The EDC Gun Kit

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EDC_gun_bagAlternatives to the traditional Bug Out Bag (BOB) and the Every Day Carry (EDC) bag may be a viable option for many preppers and survivalists.  Though the purpose of these two standard type supply bags can be quite different, they do not have to be exclusive.  Different kit bags can be tasked for different conditions, situations, or circumstances.Another such kit bag to consider has the main and sole purpose for expedient self-defense and very short term survival.  This bag or kit could be stored hidden in a vehicle, locked in a bottom drawer, file cabinet or desk at work along with the bottle of brandy, or added as a supplemental kit to a brief case, satchel, or backpack used in everyday travel or carry.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

It could be carried alongside the diapers in a stroller, in the zippered ball bag as part of a golf bag or tennis gear bag.  It could be in a gym bag as part of your workout gear or exercise facility equipment.  The general idea is to have it available when or if it is needed.  

The EDC Gun Kit can go anywhere, be anywhere that there is a reasonable expectation that a threat could exist or develop.  This implies situations outside of the house or primary residence.  There you should already be protected with self-defense weapons, ammo, and supplies.  Outside your home or at work this may not usually be the case, hence the need for such a specialized kit bag.  

EDC Gun Kit Purpose/Justification

8_Ruger_Super_Redhawk_Alaskan_44_Magnum_Galco_chest_holsterSure, it would be just as simple to carry a concealed weapon on your person as have to worry or keep up with another bag to grab.  Well, maybe.  Concealed carry is not always the best option or even a legal one in some circumstances.  Besides, in this case, we are talking about more than just having a handgun hidden in the small of your back, or inside the waistband.  CCW often just implies a single occurrence.  A threat appears, defend yourself, and move on to safety.  Such as a parking garage mugging attack or assault.  That is obviously oversimplified, but after your pistol mag is empty, what then?  

The EDC Gun Kit is intended for providing safety for a relatively short period of time.  Such as, getting down the street to your parked car, or out of a park or zoo, or shopping center, or around the block to a police station or other secure area.  

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

It might also become a circumstance where you are forced to hunker down overnight until the run rises so you can move on.  Under these conditions, you are going to want a little more gear and supplies than a gun in the pocket, but perhaps not as much as you might have put together in a full bore survival every day carry bag with food, fire, and sheltering provisions.  

This becomes a fine line of course, between one kind of supply bag or kit and another one.  Those choices are yours, but it is worth considering to have options and to create other kits for other uses or even multiples of them for caching at different locations, different vehicles, or other secure places.  

EDC Gun Kit Bag

3_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_with_backpackThis bag should be small, light, but highly durable.  It can be a carry bag with handles, a satchel with shoulder strap, a sling bag, fanny pack, or downsized backpack.  It needs to have multiple pockets with secure closures and loops for attaching things or loops to latch onto.  It could have Molle loops as well.  A bag that is waterproof or at least water resistant is best.  There are some larger pistol or gun cases, range bags, or tactical type bags that might do.  Military map cases, computer bags, attaché cases, or tactical shoulder bags can work too if that are not too large or present too obvious a profile.  Roller bags, or wheeled cases, or even small luggage type bags are too big for this job and too cumbersome to move quickly and travel fast.

Check Out: Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag

 

Stay with a low(er) profile styling and a black or blend in color like an earth tone.  Stay away from anything designer type that might attract unwanted attention.  Case in point, during a trip to Costa Rica one of our party was attacked and robbed on a main street in town while carrying a pink backpack with a Disney character on it that screamed “Hey, I am an American tourist”.  I advised her to ditch it on day one, but she paid the price for not listening by losing her passport, credit cards, IDs and cash money.  

Leave the statement patches off the hook and loop stickers.  Don’t snap lock on name tags or political do-dads or anything trying to make a statement.  Your statement is to go unnoticed in a crowd, in the office, or walking down the street.  Just another average Joe or Jane on a stroll or trying to get home.  

EDC Gun Kit Contents

5_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_Ruger_Alaskan_homeWhat should go in this every day carry or stash bag?  We call it a “gun kit” so naturally the primary item for this bag is a self-defense or offensive weapon.  In theory of course, it could be any handgun for which the user is comfortable and proficient in using.  This means a revolver or semi-auto.  Pick one that works for you, but choose a firearm that has enough power to handle potential confrontational situations.  

My opinion, but for this gun kit, get at least a .38 Special, .357 Magnum or maybe a .44 Special in a revolver.  For a semi-auto pistol choose the 9mm at the very least.  If you can handle a bigger gun such as a .45 ACP then choose that.  However, don’t go overboard.  You don’t need a Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum.  Your EDC kit gun should be as small and portable as possible.  

Reloading is a consideration, too.  For revolvers you can keep a couple of extra speed loaders that holds five or six extra rounds in a quick release device.  Just insert the 5-6 held cartridges into the revolver cylinder after ejecting the fired cases, and quick turn the speed loader release.  This reloads the entire 5-6 round cylinder all in one motion.  

Read Also: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

SHTFblog-tactical-survival-cache-sig-sauer-p220-sao-p220sao-browing-hi-power-high-power-practical-40-big-bore-cocked-and-lockedLikewise, consider keeping at least 2-6 extra loaded magazines for your gun kit pistol in the bag.  There are no “usual or normal” circumstances that one may encounter during a SHTF, but hopefully 30-50 rounds should be enough to get you out of trouble and safely away from any threat or problem scene.  Some of the bag types mentioned above will have pistol magazine holding loops ideally inside the bag out of public view.  Practice withdrawing them to reload and practice those motions, too.  

You got the gun covered.  Now what else?  The list could be endless or personalized to your concerns, but keep it limited to bare essentials.  Remember the gun kit can be altered, modified or changed out as use over time yields new experiences or input.  

The gun kit needs to be kept light and handy.  Again it is not a full bore EDC bag.  So, maybe add a knife, flashlight, light gripper gloves, and maybe a full day of meds that you may have to have for health reasons.  Perhaps there is room for a single bottle of water and a nab or two.  Try to think of keeping this bag under ten pounds total.  

Personal customization is the key to your use and reliance upon such a gun kit bag.  You may want to add a cigarette lighter, or box of matches.  Your cell phone may be in this bag or a secondary backup phone.  What else would you add, while maintaining the restrictions?  

3_Smith_and_Wesson_SW22_Victory_Magpul_DAKA_carry_OptionThere is no rocket science in building an EDC Gun Kit.  Just realize its narrow function in terms of short term defense and very basic survival for not much longer than over one night at the most.  It is only designed to protect and sustain you long enough to get you out of a building, store, or any such location in order to reach your vehicle or to then drive to another safe place or home.  Again, considering adding another prepper-survival bag might sound like overkill and it may be for some.  However, this is just an option to consider.  Only you can ultimately decide what bag, weapon, gear, supplies, and self-defense posture you want to take.  Just don’t get caught without something to rely on when SHTF happens.  

 

The Bare Bones Minimalist Survival Kit

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1_islandAn old standby “survival” skills game used to facilitate leadership development training forced participant teams to choose among a list of survival gear and supplies items.  The game was posed as being cast on an isolated island after a ship wreck or plane crash (Hey, remember Wilson?), or in the jungle after a plane crash or some other fictitious peril.  The teams were limited to picking only 10 items.  It was fun, and very instructional.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The groups had to gather up individually and begin the process of the picking of their top ten survival gear items from the available list.  Then each team had to present their choices to the other teams and explain their rationale for their decision-making.  The instructional part was not only the communication and exchange of ideas among team members, but also the feedback and assessments provided by the entire group.  What survival items would you pick?

Just to take a note as a sidebar such a game would be very useful for potential prepper teams in the formation phase to process survival information and to express opinions about various related survival tactics.  This would not only reveal other’s survival knowledge base, but also their compatibility, communication, and sensitivity to the other potential team members.  

Formulating a Minimalist Kit

bug_out_essentials_stuffIn our reality based world, lucky for us, we are not really limited by any set list of survival gear, tools, supplies, or essential items.  We can choose from the infinity of everything out there to include in a bare bones kit bag.  The only primary limitation then for the assembly of this kit becomes the kit’s total weight, and a practical choice of just the bare fewest items to complete such a kit.   

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

For this kit, we are not even suggesting a backpack or indeed a fanny pack sized carry conveyance.  We have to keep focused on the minimalist approach here.  This kit then is not really an EDC bag nor is it any kind of a BOB either.  It’s different.  It goes in the trunk of the car or under the back seat of a pickup truck, in an office desk drawer, or some other place that is easily and quickly accessible.  It is not intended for long term use, but a “get by” circumstance.  

This kit may also not be something that is necessarily grabbed and carried during an emergency, but it could be.  It might be a kit used during an office or school lockdown during say an active shooter situation or maybe a tornado warning or other emanate emergency condition or SHTF.  It could get you by if the interstate highway was shut down by a wreck for an extended period of time or if you got caught in a snow storm, perhaps even overnight.  

Depending on the SHTF situation, you might have to hunker down in the office or in your vehicle.  You could have the option or decide to hike out a few miles to another safe location or to be picked up elsewhere.  Naturally, the potential emergency situations are also endless, so think for yourself, what are the likely events you could encounter and stock your bare bones kit accordingly.

Bare-Bones Kit Parameters

meds_knives_bagFor this exercise, I have volunteered as the Guinea pig.  Of course, my personal situation and conditions are decidedly different than yours, so I will outline my own parameters.  You need to do the same.  It is important, no critical, that every person self-profile themselves so they build a kit that meets their exact personal needs for virtually any type of short-term survival SHTF. I am a senior citizen, retired, and of age for social security, but still quite active.  I have health issues that require daily medication, hydration and minimal food intake.  I am an avid reader, and writer with good mechanical and organizational skills.  I am more of a hermit than a joiner, but am active in wildlife management work and serve on the executive board of a state wildlife conservation group.  

Read Also: The Prepper Learning Curve

I could not run a hundred yards, but could walk for five miles, more if allowed to rest periodically.  I actively hunt, fish, work my bug out camp, ride ATVs, and am a proficient shooter.  I carry concealed with a legal permit.  I work at home every day, but travel a fair amount.  My Bare-Bones Kit would likely be used mostly via access in a travel mode, so they are kept in vehicles.  

2_matchesAre there some assumptions then?  Yes, of course.  Let’s assume you will have your iPhone with you at all times, ideally fully charged.  You’ll have a wallet or purse with IDs, cash money, and credit cards.  If you have a CCW permit, carry it.  You may have with you a concealed carry weapon, or in close proximity to one and maybe at least one extra loaded mag.  Have available or carry a lightweight rain jacket ideally with a hood.  Accordingly these items are not included in your minimalist survival bag, because you should always have them anyway.  

One Bare Bones Minimalist Survival Kit

Here are the items in my own Bare Bones Minimalist Survival Kit:

Quick bag.  This would be a lightweight nylon pull cord top bag, small satchel zip bag, or some small military type gear bag.  

Water and Snack.  I would pack (2) bottles of water and (2) protein and power bars.

Medicines.  3-5 days of required meds.  Small bottle of pain relievers.  

Blanket or Cover.  One fold up compact space blanket or similar cover/shelter.

Knife.  A high quality folding knife or fixed blade camp/survival knife.  Not a Rambo blade.

Firestarter.  Box of waterproof, wood matches and (1) butane lighter.  Small tin or med bottle with prepared tinder cotton balls.

Signals.  (1) Signal whistle with lanyard.  

Paracord.  (1) Wrap of 50 feet of paracord rope.  

Head and Hand Gear.  One ball cap or hat with sun visor and a pair of durable gloves.  

First Aid Kit.  One micro first aid kit in tin or plastic container.  

Final Assessments

2_iphone-desk-laptop-notebookNow before you go crazy at ripping apart my selections for a bare bones kit, reflect on your own needs or make viable suggestions for other needed items.  Undoubtedly, in my own thinking and planning, I have left out something.  With practice and trial, perhaps I will change up my own bare bones kit to delete some items or add others.  We want to learn from the readership, too.  That is best accomplished by not criticizing, but by comparing and contrasting.  

 

Survival Gear Review: Back Packer’s Pantry Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes

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2_shtfblog-survival-cache-best-survival-backpackers-pantry-multigrain-buttermilk-hotcakes-pancakes-spatula-organic-lodge-cast-ironThis past weekend, I had a bit of cabin fever – I needed to get out of the house, tromp around in the woods, start a fire in the snow. So I bundled up my 3-year-old boy, filled a backpack with a thermos of hot chocolate, a small container of olive oil, a Lodge 12” cast iron skillet, a liter bottle of water, a spatula, a bit of Maine real maple syrup, and the coup de grace – a package of Backpacker’s Pantry Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes. We gathered up the dog and stomped out into the woods, leaving Mrs. Drew to enjoy a few minutes of precious peace and quiet, sipping her coffee.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

I’ve been starting my lil’ dude on making fires in the woods (never too early!) so I had him find a birch tree and peel some bark while I collected dry twigs and branches from the myriad white pine trees in the area; I scored and found a recently fallen small sugar maple to get some nice hardwood coals in the fire for cooking.

We set up the birch bark and dry twigs, and I showed my son how to scrape a firesteel for a small pile of ferrocerium shavings, and with one healthy blast on the Firesteel GobSpark Armageddon, we had a toasty little fire going. Once the fire was healthy and happy, I let him poke around in the coals with a long stick – an irresistible fireside hobby that comes to us while we’re young, apparently. The fire danced and snapped, my son slurped hot chocolate, my dog searched for squirrels, and I started looking into breakfast.

Pancakes in a bag?

I dug the package of Backpacker’s Pantry Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes out of my pack, and set to reading the instructions. Pretty simple: open the pouch, dump in ¾ cup of cold water, seal the bag up, shake until mixed. I could handle that. Probably.

3_shtfblog-survival-cache-best-survival-backpackers-pantry-multigrain-buttermilk-hotcakes-pancakes-organic-hemp-add-waterI opened the resealable bag of mix, and looked inside. First order of business was to locate the little oxygen absorber packet so it didn’t accidentally become hotcake ingredients and then remove all the oxygen from my stomach through a probably very unappealing chemical process. I dug around through the mix and located the errant hitchhiker, then poured my approximation of ¾ cup of cold water in the bag. I sealed the bag up, folded it over, and shook the shit out of the package. For good measure, I let my son shake it up, too. You can never be too careful.

Read Also: The KISS AR – 15

I opened up the bag and peered inside at its goopy contents. It looked pretty runny to me even after a couple good hearty shakings, so I used my spatula to mix things up a bit, scraping the sides of the bag to make sure I got all the mix. No improvement: I came to the conclusion that either my water-measurement eyeballing skills were far below par, or the mix was a little on the soupy side when properly made. No worries, though – I was committed at this point, and lil’ dude was giving me toddler hell about not having pancakes, so I oiled up the cast iron skillet and let it sit over the two wrist-sized hardwood logs I’d placed atop the campfire cooking coals we’d cultivated and poked at. In a few minutes, a sprinkle of water danced on the surface of the skillet, so I knew it was game time.

The Magic Of Campfire Cooking

Ahh, the beauty of a fire in the woods – pine smoke, crackling branches, clothes that retain that sweet smoky eau de campfire scent that drives the women crazy. However, when it comes to cooking pancakes on cast iron, that campfire becomes an evil beast that makes one jump to grab the spatula like a man who just sat on a rattlesnake that’s having a bad day.

4_shtfblog-survival-cache-best-survival-backpackers-pantry-multigrain-buttermilk-hotcakes-pancakes-spatula-organic-lodge-cast-ironI poured the batter from the pouch onto the oiled, heated cast iron skillet, and the batter practically baked on the spot; bubbles (a sure sign that pancakes are done) burst from below in seconds, shocking the hell out of me and ensuring that breakfast would be a bit quicker than intended. I lunged for the spatula, shook off the residual batter left from stirring, and hastily scraped the poor scorched hotcakes from the pan. A quick flip for the two pancakes I’d made, and I let the pancakes sit another fifteen seconds or so before popping them off the skillet onto a paper plate. Round one went to the skillet.

I pulled the skillet back off the volcano to let it cool, and thankfully the next round of pancakes was a little bit easier on me. I was a nice dad and gave the better-looking pair of hotcakes to my son, lest he hate campfire cooking for the rest of his life. I’m sure he’ll thank me for it later when he’s burning bacon and eggs over campfires for years to come.

I drizzled on some real maple syrup (that fake Mrs. Butterworth stuff is for commies) and gave the Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes a whirl.

The Verdict Is In

I know it’s hard to make something taste bad when it’s covered in the delectable nectar that is Maine maple syrup, but these Hotcakes were actually pretty damned good. They tasted very similar to whole wheat or buckwheat pancakes (if any of you have ventured into that territory), very rich and a little dense. These hotcakes were meant to provide a bunch of protein for the backpacker or camper, and they taste the part. They weren’t like scratch-made griddle cakes like grandma used to make, but considering they will give you honest long-lasting energy (plus a nice sugar boost if you put syrup, honey, or jam on them), with four 4-inch pancakes providing 15 grams of protein.

Related: Making Maple Syrup

My three-year-old son requested seconds, so I happily obliged. The hotcakes were pretty filling, and we sat in the sun next to the fire, recovering happily from the unexpected need to make fast food and sipping hot chocolate. The hotcakes were winners.

The Company

5_backpackers_pantry_logo_smBackpacker’s Pantry – just so you know – pride themselves in offering organic foods to their customers, and these hotcakes were no different. The ingredient list is comprised of all food, no preservatives or chemicals. The spelt flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and cornstarch are all listed as being from organic sources. A good FYI for people with allergies: These hotcakes include milk,  eggs, wheat, and gluten – so keep an eye out. Nobody likes dealing with food allergies, especially out on the trail.

I wouldn’t throw this hotcake mix in a Bug-Out Bag or emergency bag – the hassle of needing large cookware and a spatula would be too much. However, keeping a couple packages of Backpacker’s Pantry Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes in a Bug-out camper, or in your house pantry in case you need a just-add-water breakfast, would be a great idea, especially if you have kids and need some calming comfort food. While I didn’t try it, the addition of berries or nuts would be a fantastic locally-sourced addition. Baking this mix in a dutch oven probably wouldn’t yield bad results either…I’ll have to try it out, now that I think about it. The Backpacker’s Pantry Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes are definitely a welcome addition to anyone who might want a kick-start to their day but not carry around the whole refrigerator.

Specialized Bug Out Bags (And What’s Inside Them)

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bug_out_essentials_stuff‘Bug out bags’ are put together to be grabbed in a hurry. Their use stems from the bags issued by militaries to their soldiers in field situations, and it should contain everything you need to sustain yourself in an emergency situation for at least 72 hours. Ideally, every member of your group or family should have their own bug out bag with their own supplies: The more you have as a group, the better your chances of survival will be.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Most bug out bags are aimed at meeting the most basic survival needs: That is, they contain a bit of everything for when you need to grab and go, but what if you have some more specialized needs, for example access to technology or your family’s important documents stored separately?

Here’s a look at some specialized bug out bags to go with your main kit, customized for more specific needs. (Note: Most of these are just as useful for camping or hiking as they are for grabbing in an emergency.)

Oh, yeah, and take a look at this link on YouTube for what Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory keeps in his

#1: The Medic Bag

1_med_bagThe medic bag contains your group or family’s medical supplies. Include a laminated card with each member’s details and medical history; be sure to list their full name, blood type, next-of-kin with the most recent contact details and their allergies. Your kit should also contain antibiotics, painkillers, alcohol, bandages, stitches, burn gel and/or cream, clean wipes, surgical scissors, a scalpel, cotton wool, a syringe (and the knowledge to use it!) and any other medical supplies you would normally keep in your first aid kit or might come in handy where you’re going.  Prescription medication (for chronic conditions) can be arranged in advance with your doctor or pharmacist.

#2: The Bag of Documents

Your family’s important documents can include birth certificates, passports, doctor’s reports, financial information and wills; this is by no means an exhaustive list. We highly recommend that documents like these are always kept organized neatly in the same place, with several digital backups. Consider backing up your information on DVD or Blu-Ray to keep in your bag of documents. Store hard copy documents in plastic sleeves. Make sure your bag can withstand elements like water, and make sure you don’t store your documents with (or next to) anything that can catch fire or explode.

Related: Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

#3: The Chef’s Bag

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdThere’s likely someone in your group or family who’s been appointed the head chef, and a chef – especially one on the road – could do with some decent tools. The chef’s bag is customized to hold all the tools a chef might need in the field, and this will be up to personal preference. Be sure to ask them what tools they simply can’t do without. Many tools have a portable version. Take a look at the Glamping Fold Up Pan and the Camp Chef Knife Set. The chef’s bag should also contain other chef’s essentials like their most used spices and utensils.

#4: The Hiker’s Bag

The hiker’s bag should be taken if you’re planning on going on a hiking trip. Practicality is your main goal here, and you’re looking to cover all of the bases. Take enough food to sustain yourself on the walk and for a while after should you get stuck, take along your first-aid basics, a knife, a fold-up walking stick, plenty of water and purification tablets, a map and compass and a fire-starter kit. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, just the basics.

#5: The Mechanic’s Kit

The mechanic’s kit is great for keeping in your car by default, and it’s essential if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for a while. Put simply, it’s for fixing things. A wide variety of things. The mechanic’s kit should contain the most portable tools you can find – a simple online search on Amazon will give you hundreds of options for portable tools – and odds-and-ends like wire, cable ties, glue, duct tape, rope, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Keep documents like your car’s repair handbook (or, say, a general book on DIY and car repair) with this too: Digital backups are available, will take up much less space and can be handy should anyone else who isn’t as handy end up with the mechanic’s kit.

Check Out: Fortifying Your Home

#6: The Herbal Healer

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeAncient human groups consisted of hunter-gatherers, and modern humans are no different. The herbal healer’s bag is for the gatherer or natural healer, and should contain everything they need to gather, preserve and prepare herbs. Take this along for a hiking trip or when you go out to gather herbs, plants or fruits. A sharp, versatile knife is essential; some cords and clothespins (useful for drying), containers and bags for collecting samples; gloves; a fold-up camping shovel; seeds for starting a garden; plant nutrients; an empty spray bottle; sanitized water and wipes (for various and fairly obvious reasons); alcohol (for tinctures and sanitization). The herbal bag will likely also contain a collection of common herbs that have already been collected: These are up to you. Again, a disc with your library of plant books (with pictures for identification) should go with your kit.

#7: The Tech Junkie’s Kit

Don’t discount the usefulness of technology in a survival situation: As a journalist working online, I realize the value of connectivity. The tech junkie’s kit should be exceptionally well-padded and contain a laptop that can withstand some damage (laptops like the Sony Vaio are small yet durable), replacement cables, an additional camera (of higher quality), blank DVD’s, spare parts, an operating system on DVD (should you need to re-install your system on the go), a power bank or solar power kit, a screwdriver kit, a USB dongle (yes, even if you have a router), a mouse, backup batteries, a backup celllphone and a signal strengthener. (At the very least.)

What do you have in your bug out bag? Have you learned to add anything from yours by reading this article? Use the comments to let us know your thoughts.

Handling Medical Emergencies

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1_med_bagMedical emergencies go far beyond straightforward fractures, sprains and breaks; would you know what to do in the case of an asthma attack, fever or dehydration? These things can happen to anyone and at any time, and when they do strike you might find yourself far away from emergency medical care. Then what?

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Here are some common (and not so common) medical emergencies you should be prepared for and what to do…

#1: An asthma attack.

Chronic asthma sufferers should always have their medication on hand or within reach, especially when they plan on travelling. When they don’t, the first step is to keep the person calm and breathing deeply. Panic only causes the airways to close up further. Caffeinated beverages – coffee and energy drinks – are good in an emergency and can stop an asthma attack in its tracks; they’re always part of the emergency kit for good reason.

#2: Handling a fever.

1_thermometer-temperature-fever-fluA fever is the body’s way of altering its temperature to kill any pathogens in the body. Symptoms include shivering, sweating and the sensation of feeling hot or cold – sometimes both interchangeably. The worst thing you can possibly do with someone who has a fever is to throw them into an ice bath. Yes, it’s one of those things you saw in the movies that can kill someone. A fever puts way too much strain on the heart, and your best bet for cooling down someone with a fever is to keep them hydrated, cool them down slowly with a cold cloth and try medication like paracetamol before seeking medical attention.

#3: Seeing (and stopping) advanced hypothermia.

Hypothermia is what happens when the body’s core temperature drops below 35°C; frostbite and hypothermia go hand in hand. The symptoms of hypothermia starts with shivering, then goes on to worse symptoms like drowsiness and confusion, which eventually leads to coma and death. With hypothermia, do not resort to alcohol or quickly warming the person: Both will do more damage. Remove the person from the cold environment, get them into dry, warm clothes and warm them up slowly.

#5: Dehydration.

1_splashing-splash-aqua-water-67843By the time your body tells you you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated: It pays to remember this fact on a daily basis and when camping or hiking. Make sure you drink plenty of (clean) water. Replace the fluid your body puts out (through sweat, for example) and then some more. Also pack drinks specifically for treating dehydration, which contain much-needed salts and electrolytes. In an emergency, a mixture of water, sugar and salt replaces the most necessary minerals. Remember that sugar, salt and alcohol all have dehydrating effects on the body.

Keep in mind that coconut water, intravenously, will also replace electrolytes.

#6: How to stop bleeding.

Maybe it’s a small cut, or maybe the emergency is a little more severe – and spurting blood. You’ll encounter both in your lifetime, and it’s vital that you know how to handle it. For severe bleeding, apply firm pressure with a compress. Remember to wear gloves, and do not use a tourniquet. This cuts off blood circulation and will lead to tissue damage pretty quickly. For slight bleeding, both salt and sugar have antibacterial  properties and will help the blood to clot sooner.

#7: Slowing an infection.

The biggest danger with most wounds, even small ones, is often not the wound itself but the resulting infection that can occur. When an injury occurs, the first priority after stopping the bleeding should be cleaning the wound with sterilized water or alcohol – trace amounts of dirt can be enough to cause a serious infection and should be removed. Sugar and salt, as mentioned above, have fantastic antibacterial properties. Yes, this will hurt, but what would you rather have in this situation?

If severe infection has already set in and medical help is not available for a long time (say, if you are stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean), learn to look upon maggots as a good sign: They clean dead and infected skin out of the wounds, and should be allowed to do their thing before being removed – carefully, of course.

#8: Demystifying fainting spells.

The technical term for fainting, if you’ve ever wondered, is syncope. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) blood pressure or lack of oxygen to the brain. Fainting at the site of blood we now know is a neurological condition. It’s never anything less than a medical emergency, and should always be treated with care – and examined on a case-by-case basis. First, check if the person is breathing and their heart is beating the way it should. Make sure that their airways are not obstructed and that they are away from danger. Then, try to revive them. Fluids – sugar water or fruit juice – should be given immediately.

#9: Spotting a stroke.

The cause of most strokes are a lack of blood supply to the brain.

1_stroke_blurry_lights-night-unsharp-bluredThe symptoms of a stroke are varied and can include the feeling of pins and needles, fatigue, a loss of balance, paralysis – especially on one side of the body, double vision and difficulty speaking or slurred speech. Look for signs of confusion, and ask the patient to lift their arms above their head or touch their tongue to the roof of their mouth: If they can’t, you might be dealing with the symptoms of a stroke.

Like most other emergencies, keep the patient calm and stay calm yourself. Check their responses by asking some simple questions and seeing how they respond to physical stimuli. (Someone who has just had a stroke might be unconscious. In this case, resort to checking eyelid response.) If they are unconscious, you want to check their airways and heart rate and administer CPR before seeking help.

It is not recommended to give someone having a stroke something to eat or drink.

Share your medical emergency tips or stories with our readers in the comments.

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Survival Gear Review: Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag

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3_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_with_backpackHill People Gear is a unique company nestled in Grand Junction, Colorado. It is not just the exceptional quality of their bags, but Hill People puts a modern and even tactical twist on ancient solutions for humping gear in real-world situations. So practical and effective are their solutions, that Most Mall Ninjas would shy away from the more convenient kits because they would be unsure what their friends would think.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Hill People Gear has a line of what they call Kit Bags. In a nutshell, a Hill People Gear or HPG Kit Bag, is a sophisticated pouch you wear on your chest. It rides solidly with four 1.5 inch straps snugging the bag to your sternum, only of which one has a fastex buckle while the other three straps in the “H-harness” have adjustment sliders. All the straps reconnect on a mesh backside panel that can comfortably ride under a backpack if needed.

Rugged Versatility

I’ve grown to love the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag. Whether walking the dog in the mountains, or hunting, or doing some recon around the bug out location, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is my go-to go-bag.

I’ve carried the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag with a .22 revolver and auto, with 9mm and 10mm Glocks, and even my anti-bear Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .44 Magnum. While you feel some handguns more than others, none are too much.

Related: Birksun Backpack Review

4_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_wearingIt’s hard to underestimate the efficiency and convenience of a Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag right in the middle of your two hands. If your lifestyle runs heavy on adventure, you might discover that there are few places on your body that are not occupied already by essential gear. When fly fishing in the cold rivers, my waders go to my belly. The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag works fine in the available space. When skiing with a pack that just might not be accessible depending on the situation, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag works fine. When mountain biking and unlikely to want a daypack, let alone a backpack, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is an excellent choice. And when backpacking with 65 pounds and 6000 cubic inches of gear, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag provides a convenient source of gun, survival gear, or navigation instrumentation. Or in my case, all of the above.

Hill People Features

The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag strap system places a mesh panel square on your back with all buckles and adjustment sliders on the front side. Wearing the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag under a backpack is truly a non issue. Even under a coat is a fine choice.

On the forward facing side, no less than eight columns of three rows deep of PALs webbing gives you near-unlimited accessory options. And even if not PALing the PALS, you can can use the webbing ladders for knife pocket clips, pens, and anything else that needs a nylon shelf to secure it.

When carrying a handgun in the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag, you can either drop it in the main pocket, or use a velcro holster or barrel securing accessory. The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag has  a 1.5 inch velcro strip running vertically up the center of the bag. There are plenty of options including my favorite, the  Maxpedition Universal CCW Holster.

5_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_Ruger_Alaskan_homeFor larger guns like the .44 Ruger Alaskan, I prefer to to have it floating in the main compartment of the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag so it’s easily accessible with a pull from either the right or left hand. I also want the gun to be something that could fall out into my hand in the off chance I am upside down when the bear moves in for the kill. This is not so far fetched when skiing, fishing, or mountain biking. Having to navigate a holster might take too long, or demand too much effort.

Check Out: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

6_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_adminstration_pocketOn the administrative side, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag has a thin front-end zippered pocket with two 4.5 inch organizational slots in addition to the overall pocket space. The first thing you might notice when handling the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is that it is not big nor thick. It lacks the depth of heavy fanny packs, which is a good thing. To be an effective chest rig, the gear cannot be big. I’ve had overbuilt and oversized front-end storage options, but they interfere with the very activities that keep us limber and nimble when it matters. Heck, if you are just a pack mule than you can strap on a backpack as easily on your front-end as your back.

The Verdict

7_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_overallWhen wearing a Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag, it is noticeable…for about five minutes. Then the Kit Bag blends into the background. So much so that the first time out with one, you will likely think that everyone should have one of these. They are really that good. In fact the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag literally melts into your wardrobe quickly becoming and absolutely essential part of your outdoor routine.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that the price of the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag limits it to the serious. Weighing less than 14 ounces but costing over a hundred dollars, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag can only be indispensable if you can afford it.

 

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks If you’re in a survival situation and you’re on foot, your own bug out bag is going to be all you can manage. If you’re a parent or grandparent responsible for children in a survival situation, you can’t possibly carry everything they will need. It’s going … Continue reading 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

The post 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prepper Planning Tips for 2017

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featured_new_year_prep

new_year_prepThe coming of any new year starts out of the gate brimming with a plethora of opportunities to achieve many things.  This includes wrapping up goals, projects, and missions from the previous year and a new chance to sit down to lay out the priorities for the year ahead.  All of this should be approached with a fresh breath of air.  You know how it feels and smells just after a big storm has passed, especially a lightning storm that charges the air with fresh ozone.  You can smell it.  Take it in, breath deep, chin up and embrace the coming 12 months with a positive attitude to keep plugging away at your prepper initiatives.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The virtual plague of the past eight years is ending.  Pro or con, this country has slipped into an international quagmire of disrespect and disregard.  We hope this status can be regained in short order. Domestically, the economy is beyond flat.  Regardless of what the administration peeps say, nearly 8 million Americans are out of work and countless more are underemployed.  All of this is seasoning for a SHTF recipe.

The New Political Climate

irs_logoFive generations of citizens have been on welfare now to the point that it is considered the entitlements of all entitlements.  This needs to end, too.  And the “government” still does not get it.  The IRS just rolled back the per diem expense allowance for vehicle business travel for 2017, ostensibly because they say fuel costs are down.  Today at home, unleaded gasoline is $2.19 a gallon.  Up over twenty cents in a month.  An executive order just cancelled more offshore drilling and the huge new oil field in Texas cannot be tapped even if we had the pipelines to transport it to refineries.  All this adds stress to an economic recovery.

Related: Prepper Guns on a Budget

Health care for the working class is in crisis.  My wife and child pay $1100 a month for basic care with a huge deductible.  It is only good for a catastrophic health incident or accident.  Doctor and hospital costs are totally out of control.  My GP’s office charges $65 for a flu shot, while a local pharmacy charges only $25.  Go figure.  And on and on it goes.  

Taking Care of No. 1

money_budget_gunsNot to be purely selfish, but this is the age of taking care of you and your family first, then help others as you can.  This includes the entire realm of personal attentions to health and welfare for you and family, then taking care of business in preparation against any potential threats that might develop this year and beyond. Once you have your own affairs relatively in order, then you can reach out if you choose or then direct your efforts or attention to other projects.  This is a tall order, so there is no better time to take it all on than right now.  Nothing happens all at once.  It’s like a huge marble statue that you chip away at day after day.  You may never see the final product, but you can take pride and honor in the constant effort toward the final goal.  

Review the Current Plan

This is assuming you have a plan or sort of directional guide in hand and that it is written down to pass around, invite comments, add to, take away, alter, shift, redirect, adapt, adopt, and then initiate.  If not, do this first, now.  Perhaps reconsider bugging in or out. For existing plans, review them now, item by item.  If you have achieved some of the steps, check them off and or add comments about parts that need to be rechecked, revised, or completed.  Try to add completion dates so that some achievement schedule can be established.  Otherwise, everything is just floating out there undone or half done.  

Things change all the time.  Adjust your plan according to changes that you anticipate or not.  For example, maybe you plan to acquire a new bug out property or perhaps an RV, camping trailer or other major purchase to give you options during a SHTF event.  Such changes can produce a number of new tasks to accomplish.  Plan accordingly.  

2017 To Do Tips

bug_out_essentials_stuffDefensive security should be reviewed and shored up if lax.  Add new supplies, weapons, ammo, accessories, and gear to fulfill your security needs.  Again, review what you have and then move forward.  Perhaps it is time to beef up your home security with heavier locks, window storm covers or other precautions. This first initiative includes inspection, maintenance, repairs, or replacements of weapons, gear, and equipment already in hand.  Add to this additional time for training, shooting practice, formal shooting course training, and then more practice for everyone.  This should include reactionary drills at the bug in or out location.  Have everybody comfortable to respond as necessary.  If needed, buy an extra firearm and add to ammo supplies.  

Unpack your bug out bags, inspect everything, recycle old out of date supplies and repack.  Inspect the bag, too for wear and tear, zipper function, clean it up.  Refresh the entire kit bag.  Same for other quick grab bags full of gear for a bug out.  Do the same for your EDC satchel, bag, or backpack.  Clean guns, oil knives, refresh batteries in everything, and get the everyday carry squared away again.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Check out your entire bug in food stocks and supplies both at the bug in locale and the secondary bug out site, camper, trailer or whatever.  Recycle dated foods, snacks, staples like beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc.  Add new canned goods, and other foods you eat regularly. Restock or recycle water stores and add more as space allows.  

batteries_prepReplace batteries in everything you own including house smoke alarms, security system backups, communication radios, AM-FM-Weather radios, flashlights, electronic or regular illuminated gun scopes, rangefinders, bore lights, lanterns, cameras, hearing aids, and such.  Charge or replace vehicle batteries, ATV or SUV batteries.  Replace old batteries in storage with fresh ones.  

Revisit all medical supplies, personal medicines, aid devices, CPAP, and OTC med stocks.  Check first aid kits, refresh as needed.  Add new boxes of band aides, gauze, wraps, bandages, and other medical supplies.  Check stocks on antiseptic ointments, creams, Vaseline, lotions, and other supplies to support health care and injury recovery.  

Do an inventory on all other kinds of consumable supplies.  The list could include all types of paper products from paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, a variety of tapes, glues, oils and lubricants, grease, chainsaw oil, and anything else other than cooking materials that you use up on a regular basis.  Inventory all types of parts for plumbing, HVAC, motor parts, etc.  

Refresh fuel supplies from regular gasolines, diesel, white gas for lanterns or camp stoves, bottled propane, and charcoal lighter if used.  Ditto on charcoal for outdoor cooking, newspaper supplies for charcoal chimneys, and stock up plenty of matches and butane lighters.  

Now is the time to take advantage of New Year sales, too.  Watch newspaper ad flyers, visit the big box outdoor stores, gun shops, and gun shows to stock up or shop for advantageous price points on gear and stuff you need or want to add.  

A bright horizon comes with 2017 but that is no reason to let our guards down.  Natural disasters cannot be controlled.  Terrorism is still viable and a threat.  Our borders remain open for now.  Crime is still rampant.  There is plenty to be considered about to remain vigilant.  

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10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

21 Survival Uses For Paracord

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paracord_uses_multi

Paracord used to be used as the suspension lines for parachutes. After landing on the ground soldiers would cut the cord from their chutes because they found a multitude of uses for the light weight, durable cordage. Today, paracord has become incredibly popular not only with the military but with the civilian sector as well.

By Tinderwolf, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Why Paracord?

The most commonly used type of paracord is type III.  Type III has a minimum strength of five hundred and fifty pounds, which is why most people refer to it as 550 cord. Paracord is a nylon kernmantle rope which means there is an inner core of nylon strands incased by a nylon sheath. paracord_uses_orangeThis type of rope construction gives way to its strength and the variety of tasks it can accomplish. Type III paracord generally has seven inner strands but can have up to nine. Given that it is made out of nylon, paracord is fairly elastic and mold resistant. One of the reasons it is so versatile is that you can cut the outer sheath and use the individual core strands as well. Years ago, paracord only come in black or olive drab but with its grown popularity you can now purchase paracord in virtually any color that you want.

Below is a list of how I have used paracord.

  • Shoelaces
  • A line to hang up wet clothes
  • I have used one of the inner strands as fishing line and yes I did catch a bluegill. Some people have even made fly lures out of the paracord.
  • I have braided ropes
  • I have made monkey fists for the purpose of weighing down one end of my ropes. This makes the task of throwing a line over a tree branch or from a boat much easier.
  • Bracelets, while stylish, can be undone for emergency cordage. I recommend a double cobra weave as you will have twice the amount of cordage available.
  • Belts
  • Lanyards, I caution that if you make or buy a paracord lanyard make sure it has a break away clasp or on it.
  • Long gun slings
  • I have used the inner strands and an upholstery needle to sew shut a rather large hole in one my packs and it has held for over a year now. I also sewed shut a hole in my driver’s side truck seat which due to climbing in and out, gets a lot of wear and tear. Six months later it is still holding strong.
  • Rock slings
  • Hammocks
  • Tow lines, for vehicles and boats
  • I have tied down loads in my truck bed
  • Knife handles
  • Keychains
  • Bottle wraps
  • Dog leashes
  • Snares
  • Dog collars
  • Dental floss. While somewhat uncomfortable to use it will serve the purpose if you get popcorn stuck in your teeth around the campfire. 

Conclusion

The uses for this cord are only limited by your imagination. Generally paracord is sold in either one hundred foot hanks, or one thousand foot spools. Personally, I like the one thousand foot spools because you can cut the length you want for a specific job in mind. If you are going to be paracord_uses_greenmaking other items from the cord, such as bracelets and slings, having the extra cord on hand in case you make a mistake is definitely worth having the spool on hand. Given it’s plurality of uses and durability, any survival scenario is improved by paracord. I would be very interested in hearing what you have all used paracord for and your experience with it. So sound off and keep making adventures!

Photos Courtesy of:
Fabio Bertoldi
Rutxer
Joskcat

 

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More Tips For Your Bug Out Bag

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INCH Bag Tips

If you read my post on 7 Tips For Your Bug Out Bag, considered this part II.  Many posts on Bug Out Bags out there in the INCH Bag Tipsblogosphere talk about specific items being better than others.  I prefer comparing ideas instead of whether a Mora is better than a Bushman for low budget survival, boy would that be a fun debate :)  Survival Gear is great, it makes life in the backcountry easier, but mindset and skills keep you alive.  So we try and find a happy balance like most aspects of living.  Much of this post will be review for you experienced types, but it never hurts to be reminded.  For you newly awakened survival minded Americans, welcome to the party.  I will try and not repeat too much from the last post, there will some cross-over and expanding of ideas.

By Pineslayer, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Sweat Happens

The biggest rookie mistake when hitting the trail is being over dressed.  You will heat up quickly, don’t be afraid to INCH Bag Tipsstop and shed a layer early on.  Too much sweat can cause problems fast, drenched clothes, dehydration and generally being uncomfortable in your clothing.  Choosing the right clothing it is your first defense against Mother Nature.  The old saying ‘Cotton Kills’ is pretty good advice.  I love my cotton clothes and wear them often when working or hiking, but they have no place in your survival kit.  It takes forever and a day to dry out.  One plus for cotton is hot and dry environments where it can shine, it just depends on where you are and time of year.  Now a 50/50 blend is not so bad.  Most BDU’s are this blend and they wear great and dry out fairly fast.  I have wool blends that are very comfy and so are the polyester base layers.  Do your homework before betting your life on any clothes.  I can’t say enough good things about BDU style clothing.  Ripstop durability, pockets, and there are some good non-camo ones out there if you are looking for a more Gray Man look. The debate of natural fiber and synthetic will not be solved here today.  Both have their pro’s and con’s.  I use both and my kit has both.  We should happy that we have so many choices. Last piece of advice, think about being able to layer when choosing your survival clothing.  I prefer loose clothing over tight fitting mostly for ease of movement and airflow.  The only tight fit should be your base layer.

Keeping a Clean Camp

Are you a clean freak?  Does everything have a place in your home?  If the answer is yes, then you have a good starting point.  If the answer is no, you need to get your mind in order.  This will be hard for some people, but bear with me.  When car camping you spread out and set up your outdoor home, some backpackers are guilty of this too.  In a survival/bug out situation this can lead to big problems.  Not only is it easier to lose track of essential gear, but if you need to move quickly any hesitation to grab stuff could mean dire consequences.  Use your gear when needed then put it away.

A clean camp also means hiding waste.  Even in tense, stressful times, the effort must be made to make it harder to track you.  Although these principles are recreational based, if you think tactically they make sense too.  Expanding on the tracking thing, next time you hit the trail, try to leave no tracks.  See if you can walk on hard surfaces, rocks in or close to the trail.  Then see if you move without making any noise.  These are skills that need to be practiced before they are needed.

Too Staff or Not To Staff

A hiking stick is more than a fun toy.  Choose the right one and you have a tent pole, doggy back-off stick, rifle Bug Out Bag Staffmonopod, snake stick, fishing pole, fighting Bo, spear…the list is only limited by your imagination.  When crossing a stream or log it can really steady the balancing act, especially when you have a pack on.  Trekking poles are used by more older hikers than younger ones, for good reason.  Using your arms to help climb a hill, when your knees have a lot of miles on them, just makes sense.  Anyone who has spent anytime with a heavy pack can attest to the fact that going downhill when tired can be tricky, poles can save you from a fall.

There are many tents out there that rely on trekking poles to reduce pack weight.  If you carry a poncho for your shelter, than a pole is very useful.  The only downside I can think of is if you are carrying a rifle, then a staff would be a problem, but there are collapsible ones too.  The picture shows one that has removable tops, from a smooth ball top to notched rifle rest, think of the possibilities.  Frog gigger, torch, or just maybe some decoration that improves your spirits.

Lastly, laws notwithstanding, sword canes.  I have not looked into them much, but I can see a place for them with older folks in your group.  I have seen some very cool looking ones and who doesn’t like a long sharp piece of steel.

Carrying The Essentials

I’m talking about the stuff you use everyday, all the time.  There are many acronyms for these items, I prefer Canterbury’s 10C’s system.  It just is simple and easy to teach to others.  Anyway when bugging out, scouting a route, looking for resources, there will be times when you shed your pack to crest a hill to look for something.  The reason will be to save energy and get there quicker, maybe you are looking for a place to go to the bathroom.  If you get turned around, caught in an ambush, or just get hurt, do you want to be without everything?

Many packs have a removable lid that converts to a waist pack.  It is my opinion that your essential gear should go in there and go with you everywhere, to bed, to the bathroom, everywhere.  If your pack doesn’t have one or it just isn’t right for the job, there are many other ways to have that stuff on you.  Pockets, on your belt, chest rig, any combination of these.  Lay out the things you want on your body at all times, the rest goes in the ruck.  Find the system that works for you and is comfortable so you never leave them behind, never.

Here are a few options that I have, all are designed to work with a backpack.  I use to use a small hydration pack strapped to the top of my large pack, it worked well.  I moved away from that in an attempt to lighten the load.  It saved a pound or two, but the option is still very good.  Waist packs come in so many designs that it will make your head spin, I have settled on some vintage pieces probably because they are more rugged than current recreational offerings.  Ribz packs are a great option too.  I have one, it is light and comfortable, I wouldn’t call it rugged, but it isn’t fragile either.

There are packs that come with an attached smaller pack.  The ones in my collection are on the heavy side.  If you have ever worn a ILBE main pack with attached assault pack, you know what I mean.  That set-up weighs in at around 15 lbs, empty.  Now it is as rugged as anything on the planet, but so are the men who carry them.  There are some great travel luggage packs with zip off day packs, very gray man units.  The downside is that the suspension isn’t as robust as more purpose driven packs.  Kinda going off course here.

My carry systems leans towards pocket kits, cargo pockets that is, and waist packs that store inside the ruck, or a combination.  My main INCH bag has a Ranger RACK chest rig that is set up for survival and not battle.  It really does work great.  Find a way that works for you, wear it, use it and don’t be afraid to admit defeat and try something else.  When you are humping down a trail and can’t turn back, you are stuck with the system you have.

Running a Cold Camp and Stealth

Bottom line is if you are bugging out drawing attention to yourself is a bad idea.  At some point you will need to Survival Stovesrest, hydrate, eat.  Starting a campfire is like sending up a flare every couple of minutes.  Water is heavy, you should have a days supply on you, after that you will need to acquire more.  Get a good filter, have some purification tablets too.  For the sake of this section, we will assume you have access to water, if you don’t, change your plan or route.  Now you can boil water, how will you do that?   There are so many stoves out there to choose from that you can spend days, weeks reading about them and trying to decide.  Why a stove vs. just building a fire?  Smoke and light, both bad in this situation.  A stove limits both, a good stove can virtually eliminate them.

A stove that requires fuel other than wood will become a liability at some point, but in the short term they very useful.  Alcohol stoves are easy, no moving parts and if you spill the fuel it doesn’t stink up your clothes forever.  Trangia’s are bombproof and are just plain cool.  Downside is that they are not great at altitude and in extremely cold  temps.  A small wood burning unit is the way to go for long term.  180 Tactical, Emberlit, SoloStove, Swiss Ranger Volcano, and many others are available at affordable prices.  All put out very little smoke, if any, after a minute when they get heated up. Also, in the honorable mention category, are the stoves that take propane/butane mix canisters.  Easy to use, instant heat, no smoke, little flame, and the stove itself is small and light.  The fuel isn’t really expensive, but impossible to improvise when you run out.

The last case for having a stove in this scenario is cooking meat on the trail.  Squirrel sushi doesn’t sound good to me.  Staying warm in a cold camp is the only other problem.  Dress appropriately.  Pretty much common sense, right?  Scrutinize your clothing and have a good sleep system.  Everyone’s area and tolerance to cold is different, but don’t skimp here.  Good clothing can be had for a song at thrift stores.  Don’t expect to get everything at one time there, but stop in every time you are driving by.  If you only find one piece a week, it adds up.  I haven’t bought a shirt, coat, boots, or pair of pants at a department store in well over a decade.  I am a cheapskate, but I don’t wear cheap clothing.  Example, I was in S. Carolina this summer, drove by a Goodwill, went in, with much ribbing from the in-laws, walked out with a pair of Levi’s cargo pants, looked new, for $5 and tax.  You never know what you will find.  My coffers are filled with quality gear too, all from thrift stores.

How Did I Get On This Subject?

Pick your lay up position wisely.  Use the terrain to your advantage by letting nature obscure your camp.  You can use a little field craft too.  Some downed branches can be used around your site for camouflage.  A depression in the ground may be all you need, just make sure it isn’t in a runoff area.  Surveillance after you set up is key, try to pick a spot that you can see approaching trouble.  If you plan on being in a spot for more than a day, keep your travels to a minimum and don’t leave tracks to and from the camp.  In a grassy area, picking a different route every time can help to not leave a trail.  So as always, please leave your ideas about this stuff in the comment section.  Sharing ideas just make us better.

Photos by:
Pineslayer
David Mydlarz

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Choosing The Best Shelter For Your Bug Out Bag – Part 1

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Best SHTF Shelter

Yea! Another backpack post.  Well, I wish I could apologize, but I love this stuff.  If your packs are like mine, they are best teotwawki tentconstantly evolving and being scrutinized.  My G.H.B. that has been in service for about a year, is about to be pushed aside for a bigger and more adaptable unit that can be pushed into the I.N.C.H. bag (“I’m Never Coming Home”) realm.  I am going to try and keep the weight the same, but it needs to be able to carry better shelter and a sleep system when needed or wanted.  Which brings us to our discussion.

By Pineslayer, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Lightweight vs. Comfort

“Travel light, freeze at night”.  I first heard this particular phrase from John Mosby.  Don’t know who started it, but itBest Survival Tent is based in truth.  Shelter, clothing, and your sleep system make up the bulk of your weight and space capacity.  So it makes sense to really analyze your gear and be honest as to your needs.  Are you going to be out for 1 or 10 days or open ended?  What is the weather like in your area?  Everyone’s situation is different, so there is no silver bullet and everyone has a different tolerance to discomfort.  So when choosing a shelter remember to consider what you are wearing and what kind of sleep system you carry, they all combine to keep you cozy.

Tents

Tents are comfy, but can be heavy and bulky, especially if it is for 3 people. There are some great offerings in the Best Survival Tentlightweight realm, they can be costly and sometimes on the fragile side.  I would consider a tent weighing 5lbs or less to be your goal.  Anything heavier and I would hope it is for a large group and you can share the pain.  Consider teepee style floorless units.  Easy to set up, lighter. more space and you can wear your muddy boots in there and cook too.  I have a Black Diamond Mega Light Tent that I love.  It weighs about 3 lbs, 8’ square. 6’ interior height , and not too brightly colored.  It is a lot of tent for the weight and sheds wind, rain and snow easily.  In some buggy climates most people can’t fathom not having a screened in tent.  I get it.  Keep this idea in mind though, if you are enclosed in a typical tent, you can’t see out and in a bug out scenario that is a security risk.  If you are traveling with others it is less risky, since there should be a lookout/sentry/patrol aspect and you should be sleeping in shifts.  If you are alone…

Also Read: Jarhead’s Bug Out Bag

If you must have a tent, I think it  breaks down into 2 main categories, freestanding and not.  Most freestanding tents are 2, 3 or 4 pole in design with corresponding increases in weight and strength.  They are great in the respect that you can unstake them, move them to a better spot, and hold them up in the air and shake out the dirt.  Non-freestanding units tend to be lighter and are usually designed around 2 poles, one at each end of the tent, forming a hooped front entry style (except for those teepee styled ones)  They must be staked out unlike the freestanding units.  Tents may be the standard in recreational endeavors, but in a true survival situation they may be a boat anchor or death trap. Did I mention that most tents are made of materials that flame up or melt around fire.  One last positive thing about tents, in really cold windy weather, a good tent can be worth its weight in gold.

Tarps

Tarps come in every conceivable size, color, and material.  The ability to set them up in gobs of configurations makes Best Survival Tentthem the winner in weight and concealment.  They can block rain, snow, sun and wind.  I have recently acquired an addiction to military poncho shelters called Zeltbahn’s.  Oh man can you lose yourself in this rabbit hole.  Most are canvas which weighs more per square yard, but are far more durable than nylon or rubberized old school military units, which I do happen to really like.  I have Russian and Polish versions that are virtually identical.  Recently Sportsmansguide had the Russians ones for $13.50 each, they are currently out of them, but keep your eyes open, they are a steal. My collection also includes Hungarian ponchos with a cool camo pattern and a couple of East German or Czech, the jury is still out, in a rain camo.  The rain camo items are rectangular vs. the pie slice shape of most Zeltbahn’s.  The advantage of these military poncho/tarps are that they are canvas and are very tough.  That alone should make them worth a look.

Also Read: 4 Types of Base Camps

I set one of the Rooskie units up and left it set up outside for a month.  It has been rainy, windy, with days of hot dry weather, so it experienced all but snow.  After an exceptionally hard rain, the underside was dry, no seeping or weeping.  This has made it to my very short list of TEOTWAWKI shelters.  This guy will convince you of their worth (click here).   In the multi-use category, poncho/tarps are right up there with your fixed blade.

Back to tarps,  nothing beats a silnylon tarp for pack weight reduction.  There are lots of cottage industry American made units out there and that is a great thing.  They are pretty strong for their weight, but the downsides are major for extended survival scenarios.  If they rip, don’t bother with duct tape, silnylon requires a special repair tape.  Sewing up a tether point is less than ideal also due to the nature of the material.  In reality few materials are easy to repair long term except for, wait for it, canvas.

I include US military style poncho’s in this category.  They are excellent options for your pack.  Few items have the multi-use capabilities of this popular item.  The ripstop ones are excellent due to their lighter weight than older models.  Now before anyone starts typing up their blood pressure, those older issue rubberized ponchos are great, but they weigh over twice as much.  If you go the poncho option make sure it has strong grommets on the corners and midline for a better shelter.  If it makes any difference, a poncho is my shelter of choice for my lighter GHB.

Hammocks

I really like the hammock option.  Get off the ground in wet and buggy places.  Lightweight, comfortable, and multi-use.  Best Survival ShelterThere’s that word again.  Mesh style units can be used to fish with and tarp style ones can gather water or other foods or act as an over head tarp.  Paired with a tarp, you have a versatile shelter.  There are many different styles of hammocks out there.

Also Read: Hennessy Hammock Review

The latest incarnation is a clone of older jungle hammocks.  Screened sleeping area with a roof made with modern lightweight materials.  The only downsides that I can think of is you need 2 strong points to tie to and in cold to mild temps the air moving under you can make for a chilly night.

Bushcraft

Don’t forget learning to make shelter out of available natural materials.  Jarhead Survivor over on SHTFBlog.com has been talking a lot about primitive skills and they definitely worth your time to learn.  I will not go into building of shelters, because that is another post entirely.  Remember that building takes time, calories and knowledge, so that is why we buy stuff.

My survival packs have ponchos, U.S. military.  I love the Zeltbahn’s and would not hesitate to replace my current poncho for one of them.  Right now tents are for camping, even though I have many great light sturdy options, I can’t get past the ‘can’t see out’ thing.  You can remove the rainfly on good weather days and see through the mesh, so maybe I’m being a snob.  The next thing to creep into my pack is a hammock.  The tents that are staged to go first are Black Diamond Mega and my prized Woodland camo Bibler 2 manTodd Bibler made a few of these to try and get a military contract, that fell through, at least that is the rumor, but I met a former employee and bought his, score!  Sorry had to brag about that one, I have yet to see another one.

Also Read: 3 Things All Bug Out Bags Need

When choosing your shelter for that pack that just might be your ‘home’ for a while, make an informed decision.  Be honest with yourself about the weight you can carry, day in, day out.  Can your choice hold up to less than optimal conditions?  Can you repair it on the trail?  Is it multi-functional?  There is no silver bullet to answer this question.  Every situation is different, every person has different perceptions of need, that can really affect their attitude in a stressful situation.  Current times can be scary if you are paying attention.  Being prepared can reduce that scary feeling.  Get your kit squared away then help a friend get their pack ready.

Photos By:
Pineslayer
Eberlestock
Mountain Guerilla
Trek Light Gear

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