A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack Ori Levin designed a full sized canoe that’s completely collapsible and can be stored in a bag that’s only 5 x 9 x 28 inches big. Basically, you can have a boat in your backpack. This amazing product Called the Adhoc Canoe, only weighs 9 pounds and …

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs What you wear and the gear you use can be much more than just a preference on how you look. Using quality gear has been a hallmark of the military and law enforcement for a long time. It is easy to see why, since gear reliability can be …

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The Essentials of a Well-Made Daypack & GIVEAWAY!

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well made daypackIt seems like the daypack, in one form or another, has become ubiquitous in the United States as well as in other parts of the world. However, the daypack in its early form was an elementary affair. Mostly used by settlers and colonialists, Native Americans, trappers, and mountain men when the United States was young.  John Hart, author of Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking, writes,

The traditional daypack is simple. A tough fabric bag, a couple of wide shoulder straps, and you’ve about got it.

At its core, not much has changed; the basics of what constitutes a daypack remain the same. However, through the years – particularly the last 25 – it has morphed into designs which serve us in some very new ways.

Whatever your profession, trade, sport, or activity, there is a daypack made with you in mind. There is, in fact, a dazzling array of shapes, sizes, colors, constructions, and configurations to choose from and of course, quality and price point too. This article focuses only on the core elements, the basics of what constitutes a well-made daypack; form, fit, and function. Beyond that, only you know what the specific needs are for you and your family. Moving beyond the old canvas satchel and weaved basket with two leather straps that my grandfather used on his trapline as a boy, here are some important things to consider before purchasing a daypack, today:

Form — The Body of the Daypack

In this instance, when you think form, think materials and construction. Specifically fabrics, straps, buckles, webbing, padding, sewing, and general, over-all  construction. These are key to the design and manufacture of a well-made daypack.

Materials: There are many fabrics to choose from depending on the type of daypack you are looking for. You want the body of the daypack to be made from synthetic materials, not cotton or blended fabrics. A quality rip-stop nylon , nylon oxford, or cordura are all great choices. Another important consideration is the thread count or denier of the fabric you choose. Make sure the fabric is sturdy enough to withstand the usage you have in mind. Lastly, for most daypacks, you will want the fabric to have a waterproof coating, either polyurethane or silicon based.

A daypack made of quality material doesn’t have to be expensive, as this example shows.

Straps: The shoulder straps are an all-important consideration. The majority of the load is transferred to your shoulders there. (Do you remember the feeling of your overloaded daypack or bookbag shoulder straps digging into your shoulders while you walked to and from school?) Straps should be made of a thick closed cell foam material covered in an abrasion resistant fabric like a dense nylon material that is tough but won’t easily chafe you. The padded shoulder straps should have strong flat nylon webbing tails attached to the bottom with box-x stitching, which is inserted into a strong buckle and tab attached to the bottom of the daypack. Make sure there is lots of adjustability for your body type. The top of the straps should be secured to the body of the daypack using bar-tack stitching as well as being integrated into the top seam.

Padding: The padding I’m referring to is more than just what is found in the shoulder straps. Depending on design and use, a daypack may have a padded bottom in the main compartment, a padded sleeve in the inner compartment to park a laptop, other electronics, or even a hydration bladder in some. The back may have extra padding and mesh to add support, cushion, and ventilation. If your’s is a slightly larger daypack, it may have a padded waist belt as well. Theses should all be made using dense closed cell foam material.

Here’s another example of an inexpensive, but high quality daypack with comfortable padded straps, made with high qualaity material.

Sewing: Throughout the daypack, heavy duty thread should be used. Seams should be double stitched and key stress points should be bar-tacked or box-x stitched. As much as possible, bias binding should be used on material edges. You should see raw edges heat sealed (hot-cut) and finished with a zigzag stitching. In cheaply made packs, the material is cut using a stat-cutter, not heat sealed and rarely zigzag stitched. Under heavy use, this leads to fabric fraying and seam separations. Not really what you want when toting your $500 laptop around. Take a few minutes to inspect the stitching.

General overall construction: Other considerations are closures, loops, D-rings, handles, and buckles. Most daypacks will have some kind of zippers, velcro, snaps, or shock cord. All should be made of tough durable materials (Are the zippers YKK on the pack you are considering?) and securely attached to the main body of the daypack using reinforced stitching. Buckles should be made of high-impact plastic with some give at closure points. D-rings and loops should be ergonomically placed and bar-tacked in place. The fabric for the main body and pockets of the pack should be coated to provide a measure of waterproofing.

This Swissgear daypack is an example of one that combines multiple features, making it an extremely versatile and budget-friendly choice.

Fit (size and ergonomics)

Whether you are buying a $9.99 back-to-school special from a big-box store for you kids to tote their books back and forth from school, an every day carry (EDC) or get-home bag to keep in your vehicle, or contemplating a rugged mountaineering daypack for your trek in Nepal, if it doesn’t fit right, the pack can be miserable to use and in some instances unsafe. Things to consider:

  1. Is the pack the right size for your intended use? Do you really need a $200 military-grade rucksack-style daypack for your college books? (Yes, I know it looks cool.)
  2. Are the buckles, webbing, D-rings, and zippers  on your daypack designed for ease of use and security in mind?
  3. Does the daypack fit your frame well? No two bodies are the same, and no two daypacks are either. There is one that will fit you well and meet your needs. Be picky, it will pay off in the long run.

Function of the daypack

What are you getting this daypack for anyway? Begin with the end in mind and think about what you really need versus what you want. Are you looking for a general-duty daypack or one specifically designed for your get-home bag? One specifically tailored to a woman’s build or one for your preschooler? Are you a climber, hunter, hiker, or runner? Participants and practitioners of each activity have their special requirements to consider when finding the daypack that will work best.

The Daypack Test Drive – Don’t be Nice!

When you have finally found the daypack you are considering, don’t hesitate to take it for a test drive at the store and don’t be easy on it. Turn the daypack inside out and check the coating on the material, the stitching, seams, and bar-tacking. Bring things that you will carry in the pack and load it up and walk around! How do your shoulders feel carrying weight and your hips, if you have a waist belt to help distribute the load? Do all the buckles lock and unlock smoothly? How easily do the zippers work around corners and can you close them one-handed? Are the pockets and exterior strapping configured the way you need them? The hit list goes on… You get the idea.

A daypack may be a relatively small purchase, but it fills a big need for many activities you and your family do. Don’t settle for less than what fits you and your particular requirements.

There are many other things to consider when choosing a daypack. Most have to do with the specific requirements you have or activities you do. If you want to delve more deeply into the finer nuances of daypacks check out the articles and videos below.

Additional Resources

Articles

Daypacks: How to Choose – REI

YouTube Reviews

Preschool Daypacks

Laptop Daypacks

Hiking Daypacks

Travel Daypacks

Hydration Daypacks

Running Daypacks

Giveaway!

This giveaway is really something special. From our friends at Flying Circle, the Brazos Backpack could be a daypack, but it is also suitable for a whole lot more. Made of military grade materials, it’s the high quality pack you’ve been wanting, with multiple pockets everywhere, including a small pocket on the strap, a handy place to stash a small flashlight, cash, or keys. It also features padded compartments for a laptop or tablet, and even a hidden “pass through” compartment, perfect for carrying a concealed handgun.

You can read more about its many features here.

Flying Circle will send this extra special pack to one lucky winner! Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway begins on December 29, and ends at midnight on January 7.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In praise of the humble Hammock

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Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Yes, those things your grandma used to relax in in her garden with a nice book are the way forward when camping.

Hammocks can keep you warm and dry these days – off the big- infested floor and with waterproof covers.

Floor’s damp from rain? Not a problem. Suspended between two trees, you don’t have to worry about creepy crawlies getting into your sleeping bag or resting your head on an uncomfortable surface. Camping hammocks use taut, technical fabrics and are very stable so you’re unlikely to flip out of them. Not the best at setting things up? Not a problem, most of them are easy peasy, much less of a head scratcher than tents.

To keep the autumn chill off your back as you sleep, you can attach one of the fitted “underquilts” that most companies offer—an insulated sling that sits under the hammock. And of course, your sleeping bag and standard sleeping pad will provide extra structure and warmth.

To suspend your hammock, simply wrap “tree straps” around two appropriately spaced trunks. Because this flat webbing is wider than rope, it won’t damage the bark. And tempting though it may be, don’t hang your hammock more than a few feet off the ground. It will be easier to climb in and out if the hammock is lower, and in the unlikely event of a suspension failure, you won’t have as far to fall.

We have listed a few of our faves below for you to take a little peek at:

Eagles Nest Outfitters Single Nest Hammock
Price: $59.95
This one comes in 21 different colors, making it easy to coordinate with your personal style and mix match with the family. It is high strength and can hold up to 400lb, features 70D high tenacity breathable nylon taffeta and triple interlocking stitching. The hammock itself weighs just 1 pound and can be bunched up into a softball-size bundle. ENO attempts to reduce potential waste by using every bit of fabric available in production so it’s eco-friendly, yay!

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Classic
Price: $239.95
This light favourite was designed with utility in mind and was eve based on the design of World War II Army hammocks. If this one tickles your fancy, you can look forward to enjoying the following features: A mosquito net sewn right in; a sleeve to hold your sleeping pad in place; a Velcro-sealed doorway allows for easy entry; and an asymmetrical shape allows you to lie across the centerline for a flatter position.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Kammok Roo
Price: $99.00
Lightweight but massive (about 10 feet long by 5½ feet wide), this hammock is an all-enveloping cocoon of strong ripstop fabric. Although it’s intended to accommodate two people, keep it all to yourself. It’s wide enough to allow solo sleepers to lie fairly flat and slightly across the centerline. Its sturdy construction made it feel very stable, even if you’re moving around.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Tensile Trillium Hammock
Price: $250.00
This one is really unique and the perfect hammock for stacking for a multi-level outdoor living environment if you’re camping in a big group. Insulation layers will keep you toasty at night and it can hold a maximum of 800lbs. Set up time is only 8 minutes too!

You can find it here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

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Duct Tape Backpacking Pack

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DIY Duct Tape Backpacking Pack Duct tape can save your ass in an emergency, this is a great example how you can make a strong reliable backpack to bug out if SHTF. If you find your self in a SHTF situation without a bug out bag or maybe you find your self in a situation …

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Packs Selection!

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Packs Selection! Josh “The 7P’s of Survival” On this program we discuss pack selection for a variety of carry options from every day carry to bug out bag to long term self-reliance kit to hunting pack. I have been fortunate enough to utilize most of the options below; some with great success and other now merely … Continue reading Packs Selection!

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How to Prep Your Kids For Emergencies: Supplies

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Prepping Your Kids for emergenciesBeing a parent means that your kids are the very first things you worry about. Doubly so when it comes to prepping your kids for emergency situations. Our first thoughts in any emergency are for our children; we want them to be healthy, safe, and not scared. That seems like it could be a tall order in the face of a scary emergency.

READ MORE: “Are Your Kids Equipped to Handle These 7 Scary Scenarios?

The truth is, having a child can seriously complicate one’s plans for emergency preparedness. Everything is always a lot simpler when you only have to worry about yourself and your spouse, without short people getting under foot. Sometimes, even a trip to the grocery store with kids is a major event. I am sure anyone who has ever had children knows what I’m talking about: “I want that! But WHY can’t we get cookies? Can we get this? I want a treat! But I WANT it! I have to go potty!” And then the four-year-old wanders off and the baby’s diaper leaks.

Well, if you have to evacuate or bug out with a young family, multiply that by about thirty times – not because the children are more high-strung, but because YOU, the parent, are so focused on trying to navigate the freeway in traffic that if the kids don’t shut up RIGHT NOW, you’re in danger of running the minivan off the road.

This is why it’s so important to make sure everyone in your family is prepared, not just the parents. Involving your children in your plans will make your evacuation a calm (or, at least calmer) and orderly affair. There’s no yelling or screaming, everyone knows what they have to do, the kids have all their stuff (including blankies), and they know how to use everything in their 72 hour kits. In this scenario, children become active participants in the evacuation instead of additional objects to be buckled into the car.

In order to accomplish this, children need three things:

1. Supplies
2. Information
3. Practice

First let’s talk about the supplies. What does a kid need? What should you pack? What kind of container/backpack should you use?

Prepping Your Kids: Finding the Right Bag

The choices for a bug-out-bag are many and varied. For most people, the backpack is the container of choice, although it may also be good to consider other, non-traditional options. When it comes to prepping your kids, however, I would definitely stick with a backpack. The premise here is that everyone must be able to handle their own bag, and a backpack fits the bill: The weight is carried on the child’s back instead of his or her arms, leaving arms free for balance or for carrying a comfort item.

The ideal backpack will be roomy enough to hold a lot of necessary items, but not so big as to be unwieldy. Many backpacks for children are designed to also be clipped around the waist; this is perfect because it transfers some of the weight onto the child’s hips. If you have the right backpack, even a 2-year-old can be responsible for his or her own kit.

Emergency Evacuations book

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What to Put In It

When it comes time to pack your child’s 72-hour kit, DO make your child help you. The goal here is for your child to know exactly what is in his bag, what everything is for, and how to use it. Most lists of stuff to pack includes both heavy and light things. If your child is particularly young, pack their bag with only light things, and put the heavy things in a parent’s bag. For example, a little kid could carry a large amount of ramen noodles, but pack the cooking gear in with Mom’s or Dad’s stuff.

A list of some basic 72-hour kit items can be found here. To customize your child’s kit to be more kid-friendly, consider adding the following:

For Recreation

This category is especially important for children. Having ways to occupy themselves can help reduce stress and create a sense of normalcy. Happy, non-stressed children means less stress for Mom and Dad.

  • A small coloring book. Dover has an extensive line of small activity and coloring books. These measure about 3″ x 4″, perfect for stowing in a bag.
  • Crayons
  • A small notebook for free drawing or playing games like tic-tac-toe or Pictionary
  • A balloon (not blown up, of course), for when you arrive at your destination and have some down time. I have yet to meet a child under the age of nine who has failed to be entertained by a simple balloon. Blow it up, let it loose, watch it race around the room, repeat.
  • A small story book. If you have an electronic e-reader, load it with books for your child. Project Gutenburg has a huge collection of children’s classics for free download.
  • One pair of dice, for playing a number of dice games
  • Lovies/comfort objects/blankies. These often can’t be put in 72-hour kits because they are necessary for every day use. I include them because at my house, they are more precious than gold. If your kid has an emotional attachment to a stuffed animal or blanket, leave it behind at your own peril.

For Safety

  • A family photo, with your contact information (mom’s cellphone number, etc) written on the back. If you become separated from your child, the photo will serve as identification, showing that your child belongs with you.

For Hygiene

  • Diapers/pull-ups. Even if your child is potty trained, very young children can regress during times of upheaval. This is a case where it is better to be safe than sorry. If you think a child may be offended by the tacit accusation this represents, pack them anyway. Put them in your own bag if you have to.
  • Extra(!) wipes.

Involving Your Child

As you put together your child’s bug out bag, make it a priority to involve your child in the process. Tell him or her, “This is for your bag and you’re going to be in charge of it.” Give the child some ownership by allowing input when choices must be made, e.g. in the color of the backpack or the flavor of granola bars.

When the time comes to rotate and update items in the kits, make it a family activity. Go over each item and make sure your child knows what it is for and where it is stored in the backpack. “Granola bars are in this pocket, crackers are in this one. This is your flashlight and this is how you turn it on.” Have your child wear the backpack to check for the fit on their shoulders, and adjust the straps as needed – much better to do this at your leisure now instead of when you have fifteen minutes to leave your home.

Resist the temptation to over-pack a backpack intended for a child. A child younger than 6 can’t be expected to carry very much, probably just a change of clothes, some crayons, and a few snacks.

Hopefully this will give you a starting point for putting together a child-specific 72-hour kit. Part Two of this series will focus on empowering children with necessary information.

More Resources

For more on prepping your kids, check out these printable lists of kits your kids can use:

Survival Kid’s Kit

Wilderness Survival Kit for Every Kid

Prepping Your Kids for emergencies

Must Have Items for Your INCH Bag

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inch bag essential itemsIn case you were wondering, INCH = I’m Never Coming Home.

The traditional definition of an INCH bag is that it’s an “over-sized bug out bag”. INCH bags are supposed to keep us safe in the wilderness so we need to pack more, right.

INCH bags aren’t just about packing more. In addition to adding more food, water, clothes and gear, you’re also going to need a few things that, more often than not, have no place in a bug out bag. These things will make a difference if you’re forced to spend week or even months in the wilderness.

Here’s my list of items you should consider in your backpack, not before you keep in mind your unique situation (number of family members, skills, fitness, climate and so on).

A Two or Three-Person Tent

If you’re gonna be out there for a while, you’re gonna need the best shelter you can have. I know a lot of people associate bugging out in the wilderness with making shelter from natural materials but a tent will provide some much needed comfort plus protection from the elements.

Recommendations:

Marmot Limelight 2

Alps Mountaineering Meramac 2

Wenzel Alpine 3-Person Tent

A Lantern

Lanterns are great for campsites. Many of them are a little larger in size but you can also find smaller, inflatable ones that have solar panels on top.

Recommendations

MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Rayovac SE3DLNACOM Sportsman

Snare Wire

Though you will add more food to an INCH bag, it still won’t last you too much. IF you don’t eat too much, that is. Having the means to build a trap for small game is mandatory if you want to keep your kids busy and your bellies full.

For more info on how to use a snare wire, you can check this video out:

A Gun Cleaning Kit

You’re going to hunt, you’re going to fend off attackers. Your guns needs to be in top shape.

Modularize Your Bag

With such a large bag, if you don’t organize things, it’s gonna take you forever to find your things. You don’t have 10 minutes to waste every time you’re looking for your ferro rod, so why not keep everything in modules or kits?

First aid kits, fire starting kits, cooking kits – if you organize them this way you’ll always know where to find something. If you can wrap them in transparent packaging, it’ll be even easier to see what’s inside without opening it or having to label each container. For instance, you can put everything in waterproof Ziploc bags and then put those bags in transparent plastic bags that are also puncture proof.

Survival Kits inside Survival Kits

Speaking of modules, consider the scenario where you have to leave your INCH bag behind. Maybe you’re being followed or even chased. The bag is going to be really heavy and the only way to put some distance between you and your attackers is to lighten your load.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a smaller, lightweight emergency survival kit that you can just take out of your INCH bag and continue with it (until you’re able to come bag for your main bag)?

This mini-bug out bag should have, as you’d expect, some of the most important essentials needed to survive a few hours up to a day: a folding knife, a mini-first aid kit, a couple of lighters and so on. As far as the pouch is concerned, I recommend one that has two important things: MOLLE compatibility as well as straps for you to wear it as you’re running away from danger.

Work Gloves

Chopping wood, making shelter, carving primitive tools, climbing trees, keeping thorny bushes away as you’re moving through the woods… there’re so many uses for work gloves that adding them into your survival bag is a no-brainer.

lensatic compassA Good Compass

For bushcraft purposes, not any compass will do. You can find lensatic compasses for 10 bucks on Amazon, don’t rely on the one that came with your watch. Two is one, one is none.

A Fishing Kit

Fish hooks and line have numerous alternative uses. Regardless, fishing might be your only option when bugging out in the wilderness for months on end.

A Tarp

Even if you have a tent, a tarp is also mandatory for a prolonged bug out. (For bug out bags, here’s a small article on the pros and cons to figure out whether you need a tent or a tarp.) Use it to insulate the floor of your tent, to butcher the animals you hunt, to provide shade and on and on.

An External Hard-Drive

I’m not sure how much space you need for your files but some people have hundreds of gigabytes to store. Hard drives aren’t necessarily heavy but keep in mind that by adding dozens of items to your INCH bag, it is going to be pretty heavy at the end.

chest rigA Chest Rig

This may not go inside the INCH bag but a tactical chest rig has a whole bunch of useful pockets.

A Gas Mask

Yes, another item that will add considerable weight to your bag, but you know best the survival scenarios you prep for. Gas masks can protect you from a variety of scenarios including tear gas, a volcanic eruption and a nuclear meltdown.

Upgrade Your Personal Water Filter

Few people know that the Sawyer Mini can purify 100 times more water than the LifeStraw. Both are good but the Mini will last you a lot, lot longer.

Besides there, there will always be little items that make a lot of sense for INCH bags. For example:

  • toothpaste and a toothbrush
  • multi-vitamins
  • a portable water filter (besides the personal one you should already have)
  • googles (for swimming and snow storms)

An Alternative Weapon… Or Two

What happens if you run out of ammo? Unless you’re willing to carve some sort of primitive weapon using items you have in your bag, I suggest you pack a professional one such as a crossbow, a compound bow or a sling-shot.extra weapon bow

…and so on. At the end of the day, the best way to figure out what to add is to think about the problems you might encounter and the ways you could solve them. All those lists of essentials to pack in your survival bags out there should be taken lightly. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with an INCH bag you’ll barely be able to carry.

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Small Space Prepper Must Haves

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Small Space prepperMany of us either live in a small space, or have run out of room in a larger space. These small space prepper must haves each help you fit more into the space you have and improve your preparedness. While none of these will break the bank, they were chosen for quality, not based on which one was cheapest. Cost was, of course, considered, but it was tertiary after quality and size. Any of these should last, and last, and last.

Of course these also make great gifts for any occasion from birthday to graduation, wedding, and more. (But you should probably ask before giving one as an anniversary gift.)

Small Antenna for HAM Radio – Getting reception can be tricky. If you need better reception for your HAM Radio hobby but don’t have a lot of space, this may be just the ticket for you.

Gossamar Gear Backpack – These ultra-light backpacking backpacks are in the same price range as regular backpacks, but take far – FAR – less space to store, and they weigh less. Double win!

Multiport USB Charger – Technically, this may not be a prepper item, but the reality is that most of us have a lot of items that can be charged via a USB port that we won’t want to be without. This reduces the number of charging cubes needed for that.

Chemex Coffee Maker and bleached filters – Chemex coffee makers don’t use any electricity and make really good coffee, once you know how to use it. They are particularly good for cold-brew coffee. (The bleached filters are better than the brown ones in this particular case because the brown ones can leave behind a bit of a brown-paper-bag taste, or so I’m told.) The Chemex actually takes a bit less space than most coffee makers because it is really just the specially designed borosilicate pot.

Compass – Different compasses are useful in different areas. This style is really good to use with paper maps and in areas without a lot of long-distance visibility to keep track of a single landmark, like the woods or a city.

SWLing Blog or Baofeng HAM Radio – This is not a hobby that needs to take a lot of space, and the uses of HAM for preppers are many, varied, and impossible to deny. Either of these is a great choice.

External Hard Drive – This is a great way to save all your favorite movies and music in a small space. Copy them all onto here, then store, sell, or otherwise dispose of your collection, which is now easy to pick up and carry with you.

Kindle Paperwhite – I own and use a standard Kindle. My husband has a paperwhite. Only one is easily usable when there is no light, and it’s not mine. Kindles are, hands-down, the best way to store large amounts of reading and visual reference materials in one place. (In case you wondered, I am recommending the regular Kindle over the Fire simply because the battery life is so very long on a Kindle.)

Tesla Coil Lighter – This is a windproof, USB rechargeable, arc lighter. No need to keep extra lighter fluid on hand or as many methods for lighting a fire if you have this lighter.

Mixing tools: Pastry Blender, Whisk, and (possibly) Dutch-Style Dough Mixer – Stand mixers are great, but they can take up a lot of space. I have found that a pastry blender and whisk can do almost everything most people use a stand mixer for in a fraction of the space – and with no electricity required. For anyone who makes a lot of bread or other very heavy doughs, a Dutch-style dough mixer is another hand-powered device that would be a great addition.

Stovehinge: The Collapsible Rocket Stove – This small stove is extremely small, and very heavy. It is most decidedly not a backpacking stove! If you remove it from the case it ships in, you may be able to store it in an even smaller space.

Small Drawer Safe – This model is designed for hand guns but can, of course, be used for any valuables. Because of its small size and weight, it’s easy to bolt into a piece of furniture, such as a dresser drawer, or even into a closet shelf or other part of your home.

Collapsible Solar Oven – The solar oven I have is great, but it definitely takes a lot of space to store. This version is completely collapsible and can store easily behind a piece of furniture.

Sweeper – Instead of a large vacuum cleaner, many small spaces (especially those without plush carpet) can get by with a small sweeper similar to the ones used in restaurants.

Thumb Drive – Everyone should have a reliable thumb drive with copies of their important documents. This particular model includes security, password protection, and a back-up to the Cloud.

Vertical Wall Garden – It is really just like it sounds. This is a way to plant a garden so it will grow along a wall (vertically) instead of on the ground, making it much easier to grow some of your own food even in a small space, like a balcony.

Clothes Washer – This reminds me a lot of a toilet plunger, but it is specifically designed for washing clothing. This is far smaller than most other off-grid options and has great reviews

Sawyer Mini Personal Water Filter – If you only need a water filter for one person, this is a solid choice and takes very little space. (The LifeStraw is another great choice.)

LifeStraw Mission Water Purifier – This is a great choice for small spaces because most of it is flexible. There is a section about the size of a foot long hot dog made of hard plastic, tubing, and a bag to hold the water being purified. All of this fits inside a storage bag and takes about the space of Sunday paper. While this is much larger than some other purifiers, it can provide an average family of five with clean water for up to three years of daily use!

Small Space prepper

Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag?

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Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag?

Bug-Out Bag -150x150Every once in a while you need to fine-tune your preps. Nobody gets it right the first time and we all end up with less than ideal gear because, as beginners, we often buy things out of impulse, falling prey to seductive advertising. Since our bug out bags are at the core of our survival plan, let’s start with those. What are some of the things we can improve?

Before we talk about all the essential items to add, remove or replace (full list here), we need to talk about the backpack. If it’s already full to the brim with supplies, you may need to consider getting a bigger one. Not to worry, you don’t have to throw this one away, you can repurpose it as a get home bag or as a Bug-Out Bag for your kids.

Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. If your bug out location isn’t far away or if you can’t carry that much weight, you should probably stick to a bag that’s easier to carry. Still, if you need a new hiking backpack, make sure it has a strong internal frame, padded shoulder straps and padded hip belts.

OK, moving on to the essentials we mentioned earlier…

To keep the process straightforward, you need to do two things. Number one, you need a laptop because you’re gonna make a list of all the things to add or replace and then research them online. Second, you need to take everything out of the Bug-Out Bag so you can put them back one by one (the ones that are still worth it, at least).

Did you do it? Great! All you have to do now is take each item one by one and ask yourself a few questions.

The first one is:

Do I really need it?

Keeping in mind a Bug-Out Bag’s purpose ends once the bug out itself ends, there’s no need to fill it with items you already have at your bug out retreat. For example, one of the things I blindly threw inside my Bug-Out Bag in the beginning that was considerably heavy was a printed copy of the SAS Survival Guide. Nope, it wasn’t the pocket edition. Now that book sits nicely on the shelf and my Bug-Out Bag is one pound lighter.

Sure, it’s always nice to have things that cover every possible scenario but let’s say you live in the burbs and your BOL is 20 miles away. Do you really need fishing hooks? Can you see yourself camping in the forest or fishing? In some cases, it’s better to keep your supplies split between your home and your bug out location to cover both scenarios (bugging in and bugging out, that is).

The second question you need to ask yourself is:

Do I know how to use this thing?

In case of pre-packed Bug-Out Bag or pre-packed first-aid kits, the buyers rarely know how to actually use the things they bought. They have this feeling of safety after the purchase simply because now they own the thing. But in a real emergency, they’re likely to look at that tourniquet or that multi-tool and scratch their heads because they don’t know how to use it.

Though learning new skills isn’t exactly on topic, since your bag items are already spread across the floor, why not make a list with the ones you need to learn how to use?

OK, moving on. After you decided you need to keep an item, the next questions to ask yourself are:

Is this a high-quality item?

…and…

Can I get a lighter/smaller version of it?

You see what we’re doing here, right? On the one hand, we need to make sure these items won’t let us down when we need them most; that could obviously cost us our lives. If you bought one particular item in the beginning, when you didn’t know much about prepping, it’s time to re-evaluate your choice and the way you do that is through research. There’re 2 small steps to take.

Step #1: Write in Google best [item]. For example, best survival knife or best multi-tool.

Step #2: Also write in Google: best [item] site:survivalistboards.com. This instructs Google to only return results from the most popular survival forum.

Step 1 will get you Amazon reviews, blog posts and articles about your chosen item. Step 2 will show you forum discussions by advanced preppers. Thus, you’ll make sure that you’re informed and make the best choice.

Do this for every item and you’ll surely find the best survival items for the best price. For instance, even though there are survival knives out there that cost hundreds of dollars, my “weapon of choice” is a Morakniv Companion with a carbon steel blade that’s only 15 bucks on Amazon.

Ok, back to our second question: can you find items that are lighter than the ones you have? Just because you found the best AM/FM radio, this doesn’t mean you need to get it. You might find something lighter that’s also considered pretty good, the main benefit being that if you do this for every item, you’ll end up with a BOB that’s easy to carry. (Graywolf has an excellent article on the topic of Bug-Out Bag weight, by the way)

The last thing you want to ask yourself while carefully examining each item is:

Is it working the way it should?

For example, are all your lighters working? Try them all one by one. Is your survival knife sharpened? If not, that’s going to be a huge problem. Is your spare cell-phone battery fully loaded and functional? Test it to find out.

Well this is it. I think it’s obvious that inspecting your Bug-Out Bag isn’t as hard as it seemed in the beginning of this article. You can always improve it and adapt it to your changing needs, just make sure you continue to educate yourself on the topic and periodically inspecting it every 6 months to a year.

The post Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag? appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Long-Term Survival: Good Items for Bad Times

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Long-Term Survival You should already have your Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) plan in place, but you may be struggling on what to bring with you when you bug out. Whether you plan to shelter-in-place or you are evacuating to a predetermined location, here is a list of items you should consider keeping on hand. […]

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How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit

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How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom
Believe it or not, friends, getting prepared for everyday disasters doesn’t require a bunker, expensive equipment, or tons of space…in fact, all you really need to get started with emergency readiness is a purse (handbag, man-purse, whatever).

My name is Liv, and I am the Survival Mom’s daughter. I’ve written for my mom before (check out my review of Red Cross’s babysitting course here), and now I have the privilege of writing my own post on how to turn any handbag into an emergency kit.

Down to business

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

Getting caught off-guard is not fun.

If you’re anything like me (and my mom) you like to have a few emergency back-up items on you, just in case you need them. Now, call it what you will, prepping, planning ahead, or common sense, it’s not that hard to be ready when any type of emergency strikes, and creating an emergency kit is as easy as one, two, three, and you don’t need any special equipment at all.

What is an emergency kit?

An emergency kit is a small bag/purse/backpack that you keep handy in the event of an emergency (duh), and it can contain food, water, clothes, fire-starting kits, important documents, or whatever you may need if you have to get out quick and don’t have time to pack.

Now, I have a big emergency kit in my closet, put together by yours truly, and it’s all ready for when I have to run. It has all sorts of little prepper goodies inside, and I’m quite proud of it. You can check it out at this link.

However, it’s quite heavy, I don’t have a car to store this in if I’m out-and-about when disaster strikes, and it would be no fun to lug that thing into the library or grocery store. My solution? The mini-kit.

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

 

Let me make this clear: There is no definite outline of what goes into a mini-kit.

It just holds whatever you might need for a small emergency, or a short-notice one, and it keeps you going until you can get to your other supplies. There’s no specific size or packing list, because it differs from person to person. I’m just going to give a quick description of mine, and then you can go and put one together of your own.

I keep my mini-kit in my Baggallini Cinch Backpack, which has several nice, deep pockets inside which are good for holding my emergency supplies. My mom and I favor Baggallini bags because they are made of nylon, are durable, and machine washable. She owns three of them in different styles and colors. Once, when she was between purses, she carried her bright orange Baggallini backpack everywhere. It got to be embarrassing after a while. (This, but in shocking orange. She even carried it to church every Sunday.)

Now, since I stay at home most days and don’t do much dangerous stuff, my kit is pretty simple:

  • ID card
  • Swiss Fire Knife
  • Several Band-Aids
  • About 10 matchsticks
  • Small flashlight
  • Smith’s Pocket Pal – a small, handy knife sharpener
  • Extra set of batteries
  • Small plastic bags in case I need to waterproof something
  • Pocket Bible (Reading material, in the event I have to wait in one place for a while and get bored. Also a good stress-reliever.)

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

I managed to squeeze these things into an inside pocket of my backpack.

The knife clips nicely to the side of my bag. See? Easy-peasy. So, you just have to think, what emergency is most likely to happen, and how can I do some small-scale prepping for it?

For me, thunderstorms are frequent where I live, therefore a lot of power outages, which is why most of my mini-kit contains light sources. Also, sometimes I run to the grocery store or library by myself (I’m so grown-up), which is why I have the knife–something to defend myself if I feel threatened. Someone who lives in a drier climate might want to carry a pouch or bottle of water, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Someone else who lives where it’s cold might want to add a pair of gloves, wool socks, or hand warmers.

Depending on the design of your handbag, designate specific pockets for specific items, and make sure those items are returned to their assigned space each and every time. In an emergency, when your nerves are frayed already, that’s no time to be digging through one pocked or another trying to find the one item you’re in desperate need of.

How to Turn any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

You can turn any bag into an emergency kit.

Feel free to make it as heavy-duty and long-term as you please. The point is that you don’t need one of those army-grade rucksacks with a zillion little compartments in order to prepare yourself for a disaster. Use a designer purse. Louis Vuitton, even. Any handbag can be transformed into your very own emergency kit!

~Liv

How to Turn Any Handbag into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

What’s In My Bag?

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what's in my bugout bagIf there is one question I get asked a lot, it’s “What’s in my bag?”.

What’s In My Bag?

The last thing the world needs is another bug out bag post, but I am constantly asked “What’s in your bag, Geek?”.

I figured the best way to deal with this was to just tackle it head on and have a post that covers my gear. This post gets updated when that gear changes.

My bag is an ever-evolving collection of gear. It contains the the stuff that has proven itself, up to this point, to be best in breed, for my needs. When I find something better, develop new techniques, or if something reveals itself to be lacking, then I’ll update this post for the world to see.

My Bag

My current bug out bag (I camp with this also, it’s so much more than just an idle bag) is a High Sierra 75 liter, internal frame backpack. This bag won’t be for everybody, and I understand that. Use the bag that works for you, this one just happens to work for a big guy like me.

My Bag’s Contents

My bag may be a bit beefier than some of yours, as I have 3 daughters. Even though they have their own bug out gear and bags, that can subsist independently, I prefer to carry some extra gear to make our bug out a bit more comfortable and effective.

In My Bag:

Strapped under my bag:

Strapped to bag:

 

Daughter’s Bags Contents

In their bags:

Strapped to bag:

 

 

The post What’s In My Bag? appeared first on Geek Prepper.