers think about SHTF, we tend to think about the kind of world you read about in dystopian novels.  JWR’s Patriot’s is a book that many preppers are familiar with.  In the book, an economic crash sends the USA into the world of The Walking Dead.  Bank holidays, credit card and ETB freezes, Marshall law, Biker Mice from Mars, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, dogs and cats living together…This is an extreme view. Could an economic crash bring the collapse of the USA?  I don’t know.  I think TPTB already have a plan in place if they see the balloon going up.

The other side of this extreme view is something I first heard Jack Spirko talking about back in the day, a slow economic spiral downwards.  In this scenario, things start to cost more and your earnings don’t go up.  Your money doesn’t buy you as much as it used to.  You stop going out to eat or to the movies as often because it’s so expensive.  You hold off on making big purchases.  You don’t have discretionary income like you used to have.  You start watching your finances closely because any hiccup can cause pain.  Your quality of life spirals down.  You stress.  Your spouse stresses.  Your kids feel the stress.  You look back and long for the “good ol’ days.”

These are two extremes, of financial SHTF.  We’ll probably wind up somewhere in between.

Where Do We Start?

In a recent poll on Prepper Website, I asked, “If you had an extra $500 right now, what would you do with it?” 28% of those who responded (132/478) said they would pay down debt!  (“More food storage” came in a close second, but that is another post.)

I would say that these respondents have the right idea.

Think about it.  If the economic balloon goes up, money (paper money will be used for a while, even in a JWR Patriot’s type crash), will buy less and less.  The more money you have freed up to make purchases, the better your overall position will be.  The biggest step in positioning yourself for financial SHTF is to get out of debt!

Getting Out of Debt Is Too Hard!

Yes, if getting out of debt was easy, everyone would be debt free.  It takes determination, discipline, going without sometimes and creativity.  But when you get debt free, it is the best place to be!

Years ago, I taught the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace University at my church.  My wife and I had already started getting out of debt, but FPU helped a lot.  I don’t agree with Dave Ramsey on everything.  In fact, I’m a little disappointed that he’s not warning people of what could possibly become of our economy.  He is still pushing 401K’s and mutual funds.  But, his advice and system for getting out of debt is very helpful to anyone wanting to get out of debt.

I’ll post a video of his 7 Baby Steps plan at the end of this article, but Dave tells you exactly how to do the debt snowball in the video below.  Notice the discipline and determination part!

 

Ways to Cutback and Find Money for Your Debt Snowball

One of the things that easily sidelines people when they try to get out of debt is finding money to add to their debt snowball.  If you just use what comes in, your current income, it might take longer than you like and you can wind up getting discouraged.  The trick here is to live way below your means.  And when I say below…I mean below.  The way to do this is to make a budget.  Just like you have a bugout plan or food storage plan, you need a budget plan to help you stay on track and manage every dollar that you bring in.

Back in the day, I created an Excel spreadsheet that would make changes automatically so I could see exactly what was coming in and going out.  I’ve attached a version here, using Google Sheets.  I would download this copy and open it using Excel. Or you could do it old school if you like.  Remember, you don’t want to have any money left over at the end of the month.  You want all your money accounted for and “working” for you.

Other Practical Ways to Cut Costs and Save

After you make you budget, you need to find other ways to bring in money.  Many people start having garage sales, work a part-time job, and find ways to save.

In my years aggregating articles for Prepper Website, I have linked to some great articles with great info. on being frugal and saving money.  I want to share some of those great ideas here.

On the Bacon and Eggs website, you can find an article that shares 114 Frugal Money Saving Ideas and Tips.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas…

8. Use cold water in your washing machine.  It’s the action in the washer that cleans the clothes

 

9. Unplug anything that is sucking “ghost power”  We’ve got a power strip that we can flip on and off when we need to.

 

20.Craigslist, Freecycle, Penny Papers, Thrift Stores and yard sales all can provide most things you are looking for.  Why buy new when gently used is so much less expensive?

 

26. Keep your freezer full. If you have to, put milk jugs or 2-liter bottles of water in the freezer.  It’s less expensive to run a full freezer than an empty one.

 

35. Open the curtains/drapes on the sunny side of the house during the daytime and close them on the shaded side(in the summer I reverse that). This works very well on sunny, non-windy days. This allows me to use natural light as well.

 

38. If you are considering making a big purchase why not try waiting 30 days and then see if you still feel the need for the item.  I find myself sometimes not needing something nearly as much as I thought I would three or four weeks later.

 

46. When running errands, try running them at “off peak times”.  You’ll be able to save time and gas by not having to wait in 5’o’clock traffic.  You’ll spend less time looking for a parking spot too!

 

61.  Check out the weekly ads in your area BEFORE you go shopping and use it to help with making your list.  Once you get your pantry stocked up you can use this “tip” to help you prep and save money while you are doing it.  The idea is to try and NEVER buy anything that isn’t on sale or doesn’t have the best bang for the buck so to speak.

 

68.  Compare unit prices.  I have found this to be really really helpful.  Most all stores show the price per ounce. Lot’s of times what you “thought” was a good deal really isn’t at all. Compare the per ounce costs of each item.  You would be surprised at how many times “bigger is not always better”.

 

73.  When you find something that you use regularly on sale – Stock up and buy as much as you can afford to. You know you will be using it later on and prices are rising fast these days.  Store what you eat and eat what you store.

 

77.  Stay away from convenience foods.  You can make most of the same things at home for half the price.

 

87.  Go “meatless”  one day a week.  We love meat. But face it, it’s expensive.  We like beans around here so I’ll cook up a pot with some rice and cornbread for dinner sometimes.  Makes great leftovers as well.   Use the leftovers as a side dish during the week.  Another thought is to have “breakfast for dinner”.  Pancakes and eggs for dinner…. oh my!

 

89.  If you don’t know how to cook it’s time you learned.  Cooking from scratch saves tons of money and it’s just plain better for you.

 

111. Invest in a thermos and take your coffee to work with you.  With the money you save by not buying $5.oo coffee’s every day you could easily afford a nice home brewed coffee every day!

To read the rest of the article – click here.

Over at Modern Survival Online, a guest poster Gilfner, shares “Ways We Are Creating Money in our Budget for Prepping” Here a few good ones…

TV – We only pay for streaming Netflix, $7.99/mo.  If you are serious about prepping, you don’t want to be stuck on the couch.  No need for cable/satellite or the $40 plus per month bill.  Spend the extra time getting stuff done and the extra money getting stuff to do it with.  The deals for bundling services aren’t that good.

 

Our cars are all paid for.  As much as I lust after the new cars, I am doing just fine with the ones I have.  But it’s tough to find the balance between good running cars that don’t cost a ton & thrashed cars that might as well have a monthly payment to keep them on the road.

 

Paying attention to sales.  Not everything is a good deal.  Not everything at Costco is a good deal.  Last month we found that the source we had for the pre-packaged Augason Farms hard red wheat went up in price dramatically.  We realized that with some work, we could get 25lbs bags from the LDS Cannery and bucket it ourselves for much less.

 

For construction projects around our place, we find that checking the cull bin at the Home Depot or Lowe’s nets us a lot of wood for less.

To read the rest of the article – click here.

Survival at Home shares “45 Ways to Save Money on Your Monthly Bills” Don’t miss these…

4- Eliminate drafts by using inexpensive expanding foam or caulk to fill cracks and small holes around windows, door frames and exterior walls where cold or warm air typically escapes. Look carefully around where pipes and wires enter and exit your home.

 

23- When it comes to credit cards, the easiest thing to do is just stop using them. If you can’t afford to pay cash for what you need, you probably don’t need it. Of course there are emergency situations, but those are likely to be few and far between. Don’t use your cards for anything you can eat or wear, and avoid using credit cards to buy “wants” such as a new stereo or TV. Wait until you have the money to buy it.

 

36- Do some price comparisons on your auto insurance. Consider changing your insurance policy to one with a higher deductible. If you have an older vehicle you might even consider switching to a lesser coverage. Decide if the monthly payment for collision insurance is worth paying for on your older vehicle.

 

45- Negotiate all of your bills. Call each company at off- peak times (such as early morning) to discuss lowering your rates. Companies are less busy and more likely to spend time negotiating with you. It absolutely never hurts to ask.

To read the rest of the article – click here.

Daisy Luther, at the Organic Prepper always has good advice on cutting costs and living below your means.  She shared in her post, The Austerity Diaries, some of the changes she and her family made to get through some hard times.  The article is from Jan. 2014, and Daisy is still alive and kicking.  So, you know it worked for her and her kids.  Check out her article, The Austerity Diaries and also the link at the top of her site dedicated to being frugal.

I also found some great advice in an article on Survival Blog called, Seventy-Five Ways to Save Money for Prepping.  Here are a few…

Don’t let a screaming child (or teenager) rule your finances. Learn to say “no” and mean it! The same goes for teenagers begging you for the latest and greatest “I Whatever”. The proper mantra should be “get a job and pay for it yourself”. You’ll thank me later. This has been a public service announcement.

 

Log all expenses, and keep a continual tracking system in place. Know where the money goes. (FYI: You don’t have to use credit cards like the author suggests. Saving receipts and plugging in the figures later works just as well for the OPSEC minded.)

 

“The Return of the Clothesline” is now playing at a theater near you. Start using a clothesline or drying rack and you’ll save energy, prolong the life of your clothes, and your house will be quieter and cooler. Oscar Awards all around!

 

Sewing will be a great skill to know and barter with post-SHTF. Many times articles of clothing will go unworn when buttons come off or a seam comes loose. It is a shame to let nice pieces of clothing go to waste or kids outgrow them without getting as much use from them as you can. It also comes in handy to have a sewing machine so you can take clothes in and let them out without always having to buy new ones.

 

Check Craigslist for free plants; you’ll almost always find them!

 

Shopping online? Never leave the coupon code box blank again! Google the name of the store and add the words “promo code” to the search bar. Sites like RetailMeNot.com offer free coupon codes for just about any product you’re shopping for.

 

Learn how to do basic home repairs and maintenance. Home Depot offers free classes from the Home Improver Club. You will learn important skills and save money at the same time. That is, of course, unless it’s a major project. You really don’t want to make any mistakes that only a professional can repair (and will charge you accordingly).

 

Stocking up when the price is low is the key to saving. Having a price book will really benefit you in the long run. Find what works for you– coupons, shopping at several stores, or shopping online. A combination of all three is my technique of choice!

To read the rest of the article – click here.

Brown Thumb Momma has a short article with some good advice and links.  “In 20 Things I do to Save Money,” she shares…

I make my own cleaning supplies instead of buying them. As an added bonus, this means the kids can help clean and I don’t worry about them being exposed to weird chemicals.

 

We make breakfasts ahead of time so nobody has to stop for fast food on the way to work/school.

Check out the other 18 tips! – Click here.

Remember, doing a lot of just a little bit, will save a ton and make a difference.

What About Precious Metals?

There are many out there in the alternative media space that believe when/if the economy crashes, they will become the next millionaire on the block because they have invested in precious metals.

I’m not a financial or precious metals expert.  But what I’ve gathered from trying to take in all the information out there, is that precious metals are a hedge against inflation. Could there be a time when the Biker Mice from Mars invade and our paper money is worthless and all that anyone will exchange or do business in is precious metals?  Could be.  Should you own some precious metals?  Yes, probably.

Although gold would be smaller and easier to physically move, silver might be your best deal right now.   Silver is very undervalued compared to what it costs to come out of the ground. I’m not going to go into a lot of specifics here.  I think that Michael Snyder of the Economic Collapse Blog did a good job of explaining all of this in a recent article, Why Investing In Silver Is Vastly Superior To Investing In Gold Right Now.

Conclusion – Time is Ticking

I like my life.  I’m comfortable.  I don’t like thinking that there is a future out there where I won’t be able to afford some of the things that I enjoy, much less, not be able to afford some of the things that are necessary, like medicine and medical procedures because they are too expensive.  I don’t like what this all implies for my kids!  But, that is why we prep!  That is why we sacrifice a little now because we see what could possibly be in the future.  Dave Ramsey has a saying that goes, “Live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else.”  Time is ticking, get your finances in order!

For more ways to save money, check out the Frugal Living and DIY pages on Prepper Website!

You can also check out the TAG Cloud for saving, savings and frugal.

Peace,
Todd

Peace,

Todd

Sleep When Your Life Depends On It – Selecting The Best Air Pad / Air Mattress for a Bug-Out Situation

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Sleep454

What would you respond to a simple question, “What’s the single most useful weapon or tool we have in a bug out situation?”

Sure, it’s fun getting compliments on the new blade and trying out the new illuminated scope you just paid a small fortune for.

But would it be as fun if your hands were trembling and you could barely keep your eyes open?

Our tools and weapons are only as useful as the person wielding them.

That’s what this guide is all about – one of the essentials for any smart prepper – SLEEP.

To be more precise, it’s about finding the best air mattress for our shelters and best sleeping pads for our BOBs.

It might not be as “glamorous” as talking about tac gear, but when SHTF we need our best selves to handle the gear and protect what we love.

If you’re think you can go days with little sleep and maintain your shape, you’ve been duped into believing a myth, my friend.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

As recent studies show, ONLY ONE NIGHT of bad sleep sets in motion a cascade of cognitive impairments that compromises your ability to defend your own when the moment comes.

So, let’s get to the “meat” of things and make sure we stay sharp in the face of calamity.

Sorting the basics out – an air mattress and a sleeping pad

An air mattress is only an option for your trunk or the shelf of your shelter.

After we’ve dealt with sleeping pads, we’ll go over a few rules to keep in mind when choosing the best high-rise air mattress.

Sleeping pads we’ll be talking about are the kind you’re using on your hiking/camping trips (if you’re into that). We’ll put our prepper glasses on and look at the products from a different angle.

Some of the questions we’ll address:

How is the choice of a sleeping pad for a bug out bag different?

How to plan for different scenarios and get the most versatile sleeping gear while “sacrificing” minimum space?

Choosing a sleeping pad for your bug out bag

OK, so every inch counts and every ounce counts. Let’s dig into our options and what to look for when choosing a sleeping pad.

There’s a lot of vague and confusing information out there, so we’ll debunk some myths along the way and try to make things as precise as possible without getting into the nitty-gritty.

Types of sleeping pads

There are two main types of sleeping pads. Well, three really, but one of those is a sub-type.

Anyway, you have your foam mats and inflatable pads (classic or self-inflating…more on the difference between the two in a minute).

Closed cell foam mats

Foam Mat

Foam Mat

The lightest and the cheapest option – these don’t inflate so you can’t puncture them, they’re practically indestructible.

The insulation offered in the better ones is pretty good, but on their own, they provide very little comfort (it’s a thin piece of foam after all).

Having said that, the mats make one hell of a combo with light pads and/or sleeping bags.

Main downsides:

  • There’s no air in it so you can’t deflate and pack it. You roll or fold it and strap it to the side or under your backpack.
  • Not comfortable on its own. If you’re sleeping outside, a foam mat alone will do very little for you.

Best use: Combined with a sleeping pad and/or bag.

Versatility comes in layers!

Foam Mat and Air Pad

Foam Mat and Air Pad

Air pads

These have come a long way from the inflatables you’d see on beaches, and that goes for all quality aspects that matter: materials, packing size, weight, size options…

Strip it off the fancy terms you’ll see in the company specs, and it’s still a piece of material, most of the time some sort of PVC with some plasticizers added to soften it and make it more comfortable.

It’s light and packs small (the best of these pack as small as a sneaker or a beer can).

Packed Air Pad

Packed Air Pad

Main issues: Fragile and easily punctured, so placing it directly on the ground is never a good idea. Because it’s only material and air, if it’s damaged beyond repair it becomes just a piece of plastic.

You inflate these manually (mouth-to-valve or by pressing an integrated pump).

Best use: Combined with a foam mat.

Self-inflating pads

It’s been over 4 decades since John Boroughs, an engineer who was let go from Boeing in the infamous layoffs of the early 70s, changed the landscape of the industry of air pads by introducing a self-inflating pad.

You might think these work much like a battery-operated air mattress but you’d be wrong.

The inside of these pads is filled with open-cell foam, which tends to return to its natural shape after being deformed. Plainly speaking – you push the air out as you fold the pad and the foam sucks it back in as you unfold it and open the valve.

Valve of a Self-Inflating Pad

Valve of a Self-Inflating Pad

Unlike with a classic air pad, if you puncture the material of a self-inflatable, you’re not left with a useless piece of plastic. Even if you can’t repair it, the foam itself offers some comfort and insulation.

Main downsides: Although the technology and the materials evolved, making these easier to pack and carry, there’s still foam inside and they don’t pack as small as a regular air pad.

Another thing worth mentioning is that, over-time, the open-cell foam loses some of its “rebounding” ability and the pad doesn’t inflate as well as it used to.

The enigma of the R-value

There’s way too much fuss about the R-value of a sleeping pad, so let us cut through the clutter of vague statements out there and make it really simple.

Let’s get to it…

The basics

R-value is a number that represents Thermal Resistance (hence the R). The higher the number, the more insulation your pad will offer.

Some of the info we’re about to present is approximative and is meant to be used as reference.

How R-value relates to temperatures

This is where the information gap is and where most people get confused.

Some brands do offer what they call temperature ratings, so we compared the relationship across a few dozen of brands and products to come up with the table below:

R-Value

R-Value

Can I compare R-values across brands?

Here’s a dirty little secret of the industry – R-value of a pad is a standard and it has a unique formula. However, there’s no standard when it comes to how it’s measured.

This means that comparing it across brands is, to put it mildly, imprecise and can only be used as a reference.

That’s why choosing a good brand of inflatables (both air mattresses and pads), and sticking with it, is a good idea.

How do I add up the values of two pieces of gear?

This is a crucial piece of information because it allows you to mix and match looking for the combo that covers most of your scenarios.

Adding up the R-value of two items is approximately linear, meaning that if you combine a foam mat with an R-value of 2.5 and a pad with an R-value of 3, the total R-value is close to 5.5.

We say “close” because there is some energy loss, but it’s nothing you should lose sleep over (pun intended).

This raises the question of…

How to combine the two pieces?

The short answer to this would be – aim for the most comfortable setting.

This shifts the focus from R-values to the thickness of the items. In plain terms, go with the thicker item on top.

Although it’s true that this setting is slightly less efficient in heat retention, it’s far superior in comfort and more than makes up for the small energy loss.

Bottom line – if you have two pads and you want to double-up, go with the thicker pad on top.

The sweet spot

The range between 3.5 and 4.5 is where you’ll find the most versatile pads.

These are the pads that you would call “four-season”, which means they cover most scenarios, especially combined with a foam mat.

If you go below 3, you are entering a zone of pads designed for warm climates and if you go above 5, the pads become too bulky and heavy for a backpack.

Weight and size of a pad

For the needs of a prepper, the pads designed to be ultra light and pack extra small are rarely a good choice.

Yes, you will save a couple of ounces in weight but you sacrifice too much of the pad’s versatility. The little weight and room you save rarely justifies it.

Rule of thumb – don’t go for anything that can’t comfortably fit your shoulders and the full length of your body.

Right Width and Length

Right Width and Length

Women and side-sleepers

A tapered or a “mummy” design (semi-rectangular, broader at the hips) is best-suited for women since they are, generally speaking, colder sleepers and require more insulation at the hips and feet.

The design also provides extra comfort for side-sleepers.

That pretty much covers all the main INs and OUTs of choosing a good mat, pad or a combo of the two for your BOB.

So, as we promised, let’s go over a few rules for choosing a good airbed.

Best air mattress for your shelter

Whether you have a spacious off-the-grid shelter or you need to set up one elsewhere, there are a number of realistic scenarios that will call for a sturdy and durable air bed:

  • If your shelter in tightly packed, the fact that you can pack up and store your bed during the day and set it up for the night is a substantial advantage
  • An air mattress can be sealed and kept at your shelter without bacteria or bed bugs spreading as opposed to a regular mattress that will sit there and collect dust
  • With most people being unprepared as they are, there’s a high chance you’ll have to accommodate a few extra souls when SHTF

So, whatever your given scenario, having a good air mattress on-hand is simply smart.

Now, let’s make sure that we know what to look for when choosing.

Cutting through the clutter of information

In a jungle of a market that we have today, the word “quality” is freely thrown around, which strips it of its very meaning.

If everything is “high-quality”, how can you tell the difference between brands and products just using the word and those genuinely superior?

You do it by educating yourself to look past the marketing blabber and into specifics that actually mean something.

Materials

Most of the airbeds are made of PVC and claims like “high-quality PVC” and “puncture-resistant” mean very little.

One of the crucial factors that determine the durability of the air mattress is the thickness of the PVC. So, instead of scanning through the specs filled with dazzling terms, look for actual information on the thickness of the material.

To be specific, don’t go for anything lower than 0.4 mm. Ideally, a thickness of 0.6 is right up our alley.

Structural design, air retention and chambers

Another crucial factor is the internal structure.

Let’s make it simple – the “internal structure” are the air cells of the mattress. The number and shape of these determine how well the weight is distributed across the sleeping surface.

This impacts the comfort and the durability.

Generally, the airbeds with a chambered-design beat the ones with end-to-end air beams.

Chambered Design of an Airbed

Chambered Design of an Airbed

Make it a rule to go with 30+ chambers and you’re set.

Fumes and safety

There’s a notion that, because of the PVC used, airbeds are somehow a health hazard.

It’s a remnant of days long gone.

Unless you are picking from the bottom of the barrel, modern airbeds have the lower fumes-involved (off-gassing) health risks than any other type of mattress.

Take a moment with the following graph:

Off-Gassing by Mattress Type

Off-Gassing by Mattress Type

Note: If safety and fumes are still a concern for you, you can always take the extra precaution of choosing an air mattress that’s phthalates and BP-free (those are the chemicals that created the concerns in the first place) or even go with an airbed that’s completely PVC-free (only textile used).

Pump

General rules of what makes a good pump in an air mattress are somewhat different for a prepper.

Besides choosing a pump that’s reliable and doesn’t leak air, a prepper has to think about possible power outages and choosing an airbed that features a pump that can be both battery and manually-operated.

Speed of the pump is only a secondary factor at best.

Know how to read user reviews of the air mattresses

So, you’ve got your eyes on a specific model, you go to one of the e-commerce websites that carries the beds and you read the raging reviews it’s getting.

Take your time and don’t jump to conclusions, the reviews can be deceiving.

Here are a few common “traps” and quick fixes:

  • Problem: The reviews might not be real. Not all the websites have a system in place that ensures that all reviews are from verified buyers.
  • Solution: Make the websites that have the verification system in place your go-to sources for user reviews.
  • Problem: The sample is not big enough. Think of it like this – even if the website has a system in place that verifies the reviews, a company that brings a new product to the market can easily organize buying 10 or 15 of it and leaving full 5-star reviews. This is an attempt to artificially push the air mattress towards the top-rated ones.
  • Solution: Make it a rule not to go with any product that has fewer than 50 reviews. These are the ones that stood the test of time.
  • Problem: The quality of the product has changed and the positive (or negative) reviews you are reading might not be relevant anymore.
  • Solution: Sort the review by “most recent” and analyze them starting from the top – these are the most relevant.

Wrapping it up

There’s an abundance of information out there on other basics, like water filtration systems, nutritional value of energy bars…but there seems to be a gap in addressing what simply has to be a part of any well-crafted preparedness plan – sleeping arrangements.

If this guide at least starts to bridge that gap, we’ll sleep tight tonight.

Stay safe, stay smart
James Menta
Editor-in-chief of 3beds.com

This is a guest post. 

TS

Blackout: Cripple A Nation!

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Bblackout

Preppers know that today’s civilization is too dependent on electricity.  Most can manage a power outage of a few hours or even one or two days.  And, if things become too inconvenient, those affected by the power outage can just get in their vehicle and drive to a part of the city or state that is not experiencing a power outage.

But what if a whole nation goes down?

That scenario usually comes up when you think of an earth directed solar flare or EMP.  Now, with cyber terrorism becoming a big possibility, many realize that our high-tech world can have some serious issues when an enemy wants to access our grid through an internet or network connection.

This was the topic of a NatGeo documentary called American Blackout.  You can read my review and watch it – click here.

But I didn’t realize that there was an English counterpart to American Blackout.  I mean English as in across the pond…  A friend of mine told me about the British documentary the other day.  It is called….wait for it…. Britain Blackout.

The documentary follows the same premise as  American Blackout, it just might be a little darker.  But as you can imagine, it comes with looting, rioting, people making bad decisions, blaming the government and even a “self-sufficient” guy.  ***Warning*** – There is a lot of bad language in the British version.

The lessons are always the same:

You need water!Store it! Have filters and ways to purify! Know how to use them!  For more info. on water, check out the water tag cloud on Prepper Website.

You need food! – Start with canned food for your pantry.  Then, go to longer term food storage.  Know how to cook without your microwave or electric stove!

Have backup power! – Having something like a Solar Charger Zzero small solar battery backup is smart. You can also go with a battery/solar powered radio.  You might want to even make your own battery backup system.  If you were to add a solar panel, you would be in good shape!  Check out the solar tag cloud on Prepper  Website.

Have redundancies and backups!  – Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.  One guy gets robbed and all his food is taken. He starts to make some bad choices after that.

Have a way to defend yourself! – Aren’t you glad you live in the USA?  Check out the firearms and defense tag cloud on Prepper Website – here, here and here.

Don’t panic and make good choices!  Repeat after me…  the government is not going to save you!  Check out the Situational Awareness and Gray Man tag cloud (and here) on Prepper  Website.

Check out Britain Blackout and tell me what you think below!

 

 

Peace,
Todd

Preparing for a Better Quality of Life: The Question

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items

As we continue to PREP AND WATCH what is happening around us, one topic that seems to always get my attention is the economy.  I know that many have been watching it too…and quite frankly, many are surprised that the PTB continue to find ways for the economy to limp along.

Eventually, things will have to come to some sort of reset.  If that means a complete crash which includes Mutant Zombie Biker Mice from Mars or just a hiccup as “they” force everyone to go to e-currency, who knows.  I’ll keep watching and prepping and paying attention as I live my life to the fullest.

That last statement leads me to ask the Prepper Website Community a question….

What tangible items do you invest in to help ensure a better quality of life?

The reason I ask this question is three fold…

  1. Keeping your money in the bank is kind of dangerous.  Surely you’ve read that banks are starting to talk about or even go to negative interest rates.  You also have the possibility of not being able to access your money if there was ever a bank run or limits were imposed to how much you could withdraw.  As a result, some advocate pulling your money out of your bank and leaving only what you need to pay bills, etc…
  2. Second, there has been a lot of talk that physical cash will be replaced with electronic currency.  If that happens, physical cash will be worthless.
  3. Third, if a crash happens and money is worthless (physical and e-currency), those who have tangible items that are desired or able to help with a better quality of life will be better off.

So, while you have access to all your money AND you can make all the decisions regarding your own money, what would you invest in to better your quality of life?  Guns, equipment of some type, tools, solar, livestock, land?????

I would like to compile a list for the Prepper Website Community of tangible items that are more than just items bought at the store because they might be considered a prep item, but instead, items that add to your overall quality of life.  For example, a few years back I added to my garden beds.  I looked at putting more garden beds in my backyard as an investment.

I’m asking those who have some good ideas to contribute using the form below.  Using this form helps me to sort through all the information in an easy manner.  I then will share the information with the Prepper Website Community.

You can share your answers below or visit this link – click here.

Loading…–TS

How to choose the best tactical boot for your bug out?

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Boot1

Take a good look at your feet right now…

Now imagine darting through metropolitan labyrinth followed by a slow, long hike to your bug out shelter. We’re talking urban concrete, rugged rocky terrains, rural flatlands, maybe a swamp…

A smart prepper is always ready for anything (man-made or natural) and if your current footwear isn’t up to the task you’ll be the maker of your own “Achilles heel”.

Furthermore, people keep focusing on their BOB way too much, forgetting that our main tool for facing (and surviving) calamities is our body, especially feet. To put it into perspective, a rolled ankle is a far more devastating obstacle in a bug out situation than not packing enough ammo.

So, before I start handing out some essential tactical footwear tips, let’s take a moment to deal with an intricate mechanism that is our foot.

What lies “under the hood”?

Our feet are a perplexing mechanism consisting of 100+ assorted muscles, 26 bones and 33 joints. They’re a very delicate piece of machinery that acts as a shock buffer for our body as well as a propulsion enabler.

That being said, getting the best tactical boots for complementing them rather than tying two bricks to your feet might include more pondering and research than you’ve bargained for.

Tactical boots are no stranger to civilian feet due to their protective properties and comfort. They’re optimally designed for fitting the needs of soldiers, hunters, hikers, and, of course, smart preppers.

So, let’s cut to the chase and see how to choose the best tactical boots for a “bulletproof” bug out plan. You want a head start when things like “fair fight” jump out the window, right?

Different kinds of tactical boots

The first, pre-enumerating tip is, “Don’t confuse fancy parade tactical boot and “real” tactical boot made for the situation of war”.

The latter will help you hit the ground running “when it all hits the fan”, the former will just look festive and leave you twiddling your thumbs while an earthquake is tearing through your neighborhood. Enough said.

Before we move on to talk about the types of tactical boots for you to choose from depending on your potential scenarios, let’s make sure we know the basic terms I’ll be using – the “anatomy” of a hiking boot.

Image 1 - boot anatomyNow that we armed with the basic, let’s get to the “meat” of the article – types of tactical boots and how to choose the best for your needs.

Jump boots

They first appeared in the 1940s as a part of standard parachute unit’s outfit.

They’re officially known as “paratrooper boots”, and feature reinforced ankles for injury-prevention alongside tall shanks reaching the calf. Depending on the size, they have 11-13 eyelets followed by heels optimized for airborne units and rubber soles.

Modern versions also feature toe caps for extra protection. You might know them as “Corcorans” after the company first contracted to make them.

So, if your survival scenario involves a lot of jumping over nasty terrain (maybe even a parachute jump), these are your “weapon” of choice.

Tanker boots

They were conceived after the establishment of US Tank Corps by (back then) Captain George S. Patton Jr. as a standard issue for members of the tank crew.

Their biggest advantage is using leather straps for fastening to the feet of the wearer, rather than ordinary laces. This nullified the potential danger of laces coming undone and then tangling in the many moving, exposed parts of the tank.

So, if you’re navigating a forest-filled area with branches and tree-roots impeding your every step, need I say more?

With tanker boots, canvas or nylon panels were never an option, simply because canvas and nylon are flammable, and that’s the last thing you’d want while trapped in a metal box. So, if extreme heat is a potential scenario in your bug out, these might be your best bet.

Furthermore, they’re all-leather, so in case of a toxic spill, they won’t absorb toxic chemicals and expose your feet.

The tongue is gusseted (sewn to the boot preventing debris from getting in). They also feature steel toe guards, plastic or steel guards (both in the heel and shank) and protective metal insets. As a result, sharp rocks won’t pierce/slice through your boot.

Extreme weather-“friendly” tactical boots

For a good prepper, war is a state of mind even before it gets real. Against nature, other people, the government, economy, odds…

War in the more conventional context, however, is all about location, and it doesn’t always choose the most hospitable ones.

That’s why combat boots for extreme weather circumstances merit a mention. Here are the most commonly used types:

Jungle boots – These tactical boots predate WW2 since they saw the light of day when a small band of Panama-stationed US soldiers was issued a canvas-upper, rubber-soled boot for testing purposes.

They weigh around 3 pounds and weren’t envisioned as boots for preventing water from coming in, but allowing for optimal drainage while keeping sand, mud and insects out.

Ventilating woven mesh insoles were later added for trapping air and “forcing” it to circulate within the boot by the very act of taking a step. The eyelets serve for both water-drainage and extra breathability.

They can also be used in cold weather since breathable insoles will insulate your feet from the ground. Soldiers used them successfully in Venezuela, Panama and many other countries (it was reported they also reduce the outburst of tropical ulcers and blisters).

Jungle boots witnessed the battlefields of WW2, First Indochina War, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, so if you’re up against a jungle-like terrain and climate, these are the best boots to increase your chances of survival.

Combat boots for high temperatures (Desert boots)

The story of desert combat boots in the US begins with CENTCOM’s Commander Norman Schwarzkopf.

He added the following features to the original design from Saudi Arabia:

• A tan rough suede with nylon laces and siding
• 10 Speed-lace eyelets to enable faster tying
• Utilization of Panama-sole pattern of threads
• Steel protection plates were eliminated (these tend to retain heat)
• Drainage vents were also eliminated for preventing sand getting inside the boot

For US forces, these were a staple for battlefields such as Iraq or Afghanistan. They require far less maintenance than regular all-black tactical boots and will provide a comfortable mobility in high-temperature areas.

So, if you’re facing the ugly beast that is a bug out situation in dry, warm, or desert-filled areas, these boots are your ticket out.

Waterproof cold weather tactical boots

Inclement weather can affect the overall performance of your feet in more ways than one, all of them negative. The proper approach is a pair of insulated combat boots.

Their main difference compared to regular weather boots is a layer of GoreTex added. GTX is a special fabric that’s Teflon-coated, yet with millions of microscopic pores for air-exchange.

The main caveat here is getting the right pair for the job, meaning you can get a pair that’s simply waterproof, one that’s optimized for colder climates as well, or one that’s intended for ubercold weather (we’re talking down to -20 degrees F here).

You and you alone know what awaits in YOUR fight ahead, so these will be a perfect choice if the disaster scenario finds you in a rainy, cold or my-good-is-it-cold climate.

Nothing is set in stone – a tight fit in particular

Let me just rattle a few cages here: TIGHT FIT ISN’T ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE!

Our feet swell up during the day, which is a perfectly normal occurrence. So, a pair of combat boots that was a tight fit in the morning becomes an absolute terror as the day progresses.

Just imagine trying to tug your BOB through a painful terrain (or ANY terrain) with your toes slowly becoming increasingly compressed as you go. Not a very good survival recipe from where I stand.

I made the same misstep once trying to hike the Angel Rock – Chena River trail and ended up regretting the day I was born. My main point is, do your combat boots shopping in the late afternoon and you’ll be comfortable from the get go.

Here are some other essentials regarding trying your new boots for size:

• Wear your favorite type of socks while you try them on. Their thickness can affect the overall fit like you wouldn’t believe
• See if the insole matches your foot once you’ve taken it out. It should fit your foot in both size and ergonomics
• The feeling your boots provide should be snug, not tight. Try walking around a bit and see if they rub some of the pressure points the wrong way. Take a look at the image below as a reference for pressure points
• Before lacing the boots, there should be enough room behind your heel to fit your index finger
• During the lacing, you should feel your heel slowly being pushed backwards, filling that gap
• There should be extra room in the front, so your toes don’t touch it
• When you’re all laced-up, your heel and the boot should move as one. Any rubbing in that area will bring on a blister-bonanza

Image 2 - pressure_points

I hope I’m crazy, but what if I’m not?

I’ll illustrate my thoughts on preparedness with a single quote from Abraham Lincoln: “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening the axe”.

Preparedness for as many disastrous scenarios possible is the key of smart prepping way. A right choice of footwear can make or break your success chances should any calamity strike, so spare no expense (money and time-wise) to turn the tables in your favor.

In a word, don’t wait for the rain to start building your ark.

I hope we never have to put this information to the ultimate test, but we’ll certainly have much better odds of survival should such times arrive.

Stay safe.
James Menta @ SoleLabz.com

This is a guest post.
TS

SHEEP for the End of the World?!? If You Want to Thrive!

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IMG_6429_picmonkeyed

Are you ready? We live in a challenging time. Many people feel uneasy. Many realize we are one Chinese hack away from an electrical grid shut-down or a stock market melt-down. Some are preparing. Putting away food, seeds, etc. But if you have to provide your own food for a prolonged period, veggies get old and remember vitamins may not be available to supplement an all vegetarian diet. You need a self replicating meat production unit. What is that? It is more commonly known as a sheep, but that is the short answer. Please read on to gain an important understanding of why I am telling you about this at all.

If you live in a city none of this applies to you. If you have been able to get a bit of land, even as little as two acres, you might be able to use this information. I have kept sheep for many years, but not just any sheep. My wife and I have raised Gulf Coast Native sheep for the last twelve years. It is because of my experience with this breed that I believe we have something to offer anyone thinking of preparing for difficult times. Let me explain first about why sheep fit the bill for potential survival scenarios and then why Gulf Coast may be your best option if you decide to get some sheep.

The most important item to consider to start with is this: what will my animals eat? Many people like pork, but pigs eat grain. Grain may not be easily obtained, might be expensive if available and might be better used for feeding people directly. If you have lots of oak trees available, then pigs will grow well on acorns, but we don’t all have the trees. Most people with some land will have grass and/or brush. Here is where ruminants come into their own. With their four stomachs they are quite capable of turning that roughage into meat, milk and/or fiber.

You might be thinking “Well, a cow is a ruminant, I can get one of those.” Yes, that is possible, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Cows are big! If you have a good amount of land, sturdy equipment to handle them and a bit of experience then they can be a good choice. I also have cattle. When you slaughter an animal that size, it can have a serious impact. You will have to kill it, hang it, skin it, gut it and cut it into parts. Then you will have entrails to dispose of, a hide to tan, and a carcass weighing 500-700 pounds. If you have a lot of friends you can have a great party. If it is only for your family, you will have to freeze, salt, dry, and/or can the meat to preserve it for future use. That sounds like quite a bit of work doesn’t it? Now think about doing the above with an animal only 10% that size. I think you would agree that that sounds much more manageable. Throughout the world small ruminants predominate for this very reason. Without the industrial infrastructure to support large scale cattle production and processing most people gravitate to the more practical sheep and goats.

Another consideration is that a piece of land that can support one cow might support ten sheep or goats. What happens if your one cow dies prematurely from disease or accident? You see where I am coming from don’t you? In survival situations you don’t want all your eggs in one basket.

Now that you see that sheep can be a very good choice especially for the small acreage and/or less experienced individuals, I would like to sing the praises of the Gulf Coast Native sheep and why they are the best choice for tough times. First a little history.

The Gulf Coast breed, along with the Navajo Churro, are descended from sheep brought to the new world by the Spanish. They are the oldest breeds of sheep in the US. The Churro is adapted to the Southwest, while the Gulf Coast is adapted to the Southeast. Many centuries of benign neglect (natural selection) produced an animal that is tough, heat tolerant, a good browser, resistant to foot rot and most importantly parasite resistant. The Gulf Coast is a small breed, but that is a positive for heat adaptation. They will produce excellent meat, wool and milk. Unlike many breeds of sheep, they will produce and survive in tough conditions when grain is not available and chemical wormers are not to be found. Prior to the advent of chemical wormers massive flocks of Gulf Coast could be found in the South. Once these wormers became available, larger more modern breeds took their place. They are now an endangered breed. Of course, if you don’t live in the south east, you can still benefit from keeping this breed. There are Gulf Coast Sheep in many parts of the country and they thrive in these ‘easier’ climates as well.

On our farm, we have worked to increase the body size and improve the wool quality and temperament of our animals. We have also worked to maintain the traits that have made this a breed of survivors. We do not routinely worm adult sheep; however, if an animal has another problem, we may worm because of accompanying immuno-suppression. Since we utilize management intensive grazing, we actually increase exposure of our sheep to parasites compared to the conditions that prevailed when they were extensively grazed in the piney woods. We have also had success upgrading the hardiness and parasite resistance of other sheep breeds through cross breeding.

The meat quality of our animals is exceptional. When Americans tell me that ours is the best lamb they have ever had, I thank them, but it doesn’t mean much since most Americans only eat lamb occasionally. When our European and Middle-eastern clients tell me the same thing I know that our lamb is something special.

Our wool has improved in quantity and quality each year until we are now consistently producing a very fine fleece with good staple length. This is a very nice hand spinning wool that could be useful if you are forced to make your own clothing.

IMG_6432

We do not milk our sheep, but the breed is being used for that purpose by others. Gulf Coast do milk longer than most non-dairy breeds but the greatest drawback is that they have a more flighty temperament. Through selection over the years, our animals have calmed considerably and I believe could be used for milk production if one wanted to pursue that use.

When times are tough only the tough survive. These sheep are tough and they will survive. If you see livestock as part of your survival plan they may be just what you need. But act soon as the time may be short to make arrangements for you and your family.

If you have questions or are interested in purchasing sheep, my wife Dr. Jan Southers or I will be happy to help. We are:

Hope Springs Farm, Colbert, GA 30628 phone: 706-788-2071 cell: 706-248-1740

There is also the Gulf Coast Breeders Association, 947 County Road 302, Sandia, TX 78383

By C.L. Kitttell, DVM

Connect with Hope Springs:  Website • Facebook

 

Prepping for Church?!?

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When you go to church, are you on automatic pilot?  Going to church is the culmination of 6 other days in the presence of God.  It is a time to corporately worship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.  Maybe, we should put a little thought and purposefulness in attending church.  I discuss this in the following video.

 

It’s Getting Crazy Out There – Don’t Be Distracted! An Open Letter to Family & Friends

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Open Letter1

I first penned this letter in December 2011.  Back then, I was very concerned about our world and the direction that I saw it going.  The signs have been there for a while.  For those paying attention, looking, researching and reading, you could easily find a myriad of problems that point to how fragile our world, country, state… is.  But now, the problems are glaring and in your face!  You really have to be Mary Poppins to think there isn’t “something” wrong!

From our economy, to terrorism, to natural disasters, to deadly viruses, crime and more, you can easily find reasons to be concerned for yourself and your family!

The thing is, many of the problems that can arise because of these issues can be mitigated if you just put a little effort into being prepared.  Many of you won’t though because you are too distracted with “living the dream” and having fun or you just are irresponsible!  Responsibility is a problem in today’s world!  We all want the government or some other entity to come through for us!  And what if they don’t?  Are you willing to have your family staring you in the face, wanting to know what to do because they are in a desperate situation that could have been avoided or not as bad because you weren’t man enough to make some decisions and get off your butt!

People always ask, what if I prepare and nothing happens?  Well I say, that is good!  You don’t really want anything to happen!  You don’t want terrorist to hack the electric grid and be without power for however long!  You don’t want the economy to tank and possibly lose your job!  You don’t want the drought in California to effect the food supply so much that you forgo buying fruit because it is too expensive!  You don’t want any of that stuff to happen!  But if it does….you wan to be ready!

Being prepared doesn’t mean you go buy a lot of camo, guns and go out into the woods.  Being prepared or living a prepared lifestyle just means you live responsibility by planning, thinking ahead and putting some things back for a rainy day!  There are so many aspects to it and each family is going to be different!  But failing to plan and prepare is setting your family up to fail!

You will tell that my letter below is a lot “softer” than what I’ve written above!  Back then, I didn’t want to freak people out.  I wanted them to think critically!  But now, I think people need a wake-up call!

After you read the letter below, I would be happy to answer any questions or point you to resources that can explain your question in better detail!

Peace,
Todd
July 2015

An Open Letter to Family & Friends

 

I’m writing this letter because I care about you.  Please take a few minutes to read it and think about what I’m saying.

Why the Letter?

Our lives are crazy.  We take care of our family, work, eat, play chauffeur, pay the bills, etc.  When we have a little bit of free time, we like to just veg in front of the TV and watch some brain numbing pictures flicker across the screen.  We can go at it like this for days, weeks and even months, not knowing what is going on in the world outside our local community and just get by with the talk around the water cooler.

And when we take life in these little chunks, separate blocks of our time and attention, it seems a little bit more manageable.  We move from one task, event, errand, chore to the other.

The problem is when we look at our lives from a big picture perspective.  What if our lives, all of the sudden changed?  What if the stress of the day came bearing down at you all at once?  How could this happen?  This can easily happen during an emergency.  I’m not talking about your son just stuffed his GI Joe down the toilet, or the dog is out of food emergency.  I’m talking about the BIG stuff.

The Big Emergency

The BIG emergency is the one that stops you in your tracks.  It can be personal, based in your local community or worldwide.  But it is the one that everything else stops and all resources and energy are put towards it.

The problem is that most people are not prepared for the BIG one.

Prepared?

Are you and your family most people?  Do you have an emergency fund for financial emergencies?  Do you have insurance for medical emergencies?  Do you have food and water if there is a food supply/transportation emergency?  Do you have other means of cooking and preparing your food if utilities weren’t available?  Do you have first aid supplies and extra medicine on hand?  Do you have basic skills that could help you: fire starting, water purification, gardening, first aid, etc.?

This is the whole reason for my letter.  I want to help you see the importance of being prepared and to start being more self-reliant.  It’s not too hard, but it does take time, planning and effort.  But then again, what would the time, planning and effort that you put in ahead of time be worth in the middle of an emergency?  You’ll be glad you did!

Action Steps

  1. Make a planWhat are you preparing for?  What needs to be done?  Don’t look at the magnitude of the plan, that can be overwhelming. Take it in chunks.  In reality, you will never be “prepared.”  You can be “not prepared” or “overly prepared,” but never “perfectly prepared.”  Consider the basics: financial, medical, etc…but also keep in mind your region of the country; hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, etc…

 

  1. Set goals– When do you want _____ accomplished?
    1. Get a 3 day supply of food.  Then move to a 3 week supply.
    2. Revisit insurance: house, vehicle, medical, life, etc…
    3. Think about home and personal security.
    4. Start an emergency fund – 3-6 months of expenses
    5. Start a garden
    6. Take a class: first-aid, sewing, gardening, firearm, wilderness survival
    7. Watch some videos on Youtube (search preparedness)
    8. Read blogs and articles on “preparedness” and “prepping

 

  1.  Get active – go meet your goals!

 

Warning

The world of preparedness/prepping can be an addictive one.  It can suck you in, mess with your emotions and get you seeing the world in the fragile states that it is in.  It is always best to approach preparedness within community.  You should go it alone only if no one else is willing.  Eventually, they will realize that you were right, even if that is in the midst of a storm.

Fragile

It is not in the scope of this letter to discuss all the possible emergency scenarios that you should prepare for.  But outside of regional, natural disasters, it is important to me to briefly mention our global situation.  Things outside our local community have gone from bad to worse!  At first, we might not care about what is going on in some Asian or European country, but the fact is that we are ALL tied into each other now.  What happens over there, affects us over here.

There are many “End of the World as We Know It” type scenarios out there.  One such scenario is an economic collapse.  Someone recently replied to me and said, “Yes, times can get hard, but we have been through it before during the Great Depression.”  The fact is that it is way different this time.  Our country didn’t have the debt that we have now.  And, if for some reason the world loses faith in our government’s ability to pay its debts, we are up the creek.  It really isn’t too far-fetched to imagine this happening if you’ll look into it.  The concern has gone beyond the foil hat people.  Just research it!

Do Something

Please take this letter seriously.  If you prepare and don’t need it, the worst is that you have some food (food costs are going up/buy now at cheaper prices) and other supplies.  But if you ever find you are in a position that you do need it, you and your loved ones will be glad you were prepared!

The UBER Guide to DIY Food Storage with Mylar Bags, O2 Absorbers and Buckets!

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Uber Guide to Food Storage

We all NEED food!  In any real disruption, whether that be short or long term, people realize that they need or will need food.  If you doubt, or need a reminder, just think back to pictures of grocery store shelves during winter storms or hurricanes.  The problem with “ordinary” people (or maybe we should call them irresponsible), is that they wait till the disruption is right at their doorstep!

I knew when I started in preparedness that I didn’t want to be irresponsible.  I have a family and I wanted to make sure that their needs are met if I can help it.  So to me, as a father and husband, it is a no brainer to have long term food storage!

My good friend Gaye Levy of Backdoor Survival says it well in her book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage

When most people start thinking about preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.

 

What type of food should you buy, where should you buy it, and how should you store it? You are going to learn that acquiring food for the preparedness pantry does not have to be overwhelming. Furthermore, long-term emergency food storage is something you can do over the course of a week, a month, or even longer, if that is what it takes.

 

Perhaps even more important, when you have filled your storage pantry, you will be secure in the knowledge that if a disaster strikes, you will have plenty of food to feed your family, along with a few treats and surprises along the way.

 

My Long Term Food Storage Dilemma

 

After doing my due diligence and researching long term food storage, I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase those big pallets of food for my whole family.  It would have been nice and easy to place an order online and then just park all that food in a room, but it wasn’t happening for my budget, and I bet it isn’t happening for your own budget either.

There is also the issue with what your family will eat.  Many of those long term food packs come with food that your family might not like and won’t eat.  Yeah, I know.  In an emergency, if they were starving, they would eat it.  But still…why push it.

I knew I wanted to store long term food for my family, the issue was how and how much.  It wasn’t long that I found that you could store food long term in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside of plastic 5 gallon buckets.

Side Note: Now, I will tell you here that I think the easiest form of food storage is buying canned foods at your local grocery store.  You can easily create a 30 day menu by using cans.  I wrote the article, Anyone Can Do It – Fool Proof Food Storage, which provides information to an old Y2K website with a ton of recipes…no guessing!  Below that article, you will find a ton of links to other types of food storage from many of my friends who also blog about preparedness.  BUT – canned foods aren’t meant to last for the “LONG TERM.”

The only thing that worried me about making my own long term food storage buckets was ME!  At that time, there wasn’t as much information about making your own food storage buckets like now!  What if I screwed something up and the food that my family depended on went bad and we were caught without any food during a long term crisis?  It’s kind of scary if you think about it, but you have to GET OVER IT!

Making your own long term food storage buckets is very easy.  I’m going to list out the steps in a 1,2,3 format.  But if you need more encouragement, I’m going to include so many links after my steps that you are going to OD on information and feel like a long term food storage expert!

 

Steps to Making Your Own Long Term Food Storage Buckets

 

1.  Acquire Your Supplies. 

You will need mylar bags, O2 absorbers, 5 gallon buckets w/ lids, a mallet, a pail or bucket opener, an iron, a 2×4 board and the food you want to store.

Mylar Bags – Here you have a few options.  You can go with big 5 gallon bag sizes or you can go with 1 gallon bag sizes and place 4-5 in each 5 gallon bucket.  You really want to purchase mylar bags that have a decent thickness.  I usually get 4mil thick bags from Amazon.

I have a big family, with big boys.  I chose to use the big 5 gallon size bags.  I figure that we are going to eat!  If you are putting together buckets for just two people, you might want to use the 1 gallon size bags and place various types of food in one bucket.

O2 Absorbers – O2 absorbers will absorb the oxygen that you can’t push out of the mylar bag.  Various sizes of bags require various cc’s of oxygen absorbers.

To take the guess work out of it though, you can purchase packs of mylar bags with O2 absorbers.  Like I said, I purchase them from Amazon already put together.

5 gallon buckets – You don’t really NEED buckets, but you should use them!  The buckets are  there to protect the mylar bags from being punctured by accident or by little fury critters.  They will also serve as an easy place to store your food when you open up your mylar bags.  I purchase the orange buckets from Home Depot.  I purchase the lids there too.  Home Depot has also started selling gamma lids, lids that easily screw off.  But you can also purchase them on Amazon.

Mallet – You will need this to hammer down the lids on the buckets after you finish sealing your bags.

Bucket/Pail Opener – This isn’t necessary, but will save your nails and fingers when you try to open your buckets.  They are cheap and you will be glad you have one.  You can purchase them on Amazon too.

Food – If you are doing this on the cheap, you probably want to stick with white rice, beans and pasta.  All of these foods will last for a very long time.  This will get you started, but you might want to add more.  Like for example, you might want to store sugar.  You can put that in a mylar bag, but don’t include an O2 absorber.  It will turn your sugar into a hard block.  For other examples of foods that you can store, see the links below.

Iron and 2×4 board – When you get ready to seal your mylar bags, you will place the top of the bag on the board and then iron over it.  I used an old iron we didn’t throw out and I had a 2×4 just laying around in the garage.

2.Fill Up the Bags

First thing – Do not open the package that the O2 absorbers come in until you are ready to start sealing your mylar bags!  Once you open the O2 package, the absorbers start working.  You want to wait until you are really ready.

Setup your buckets in a line or in a work area that will allow you to move easily.  Turn on your iron, connect with an extension cord if it makes it easier, and set it on high.

Place your mylar bags inside the buckets and pour your food inside. You might want to go ahead and label your lids with a Sharpie and place it under the buckets of food so you don’t forget what is inside each bucket…in case you are the forgetful type! 😉  Make sure you leave some space at the top of the bag so it can seal easily.

Shake the buckets to make sure you don’t have any air pockets.  Once all your food is in mylar bags, inside of the buckets, open up your O2 absorbers and drop the appropriate size of O2 absorber inside each bucket.

Grab the 2×4 board, lay it across a portion of the mylar bag, at the top, and run the iron over it.  You don’t have to hold it over too long.  You will see it seal. (see the Yeager vid below)  Again, this is easier than it might sound.  You want to leave a portion of the bag unsealed, like at the end.  The reason is that you want to push out as much air as possible.  I have heard that you can get a long tube/straw and place it on one side of the mylar bag to help get the last bit of air out.

After you are comfortable with pushing as much air out of the bags that you can get, then completely seal the bag.  You might want to make a diagonal seal at the end of the bag to close it off.  (The first tutorial link I link to below will show you what I mean)

At this point, you can wait till the next day to make sure that the bags sealed before you hammer on the lid.  You will notice that the bags will become “tight” and firm as the O2 is absorbed.

Any O2 absorbers that you have left can go into a mason jar.  I don’t really know how long this would work because I have always used all of mine!

3. After you are comfortable with your sealed bags, you can place the lid on them and use the mallet to set the lids in place.  You will notice that the lids from Home Depot have a rubber seal around the bottom.  This makes for a very tight seal.

4.  Your buckets should already be labeled, so just find a cool, dark place to store them, like in a closet or an unused room.  Your buckets should last for many, many, years.

The above list of steps is what I did to make my long term food storage buckets.  It is very easy to do.  However, I know that I wanted to see pics and video.  Again, you want to feel comfortable that you did everything correctly, your family is depending on you!

Below you will find some of the best tutorials and links that you will want to read/watch to help you feel more comfortable.  All of these articles were linked on Prepper Website, so you know they are good! :-)

Search Amazon for Great Deals on Purchasing Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers!

 

DIY Long Term Food Storage Tutorials

How to Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-gallon bucket (Modern Survival Blog) – This tutorial has the pic of using the diagonal seal I spoke about above.

Supersizing Food Storage with BUCKETS  (Prepared Housewives) – Good info. with a lot of pics!

VID: Long Term Food Storage (Survive2Day) – If you are looking for a video to walk you through the process, you might want to watch this one!

VID: Beginners Guide to Food Storage (James Yeager) – Yes, that James Yeager, often does videos on preparedness.  He walks through putting together food buckets in this video along with other food storage basics!

How to Seal Food in Mylar Bags (Backdoor Survival) – Good tutorial with a lot of pics!

Sealing Food in Five Gallon Buckets is an Important Skill for Preppers (Preparedness Advice Blog)

VID: Long Term Food Storage: Dry Pasta in Mylar Bags (The Modern Survivalist) – This is a short video where Ferfal uses a hair straightener to seal a small mylar package.

Food Storage: Packing pails for long term storage ( Candian Preppers Network)

 

Tips & Tricks You Want to Know About Your DIY Long Term Food Buckets

 

Food Storage Demystified – (Ready Nutrition) – Lots of great tips to help you understand more about your food buckets!

Food Grade Buckets – (5 Gallon Ideas) – Understand the difference between food grade and non-food grade buckets!

Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Food Storage (Modern Survival Blog)

FREE – Food Storage Inventory Spreadsheets You Can Download For Free (Prepared Housewives) – Who doesn’t like FREE stuff?

A Food Storage Tip When Using Mylar Bags (Ed that Matters) – A great tip for storing rice and beans together in the same 5 gallon bucket!

Survival Basics: Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage (Backdoor Survival) – Some great tips!

Guide to Long Term Food Storage (The Daily Prep) – A graphic resource with links to specific topics and questions you might have.

The 15 Commandments of Food Storage (Survival Mom) – Just good info.

How Many Buckets of Freedom Do You Have? (The Organic Prepper) – Some thoughts on why it is important to have buckets of food!

Food Storage (Peak Prosperity) – There is a ton of info. here regarding food storage of all types.  I’m including it because it does discuss long term food buckets.

8 Tips For Storing Food in Mylar Bags  (Food Storage & Survival) – Great tips!

How Much Food Will Fit in a 5 Gallon Bucket? (Preparedness Advice Blog) – Good info.

12 Staples of Long Term Food Storage (US Prepper’s) – A good list of food to have.

 

3 Great Resources

 

The Prepper’s Cookbook (Tess Pennington) – This book is one of the best when it comes to cooking with your food storage.  The book contains a ton of recipes, charts, how-to store food for long term food storage (various ways), food calculator and more!  Read the review hereThe book has 4.5 stars and 209 reviews on Amazon.  It is definitely one you want in your preparedness library!

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage (Gaye Levy) – This ebook is concise and packs a powerful punch.  You can read my review here.  The book has 4 stars and 33 reviews on Amazon.  You can often find it for $.99!

The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget (Daisy Luther) – I haven’t done a book review on this book.  But knowing Daisy and reading all the articles that she puts out on her website, I know it is going to be good.  The book covers building your pantry, cutting costs, storing food and also contains recipes.

 

Spices & Herbs?

 

I’m sure that your family will be very appreciative of all your efforts to provide food for extended emergencies.  However, with all the bulk food that you store, you might find that eating becomes boring.  Since food is so important to us, why not prepare a little bit more to have “good food” that your family would eat.

One thing that you will want to do is to store spices and herbs to make your food storage have various tastes.  Spices, seasonings and herbs usually store very well.  You might also want to grow your own herbs.  Having fresh herbs is easy, frugal and can be done in your big garden or even in containers.  Below you will find some good articles to reference.

Long Term Storage for Spices (Florida Hillbilly)

Food Storage: Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage (Self-Reliant School)

The Spice of Life (Paratus Familia Blog)

Food Storage, Bulk Spices, And My Must Haves (New Life on a Homestead)

10 Spice Blend Recipes (The Mountain Rose Blog)

Drying Herbs? Here’s what you do with them next (I Am Liberty)

How Do I Store That? Dried Herbs (Preparedness Mama)

Herb Gardening Basics (Simply Living Simply)

 

Closing

 

Food storage makes sense!  You know it does or you wouldn’t have read this article.  If you are looking for other ways to store food, including more tips, tricks and cooking ideas, take a look at the “Food Storage” tag on Prepper Website.  There you will find pages and pages of great food storage articles.  Just a note – at the bottom of each tag page, there is a link to take you to the next page!

Do you have a favorite food storage article or tip?  Link it below in the comments!

Peace,
Todd

Search Amazon for Great Deals on Purchasing Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers!

Simplifying Life, Making Changes to Websites and 5 Small Pieces of Advice!

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I really debated about putting this out there. I usually don’t read posts about what changes people are making to their websites or what they are up to or stuff like that. But, I am making some changes, not only to the PW family of websites, but I’m preparing for some changes in life.

So, I will try to incorporate some of that in here to maybe help others, get some advice and even ask for your prayers.

Let me start with what I’m doing first…

I don’t plan on publishing another edition of The Preparedness Review. I sent an email to everyone on the list and then deleted the list. More about why I deleted the list in a moment. I plan on keeping the domain name and pointing it to a page on Prepper Website. I’ll also host the past reviews on Dropbox and not where I currently have them. Part of what I’m doing is cutting costs. There were a lot of great articles included in past TPR editions, so I hope that they will continue to be downloaded and help those starting out in preparedness.

I’m not renewing Prepper Small Biz either. I think it was a good idea, but one that didn’t really take off. I monitor it, update software and plugins, and pay for hosting. It’s just another thing to look after.

One website that I’m a little disappointed that didn’t take off is Your Preparedness Story. Knowing that social media sites like Facebook censors so many people, I wanted to offer a website that would allow the Preparedness community the opportunity to post their own stories and articles. The website pretty much runs itself. Anyone can go there, post their article, include pics, etc… and get it posted. I even created a how to video to show others how to add their content if they weren’t familiar with WordPress.

Now, there are some good articles over there. I posted many for others when they would send them to me since they couldn’t figure it out. So, I plan on moving them to Ed that Matters before the hosting expires. I put a lot of work into this one, finding the plugins that would allow others to post automatically, but it is….another thing.

I’m not sure about One Awesome Article yet. The main purpose of the site was to link to one survival article daily. Posting articles on One Awesome Article , I believe is a double blessing. On one hand, people who own prepper websites get traffic on an old article that has great information for others. On the other hand, readers get to read a great article that they wouldn’t have normally found. Like the other sites, It’s another thing. I’m not sure if I will continue it. Time will tell.

I definitely plan on keeping Prepper Website. This original idea I had for a website has been a true blessing. I will also keep Ed that Matters since I use this as my personal blog. Top Prepper Websites and Totally Homestead are two websites that kind of run themselves except for the times I have to delete someone for breaking rules.. Although I pay for hosting, I will continue on with these. I will also continue to post at Prepper Church. Prepper Church fills the need to share my faith with the Preparedness Community. Over the years, I have heard from more people of faith in preparedness than most would realize. There are many Christians out there who are going to churches that don’t understand and support preparedness. I hope that Prepper Church can continue to be a blessing.

One thing that I am cutting off like a dead limb are email lists. Like I said before, I deleted The Preparedness Review list. That list was big! I also plan on deleting the One Awesome Article email list.

Although this is counter to many “website guru’s” philosophies, I don’t want to do what they suggest to make the return on investment worth it! The current trend is to acquire email lists and then promote products and events to the list to get sales. Some do it very successfully, but I just don’t feel right about bombarding my readers like that! So, I’ve only done it a few times and I felt like a high pressure salesman!  I’m not saying that I won’t ever promote a special offer that I believe in, but this will be the exception!

If someone wants to support the work that I’m doing, they can always buy from Amazon using links on the various websites or even click on the advertisers that purchase space on Prepper Website….I have tried to not ever allow advertising from those “37 foods that ….” type of websites that try to get you to listen to an infomercial. All of the advertisers are legit. I have turned many away who gave me pause.

By the way, I will keep the daily email list for Prepper Website. But I recently purged many on the list who hadn’t opened an email in a while! So, if you are not receiving the email any longer, or would like to sign up, click here.

So Why are You Doing All of This Todd?

One reason I’m doing all of this is to just simplify my life. I often think about the Ted Talk I posted on this article. I mean, what is REALLY important for a good life? What is truly valuable? Why do we gather/need so much “stuff?” People for centuries were content with the basics of life and well, they died and their stuff doesn’t matter. Guess what, if Jesus tarries, the same will happen to us. All of our “stuff” won’t matter anymore. It will just be junk that someone we leave behind has to deal with.

Another big reason why I’m making some changes is because I feel some changes are coming to my life. I don’t know what, I don’t know when, but I know that there are some changes in store for me and my family. When the changes come, I want to be ready and not have to worry about a bunch of other things that need my time.

Some Advice and Thoughts

You might have some of the same thoughts and ideas about simplifying your life as I have stated above. If so, here are some thoughts that you might want to consider. I’m not a “change” guru or anything, but hopefully you will find these helpful or at least worthy of reflection. If you have any advice to share with others, please feel free to leave it in the comment section below.

  • Get Out of Debt – When you are not tied to bills and debt, you are a lot more free to make changes and simplify your life. Many American’s are going to find themselves in hard economic times real soon. It is best to be as debt free as possible.
  • Purge Stuff – As preppers, we like to stock food, supplies and stuff! There is nothing wrong with that! But there are other things in your house/garage/office that are just cluttering up your surroundings. It might be a good idea to hold a garage sale or give some stuff away. Do you really need it? Someone once said that if you haven’t touched an item in a year, you don’t really need it.
  • Evaluate What Really Matters – You’ve heard the Scripture, “Better to lose the whole world than to lose your soul.” That is so true. But what about losing your family, your health, your sanity? Can you let go of everything else that doesn’t really matter? In the grand scheme of things, what will happen if you didn’t control or influence THAT thing?
  • Explore the Possibilities – There might be some things you have always wanted to try but haven’t, because, life happened. Kids were born, you didn’t have the money or you just forgot until recently. Explore the possibilities of a new skill, a class you want to take, a place you want to visit, a person you want to meet.
  • Seek Advice – Big decisions and life changes shouldn’t be made without seeking some good counsel and advice. In my case, I pray and seek God. If you are not a believer, you might do a pro and con list or talk to an expert or someone older. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

Well, like I said earlier, I would welcome any advice anyone can share with others down below. If you are the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers for direction. I’ll keep you updated on any new developments!

Peace,
Todd

Go From Being the Gray Man to the “Go To” Man, to Help Your Community Thrive!

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This is a guest post.

There’s a lot about prepping on the Net, and how to. One thing everyone says is be a gray man, I agree to a point. If you live in a city being gray is what you’ll have to do to survive. It just seems people in the city are usually more self centered, distrustful, and maybe cynical. Not to say they wouldn’t help their neighbor, but what about the guy 5 blocks over they don’t know?  Would they help him? Probably not, so is that being selfish or just street wise?

In the country, people generally tend to help each other more.  We might know people 5 miles or 10 miles away. People from the country are generally willing to help, and sometimes have more of a sense of community. I know neighborhoods have a since of community, but that might just be a few square blocks. Where I live, we only have a few communities.  There are maybe 6 or 7, “communities” people reference themselves to be from.  Our whole county only has 15,000 people. The whole county really is a community too. In the city, there might be 15,000 people in one small neighborhood.

The point of all this is we need to strengthen our communities. We need to not be in hiding but be in the light, help each other become strong and we need to start in our communities. I’m not saying let people know how much of everything you have or where it is.

My wife and I have 10 acres of land and have been prepping for a little while. We have chickens now, heirloom seeds, and other items. I have enough seeds of a few things to give away, like corn and potatoes. We are getting pigs, possibly a milk cow, and I really want a grist mill. I want to be the go to guy in my community. A lot of people around here burn wood, have chickens and garden, but most don’t have a clue about heirloom seeds. Most people I know go to the farm store and get their plants and seeds. When SHTF, most could survive, but may not have the seeds for a garden or fuel for a chainsaw. I want to get a few hand saws, maybe two grist mills, and two or three electrical generator heads.

I want to be the go to guy for a couple of reasons. One is I want to see my community survive and thrive and get back on it’s feet and get back to basics. I believe getting back to the basics is the only hope we have. A local butcher, a local dairy, local orchard, seamstress, etc., etc., getting back to that would create millions of jobs. Two, being the go to guy will make you a mark for looters and people that don’t want to try for sure, BUT, if you are the go to guy, the community will need you and help protect you. In the country, this will probably be a lot easier to accomplish because everyone knows someone or knows someone who knows them. In the country, you’ll know most people in a large geographic area.  You’ll know who you can trust and who you can’t.

Be the gray man to a point, but also be the go to guy or women. Just look at the Net, it’s a community and there are lot’s of go to guy’s and gal’s. I think you’ll have to hunker down in the beginning and be that gray man, but after things calm down, you can start to release your stuff, ideas, and help the community.

SA