10 Essentials For Surviving In The Wilderness At Night

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You are convinced that it could never happen to you, don’t you? But there is no escaping the fact that you might be stuck out in the wilderness at night.

If you have no experience with camping, or have spent little time in the woods, this can be a frightening and dangerous experience.

Even if you are completely alone, knowing how to do these ten things can keep you safe and in good condition.

If you ever have to survive some sort of disaster and decide to stay in a wooded area, you will be much closer to being able to stay in this setting for weeks, or even months if needed.

Be Mentally and Emotionally Prepared

You emotional and mental preparedness for surviving in the wild should start before you find yourself in the woods and have to face the experience.

Remember, nature is not your enemy. The woods and its inhabitants usually kill or maim only in the course of trying to survive, defend themselves from predators, and raise their young. As long as you do not interfere, you can live comfortably in the woods regardless of the time of day.

If you are reading this and know nothing of living in or traveling through the wilderness, start learning from now. Read articles, go camping with experienced groups of people, and do all you can to gather factual and accurate information on how to live in the woods and understand its inhabitants.

The more you know about living in these conditions, the less you will fear them. The less fear you have, the easier it will be to go about taking care of basic needs if you must stay in a wilderness setting at night.

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Maintain Appropriate Body Temperature

As with any other place, temperatures are apt to drop at night. If you did not bring extra clothing, or the right kinds of clothes, you will need to find some other way to keep warm. Here are a few things that can save you:

Plastic Bags

Always keep a construction grade plastic bag with you, it will be large enough to line with leaves or other insulating material to sleep in.

Remember to leave some room open even around your body so that sweat evaporates properly and air continues to circulate around your skin. In extreme cold temperatures, moisture near your skin can cause your core temperature to drop to dangerous levels.

Build a Fire

Learn how to build a fire safely and effectively, including how to build a fire in the rain. Pack a tea light, and remember to search for pine cones. Both will make excellent tinder material.

Don’t forget to bring along a fire starter such as waterproof matches or some other type of fire starter that you feel comfortable with.

Cover Yourself with Leaves

As long as the leaves aren’t damp and are free of bugs, mold, and mildew, they will keep you warmer than not covering with anything at all.

Find and Purify Water to Stay Hydrated

Maybe you aren’t lost, and still expect to arrive back in a populated area in a few hours. Even though you may not think much about water, it is still need it on hand and to stay hydrated all the time.

When you are stressed out, engaging in more intense physical activities, or dealing with increased temperature changes, your body will release more sweat, and also use more water for other vital processes.

So you need clean water on hand and use it when you are trying to survive in the wilderness especially if overnight. Ideally, you should be able to purify at least ½ to one gallon of water for your overnight needs.

Here are some things you can keep with you as well as skills to develop:

  • Know how to capture water from leaves, earth, and rainfall.
  • Keep a long tube sock, bone char, some sand, and activated carbon in your travel gear at all times. You can use them to make a filter to remove chemical contaminants and debris from the water. It is also important to have some kind of vessel to boil the water in so that you can kill off any pathogens that may be in the water.
  • There are also filtering water straws available that come with a complete water cleaning system. Just make sure you drink through the straws, and you will have clean water.
  • Carry water purifying tablets. Be sure to always know the limitations of these tablets so that you can use other systems if needed.
  • Learn how to make charcoal and bone char.
  • Contrary to popular belief, boiling water alone will not produce clean water. It will only concentrate heavy metals and other poisons, making the water more dangerous to drink. If you are concerned about removing pathogens from the water, it is better to put the water in a clear plastic bottle and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. UV from the sun will kill the pathogens without causing water to evaporate.

Obtain Food

You might be too stressed to eat, but it have to know how to get food in the wilderness during the night hours. Since many animals are more active at night, you can try hunting them, or set traps.

If you happen to be near a pond, you can set traps for fish, or try to hunt for frogs.

When hunting at night, always be aware that the animals you are hunting may also be prey for another animal in the woods. That animal, in turn, may decide you are competition and hunt you instead.

Before you go into any wilderness setting, always know how the local food chain works so that you can steer clear of predators and still take the game you need for survival.

As with any other time of day, lichens, moss, berries, and fruit will still be available. Learn the Universal edibility test, and practice using it so that you can avoid being poisoned.

If you decide to carry food with you, choose high calorie items that do not require heating. You can also bring along a few ready to eat meals that come with warming packets if you want a more complete meal. Even if you only have enough packets to last for two or three days, it will be enough until you are able to gather food on your own.

Shelter From Storms, Wind, and Other Bad Weather

Aside from being colder, you may also wind up dealing with rain, wind, or other weather elements that you will not want to be out in.

As long as you have a knife (or a sharp edge on a rock) branches, vines (or long stemmed plants), leaves available you can make a shelter that will keep you dry and warm.

Here are some other things you can try:

Look for a Cave

Caves offer plenty of protection, however they are also likely to be dens for bats, bears, and other animals that won’t want you spending the night with them.

If you do decide to spend the night in a cave, make sure you check all passages and all areas of the cave to make sure you aren’t taking up space in another animal’s territory. This includes snakes, spiders, and other animals that can hide easily under rocks and in shaded areas that you might overlook.

Dig a Hole in the Ground

Dig a small hole or depression in the ground, and then put leaves over it. Try to build up the sides a bit to prevent rain from flowing in. This makeshift shelter will not last more than a few hours, but it will get you through the night.

Tree Trunk Protection

Look for a hollow in a tree trunk, or at the base of an uprooted tree. These areas will shelter you from the wind and rain, depending on the direction it is coming from.

As with caves, make sure there are no animals and insects already living there that might cause you problems. In this case, you would be looking for squirrels, raccoon, snakes, and biting insects known to live in or near rotting wood or in tree trunks.

Discourage Predatory Animals and Prevent Insect Bites

For the most part, if you know how to build a fire and can keep it going through the night, predatory animals will stay away from you.

On the other side the equation, many insects are drawn to light, and will gravitate to the fire. You will need to experiment to find the best distance from the fire to avoid falling outside its light, be close enough to stay warm, and still not be swarmed by insects (that will be killed off eventually by the flames).

Insofar as discouraging predatory animals, you will need to know which ones are usually in the area, and also how best to deter them if they appear. Some animals may run away if you yell, while others may decide to attack. A good understanding of animal psychology is essential.

In order to prevent insect bites at night, your best option will be to wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Make sure that all cuffs are sealed off with rubber bands and that the hems of your pants are also tucked into your socks.

To protect your face and neck from insect bites, take a wide brimmed hat and attach some fine webbed fabric over it. Let the fabric drape down to just below your neck, and then make sure it seals to your shirt. Do not put the fabric too close to your face or neck, or the insects will just find a way to bite through it.

Manage Hygiene and Sanitation

Even though you can washing your hands and face with wet wipes, it never hurts to carry a small bar of lye soap and some towels with you.

In particular, if you are spending the night in the woods because of a nuclear disaster, you will need the lye soap for washing off any dust or debris from your skin.

Managing sanitation is also very important because predators can find your urine and stool even if you bury them. Make sure you stay away from areas where water and food are likely to be found, as predators will check there first for prey.

Take Care of Routine and Emergency Medical Needs

Even if you don’t have any injuries, or don’t feel sick, it is still important to know what to do and have some tools on hand. Here are some things you should carry and skills you should learn:

  • know the signs of food poisoning or allergy. Keep Benadryl with you and an epi pen. If you suspect you ate something poisonous, make sure you know how to vomit it back out if it is still in your stomach, or use activated charcoal to try and absorb it and move it out of your system.
  • Always know how to make a tourniquet, splints, and wraps for joint support.
  • Keep essential oils, herbs, and at least a week’s supply of any medications you may be taking onhand. It also never hurts to know what plants in the woods might be useful for taking the place of your medications if the need arises.
  • Know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself, just in case you are alone and swallow something the wrong way.
  • Understand water safety and know how to build a flotation device so that you don’t wind up drowning.

Be Able to Signal for Help

If you were traveling, got lost, and left travel plans, there is a chance searchers will be looking for you. Depending on the weather conditions, rescuers may or may not try to look for you at night. If you built a fire (use a triangle shape), knowing how to create a smoke signal may be of some help.

In addition, if you happen to hear a random chopper overhead, you can try to get their attention with the fire, a flashlight, red laser, or flares if you have them.

Remain Concealed if Needed

During a state of emergency or some kind of major social disruption, you may decide that you’d prefer to avoid the attention of rioters or anyone else that could hurt you. Under these circumstances, building a fire for any reasons is not likely to be an option.

By the same token, sheltering on the ground is also apt to be a problem. Try concealing yourself in a tree or some other location where people aren’t likely to look. If you must stay on the ground, make it a point to cover yourself with leaves or stay in a bunch of brambles so that you are harder to see.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • know how to stay perfectly quiet. People pursuing you may have dogs or other tracking animals trained to pick up on even the slightest sound that you make.
  • Tracking animals can also pick up on your scent. Never pick a place to rest near where you have buried waste, eaten, or carried out some other task.
  • Learn how to use backtracks and other tricks to ensure an animal following your scent cannot pick up your trail.
  • People tracking you may also use thermal profile systems or metal finders to locate you and anything you are carrying. It is very important to know how to break up your thermal profile. Try to avoid lumping all metal objects together in your camping gear, or carry as few metallic objects as possible to keep avoid being detected.

Much of surviving in the wilderness at night is about common sense. You will still need some basic tools such as a knife, fire starting gear, heavy plastic bags, and drinking water bottles to make things a bit easier.

As with anything else, even if you start off with a few tools that you know how to use, and then build on your skill and knowledge levels, it will be easier to spend a night in the wilderness, and come to enjoy the experience as many hikers and campers do.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

11 Ways To Stay Warm When You Have No Shelter

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Have you noticed the skyrocketing rate of homelessness that keeps growing since Obamacare and other harmful systems drain jobs, money, and energy from the economy?

Once the final blow comes that spells the beginning of large scale social collapse, the ability to find a shelter will be as scarce as food and water supplies.

Many preppers think they will be able to get into the woods and build shelters, or find some other means to avoid living exclusively outdoors. It will be even worse: a sheer number of problems might lead to illness and disability that will prevent you from building or effectively managing an existing shelter.

You don’t believe you may wind up homeless and disabled so you still need to know how to stay warm when you have no shelter and can’t build much of a fire.

Wear Clothing in Layers

When you know it is going to be cold, you may be tempted to wear the heaviest garments you can find, thinking that weight and dense fabric equate to warmth. On the other hand, the best way to keep heat in close to your body is to have more air pockets that within the clothing itself.

Wearing clothes in layers gives you better air pockets than wearing just one thick garment.

When layering your garments, choose materials that wick moisture away from your body for the innermost layers.  This will enable moisture to be pulled away from your skin, which will reduce the amount of cooling caused by sweat and evaporation from your skin.

Materials in the outer layers should focus more on acting as wind breakers and moisture blocks. Plastics, vinyl, or other non-permeable materials will work well for the outermost layer.

Make sure the outermost layers are large enough to leave some air space between each garment. Remember, you are aiming to keep warm trapped near your body, not simply press a bunch of garments together in order to mimic thicker fabric.

Wear Black or Dark Colors

No matter what you are doing, black, or dark materials will absorb heat and radiation while white or shiny ones will deflect it. Typically, when it is cold, wearing dark colors will enable the fabrics to absorb heat from the sun or any other source of heat that reaches you.

Wear Extra Socks and Large Shoes

As with layering your garments, the best way to keep your feet warm is to wear layers of socks.

Once again, you will need to choose socks that wick better for the inner layers. This will reduce the risk of foot infections from excess moisture as well as help keep your feet warm and comfortable.

Until you’ve walked several miles on a daily basis, you may not realize that bigger shoes truly are more comfortable than ones that seem to “fit just right”. Always look for shoes that have a little extra room in the toes and around the widest part of your foot.

Larger shoes give you more room to layer socks, and they will also reduce problems associated with callouses and foot cramps. If you find that you have too much room around your ankles, just go ahead and wrap them in some fabric and put a brace behind your heels.

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Pay Attention to Your Extremities

No matter how warm you manage to keep the core of your body, your arms, legs, hands, feet, and head are going to feel cold a lot faster. These are also the parts of your body that will develop frost bite fastest, so keep them as warm as possible.

To keep temperatures more, slip something thin and flexible into your gloves and shoes that will retain heat. This may be as simple as tin foil or anything else that warms up quickly and can be reused with little effort.

You can also use layers of fabric, plastic, or vinyl to keep heat in as much as possible. Just remember, though for hands and feet, you may need to loosen the plastic from time to time in order to let moisture escape.

Keep Your Head Well Covered

Fur and hair are both excellent insulators, but on the other hand, as an extremity, your head is also an area of your body where you will lose a lot of heat.

Here are some inexpensive things you can do to prevent heat from escaping from your head and neck area in cold weather:

  • Wear a hat with a face mask that you can tuck into the neck area of your innermost garments, to keep the heat close to your body and also help redistribute it if needed. You can easily knit or crochet a hat like this and make it custom fit for your needs.
  • The outermost shell of your garments should have a hood that can be used as a wind breaker and water barrier.
  • Make sure you can cover your nose and mouth to keep them as warm as possible. A black towel or anything else that will keep the cold out can be used for this purpose. You’ll need to leave some openings for ventilation, but you can still reduce heat loss by arranging the garment folds to keep most of the heat near your face.

Use Plastic as an Insulator

Anything from plastic grocery bags to trash bags, and even plastic table cloths can all be used as insulators.  When using plastic as an insulator against the cold remember to:

  • Choose plastics that are as durable as possible. Even though smaller sized trash bags may be cheaper, the larger construction strength bags are almost as heavy as black plastic commonly used for killing weeds. Heavier plastic will last longer and develop fewer weak points created as you move around.
  • Use black or other dark colored plastic as it will help retain heat from the sun or any other external source that you can find.
  • Make sure that you can vent moisture easily from the plastic on a routine basis without losing heat.  For example, if you have a flat sheet of plastic, arrange the layers so you can loosen different areas easily and let the moisture out from them without losing heat in other areas.
  • Avoid using tape or anything else that will pull on the plastic or create holes when you have to loosen the plastic. If you do need to secure the plastic, use light weight rope or even yarn to  form a seal between the plastic and your inner garments.
  • Avoid using plastic right next to your body because water evaporation from your skin can spell disaster and lead to both skin infections and increased risk of frost bite.

Control Moisture

Even though wearing layers of garments can help with moisture control, you should also know what parts of your body are going to sweat the most and cause problems.

For example, if you sweat a lot between your shoulder blades or tend to have sweaty feet, you must always pay extra attention to these areas. Among other things, you can try using an extra towel in these areas, and then change it out every few hours for a dry one.

Avoid using chemical antiperspirants as they can easily irritate your skin even more.  They also may not be easily replaced, which will leave you with another problem on your hands. If you are dealing with a social collapse or a scenario where you cannot buy something to replace what was used, chemicals like this will be a waste of time.

Hot Water Bottles or Other Devices

When it comes to retaining heat, few materials absorb it or hold it as well as water.  Therefore, hot water bottles offer a good way to retain heat near your body and also store any heat you can get from an external source.

A hot water bottle can serve to keep you warm and also meet other needs. In particular, today, you can buy a batch of collapsible, clear plastic, flexible water bottles that can be used to store water and also purify it. All you have to do is leave the bottles in the sun and let them heat up.

If the weather is especially cold, use a cardboard solar oven to increase heat capture.  Once they are warm enough, simply insert them into different layers of clothes. Since you can buy different sized bottles, it is possible to find ones that will suit your needs.

Balloons will also work in a pinch, however you may not be able to get more than one or two uses from them.  They also cannot be used for killing off bacteria in water because UV rays from the sun may not be able to get through the material as easily as they can through clear plastic.

Eat High Calorie or Fatty Foods

If you have ever been on an extended hike, or had to do a lot of physical work in one day, you also increased your caloric intake to meet those needs. Your body uses a tremendous amount of energy when you are out in cold temperatures. Choose foods that your body can turn into energy very quickly, as well ones that will help you stay warm.

This includes fatty foods as well as ones that are fried. If you are looking for the perfect excuse to eat some bacon, fried chicken, or anything else that is usually off the menu because of caloric concerns, being out in the cold with no shelter is a good excuse!

Insofar as food stores, you can also store away foods high in carbohydrates and consume them at regular intervals.

Along with high calorie foods, drink plenty of water. Even if you are feeling cold or chilly, your body is still doing a lot of work to try and maintain a safe temperature, which means you will be using a lot of water, and also sweating more than you might expect.

Keeping hydrated will prevent you from getting sick and also help you stay warmer as your body will be able to carry out necessary tasks as efficiently as possible.

Travel During Night Hours

As simple as it may sound, traveling during night hours is a simple, cost effective way to stay warm.  Since temperatures are warmer during the day hours, you can use this time to sleep or rest, as the sun and other resources will give you some extra heat.

This is also a good time to stay stationary and heat up water bottles or harness other heat sources that you happen to have come across in your travels.

Chances are you already know that your body temperature drops when you are sleeping.  If you are already out in the cold, this can spell disaster. On the other hand, when you are awake and moving around, your body produces more heat. Therefore, when you travel at night, you are producing more heat at time when less is available from the sun.

Build a Portable Solar Heater and Solar Cooker

No matter how cold it may be, the sun will still rise and provide heat for a few hours each day.  Here are two things you can adapt for your needs even if you do not have shelter:

  • You can make a solar heater from tin cans and a few scraps of wood and glass. Simply substitute the wood and glass for lighter weight metal and clear plastic, and you will have a portable solar heater. Count on using about 15 – 20 empty cans. You can pipe warm water or warm air in as close to your body as possible. You can use flexible plastic airline tubing (½ inch will work) in the layers of your clothes to transport both water and air, and a battery operated pump for more efficient circulation. If you are in one location during the day, this can truly be one of the most important pieces of equipment you have on hand.
  • A cardboard box solar cooker.  You can use this device to heat up everything from your dinner and water bottles to bricks and rocks that can be used to retain heat.

When you cannot start a fire and have no shelter, it can be very dangerous for you to be out in the cold weather. While you may not want to think about being homeless or what will drive you to this situation, it is still very important to know how to stay warm without shelter and a fire.

You can devote some of your survival budget to a set of garments and gear that can be used to keep you as warm and comfortable as possible even when the temperatures are freezing and you have nothing else to work with.

You’ll always find a way to survive if you have the will to practice your skills and prepare for survival!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia

Here Are The Survival Maps You Should Be Using

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Mankind is at greater risk from both natural hazards and many manmade hazards than at any other time in history. Think about that statement for a moment. I know I do. This is why I try to write about what I am working on in my personal emergency preparedness and survival efforts, or to work on my preparedness related to topics, to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

One of my long-term projects is my own personal Modular Survival Kit which is one of the primary frameworks for my personal emergency preparedness efforts. From that framework hangs a smaller project which is called the Digital Survival Library and my personal digital map collection is part of that project.

I have been working on it and thought I’d document some bits and pieces to share with my friends who read Surviopedia. Make a list and check them one by one as you get them, you will later make good use of these survival resources!

12 Strategic Planning Maps Sources for Location Selection

I have listed some resources for the USA and a few for maps abroad, but if you live or own property outside the US, you may need to look up the equivalent entity in that country. I wouldn’t buy paper copies of the maps here unless they are in books since you only need them to plan.

1. USGS Natural Hazards Maps

This is probably most all-encompassing natural hazards map site I know of and includes tsunami, earthquake, geomagnetism, landslide, volcano, astrogeology, flood, drought and wildfire hazards. It even includes quite a bit of information for foreign nations.

2. FEMA Earthquake Hazard Maps 

This one will show you  how earthquake hazards vary across the United States.

3. FEMA Flood Map Service Centergov

They can help you understand flood insurance rate maps.

4. National Geospatial Intelligence Maps

They are good for studying all kinds of things from nuclear power plants to polar ice and climate change.

5. US Nuclear Reactors, Nuclear Power Plants & Seismic Hazard

It wouldn’t take a tsunami to cause a severe nuclear accident in the US. Note where the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors are and note 10 & 50 mile zones around plant and take prevailing winds into consideration.

6. Nuclear Target Maps

You won’t find any current nuclear target maps on-line, as any current information is going to be secret compartmented. That said, there is plenty of outdated, declassified material available in on-line archives.

One of the greatest nuclear risks today is that a single nuclear weapon or small number of them will be detonated in major cities. New York and Washington DC are major targets as are many significant and/or populous cities, but it’s largely speculation so I won’t include nuclear target maps on this topic for planning purposes, but do observe likely fallout patterns from major cities.

7. Nukemap

In case you want to simulate weapons effects in nearby cities. Helpful for creating realistic training scenarios and choosing locations of fixed sites.

8. EarthExplorer

Think of it as the USGS version of Google Earth … only you can go back in time. Some of the first generation of US satellite imagery taken between 1960 & 1972 has been declassified, so it you want imagery of areas unlikely to change since then you have a free resource now.

9. Google Earth

As every criminal casing your home and retreat knows, Google has invested crazy resources to make Google Earth a fairly-up-to-date tool for ever-increasing swaths of the planet … especially most places most folks reading this live, own property or plan to hole up. If that’s not OK with you, get your place blacked out by telling them you run a child day care, but save some images before you do for your own use.

For survival use, I recommend the Offline Installer for Google Earth. Zoom in areas of interest and snap and print what you need, mark them with the scale, indicate magnetic declination, label and print them and you have useful maps.

10. Books

There are many fine books on the subject containing a number of maps and guidelines – Rawles on Retreats by JW Rawles and Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen are a couple of good ones.

11. Threat-specific Online Searches

Search for hazard maps for threats you are concerned about, they will help you a lot.

12. Digital Survival Library

Use technology, but don’t become dependent on it. To this end, I curate a very useful collection of data that is my personal Digital Survival Library and as you probably guessed, it contains a ton of maps. I store it on pairs of volumes on ruggedized media.

 

The first volume is not encrypted and contains information necessary to treat me in an emergency and some selections from my library that I would like anyone who happens up on to have access to.

The other volume is encrypted and contains a vast library of books, maps, emergency communications plan, emergency plans, insurance information, medical records, photos, genealogy, music, scans of documents, software, driver and a backup of all my important data that I never want to be without. I scan and shred anything that can be, so it’s a lot of data.

It also includes all the software necessary to make any phone of computer I come across read every file type of maps and other files in the library, drivers to print, program amateur radios and everything else I could anticipate that a survivalist would need.

It is comforting to know that if my plane drops out of the sky and I find myself on some island in the Caribbean or in South America I have a map and access to my library … maybe I won’t have a map in the level of detail I would like, but chances are good that it would be useful.

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How to Make Your Own Digital Survival Library

If you make one for yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Stash portions of your DSL on an encrypted server outside the US to make sure you can hop on line an access it from anywhere … as long as the internet is still up.

Cache copies in separate sites. Info caches can be very small so it’s no big deal to stash encrypted copies in places you could find yourself stranded.

It you have need, you can stash a copy on a rugged MicroSD card concealed in a hollowed-out coin, under a band-aid or any imaginable object of sufficient dimensions.

Carry a copy on your keychain in a flash drive or adapter that can connect to both cell phones and computers.

Be careful about using cellphones. Most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, but haven’t configured it for use as a standalone computer, they are very portable and common. Sufficiently small cell phones are likely to survive EMP as a standalone tool even though they contain a lot of vulnerable circuitry because they lack the conductor length to pick up sufficient charge from an incident of typical (50kVA/m) field strength at a distance.

Their small size and low cost make it a simple matter to shield them against more intense super-EMP field strengths and to cache backup phones in Faraday cages. Make sure your phones have the all the software and drivers to get the most of out of your phone in an emergency. If you root a phone and remove all the balloon-ware and tracking software cell providers pre-load phones with, even old phones are plenty powerful to be very useful.

As with all digital maps, GPS’s make it possible to carry more maps, greater detail and more current information as long as you are willing to shell out the dough. They are great tools. Use them, but don’t become dependent on GPS’s, cellphones, PLB’s or anything else that runs on batteries.

Get proficient in orienteering with map and compass first and then add GPS’s and a DSL on top of a strong foundation of map and compass land navigation. Every year, I read about hikers dying from injuries and/or exposure when gizmo’s fail, leaving them stranded.

SERE Maps

Keep copies of a couple small maps in your PSSRK (Pocket Survival and Self-recovery Kit) so you will always have a map on your person. Update them as you move around. Even if you know the area like the back of your hand, not everyone will and maps have a number of other uses besides finding your way.

Phone Book Maps

If you find yourself without a map in a populated area, a decent map for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (aka SERE) purpose can be had for free from any phonebook. You can often find old phonebooks in or near dumpsters or at recycling centers.

Make sure you have the social engineering skills to get your hands on one from any business or residence without putting yourself at risk stealing. Hotels and churches often print small maps on fliers and the latter have aided in prison escapes.

Tyvek

Tyvek is a waterproof, tear-resistant ultralight material that can aid in the construction of a shelter in a pinch … great for SERE maps. The Federal Publications Inc website in Canada prints maps of Canada on Tyvek as do US companies that change so frequently I won’t waste your time with a link … or you can DIY.

Fabric

There is a storied history of blood chits and E&E maps silkscreened or traced onto fabric and sewn into the lining of jackets.

Silk is durable and fire resistant. Polyester taffeta burns thoroughly and quickly without producing hardly any smoke upon exposure to a lighter or other flame. Choose material based on need. Both fabrics pack great in pocket kits.

Light Source

Make sure you can read your maps in the dark. Less-overt colors of low brightness are more covert and preserve night vision, also tend to make ink of the same wavelength disappear, making them less-effective for use with maps that use those colors.

Because of this, I use the Petzl STRIX IR a lot which is a headlamp that can produce red, green, blue white or IR light of low intensity or more intense white light depending on the situation.

UV Light & Marker

A small UV LED can be used to read notes written with UV ink that are normally invisible to the naked eye. UV LEDs and pens can also useful for marking and signaling dead drops, for visual communications and the LEDs for finding biomatter, and scorpions.

General Direction SERE Compass

If you do manage to survive with only the contents of your pockets in unfamiliar terrain, your map won’t be effective unless you orient it.

Maps for Travel, Recreation and Emergency Preparedness

You will want paper copies of these where possible. Digital copies can often be had for free, so get those either way. Store digital copies of your paper maps for use on your cell phones and computers. Scan maps that you only have on paper.

Neighborhood Maps for Emergency Response

I keep these in an emergency-response binder.

By collecting and updating maps, I have accurate maps showing every home and who lives in it, not only my neighborhood but also in surrounding neighborhoods. This information greatly simplifies the process of Block Captains and Co-Captains should keep maps of the neighborhood to mark off which homes need assistance in the event of a disaster incident.

Each neighborhood gets checked off house by house in each block with blocks reporting to neighborhood EOC’s (Emergency Operations Centers) and Neighborhood EOC’s reporting to Area or Municipality EOC’s. You can find out more about how the program works from your local CERT Program. Find a CERT Program Near You

US Geological Survey

You can download all the maps you want for free or order printed maps at reasonable cost.

Another option with the USGS is that you can send them media and they will send you the maps you request or even a copy of the entire inventory, but you had better send a big drive since that would be several TB of data at this writing. That would take quite a while to download over most connections, so perhaps that’s why they provide the service.

  • 1:24K Topo Maps – High level of detail when on foot.
  • 1:100K Topo Maps – A little larger scale for traveling by vehicle.

USDA Forest Service Maps

They typically cost $12-$14 for printed copies.

US National Park Maps

Download for free or buy paper copies for typically $9-$12ea. Set the page to the maximum number of products per page so you don’t have to scroll through as many pages.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Map

Similar to EarthExplorer. Save digital copies and print paper ones.

Maps for Your Vehicle

City Maps

City maps are a must. I make it a point to pick them up wherever I travel, in advance when possible.

Topo Maps of the Entire State

These atlases and gazetteers by DeLorme and possibly competitive products are useful for traveling back roads and forest service roads by vehicle. This is important because you never know when an unforeseen emergency may force you to flee in an unplanned direction over back roads.

The scale isn’t large enough to be of much use on foot unless you have a lot of ground to cover, but pages or parts of pages could serve as E&E maps while traveling and is great for long drives. Invest in plastic covers and cases for these if you want them to last banging around in a vehicle.

Cost is about $15-$20 for most states and a little more for larger states or states with a lot of detail. I make sure I carry atlases for all of the states I am traveling and the adjacent states out West. Back in the Northeast where sizes of states are smaller I would make sure I had atlases for 2-4 states away from planned routes.

US Road Atlas

They are long distance backup to the above atlases.

Compact Phone Book

Maps and direction finding are more effective with a destination in mind. As soon as your cell tower, the grid or the internet go down, google and online maps will no longer work and you will find yourself reaching for something your probably don’t use much any more … a phone book … provided you are old enough to know what they are and how to use one, that is.

Custom Maps

Custom Maps Printed by University Libraries

Cheapest source of custom maps I have found. I had a university library print some color topographical maps on water-resistant paper in the same detail a the USGS topo maps. They are very large, about the size of 2 USGS topo maps high x 3 wide centered on areas of my choice.

They cost about $6 each which is an outstanding value! USGS topos would have cost me 6x as much, not come on water-resistant paper and aren’t centered where you like so you always seem to end up hiking through 2-4 maps per day, which means you have to line up the edges multiple maps.

DIY

Print maps at home. Depending on how many maps you print, what software you use and what you print them on, this can range from very inexpensive to expensive.

In addition to the USGS, there are several private websites which also offer free, printable maps online. I have printed some useful ones using Google Earth.

Custom Maps

mytopo and a few other companies have websites with easy to use interfaces that enable you to order custom maps of every sort imaginable. They have useful hunting products as they can display public vs private land, land owners and hunting areas. They are more expensive, but not ridiculously, so. Price varies by size and type.

Also check out their Backpacker Magazine Pro Maps if you are a backpacker.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

The Five Best Places To Bug Out In The USA

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I don’t care who you are or where you live, bugging out is one of the most complex scenarios for any prepper.

The huge number of factors that you have to consider, prepare for and execute in an effective bug out make bugging out a logistical and organizational nightmare.

More, these factors tend to change as times goes by, due to social and political issues that impact the natural resources and landscape in different areas of our country. 

Nevertheless, anyone who knows survival and preparedness will tell you that you need a good bug out plan in place, even if your Plan A is to bug in, sheltering in place in your home.

The first and possibly biggest problem that has to be considered is where to bug out to. You really can’t do any of the other parts of your plan, until you decide where you’re going. Nor can you build a shelter, stockpile supplies or even make an accurate list of what equipment you’ll need, without having that one detail figured out.

Finding a good bug out location isn’t easy. A lot depends on the type of disaster you’re going to have to face. Another huge factor is where you live. Your bug out location needs to be far enough away from your home, so as to not get caught in the same disaster your home is caught in, while being close enough that you actually have a chance of getting there.

This is easier in some parts of the country, than it is in others. Generally speaking, it’s going to be easier to find a bug out location and develop a bug out plan, if you live in one of the less populated states.

The closer you are to the big cities, especially in the high population areas of the country, the harder you will find it to build yourself a bug out plan, with a survival shelter that is isolated enough to protect you from any marauders sweeping the countryside, looking for food and anything else they can get.

Those marauders are the biggest reason to have a bug out plan, with an isolated survival shelter. You can survive many things by sheltering in place, but when it comes down to it, the worst thing you could possibly face is a concerted attack on your home. That is the biggest trigger for bugging out.

Click here to discover how our ancestors survived during harsh times!

Requirements for a Bug Out Shelter

Regardless of what you’re bugging out from or where you’re bugging out to, there are some requirements that any bug out shelter needs. While there may be many different ways of meeting these requirements, finding the ideal location will be narrowed down by your personal situation. Where you live and how well you can get out of Dodge will be the biggest considerations.

Distance

As I’ve just mentioned, you want to be far enough away from home, that whatever disaster causes you to bug out, won’t hit your survival retreat. At the same time, you don’t want your retreat to be so far away, that you can’t get there. A retreat that’s 500 miles away from your home might be great, if you can get there. But if you can’t, all it’s going to do is give you reason to bemoan your choice.

You’ll want to be able to get there on one tank of gas. But you’ve got to consider that in any bug out situation, you’re likely to have traffic problems to contend with. So, you won’t get as far as you normally would on a tank of gas. Therefore, you should keep extra gas on hand, ready to take with you when you bug out.

Just recently Oroville, in Northern California was evacuated due to the risk of the dam’s emergency spillway failing. Since most of the people weren’t preppers, the bug out went just like everyone has said they will, with long lines of traffic creeping along the highway, gas stations out of gas, and people abandoning their cars when their tanks ran dry. You’ve got to make sure you’re not one of those people.

Defensibility

If you’re bugging out because of the aforementioned marauders, you need to take into consideration that you might have to defend your survival retreat. The more difficult the retreat is to access, with the more obstacles in any invader’s way, the better.

At the same time, you’ll need good defensive positions for your family or survival team, with good routes of escape, should that become necessary. While you probably won’t want to abandon your survival retreat unless absolutely necessary, it’s better to do that when needed, than it is to die defending it.

Concealability

An important factor in defending your retreat is keeping people from finding it. A log cabin sitting on the open prairie isn’t very well hidden; but one in the woods can be. Does the location you’re looking at give you the ability to hide your retreat, so that people aren’t likely to find it?

You need to look at this from both short and long distance. Some locations may be hard to see up close, but highly visible from the opposite mountainside. Others will be invisible from a distance, but once you get close, they are obvious. Proper planning and a good location will help you with this.

Of course, a lot has to do with how you build your shelter. If you’re going to build a big fancy log cabin on the side of a lake, with its own dock and an entire wall of glass, you’re going to have trouble hiding it. Going underground helps, as an underground shelter or bunker is harder to see. Even building an underground home, cut into the hillside, makes it hard for others to find you.

Resources

This is probably the single, most important item on the list. If you’re bugging out from home, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to need to be away for a while, maybe even permanently. No matter how much you stockpile, eventually you’ll need to live off the land. Does the location give you that possibility.

More than anything, this means having access to a good water source, fuel for the fire and game that you can hunt. But the soil matters too, as you’ll probably end up planting a garden to augment your food. Building materials may be important as well, especially if you can’t build your long-term shelter ahead of time.

Population

By definition, a survival shelter just about has to be in a low population area. That’s necessary for concealability, defensibility and resources. The more isolated the location, the better.

So a good way to start your search is to look at maps and define low population areas that are reasonably close to your home. Go and visit those areas, to see how well they meet the other needs for survival. When you find those that do, you can start looking for property that might be available.

Nuclear Risk

While the Cold War is long gone, with the thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles that the United States and Soviet Union had ready to launch, the nuclear threat has not gone away. Actually, it’s increased in recent times, with unstable nations joining the club of the nuclear capable. The risk of a nuclear strike, especially by EMP, is higher than it has been in decades, and it looks like it’s going to continue going up.

But a country doesn’t even need to own nuclear weapons in order to create a nuclear strike, all they need are good hackers. Every nuclear power plant in the world is controlled by computers, and most of those are tied into the internet in some way. Regardless of how good the security is, someone can hack it.

Our nuclear power plants have already been “tickled” by hackers, searching out their defenses. There have even been cases where one power plant or another was taken over and controlled remotely. This is extremely dangerous, as all it would take to create a nuclear disaster is for someone who hacked in to bypass the safeguards and let the reactor go wild.

Then there’s the risk of reactors being damaged by natural disasters. We’ve all head of Japan’s Fukushima reactor and how it’s spilling tons of contaminated waste into the Pacific Ocean per day. That sort of thing can happen anywhere, especially with aged reactors, which we’ve got our share of.

Affordability

Finally, you’ve got to look at what your budget will allow you to do. It won’t do you the least bit of good to buy a piece of property to use as a survival shelter, and then lose it, because you can’t make the payments. Don’t assume that whatever disaster you face that causes you to bug out will also make it possible for you to stop making payments. Some disasters might cause that, but others won’t.

Perhaps the worst thing that could happen to any prepper is to have their home or survival shelter foreclosed upon. Yet, if you do something that’s beyond your budget, that’s a very real possibility.

On to the Best Areas

The criteria I just listed actually narrow down the possible places where you or I can have a survival retreat considerably. There are large parts of the country which are just not going to work. While they might be good in one regard, they would be totally ineffective in others.

Take the Southwest, for example. There are many places in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada which are isolated and defendable, with very little nuclear risk. But those areas don’t have much water either. Unless you can find a place in the Southwest and can put in a solar powered well, your chances of effectively creating a survival retreat are minimal.

Other parts of the country just have too much population. Much of the Northeast and the West Coast fall into this category, although there are some areas that are more isolated. Even the most populated states have places you can hide, you just need to find them.

1.      The Rocky Mountains

Whenever I think of bugging out or even owning a cabin in the woods, I think of the Rocky Mountains.

The fact that I grew up at the foot of the Rockies, in Colorado, may have something to do with that.

There’s a rugged romanticism associated with the Rockies, which were the home of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and many other mountain men, long before ranchers and miners moved in and took over.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Colorado Rockies through the years.

Today, much of the property is owned by somebody or other and what isn’t privately owned is owned by the government.

Nevertheless, there are many places where you can go and not see another person for miles around. Game is plentiful, there’s water in abundance and plenty of wood for building and a fire.

For that matter, many of the mountain communities would make good places to bug out to, especially if you owned a “cabin” or vacation home in one of them. If you could spend enough time there to become a familiar face, then when the time came to bug out, the community would accept you readily.

The nuclear threat in the mountains would be negligent, although Denver has been a big target for years. But then, if you were going to hide out in the mountains, it probably wouldn’t be near Denver anyway.

The only problem with the Rockies is price. Land in the mountains is expensive. But there’s always the possibility of using public land, bugging out to a state park or national forest. While you couldn’t build a cabin there ahead of time, you could probably cache some supplies by burying them.

2.      The Appalachian Mountains

Not as isolated as the Rockies, the Appalachian Mountains are an excellent place to bug out to, especially in West Virginia, Kentucky and the western part of Tennessee.

Many of the people who live in those mountains are survivalist types anyway, who hunt, fish and keep their long guns in the back window of their pickup trucks.

There are actually areas in the Appalachians which are being developed as survival communities.

By developed, I mean that someone has broken up a large tract of land into ten acre lots and is selling it to people who want to build a survival retreat.

Since the area would be populated by like-minded people, there’s a good chance that they would band together to help each other out.

Resources shouldn’t be a problem, with these mountainous areas being just about as good as the Rockies.

Being closer to populated areas will also make it easier to buy the supplies and materials that you need for establishing your survival retreat.

For those who live in the eastern part of the United States, going into the Appalachians is the easiest way to get to an isolated area.

There aren’t too many other areas east of the Mississippi which will offer you as much privacy in a wooded mountain area.

3.      The Northwest

When I’m saying the Northwest, I’m not talking about the Pacific Northwest. While Washington and Oregon are beautiful states, they’re also blue states.

That means that you’re more likely to run into government interference and restrictive gun laws. Rather, I’m referring to the states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas. These are some of the least populated parts of our country, making them ideal places to survive any social unrest.

There are very few nuclear sites in these states, although there were a fair number of nuclear silos dug into the countryside during the Cold War. Some of those are available and are being converted to survival bunkers. While you might not want to build million dollar survival condos for the wealthy, a silo or control bunker still makes a great survival retreat.

The low population of these states means that you’re unlikely to have problems with marauders or other two-legged vermin. Hunting and fishing are common, with game being plentiful. Actually, this area is one of the few places in the country where I’d say that living off the land is a very real possibility.

4.      The Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast states, especially Louisiana and Mississippi are another part of the county where the gun culture is strong, with many people who hunt and fish on a regular basis.

If nothing else, you could always hunt alligator to eat. They’re a bit hard to skin, but the meat is good, especially when cooked Cajun style.

Getting close to the Gulf Coast has other advantages in the food department as well. Much of the world feeds itself from the world’s oceans.

That’s another important source of food to consider as part of your survival plans.

Adding a boat to your gear could make it very easy for you to survive.

For that matter, why not bug out onto a boat and live in the Gulf?

While salt water is not drinkable, it can be made drinkable by distillation.

All you’d need to do is build a still or even a solar still. Distilled water is the purest water you can find.

So, you could get both your food and your water from the Gulf.

5.      Parts of Texas

While Texas poses its own challenges for survival, the fierce independence of Texans make it an attractive state to bug out to. There’s lots of open country available and the state is known for not putting up with any nonsense from troublemakers.

Remember the attempted Muslim attack on the Mohammed art show in Garland, Texas, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France? Those attackers didn’t get more than a few feet from their car, before they were cut down. Had the people in France been Texans, things would have gone differently.

The big problem with Texas is water. Unless you happen to be fortunate enough to buy property with water on it, you’d better plan on putting in a well, and it might have to be a rather deep one at that. But if you can get a well in, the land is good for survival, with a lot of game. You could live for years on the feral hogs in some parts of the state. They breed so quickly that ranchers can’t keep their numbers down.

The other problem is building material. You’re probably not going to find enough tall trees to build a log cabin. That’s why our ancestors built with adobe in the Old West times. But don’t worry, homes made of adobe can last for over 100 years, much longer than the typical log cabin.

From building a shelter to orientation, there are so many survival skills you can learn from our ancestors who wandered the American lands hundreds of years ago.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

7 Tips For Bugging Out Faster

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7 Tips For Bugging Out Faster If the SHTF no warning and you were forced to bug out, how long would it take you to get out of dodge? This is a very important question. You probably have lots of supplies you’d want to load into your bug out vehicle, but that takes time, and …

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11 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In Bad Weather

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Survivopedia 11 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In Bad WeatherYou’re out on a ride on a lonely backroad, thirty miles from home, and it starts pouring rain. Ideally, the best option would be to pull over and wait it out.

Realistically, you may have to pick up the kids, be riding to work, or be bugging out. At that point, pulling over is not an option.

Rain changes the game, but with the proper skills you can make the ride much safer when the roads are slippery and you can hardly see. Here’s what to do!

Wear a Full-Face Helmet

Wearing a full-face helmet, at least during inclement weather, is the first step toward making your ride safer. Broken legs heal. Broken skulls or brains usually do not.

As an additional bonus, a helmet serves to keep your head dry and warm and keeps the rain from beating in your face and eyes, thus preventing distraction and improving vision.

If you’ve never ridden in the rain, even a light drizzle feels like you’re getting hit with gravel when you’re going 40 or 50 mph. It’s hard to focus on the road and other drivers when it feels like you’re getting exfoliated with a sandblaster.

Adding a layer of Rain-x to your face shield will help repel the rain so that your visibility is improved even more.

Have Good Boots

There are all kinds of fancy boots out there that look great but remember that their primary purpose is protection.

For riding in bad weather, it’s good to have tall boots that cover your shins. This helps keep you warm and dry (if they’re waterproofed) as well as protect you from losing your footing when you put your feet down.

Especially in inclement weather, it’s important to have boots that have non-skid bottoms. You can find non-skids in every design – cruising and racing. The most important factors are comfort and grip, so try several pairs on to see which ones fit the best. Scoot a little to see if they truly are “grippy.”

Wear a Sturdy Coat Designed for Riding

I’ve been down twice – once while wearing a T-shirt and once while wearing full race gear, which included high-quality racing leathers. Fortunately, I was going slow – about 20 mph when I went down wearing the T-shirt, but I still have the scar on my arm from the road rash, and it was difficult and painful to clean out the dirt and gravel, and care for it while it healed.

When I was wearing the leather, I was on the track and went down at 65 mph. I had no skin injuries whatsoever, and I slid for over 20 feet. The leather made all the difference. I also have both a leather motorcycle jacket and a nylon/Kevlar jacket that’s more in line with the sportbike that I ride. The leather is waterproof and offers supreme protection in cold, rainy weather.

I specifically recommend jackets/coats designed for motorcycles because they have three features developed just for riding

  • the tail is longer in the back so that it doesn’t ride up,
  • there are zippers on the sleeves that zip so that they’re snug around your wrists to keep out cold air and rain/snow,
  • the zippers have pull tags on them so that you can zip/unzip with gloves on.

Also, the pockets zip up instead of down to prevent the zipper from opening while you’re riding.

Keep in mind that safety is number one priority when riding a bike and you have to be prepared for anything and to assume full responsibility for your personal safety.

Carry Survival Tools

I never leave the house without my backpack (saddle bags are nice, but don’t really come with sport bikes). I carry various survival/emergency items that include:

  • The common sockets/wrenches that fit my bike
  • Zip ties
  • Faro stick/striker
  • Fire starter – Vaseline-soaked cotton balls in a baggie
  • A Bracelet made of 550 paracord
  • A bottle of water
  • OTC pain killer
  • A knife
  • A baggie to put my phone and gadgets in so they stay dry
  • A couple of granola bars
  • A hand mirror
  • A whistle
  • A sweatshirt/extra T-shirt – wet shirts are miserable when you reach your destination, and it tends to get chilly once the sun goes down.
  • A small flashlight

Yes, that may sound like overkill and some of my rider friends tease me about it, but only until their bike breaks down or it starts raining and they want to put their phone in my baggie. Then I’m not so silly.

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Wear Gloves

Wearing gloves serves two purposes – they protect your hands and keep the oils in your hands from degrading the rubber in your grips.

Choose gloves that are reinforced on the top of the knuckles and palms in case you go down. Those are the two areas that are most likely to come into contact with the pavement.

Wear Chaps

You’d be surprised how much a pair of chaps protects your legs from the cold and rain/snow. Of course, they also provide an extra layer of protection in case you go down.

Avoid Road Paint and Other Road Debris

Now that we’ve covered gear, let’s talk about some road hazards. Road paint – you know, those white lines used at stop lights/signs or to designate parking spots – is like stepping on ice when it’s wet. Even in non-skid boots, it’s slick. Avoid it.

The same thing goes for sand, leaves, oil, and other materials that gather on the road. Watch where you put your feet.

Also, when it first starts raining, the oils, grease, and other slick material on the road is washed to the surface and distributed all over the road, so the pavement is going to be extra slick.

Look Ahead

In good weather, leave yourself plenty of room to see what’s on the road at least 30 feet in front of you. Double or even triple that if the roads are wet or icy.

Remember, you’re on two wheels, so you don’t have the ability to lock up the brakes, and if you run over something such as large stones, animal carcasses, puddles, or small limbs, it’s hard to stay in control.

Also, it tends to hurt when you rear-end them and you need more road to stop than you would in a car. Pay attention.

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Ride Staggered

I know that riding what’s called 2-up (side-by-side) seems nice, but it’s not safe for a wide variety of reasons, especially in bad weather.

You (and other riders) need room to dodge road debris, standing water or ice, loose sand or gravel, and cars that may not see you and come into your lane. You also need room in case you take turns a bit too wide or have a tire blow-out.

For all of the same reasons, you need to ride on the opposite side of the lane as the rider in front of you, with your front wheel no closer than several feet behind and to the side of him/her. In addition to being safer in case something happens, this also keeps you from getting a face full of road water coming off the spray of the rear tire in front of you.

Keep Bike in Good Repair

This is the safety tip that you can’t afford to ignore. If your bike breaks down in inclement weather on a back road, you may just find yourself stuck for hours or even overnight., a flat is tough to recover from when road conditions are perfect, but if they’re wet or icy, the chances of an accident increase exponentially.

Slow Down

It’s tempting to want to hurry to get somewhere warm and dry, but when you combine decreased visibility with poor road conditions, you’re asking for trouble. You’re likely already soaked to the bone, so another few minutes or so isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Riding a motorcycle in bad weather is hazardous to say the least. Following all of these tips will help to make it safer for you, but when it comes right down to it, you need to watch the weather, ride within your abilities, and use your common sense to determine what’s best for you in your individual situation.

Ride safe, and keep the shiny side up!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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What We Can Learn From The California Evacuation

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california evacuation

Imagine waking up one morning, to find that your home, which you thought was safe, was in fact, is in danger. Not just a little danger, either; but one which could destroy your home, wiping it off the face of the Earth. What do you do?

That’s the situation which has faced almost 200,000 people in Northern California, as the risk of flooding from the Oroville Dam and Reservoir is increasing. An unusually wet winter has led to the reservoir reaching dangerously high levels.

Erosion damaged the primary spillway, as a 200 foot long, 35 foot wide hole formed in the bottom. Closing this spillway merely caused the water to rise even higher, overflowing the emergency spillway.

However, the emergency spillway only had a concrete lip, with the rest of the spillway being nothing more than an open hillside, leading down to the river below. Not capped with concrete, it was subject to erosion, which the water flowing over it quickly caused, raising concerns about the emergency spillway collapsing and releasing a 30 foot tall wall of water on the towns below.

This prompted an emergency evacuation that touched on four counties, with all the confusion and problems of any mass exodus. People had an hour to get out of their homes and on the road, where they found traffic moving at a snail’s pace and gas stations overwhelmed by people who needed to fill their tanks. As gas stations and then cars ran out of gas, people were forced to abandon them and take out on foot.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Prepper Wisdom

This is where the average prepper says it’s time to grab the bug out bag and put Plan B (for bug out) into effect. While that is a logical conclusion from a near-term survival viewpoint, it may not be the best possible solution from a long-term survival viewpoint. Even if your home is destroyed in such a disaster, there are many things within that home, which you will need as you rebuild your life.

“The clear answer is to bug out to some other urban area, which is far enough removed from the epicenter of the danger your home is facing, to make it a safe haven from the pending disaster.”

The problem is, most of us think of bugging out as something to be done in an emergency, with the intent of living in the wild. But that’s not necessarily the best solution. Living in the wild is infinitely harder than living amongst our fellow humans, where we have the entire infrastructure of modern society to support us. It really only makes sense to bug out into the wild when we need to escape from our fellow man, such as in the case of a breakdown of society.

In those cases, we’re usually referring to a nationwide catastrophe which has led to the breakdown of society. There is no safe populated place to go, leaving us with heading into the wilderness as our only viable option.

On the other end of the scale, we have bugging out to a refugee relocation center, often referred to as a FEMA camp. That option works for those sheeple who expect the government to care for them from cradle to grave, but it doesn’t work for us. Most of us don’t trust the government all that much and definitely don’t want to put ourselves and our families into their hands.

So if prudence dictates that we bug out, but it doesn’t make sense to either bug out to the wild or bug out to a FEMA camp, what are we to do?

It is easier to find the things you need to have in order to survive, if you’re in an urban area, than if you’re in the wilderness. Not only that, but if you have to rebuild your life somewhere, it’s also easier to do that in the company of others, than out in the middle of nowhere.

We have to understand that not all bug-outs are equal. There’s a huge difference between bugging out due to a natural disaster, than bugging out due to a breakdown in society. Because of this difference, we need to adjust our plans accordingly and not use a “one size fits all” style of prepping. The bug out bag might be the only thing we can take with us so make sure you have your bug out bag ready to go.

Planning for an Evacuation

9343130 - tsunami roadsign near pescadero, california

While mandatory evacuations are by no means common, they aren’t unprecedented either.

There was a mandatory evacuation ordered before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. A similar order went out for Hurricane Sandy.

If a tsunami was ever to head for any of our shores, you can be sure that a general evacuation order would go out.

But the most common evacuation orders are those that happen for floods and forest fires. This evacuation in California falls into that category.

If we accept that such an evacuation is different than bugging out due to social unrest or a breakdown in society, then we need to determine what we should do differently. More than anything, this affects the things we should being with us.

Since we would not be heading off into the wild, we wouldn’t need a massive amount of wilderness survival gear. Oh, we’d need some, as there would always be the possibility of being forced to abandon our cars and take out on foot. In such a case, it would probably be wise to avoid the roads and head cross-country, especially if a lot of other people were caught in the same predicament.

The simple fact of being prepared makes you and I too good a target for mooching and stealing, for us to stick around others who have had to abandon their cars as well.

In that case, the bug out bag might be the only thing we can take with us. But if we work things right, we won’t have to abandon our cars. In that case, we can take a whole lot more with us. Specifically, we can take the things we’ll need to have in order to rebuild our lives.

So, what are those things?

  • Clothing: both rough clothing for the wilderness and professional clothing for seeking a new job.
  • Valuables: there’s no sense leaving valuable jewelry behind to be looted or buried in the mud. Better to take it with you, so that you can use it. If nothing else, it can be sold to provide you with food.
  • Cash: whatever cash you have on hand will be needed to keep your family going, wherever you are going to end up.
  • Photos and other important memories.
  • Professional tools that you would need to have so that you could continue working or working a new job.
  • Important documents: birth certificates, professional degrees, marriage license, certifications, car titles, property deeds, medical records, kids school records.
  • Computer: today, so much of our lives and our work is on our computers, that we will need them to help us rebuild our lives, if our homes are destroyed.

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The thing is, with only a few hours to pack up and leave, or even less, chances are that you won’t be able to pack those things up, or even that you’ll think of them all. That’s why you need to have a checklist of things that you should take with you, besides your bug out bag.

In fact, you probably need several different checklists, based upon different scenarios. That way, you’ll be able to choose the checklist that’s most appropriate to the situation.

It’s much easier to think through what you need to do, when there is time, and things are calm. In the moment of crisis, the mind tends to go blank; so don’t wait for that moment to come. Prepare your lists and note where those items are kept. That way, you won’t need to waste precious time looking for it.

Lessons to Be Learned

As with any such disaster, there are lessons for us to learn. Professionals who deal with disasters and crisis situations always do an after-action-review, to see what they can learn. It doesn’t even have to be a situation that they were involved in; they’ll review other actions, so as to find what lessons they can learn.

We can do the same thing, simply by looking at what happened and putting ourselves in the place of the families who became victims of this potential disaster. In doing so, we can see what went wrong and what remedial action needs to be taken, to make sure that it doesn’t happen to us, as it did to them.

Know Your Area

The people living downstream of the Oroville Dam should have known that they were living in an area with a high risk of flooding. It doesn’t matter that there has never been any problem with that dam before, the very fact of its existence creates risk, especially in earthquake-prone California. Knowing that, they should have planned what they would do if anything ever happened to the dam.

Granted, their problem isn’t yours or mine, but we need to ask ourselves what risks we have overlooked. It’s easy to look around us and totally miss the most dangerous things in our area. As preppers, we need a good handle on every risk that exists in our area and we need to know if something happens to increase the risk from any of them.

Keep Your Ear to the Ground

One of the most important elements of an effective bug out is knowing when to bug out. Most survival instructors teach that it’s best to shelter in place as long as you can; but there are always cases that go against that advice. The situation in Northern California clearly fits that description. In that case, getting out sooner is clearly better than getting out later. If nothing else, it helps you to avoid the traffic.

But that requires knowing what’s coming, before it becomes public knowledge. In other words, you need good, solid information about each and every one of the risk elements that can affect you. That way, you can take action before it is too late.

Don’t just depend on traditional sources of information. The news media has proven that we can’t trust them; so why should we trust them for this? They could easily avoid telling of a pending disaster, just to further some political point that they feel is more important. To the left, we are nothing more than pawns in their power game, so they don’t really care what happens to us.

In the case in point, the knowledge that they had just passed through an extremely wet winter should have been a warning to anyone who recognized that dam as a threat. That would then lead to further investigation, finding how high the water was. From there, they would want to keep an eye on the water level, seeing it continue to rise and the mounting risk that it was creating.

Don’t Trust “Expert” Analysis

While experts have their place, we shouldn’t put all our trust in what they say. In this case, experts had said that the emergency spillway was safe for much more water than what was pouring over it. Yet they quickly found that their analysis was incorrect. Hey, they’re human, they can make mistakes too.

Those experts were even faced with complaints, filed by various organizations, which stated that the design of the emergency spillway was inadequate and not up to government mandated standards. Yet, bowing to the pressure of their own senior management, who didn’t want to pay the expense of capping the emergency spillway with concrete, they stood their ground, saying that it was safe.

So listen to what the experts say, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make your own analysis, based upon the knowledge you have and logic. If something doesn’t look right to you, there’s a good chance that it isn’t.

Trust Your Gut, Don’t Wait

While the people weren’t given much notice, I’m sure there were one or two who had developed their own idea of what was happening. Knowing that, I would be surprised if they didn’t have thoughts of bugging out early. Had they followed their instincts, they would have been the safest and most comfortable people out there.

I understand that we don’t want to disturb our lives for nothing. That makes sense. At the same time, there are situations where we need to disturb our lives. This is such a situation. Maybe nothing will happen; but maybe it will. With that being the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can always call it a practice drill.

Have Gasoline on Hand

fuel Unsurprisingly, one of the problems the evacuees faced was that the gas stations ran out of fuel, leaving them without enough gas to get their cars to where they were going.

Gas stations don’t stock fuel for an emergency, but rather to meet their daily sales. There is no way that they can meet the needs of a mass evacuation.

In this evacuation, as in any other, a large number of vehicles ended up parked on the side of the road, when they ran out of gas.

When you consider that most people run their cars on the bottom half of the tank, that’s not at all surprising. I’ve got a shocking message for those people, it doesn’t cost any more to keep the top half of the tank filled, than it does to keep the bottom half filled.

More than that, you should have a stock of gasoline on hand, all the time. That’s a bit tricky, because gasoline doesn’t store well. But if you rotate that gas supply, putting it in your vehicle’s tank and replacing it with fresh gasoline every six months, you’ll always have a good supply of gasoline for bugging out with, should the need arise.

Have Alternate Escape Routes

Not only are the gas stations inadequate for a mass evacuation, the highways are too. Highways are expensive to build, so they build them based upon actual and projected traffic. Adding enough extra lanes to handle a mass evacuation is impractical.

This means that the highways are going to be overcrowded and that traffic will slow to a snail’s pace in any evacuation. But in most cases, the side streets and back ways will be totally devoid of traffic. There will be ways that will be open, especially country and farm roads that aren’t used a whole lot. Learn those routes and make sure that you have maps to use in figuring out alternate ways to get out of Dodge.

Have a Destination

Finally, make sure you have somewhere to go. I don’t know about you, but the last place I’d want to go is some overfilled school gymnasium, which had been turned into a refugee center. I’d much rather pitch a tent outside and have a modicum of privacy.

Most people will only go as far as they have to, in order to avoid the disaster. So, you can easily get away from the crowd by going a little farther. Don’t stop in the first town you get to, go on through and stop in another, on down the road. There will be less people there competing for hotel rooms and other necessities.

Better yet, scout out some good locations to go to in the case of an emergency. Take a few weekends off and do some traveling, visiting other cities and finding the resources that you’d need to have, if you have to abandon your home. That way, you have some idea of where to go.

Be Prepared

Emergencies can happen at any time. I’m sure that the majority of the people living downstream of that dam had no idea that they were in danger. Their first indication that there was a serious problem was when they were told to evacuate. Since most of them were unprepared, they ended up leaving with whatever they could grab.

The truly sad thing is that they could have received adequate notice, if the authorities were willing to share information about what was happening. But they didn’t.

While they gave a flash flood warning to Sacramento, miles downstream, they didn’t say a thing to the people who lived closer. Those were the people who ended up having to evacuate with a one hour notice.

That’s the way we can expect things to happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to be prepared. We never know when an emergency will happen, how much information will be withheld from us or how much time we’ll have to evacuate, but we can prepare to deal with a disaster.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Nuclear Survival: Bugging Out Safely After An Atomic Blast

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Nuclear Survival

With the North Koreans gathering plutonium for nuclear warheads, and their Supreme Leader unhappy with Trump’s ascension to the office of President, nuclear preparedness should be everyone’s concern. How to stay safe while bugging out makes part of this plan, for sure.

Even someone that can navigate by looking at the sun or using other “low tech” means can easily fall prey to radiation poisoning after a nuclear incident. In fact, people interested in bugging out or moving from one area to another might be at higher risk than those who are staying in one area.

So if  you are in an area where more nuclear incidents are likely to occur or you need to travel for some other reason, safe navigation is extremely important.

While the basics of using maps, compasses, and other tools will not change, your path from one point to another may be far more different than expected. In particular, you will need to know more than how to skirt around  areas where radiation intensities are highest.

You will need to know how to predict where radioactive materials are most likely to disburse as well as how shifting weather and tide patterns will affect where additional materials will build up.  This is even more important if you intend to gather water and food along the way and happen across what appear to be low or non-contaminated areas.

Calculating Rate of Radioactive Travel By Land

Calculating how fast nuclear radiation will spread over land is no more difficult than knowing how fast breezes and the wind will move from ground zero to your location.

First, you must know the source of the radiation. You can use the links we posted at the end of the article to test out different areas and nuclear yield in order to get some idea about how large an initial area will be affected. Next, study the predicted wind currents for the area surrounding the contaminated site. Use the national climate archives to figure out the general wind direction for each state during specific months, as well as for major cities within each state.

For example, if you want to know how a nuclear blast in Alameda, California will affect Los Angeles CA, you might start off by visiting the Western Regional Climate Center, and then click on Average Wind Direction by State. You’ll see that the winds in Alameda usually go to the West, and in January they tend to go towards the NNW. Since Los Angeles is roughly Southeast of Alameda, you could go from Alameda towards Los Angeles for most of the year and more than likely escape fallout from the nuclear zone.

Unfortunately, since the wind from Alameda moves to the SE in December, you would not want to try and escape to Los Angeles as the nuclear radiation would follow you or precede you out of Alameda.

If you have a bug out plan that lists this information, you can also use real time estimators of wind current to project how fast the radiation is moving. Use the Beaufort Wind Scale to help you figure out how local winds are moving. If you get contradictory information between the historical tables and your observations, it may be best to get underground as quickly as possible and wait a few days to see what the air currents are doing.

Take the time now to observe wind directions and durations in your local area. If you have projected bug out paths, make sure that you have year round information on wind currents in those areas as well as studies on how wind from other areas moves into the ones you plan to travel through.

Calculating Rate of Radioactive Travel by Water

When it comes to calculating the spread of nuclear contamination over land, it can be said that air and its associated wind currents determine both the speed and distance. In a similar way, water acts as the medium of transport when attempting to calculate the rate of radioactive travel by water. If a detonation spreads water and debris into the air, you would need to calculate both the air mass and the water currents.

To calculate the rate of radioactive travel by water, start off once again by visiting Nuclear Secrecy so that you can get some ideas about how large the initial impact area will be. Then you will need to look at charts of the tides, water currents, and wind directions in the area.

There are two free resources that may be of some help to you. First, Open Nautical Chart offers global charts that also provide information about global wind and precipitation patterns. You can try using this chart for predicting how nuclear contamination will spread over areas of both land and water just by looking at the general trends. For more specific information about the currents and tides around the United States, visit Office Coast Survey.

Once you have the maps, all you need to do is compare the information between where the nuclear fallout is, and the maps will show you where it is most likely to go. For water calculations near the coast, you may also want to take the daily tides into account. For this, visit Salt Water Tides, and then select the region and date of interest to you. You can also use this site to project future tide timings.

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Mountains and Other Geographic Mitigating Factors

Even though you may be aware of seasonal changes in precipitation types or storm intensities, you may not realize that wind patterns also have seasonal and predictable fluctuations. Aside from that, mountains, hills, valleys, and other geological features can alter the way both wind and rain will affect any given area.

When it comes to getting away from nuclear fallout, you can think of mountains and hills in two ways. First, you can think of them as shields that you will want to put between you and the source of the radiation.

Typically, both wind and precipitation contaminated by nuclear materials will fall on the side of the mountain closest to the blast. As with everything from hurricanes to snowstorms and other weather systems, the precipitation-bearing clouds will drop in temperature as they try to move over the mountains.

This, in turn, will cause them to a good bit of water before they reach the other side. In some areas where this effect is especially pronounced, you may notice that rainfall data is less than it is on the other side of the mountain.  The “drier” side of the mountain will be safer in a nuclear crisis because prevailing rain patterns will not carry fallout over to the other side.

Second, you can think of mountains and hills as places where prevailing weather patterns may offer clues about lower fallout risk regions.  Excessive dryness on one side of the mountain may indicate that prevailing winds shift in the opposite direction. In this situation, even if the source of radiation is closer to the drier side of the mountain, it may still be safe because the debris will be carried in the opposite direction.

That being said, an area in this situation is also apt to be desert, or at best, scrub  lands.  If you are considering using an area like this as a nuclear bug out location,visit the area first and make sure that you know how to live in a desert region and be sure that you can secure water on a regular basis.

Locality Based Mitigating Factors

While you are moving from one place to another, it is important to realize that just about anything can act as a shield to nuclear radiation. If you are always aware of wind direction in relation to your location and ground zero, you will have a better chance of knowing when to take cover. While underground locations will always be best, buildings and even a tree can mitigate the amount of radiation that reaches your body.

Just remember to stand or sit in a place where the object is between you and the direction the contaminated air is coming from.

As you move through different areas, you are also bound to need water. If you cannot locate underground sources, some terrains may offer safer water than others. For example, if you are near a pond with bushes or shrubs growing nearby, take note of where the shrubs are in relation to the prevailing wind. If the shrubs stand between the wind (and the nuclear debris it carries), then the water may have less radiation.

The taller the shrubs or trees, and the denser they are, the more protection they will afford. As long as it hasn’t rained since the nuclear blast occurred, the water may be a bit safer than what you would find in other locations. At the very least, if you have no water purification options available you can try using this:

  • Start off by taking water only from the uppermost part of the pond. Dust and heavier contaminants will settle to the bottom.
  • Let the water settle for at least 24 hours so that any additional radioactive material will settled towards the bottom of the pitcher.
  • To get rid of any bacteria or pathogens, it is best to let UV light from the sun kill them off. It is best not to boil the water in this situation because it will only concentrate any dust particles that remain in the water while the lighter water molecules escape.

If you come across a moving stream or river, be very careful about the direction of the water flow in relation to the fallout zone. Even though moving water will dilute the nuclear material, it is best to seek a water source that is upstream of the blast. As with ponds, the more shields and distance that exist between the water and the nuclear site, the better.

Areas to Stay Away From at All Cost

Did you know that there are unsafe areas right here in the United States because the levels of nuclear radiation are too high?

What you may not realize is that the surrounding areas may also be contaminated to a point where they can endanger your health. To make matters even worse, Fukushima and other nuclear accidents may make an area you thought was safe far too dangers for a bug out location. When it comes to navigating after a nuclear disaster, you will need to factor in these locations plus the locations of any nuclear facilities that may pose a risk to your well being.

radioactive

Source: climateviewer.com

Remember, if our nation is under some kind of nuclear attack, it is also entirely possible non-nuclear attacks may happen at the same time. Large hospitals with nuclear diagnostic equipment, medical waste transports, nuclear power plants, and other sites that have nuclear materials will be a target.

As such, personnel that are best trained to control the situation may also be unavailable. If you try to pass through these areas, the chances of you coming into contact with high levels of nuclear radiation is very high even if the direction of contamination from a nuclear ground zero indicate otherwise. Always remember that nuclear radiation exposure is cumulative. It does not matter where the radiation comes from; only that you were exposed to it.

What About Edibles Along the Way?

No discussion on navigating during a nuclear disaster would be complete without a discussion on how to recognize which foods are safe to eat in an area that might have been impacted by nuclear fallout. While it is risky to eat anything in these areas, you can reduce the risk to some extent by taking the following advice:

  • Choose foods that were stored underground first.
  • If you must consume plants, use the deepest roots you can find first. It would also be best to choose plants that have not been exposed to rain since the nuclear blast occurred. For example plants in the middle of a patch, or covered by other plants may be safer.
  • If fruits and vegetables are available, try to use ones that have skins that can be removed. Smooth skinned fruits and vegetables will be safer to wash off and eat than rougher skinned items.
  • Canned foods should be ok; but choose ones in an area that is best protected from the blast direction. Consider a situation where the nuclear blast occurred to your west. If you are in a pantry, you would select foods from the east shelves because the radiation would have to pass through all the cans on the western side before reaching the others.  As with transportation, always look for foods where the largest and heaviest shields stand between the radiation and the food resource.
  • Avoid dried foods such as beans and fruit. You will find it very hard to wash nuclear debris off them or remove skins that might have captured the radiation. Also avoid leafy vegetables or anything else that you cannot peel or wash vigorously.

How do You Know You are Close to Ground Zero

Let’s consider a situation where a nuclear blast occurs and you must evacuate immediately. As you run to get your bug out bag, something distracts you, and somehow all your maps and important information about wind directions and navigation get left behind.

But thing can go worse than that. You have your cell phone, but you never uploaded these important files (so you wouldn’t have to go online or to the cloud to get them) because you were afraid an EMP would knock the phone out and make it useless. Upon turning on the phone, you realize it works perfectly, but you cannot get online. You have a compass, but never took the time to learn how to use it. Tucked deep in the bottom of the bag, you find a pair of binoculars that can be used to reveal wind direction and cloud formations. Since you don’t remember how to assess wind direction, you conclude the binoculars won’t be much good.

Realistically speaking, if you are in this condition after a nuclear blast and somehow managed to find safe shelter for a few days, you are going to have a fairly hard time finding a viable path to safety.

If you remember nothing else about how to navigate during a nuclear crisis, at least remember the signs and signals that you are at or near ground zero. At the very least you can try to skirt through these areas, avoid eating in them, and try to get out of them as quickly as possible.

Animals and Plants in Distress

Animals may have mouth sores.They may also bleed more from the nose and eyes, and may also show signs of fur loss. Large numbers of animals and insects may be dead and just laying around. Large numbers of fish may also be dead and have open sores on them.

Baby animals may have unusual numbers of digits on their paws. They may also be completely misshapen or have organs growing outside the body.

Animal or human feces may be in the form of diarrhea or have blood in it.

Plants will have tumorous knots on the stems, or unusual leaf patterns. For example, a three leaf clover plant may have five, six, or even seven leaves on a single stem.

The Black Rain

You may find signs of black rain: a combination of nuclear debris and soot from all the fires that happen after a nuclear blast. You may see streaks of thick, sticky  black liquid on walls, dripping from trees, or anything else that it lands on. If you look carefully at the ground, you may also see signs of this “rain” laying along the ground. Animals and plants may also be covered with it.

If you encounter black rain, it is extremely toxic, and will most often be found in the debris field surrounding ground zero.  Once you encounter this kind of debris, your best bet is to go back the way you came, an then try to choose another direction.

f you are closer to ground zero, permanent shadows may exist to reveal where objects once stood. For example, if you see a tree shadow on a sidewalk, but no tree, that means the tree was vaporized by the blast. The angle of this shadow will reveal the direction of the blast in relation to where the object was. To get away from ground zero, just go in the direction where the tree or object “points”.  In this case, just walk in the same direction as where you see the “top” of the tree’s shadow pointing.

You can also get some rough ideas about how far away the object was from the blast. The shorter and more perfectly proportioned the shadow is, the closer it was to ground zero. A longer shadow means you are a bit further away.

Signs of Disaster

Any area that was hit by the heat wave will show signs of having fires.  You can expect to see buildings, cars, and many other objects that may be charred beyond recognition.

The closer you get to ground zero, the signs of disaster you will see: walls, buildings, and even motor vehicles knocked over.  This damage occurs as a result of the air blast created by the explosion. Since the shock wave bands usually extend beyond other types of damage, finding them is a good indicator that you are either heading into ground zero or away from it.

For example, if you passed through areas that showed signs of being on fire, going through a blast zone might be an improvement.  If the radiation shadows are getting longer as you go along, this might also be considered a sign that you are heading away from ground zero.

Tools That Can Help You Avoid Contaminated Areas

Here are a few tools you might find useful:

  • Maps listing known nuclear material zones
  • Maps of historical wind current
  • Maps of water tides and currents
  • Long range binoculars
  • Small drones or robots that can be used to deliver testing equipment into a suspected area of contamination.

It is often said that if you have a map and compass, or know how to navigate by the sun and stars, you will never get lost. That being said, navigating during and after a nuclear crisis requires far more than simply figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. Your plans can easily be disrupted by other situations involving nuclear hazards as well as radiation sickness.

Learn how to navigate when you aren’t feeling well along with how to recognize the signs that increased radiation may exist in an area that you plan to travel through. No matter how you look at it, radiation is a hazard no matter where you find it, and avoiding it will still be a primary concern while you are traveling.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/customer-support/partnerships/regional-climate-centers

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/CLIMATEDATA.html

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/htmlfiles/westwinddir.html

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/beaufort.html

http://atomicbombmuseum.org/3_radioactivity.shtml

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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Packing Your Backpack

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backpacking

We, real preppers, tend to be religious about our backpack. At one point or another each of us have fallen victim to every slip-up in the book until we learned our lesson.

Do you remember the mistakes you’ve made when preparing your backpack?

Let’s see what to avoid!

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of the Backpack

Usually, the bigger pack you have, the more tempting it is to fill it up even if you really don’t need those things. What’s next? In case you’re bugging out, you might find yourself leaving behind a part of your pack because it’s to hard to carry it.

That’s why you need to choose the right size of your backpack, and it depends on how much are you able to carry, and also on how long is the trip you are planning.

As a general rule of the thumb, here are some basic weights:

  • a 50-60 liter pack is appropriate for 1-2 day trip
  • a 60-80 liter pack is appropriate for 3-5 day trip
  • a 80-90 liter pack is  appropriate for 5-7 day trip

Don’t be mad if you don’t get it from the start, people usually use three or four backpacks till they find the proper size for them.

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Too Much Weight

Contrary to conventional wisdom, ideal pack weight for survival scenarios is both relative and subjective: saying that everyone’s pack should be x% of their body weight across the board is somewhat naïve.

That’ why you need to take into account for each of the group member that you belong to:

  • the overall fitness level
  • lean body mass
  • body fat percentage
  • physical size
  • cardiovascular fitness
  • backpacking experience
  • level of mental toughness
  • determination of the individual.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, target pack weight may range anywhere from 15%-50% of target body weight for your build and height. That’s 15%-50% of what you should weigh.

If you’re overweight, calculating your pack weight based on your body weight will yield a pack that’s too heavy and you will suffer miserably under its weight on top of the extra weight that you are already carrying.

weight

3. Wrong Choices about Items to Carry

There are different lists on what your bug out bag should contain. I will give you one too, but you’re the only one that can decide over how many items should you carry.

And remember: more skills means less to carry.

bob

4. Not Having a Balanced Pack

You need to create a balanced pack so you could carry it properly.

Briefly, the core of your backpack is best for heavy objects. If you place them on top, they will make you fall forward, if you have them on the bottom, they will drag you down.

Do you wonder where this mistake comes from? Read the following one!

5. Not Packing Properly

If you have to unpack half of your items to get to the fire starter and prepare your meal on the go, then something is definitely wrong in the way you packed your things. Keep it simple and keep it light!

camping

6. Not Having a Waterproof or at Least a Water Resistant Pack

When you go into the wilderness, things can go wrong and they probably will. For example, you can fall into a water or face a heavy rain for hours. After that, you will definitely need dry clothes and a warm shelter, and you won’t get them if your pack turns into a wet sponge.

Waterproof pack or a water resistant one? Well, let’s see the difference before choosing what’s best for you.

A water resistant pack will keep your items dry when raining because it won’t let the water in. A waterproof one will seal the content inside and will keep it dry even if you fall into a river. And it will be even 30% lighter, as the seams are welded instead of being sewn together.

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable.

7. Putting Your Pack On in a Wrong Way

A fully loaded pack sitting on the ground is a load that can harm you if not lifted properly.

Use your legs to lift the load, not your back with straight legs. Get into a lunge position to prepare to hoist your pack, then lift pack and rest it on your bent knee.

Thread an arm through the shoulder strap, swing the pack around and thread your other arm through the other shoulder strap. Lean forward to plane the pack against your back and snug your straps in the same order as you did when fitting your pack.

8. Not Adjusting the Fit of Your Backpack

Start with all straps loos and set the hipbelt on your hipbones, then fully tighten. Pull forward the hipbelt stabilizer straps, and tighten shoulder harness so that it fits over your shoulders with no gaps.

Pull down on the upper load stabilizer straps, and make them snug but don’t tighten too much.  Back off a little pressure from the shoulder harness, if needed.

When taking off the backpack, remember to loose all straps in reverse order.

Does it feel better or what?

9. Not Being Physically Fit, but Still Backpaking

Exercises and practice cannot be overrated. How could you carry your backpack on foot if you are not able to walk more than one mile?

All of us get old, but aging is more than just getting a few lines around your eyes; it affects the way you move and the way you think. Being able to move well and think quickly may be two of your greatest tools in a survival situation. Looking young while you’re using those tools is just a bonus!

Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to take place at a gym; you can walk or jog around the neighborhood, do lawn work or housework, or play a sport. Hiking is a great way to get your exercise and to teach your kids survival skills at the same time.

7. Not Caring for Your Backpack Properly

If you don’t care of your pack, it will let you down, which means you need to wash it and store it so you could preserve it for later use.

Wash it by hand and avoid detergent, as it may harm the coating. Waterproof it and use a plastic coat to protect it when walking in the rain, but also to keep the items packed dry.

Keep your backpack in a cool, dry place, and avoid storing it against a concrete wall or floor, because the moisture and the chemicals in the concrete might damage the pack. And avoid storing chemicals in your backpack, for the very same reason.

Did we lose something? Do you have anything to add? Share your thoughts so other people could learn from it!

This bag has the very best closure seal on the market which allows for heavy duty use.

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5 Essential Items To Have On You Even When You’re Out Of Reach Of Your Bug-Out Bag

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By The Survival Place Blog

When an emergency strikes, the fact is that you don’t know where you’re going to be. You should have your bug-out location which is primed for long-duration stays. You should have a bug-out bag if it you need to trek it there. But how do you make sure you stay safe while you’re moving to get your bug-out bag? The fact is that you need to be prepared at any time. Here are some of the essentials you should make sure you have.

Protection

The simple reason that the Second Amendment exists is that we have a right to defend ourselves from whoever poses a fatal threat to us. In the case of a true emergency, you don’t know who can be a threat to your safety. Exercising your right to bear arms is important. But so is making sure that you’re doing it responsibly. When you carry, carry securely and within the law. Gear like those from We The People Holsters can help you do that. So can knowing what open and concealed carry laws apply.

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A knife

A gun is for protection, but that’s not the purpose of carrying a knife. When carrying a knife, you’re going to be subject from different rules depending on where you are. Make sure that you’re following the law of whatever state you’re in. Prepare the correct knives in advance. These will help with using cordage, cooking, first aid, and all kinds of techniques necessary for survival.

Water

When it hits the fan, water is going to be one of the most valuable commodities in the world. But even more valuable that fresh water is the ability to make it yourself. Besides a water container, you should use a few tools to make it easier to get drinkable water. Filters are only one part of it. Water purification tablets and devices can make sure that you have access to fresh water so long as you have access to any water, period.

First-aid

We all carry first aid equipment in our cars and our homes as a matter of convenience. When you’re in a survival situation, convenience is no longer an option. You’re going to need it on you because you might not have access to medical treatment. You need to treat wounds as quickly as possible. Even small first aid kits you could carry in a fanny pack allow space for extra tools like cordage, as well.

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A light

Operating at nighttime in a survival situation isn’t usually the best of ideas. But it is sometimes avoidable, especially if it all goes down in the darker seasons of the year. Nowadays, there are long-lasting high-power flashlights that you can easily fit in your pocket or on a belt loop. Visibility when dealing with things like first aid or purifying water is essential.

The world may flip on its head any day now. Make sure that you’re responsible for staying prepared for the moment that happens. You need to abide by the law whilst preparing for the moment that you have to become entirely self-sufficient.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: 5 Essential Items To Have On You Even When You’re Out Of Reach Of Your Bug-Out Bag

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, Prepping

Prep Blog Review: Are You Ready To Bug Out?

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Millions of people around the world find themselves in the situation to bug out. Think about how Hurricane Matthew messed up the lives of so many Americans from Florida to Georgia and Carolinas.

But not all of them know all the useful things about bugging out that you are reading about. Bugging out is not just about having a go out bag to grab when SHTF. Bugging out requires a lot of thinking, planning and physically and mentally preparing.

This week I’ve found 5 great articles on this topic to help you answer this one simple question: are you ready to bug out? Let me know in the comment section bellow.

  1. What mistakes to avoid when bugging out

Bugging out mistakes

“Whether you chose to bug out on your own terms or you are ordered by local authorities to leave your home, make sure you have everything covered. Survival for you and your loved ones may depend on the preparations you make and your chances increase greatly if you avoid these bugging out mistakes.

Bugging out requires some thorough planning and deep thinking because the road is never safe and there are too many unknowns you will have to face and overcome. Even those who prepare for a bugging in scenario must take into account that at some point they will be forced to evacuate.

It’s impossible to precisely predict how a disaster will unfold. Your fortress may be well-equipped, but if you have to leave everything behind, survival will depend on the bugging out plans you’ve made.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Have these go bag essentials

Go bag essentials

“It’s also common to mix up the definition of a go bag and a bug out bag, so let’s first discuss the difference between the two. A go bag is generally a bag that you carry with you that has the essentials of short term survival inside. These bags are designed for 24 hours or less of survival, containing the very basics to help you survive long enough to get home or to another secure location.

Bug out bags are generally used when you literally need to evacuate and leave your home. Bug out bags have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours or more in a survival situation. Inside of these larger bags are essentials for your survival over a longer period of time. In contrast to the go bags, bug out bags are larger and store a heavier amount of gear and are designed for surviving from a few days to a few weeks.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Have a bug out vehicle plan

Bug out car plan

“In the face of disaster, preppers know we need to move quickly. We should be prepared to act in a minute’s notice when we realize our family is in jeopardy. We each have our Bug Out Bags ready to go or they should be but it is a different matter altogether if the family bug out mobile is involved.

How many times have you watched a Prepper show where the family simulated loading all of their gear to escape town? Often it took them much longer than they anticipated and in at least one case, they couldn’t even take their main prep with them.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

  1. What papers and documents to take in your bug out bag

important-papers-for-bug-out-bag“A ‘Bug Out Bag’ (or BOB) containing some food & water provisions and various supplies is purposed for an evacuation of sorts… a time when you need to get out or ‘bug out’, for whatever reason or circumstance.

One consideration is to include important papers and documents (or copies thereof) in your BOB, just in case you might need them.

For example, let’s say that there is a high confidence forecast of a hurricane impact in your area and you have decided to leave. As you are putting ‘stuff’ in your vehicle, you realize that your home might be damaged to the point of losing it, and the things inside. Are there important documents that you should take with you?”

Read more on Modern Survival Blog.

  1. Why a dog is the perfect companion for bugging out

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“When you are in danger, it is natural to get stressed. However, the way you handle your stress and respond to the danger make a huge difference to whether you will come out a winner. And, your odds improve if you have a well-trained dog at your side. So if there is a bug out situation, you definitely want a dog at your side. It will give you peace of mind and also ensure you come out unscathed from the SHTF situation.

If you are skeptical about taking a dog as your companion for bugging out, here are 10 reasons to allay your fears and change your opinion.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Prepper Story: 78-Year-Old Vet Builds $1000 Cave Fortress

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Good survival skills come from practicing for years, but age and practice means nothing unless you have a good survival plan, then have the power to stick to it when needed.

This 78-year-old ‘Nam vet could easily prove it right. Meet Bruce, a Survivopedia reader who built his own off-grid cave fortress for less than $1000.

Read the following article and discover a great story of survival from a man who definitely deserves our respect!

I am what you might call a survivalist but the big drawbacks are my age (78) and my health. I live in a mobile home park and I do have a small garden in which I grow basic vegetables and some herbs.

My health problems cause me take 700 MG of morphine for pain control and there is no way a doctor who prescribes my meds will give me more than 28 days at a time even though I have asked many times. I have about a 90-day reserve that I have put aside just in case, and the only way I was able to do this was by cutting myself short. Instead of three a day I was only taking two. Some days I suffered because of this, but I got through it.

Do you wander what makes a man like me strong enough to fight for survival despite the age and health issues? I’m going to tell you.

I started building my cabin back in ‘88 when I was a lot younger and more physically fit. My neighbors jumped into the picture when I found I couldn’t do everything myself. He’s an EMT and somewhat of a prepper himself.

I told him about the cave I found and the rock cabin I had started to build and asked if he and his wife wanted to join in on the project. The next weekend was the first time they went to see the beginnings of the cabin and they couldn’t believe what I had already done. The work parties started.

I do have several fire arms in my home and if it comes down to it I won’t be afraid to use them. Fact is, I just assembled my own AR15 pistol in 5.56X44 caliber. I have four 42-round magazines and one 30-round. Three are loaded with armor piercing rounds, and the other holds silver tips.

I built it from scratch and it’s considered a pistol because it only has a 10 inch barrel. Because my eyesight isn’t all that great, it’s equipped with a 4 to 16 power day/night scope with a green laser sight for point and shoot, as well as a red laser sight.

I have practiced with this gun in a few gravel pits and I must say that I have a great group of 15 rounds in a 2-inch circle at 500 yards in a prone position, and a five in circle at 200 yards free-standing. The short barrel length allows me to get around with it in my home or even out in the bush with ease but it doesn’t affect the accuracy one damn bit. I also pack a 9mm Beretta fixed with a green laser for point and shoot. Standing, I have a good 3-inch group at 30 yards.

I served 3 tours in ‘Nam and spent time in a POW camp, and survived. I was wounded twice but again I survived. I’ve eaten grubs, common garden snails, and slugs which you can virtually find anywhere. All are high in protein. I’ve also eaten all sorts of roots and leaves; even moss. I even have a vest that I got from a fellow in the Army. It will stop a .308 round but I don’t want to try it out. It’s in my bug out bag.

I have that well-hidden, small 8X10 heavily constructed log cabin and only two other people know about it, and they are with me just in case SHTF. The back is open and butted up to a cave, which allows us to grow mushrooms of all kinds. There’s an underground water supply and maybe a years’ food supply. All items have a 25-year shelf life and will be enough for up to 7 people.

About every three months, the three of us spend a weekend there, keeping it well hidden and just making it more comfortable to live in for a long time; as long as a year or more. Last year it survived a wild fire that destroyed several homes in the neighboring area. The slate roof protected it.

From a quarter-mile away it looks just like the rock slate that it is built of, and it’s built at the base of the hill. The walls are 3 feet thick and made of stone and mortar. It only has small windows made of 2-inch Lexan.  I salvaged that from an old dismantled bank and cut it down to size.

I feel safe there in case SHTF and the three of us can survive there for a year or more. The only way you can get there is by walking because there are no roads within half a mile. We also have a stash site to hide our vehicles in.

Read also: Top 10 Vehicles For Your EMP Survival

We do have a quad that we keep in the cave along with two 55-gallon drums of gas treated Stay Bril to preserve it. The only thing that the gas is for is the quad, and that’s only for hunting and for providing electricity for lighting in the cave and cabin; all wired for 12 volts.

We don’t hunt near our cabin and there is plenty of game in the area: deer, moose, elk, bear, rabbits and all kinds of birds. I could go on and on. If it really gets bad where I live, my neighbors, whom I trust with my life, will bug out with me to the cabin and be comfortable in our surroundings long-term.

Oh, I forgot to add that the only door leading into the cabin/ cave is made of white oak and is 8 inches thick. It took me four weekends to make it and is held together with 6 1/2-inch ready rod. I made the hinges myself because you can’t buy them. They are made from 3/8 steel plate with 1-inch pins – I think it could protect Fort Knox. LOL.

Heat is provided by three wood stoves and we have 38 cords of stacked wood inside the cave, all nice and dry, so there won’t be much smoke at all. We usually only burn it at night, so no one can see it anyway. Believe it or not, it will usually keep the cabin and the first chamber of the cave warm with just 6 hours of burning using only 2 of the stoves when it’s -10 degrees outside.

Here’s the good part.

All that I have invested in the whole thing is less than $1,000, not counting the sealed survival food or the quad which we found in the woods, wrecked and abandoned. However, the parts to repair it is included in the total cost. The slate for covering the roof came from an old quarry about three miles away. We got lucky with the mortar to build the cabin; all we had to buy was the cement and lime because on one side of the rockslide, there is a sand pit from which we collected sand.

We washed it and dried it before using it to make our mortar. Some of the stones in the walls weighed well over 600 lbs. so we made a 30-foot A-frame to place them with and it worked well. When we were done with it, we cut if up for firewood.

Read also: How to Heat Your House without Electricity

We have a short wave radio, a CB, and yes, we even have a TV. We get 4 stations for news and such. We even have a 2000-watt inverter that will give us 110 volts for a hot plate if needed. Presently, we are working on a digestive septic system because our one toilet is in the cave. The 200-gallon holding tank is made of fiberglass, and the only drawback is that we need to the vent the smell but we’re working on that.

The Challenges I Took and the Lesson I’ve Learned

The biggest challenge we faced when building the little cabin was building the A frame. It took three trees 60 feet long and they had to be dragged for nearly a mile and. It was done with just the three of us using cane falls and hand-cable winches. It took nearly two weeks working 12-hour days and a lot of will power to get this done.

You’ll find you have a lot of muscles you haven’t used before because they will get sore. We did take a few breaks from the dragging just to get healed up a bit, but we never stopped completely. I think if we had, we still wouldn’t have it finished.

The biggest survival lesson that I’ve learned after 3 tours in ‘Nam and a fire that took out houses around me?

In ‘Nam I wanted to die about 20 times and I refused to smoke weed like about 80% of the guys did, even on patrols. 

In the POW camp, about the only protein we got was from the rats we caught and ate, grubs, slugs and a few other unmentionables because all the Charlies fed us was rice and that was a small bowl at that. I learned what you could eat and what you couldn’t by trial and error; I got sick so many times because of that.

The cabin survived the fire just because it’s got the slate roof laid over 2-inch planks, which we cut with our Alaskan sawmill using a chain saw. The wood was treated with a fire preventive made of Borax and water. We added about 8 coats, letting it soak into the wood for days on end.

When it got dry, we gave it another heavy coat, then the slate was laid over that. We used cement-coated galvanized nails to hold the slate down and every time you wanted to put a nail in you had to drill a hole to start. We went with cement-coated nails because you can’t pull them out at all, making it fire-proof. It can withstand the heavy snow-loads in the winter.

Our cabin is on state land so you have to be careful to cover your tracks. Concealment is essential, for if they find it they will probably tear it down. We found out that by placing a claim on the property, we could build a cabin to live in. The catch is that we have to mine a mineral and produce an income of X amount yearly to keep the claim.

Our mineral is lead, which isn’t much but it’s enough to keep the claim. Study what is the laws are in your area. Most can be found in BLM (bureau of land management); they can tell you what you can do and not.

Funny thing is that a lot of the state maps per county (Metsker maps) don’t even show the rockslide where my cabin is. That’s telling me it is un-surveyed, or at least it hasn’t been for a good many years. All the better for me.

If you ask me what is the survival advice for younger preppers and survivalists, I’d say oh, God help me here. I guess the biggest thing is not to try and do everything at once, for nothing will get done. Make up a flow chart and keep with it. Take it one step at a time and when you get that done, move onto the next phase and stay with it. Even though you may be tempted to skip a step, don’t. We were tempted to change things several times but didn’t and it payed off in the long run. It took us two years to build the little cabin and in the meantime we lived in the cave.

In the meantime, learn many skills which you can use: herbal remedies for ailments is essential, hunting techniques and trapping, what game is available during the different times of the year and how to preserve it. Water bath canning is by far the best method. You can salt it down, but then you have to soak it to get rid of the salt.

One thing that’s really important: don’t do any shooting around where you live. The one thing you don’t want is to attract attention to you because gun shots can carry a long way in the mountains. Also, you don’t want to scare the game away from you until the time comes when you really need it.

Knowledge is essential for survival and in the event SHTF, knowledge can be a tool to barter with. 2 miles away someone else is now building a cabin maybe 300 square feet in size. I haven’t met them yet and I don’t even know if they know we’re there and have been for 28 years.

They’re building a log cabin and it is gonna be something if they don’t fire proof it. I started out with a log cabin but added 3 feet of stone walls on the outside to blend it into the rockslide. Mine is hidden, stocked, and fireproofed. If they’re smart, they’ll do the same.”

Could you build your own bug out shelter the way Bruce did? Do you have the knowledge and skills to do it? Share your thoughts with other Survivopedia readers!

And click on the banner below to discover another ancient way to build your survival shelter!

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This article has been written by Alec Deacon for Survivopedia.

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How To Build A Portable Survival Garden

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There are several reasons why you’d want to build a portable garden, but today we’re going to focus on building a portable garden for bugging out.

Some of you may only have space in the back of your car or truck, and some of you have a hitch that can pull an entire shed or trailer.

If you’re planning on building a large portable survival garden, it should probably have walls for two reasons: you don’t want to damage your plants when traveling and you don’t want others to know that you have a truckload of food.

Weight and Size

The first thing that you need to consider when planning your portable garden, besides the space you’ll have available, is weight. How many people are going to be available to help you load up and how strong are they? Raised beds can get heavy fast when you factor in the weight of dirt along with the weight of the plants.

If you have access to a forklift or have plenty of people to help you load, then larger raised beds may not be an issue. If you’re going it  alone or with people who aren’t so strong, then you should probably go with small beds or some of the other options that I’ll discuss.

Size, of course, depends on how much space you have and how you’ll be transporting the plants. You won’t want to plan portable trellises or large beds if you’re going to put them in a truck bed, car, or low-roofed trailer. As with everything, think ahead when planning your portable survival garden.

Types of Portable Survival Gardens

There are several different methods  that you can use to grow your garden so that you can take it with you if you bug out. You can also combine methods so that you  can take more of your garden with you.

Potted Plants

poted plants

If you have limited space, you can always plant your veggies and spices in pots and hanging baskets. Since you can adapt the sizes of the pots to the size of the plants, this is a great way to make your plants portable, and to use space efficiently.

You can put the smaller planters in between the larger ones while transporting, or even put them in the floorboard of your car.

Portable Raised Bed Survival Gardens

There are a couple of different ways that you can make your raised beds portable. You can adjust the size to meet your needs and capabilities.

Portable Raised Beds on Stilts

First, you can make your raised bed survival garden small enough that you can pick them up and move them. This works great for plants that grow low to the ground or for short plants that can be grown close together such as peppers. Here’s an inexpensive, easy plan for building one.

The idea is similar to window boxes except they’ll be on the ground. Build them on stilts so that they’re easy to pick up. If you plant them on the ground, they’ll likely sink and be difficult to pick up. A huge advantage here is that you can load them into the back of the truck.

Larger Portable Raised Beds on Casters

If you go with a larger raised bed, you can put casters on the bottom to make them portable. If you go this route, it needs to be built on concrete or on placed on 2x4s so that the castors don’t sink in. Here’s a great instructable for portable raised beds. You can adjust the size to meet your needs.

raised bed

Vertical Gardening Made Portable

We’ve talked about vertical gardening before, but most types of plants grown vertically would travel well in the back of a truck or in a closed trailer. If you’re using potted plants, you can always pull them right off the latticework and carry them with you as described above.

diy vertical gardenThe only adjustments that you’ll have to make when planning a portable vertical garden versus a stationary one is ease of movement.

Of course, this isn’t an issue if you’re using potted plants but if you’re using vining plants, you need to make the vertical structure so that it’s easy to disassemble, or small enough that it will fit into whatever method of transportation that you’re using.

You should also use durable material to build the structure.

PVC works great because it’s light and can be built to disassemble.

Panel  grid wire is also a good choice because it’s light, sturdy, and comes in a variety of sizes. You can always cut it down to meet your needs.

Ladders are also another good option.

Portable Survival Garden Houses

I absolutely love this idea, but you’ll need a hitch and a vehicle with enough power to pull it. If you’re travelling on level roads, you won’t need as much horsepower as if you’re traveling on mountainous or hilly terrain.

Portable Greenhouses

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You can buy or build a greenhouse fairly inexpensively and they’re multi-purpose. You can use them to extend growing periods in good times, but if things go south, you can always pack them up and go with them.

Portable greenhouses need to be a bit sturdier than the average greenhouse, so I’d recommend using Plexiglas instead of plastic sheeting. Buildeazy offers a free plan that is not only versatile, but you can also modify it to suit your size. It provides several different options for building materials, so that’s good, too. Remember that you’ll need a solid floor if it’s going to be portable.

If you really want to make a greenhouse portable, build it on a trailer base so that all you have to do is maintain the tires and hitch it to your truck if you need to go in a hurry. It’s also easy to load your vertical gardens, potted plants or gear into this, so you can use the space efficiently.

To add to the internal stability of the plants, I would probably modify the shelving so that the pots can be attached, or make them so that the plants sit down in the shelf. Just off the top of my head, I’d either cut pre-sized holes in the shelves or use some sort of sturdy wire mesh shelving that can be adapted with different size holes since most planters come in standard sizes.

Finally, this structure could actually serve as a shelter for wherever you’re going after you unload the plants. My imagination is running wild with the possibilities here; solar panels, rainwater collection systems, etc.

Tiny Homes

This idea kind of feeds off of the last one. If you really want to get the biggest bang out of your portable survival garden idea, then this is the way to go. There are many tiny homes that are built in such a way that many of the inside structures fold up to make them easier to transport.

You could, of course, transport small vertical plant structures, potted plants, window planters and even small raised beds inside of them and unload them when you arrive at your bug out destination.

tiny houseOne idea that I have, though, is to make a tiny house with a covered porch  that can be enclosed with hinged doors that open to provide a really cute serve as storage for such items as pots and pans, hanging plants, garden tools, or just about anything else that you’d want to hang.

In the meantime, when traveling, the doors would be closed and serve as additional storage for gear or plants.

Another house with this theme is shown in the article that I wrote about tiny houses.

The one in the picture is a bit pricey, but you could build it yourself for much less and adapt the size and insides to suit your needs. I even like the idea of the window planters on the outside, modified so that they can be covered for travel, of course.

Once you get to your bug out destination, you’d be ready to quite literally unpack an instant house and garden. Again, build it on wheels and add a hitch so that you can load up, hook up, and head out.

There are many different ways to make a portable survival garden; you just need to think a bit ahead and plan according to what transportation you have and what plants you want to take.

Think about the old ways our ancestors used for survival and click on the banner below to learn more of their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Survival Lessons From The Pioneers: The Donner Party

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Two hundred years ago, almost ninety wagon train emigrants were unable to cross the Sierra Nevada before winter, and almost one-half of them died. The Donner Party was the most famous tragedy in the history of the westward migration.

Their story should be a warning for all those who plan to bug out when SHTF without having a few things already available there. The world has changed, the lessons to learn from their ordeal still remain.

This is a story that every prepper should know. Read it below and think about the mistakes that have been made. Repeating them will kill you.

The 1800s was a century of true survival. The pioneers that crossed the Great Plains and followed the trails out west had a tough journey across lands that we now know to be covered in civilized farmland and crisscrossed by seemingly endless highways.

Pioneer families traveled in wagon trains across the rough, unforgiving terrain. Many travelers were farmers who already had their own supplies, but many had to buy supply kits. Once people got going on the trails, they often found themselves abandoning anything that wasn’t essential so they could lighten the load and make the trip easier.

The two most popular trails on the trip west were the Oregon Trail and the California Trail, but then a new route that left the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger and crossed the Great Salt Lake Desert before joining the California Trail at Humboldt was created.

One famous family that made the journey was the Donner family and a handful of others. They chose to the new route, called the Hastings Cut-off, even though many of whom they were travelling with chose the well-established route through Fort Hall to the north.

This new route had never truly been tested and it ended up slowing down the Donner Party, causing them much hardship and resulting in a devastating journey that stranded them in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-47.

The Story of the Donner Party

donner mapThe Donner Party set out from Illinois in April of 1846.

Sometimes known as the Donner-Reed Party, the emigration west was initiated by James Frasier Reed, a business man looking forward to the promise of the west.

He prepared to move his family west in great style. Also in the same wagon train from Illinois was the Donner family, which consisted of the brothers George and Jacob Donner and their families.

The Donner Party left Illinois the very same day Lansford Hastings left California to travel east along his new route and test it out.

The Donner party arrived in Fort Laramie on June 27, 1846, which was only a week behind schedule.

Here, James Reed met an old friend, James Clyman, who had ridden the Hastings Cut-off east with Lansford Hastings. Clyman warned Reed not to take the Hastings Cut-off because the wagons would not get through easily and they would have to deal with the desert and the Sierra Nevada. Reed would later disregard this warning.

The Fatal Decision

On July 19, the party had reached Little Sandy River. They had previously received a letter from Lansford Hastings letting them know that he would personally meet them in Fort Bridger and guide them along the Hastings Cut-off.

At Little Sandy River the larger portion of the original party continued on the established route west and a smaller group, what would become known as the Donner Party, carried on along the Hastings Cut-off.

On the advice of Hastings, the Donner Party crossed the Great Salt Lake Desert, a journey that would be in large part responsible for the future suffering of the group. They had already been slowed down forging a new path through the Wasatch Mountains.

Then they got bogged down in the desert because the desert sands were wet, not dry like Hastings had assumed. A trek they thought would take two days took five days. By the end of it, their supply of water was severely depleted, their food supplies were too low to complete the remainder of the journey, and they lost 32 oxen between them.

Once the desert journey was done, the Donner Party took inventory and found that they did not have enough food and supplies for the remainder of the journey. Two men, William McCutcheon and Charles Stanton, left for Fort Sutter to get supplies and bring them back to the party.

In the meantime, the Donner Party carried on around the Ruby Mountains in Nevada and along the Humboldt River. It was at this point, when resentment of Hastings and Reed began to grow, that tempers began to flare.

At Iron Point, on October 5, two wagons got tangled up. When the owner of one of the wagons, John Snyder, began to whip his team of oxen, James Reed stepped in to stop him.

When Reed intervened, Snyder turned the whip on him. Reed retaliated by fatally plunging a knife under Snyder’s collarbone. That evening the witnesses gathered to discuss what was to be done; United States laws were not applicable west of the states and wagon trains often dispensed their own justice.

Snyder had been seen to hit James Reed, and some claimed that he had also hit his wife, but Snyder had been popular and Reed was not.

Finally, the party voted to banish James Reed, who left with another man, Walter Herron, and rode west. His family was to be taken care of by the others. Reed departed alone the next morning, unarmed, but his daughter rode ahead and secretly provided him with a rifle and food.

From this point on, the pack animals began to suffer and people began to struggle. One old man was not able to carry on and was left behind. There was an attack on the party, the Piute Indians shooting poison-tipped arrows and killing 21 of the pack animals.

By the time the party reached the entrance to the Sierra Nevada, they were almost out of food. It was at this time that Charles Stanton, who had gone to Fort Sutter, arrived with two Indian guides and a number of mules carrying beef and flour. William McCutchen, who had travelled with Stanton to Fort Sutter, had fallen ill and remained there, later to meet up with James Reed, who made it to the fort alive.

At some point an axle broke on one of the Donners’ wagons. Jacob and George went into the woods to fashion a replacement. George Donner sliced his hand open while chiseling the wood, but it seemed a superficial wound.

The worst part of the journey for the Donner Party was when they rejoined the California Trail. By leaving slightly behind other travelers and taking so long to traverse the Hastings Cut-off, it was late October by the time the Donner Party made it to Truckee Lake, now known as Donner Lake.

Snow began to fall. They attempted to make it over the pass, but they found 5–10-foot drifts of snow, and were unable to locate the trail in the snow. They turned back for Truckee Lake and within a day all the families were camped there except for the Donners, who were half a day’s journey behind them. Over the next few days, several more attempts were made to breach the pass with their wagons, but all efforts failed.

Donner_Party_MemorialHere the party was waylaid by a winter storm, the snow coming a month early.

Some of the party, including the Donners, were held back at Alder Creek, six miles behind the group at Donner Lake.

Three widely separated cabins of pine logs, with dirt floors and poorly constructed flat roofs that leaked when it rained, served as their homes.

The Breens occupied one cabin, the Eddys and Murphys another, and Reeds and Graveses the third.

The families used canvas or oxhide to patch the faulty roofs. The cabins had no windows or doors, only large holes to allow entry.

By the time the Party made camp, very little food remained from the supplies that Stanton had brought back from Sutter’s Fort. The oxen began to die and their carcasses were frozen and stacked.

The pioneers were unfamiliar with catching lake trout. Eddy, the most experienced hunter, killed a bear, but had little luck after that.

That brutal winter saw the people trapped in the mountains eating their remaining provisions, their pack animals and dogs, soups made out of hides and blankets, and finally the members of the party who died.

Cannibalism is something many did not wish to discuss, but there are many accounts of it happening during this awful journey.

Escape and Rescue Attempts

The Donner Party did attempt to escape their wintery death sentence, but the Sierra Pass was impassable. Five feet of snow fell shortly after they reached the pass and numerous attempts were made to get through, but to no avail.

There was one cabin at Donner Lake and they built two more large ones and some smaller ones to shelter the 59 people that had made it that far. By mid-December, the party realized they needed to take action before they were all dead.

Five men, nine women, and one child left the camp on snowshoes. They had little food and were already starving. After six days they were completely without food and by the end of the journey two men and five women had made it through, cannibalizing the others as they traveled through the pass. These survivors managed to tell people living close by about the trapped Donner Party.

In all there were four rescue parties sent out to help the survivors at Donner Lake. The first rescue party left on February 5 and the second, headed up by James Reed, left on February 19. When the first rescue party reached the camp at Donner Lake, there were only 48 people left alive.

They managed to bring 23 of those people out and brought a meager amount of food for those who remained. The first rescue party met up with the second as they made their way through the pass and James Reed was reunited with his family.

The second, third, and fourth rescue parties arrived over a period of two months. Each party that arrived found fewer people alive and they also found evidence of cannibalism. The final member of the Donner Party to arrive at Fort Sutter alive was Louis Keseberg, who made it there on April 29.

Lessons to Learn for Survival

Video first seen on ajvaughan3 Documentary Films.

The Donner family story is one that has long been considered one of the strangest and most tragic crossings in the pioneering history of the United States.

Even though in the U.S. today life is very different from the days of the pioneers, there are many people who prepare for bad times and try to ensure they have the proper equipment, tools, and skills to survive in any setting.

The situation that befell the Donner Party and the struggle they went through is a lesson for anyone who is preparing to survive any post-collapse conditions, including living in the bush for an extended period of time and/or migrating from one geographical area to another.

The reality is, if a disaster of a significant size were to occur, many people would not survive.

The Donner Party learned that lesson the hard way. While knowing what they went through will not change the conditions of a post-collapse society, perhaps the experiences of the Donner Party can serve as lessons to help those who are planning to survive any hard times to come.

Click on the banner below to find out more about what these pioneers took with them in their journey, and the lessons that this story provides for your survival!

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This article has been written by Claude Davis, the author of the “The Lost Ways” book.

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Urban Vs Wilderness Bug Out Bag: Choosing The Right Gear

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If you were born in the 70’s or earlier you probably remember when the term Bug Out Bag was virtually unknown. Nowadays at least three out of four people you meet in a social context are likely to be familiar with the term. It’s a sign of the times in which we live.

However, we don’t hear a lot about the concept of varying the items in one’s BOB depending on whether it’s an urban or rural environment the person will be dealing with. I won’t spend time going over all of the items one should have in his/her pack as I suspect this is well covered ground for most reading this article (CLICK HERE to make your custom bug out bag list & have it sent straight to your inbox!). Whether one is in the city, countryside, or deep in the wilderness, much of the pack contents should be the same. Much, but not all.

Choosing The Right Tools For The Job

I have read advice about the best items to select for a BOB as if the general environment where it will be used is irrelevant. In my view this is akin to having a handyman show up to your home with only a small tool box without telling him whether it’s a plumbing or an electrical problem he will be addressing!


urban bug out bag

Having the right tools to survive can mean the difference between life and death! Choose wisely…

As a cop working in the greater Los Angeles area for over two decades, I’ve spent some time observing the kinds of scenarios typically encountered when things go awry in urban and suburban environments. Some were accidents, while others involved intentional violence. The point is that all of these events are likely to occur during and following a major disaster, with two major differences:

  1. The effects of these incidents will be exponentially larger, and

  2. Any resources available to respond to same will be overwhelmed, and possibly unavailable altogether.

Worse yet, in my opinion there is likely to be a synergistic effect if the scope of the disaster is severe enough to severely impact the infrastructure (including police response). Those who live their lives as predators (i.e., gang members and others) will in all likelihood become aware of the lack of first responders far more quickly than the rest of society, and will take full advantage early on. I would like to be proven wrong, and perhaps I will, but don’t count on it.


urban bug out bag

A disaster doesn’t tell you when it is coming

Disaster Planning: Know Your Environment

Making a Bug Out Plan that is specific to your locality is vitally important. You want to include the intricacies and potential dangers that are local to where you are going to be operating.

Urban Disaster Planning

If one should find himself/herself in an urban environment after a catastrophic incident that essentially collapses the infrastructure, the primary objective should be to get out of the heavily populated area ASAP. This is one of the major differences between bugging out through an urban area and doing so in a rural location. Time is a much bigger consideration in the former. With this in mind, one should prepare so that he/she can:

  1. Be equipped to determine alternate routes while on the move (or at least with little time to make route changes).

  2. Have the means to defeat the varied physical obstacles potentially to be encountered.

  3. Have the tools capable of extricating one’s self or others from confinement due to structural collapse, vehicle collisions, or other situations more common in urban disasters.

  4. Be equipped to create large holes in interior walls to facilitate escape from threats present inside the building.

  5. If escape/avoidance is not possible, have an effective means to defend against violent attack.


wilderness survival kit

A wild fire can move incredibly fast and destroy EVERYTHING in its path

Rural Disaster Planning

Contrast the above with the typical priorities for a short duration rural or wilderness survival scenario, such as:

  1. Capability to process wood for starting and maintaining fire.

  2. Means to put together basic (short term) shelter.

  3. Less important, but worth mentioning, is the means to fashion additional crude tools (e.g., hunting devices) to aid in survival conditions should the scenario turn into a longer term one.

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URBAN (and SUBURBAN) PACK ITEMS

MAPS

A map of the city where one works (as well as where one lives if not the same city) is imperative. Unlike as is often the case when traveling through rural or even wilderness locations, urban travel after a disaster can present fluid situations chock full of potential extreme danger requiring sudden and unexpected route changes. No matter one’s skill and/or type of weapons he/she may have, avoidance of conflict at virtually all costs is going to be the better option. And in the process of changing direction (perhaps multiple times as part of evasion), even the best of us can find ourselves disoriented. Pack a map! And have at least one (preferably two) reliable light sources to study the map during darkness. I have found that unlike when navigating through wilderness, a small inexpensive compass will suffice for city map work.


Map Reading Skills

Click on the image to brush up on your map reading skills

DOWNPLAYED APPEARANCE

Unlike when hiking through wilderness locations, having/wearing high quality state-of- the-art gear while walking through heavily populated areas when the infrastructure is down is a mistake. Wearing the latest “tacticool” pack can be an equally big mistake.

Since two-legged predators will be aware of the increased opportunities the conditions have created for them, the less attention one invites, the better. I know from experience that many street smart bad guys have a surprisingly keen eye for quality gear, even when it comes to items they know almost nothing about.

Don’t advertise your cool gear if you can possibly help it. Wearing a pack is likely to draw at least some extra attention no matter what—this is largely unavoidable. But donning a pack that appears to be very used, or even dirty, is a better option than a brand new pack. And a “plain Jane” civilian pack is more likely to ride under the radar than a tactical pack. Ditto all of the above when considering the clothes you will wear during these conditions—especially shoes! Learn and practice your Gray Man/Woman Skills now to fly under the radar when a disaster strikes (Click HERE to learn how).


gray man theory

Click on the image to learn how to be a Gray Man or Woman

LARGE KNIFE VS TOMAHAWK

On many occasions I have watched other first responders use a variety of tools when handling emergencies. I have also used some of these tools personally to gain entry into semi-fortified homes during the course of police work. Other than issued weapons (police) and medical equipment (fire department/paramedics) the tools used most often were those designed to defeat barriers typically encountered in cities (everything from car doors and windows to steel home security doors).

Although you might convince yourself you would not stop to help another in need if it delayed your bugging out from a dangerous environment, you really never know until faced with that scenario. Moreover, you just might need the means to get yourself out of a jam.


bushcraft tools

Each has its place…

With the growing threat of terrorism and active shooter incidents, being equipped to create a travel path (breaking out a hole to crawl through) between a building’s interior rooms is a reasonable preparation. There are many scenarios that could prompt the need to bug out through an urban area—a massive terrorism incident is certainly one of them.

I am trying to make the case for not including a large knife in favor of a rugged tomahawk. Never mind that many “experts” insist on having a large hard use survival knife in any and all BOBs. A person is better off with an affordable tough tomahawk for urban scenarios any day of the week. And a suitable “hawk” can be had for about half the price of any survival knife capable of doing other than traditional knife chores!

Estwing’s Black Eagle Tomahawk fits this bill. It is not very attractive, and the workmanship shows only minimal attention to finish and fine symmetry, but I can personally attest to the tool’s capability. I have used the spike end to break car window glass, punch through heavy steel mesh and car trunks, as well as breaking a six inch diameter hole in a cement cinder block (I encountered no steel rebar however). I have also used this “hawk” to pry apart two-by-fours fastened with 16D nails. After all of this, the business ends of the hawk’s blade are still not much worse for wear (cosmetic damage only). Does anyone think any of the better quality survival knives out there could perform these tasks without causing damage, or even breaking, the blade?

I once watched a fellow patrol officer show off his $250.00 tanto bladed knife by punching through the steel door of a typical gym locker. Worked fine. He repeated the feat an hour later to show off his new knife to another observer. This time it significantly damaged the blade’s tip. He was so angry we couldn’t talk to him for over an hour. Knives simply are not meant to be used to defeat steel, concrete, or even glass! Check out our article on Picking The Best Tomahawk For Your Bug Out Bag HERE.


Best Tomahawk Survival Tomahawk

Click on the image above to learn how to pick the best tomahawk

I have no financial interest in Estwing, and there may be other equally well performing hawks out there for a similar price (about $35 HERE on Amazon), but I have not found them. I have discovered far more expensive hawks but never purchased or tried them. And I have tried a couple of the lighter hawks sporting plastic handles, but found their performance lacking—seriously so! The only real downside to the Estwing is its weight. At 27 ounces it is admittedly heavy. The Becker BK2, a popular hard use survival knife, weighs about 10 ounces less, but the capability of the Estwing hawk makes it well worth these extra ounces in an urban environment.

I would feel adequately equipped If my urban BOB cutlery items were limited to a robust hawk and my multi tool (a must for any BOB, regardless of setting, check out our Guide for Picking The Best Multi Tool HERE). The former could handle any rough cutting tasks, while the latter’s small blade could deal with finer cutting chores.

If someone absolutely insisted on carrying another knife for more traditional cutlery chores, a Mora Kniv would fill the bill for about twenty dollars. And it’s doubtful the Mora’s extra 4 ounces (including sheath) would be noticed.

Finally, a hawk can be used for protection against a violent attack when all else fails. As for whether a hawk or a good knife would serve this purpose better…well, that really depends on the individual as well as the circumstances. After all, neither is the best tool for self-defense, for more reasons than one (a topic for another article). Let’s just leave it with the idea that a hawk can be used as an effective self-defense tool in a pinch.


Flooding generally affects a huge area

Lightweight Wire Cutters

Being able to cut through standard chain link fence could prove to be the difference between escaping a very bad scenario and falling victim to one. I can conjure up a half dozen scenarios where a person might need to escape a threatening situation, seek shelter, or simply shave off valuable travel time by cutting through a fence.

Chain link fencing is ubiquitous in virtually any urban area. Unfortunately, I have found multi tools fall short of being capable of cutting chain link in a reasonable manner of time and effort. Find the smallest/lightest tool capable of cutting chain link in one clipping action (Tekton makes a good pair, see them HERE). Bending or sawing through wire takes too long under most scenarios that would warrant cutting fencing in the first place.


RURAL/WILDERNESS PACK ITEMS

Knife vs Tomahawk vs Hatchet

You’re probably asking, “Didn’t he just cover this issue?” I did—for the urban setting. However, after spending a good deal of time in the wilderness (including several nights without a tent), both recreationally and as a search & rescue volunteer in the California Sierras, I prefer a good large knife in any environment other than an urban/suburban one.


wilderness survival kit

Surviving in the wilderness doesn’t have to be hard…IF you have the right tools and skills.

Hundreds of years ago, the tomahawk’s philosophy of use was multi-faceted. Only one of these intended functions involved the processing of wood for structure building or building fire. The hatchet (hand axe), on the other hand, was designed for one purpose only—processing wood. As one could predict, the hatchet proved to outperform the tomahawk for wood processing, while the hawks performed better as weapons. I have tried many a “woods hawk” over the years, but in the end I have found quality hatchets of similar weight simply do better with wood chores.

Given the points made in the “Disaster Planning” section of this article, the hatchet gets the nod over the tomahawk for a rural BOB.

All of the above notwithstanding, I prefer a large survival knife to a hatchet for my rural BOB. The hatchet will almost always out chop a knife of similar weight, but this isn’t the end of the story. When it comes to cutting wood a small lightweight folding saw offers a better choice than a tool that chops the wood to the desired length. But the primary element of fire wood preparation involves splitting the pieces for fire building.

A quality knife with a 7 to nine inch blade can be used very effectively to split wood using the “batoning” technique. And in my opinion it is a safer means of splitting wood than swinging a hatchet to accomplish the task. When “batoning”, only the piece of wood used to strike the knife spine is being swung through the air. The odds of a catastrophic accident are greater when using the hatchet for the job. This can be ever more the case when working in cold climates outdoors. As for the argument that “batoning” to split wood constitutes abuse of the blade, I call B.S. I have split at least a cord of wood over the years with my Ontario SP50, and other than destroying the black blade coating, the knife is still in great working shape. Check out this video to see how batoning works:

I know there are many (far more than hawks that can compete with the Estwing) quality large survival knives that can also perform well when it comes to wood prep. I would, however, urge anyone selecting a fixed blade knife for his/her wilderness BOB to go with a seven inch blade or larger. This makes splitting wood of three inches or larger diameter much easier than using a shorter blade. To see our comprehensive guide on choosing a fixed blade CLICK HERE NOW.

COMPASS

When travelling through areas where there are no street signs, or even no streets, a higher quality compass becomes very important. Land navigation where there are no streets is a skill that demands time and effort to learn. Knowing how to navigate through these types of surroundings using a topographical map is not for the novice! If at all possible, stay on a road, or at least keep the road in sight. In any case, a rural BOB should always include a high quality compass.

MAKING FIRE

This should be a “no brainer”. When bugging out through an urban setting under circumstances where you might have to spend some resting hours in the dark, it might or might not be advisable to make a fire. Fire attracts the urban predators, while it tends to repel the four legged type.


survival after bugging out

Furthermore, having a fire in a location where there is no man made shelter available is uniquely important. In addition to heat and minimal light, it is well documented that a small fire can provide a significant psychological boost for the solo survivor/traveler.

Having established the greater importance of being able to create fire in a rural setting, ensuring one has the ability to do so becomes paramount. Having multiple means to create fire is a must for the rural/wilderness pack:


everstryke pro review

Click on the image to see how to get a Free Everstryke Pro

Don’t forget to Include a few petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls as well. They will ignite with a decent spark (paper and many other tinders requires actual flame) and continue to burn for several minutes. If you want to learn 6 ways to start a fire WITHOUT matches, CLICK HERE.

STEEL WATER BOTTLE

Any BOB will include a container to carry water (I’m assuming this goes without saying), so why not have one that can also be used to heat or boil water? A single walled stainless steel water bottle like the Klean Kanteen (or similar design) products can be placed over open flame or coals to heat water.

Boiling water is a dependable way to kill any pathogens (chemical contamination is another issue). I once used a heated steel water bottle as an improvised hot water bottle to ward off hypothermia in a snow cave. Not sure if it was literally a lifesaver, but I was sure glad to have it. Make sure to remove the cap before heating water to avoid a pressure build-up and the subsequent likely explosion.


Conclusion

My experience has convinced me that for urban applications, escaping the locality as fast as possible should be the key objective in a SHTF scenario. Sheltering in place, even for a short time is likely to be catastrophic. In my view a robust tomahawk, coupled with a good multi-tool and small wire cutters, is close to the perfect set of BOB tools—but this could be surpassed with a new invention at any time.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

For rural/wilderness environments, night travel is far less desirable and sheltering through the night(s) becomes a priority. Creating fire and crude shelter is paramount for the wilderness trekker under any circumstances. For this application, a large survival knife becomes the tool of choice, edging out both the tomahawk and hatchet in the versatility and safety categories.

The very fact that those reading this article have probably already put together a bug-out bag at all places them way ahead of most. Having a readily accessible BOB, even if not perfectly constituted, is 90 percent of the game in itself. However, it’s still a good idea to evaluate equipment choices every so often, keeping a philosophy of use mindset while doing so.


If you are ready to build your custom Bug out Bag List, click on the button above now.

Further Reading:

For more info on this topic you can check out these articles:

Your Thoughts?

Do you have an item that is a “must have” for your urban or rural bug out bag? Can you think of any other big differences between what you would pack for these scenarios? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About The Author

Frank LaFlamme spent almost a quarter century in law enforcement in the Los Angeles area serving for three local agencies as well as an assignment with the DEA Los Angeles office. His assignments included uniformed patrol in one of the most violent areas in California, narcotics investigation, gang enforcement, robbery and homicide investigation, high risk warrant service, and a terrorism liaison officer position. Upon retiring, Frank volunteered as a Search & Rescue “ground pounder” with a sheriff’s department in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite National Park. Additionally, he started a small disaster preparedness consulting business called F& D Consulting. In 2014 he published a novel titled EMP Los Angeles (an Amazon best seller for a while, CLICK HERE to see it), a raw and gritty cautionary tale of a post EMP attack Los Angeles.


EMP Los Angeles

Click on the book to go check it out on Amazon!

The post Urban Vs Wilderness Bug Out Bag: Choosing The Right Gear appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Bugging Out To Walmart? Episode 91

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bugging out to walmart

bugging out to walmart

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Bugging Out To Walmart

Thinking about Bugging Out To Walmart? Is that you plan for the P.A.W? If so you might want to listen to today’s show.  I remember before I got into survival I had lot’s of idiotic plans for when The shit hits the fan. Bugging Out To Walmart was one of them. Though the word plan could  hardly be applied.

Many think that during an apocalyptic situation they will just stroll into the local box store and load up. Fill their shopping cart up and drive home like usual sans the payment. That they will get to the store first and hold it as a fortress. They also believe that they are the only ones that have ever though about this.

 

You are not the first nor only person to ever think about Bugging Out To Walmart. You most certainly would not be the first to show up. An army of rednecks armed to the teeth will be there bore you. That’s if the corporate owners don’t secure the assets themselves. I’m sure that the salaried zombies will have to work around the clock until the “crisis” is averted.

We cover many of the reasons why Bugging Out To Walmart is a bad idea. Even if you are miraculously the first and only person to show up. There are still issues in trying to hold up in a big box store. One of my main concerns is all the meat that is now rotting. You have to act fast to dispose of most the fresh food. You with your group won’t able to eat it all. If allowed to rot you have a serious breeding ground  for disease.

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The post Bugging Out To Walmart? Episode 91 appeared first on Survival Punk.

Monday Mania – 2.8.2016

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In this weeks edition of Monday Mania: What Would It Take To Go Completely Off Grid, Evac Strategy: How To Create a Coordinated Bug Out Plan, Preppers – Foot Care is a Top Priority, In A Crisis, Your Paper Dollars Are Worthless: “Real Goods Are The Real Money”, & 9 More Monday Mania – 2.8.2016 Yesterday there … Continue reading Monday Mania – 2.8.2016

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Speculations On Civil Unrest And How To Protect Your Survival Preps

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survival preps

Note: This article was contributed by Cory from survivethewild.net.

Being a prepper has many great benefits, you have abundant food storage and supplies, you have a bug out bag ready for any situation and you have knowledge that could mean life and death when the SHTF.

But all of these things could make you a target to those close to you who see the abundance of supplies and knowledge you have.

So we’re going to go over the threats that are likely present to your survival preps right now, whether you live in the suburbs of Los Angeles or the rural dirt roads of Killeen, TX. There’s always someone that wants what you have, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Also we will take a glimpse into the future of the dangers that could be avoided. No one knows for certain how life will be once the SHTF, but we can make accurate assumptions based on what we know now.

Present Threats to Your Survival Preps

survival preps

Threat #1 Neighbors

While this may not be a big concern if you live out in the sticks, if you live in the city you’ll have people within arms distance no matter where you turn. Which means that eyes will be on you and what you’re doing, whether with intent to get what you have or just out of curiosity.

Neighbors aren’t in themselves a bad thing, community is what we all desire and if you have the right community then great. Just know that if you let your community become aware of your survival preps, then you have put yourself on their list of “resources”, and they’ll likely come knocking your door down when it all goes down.

survival preps

You’ve worked hard to build up survival preps for your family. Be cautious of letting others know about your preparedness efforts. Image via Bob on flickr.

Ways You Can Avoid This                             

  • Unload your preps or more valuable supplies at night
  • Store survival preps away from your home in a bunker or storage unit
  • Convert nosy neighbors to helpers that assist you, this could be dangerous, but pay off in a big way
survival preps

Living in close proximity can make it even more difficult to keep your survival preps on the down low, but your neighbors can also be your allies if you play your cards right.

Threat #2 Isolation

It’s true that there’s safety in isolation, but that goes for the perpetrator as well.

If you do live in the rural areas then you will need to be on your guard more so than people living within the city. Not because there’s more people, but for the fact that there’s less people which can be witnesses.

survival preps

Choose your level of isolation carefully when planning your bug-out location.

Think about it, if someone were to get past your defenses and use mildly silenced weapons to take you and your family down in a blaze of gun fire at night, there probably wouldn’t be anyone to stop them or witness it.

Isolation may be a great defense, but it’s a double-edged sword.

survival preps

Ways You Can Avoid This                

  • Don’t go for complete isolation, a few densely wooded acres is enough to feel secluded
  • Establish relationships with those closest (geographically) to you and have nightly check ins. This can be an excuse to build lasting relationships to prevent cabin fever.

Threat #3 Burglars (Greedy Preppers)  

This sounds like a pretty small factor to a prepper. I mean, you’re someone who’s got plenty of ammunition and know how to take care of a simple burglar. But as is the case in life, it’s not always that simple.

There are preppers in the community who would much rather take from those who’ve spent the time storing food and make plans, rather than do it themselves.

And unfortunately these people are a very real threat, mostly because you’re fighting an enemy who is reading from the same playbook as you essentially. Which means that you’ll need to get a little crafty in your defenses.

survival preps

Stay one step ahead by taking security measures to protect your survival cache. Image via *sax on flickr.

How To Avoid

  • Maintain a constant state of awareness as to who’s around your property or neighborhood. Whoever seems out of the norm should be documented, and if needed, approached with caution.
  • Don’t make your routines noticeable, this will make you an easy target because they can predict when you won’t be home and then take your stuff.
Drones-For-Preppers-Intro

Drones can be programmed to perform perimeter surveillance flights. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Threats After The Grid Goes Down

survival preps

A lone stranger can mean big trouble for your bug-out group.

Threat #4 Marauders    

Now don’t expect some greased up motorcycle riding bandits that wear tire clothes and have wild hair. That would make life too easy if all the bad guys were that easy to spot. No when the grid goes down we’ll all be cautious, and the marauders often more so to hide their intentions.

A marauder doesn’t always have to be someone who comes in guns blazing, a more biblical approach is what should be expected. They’ll appear weak and defenseless, left by their friends and starving alone. Then when you let your guard down they’ll take all you’ve got.

How To Avoid

  • Any new comers to your group should be extensively vetted for signs of untrustworthiness. It would be a good idea to have “morality tests” in place to find out the true colors of the new comer in situations where they feel no one’s watching.
  • Don’t accept newcomers to your group, this may be harsh but it will keep you safe. Be careful though, if you hurt someone’s feelings in a lawless world there’s not much to stop them from seeking an apology in the middle of the night…

Threat #5 Insurrections Within The Group

Let’s face it, no one will ever be the perfect leader, and there will always be someone who either thinks they can do it better or just wants the power. Either way, there are bound to be times when your leadership is questioned and the possibility of an insurrection emanates.

Now this decreases a bit if you’re traveling with family. The dynamics of a household that was brought up for this exact scenario will keep their cool a lot better than a suburban family that’s had all they’ve worked so hard for stripped away in a matter of days. It’s these people that will likely turn on each other in a desperate attempt to regain some sense of getting back to what was normalcy.

survival preps

Life after disaster is tough enough. Preparing your family now to work as a team will contribute to your survival success.

How To Avoid

  • Start working with your family now to lay down the laws of how things will be, and set systems in place that provide justice within the group. As well there needs to be checks and balances, a dictatorship isn’t any fun.
  • Make a decision that if you bring strangers into your fold that they know that it’s your way or the highway.

Threat #6 The Governors

survival preps

In the absence of organized government, people will likely resort to intimidation tactics in order to gain power and improve their rank.

This is a Hollywood term given to people who might build a colony or safe haven that “rescues” travelers. But instead of rescuing them, they’re relieved of their lives and supplies for the good of the colony.

This idea was made popular in the tv show “The Walking Dead”. And to be honest it’s something that many have considered a negative likelihood for the post SHTF times. And you need to know how to deal with it so that you can properly take care of your family.

How To Avoid

  • Avoid going into situations like these all together, true there may be some camps that are good, but you only get one chance to make the wrong mistake.
  • If you stumble upon one of these camps take time to observe it from a distance, note if newcomers are made a part of the community or if just what they brought makes it to the community.

Conclusion

I hope this has been a learning experience for you, and while this is a pretty heavy and somewhat depressing subject to talk about, I’m glad that you’re taking the time to learn about the dangers we’re facing now and in the future! With this knowledge I hope you use it to guard your family closely.

If you liked this article, please feel free to come visit us as well over at survivethewild.net. Thank you, Chris for your generosity in letting us come and spend time with your amazing readers.

Your Thoughts

Do you discuss your prepping efforts with your neighbors and friends? How do you decide who to tell about your survival preps? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Speculations On Civil Unrest And How To Protect Your Survival Preps appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Off-Road ‘Bugout Vehicles’ That Will Get You Out Of Dodge … Fast

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3 Off-Road 'Bugout Vehicles' That Will Get You Out Of Dodge ... Fast

By Kevin Danielsen Off The Grid News

I’m positive that there are quite a few of us who look upon our plush suburban surroundings and deep down, we know that if things go bad, then we’ve got to roll.

I know this, because I’m also in such a situation. While I don’t necessarily live near any major cities per se, I do live in an area that’s going to swell with refugees if the unthinkable were to occur. Of course, the refugees themselves aren’t necessarily the issue. It’s the fact that these droves of refugees will be low on survival resources, coming to an area that will be low on law and order.

To further explain, a single high-altitude EMP – or a major solar storm – could take out the grid and effectively render all emergency service communications devices into high-tech paperweights from coast to coast. This alone is going to have most officers headed homebound to look after their loved ones (and I sure couldn’t blame them for doing so). But even the ones that stick around are going to have a tough time coordinating crime-fighting efforts without so much as a working walkie-talkie to throw in their cruiser’s passenger seat.

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Do You Have A Way To Bug Out From Your Vehicle And Escape The Freeway?

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Bug out bag

By Daniel Barker – Natural News

(NaturalNews) We tend to associate freeways with free movement – they are designed for efficient and rapid travel from one place to another, and in emergencies they may also serve as escape routes.

But in some situations, freeways can become traps – even death traps. They can become hopelessly clogged in weather events such as hurricanes, when too many people try to escape a large city at one time, and they can also become impassable due to heavy snow, winter storms, wildfires, floods or major traffic accidents.

Other less likely scenarios that could leave motorists stranded on our nation’s freeways, but which should not be dismissed, might include EMPs or terrorist attacks.

Continue reading at Natural News: Do You Have A Way To Bug Out From Your Vehicle And Escape The Freeway?

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, Emergency Survival Tips

Short- & Long-Term Survival Preparedness Info You NEED To Know

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survival preparedness

Note: This article was contributed by Richard Beck from TheOutdoorsPro.com. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

Within your lifetime, you may encounter many different kinds of situations where you will need to rely on your own survival preparedness. Therefore, it is essential that you have the skills to survive on your own. Some of these situations include snowstorms, earthquakes, EMPs, nuclear, and many others. Being prepared for these situations is the first important step in survival.

72-Hour Bug-Out Bag

The first thing that you will need is a 72-hour bug-out bag for each member of your family. This bag should be kept with the family member at all times. If you have a child, and you do not live extremely close to the school, then you need to leave it at a friend’s house very near the school.

survival preparedness

Your family bug-out plan should include a safe place for your kids to go near their school, in case you are delayed in getting to them.

As the name suggests, this bag will help the person survive during the first 72 hours. Even assuming that it is safe to go outside, the government and other charities have admitted that it will take them that long to get organized and on site.

survival preparedness

Your bug-out bag should be packed and ready to go at all times.

There are numerous things that need to be in your bug-out bag, but the two most important things are food and water. While that may seem obvious, there are at least five other things that you should keep with you at all times.

Family Bug Out Bag

Food and Water

survival preparedness

While they do not need to be gourmet, your survival meals DO need to sustain you until you can secure an alternate food source.

Numerous governments around the world are stockpiling food. Imagine the very real scenario where you cannot go to the store and buy what you need. For example, you may be ordered to stay in your current location.

Even if you are brave enough to head out, if there is no electricity, you cannot buy gas to get you to the store nor will stores be able to get gas to transport groceries. Therefore, you need to be buying extra food until you have a year’s supply of food, A great place to start, however, is to develop 30 days worth of food.

survival preparedness

Dehydrated meals are a lightweight option for stocking your bug out bags. Just add boiling water to these Mountain House dinners and you have a hot meal. Click to view on Amazon.

While you can survive for a short time without food, although you may not want too, you cannot survive without water. Everyone needs to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. Since you may need to be physically active during this period, you may need to drink even more water.

survival preparedness

Carrying two water bottles per person will minimize having to stop and harvest water frequently.

Additionally, if a survival situation occurs during the summer you will need more water. Water can be extremely heavy, therefore, you need to know where to find water including how to drain water from all pipes in your home and how to collect rainwater. You also need to learn how to purify water.

Drought-Prepping-Intro2

Click here to learn clever ways to harvest water from natural sources, as well as how to make it safe to drink.

Finances

survival preparedness

Without currency, you will need to learn ways to barter for items you need.

If you are used to running to the ATM to get money, they will not work when the electricity is down. As recently seen in Germany and Puerto Rico, you may not be able to get your money out of the bank or be able to get it out in very limited supplies.

Therefore, the modern survivalist needs to keep a minimum amount of cash on hand as you may be surprised what it buys you during a bug-out situation. Additionally, make sure to make a copy of all your important legal documents and keep them in a safe at home. During an emergency, you may have to prove who you are and that you belong in an area before you are even allowed to enter an area.

survival preparedness

It’s a good idea to have photo identification for all members of your bug-out party, especially in the event that you need to cross international borders.

Communication

Communication is a survival essential whether you find yourself in an urban setting or in the outdoors. If you are starting to forget what it was like to live without a smartphone, or never knew, then stop for a moment and realize that during an extreme emergency, you may not be able to use any phones at all.

survival preparedness

It may be hard to get a signal in remote areas or cell phones may be useless, as with an EMP event. Your survival preparedness plan should include alternate means of communication.

Additionally, depending on the situation, most radio stations and most television stations may be off the air. You will still, however, need to receive information from the outside world such as how to take shelter, what happened, and what officials are recommending that you do about the situation. Therefore, everyone should have a hand-cranked AM/FM radio. If you live in North America, then use this radio to get information from the Emergency Broadcast Network.

survival preparedness

Emergency weather radios are a vital source of information during a disaster. The Eton Scorpion II has a handcrank, solar panel, and DC adaptor for multiple power options. Click the image to view on Amazon or CLICK HERE to learn more about emergency radios.

Secondly, you should consider becoming a licensed ham radio operator and connecting with others in your area that are already a part of their emergency network. For over 100 years, the American Radio Relay League has been active in almost every disaster helping people get the information that they need the most. If you are not ready to fully participate as a ham radio operator, then at least get a good battery operated scanner and learn where they broadcast in your area.

best emergency weather radio

Shelter in Place Vs. Bug Out Location

The next decision that you will need to decide is what your best bet is on location. There may be times when you have no choice, but to stay where you are at the moment. If that is your home, then you need to have supplies ready to create a quarantine room.

Many people are making the choice of moving permanently to a bug-out location. When choosing to buy property for a bug-out location, you need to consider which area is right for you. Many people are buying in remote mountain area because of the abundance of natural resources and the water supply.

survival preparedness

The ideal bug-out location varies depending on your current location and how you plan to meet your individual needs.

Others are choosing to buy bug-out locations in the plains because food can more easily be grown there. Whichever decision you decide is right for your family, you need a comprehensive plan including knowing at least three routes to get there. While many people use GPS to get them everywhere, chances are in a survival situation, GPS is not going to work.

survival preparedness

Planning several different bug-out routes ahead of time will assist you in making the best choice when the time comes. Be aware of flooding or other obstacles that may make a route impassable.

Therefore, you need to get maps of any area that you may be traveling through. While it is important to have great road maps, you may also need detailed topography maps because you may want to avoid the highways. If you decide to purchase a bug-out location, then it needs to be within one gas tank of your current location. Incidentally, you should already be filling up your car every night with a full tank of gas. For more bug-out vehicle tips, CLICK HERE.

Power

survival preparedness

Are you prepared to handle life without electricity?

If a disaster knocked out the electrical grid within the United States, experts say it would take at least a decade to rebuild that grid. Therefore, you are going to need to learn to rely on your own resources to create the power that you and your family needs.

There are at least eight different ways that you can generate energy at home or in your bug-out location. The one that is right for you depends on many different factors including what things you are likely to have present in your environment. Some common choices include solar, wind, water, and steam, but you cannot wait until after an emergency occurs to get started learning to harness these forms of electricity.

survival preparedness

Solar panels are one way to increase the self-sufficiency of your bug-out location.

Self-Defense

During an emergency, you may not be able to rely on emergency services to provide even the most basic levels of protection. Therefore, it is essential to know how to protect yourself and your family. The first step in doing this is deciding which method of self-protection is right for you. Remember that you may need to kill someone or be killed.

survival weapons

While a gun may not be the right choice for everyone, if it is the right choice for you, then there are many different choices including Mighty Barret and AK-47s down to 9 mm handguns. There are many advantages and disadvantages to each one, so make the choice that makes you the most comfortable.

Never purchase a weapon that you have not been properly trained to use. If you are likely to have children around, then make sure to teach them how to safely leave a firearm alone and how to tell someone when they see a firearm improperly stored.

Medical Needs

In addition to protecting yourself, you may very well need to take care of your family’s medical needs. Again, remember that ambulances may not be operational and hospitals may not be a safe place to go. At a minimum, you may need to know how to control bleeding and treat wounds.

In order to prepare for survival, you need to build a great first aid kit. You also need to know how to treat more advanced injuries. Since medical care may be set back a long way during some survival situations, it is often best to study older medical guides and know what medicine plants to grow and use.

survival preparedness

Your first aid kit should include bandaging, medications, and medical tools for handling common injuries. Click the image to view this kit on Amazon.

Survival Forums

If you are fascinated by this topic, then there are several forums that you can check out that have great information on them. They also make a great place to ask your questions and have them answered by people who have spent a long time coming to their opinions. These include:

Concluding Thoughts On Survival Preparedness

It is not a question of if you will need survival skills, it is a case of when. Almost everyone will experience a survival situation at some time in their lifetime. Most will be caused by natural events like hurricanes, floods, snowstorms and fires. Others may be centered around man-made events caused by nuclear attacks or EMP events. The steps you take toward survival preparedness today will increase your chances of withstanding these events and rebuilding your life afterward.

About The Author

Richard Beck is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, bushcraft and many other activities in the wild. For more information about all things related to the outdoors check out TheOutdoorsPro.com.

Your Thoughts

Which aspects of survival preparedness do you find most challenging? What resources have you found most helpful? Share your experiences in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Short- & Long-Term Survival Preparedness Info You NEED To Know appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

What Bug Out Vehicle Gear Should YOU pack?

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bug out vehicle gear

Note: This article was contributed by James Smith. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

While having the most reliable and dependable vehicle to get you to your bug out location should be high on your list of needs – the gear that you bring with you in your vehicle is much more likely to mean the difference between extreme hardship and preparedness.

When packing your bug out vehicle gear it’s important to consider that your car may be a home on wheels of sorts for some time. In a SHTF situation you will not be able to go shopping or seek medical attention and may even get stuck while you’re out driving.

bug out vehicle gear

Wrench-in-plan situations could include having to go off-road (or take an alternate route) to avoid a bottleneck, getting lost, camping overnight, getting injured or just something going wrong with your vehicle itself.

Needed bug out vehicle gear and considerations can be broken down into a few categories that I discuss in more detail below:

Tools and Equipment

bug out vehicle gear

Your bug out vehicle gear should include a tire iron or socket wrench for changing the tires, as well as other tools for maintenance and repairs.

You will want to make sure that you have the basic tools needed for minor repairs to your vehicle and other belongings. This can include vehicle replacement parts, tow cables, rope, straps, jumper cables and duct tape. Additionally a fire extinguisher for emergencies may come in handy. Other indispensable items include a shovel, multitool, 12-volt emergency power, and heavy gloves.

bug out vehicle gear

bug out vehicle gear

Shelter and Clothing

Fuel should be treated as a finite resource so you will not want to run the engine any more than is necessary for driving. While it is tempting to crank the heat when parked, a better option is to pack extra layers and bedding to keep everyone warm. Ensure that you add a roof top cargo carrier to your vehicle and pack your extra weather appropriate clothing, shopping bags, hiking boots/shoes, and hand warmers.

bug out vehicle gear

All of these things that will help you stay warm and beat hypothermia should you get stuck and take longer to get to your bug out location. Plan to include a tent, tarp, and sleeping bags in your bug out vehicle gear if it will take you some time to reach your ultimate destination.

bug out vehicle gear

You probably won’t have access to these along the way so it’s extra important to conserve fuel in your bug out vehicle.

Fire and Lighting

Always carry multiple flashlights and various lighters, matches and strikers. These items are essential for warmth, preparing food, and sterilizing water. You will also need to be able to see to access gear, make repairs, read maps, and scan the area for danger.

Flashlights and fires make excellent distress signals that are visible over long distances, should you need to send out for help. A tactical flashlight, such as the Nitecore P12 Tactical Flashlight (pictured above), offers extra features for breaching and self-defense.

Signaling and Communication

To communicate with others and receive whatever transmissions are being sent, be sure to pack up a radio and batteries or a reliable wind-up radio, a cell phone or prepaid phone with car adapter, portable CB radio, two-way radio, and whistle. Of course, make sure you know how to use them, and spend time practicing as much as possible.

best emergency weather radio

Navigation

bug out vehicle gear

Digital navigation can be very useful but often not as reliable as a printed map.

One of the most important things to stock in your bug out vehicle is proper navigation gear. Be sure you know both where you are going and all of the possible ways to get there. Prepare for unexpected detours and pack up a GPS device, paper maps (both road and topographical), and a compass.

Water

Plan to keep plenty of extra water inside your vehicle – enough for you and your family to get to your bug-out location then add on a few extra liters or gallons person. It’s helpful to have a durable yet pliable water container/bladder that can be collapsed when not in use and be sure to carry water purification tablets and durable metal cups.

bug out vehicle gear

The wide fill port makes it easy to fill and to clean the Camelbak 100oz Antidote Reservoir. Click the image to view details on Amazon.

Food

Pack and carry extra food at the rate of 2500 daily calories per person. Pack up a stove and basic kitchen as well. If you have a knack for it – and live in an area where it would be useful or practical – consider packing up a fishing kit as well.

bug out vehicle gear

The Emberlit Stove uses wood so you don’t need to worry about storing fuel. It also folds flat, making it a great addition to your bug out vehicle gear. Click the image to view on Amazon.

First Aid

A proper and complete first aid kit is essential, and there are plenty of pre-packed ones on the market. They range from basic small first aid kits that include wound dressing and cleaning supplies –to more elaborate medical kits that also include blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, splints, scalpels, and suture kits. Get what you believe is best for your family’s budget, but remember that it’s always better to err on the side of being over-prepared than under.

Also, don’t forget the toilet paper, feminine hygiene products (if needed) and any important prescription medications. Ideally though, you should work on weaning yourself of medications as soon as possible – the last thing you want in a SHTF situation is to go off your meds unwillingly and under-prepared.

bug out vehicle gear

Pre-made car kits are a helpful (and economical) starting point for building your bug out vehicle gear. This kit from TopGear includes jumper cables, work gloves, basic first aid, and much more. Click the image to view a full list on Amazon.

Safety and Protection

Pack up flares and a good multipurpose knife. Road flares are made to burn in inclement weather, and they are easy to get going, don’t require the same finger dexterity that a finger and match does, and they burn for a really long time. If you are stuck in a dire emergency that you can’t work your fingers to light a fire flares would do the trick – and they work nicely as a torch as well.

bug out vehicle gear

A multipurpose knife is a must-have in any vehicle bug-out bag.  One top choice would be a KA-BAR Full-Size, Straight Edge – a true war-horse of a knife that many United States Marines call their one and only.

Extra Bug Out Vehicle Gear Considerations

Depending on your route and possible hiccups native to your unique location and geographical area you may want to consider any additional water and land specific needs. These might include packing up life jackets, life rafts, paddles, off-road tires, ice scrapers, wrenches, or snorkel kits.

Conclusion

Planning ahead for any unforeseeable situations can save you a lot of headache figuring out what to do to solve the problem in the moment. Being well prepared with the bug out vehicle gear you need will give you the peace of mind that your whole family deserves.

About The Author

James Smith is a survivalist, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques. He has extensive knowledge about different survival kits and other survival supplies which he loves to share with others by writing blog. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

Your Thoughts

Is a bug out vehicle part of your survival plan? Do you have one stocked and ready to go? (We’d love to see photos!) Share your tips and ideas in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post What Bug Out Vehicle Gear Should YOU pack? appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

4 Tips To Put Your Bug Out Plan Into Practice

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Stocking up on supplies to survive an emergency situation is easy. We can all buy stuff and learn how to use it. But when the time comes that we really need it, there’s no taking chances on preparation. You may think you have your plans and gear in order, but […]

The post 4 Tips To Put Your Bug Out Plan Into Practice appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

You’ve Bugged Out…Now What? A Step-By-Step Guide to Survival After Bugging Out

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survival after bugging out

It’s one thing to have everything you need prepared and ready to go in case of disaster; it’s quite another to know exactly what to do and to stay calm under pressure. In a disaster, what you do in those first crucial moments has a lasting impact on your long-term survival. However, preparing for survival and actually surviving are two very different things. To improve your chances of survival after bugging out, we’ve prepared a list of priorities to help you plan your long-term survival strategy and ensure you’re ready for life off the grid.

Priority #1: Securing the Area

Once your party has all arrived to your designated bug-out location, the first thing you want to focus on is ensuring the area is still a safe place to spend the night. Check out your perimeter and, if you haven’t already, sketch out a rough map of key area features. Find a decent vantage point that allows you to get your bearings and view the surrounding area, making note of any bodies of water, visible trails, roads, and train tracks.

survival after bugging out

Carefully assess whether it is safe to remain at your chosen bug-out location.

Another important sign to look for is evidence of other travelers; you chose your bug-out location because of its desirable features, perhaps other bug-out parties have as well. Key indicators to look for include man-made items along the trail to your bug-out location, rising smoke, and bright colors indicating tents or tarps. Additionally, listen carefully for footsteps and voices, especially if you fled a nearby disaster.

At this point, simply having knowledge of any persons nearby and being able to keep tabs on them without divulging your location will suffice until you have addressed the second priority, assessing health. However, if you have the means, consider setting up a trip wire around your camp before settling in for the night. Using glowsticks and mousetraps, you can build a simple, yet very effective, security system such as this one.

Priority #2: Assessing Health

Assessing the health of your bug-out crew is of utmost importance; skipping a full evaluation can lead to severe problems down the road so make sure your assessment is thorough. In a survival situation, overlooking or ‘braving through’ a condition can threaten your long-term survival – as such, all injuries should be accounted for and treated accordingly. If the size of your bug-out crew permits, this assessment can be performed at the same time as your perimeter search.

When assessing the health of your crew, you’ll want to look at both physical and emotional health:

Physical health

Even minor cuts can become a major problem if they become infected, so making sure everyone in your party has arrived unscathed is an important step. Of equal importance is immediately tending to any cuts or wounds crew members may have suffered to increase the chances of quick healing. If you’ve determined there are no pressing medical issues, scan everyone for minor injuries and ticks. Additionally, once you take off your packs, be sure to properly stretch in order to alleviate any soreness, and drink water to replenish lost fluids.

survival after bugging out

Your survival after bugging out greatly depends on your health and that of everyone in your group.

If there are any injuries, prioritize treatment based on severity, starting with the least severe. While it may be tempting to treat the most severe injury first, tending to those with minor injuries first will then allow them to assist with others. Also, patching up small cuts can prevent passing blood borne infections. However, sequencing for treatment is always a judgment call; if a member of your crew is having difficulty breathing or experiencing severe bleeding, they should be tended to immediately.

To assist in situations where bug-out crew members are injured, we recommend adding CPR and first aid training as a measure of preparedness. Additionally, always keep a first aid manual with your bug-out gear as this will help when trying to administer treatment under stress.

Emotional Health

The emotional toll of bugging-out can be just as debilitating as physical injuries, and many mental effects won’t manifest themselves until you’ve reached safety. As the adrenaline cools and the reality of what you’ve just endured and the fact that you may never go back to your old life start to sink in, fear and anxiety can take over.

survival after bugging out

Many people will start to wonder about the safety of loved ones and friends not in the bug-out crew and stress about their whereabouts; additionally, for those in a disaster situation, there may be extreme images that play through crew members’ minds. This can be a lot to take in at once, keeping everyone calm and minimizing discussions of the events will help your group focus on the tasks at hand. Arriving was an important step, but there is still work to be done in order to survive.

Bugging-out with children can present its own set of emotional challenges. If there are children in your bug-out party, make sure you designate a caretaker adult ahead of time who is able to comfort them and display a positive attitude. Older children can be kept busy with tasks such as gathering firewood or kindling and retrieving other items to help with camp.

survival after bugging out

The better prepared your children are ahead of time, the better they will be able to handle the rigors of survival after bugging out. The way you carry yourself and your demeanor makes a huge difference as even very young children can pick up on your stress level; by maintaining a level head and staying calm, you will benefit everyone in your crew.

Priority #3: Attempting Communication

Once you have secured the area and all injuries have been stabilized, your next priority should be to find out what’s going on by pulling out your emergency radio. Emergency broadcasts will provide you with current information and potentially the extent of the damage in a disaster scenario. This information will help you to better assess whether or not to stay at your bug-out location as you will be aware of potential impending threats (such as bombings) or the scope of a natural disaster.

best emergency weather radio

If cell phone use is an option, you may be able to check in with loved ones to help alleviate some anxiety. However, should you be unable to reach anyone, don’t panic. Communication lines are often overwhelmed in the aftermath of a crisis; you can always check again later.

survival after bugging out

If your cell phone is still working, preserve battery by only turning it on a few times a day for short periods.

Priority #4: Setting Up Camp

There is no guarantee of what time of day or year it will be when you bug-out; the more you plan ahead and establish roles, the smoother the process will be.

To properly set up camp for survival after bugging out, you will need to choose spots for your fire and shelter, assemble your fire and shelter, make arrangements for hygiene, and safeguard your food rations against wildlife.

Fire and Shelter

There are many options for bug-out shelters; carefully assess the weather and conditions in your particular locale to choose which type is best. To learn about simple shelters you can build, CLICK HERE. Whichever means you choose, try and utilize natural structures for shelter and concealment, and locate the fire pit centrally in order to keep everyone warm.

survival after bugging out

No tent? No problem. There are lots of ways to build a simple shelter.

After establishing the locations for your shelter and fire, it’s time to start building your fire; this way, you can use the light from the fire to continue building or setting up your shelter. As a prudent measure, you should include at least two means for starting a fire in your bug-out bag; however, should you run into problems, here are six ways to make fire without matches.

survival after bugging out

At night, the light of the fire is less visible if you recess your fire pit.

One consideration for setting up your fire is whether or not it is visible from far away; if giving up your location puts you at risk, try to keep the fire small and obscured by brush (at a safe distance) or possibly wait until after dusk when rising smoke will be less visible.

Hygiene

Designate an area to serve as a bathroom that is downhill and 200 feet away from your main camp area and any water source. Digging individual catholes will work for smaller groups over a short period of time, but for a larger group a latrine may be your best option.

To build a latrine, dig a six-foot trench that is about eight-inches deep and use every inch from one end to the other, covering waste with soil as you go. When all the space is used up, you will need to choose another location as concentrating too much waste in one area decreases the decomposition rate and attracts wildlife.

survival after bugging out

Once the immediate needs have been met, you can start planning for long-term survival after bugging out.

Food Preservation

Another big attraction for wildlife: Food. Make sure to secure your food rations out of reach of animals. For a simple bear bag method, tie a 10-inch stick to the end of a rope and toss it over a high branch and then tie a bag with your food supply (and any other items that might smell tempting to animals) at the other end. Hoist the bag at least 15-feet off the ground and then secure the end to the trunk of the tree with the stick.

survival after bugging out

This branch was ideal for our bear bag because it was high off the ground and away from other branches.

survival after bugging out

Close up view of how the bear bag strap was secured to a nearby tree trunk.

Priority #5: Finding a Water Supply

If you’re wondering why finding a water supply is lower on the priority list, we assumed that you bugged-out with a 72-hour water supply as well as a means of purifying found water. If this is not the case, you may want to improve your bug-out preparedness or move finding a water supply up to a higher priority.

When choosing your bug-out location, you undoubtedly chose somewhere near a body of water; however, no matter where your water comes from, always be sure to purify any water obtained in nature to prevent contracting a parasite. If there is no water source near your bug-out location, or it is unsafe to approach existing water sources, there are several ways in which you can harvest water from nature.

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Intestinal parasites, such as giardia, can have devastating effects. Always purify drinking water!

Different ways to harvest water include tapping into trees and plants (think sap), collecting condensed water in a transpiration bag, and digging for water in geographical low points by looking for key indicators such as lines of shrubs. For more details on these and several other ways to harvest water from natural sources, please CLICK HERE.

Drought-Prepping-Intro3

Priority #6: Rationing Supplies

When bugging-out, the supply of food you have on hand no doubt consists of MREs, high-density protein bars, dehydrated foods, and other items that are light and easy to carry. While these can be great sources of nutrition, try not to deplete your supplies too quickly – survival is not a three-meals-a-day holiday.

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Ration your packaged food to last as long as possible to give you enough time to figure out a food source. Image via JaseMan on Flickr.

To get an idea of the amount of calories each of the members of your bug-out crew will need per day, check out this table that details the minimum daily caloric requirements for men, women and children. 

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Keep your energy up with high-calorie protein bars. Image via Richard Masoner on Flickr.

While children may have lower daily caloric needs, they will suffer from lack of calories sooner; feed children more frequent ‘meals,’ but keep those meals small. When rationing food supplies, keep in mind that you have not yet secured an alternate food supply, which brings us to the seventh priority: Finding food.

Priority #7: Finding Food

The time to start looking for food is as soon as possible, not when your supplies are low. You never know how long it will take you to find a food supply and should it take some time for success, your food supply may run out. There have been entire books written on how to scavenge for food in the wild, and we here at The Bug Out Bag Guide have covered the topic several times, including in our article Bushcraft Skills: Foraging for Food.

Foraging for Plants

One of the easiest ways to forage for food is to look to the plants and foliage all around you. Plants do not provide the same caloric value of meat or fish, but they do have a variety of nutritional benefits. Make sure to study your local edible plants and learn how to identify them in the wild before bugging-out.

Hunting Game

Small game can be caught quite successfully in forested areas by setting traps. In particular, squirrels and rabbits tend to be abundant and can be easily caught using simple snares. Always ensure you mark the location of your snares on a maps and check each one frequently; a struggling animal will attract attention from predators who may steal your meal before you even know it’s there.

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A deadfall trap is a simple yet effective way to catch small game.

Traps, such as funnels or corrals, can also be set to catch fish by placing the traps along the bank of a stream. Depending on your skill level and the type of weapons you have available, hunting for larger game may also be an option.

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Inlets lend themselves well to building a corral for trapping fish.

Remember, the greater variety of methods you have in place for finding food, the more likely your chances of catching it!

Priority #8: Defending Your Camp

Once you’ve put in the hard work of getting your family to safety and ensuring you have the supplies needed to survive, it’s time to focus your attention on keeping your family, gear and supplies safe from predators and thieves.

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Be prepared – you never know who might stumble into your camp!

The first step in defending your camp is to set up a watch, ensuring someone is on the lookout at all times. Additionally, you can use thorny brush to build a fence around your camp to keep both human intruders and predatory animals out.

We also mentioned setting up a perimeter fence around your camp in order to keep intruders out; now is the time to decide what to do about it. If the intruder is an animal and you are equipped to take it down, that could be an easy dinner for your crew; however, with larger game, unless you have a suitable weapon at hand, you are better off to try and scare it away than risk injuring yourself.

Your group will also need a strategy to handle human intruders. Each situation should be evaluated reasonably; arming yourself with weapons and defensive tactics to protect against attackers is a smart move, but not every person you encounter will be out to get you.

Final Thoughts On Survival After Bugging Out

The most important thing to remember after bugging-out is to stay positive and calm. Keeping a level head will help you to better handle all the tasks necessary to establish your bug-out camp. Foster communication and cooperation within the group so that you work together as a team and always be open to new and creative ways of completing tasks. Having your main tasks prioritized beforehand is an excellent way to ensure you’ve covered all the critical bases and that you are not expending unnecessary energy.

Your Thoughts

Do you agree with our prioritization of tasks for survival after bugging-out? Is there anything missing that you feel should be addressed immediately after bugging-out? Do you have any tips to share from your experiences setting up camps? Share your thoughts and questions with us in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post You’ve Bugged Out…Now What? A Step-By-Step Guide to Survival After Bugging Out appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.