How To Survive Winter In The City

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The winds of change are blowing, and we need to be ready when they do. In addition to the current political climate, we also have the actual climate to deal with, and for most of us, that means dealing with winter temperatures and conditions.

Surviving a disaster in July is one thing – you may be hot, but you can reasonably take care of yourself in a manner that keeps you alive as long as you have food, water, and shelter with no extra effort.

Winter, on the other hand, is an entirely different survival beast. In some climates, you can be dead within minutes if exposed to the weather without proper attire and equipment.

The two biggest causes that I see, over and over, when somebody gets into trouble or even dies because of winter conditions are lack of knowledge and lack of preparedness. One usually goes hand in hand with the other, but there are those out here who know what to do, but don’t believe anything will happen to them.

Those are the ones who really upset me because they KNEW. So, the first bit of advice that I’m going to offer is this: don’t make the potentially lethal mistake of thinking that it won’t happen to you. If you knock on the pearly gates and ask to interview folks who knew but didn’t prepare, they’ll no doubt tell you one thing: they didn’t think it would really happen.

So, learn from their mistakes.

“Usual” Disasters to Expect in Winter

This is going to depend heavily on your location. If you’re in the northern US, you’re going to see lots of snow, ice, and brutally cold temperatures. If you’re in the southern part of the US, you won’t likely see as much snow, but you may see heavy rains and low temperatures.

Along with that winter weather, there are some “usual” disasters that you should pretty much assume are likely possibilities. These aren’t considering things like WWIII, so account for the big disasters separately!

Frozen Pipes

If you’ve lived through a northern winter in an older house, I bet you can remember at least one morning when you got up, went to turn on the water to make coffee or brush your teeth, and got nothin’. Faucet wide open, but not a drop coming out. Congratulations – you’ve lived through frozen pipes.

Now, this is a situation that can range from inconvenient to financially disastrous depending upon whether they just froze, or if they froze and burst. If they just froze, you have to wait it out. A blow dryer is often helpful, but not always, depending on where it was frozen.

If they burst, look out. It’s going to be expensive and messy. You’re going to have to replace the pipe, plus when it defrosts, you’re going to have water everywhere. Or, depending on where it froze, you may have a burst that leaks immediately.

Frozen Car Doors/Locks

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone outside to get in my car and the locks were frozen, or the doors were completely frozen shut. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix – buy a house with a garage. Just kidding – there really are a couple of quick fixes.

There are commercial de-icers you can use, but the easiest way is to just find the door that seems the least stuck and push into it all the way down the sides and top in order to pop the ice loose. If this fails, try a hairdryer. If you just force the door open, you risk damaging the seals, so be gentle.

Same thing with the key; don’t torque on it when it’s obviously not working. If the lock freezes, try warming the key, then putting it into the lock because what’s happened is that water’s gotten down in there and frozen the mechanism together. Hand sanitizer works too as long as it’s the alcohol-based type. And again, there are commercial de-icers.


If you’ve ever been through a good blizzard (or a bad one, depending upon your take on blizzards), then you know that they’re deathtraps if you’re not careful.

Just a few concerns that accompany blizzards are:

  • Collapsed roofs
  • Downed powerlines
  • Decreased or no visibility during the storm.
  • Extreme wind
  • Downed trees that can prevent you from leaving the house
  • Deep snowdrifts

Your best bet when you know that a blizzard is coming is to get ready to hunker down. This means:

  • Have your food, water, and meds stockpiled
  • Have plenty of wood ready in a location close enough to the house that you don’t have to go far to get it
  • Have a rope tied from the house to necessary points that you may need to get to outside, such as to the barn or the emergency vehicles
  • Have candles and other non-electrical sources of light handy
  • Have a back-up heat source because there’s a good chance that you’ll lose power in the storm
  • Have plenty of blankets ready

Road Ice

It’s impossible to avoid unless you don’t ever leave the house. At some point in the winter, you’re going to drive on ice. I can’t overemphasize the value of tire chains and caution. Between the two, you have a pretty good chance of getting where you’re going if you absolutely must drive.

If you begin to skid on ice, steer into the skid rather than away from it in order to help you regain control. Don’t hit the breaks – tap them instead. Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you and pay extra close attention to your surroundings. If kids or dogs run out in front of you, your stopping time is going to be much slower than on a dry road.

Power Outages

Losing power in winter can quickly become a critical situation, and the weight of snow on lines frequently causes it. You need to be prepared regardless of whether you live in an apartment or in a farmhouse in the country. You’re going to need two things: at least one source of heat to keep you warm and one to heat up food/water. Lights are nice, too.

I recommend keeping some kind of space heater that doesn’t require electricity, such as a camp heater that runs on oil or propane. Fireplaces are great too, if you have one. Best of all would be a wood-burning stove, if you’re in a place where you can have one.

A Few Suggestions

If you get stuck outside in a survival situation in the summer, you’ll likely survive as long as you can find food and water. Not so in the winter. I know that we’ve talked mostly about city survival, but these rules apply to anywhere.

It’s imperative that the first thing you do if SHTF during the winter is make sure that you have solid shelter and a source of heat that will keep you from freezing to death. Be aware that this is going to be everybody else’s goal too, so if it gets really bad, you want to stay out of sight.

After you have shelter, then it’s time to make sure that you have the other two keys that are critical to your survival: water and food. Hopefully you’ve managed to stockpile enough and are able to just hunker down in your home and wait it out, but if not, have a backup plan. Then have a backup plan for your backup plan.

Contingencies are always a good thing when you’re trying to manage something as fickle as the weather!

Check your supplies, especially the ones in your car, every week or so to make sure that they’re still dry, unfrozen, and in good shape. Nothing would suck more than pulling out the one clean, dry change of clothes you think you have, only to find out that they’ve had a quart of oil leak all over them. Keep track of that!

Surviving winter is a different animal than surviving other times of the year, but if you manage it properly and plan it well, things can most certainly turn out just fine!

Just learn the tricks and be prepared – it’s all you can do!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Turn Your Cellar Into A Survival Shelter In 10 Steps

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Modern threats continue to evolve, so it isn’t enough to simply store some food in your basement and hope that it will be enough to get you through the worst days of a disaster.

From nuclear contamination to massive epidemics caused by biowarfare agents, having a safe place to hide should be your primary concern. You might already have the best spot for this purpose, so you’ll need to put in a good bit of effort to turn your cellar into a survival shelter.

While these below ground rooms have many advantages, they can make your survival worse if not prepared with modern threats in mind.

Keep reading to find our how to make it fit for your survival needs!

Make Sure the Cellar is Sound

Before moving anything into the cellar or preparing it for survival needs, make sure that the basic structure is sound: the foundation is secure, and the ceiling and overhead structures will not give way.

Also, make sure the cellar is as free of dampness as possible.

Simply using Damp Rid or other moisture controllers may work for routine needs, but will not be of much help in a survival situation. You might spend weeks, or even months in the cellar, so you constantly need to try and manage dampness.

The cellar should also be free of mold, mildew, algae, and other signs of unwanted microorganisms, as their presence show the cellar is not fit to live in on long term. Mold can release toxic spores into the air and create numerous health risks.

If the cellar is not sound, and costs too much to repair, you better start a new one by digging out an underground bunker, then consider adding a tunnel that goes from the basement to the bunker. Aside from being cheaper, an underground bunker system is also much easier to expand as you build up your stockpile and think of new things to be included in your survival plans.

How To Build a Small Bunker in Your Backyard with $400

Manage Air Quality

One of the most important, yet overlooked parts of preparing a basement for survival revolves around ensuring air quality. Make sure that the cellar is air tight, because any air leaks can pose a serious hazard from nuclear fallout as well as infectious diseases and toxic gasses.

Once you are sure that the cellar is airtight, make sure that you can purify the air and restore oxygen to it. Use certain houseplants as well as air purifiers that are designed to release oxygen into the air.

Remember, most medical oxygen concentrators will not actually produce oxygen. Instead, they take air in, and simply let out more oxygen than other elements. If there is not enough oxygen in the air to begin with, these concentrators will be virtually useless.

You can still try keeping a few oxygen cylinders in the cellar, however they will not last more than a few hours.

Managing air quality must also include removing other toxins from the air. This includes exhaust fumes and anything else that may come in from the outside.

Activated carbon filters will offer the best means for cleaning the air. Do not forget, however, these filters must be replaced often to ensure a clean air supply. You should know how to make your own activated carbon, or reuse spent carbon, and then develop your own air filters.

Check Incoming Water Resource

Next to clean air, a reliable source of water is necessary. Don’t rely only on municipal or well water access in your cellar if a major social collapse occurs.

If you have municipal water, see if you can dig even a shallow well in the basement or nearby, and use hand pumps to move the water into the cellar. These pumps can be made from PVC, or you can purchase a metal pump that can pull water from further depths.

Don’t overlook the moisture already in the air, or any that may become available during living in the cellar. For example, as you can use fans and desiccants to concentrate water into a bucket, and then collect the evaporated water into a clean container.

You can also use a similar method to retrieve water from urine and any leftover water from cooking and washing. This is especially important if you have a small cellar and limited amounts of room for storing water or equipment that could be used to purify it.

Stay Safe with Food Storage

Technically speaking, you can get by for several days without food, as long as you have safe water to drink. If you were contaminated with nuclear radiation or have some other injury to deal with, nutritious food is going to be very important, especially in the first few days after a major crisis occurs.

This is just one of many reasons why you should store at least 2 – 4 weeks of food in the cellar. If you are short on space, try to store away MREs or other meals that are nutrient dense and require very little in the way of preparation.

When it comes to food storage, think well ahead to a time when you’ll begin putting your life back together, because once you emerge out of the celler, there will be no food available.

Even if you are fortunate enough to find a safe place to hunt and fish, you’ll still need to grow edibles for medicinal and food purposes. Store away a cache of heirloom seeds from as many plants as possible as well as instructions on how to grow them in conventional gardens, hydroponics arrangements, and indoors.

Plan Your Food Production

Not so long ago, sheltering in place for about 2 weeks would get you through most disasters. Today, bioweapons, larger numbers of people, and other problems may mean that you will need to stay in the cellar much longer.

When room and funds are limited, your next best option is to secure the means of growing sufficient amounts of food in the basement itself.

Here are three ways to produce biomass:


Basically you will be letting seeds from certain plants germinate, and then eat the sprouts when they are just a few days old. Choose plants that produce large numbers of seeds from a single plant (such as mustard), or large plants from a single seed (beans).

You will also need to be able to grow some plants to full maturity to produce enough seeds to consume. Since sprouts can produce several pounds of biomass from less than ¼ pound of seeds, it is well worth your while to explore this option.

Insect farms

Hundreds of ants, crickets, grubs, and other insects can be raised easily in shoe boxes and other small habitats. They can also live on kitchen scraps, or just about anything else depending on the insect species.

If the thought of consuming insects is troublesome, bear in mind that you are probably consuming almost a pound of insects a year from conventional food sources without realizing it. Insects easily get caught up in food production and processing machinery and find their way into the food supply.

To get started with consuming insects, grind them up into flour or something else that removes the visual effects of the insect it came from.


These fungi easily grow in dark, cool, damp places. You can purchase mushroom kits with pre-seeded spores, as well as learn how to cultivate successive generations from those kits. You will need to practice mushroom growing skills, as it can be a bit dangerous to handle the spores.

Inexpensive, Easy to Build Cellar Will Protect Your Life and Supplies in the Next Crisis

Mind About Hygiene and Sanitation

One of the best additions you can make to your cellar is a composting toilet. This will make it possible to manage waste and recycle it for growing mushrooms or other edibles. Make sure that you research on the safety of these toilets, and how to manage them, because human waste carries many dangerous diseases and should be managed with care.

Make sure that you can wash clothes and keep your body as clean as possible while living in the cellar. Antibacterial wet wipes do not take up much room, so you should be able to store away enough of them to last for several months.

Insofar as washing clothes, you can use a 5-gallon bucket with a plunger agitator, or make a scrub bag with a washboard.

Insulate for Temperature Control

If you made the cellar airtight, then temperature control shouldn’t be very hard to do. Add extra insulation (sandbags work well and serve a second purpose of preventing bullet ricochets) to all the walls, floor, and ceiling, to help sound proof the cellar.

As the days and weeks go by, any people left above ground will be looking for food, water, and a safe shelter. If they hear sounds of life coming from your cellar, rest assured they will try to get in to see if there is anything of value. Never underestimate the determination or lack of integrity of panicking people that may form into loose bands of rioters or looters.

You will also need to prevent smoke or other signs of life from escaping out into the air around the cellar. Make sure that vents used for burning fuel are directed underground and in ways that they do not reach the surface near the cellar.

Unfortunately, this ventilation will be a necessary evil because you will already be in a closed space with a limited air supply. Even if you have carbon filters going around the clock to clean out toxins from the air, it may not be enough to keep up with fumes from burning various fuels. Try to see if you can use the heat from compost piles or other passive heating methods to heat the cellar.

Insofar as cooling, your quietest and safest options will revolve around 5-gallon bucket “air conditioners” and similar devices that require a minimal amount of electricity. You can also experiment with gravity fans or other devices that will run on mechanical energy instead of electricity.

Prepare Multiple Exits

Right now, you may not care much that there is only one way in and out of the cellar, but it could be a disaster in a time of need, especially if the cellar door is easily visible to others. If the cellar door is located inside the house, looters and others that break in can also find it and trap you where you are. These are just a few reasons why you need at least one secret exit out of the basement.

Cost wise, this may be one of the more expensive elements of converting your basement into a survival shelter. Among other things, you may need to drill through the floor to reach ground that can be dug out for a tunnel.

You’ll also need to fortify the tunnel so that the house doesn’t collapse. Ideally, the tunnel should come up somewhere along the boundary of your property, or some other area where you can come up to ground level without being seen. Disguise the entrance with shrubs, noxious plants such as poison ivy, or something else that others will avoid at all cost.

Defend Your Survival Cellar

No matter how hard you try, rioters or other bad people might discover your hiding place. You can use crossbows and develop zones of fire that will help you stave off attackers.

Depending on the size of the basement and the way it is set up, some guns types will be better than others. You’ll need a weapon that has suitable stopping power without tearing up the walls or other items stored in the cellar.

There are also ways to build trip wire alarm systems that will let you know if someone above ground has gotten too close to your shelter, or you can use your secret exit to get to ground level, and then do what is needed to solve the problem.

Don’t Skip Power and Communications

While taking up refuge in your cellar, finding out what is going on in the rest of the world is crucial. Crank radios can be of use, as can foxhole radios and small battery powered devices.

Limit power needs and devices to units that require the least amount of voltage and have rechargeable batteries. You won’t be able to use solar or wind power generation options, but don’t overlook bicycle generators, magnetic engines, and other devices that can be used to recharge batteries.

In fact, if there is one appliance that you should buy for your cellar, I would recommend a bicycle generator. Aside from producing a reasonable amount of electricity, it will help you stay in shape. Within just a few days of being in the basement, you will need the exercise if you expect to remain in any semblance of good condition.

Depending on the nature of the disaster, you may or may not want to reach out to others around you. It would still be a good idea to keep some basic tools nearby for this purpose. Banging on metal pipes will easily draw attention to your area, as will smoke signals.

Finally, if you can get above ground and want to reach a specific person, think about using a bullroarer. Make sure the person you are trying to contact knows to listen for your signal, and how to interpret the sounds.

Even as I write this, news is emerging that North Korea may be just as likely to use bioweapons as nuclear warheads. There are also many other disasters, both natural and manmade that may require retreating to a hardened shelter. In this case, your cellar is the perfect place to modify for this purpose! Be smart when planning your actions to survive disasters that are about to come!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

9 Ways To Compromise Your Survival Stockpile

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There are a lot of foolish people in the world today. Sadly, we even find some of them amongst the ranks of preppers. These people are doing what they need to do, in order to be ready for a disaster, but they’re not necessarily doing it right. In many cases, they are letting others know what they are doing, or they are doing it in such a way as to not protect their preps.

This became eminently clear to me in the recent spate of hurricanes we’ve had.

While I don’t know any preppers who were caught in those hurricanes, simply examining the devastation caused by them, as part of my typical post-disaster review, showed me a number of weaknesses that could apply to just about anyone’s survival stockpile.

But we don’t need a disaster to show up, in order for us to find that we’ve made some major mistakes in how we stockpile for an emergency. Some of these mistakes can show up long before a disaster does.

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A neighbor dropping by or an accident causing supplies to be destroyed is not all that uncommon. So let’s look at the various mistakes that many people make, in order to ensure that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming foolish preppers ourselves.


The first and most obvious mistake that many people make is poor OPSEC (operational security). More than anything, this means not hiding what they’re doing from friends and neighbors. This requires actively thinking about how you will keep people from knowing what you are doing, rather than just thinking they won’t know, if you don’t tell them.

I guarantee that if you show up at your home some afternoon, with a truckload of food that you picked up at Costco, your neighbors will see it and be curious. Even if they never ask you about it, they’ll remember that you buy things in bulk, so when things go bad and they need food, you’ll be the first one they’ll think of.

Hiding things from neighbors can be very difficult, simply because people are curious and they see what’s going on around them. If you have a vegetable garden, they know; likewise for a swimming pool.

Even if they aren’t thinking in terms of disaster preparedness, they will remember that those resources are in your backyard. They might even try to tell you that your swimming pool is a great source of water and isn’t it fortunate for the neighborhood that you have it.

The best you can do sometimes is to disguise what you are doing or mislead them as to why you are doing it. My neighbors know that I have a wind turbine and solar panels. Those are rather hard to find. But they also know that I’m a retired engineer, who likes to tinker around in my workshop. So, they see those things as signs of my tinkering, nothing more.

Of course, when the power goes out, they might show up at my door with a cell phone to be charged, but at least I’ve made it harder for them to realize what I’m really doing.

Storing Everything in One Place

If you lived in Southwest Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit and had all your prepping supplies in your home, they would all have been waterlogged by the flooding that the hurricane caused. The same sorts of things can happen with just about any type of natural disaster, from fires to earthquakes.

You should always have multiple caches of supplies, so that if your main stockpile becomes compromised in some way, you’ll at least have something to use.

Likewise, you shouldn’t keep your whole stockpile in one place in your home. Rather, spread it out some, so that if part of your home becomes damaged in a disaster, you’ll still have supplies in other parts of your home. This could also protect you if the government starts going door to door collecting things.

Some types of supplies should be spread around for safety as well. If your firewood stockpile is all in one place, then a fire could destroy it all. Likewise, if you’re storing gasoline. Not only that; but in both of those cases, destruction of the stockpile would also endanger your home and family.

Not Ensuring it is Ready for Long-Term Storage

You have to assume that anything you’re storing is going to be in storage for 20 years. While it may not be, making that assumption will help you to avoid making the mistake of not packaging it correctly for long-term storage.

MRE’s, freeze dried, and dehydrated foods have a “maximum shelf life of 25 years.” Are these claims a load of B.S.? Frankly, it’s a yes and a no…  The claims of 25-year shel…

We usually think of food when we are saying this, but it doesn’t just apply to food. Some things, like gasoline, don’t store well. Storing a 55 gallon drum of gasoline isn’t going to do you much good, if that drum of gas goes bad or evaporates due to a poor seal. You need to add the necessary additives and make sure that the container is well sealed.

Another simple, but critical part of packaging for long-term storage is labeling. Adhesive labels don’t necessary stick for 20 years. In fact, many will fall off in a year or less, especially if the item is stored in a hot or humid area. In those cases, you need to make sure that you’re not using a label, but rather writing the contents directly on the container with a permanent marker.

Forgetting to Waterproof

Perhaps the most obvious thing I saw from these hurricanes was the need to waterproof everything. What good is a year’s worth of toilet paper going to do you, if it ends up soaked in water? While much of our food stockpile is already in waterproof containers, much of our other supplies aren’t. What can you do to make sure that they are properly waterproofed to protect them?

One of the hardest areas to do this is with a pile of firewood. I’ve got a couple of cords of split firewood in my backyards, stacked in racks. But if it flooded here, that wood would certainly get wet. For that matter, it’s not even well protected from the rain.

There’s no practical way I can protect all that firewood from the rain or from flooding. But I can take a small quantity of it, say enough for a few days, and store it inside, where it will be protected. If there is flooding and the power goes out, I can then start a fire and stack some of the wet wood near it to dry off.

Leaving Out a Critical Item

There’s always something you forget to stockpile, I don’t care how long you’ve been at it. I recently realized that I don’t have a boat; any sort of boat. Granted, I don’t have much need for a boat, and I have much better things to spend my money on. But I also live in a hurricane zone. So without a boat, I’d end up just like all those other people, sitting on my roof, waiting for someone who has a boat to come by and rescue me. Duh!

This is easily resolved, without spending a fortune. All I need to do is buy an inflatable rubber raft. You can find those for as little as $100, allowing you to have the means of rescuing yourself, rather than waiting for others to do it for you.

Always be reviewing your stockpile, looking for that critical missing item. You might be surprised when you find out what it is.

Not Protecting from Heat and Cold

Many things are damaged by heat, cold and dampness. Yet the places we tend to put our stockpiles in are either hot, cold or damp. Not a real good combination. We need to think our storage plans thoroughly, taking into consideration the effects of heat, cold and dampness over a long period of time.

Dampness can cause mold and mildew to grow on things, even things like that rubber raft I was just talking about. Should that happen, it would be a very unpleasant ride out on that raft. But heat can damage it as well, if I were to store it in my attic.

So the basement isn’t a good place to store it, nor is the attic. I need someplace where I can put it, like the garage, where it won’t be damaged by environmental consideration.

Leaving Your Stockpile Unguarded

Probably one of the worst things you can do is to leave a stockpile of supplies somewhere that others can get to it. I think of this, every time I talk about a survival retreat in the woods. Like many, I’d love to have that retreat; but I haven’t been able to afford it yet.

Leaving six months worth of food in a cabin in the woods, so that you’ll have it there if you have to bug out, sounds like a great idea. But cabins in the woods can usually be broken into fairly easily. If that were to happen, you might show up at your survival retreat, only to find a pile of empty packages, left behind by some bum that was squatting in your cabin.

Ideally, you’ll have your supplies someplace where you can keep an eye on it. But if you can’t make sure it is extra-secure. If it were me, I’d move a shipping container onto the property, parking it next to or behind my cabin. Rather than stocking my supplies in the cabin, it’d stock them in the container, ready at hand, but well secured against theft.

Prepping in the Wrong Place

This one’s a bit controversial, but I don’t think that everyone should build their survival stockpile in their home. While I’m a big proponent of bugging in, rather than bugging out, especially for those in the suburbs, rural towns and out in the country, I also recognize that not everyone should bug in.

If you live in the inner city, especially in an apartment building in the inner city, you should probably get out of there fairly quickly before society can break down. No matter how many supplies you have stockpiled, you won’t have enough water. What water exists will not meet the needs of everyone there and there is no way that you will be able to harvest water and protect it from being stolen by others.

For people in this sort of situation, I highly recommend finding a survival retreat in the suburbs or some rural town. That’s where they should build their stockpile. That way, they can escape from the dangers of the city and get to a place where it will be much easier to survive.

Not Checking Your Stockpile Regularly

Whatever you have stockpiled, whether it is food, ammunition, gasoline or firewood, you should check your supplies regularly. Things left alone tend to deteriorate and you have to assume that your stockpiled supplies can do so as well. Checking them regularly will protect you from the bad surprise of going to look for something and finding that it’s not usable.

One way to avoid this problem is to rotate your stock, buying new things and using up the old. Some food items are best stockpiled in this way, as they really don’t keep well for more than a year. Gasoline is another thing that should be rotated, as the shelf life of gas is only about six months.

By checking your stockpile regularly, say once a month or so, you can find things that are not packaged well enough or that need to be replaced. That way, you can make use of those items, rather than having them go to waste. You’ve got too much money invested in your stockpile, to just have things go bad on you. Better to use it and replace it, so that the money isn’t wasted.

Checking your stockpile also allows you to check for security problems with things that are stored off-site. As with the survival retreat I was talking about a moment ago, you want to make sure that the supplies that you have cached in other locations are safe from thieves and from destruction.

Now check your stockpile again and be honest: how many of these mistake do you make?

Would you stockpile be good enough to help you and your family survive?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

7+1 Tips On How To Deal With Flood Remains

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The problem with dealing with hurricanes, tropical storms, or other storm systems that bring a lot of rain in a little time is that you’re not just dealing with the storms. Though that’s certainly bad enough, sometimes it’s what comes after that does more damage than the actual storm.

What am I talking about? Flooding. I live in a hurricane zone, and we have a saying: hide from the winds, but run from the water. That’s because there usually very few lives lost due to damage from the high winds; most lives are lost to flooding.

On top of that, much of the extensive damage is also caused by flooding. How do you deal with the remains?

The actual storm itself rarely lasts more than a few hours but it can take weeks for a river to crest after the storm is past.

For example, the St. Johns River that runs from Vero Beach in Southeast Florida, up the middle of the state, then empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, is a north-flowing, lazy river. That can make for a bad situation for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s common for hurricanes to hit the southern part of the state then pound the rest of it with heavy downfalls. Since the St. Johns both starts and empties into the Atlantic Ocean, it can get a storm surge from both ends if the storm hits just right.

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Add in a foot or two of heavy rain to a state that’s not very far from sea level and you’re going to see major flooding in the dry areas, too.

So, you have the initial surge, which can push it off the banks, then you have water draining toward it from all directions inland then you have to factor in the slow rate at which it runs – .3 mph. That means that, assuming we’re lucky enough to have dry weather for a couple of weeks after the hurricane, it can take the river up to a week or so to crest; if it rains it can take even longer than that. And, since it’s lazy, it’s not receding for several days to a week.

So it’s not uncommon for a house near the St. Johns to make it through the hurricane just fine, but flood three or four days later, and stay that way for a few days. And this is a problem that happens all over the world; I just used the St. Johns because it’s one that I have first-hand experience with.

The reason that I took the time to go into this is because it’s important to understand that time plays a huge factor in things. Houses, yards, manufacturing plants, and buildings can be flooded for days, or even a week.

This opens up the door to a tremendous amount of potential toxins to flow, mix, and/or grow:

  • Septic waste: A septic tank may be able to handle a little bit of flooding, especially if it’s localized, but if the land is submerged for several days, it’s a different story. The leech field and even the tank itself are leaking into the floodwaters.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides: Again, a quick wash of floodwater may contaminate things a little, but when the water has plenty of time to sit and thoroughly saturate the soil deep down, it draws up toxins that have been soaking into the ground for months or years and spreads it far and wide.
  • Sewage plants: It’s practically a given that at least one sewage plant is going to suffer spillage during a flood.
  • Landfills: if it’s in a flood zone, it’s going to share the wonders of decomposing food, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and all the other stuff you’d typically want to make tea with. Home garbage containers also spill into floodwaters, so that’s another source of loveliness.
  • Dead Fish: between the contamination and the change in temperature and pH levels, there’s almost always a huge amount of dead fish that add to the contamination of the water, and also end up scattered on the banks, leaving the lovely smell – and health hazard – of dead fish strung along the shore, baking in the sun.
  • Mold: now that there’s a lovely, poisonous soup sitting in a building, or even on the ground, stewing in the heat, mold, and mildew start to grow. This creates another hazard that’s hazardous to you, both if you touch it and if you breathe it.
  • Storm debris: the winds and rushing water bring down trees and tree limbs, roof shingles, siding, fences, signs, and many other hazards that flow in the water and are left scattered behind once the water recedes, leaving physical hazards as well as chemical ones.

Now that you have an idea of just how damaging floods are, you need to know how to deal with the aftermath.

Be Prepared

Just like food is going to be scarce before the storm, cleaning supplies are going to be in demand following it. Stock up on garbage bags, bleach, rubber gloves, paper towels, rags, and whatever else you may need to clean up your area. Of course, if you prepare for a hurricane throughout the year, this may not be an issue for you.

Don’t Swim in It

After learning about all of the disgusting contents in floodwaters, the last thing you would probably think to do is swim in it. But many people don’t.

Kids of all ages like to get out and wade in the floodwaters, and even after the waters start to go down, it’s hot and people want to go swimming in the river.

Don’t. Just because the water has receded doesn’t mean that the toxins aren’t still there.

Pay attention to local EPA and Fish and Wildlife folks who monitor the level of contamination in the water and don’t go back in until they deem it safe.

Boil Water

Often, if you’re on city water, your city will issue a boil-water alert until they’re sure that the water is safe to drink again. Heed these warnings – they’re given for a reason. Usually, this is just for drinking water, but sometimes they’ll issue one for water used for hygiene as well.

It’s best to stockpile some water, both because your power may be out for awhile and because of the danger of contamination after the storm.

Test Your Soil

Though most of the time, the soil will be OK a few weeks or months after the flood, have it tested. The contaminants stay in it for a long time after the waters recede.

As a matter of fact, I once lost an entire litter of 4-week-old puppies to Parvo two weeks after a flood because the ground had been contaminated via rats’ nests that had been flooded.

As we know, rats also caused a couple of plagues, so this isn’t something to take lightly.

Wear Sturdy Shoes

By now, you’ve probably figured out that the ground is gross even after the waters recede. If you have to wade in the water, wear rubber boots that are higher than the water so that your feet don’t come into contact with water.

However, it’s best not to wade in the water at all because there are all kinds of things – boards with nails, broken glass, etc. – that you can’t see and will cut your shoes right along with your feet. Then all of those lovely contaminants are in your bloodstream.

Wear Gloves and Masks

Once you have to go in and start doing cleanup, you don’t want to touch the contaminated debris with your bare hands and you don’t want to breathe the air in enclosed spaces because of the mold and mildew. It can and will cause serious health issues once you suck it into your lungs. Medical masks are fairly cheap, especially compared to funeral expenses.

Dispose of Debris Appropriately

At the time of this writing, it’s three weeks post-Irma and there are still huge piles of yard debris lining the streets and stacked in parking lots. Follow local ordinances and be patient. If you want to dispose of it yourself rather than wait for city or county waste companies to get to you, there are often designated drop-off areas where you can haul it to.

Typically, these drop zones are for yard debris only. Drywall, fencing, shingles, flooded household goods and furniture, or any other non-bushy stuff isn’t accepted. Check for area dumps to haul building debris to, or call your municipality to find out if they’ve made special arrangements to pick up this type of waste.

Watch your Pets

Dogs and cats just love to roll in gross stuff and eat dead things that they shouldn’t.

There’s also the danger of nails, glass, and disease (see afore-mentioned Parvo) that are dangers to your animals. Horses are at particular risk, too, because of the way that their hooves are made. A nail can easily penetrate the sole, so be sure to police the yard and turnout areas where your pets will be roaming before you let them out.

Floods cause millions of dollars of damage and lives are lost both to the rushing waters and the hazards that accompany the water, both during and after the event.

Use common sense and follow precautions set forth by your local authorities. Post-disaster really isn’t a time to ignore safety directions because if warnings are issued, you can guarantee that there’s some level of risk.

That’s why you need to stay prepared and to know how to keep you and your family safe!

Have you been through floods and have suggestions, tips, or a story you’d like to share? If so, please do so in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Rappelling: A Guide To Basic Equipment And Knots

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When it comes to learning new survival skills, there are several things that many think of as sporting or hobby techniques as opposed to something that can save your life in a crisis.

For example, many think of rappelling as a hobby for people interested in the outdoors or mountain climbing instead of something that may be needed to escape an inner city skyscraper or some other area where great heights are involved.

Keep reading and you’ll see what you’re missing!

Before you begin learning how to rappel, it’s important to get good quality gear and know how to tie the basic knots used in this activity.

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Remember, no matter where you are rappelling down from, you will be relying solely on your equipment and proper technique. If the equipment or your knots fail, the odds are you will die.

Mandatory Equipment You Need for Rappelling


Having and wearing good quality leather climbing gloves is a good idea when rappelling. They will protect your hands from rope burns (especially if you are moving down the rope too fast) as well as from getting dirty from contact with the rope.


Actually, this should be the first to mention. The next questions is, what kind of rope should you use? If you climbed a mountain to reach a point to rappel down from, you will more than likely use the same ropes that were used during your ascent.

Before rappelling with these ropes, check them over for signs of stretching, cuts, or other damage that occurred while climbing. I’s always helpful to keep a spare set of unused ropes that you can use for rappelling in case the first set is damaged. Use different colored ropes so that it is easier to figure out which one to pull on.

In the US the standard length of rope for rappelling is 200 feet long. If doing a long rappel two of these ropes must be used. These two ropes are joined together by one of four rappelling knots.

If you are doing a short rappel of under 100 feet, then double back the rope on itself to allow for the 100 foot rappel.

It is safer to use ropes with a 10mm to 11mm diameter. This diameter rope will give more friction when they feed through the rappelling device than smaller diameter ropes. Also, the thicker ropes are less likely to be burned or cut than the thinner ropes.

Safety note: Never tie a thick cord to a thinner one. There is a chance that the knot might work itself loose and create a situation where you will fall to your death.

Rappel anchors

For your safety, a minimum of two anchors are needed to rappel off a cliff. Some people consider three anchors a redundancy, however it never hurts to use one more just in case a problem occurs with the other two.

Anchors can be bolts, pitons, cams, trees, or tied off boulders.

Rappelling ropes

Are always threaded through metal anchor material such as screw quick links, steel descending rings, carabiner.

Never, under any circumstance, use nylon slings as an anchor. These slings can melt, break, or fail if they come into direct contact with the rope and the friction it produces as you are rappelling.

Rappelling device and locking carabiner

The choice of rappelling devices depends on the situation. To help cut down on your climbing weight, it is best to pick a rappelling device that could also be used as a belay device.

Black Diamond ATCs and Trango B-52s are excellent choices for rappelling devices.

Some climbers like to use the Figure-8 descender because it is easy to use and gives the individual a fast smooth ride down.

On the down side, the Figure-8 descender can put kinks in the rope and cause a twisted mess to uncoil that will have to be fixed before you can finish a safe rappel to the ground.

Safety note: Be sure you have a sturdy extra large auto locking carabiner to attach the rappelling device to your harness. A screw gate carabiner will work, but bear in mind it can unscrew and open under load causing serious safety issues.


Safety note: Always use a climbing harness when rappelling.

A harness forms a comfortable seat for rappelling. The harness is fitted around the waist and upper legs. It is very important that the waist belt fits tightly, has no cracks or worn spots, and has a belaying loop on the front.

If you don’t have a harness, you can make one from webbing.

Personal anchor tether

If you are going from rappel station to station or plan on multiple rappelings, you will need to immediately clip yourself into the anchors at the bottom of each rappel.

If you have already rigged a personal anchor tether on your harness, then it is possible to clip into them as soon as you reach them. Now that you are safe, you can unhitch from the rappelling device and ropes to let the next person rappel down to join you.

Important Rappelling Knots

The autoblock knot

When rappelling, safety must always be your first consideration. As a safety back up, always use an autoblock knot.

This knot is tied below the rappelling device and will prevent you from sliding all the way down the rope if you happen to let your hands go from the rope, you lose control of the speed of descent, or you need to stop traveling downward.

If you stop, this particular knot will tighten automatically and prevent you from rappelling further.

The autoblock knot works well for rappelling because you can loose it and tighten it easily as you move down the rope. It will lock and release while under a load and remain safe. This is also one of the easiest friction knots to tie and remember how to use.

Video first seen on REI.

You are always in control when using an autoblock knot. It allows you to stop and hang to do the following without endangering yourself:

  • Clear rope snags.
  • Toss a rope farther down a cliff.
  • Free twists and knots from the rope.
  • Keeps you from losing control on free or overhanging rappels where you can’t touch the rock.
  • Stops you if you get hit by falling rocks.
  • Prevent you from falling if you feel sick, or something else causes you to need to stop unexpectedly.

Safety note: If you need to stop make sure you let go of the knot. Beginners have died because they gripped the knot, which can cause it to slips and fall apart. Remember to let go and let the knot do its job and lock.

How to keep the autoblock knot from jamming

To keep the autoblock knot from jamming, make sure the cord or sling that forms the autoblock isn’t too long. If it is too long, then the knot can jam in the rappelling device when you stop.

To avoid problems make sure the sling is short enough before rappelling. If it’s too long, tie a knot in the end of the sling to shorten it, or extend the rappelling device from the harness by attaching it to a sling.

Safety note: Always get in the habit of using an autoblock knot whenever you are rappelling.

Stopper Knot

For safety sake always use a stopper knot on the ends of both rope ends to keep you from rappelling off the rappelling ropes.

Video first seen on Gearaholic.

The actual knot configuration is a matter of personal choice. An overhand or a figure eight knot will do well, and is preferred by many rappellers.

4 Important Knot Configurations

The following four knots are the most commonly used and are the best knots for tying your rappelling ropes together. All of these knots are good strong knots.

To work right, however, these knots must be tied right. Your life depends on it. Take the time to practice these knots until you can tie them in the dark, without looking at them, even if you are very tired and exhausted. The more you practice tying these knots, the better chance you will have of tying them correctly in time of need.

The knot you use to tie your rappelling ropes together is a personal choice. It is to your advantage to pick one knot and use it every time you rappel.

Whichever knot you choose, you must be very familiar with it. You must know how to tie it, untie it, and know how much tail to leave at each end to tie the backup knots.

Safety note: All of the 4 rappelling knots except the double overhand knot must have a fisherman’s knot tied on either side for safety.

1. Double overhand knot

This is the fastest and easiest knot to tie of the four rappelling knots. It has less bulk which makes it less likely to snag or get stuck on the surface you are descending.

Safety note: Warning do not use on ropes of different diameters because the knot can untie with very little tension.

2. Double figure 8 fisherman’s knot

This is the usual way to tie rappelling ropes together. It is the strongest of the four, and if tied correctly, will not come undone. It is easy to visually check, and can be used to tie ropes together of unequal diameters.

It is also fairly easy to untie when weighted. On the downside, this knot is quite bulky and can get caught in cracks or other features of the surface you are rappelling down from.

3. Square fisherman’s knot

Of the four rappelling knots this not is the easiest to tie and untie. This knot is just a square knot backed up with double fisherman’s knots on either side.

Safety note: When using this knot always use the back up knots. It is possible for this knot to come untied without them.

4. Double fisherman’s knot

This was the traditional knot to tie two different diameter size ropes together before other knots became more popular.

This knot is hard to visually check, and very hard to untie when wet or being weighted. Today it is used more to tie thinner pieces of accessory cords together.

Even though rappelling equipment isn’t especially complicated, it is still very important to choose good quality gear. When you aren’t using the ropes and other equipment, make sure that it is stored in a clean, dry place.

Do not forget to examine your ropes often and always make sure they are in good condition. No matter whether you are rappelling from a skyscraper or a mountain cliff, it will do no good if the rope has been rotting for several years before you actually need it.

As with many other aspects of prepping, maintenance of your rappelling gear is every bit as important as knowing how to use it. And remember that skills and training are much more important than any gear you might have, becausethey are making the difference between a victim and a survivor!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

4 Ways To Solve Hydration During A Disaster

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You can go several days without food, but going without water for more than a day isn’t an option. Especially if the disaster destroyed your home or took out your power, you’ll fade fast after twenty-four hours.

Your judgement and cognitive processes will be compromised and your energy will flag. Then after a few days, your organs will shut down and you’ll die.

It’s as simple as that. If your disaster involves extremes of temperature of the need to stay on the move, your window is even shorter.

So what do you do to stay hydrated when you’re in a disaster?

Prepare in Advance!

I can tell you from personal experience (I live in Orlando, Florida) that if a major weather event is announced, people lose their minds. Many of them quite literally buy 15 or 20 cases of water that they won’t need but that makes it impossible for you to buy a single case.

Of course, after the emergency is past, they’ll return it all en mass (seriously – I’m writing this immediately post-hurricane and it’s happening as I type). But that won’t do you any good for the days that you may be out of power.

So, it all goes back to being prepared before the emergency is upon you. Most everybody drinks bottled water so keep a couple of cases around. Restock as you use it then you don’t have to worry about that dingbat that believes the sky is falling and she needs 15 cases of water and 40 cans of tuna.

Gallons of water are dirt cheap, too, and you can get more water into the same space as a case would consume.

If you don’t have enough stocked back to allot a gallon per person per day in case you lose power or something else interrupts your access to water, get it in gear. As soon as you hear the first whisper of a significant weather event, go shopping.

Please, though, buy what you need, but don’t be ridiculous about it. A gallon of drinking water per person per day is enough for hydration and minimal personal needs such as brushing your teeth or cooking a can of condensed soup.

When calculating your water needs, take extreme weather into account. If your power is out and you don’t have air conditioning – or heat – your body will need more water to stay hydrated. In the heat, you’ll sweat it out. So include at least an additional 8 ounces, and 16 are better.

If you’re going to be working hard and sweating profusely, allow an extra 36 ounces. As a baseline to determine your water needs if you’re inside and not sweating it out, divide your body weight in half and that’s the number of ounces your body needs. If you need to trim it back a little, that’s fine for a short time. But don’t cut it back by much.

You Don’t Need Bottled Water

If you don’t have the space to stockpile enough water on a regular basis, or you just got caught unprepared, then chances are good that you’ll be facing empty shelves at the store.


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I personally always keep a couple of cases of water around just because we go through it, but when that a hurricane is heading our way, I stockpile tap water in milk jugs.

I don’t recommend storing water in milk jugs long-term because the plastic is thin and easy to puncture, but for the short-term, they’re great. There’s nothing wrong with faucet water in the case of emergency, and it won’t cost you anything over your regular water bill.

The same thing goes for ice. Most of us are big fans of multi-purpose products, so once you fill up your jugs with water, pop them in the freezer. Then you’ll have ice and drinking water in the same container, and solid blocks of ice melt much slower than smaller cubes.

One water need that many people don’t consider is having enough to flush the toilet. After a few days in 90-degree weather, an unflushed toilet gets foul and can actually be a health hazard.

So what do you do? Fill up the bathtub before the storm! That water will even work for drinking water if need be, or can be used for personal hygiene or washing the dishes before you use it to flush the commode.

Consider Alternate Hydration Methods

It’s always the water that people rush to snatch off the shelves, but it’s not your only option for proper hydration.

It’s most certainly the best, but it’s not the only option. You can use sports drinks – not energy drinks! – to meet some of your hydration needs.

You can also use sparkling water, seltzer water, mineral water, or club soda because they’re just different forms of carbonated water.

Club soda usually has small amounts of table salt, potassium bicarbonate, or sodium bicarbonate to add a slightly salty flavor. It always surprises me when I see the water shelves cleared off but the club soda is still well-stocked.

Other comparable substitutes for part of your water needs are tea and coffee, but they’re diuretics, so don’t substitute more than a cup or two and go for.

Coconut water is also an excellent substitute – maybe even better for water for hydration. A note of warning for those of you who haven’t had coconut water: it’s an acquired taste and it doesn’t taste like coconut.

Sports drinks and club soda may be most effective following physical exertion because your body has just expelled minerals as well as water and these drinks are specifically designed to replace what you lost.

You may not consider it, but pre-made Jell-O is also hydrating but it’s also full of sugar, so tread carefully.

Adhere to Water Advisories

If you’re on city water, you probably won’t lose water, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink. Main lines break or flood water breeches them somewhere along the way and contaminate it so pay special attention to local official warnings to boil water.

If you’re on a well, it’s always best to assume the worst and boil your water for at least a minute before you drink it. Sanitation tablets also work, but you need to let the water sit for an hour or so in order to give the sanitizing solution time to work.

This isn’t just a matter of being cautious – it may actually mean the difference between being healthy and being sick. In another article, I discussed the dangers of post-disaster contaminated water, but to summarize, the bugs that contaminate your water often cause diarrhea or vomiting – both of which contribute to rapid dehydration.

So, your drink water to hydrate and it’s swimming with bacteria that make you lose hydration. Boil and sanitize your water if there’s any doubt whatsoever about its cleanliness.

And whatever you do, don’t drink from springs, ponds, or rivers without purifying and sanitizing it first.

Water isn’t optional regardless of your situation. If you need to ration, do so, but make sure that you’re getting at least the minimal amount to keep you going. You can skimp on food to a certain extent, but water isn’t an area where you can really do that.

Prepare in advance and follow safety precautions after a disaster!

As we all know, the best way to avoid being caught without what you need is to be prepared well in advance so that you don’t have to beat the neighbors to a limited water supply.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Survival Stories Gone Bad: Chris McCandless

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There are many good reasons why we may end up in a survival situation, but putting ourselves there intentionally is pretty far down on the list.

These days, those who do it intentionally often end up with their own extreme reality show. Others end up as an example of survival stories gone bad.

Chris McCandless fall into this category. Here’s his story.

At the end of April, 1992, Chris, AKA Alexander Supertramp, left Fairbanks, AK and ventured into the Alaskan outback, determined to kill the “false being within.” He survived on a meager diet of scavenged roots, nuts, berries, small game, and mushrooms.

He’d also taken a 10-pound bag of rice with him. He lived for 113 days before dying on about August 18th.

His body was found inside his sleeping bag by a moose hunter who had stopped at the old bus that he had been using for shelter.

There was a note pinned to the door begging any visitor to wait for him because he was injured, weak, and starving. He was so far gone that he hadn’t even taken the note off the door when he returned.

Now, that may sound like a terribly tragic story to you, and it most certainly is, but Chris’s adventure and death is a controversial topic.

Video first seen on carinemccandless.

Some consider him an arrogant, entitled kid who died because of that arrogance and failure to prepare. Others think that he was somebody to admire who fell victim to the tides of misfortune, and yet others think that he was a mentally ill young man who went into a situation and died because of that mental incapacity.

Like everybody, I have an opinion. I believe that it’s a combination of the three. He was certainly not lacking in the clarity or mental capacity to set forth on his adventure, though it turns out that he was educated but misinformed.

From most accounts, he was also at least a little arrogant and likely overconfident in his abilities. Misfortune also played a part. But mostly, in my opinion, it was lack of preparation and experience.


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Anytime you combine arrogance, ignorance, and bad luck, disaster of some type is bound to happen eventually. Even the most humble, skilled, and lucky of us experience misfortune sometimes, and they combined to equal the perfect storm for Chris. It cost him his life.

But … what can we take away from his experience?

Don’t Underestimate the Danger

First and foremost, perhaps his biggest folly was underestimating the danger of what he was doing. Living solely off the land isn’t just a matter of taking a walk, shooting a rabbit or two, and gathering a bushel of berries and edible plants along the way.

Some of those animals may just want to eat you back once the sun sets, and the edible plants, as he learned, aren’t always so edible.

Hard-core wilderness survival at the level he undertook is the epitome of the word survival. The only thing that could have possibly made it more difficult would have been if he were being hunted, barring nuclear fallout and other apocalyptic scenarios.

Don’t let the romance, for lack of a better word, of surviving on your own in the wilderness, being one with nature, and “finding yourself” blind you to the incredibly real dangers of surviving only your own competence and on what’s available to you.

Don’t Overestimate Your Skills

This goes hand-in-hand with underestimating the danger, and both of them can be chalked up to the arrogance factor. This reminds me, on a much more deadly level, of the kid who wants to build his own treehouse. It seems easy, but the reality is a whole different beast than the idea.

You don’t just decide one day, “Hey, I’ve been hiking and have experienced some pretty harsh camping conditions. I think I’ll wonder into the Alaskan bush for an underdetermined amount of time.”

He may have read up on what he would face but this sort of thing isn’t exactly something that you jump into without shorter trips and much more preparation. He was a traveler but had no experience remotely similar to this.

Plus, the fact that he was living on such a limited diet and at such a calorie deficit for so long indicates that he wasn’t prepared. Pictures that he took show that he became gaunt even before he was apparently feeling much of the effects of the poison that eventually killed him.

He was obviously not eating enough calories and was existing on a diet that had very little variance. The same mushrooms, wild potato roots and seeds, and whatever protein he caught surely didn’t provide his body with the wide range of vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids that it needed to thrive.

In short, he walked in thinking that he could just live off the land, and he couldn’t. Even had he survived, he would have likely been malnourished when he did emerge.

Don’t Ignore Your Body

Your body knows what it needs and it diverts energy from non-critical places on your body to critical ones. In other words, if you’re not eating enough calories, your body will steal it from other parts of your body to keep your vital organs functioning. First it burns sugar, then it burns fat, then it burns muscle.

He was to the point of emaciation – he went in weighing 140 pounds and his remains weighed just 66 pounds with no discernable subcutaneous fat – before he died. He didn’t get that way overnight, nor did he become sick and weak overnight.

The toxin in the wild potato roots and seeds that has now been determined to have led to his demise doesn’t just kill you on the spot. It’s a neurotoxin that acts slowly, so he would have been feeling the effects for days or even weeks – plenty of time to hike to the highway to get help. But he ignored his body.

Prepare for Every Contingency

We all know that this point has an inherent flaw: there’s no way to KNOW every contingency, so there’s no way to prepare for every one of them. What a reasonable, experienced person would do before attempting such an extreme idea is plan and prepare.

They’d play the what-if game. What if I can’t find game? Maybe I should have some back-up MREs. What if I get hurt? Maybe I should have an emergency means to communicate. What if my lighter or matches get wet? I need an alternate method of building a fire. What if, what if, what if.

In his case, he was woefully unprepared for wilderness survival. According to his notes, he attempted to head back to civilization in July, but couldn’t because his path was blocked because the Teklanika River was swollen at the place where he’d crossed in April.

Had he done his research and had a topographical map, he would have known that there was a hand-operated tramway that crossed the river not even a mile away from his original crossing spot.

Have a Backup Plan and Fail-safes

There’s an old saying credited to a German field marshal that says that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. It’s a good saying. That’s why experienced soldiers and outdoorsmen always have a backup plan and fail-safes.

Any experienced hiker or outdoorsman (heck, any Boy Scout) will tell you that it’s just part of the planning process to include information such as your path, your destination, and how long you expect to be gone in a plan that you share with at least one other person. That way, if you don’t show back up or make contact, they know to send somebody after you.

An emergency radio wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Nor would maps, a working knowledge of how to preserve meat (he killed a moose but most of the meat went bad because he didn’t preserve it properly), and just basically used a little bit of common sense. Maybe this is where mentally ill part comes in. Either that, or supreme arrogance.

The one part of his demise that he can’t be blamed for, much, is the fact that the wild potato seeds that made up a majority of his diet were listed as safe to eat in the book he wrote his diary in. It took a couple of decades for it to be determined that the seeds contain a neurotoxic amino acid commonly known as ODAP.

Of course, had he been eating a wide variety of foods and been properly nourished, the toxins likely wouldn’t have affected him.

So, it’s easy to look at Chris’s experience and, if nothing else, learn from it. The real reason that he set off on the trip will never be known, but in the scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he wasn’t prepared and he died because of it.

Would you do any of the mistakes he did?

Do you have anything to add? If so, please feel free to comment in the section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

The Ugly Part of Water Purification: Top 5 Mistakes You Make

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Water is part of the survival triad – water, food, shelter. You can only live for about three days without it and even after twenty-four hours, you start experiencing physical and cognitive decline.

Right now, it’s easy to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water, but even without a SHTF situation, many of us are doing what we can to live off the grid. I’ve written several articles on collecting rain water and purifying water, and now I’d like to discuss how to make sure that your water is safe to drink.

Water purification is a primary skill that you need to have even if you don’t know much about other facets of survival because if you don’t have clean water, you’ll die. It’s that simple.

The EPA warns that as much as 90 percent of all of the water on the planet is contaminated in some way, so this is becoming a bigger issue for many of us who are trying to go off the grid. Even rainwater can be contaminated, and it’s best to assume that all ground water needs purified.

Even though being able to purify water during daily life and in an emergency situation is critical, you need to do it right. Improperly purified water can be just as fatal – but much more miserable – than having no water at all, so be sure not to make these mistakes.

Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification

There are many water filters out there; there’s a good chance that you have one in your fridge right now. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that filtered water is the same as purified water. Most water filters do exactly what they say: they filter out physical impurities such as debris, minerals, and pollutants such as insecticides. Most of them don’t purify the water, though, because illness-causing microbes are too small to be caught in the filter, nor are the filters designed to kill them.


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Your water may look clean and clear and delicious, but it may also be deadly. There are only two ways to ensure that your water is pure – heat and chemicals.

Not Getting Water Hot Enough

Though pathogens start to die as the water heats, at 160 degrees F to be exact, there are many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that won’t die until the water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F. Keeping that in mind, you need to maintain a rolling boil for at least one minute, and three is better, especially at higher elevations.

If you’re short on water and worry about losing it to evaporation, putting a lid on the pot will help with that. Then just leave it covered until it cools.

Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly

There are a few ways that you can mess up chemical purification. First, you can use too much. This is most definitely not a case of more being better because whether you’re using iodine, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (pool shock), too much of it can make you sick or even kill you.

  • If you’re using iodine, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using bleach, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually hold one ounce.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when choosing your water purification method. Liquid bleach has a shelf-life of six to twelve months, so it expires and loses its strength. Pool shock keeps forever and a one-pound bag will treat 10,000 gallons. Iodine makes the water taste weird, but if you let it sit for an hour, you can add vitamin C (Tang drink mix or something similar) to eliminate most of the bad taste after the purification period is up.

Make sure that if you’re using bleach or pool shock that the product is pure without any additional additives such as perfumes. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Cross Contamination

This one seems like it may be simple, but it’s easy to re-contaminate purified water. Make sure that you don’t use the same containers or utensils for the clean water that you used before it was purified. In other words, don’t gather the water from a stream in your water bottle, boil it, then put it back in your bottle. You just re-contaminated your water and wasted time and fuel.

If you’re purifying in your bottle, make sure to pour some of the chemical into the lid and around the threads/ mouth of the container.

Failing to Purify AND Filter

This is another reason that you need to understand that filtering and purifying are two different processes. You need to purify your water to rid it of illness-causing pathogens, but you need to purify it to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Of course, it also removes any other debris such a sand, rocks, and minerals. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in, but I’d recommend filtering first then purifying just because it’s cleaner and there’s less risk of cross-contamination.

Either way, strain water that has visible debris in it before you purify it or filter it. Run it through a coffee filter or a densely woven cloth such as a bandana. Just a note: chemical purification is most effective if the water is at least 60 degrees F.

Studies show that at 50 degrees, only 90 percent of Giardia cysts were inactivated after thirty minutes. Warm up the water in the sun (or after it cools a bit from purifying), or let the water sit for an hour.

Failing to purify your water can cause such diseases as cholera, E.coli, rotavirus, hepatitis, staphylococcus, cryptosporidium and Giardia. These cause everything from upset stomach and cramps to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. In other words, it’s nothing to mess around with, unless you want to die a slow miserable death.

Don’t put your life at risk! You need only clear water to stay safe!



This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

The Devastation Of Hurricane Harvey

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The recent arrival of Hurricane Harvey is somewhat personal for me. Early Friday morning, before it made landfall, radar course projections showed it heading right for my home. Since I only live 90 miles inland, we would have been hit hard by the 130 plus mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall.

But Harvey made a course change just before landfall and passed north of our home, leaving us safe.

But that doesn’t mean that Harvey was safe by any means.

As a Category 4 hurricane, Harvey’s winds are strong enough to tear buildings apart. It has dumped somewhere over nine trillion gallons of water on Texas, devastating Corpus Christi, Houston and many smaller towns.

While there has only been five reported deaths as of this writing, billions of dollars worth of property has been destroyed. This hurricane could very well be the most devastating to hit our country since Katrina, topping Sandy in total dollars of destruction.

Part of what has made Harvey so destructive is that it has moved very little since hitting the Texas coast, dumping trillions of gallons of water in what is really a rather small amount of space. By the time all is said and done, Houston is projected to end up receiving around 50 inches of rain.

This rain is what is going to end up causing the biggest part of the damage, as the winds started dying down as soon as Harvey made landfall. By the time the weekend was over, less than 48 hours after hitting, Hurricane Harvey had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

But I’m sure that’s no consolation to the residents of Houston, Galveston and the surrounding areas, whose homes have several feet of water flooding them. Many of those homes will never be the same.

Harvey isn’t done with its destruction either.

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As of this writing, the storm is still dumping rain on Houston, as well as moving farther to the east. Louisiana seems to be next on its dance card, as the storm moves towards the northeast. Lake Charles is already experiencing Harvey’s wrath and New Orleans could be in for some heavy rainfall as well, before it’s all over.

As with every natural disaster, nature couldn’t care less about the devastation that it is causing. We think we are so powerful, with our technology and our machines, but all it takes is one storm to break down this house of cards we call civilization.

Maybe it’s Time to Refocus Our Prepping

It’s no wonder that prepping is growing in the United States. The American people are finally waking up to something our ancestors knew, that life is fragile and nature is a killer. Even without the help that we humans give it in killing our fellow man, nature does a good enough job on its own, killing thousands of people per year.

As preppers, we love to talk about preparing for “the big one.” It doesn’t matter that that big one is a total breakdown of society, a financial collapse, an EMP attack or a zombie apocalypse, we have a plan for it.

But the reality is, we’re much more likely to face a natural disaster in our lifetimes, than any of the major disasters that we prep for.

Granted, much of the same preps need to be made for a natural disaster as those we need to make to survive a hurricane. More than anything, it’s the aftermath we’re prepping for, not the disaster itself.

Living through the destructive power of a hurricane or other natural disaster may be difficult, but nobody is going to starve or die of dehydration in a few hours or days. Living through weeks of outages, when there is no power or water and the grocery stores are empty is what we prepare for.

While the effects of an EMP are nationwide, on a local level they aren’t much different than any other disaster. The big difference is that Uncle Sam won’t be coming in to rescue us and help us to restore our lives. That’s going to have to happen on a local level, because the communications necessary to do anything on a national level won’t exist anymore.

What that means is that the aftermath is going to be much longer, straining our ability to survive, even if we are prepared.

But food is food and water is water. We will need both to survive anything that comes our way. Likewise, we will need most of the other things we stockpile. Even so, there are specific things that we will need, which are totally dependent on the type of disaster we end up facing.

Surviving a Flood

Hurricanes cause devastation in two ways; through wind and through water. While high winds can destroy many structures, it is ultimately the flooding that does the greatest damage. That will definitely be so in the case of Harvey, as the high winds dropped off almost as fast as they climbed.

Video first seen on The Alex Jones Channel.

So how do you prepare for this sort of flooding? Can you save your home, and if so, how? What can you do to survive, if your home becomes flooded, making it inhabitable?

First of all, this storm, like others in the past, demonstrates the reason why we all need a good bug out plan in place. While Houston officials didn’t call for a general evacuation, the state’s governor recommended it to those who could. This raises the question of why a general evacuation order didn’t go out.

It really boils down to experience and history. When Hurricane Rita was headed towards Houston in 2005, a general evacuation was called. Six-and-a-half million Houstonites took to the roads, creating a 100 mile long traffic jam that lasted for over a day and a half. There wasn’t enough gasoline available to fill that many vehicles, causing many to run dry and be abandoned on the road. People died from the heat, as well as from traffic accidents.

After all that, Hurricane Rita only struck Houston with a glancing blow, not even worth the effort that had been taken to avoid it. Hurricanes are always unpredictable, and this is just one more example of how the best of our planning may only be for naught.

We cannot rely on the government to tell us when to evacuate; we’ve got to make that decision for ourselves.

In the case of Hurricane Rita, the city government was wrong in telling people to evacuate. Now, in the case of Hurricane Harvey, the city government was wrong in telling people to stay home. But in both cases, the decision that was made was based upon the best information available. It’s just that nature doesn’t follow our information.

Waterproof Your Stockpile

I don’t know how much money you have invested in your survival stockpile, but I’m sure it’s in the thousands. Food is expensive, so if you’re going to have enough to last you any time, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money.

That’s an asset you can’t afford to lose, even in a flood. So you want to make sure that you won’t. How? By doing everything you can to ensure that it is waterproof. Canned goods already are, so that’s not an issue. Dry foods stored in five gallon buckets are waterproof as well. But what about everything else? How’s your toilet paper supply; is it protected from the water?

In some cases, you can ignore waterproofing if you can store the items on the second floor of your home. I have a lot stored under the second floor eaves of my home, where it is fairly well protected from flooding. Unless the roof gets torn off my home, I won’t have to worry about losing it.

But many people have their stockpile in the basement of their home; the first place that will flood. If that’s the case, you want to be extra careful about waterproofing it. You also want to have a plan for moving those supplies upstairs, if your home starts to flood. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use any of them until the flood waters subside, simply because you won’t have access to them.

Another possibility for protecting your stockpile is to keep some of it off-site, hopefully on higher ground. That way, if your home floods, you will still have access to supplies. You can use the remotely stored supplies until your home gets to the point where you can have access to those supplies once again.

Keep in mind that your supplies are more for surviving the aftermath, than for surviving the disaster itself.

So just because your home floods and your supplies are underwater, doesn’t mean that you’ve lost them, assuming that they are properly waterproofed. You will need those supplies as you are trying to salvage what you can from your home and put your life back together.

Protect Your Home

American homes don’t handle flooding well. They are not made of materials that can withstand sitting in water for minutes, let alone days. Drywall will soak up water rather quickly, falling apart. Even the structural studs and plywood that makes up the wall structure, floors and outer sheathing of our homes can be destroyed by too much water.

Chances are that if your home floods and the flood waters stay in place for days, your home will be totally destroyed. But if the flood abates quickly, you may be able to salvage it. Carpeting, drywall and other materials will need to be replaced; but if the structural part of your home survives, it can be rebuilt.

In Mexico and in many other emerging countries, homes are built out of cinder blocks and cement. While that may not make for as nice a home, it handles flooding much better.

I have some friends in the state of Tabasco, in Mexico, whose home has flooded several times. In each case, they’ve moved the furniture to the second floor and waited it out. Once the flood waters abated they were able to clean their homes up, repaint them and put their lives back together. That’s a whole lot easier than rebuilding an American home.

Since our homes are not made that way, we need to consider trying to protect them from flooding altogether. That may be too expensive for any of us to do, but we should at least look at it.

The most common way of protecting a home or other building from flooding is to make a wall of sandbags around it, with space between the sandbags and the home. That way, any water that seeps in can be pumped out; and yes, water will seep in.

Doing this takes a lot of sandbags and a lot of sand. The wall has to be unbroken all the way around, with all of it built to a uniform height. One dip or gap makes the whole thing invalid, as the water can pour through that one spot, flooding your home.

There are other, more modern options, which have been developed for use, instead of sandbags. While these are probably more expensive than building a sandbag wall, they are also probably easier to use. essentially the idea is to create a wall out of water filled plastic tubes, two to three feet in diameter.

This wall does the same thing that the sandbag wall does, but is considerably easier to erect. A couple of different companies make these tubes, so you might want to look into them.

Stay Prepared to Bug Out

No matter what you do, always keep yourself ready to bug out. Let’s say that you decide to ride out a hurricane that’s heading for your city, like the people in Houston did. That’s your decision to make. But don’t leave yourself without options. Make sure you always have a way to escape, should it come down to that.

What do I mean by that? Either have a four-wheel-drive vehicle that is high enough to ford the waters or some sort of boat, even a raft, that you can paddle out of there. if your answer is a truck or SUV, then make sure you leave before the water gets too deep to use it.

If it’s a boat, you’ve got more time. But in that case, you want the boat ready to use, moored to your home, where you can get into it from a second-story window.

Granted, a boat is an expensive investment, especially if you’re not going to use it for fishing. But a rubber life raft is much cheaper. For that matter, a large air mattress will work, if you don’t have anything else. Just make sure that you always leave yourself an option, so that you don’t have to go down with the sinking ship.

Whatever you do, stay lert and be prepared to face the unexpected, so you and your family survive!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Prepper’s Guide To Cleaning The Glock 27 Subcompact

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Some would say that Glock is America’s handgun, since you can find almost everywhere, from Police forces to Hollywood movie makers (do you remember Die Hard?) It’s small, potent and effective, which makes it perfect for a concealed carry.

But only if you clean and maintain it.

This short guide will show you how to do it, if your Glock is a 27 Subcompact.

The Glock 27 is a backup subcompact pistol that was specifically designed for concealed carry, and delivers the same safety and reliability as any full size Glock. As with any other pistol, it must be cleaned and lubricated on a routine basis in order to keep it in good working condition.

Cleaning and lubricating removes bullet and powder residue from the action, slide and barrel, and rails. This process also gives you a chance to spot and Gage mechanical wear as well as make replacements for worn parts in a timely manner.

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Simple Wipe Down

It is to your advantage to clean your firearms immediately after firing them. Wiping down all exterior metal parts of the pistol removes oils deposited by your fingers, as well as powder residue that can cause the metal to start rusting.

Ideally, you should do a simple wipe down before you leave the range, and as soon as you are done firing the gun.

Standard Cleaning for the Glock 27

As with cleaning any other gun, make sure you have all your cleaning supplies on hand. Work in an area where you have good ventilation, and where you will not be disturbed.

WARNING: Make sure the gun is unloaded before you start cleaning!!!

Start by pointing the pistol in a direction where you will not hit a living thing or something of value if the gun fires. Next, remove the magazine and rack the slide back, and look carefully to see if there is a round in the chamber. If you see a round, remove it.

You must always remove the magazine before checking the chamber, otherwise racking the slide will cause a round to go into the chamber.

With the magazine still out of the well, lock the slide back and look to see if the gun is cleared of ammo and safe to work on. Insert your little finger into the chamber to check the bolt face, chamber and the magazine well to make sure the pistol has been cleared and made safe.

To complete this process, dry fire the Glock 27 while pointing in a safe direction. Once again, rack the slide to return it into battery and to close the action. Give one final check to make sure the chamber is clear.

While the slide is still in battery, pull the trigger while pointing the gun in a safe direction. You will feel and hear a click as the firing pin moves forward. To remove the slide, the trigger must be in its rearward position.

How to Disassemble the Pistol

The Glock 27 has 4 main components: the guide rod/recoil spring assembly, barrel, slide, and frame/receiver. The disassembly process will break the gun down into these main units.

After you have determined that the pistol is unloaded and safe, grasp the pistol in your right hand with your thumb under the slide and your fingers over the top of the rear part of the slide.

Pull back approximately 1/4”. Pull down on the slide lock by grasping it on both sides with your thumb and finger.

Pull down on the slide lock while releasing the slide forward. Be careful not to let the slide fall off onto a hard surface that could damage the guide ring.

Remove the slide and take the recoil spring assembly out, then remove the barrel. You now have the Glock 27 pistol in the field stripped condition.

How to Clean the Barrel

  1. Wet a clean cleaning patch with gun cleaner or solvent. Thread this patch through the slotted tip of the cleaning rod. Insert the cleaning rod (patch end first) into the breech end of the barrel to clean the chamber and bore. Keep pushing the cleaning rod down the barrel until the patch exits the muzzle. Next, pull the cleaning rod back through the barrel until it comes out of the chamber and breech. Work the wet patch 5 or 6 times through the entire barrel.
  2. Remove the patch from the cleaning rod and attach a brass bore brush. Insert the rod into the barrel, brush end first. Go from the breech or chamber side and scrub the entire bore. Keep scrubbing vigorously until the bore looks clean and appears bright under a strong light.
  3. Use some more solvent to dampen the larger side of a two ended cleaning brush. Scrub off any carbon deposits that may have built up on the feed ramp and barrel hood.
  4. Take a rag dampened with solvent and wipe down the outside of the barrel.
  5. Use some dry patches to dry out the bore. Keep swabbing the bore with dry patches until they come out clean and dry.
  6. Finish cleaning the barrel by taking an additional dry patch and wipe down the outside of the barrel with it.

How to Clean the Slide

WARNING!! Work carefully and do not allow lubricants or solvents into the firing pin channel. Any lubricant or solvent in this area can cause the weapon to malfunction.

  1. With the muzzle facing downward, hold the slide vertically. Clean the extractor, the area round the extractor, and breach face with a two sided brush.
  2. Use a fresh cotton swab clean inside the slide and the slide rail cuts. Keep doing this until a fresh cotton swab comes out clean.
  3. Use a damp rag, or a patch slightly dampened with solvent to clean the inside and underside of the slide. The wide end of a scrubbing brush will also work for scrubbing inside the slide.
  4. For the slide rail cuts, use the smaller end of the two sided brush. Be sure it is dampened with solvent. Continue scrubbing until the slide rail cuts are clean.
  5. Take a clean, dry patch and wipe down the inside of the slide rails and slide.

Cleaning the Receiver

Remove carbon deposits from the locking block on the receiver and metal contact points with the wide end of the cleaning brush. You may or may not need to use solvent, but if you do, remember to wipe off excess solvent with a dry rag.

Brush out any debris or remaining unburned gunpowder that may still be left in the receiver with the wide end of the cleaning brush. Wipe the trigger bar, locking block, cruciform, connector, and the ejector until they are clean.

Inspect the Glock’s main components and function check. With every standard cleaning it is a good idea to take the time to inspect and function check the Glock’s main components. This is best done with the Glock disassembled in its 4 main component parts.

WARNING: If your Glock does not pass the following tests, do not try to put it back together again or fire it. At this point, you need to send it back to Glock, or have it inspected and possibly repaired by a certified Glock armorer.

Here are the components that should be inspected.

Barrel: look for lead deposits, dirt, obstructions, bulges, or cracks.

Firing pin and firing pin safety: (test has 4 parts.)

  1. Start off by removing the barrel and recoil spring assembly. Hold the slide so that the inside is facing up. Pull the firing pin lug to the rear and ease forward until it stops. Don’t allow the firing pin to snap forward as it hits the firing pin safety. Next, move the firing pin lug forward toward the muzzle. The firing pin lug should not go past the firing pin safety. As you look at the breech face of the slide, the firing pin lug should not extend through the firing pin hole.
  2. Hold the slide with the muzzle facing down. Press in on the firing pin safety button in the slide’s interior. The firing pin should move down, with the tip slipping through the firing pin hole in the breech face.
  3. Retract the firing pin so that it is back in the slide. While the muzzle is facing downard, vigorously rack the slide. The firing pin should be stopped from going through the breech face by the firing pin safety.
  4. Use your fingertips to depress the firing pin safety button while shaking the slide from one end to the other. You should be able to hear the firing pin as it moves freely within the firing pin channel. If you do not feel or hear the firing pin move, it may mean that the firing pin might be broken, or the firing pin and its channel may be blocked or caked with debris. Both these situations require inspection by a certified Glock armorer.

Extractor: Look a the extractor on the breech face of the slide to make sure it is clean. You should also make sure there are no chips or breaks on the extractor claw.

Ejector: You will find the ejector protruding forward from the left rear of the frame or the receiver. The ejector must be clean and free of cracks, breaks, or other signs of damage.

Slide stop and lever test: Start by gripping the receiver with your dominant hand. Pull up on the slide stop lever with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. The slide should snap sharply down into the frame. If it doesn’t, have the pistol check over by a Glock armorer.

How to Lubricate the Pistol

Lubricate the Glock using a good quality rust protective oil or lubricant. To do the job right it should only take six drops of oil. Any more than this will be to much and can cause dirt and other contamination problems.

Slide: Hold the slide so that the slide rail cuts are facing up, and the end of the muzzle is facing a bit down. Take a lubricant applicator and drag one drop of lubricant down the whole length of each rail cut. Use another for the front inside of the slide where it rubs against the upper part of the barrel.

Barrel: Wipe down the exterior of the barrel with an oiled cleaning patch. Put another drop of oil on the outside of the barrel, and the rear side of the barrel lug with a lubricant applicator.

Receiver/Frame: Hold the receiver in your dominant hand so that the left side is facing down. Put one drop of oil on the curved, upper extension of the connector, and another at the right rear corner of the receiver/frame. Look for the area on the connector where it touches the back of the trigger bar.

How to Reassemble the Glock 27 and Do a Function Test

There are a few steps to follow in order to reassemble and test your pistol:

  1. Reverse the steps you used to disassemble the pistol.
  2. To function test the pistol, start off by making sure the pistol is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Slide cycling: Rack the slide back several times. It should move smoothly and freely.
  4. Trigger function: Pull the trigger to the rear to make sure it works. Don’t forget to keep the gun aimed in a safe direction.
  5. Trigger reset: Rack the slide, which will return the pistol to battery and also reset the trigger. The trigger should be in its cocked, forward position. Pull the trigger and listen for the sound of the firing pin falling. Pull the slide back as far as it can go and release it. Release the trigger after the slide snaps forward into battery. At this point, the trigger should be cocked forward.
  6. Trigger Safety: You will find the safety partly within and to the front of the trigger. Make sure the pistol is pointed in a safe direction, and grasp the sides of the trigger. Do not depress or touch the trigger safety. If the trigger safety is working correctly, the trigger will not move to the rear and release the firing pin; and the safety will remain engaged.
  7. Pistol inspection: The outer parts of the Glock 27 should be free of corrosion, dirt, rust, and any signs of damage. Don’t forget to make sure the sights are aligned properly, clean, and free of damage.
  8. Check over all the magazines to make sure they are working properly. Use the slide open test for this. While the pistol is in battery, insert an empty magazine. Pull the slide back until it locks open. Remove the magazine and repeat with all other magazines that you have. If a magazine is broken or defective, the slide will not lock open.
  9. After all cleaning, lubricating, and function testing is completed. Wipe down all of the Glock’s exterior surfaces to remove excess lubricant.

Deep Cleaning the Glock 27

Any firearm that is fired a lot will require deep cleaning (total disassembly, thorough cleaning, and lubrication). If you are not sure how to do it, contact a qualified gunsmith to help you out with this and inspecting the parts.

Since the Glock 27 has looser tolerances than several other weapons on the market, it does not require deep cleaning as often. But you should still do a deep cleaning:

  1. After shooting 1000 plus rounds of cheap dirty ammunition.
  2. If the pistol has fallen into salt or dirty fresh water.
  3. If the pistol has not been fired or not given a standard cleaning for over two years.

In addition, if your Glock 27 does any of the following, then it needs a deep cleaning:

  1. Misfires when trigger is pulled.
  2. Failure to feed ammunition.
  3. Failure to eject fired brass.
  4. Pistol very dirty inside and out.

Insofar as cost, a local gunsmith might charge you from $75.00 and up plus the cost of parts and hand fitting to deep clean and inspect the Glock 27. At this time, Glock customer service is mainly for warranty issues only.

Before starting on any deep cleaning and inspections, always be sure that the Glock 27 pistol is unloaded and safe to be handled.

Disassemble the pistol into its four main component parts: slide, barrel, guide rod/recoil spring assembly, and frame/receiver. The instructions are in the Glock standard cleaning section above. You now have your Glock in the field stripped condition.

Disassembing the Upper

  1. You will need a Glock armorer’s tool to remove the slide cover plate by pushing the firing pin spacer sleeve down. This will put the spacer sleeve in the unlocked position on the slide cover. Now you can push the slide cover plate off with your thumb.
  2. Remove the firing pin assembly and extractor depressor plunger.
  3. Remove the extractor last. The extractor will drop out when you push down on the firing pin safety.
  4. Now remove the firing pin safety.

Disassembling the Receiver

  1. Start off by removing the locking pin. You can remove the pin in either direction. Just remember, when you reassemble the pistol, this pin must be reinstalled first.
  2. Remove the the trigger pin. Move the slide stop lever or jiggle it to the front and rear of the receiver while pushing on the trigger pin with the armorer’s tool from the left to the right.
  3. After removing the trigger pin, remove the slide stop lever from the receiver.
  4. Remove the locking block. Place the armorer’s tool under the locking block and pry upward. Upon reassembly, the locking block will only fit back in one way.
  5. After you push out the trigger mechanism housing pin, which is located on the backstrap, pull the ejector assembly up and lift out the trigger group.
  6. To remove the slide lock lever. Turn the receiver on its side. Push downward on the slide lock lever spring to release the slide lock lever. The slide lock lever will drop out of the receiver.

Deep Cleaning and Inspection of All Parts of the Glock

  1. Now that the Glock is totally disassembled, go ahead and clean all the parts of the pistol. The goal of this cleaning is to remove all the dirt and grime, old lubricants, and anything else that does not belong there.
  2. While you are cleaning the parts, make sure they are all in good condition and within set standard for each part. If a part is worn, broken, or damaged, it should be replaced at this time.
  3. After the deep cleaning and inspecting, go ahead and reassemble your Glock.

Reassembling Your Glock Upper

To reassemble your Glock upper, reverse the disassembly steps, and be sure not to over lubricate the Glock upper. Follow the testing procedure in the Glock standard cleaning section above dealing with which parts need testing and how to test them properly. When finished set the upper aside.

Reassembling the Receiver

To reassemble your Glock receiver, reverse the disassembly steps, with the exception of the order installing the locking block pin. Remember, the spring on the slide stop lever must always be under the locking block pin. If you get this part confused, the gun will only fire a single shot, and then the slide will lock back after each shot.

The next pin to be installed is the trigger pin, and then, finally, the trigger housing mechanism housing pin located in the backstrap.

Video first seen on Humans4Targets.

 How to Reassemble Your Glock

  1. Lubricate as directed in lubrication points in the standard cleaning section above.
  2. Set the upper on the receiver, pull the upper backwards all the way back, and release. This locks the upper and the receiver together.
  3. Function test the Glock, also as noted above in the standard cleaning section.
  4. After the Glock has passed all of the function tests, it can be fired again.

Keep your Glock 27 pistol clean and functioning correctly. While this handgun does not require quite as much cleaning a some other pistols, it must still be cleaned and lubricated on a routine basis.

If you cannot do this job yourself, do not hesitate to work with a local gunsmith. Your guns will keep you safe when nobody else will. Keep them close and ready, and practice your shooting skills, learning from the best in the branch! Click the banner below for more!


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Further Reading (for standard cleaning)

This Is How Summer Can Kill You

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With summer comes great joy, but great dangers also lurk around almost every corner. Okay, the situation may not be as dramatic as I describe it, but the thing is, summer’s heat waves do present a clear and present danger to one’s health, especially in a survival situation.

The thing with summer is that almost all of us are gearing up for going out and experiencing epic adventures. Summer is vacation season and the best time of the year for businesses such as water parks, hot air balloon rides, bungee jumping resorts, para-sailing docks, and so on and so forth.

You see where this is going, right? Keep reading to find out!

Well, while you’re standing in line at any of these fine establishments, the thought that goes through your mind is probably, “This is how I’m going to die?”

Truth be told, this pessimistic state of mind is the logical consequence of years of horror stories pushed by the mainstream media, depicting terrifying accidents and misfortunes that people suffered during their summer holiday.

People died in all sorts of gruesome circumstances while having the time of their lives, i.e. when their hot-air balloon drifted into high-power lines, their parachute failed or their boat flipped at high speeds or on rushing rivers. Folks died or lost limbs while enjoying the ultimate ride at amusement parks or when hiking without proper training/guidance etc.

The nightmarish stories of good times gone bad go on and on.

And then there’s always death from exposure. To give you a grim statistic, heat exposure kills thirty outdoor workers on average on a yearly basis.

What we’re about talking here are agricultural, roofing, construction and landscaping workers; these folks are particularly at risk, especially during heat waves which promote heat-related deaths and illnesses such as heat stroke and heart attacks.

How will you survive when there is no doctor around? 

Keep in mind that the elderly are particularly affected by heat waves and in some geographical locations (like Arizona), air conditioning is not a luxury, but a necessity.

#1 Killer in the Summer Is…

So, let’s begin with the biggest killer during the summer season, which is heat, obviously.

Prolonged exposure to heat – especially humid heat – would have immediate effects on one’s health and state of mind alike. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the most common issues associated with scorching heat, but sometimes the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive heat may take odd forms.

The most important thing one must realize during the summer is that dehydration is a killer. To stay properly hydrated, you should drink at least 2 liters of water per day (or approximately half a gallon), but that’s an average figure and it depends upon your age, gender, physical condition, and circumstances.

For example, you’ll require way more than 2 liters of water per day if you’re hiking in scorching heat or if you’re working out, rather than staying indoors in a house without air conditioning etc. That’s common sense, though.

If you don’t drink enough water to replace the loss of fluids which occurs via sweating, you’ll put your body in a state of emergency, as your body is losing salt and water and not getting enough electrolytes.

Salt, magnesium, and potassium imbalances caused by dehydration may cause cramps, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, and confusion – basically your brain doesn’t work right.

For people who aren’t used to heat, there’s also always the risk of heat edema and, worst case scenario, a fatal heat stroke when your body gives up and stops sweating. This occurs when you’re exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time and is called anhidrosis.

However, the most common problem that occurs during a summer heat wave is heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a consequence of one’s body losing significant amounts of salt and water; sans electrolytes, the body can’t cope with heat anymore. Salt and potassium are the two primary minerals that control your blood pressure and when you sweat, they’re two of the first that you lose.

Obviously, heat exhaustion and all heat related ailments are particularly dangerous in a survival situation, i.e. when you’re outdoors hiking, climbing, or whatever.

Heat exhaustion’s first symptom is when the core temperature rising above 98.6, your normal body temperature, resulting in intense thirst, heavy sweating, dizziness, and an overwhelming feel of fatigue. Your body is literally starting to cook.

The first thing that you need to do is get out of the heat if possible and hydrate, obviously. Avoid strenuous activities during the day in open sunny spots, especially if there’s a heat-wave warning.

Now, if heat exhaustion sets in, you must find a cool, shaded location and remove the victim’s clothes, including (especially) the shoes and socks then, apply wet clothes to the victim’s  face, head, neck, and if possible, their feet.

Spray with cool water if possible. Encourage the victim to drink as much water as possible. Sport drinks (if available) are great, as they contain minerals and vitamins (the famous electrolytes included) together with sugar, which gives the body a boost but push water, too.

Try to get medical aid as soon as possible, especially if you spot the early signs of a heat stroke (way worse than heat exhaustion), which include:

  • profuse sweating or hot,
  • dry skin,
  • a core temperature of around 104 degrees F (or higher),
  • feeling cold (yes, it seems strange, but it’s a fact),
  • loss of consciousness, and/or seizures.

All of these symptoms are signaling that the body’s mechanisms for coping with heat have failed and he/she’s at the death’s door. Heat strokes are very serious as they have a mortality rate of about ten percent, and yes, people really do die in extreme heat conditions, and it’s not rare.

Most people who die during heat waves are elderly folk living in big cities in the upper floors of buildings, especially old, inadequately ventilated condo buildings. Just in the US, over 600 people die annually and thousands visit emergency rooms due to extreme heat conditions.

Since we’ve already established that heat is a silent killer, as the weather gets more extreme, avoid the main danger by staying out of the sun. If you’re outdoors on foot, avoid traveling during the day, and do it by night, like Bedouins.

If you find yourself traveling or lost in the wilds in the heat, drinking lots of water and covering your head and your entire body in white (best case scenario) sheets would go a long way toward preserving your body’s reserve of electrolytes if traveling during the day.

The rule of the thumb is that when your core temperature gets above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re in serious trouble.

Obese and elderly people are especially vulnerable to heat, and small children have tiny hearts which are not always capable of cooling their bodies efficiently. Kids also have a slow sweat response, which puts them in danger in extreme situations.

And here are a few more hints on surviving the heat:

  • try to avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages (they act as diuretics) during heat waves,
  • maintain a proper level of hydration at all times,
  • when indoors, try to eliminate extra sources of heat (computers and appliances left running, computers, etc.),
  • don’t eat big, protein-rich meals as they warm the body by increasing metabolic heat, be ready to recognize the early symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and take action.

Beware the Dangers in the Water!

Another thing to keep in mind during the hot summer season is that jumping in public swimming pools, lakes and ponds are not the best ideas for beating the heat wave. You should think at least twice before diving in these cesspools, which are giant petri dishes by any definition, leaving aside that going into cold water when you body is overheated can bring on a heart attack.

Even chlorinated swimming pools are filled with chlorine-resistant bacteria (think Cryptosporidium, a bacteria living in the stomach, E.coli etc.) which can cause all sorts of disease, especially for people with immune issues.

Freshwater lakes and rivers are also home to a myriad of bacteria, viruses, and amoebas. All these tiny bugs that flourish in warm water may cause diarrhea and vomiting, which are exacerbating the dangers of dehydration, if you catch my drift.

And with dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are just around the corner, provided you don’t deal with it immediately. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes – less than 30 – for the situation to go from bad to worse if the conditions are right.

Besides the relatively harmless e Coli and Cryptosporidium, there are killer bacteria and viruses in lakes and rivers, which can infect you via water getting inside the nasal passage and then to the brain.

For example, Naegleria fowleri can cause a deadly infection of your CNS (central nervous system), called amoebic meningo-encephalitis.

There are dangers in paradise too, especially during the summer season when these places are packed full of people trying to relax and enjoy their vacations.

When Summer Turns into Disaster

The beach may look like paradise on Earth, but it’s not all fun and serenity. Beaches are also filled with dangers, and we’re not talking about heat stroke alone. Coastal areas in some parts of the planet are prone to tsunamis and others to hurricanes.

One may say that beaches are prime real estate when it comes to natural disasters, hence, stay frosty and learn your escape routes just in case disaster hits. Most coastal areas are using early warning systems including sensors which monitor storm and earthquake activity and issue hurricane/tsunami alerts.

Toxic algal blooms happen almost every summer in places like Florida, on its Gulf Coast especially. Algal blooms kill fish and shellfish and they also render them unsafe to eat. Remember to avoid eating shellfish and fish from areas affected by toxic algal blooms; also, avoid swimming in waters infested by these critters.

Even if shark attacks are relatively rare, keep in mind that where there are fish in the ocean, there also might be sharks, hence avoid swimming near fishing areas and also avoid murky waters and areas were fishing boats and diving sea birds abound.

It’s also important to remember not to swim alone, sharks or not, and never at dawn or dusk because that’s when sharks feed. Watches and jewelry gleam like fish scales in the water, so get rid of them.

Another danger for beach goers is rip currents, which may pull even the Olympic swimming champion away from the shore. These fast-moving currents of water kill at least one hundred people annually, especially at surf beaches, and those are just US figures.

If you’re caught in such a rip current, try not to fight it. Go with the current and swim parallel to the beach, and try to swim back to shore once you manage to pull out of the current. If that doesn’t do the job, try to float/tread water until the current stops and try to call for help.

Edge Sports Have Their Price

Parasailing is an awesome summer activity for thousands of Americans. If you’re not from this planet, parasailing means that you’re towed behind a boat using a parachute canopy while flying like Superman.

Even though this may sound safe as far as extreme sports go, the majority of fatal parasailing accidents occur as a result of high wind conditions. To play it safe, make sure the weather is friendly before engaging in such crazy activities, alright?

Scuba diving is another all-time favorite activity doing the summer season, but is plunging in deep blue waters safe? Well, pretty much yes, but there are caveats to that.

The most common causes of death during scuba diving are oxygen supply problems, cardiac issues, and emergency ascent. To play it safe when scuba diving, make sure you are prepared for the water and you’ve learned all the techniques from your instructor.

Next on the list is skydiving. Skydiving is immensely fun for those crazy bastards with no self-preservation instincts. I’m kidding, but yes, skydiving is becoming increasingly popular among certain folk during summer vacation.

Even though you’re more susceptible to death by a lightning strike or a bee sting than due to skydiving gone wrong, make sure to look for riggers, jumpers and pilots with proper certification before making the big jump into the abyss. The same goes for bungee jumping.

White water rafting is another dangerous summer activity and there are tons of potential hazards involved in this awesome water sport. To reduce risks associated with white water rafting, never boat alone, wear a life jacket and a helmet at all times, and don’t overestimate your skills.

If you’re a hot air balloon aficionado, make sure your ‘ballooner” has all the necessary paperwork and be aware of adverse weather conditions, especially wind, before getting in the basket.

Whatever you do during summer, stay safe and be aware of the dangers. Ultimately, learn your lesson about first aid and surviving without medical assistance. Click the banner below to get the knowledge!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below!

7 Survival Movies To Watch And Learn

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Call me old-school, but when it comes to having massive fun indoors (especially with your friends and family), nothing beats watching a good movie while enjoying a cold beer and the traditional popcorn.

It’s also common knowledge that most people would enjoy a proper disaster flick, the likes of 2012, Deep Impact or Armageddon. Disaster movie stories are usually centered on people trying to survive extraordinary circumstances and events.

Now, from a prepper’s point of view, watching a survival movie is something like a sporting event for a normie, and I am talking about what tickles your fancy, so to speak.

While regular folk enjoy watching a good game of football or various TV series/shows (OK, we love doing that too), we preppers also like to watch and debate survival/disaster movies as a way to exercise their prepper mindset and to discuss what the hero’s next move should be, what he or she does good or wrong and what’s absolutely ludicrous.

Sometimes, they’re just a great comedy!

Basically, a good survival movie encourages preppers to think strategically and to imagine their own behavior in a SHTF situation. In my view, well-made survival movies (scarce though they are) are beyond entertainment, being more like a training session of sorts, if you know what I mean.

Also, watching survival movies with your family members (and prepper friends alike) and commenting “live” as things happen on the screen encourages you to think critically about SHTF situations. Also, you try to predict the outcome of a bad decision or a good one made by the hero, with an emphasis on boneheaded ones, which are  often the norm.

Even if Hollywood (read the motion-picture industry) usually produces tons of garbage, now and then a true gem of a survival movie appears almost magically. These rare flicks give us ideas and thoughts on how to prepare for when SHTF.

It really doesn’t matter what a movie is about, as long as we’re talking about a plausible scenario, such as in 2012 or San Andreas, or even a good old zombie/alien movie.

What’s important from a prepper’s perspective is to see and analyze how regular people may possibly react in extraordinary circumstances; that’s what will provide you with food for thought.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

So, after this relatively long preamble, let me share with you what I’ve learned after watching dozens of disaster movies, all of them loaded with awesome survival tactics.

First, teamwork is essential for your survival, despite the “lone wolf” mentality many preppers seem to (wrongfully, in my opinion) have. When a disaster strikes, chances are good that you’ll not going to be “solo.”

Working as a team will increase the chances of survival. There’s strength in numbers and there’s also a thing called the division of labor because you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s been obvious since the dawn of man on Earth.

Also, we’re social animals, centered on community (family, tribe, etc.). Lone wolves sound great in theory, but in real life, even wolves hunt in packs and are social animals.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

To give you an example of fine teamwork from a survival flick, let’s take Dawn of the Dead, an awesome 2004 movie which tells the story of a group of survivors (and we’re using that word really loosely) taking refuge inside a shopping center during a zombie apocalypse.

As more of them arrive in the shopping mall, they realize that they’ll have to stick together and work as a team in order to withstand the hordes of (not so smart) zombies.

Also, Dawn of the Dead teaches you about the importance of planning and preparing: having a good refuge, an escape plan, of being able to determine who’s to be trusted and who’s not and, most importantly, that a group’s cohesion is given by its weakest link (there’s an asshole in every group of random people).

Oh, and on that note, you also learn that sometimes you don’t have to be the smartest one in the group as long as you’re not the dumbest one. I’m kidding, sort of.

Video first seen on Movieclips.

Another lesson learned from watching disaster flicks is that it’s critical to know the risks of your geographical location (as in knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses) in a SHTF situation.

Food for thought: if your city is close to a nuclear plant or in front of a big dam, in the case of a catastrophic earthquake or a nasty meteor impact, or why not, a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure, well, you’ll be forced to deal with some serious issues. Here, the value of an escape plan and escape route comes into play big time.

Also, it would help to understand the science of your region, especially if you live in places like California or Yellowstone. You got the picture.

San Andreas (2015)

Think along the lines of San Andreas, the 2015 movie which is loaded with awesome survival strategies and lessons. San Andreas depicts the horrifying consequences of a massive earthquake in California as a rescue chopper pilot makes a perilous  journey across the state to save his daughter.

Watching the movie, you’ll understand a little bit about human psychology.

For example, in a disaster, especially one of epic proportions, ownership of property becomes a fiction, i.e. emergency stuff can be found in a home or, in the movie, a car that isn’t yours if the situation really calls for it, and looting occurs in a matter of hours, not days. Hence, remember to have your gun for self-defense ready, locked and loaded at all times.

Also, the first few moments after SHTF are critical for one’s survival; if you panic and give in to mental chaos, you’ll just end up as yet another casualty/statistic. Do not freak out, and try to get over that state of shock ASAP, as this will give you a critical advantage over those unprepared for such an event.

Video first seen on Km Music.

The thing is, even in B-rated movies you can see a fact of life: people panic rather quickly and behave badly and stupidly, as life-threating events bring out the worst in many of us.

As shown in many disaster flicks, including San Andreas, the police and firefighters will bail in order to take care of their own families, and that’s quite understandable. The lesson to be taken home is that you can’t rely on the government to protect or save you.

Also, having some basic physics and engineering knowledge couldn’t hurt.

In the aftermath of a major disaster, whether it’s a terrorist attack or an earthquake or whatever, panicked people do the dumbest things imaginable, and that’s another true fact of life, unfortunately.

And that’s due to one’s shattered cognitive dissonance, i.e. modern-day people (especially city dwellers) are used to living their boring and safe lives in the complete absence of any clear and present danger.

They’ve become complacent and take that perceived “safety” for granted. When the universe explodes around them, they’ll behave like the proverbial chicken without a head, while others will be stunned, in shock and awe, and completely incapable of doing the most basic things like running for cover.

The Road (2009)

Another great survival flick is The Road, a movie released in 2009 that tells the story of a man and his young son as they travel by foot in a post-apocalyptic world through the mountains, searching for an illusory safe haven before the coming winter.

The theme of the movie is survival by any means necessary. What’s very shocking about this flick is the accurate way it portrays the dark side of mankind, the way people will resort to anything, even cannibalism, in order to survive.

Video first seen on 0noyfb.

The movie will teach you how to be careful when approaching strangers (not all people think like you, nor are they Good Samaritans), how to carry your survival gear over long distances, and that starvation is not an event but a long and painful process.

Also, having a gun and enough ammo will save your life, while keeping the fire (as in never stop fighting for a good cause) is quintessential. Your faith, provided you’re a “good guy,” will guide you and help your actions, yet you’ll have to be prepared to kill bad people, or you’ll end up getting killed. Also, you’ll learn that groups of desperate people are extremely dangerous and may kill you, or get you killed, for nothing really.

The Day after Tomorrow (2004)

Another disaster movie worth watching is The Day after Tomorrow. This movie depicts survival techniques in extremely low temperatures following the world freezing via a man-provoked ice-age.

Video first seen on Luis Trejo.

What to learn from? Big cities are very difficult to escape in case of a SHTF scenario, i.e. you’ll have to consider relocating if possible and always plan for bad weather conditions.

Zombieland (2009)

A very funny survival flick to watch is Zombieland, which makes for yet another post-zombie-apocalypse survival movie. Watching this gem, which is hilarious to say the least, you’ll understand why you should create a comprehensive set of rules to increase your survival chances.

The first rule of survival: cardio is essential! As in, stay in good shape. Also, people in distress will try to trick you, steal your stuff, and then leave you stranded; this is a trait of the human nature.

Video first seen on Video Clips HD.

Also, don’t scare folks if you don’t want to get shot and Twinkies make for the ultimate survival food (the last one is debatable).

The Edge (1997)

The Edge is the story of a billionaire who survives a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, together with two of his friends. This movie depicts in a very accurate manner how people react under stress when confronted with unfamiliar situations.

Also you get how important it is to have basic survival skills, such as knowing basic first aid methods, how to navigate sans gear, how to improvise a compass, how to build basic weapons such as spears, and how to defend yourself against predators.

Video first sen on blackruskie.

Finally, this epic saga emphasizes the importance of knowledge, smarts, and skills over the oh-so-common macho-ninja stuff and special effects.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is the true story of a guy named Christopher McCandles who died stupidly as he abandoned his privileged life and adventured into the wild, searching for adventure.

Video first seen on carinemccandless.

The thing is that this guy had absolutely no idea about wilderness survival, no skills, and basically no gear. And yes, he died of starvation in a cabin, which is pretty pathetic, to say the least.

The lesson to be taken home after watching this movie is to never go out in the wild unprepared. Life in the wilderness is not romantic, but a savage and brutal struggle for survival 24/7/365.

The importance of having the right mindset first of all is not a matter to be taken lightly in an outdoors survival situation.

Bottom line, have you seen a good survival movie recently? What did you think? Do you have any survival lessons to add? Share your thoughts in the dedicated section below!

11 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Moving Off-Grid

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I don’t know about you, but I would love to own about 25 acres of land in the middle of nowhere and live solely on what I develop from the land itself.

The sad fact is, most of people caught in a crisis will either live in bands of scavengers or wind up dead.

Even those fortunate enough to live on a homestead or in a dedicated survival group are apt to find themselves being attacked by anyone desperate enough to try and steal from them.

If you can afford to purchase land and live off grid, it offers a better standard of living and added peace and comfort in a time when just about everything else is falling apart. If you intend to succeed at moving off grid, there are 10 mistakes you must avoid at all cost.

Not Accounting for Weather Conditions and Radiation Threats

Even though you may rarely hear about nuclear events, there are ongoing situations like Fukushima, as well as potential ones that can make your homestead as dangerous as it is worthless.

For example, if you purchase or have land in California or anywhere along the western coast of the United States, including Canada, ionized radiation from Fukushima is more than likely contaminating the land, air, and water already.

While it may not seem like much now, or at “low levels”, the fact remains that the leak at the Fukushima reactors is still releasing radioactive waste into the ocean, and the currents are still bringing that radiation to the western shore of the United States.

Aside from Fukushima, every location within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant or nuclear waste facility should be avoided at all cost. If there is a major waterway such as a river that connects one nuclear are to within 100 miles of your planned homestead site, it is best to avoid the area or consider how you will best escape problems caused by nuclear contamination.

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and droughts are all becoming more common. Make sure that you pay careful attention to how the weather patterns are changing. It does not matter what the media says is causing these changes or what they say they mean.

All that matters is you pick a safe location or know how to handle changing weather patterns in the area that you choose.

Not Having a Means of Income

Taxes, emergencies, and adapting to an off grid life can all cost a good bit of money. Even if you can meet basic needs from the land itself, it never hurts to have enough contact with the rest of the world so that you can make some money.

Together with this, you also need to diversify your currency stockpile. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin can be very dangerous, it may still come in handy to have some money in this form of currency.

Just make sure that you never put so much into these currencies that it will cause problems if the currency fails.

Lack of Experience with Growing Food Underground

If there is one common factor in all ultimate survival shelters and homesteads, building underground is it. Not only will an underground shelter protect you from nuclear radiation, it can also shield you from just about everything except earthquakes. When built correctly, an underground homestead can last for generations and remain in good condition.

The lack of light and free moving air underground can be fatal. If you do not have sufficient experience with growing foods and herbal remedies underground, then you will need to gain these skills as well as make sure that you can repair or replace every part of the lighting system used to grow plants.

Make sure that you also have a good grounding in disease management.

This old forgotten secrets helped our parents survive!

Inability to Generate Power or Communicate

Today, far too many people think that they can follow the traditions of the Amish or other groups that have never become accustomed to electricity and petroleum based fuels.

While these people do have some valid ideas about many important areas of off grid living, they do not know how to manage the kinds of waste that exist in the world today. Without electricity, it will be harder than you expect to deal with environmental toxins.

Because we have become a “global economy”, and a “global human environment”, what happens in one part of the world cannot be ignored. You will still need radios and other communications systems so that you can find out about larger scale threats and then find ways to manage them as the situation develops.

No matter how much you may want to think you can make it in the world alone, the fact remains just as many others may have the same idea. Unless you know where they are and what they are doing, you will be in very serious danger of building a false utopia that will crash around your ears.

At the very least, make sure that you know how to generate electricity underground and using solar and wind based methods.

You should also know how to build a foxhole radio and a spark gap transmitter. It is also very important to know how to build electronic communications devices with or without solid state technologies.

Lack of Knowledge and Ability to Manage Sanitation Issues

Chances are, if you have been doing your research on prepping and off grid issues, then you already know that poor sanitation can lead to serious disease outbreaks.

While a composting toilet may seem very useful, you must still consider what to do with bathing water, kitchen garbage, disposal of old paint or other chemicals, and managing nuisance insects if you are not able manage sanitation properly. In addition, if you decide to build a septic system, then you will still have to pump out the tank or find some other way to manage this aspect of sanitation.

Overall, you should focus on systems that recycle as much as possible without the use of dangerous or toxic chemicals. Always remember that the land you have is all that you have. If you ruin it, there won’t be a way to replace it, and there may not be a way to fix the problem.

You can try composting toilets, compost generators for kitchen waste, and conversion of other waste into some kind of fuel.

For more ideas on other kinds of waste, look to Sweden, where less than 1% of household waste winds up in landfills. Reducing your reliance on the local rubbish company is also something you can start doing now.

As you become more proficient in this area, you will have at least one part of your off grid skills in good order.

Lack of Medical Knowledge and Skills

Considering the rampant and continuous scandal around modern health care, it should come as no surprise that people are becoming more nervous about every aspect of treating diseases. While there are some parts of modern medicine that are valuable and cannot be replaced or duplicated, there are still some very important things you can do for yourself.

Perhaps most important, as an off gridder, you will need to understand and take advantage of the relationship between good health and lifestyle choices.

While your “national pride” may say have another hot dog that may have human remains in it, or your mouth may water for cheeses and meat filled with pesticide and antibiotics, in the end these decisions can cost your life and your well being.

By the same token, not getting enough exercise, not paying attention to air quality, smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, and using “recreational drugs” will all take a toll on your well being.

If you are going to live off grid, you won’t have the time to deal with health problems from these choices let alone live comfortably.

It is also very important to educate yourself as much as possible about emergency medicine, herbal remedies, and any side effects that may come from the drugs you are using right now.

Do what you can to use holistic methods and lifestyle improvements. Aside from learning a lot about how your body works, you may also gain enough improvement to reduce your reliance on drugs that will eventually stop working or cause more harm than expected to organs outside of the system being treated.

Lack of Self and Property Defense Equipment and Skills

I must admit there are definitely days when I wish I could go live on a few acres of land and never need to worry about all the crime and other hazards that come with living in a more populated setting. Quite frankly, believing that safety will automatically come when you isolate from others is a huge mistake.

Among other things, you may have to deal with criminals passing through the area looking to hide out, as well as others looking to commit some kind of crime. Unless you can defend yourself and your property even in these times, there is every chance you will wind up dead.

Inability to Store and Prepare Foods

As simple and obvious as it may sound, many people that plan to live off grid don’t know how to store and prepare foods. For example, many people think canning is easy because they see many recipes online, and the standard supplies are available in the department store each fall.

The truth is, canning takes a good bit of practice and skill. You must carefully time the water baths, and also know how to manage the hot bottles at the precise moment when they are ready to be sealed down.

Unfortunately, as with many other areas of off gridding, there is a lot of wrong and outright unsafe information around. While you can give things like oven canning, dehydration, and and vacuum sealing a try, it is still best to know how to smoke and dry foods.

It is also very important to make sure you have an effective and efficient food inventory system so that you don’t wind up eating something that is too old and may have become contaminated because of improper storage. This is especially important to consider if you are planning to use oxygen absorbers or other systems that will lead to different kinds of bacterial growth.

Perhaps it can be said that you would be better off taking a risk of a discernible mold or fungus growing rather than a deadly botulism strain that won’t be as easy to pick up on.

Inability to Obtain and Purify Water

People that go camping or spend a lot of time outdoors may think they know all there is to know about obtaining and purifying water. While there are many valid methods for both tasks, the fact remains modern “potable” water supplies are incredibly dangerous.

Aside from medications, fluoride, and nuclear waste being found in most surface level water, heavy metal contamination is also a serious problem. In fact, unless you go down to the south pole and melt off some glacier ice, chances are you don’t have access to clean, let alone safe water.

For some people, the short answer is to distill all water used for drinking and cooking. Even though distilling will get rid of pathogens and most chemicals, it will not get rid of tritium.

In addition, drinking distilled water over weeks or months increases your risk of electrolyte and mineral depletion. Therefore, you will need to know how to compensate for this loss using foods and other beverages.

Today, many people also give very little thought to the safety and cleanliness of the water they wash with. Many chemicals can be absorbed by the skin, or wind up being absorbed through mucus membranes.

It may take a lot more work to purify all water that you use for bathing and washing, however it will be well worth the effort in the long run.

Inability to Make Clothes

Even if you normally go to the goodwill store for second hand clothes, chances are you have more garments than you know what to do with.

When you have to tend your own farm, or carry out a lot of intensive physical labor chores, your garments are bound to wear out much faster. To add insult to injury, the detergents you use to wash you garments can also spell disaster. Sadly, there are many recipes online for “natural laundry detergent” that can actually ruin your clothes in a very short period of time.

The best thing you can do to solve this problem is make sure that you know how to make your own clothes from the ground up. Learn how to grow cotton, sheer sheep, and spin these fibers into fabric or yarn.

At the very least, even if you do make a mistake on washing and garment care, or your clothes get ruined for some other reason, you will be able to make new ones.

There is no question that off grid living comes with many rewards and opportunities. If you are going to live comfortably and peacefully, however, there are a number of common mistakes that you need to avoid. Take the time to learn and practice as many skills as possible so that you are ready for any situation that comes up. Even if you wind up needing to rely on goods and services for a short period of time, make it your business to learn what you need to know so that you don’t wind up having to look to others because of repeated failures.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

The Why And How Of Cooking Safe Food

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It seems like almost every time I see a picture of somebody’s stockpile, it’s full of processed foods that were on sale. And I just can’t help myself asking what kind of food bomb is hiding underneath…

Now, anybody that’s read any of my couponing articles knows that I love a good deal, but you won’t find a single box of HoHos or canned wienies in my stash. That’s because they’re garbage with zero nutritional value, and even worse. Can you guess in which way?

As a matter of fact, not only are they empty of nutrients, they’re also full of stuff that’s really bad for you. But, you may say in the case of snack cakes, sugar provides energy. It sure does. And all of the additives and preservatives that you’re eating alongside that processed sugar cause everything from migraines and sluggishness to cancer.

We stockpile food for a reason – so that we can have a ready supply of nutrient-dense food in case disaster strikes. What many of us don’t realize though is that just as food can nourish us, it can also kill us.

What’s the lesson here? Prepare your foods safely using healthy ingredients otherwise they will make you sick.

A jar of peaches that you canned yourself provides natural sugars that will provide better energy as well as fiber that will help your body process it optimally without the added garbage. Oh, and it’s natural energy – not the hyperactive side effect of many artificial colors.

Even if you can’t can your own, you can buy cans of fruit and veggies without added junk: I just picked up a can of Del Monte pineapple chunks and it has two ingredients: pineapples and pineapple juice. I can pronounce both of those and tell you exactly what they are. Oh, and it has zero fat or cholesterol and offers 17g of healthy carbs and 20% of your RDA of vitamin C.

Now, we can debate the health risks associated with the plastics used to line some cans, but surely nobody will argue that the snack cakes are better than the fruit.

My point is that most of us have limited space to stockpile foods that we will depend upon for survival, so use it wisely. 10 cans of fruit take up the same space as two boxes of snack cakes. It’s kind of a no-brainer. You can’t live on sweets and canned wienies for more than a few days without becoming sick. You can live on fruits and veggies indefinitely.

There are also ingredients that can sneak into foods that you grow and preserve yourself, so you need to watch out for those, too. Finally, you need to preserve your foods using safe methods in order to avoid botulism. We’re going to touch on all of these today.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

The Poison Hidden in Canned Foods

Even if you preserve most of your own food, there are likely still some products that you’ll buy commercially to supplement your stockpile.

That’s fine. Just read the labels. The easiest step that you can take to ensuring that you’re getting pure nutrients instead of chemicals that make you sick is to stop buying processed foods. Seriously – they offer so little nutrition that even if you get it for free, you’re getting what you pay for. Instead of tossing that can of spaghetti rings into your cart, add some fruits or veggies instead.

The best way to buy safe foods is to look at the label. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s likely linked to one disease or another. Shoot for foods that have as few ingredients as possible. Here are some ingredients to avoid:

  • Artificial colors – linked to hyperactivity and headaches – it’s why you get that “sugar rush” after eating or drinking processed sugary foods.
  • Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup – I’m not differentiating between the two. They’re both bad for you and, believe it or not, physically addictive. I’m not preaching and telling you that sugar’s evil and you should never eat it (though I guess in theory, you shouldn’t). I’m just saying everything in moderation. A piece of pie for dessert if you eat your veggies is one thing, but you shouldn’t eat it AS your dinner.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Trans fats – both of these are bad for you. They’re not natural and they cause an increase in bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol. They’re also hard for your body to dissolve. Neither has any nutritional value. You’ll find these in most vegetable oils. When you’re stockpiling, go with healthier fats such as butter (yes, I said it!), olive oil, or coconut oil.
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) – this is often added to food to increase stability, add flavor, and extend shelf life. It’s also not well-tolerated by many people and cause allergic reactions such as headaches and swelling of the face. It can also make you tired.
  • Sulphites – preservatives used to maintain color and extend shelf life. They can case many of the same reactions of MSG, including headaches, flushed/puffy faces or other anaphylactic reactions.

These are just a few of the bad guys that you should look for in your food. There are, of course, people who will debate both sides, especially on more contentious ingredients such as BTH and BTA. Just do your research and read labels. If in doubt, if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it.


Get in Control Preserving Your Own Food

Just like there are ingredients that you have to avoid when you’re buying food off the shelf, There are also things you have to watch out for when you’re growing your own food, or at least preserving fresh food that you bought from others.

You’re probably thinking about washing the produce and making sure your canning equipment is clean, right? Well, yeah, but that’s not all. The place you start here is at the beginning, when you plant the seed or feed the chickens or cows.

What goes into growing your food goes into your food. You want to be careful not to give your animals hormones, and if you have to give them antibiotics, you’ll have to throw away the milk until it clears their systems. Note I didn’t say NOT to give your cow antibiotics – personally I think it’s cruel to let them die of mastitis because I don’t want to eat “tainted” meat. That’s my opinion, thought.

Say NO to Hormones

I do believe that there’s no reason on the planet to give any of your livestock hormones. They’re already hardwired to grow big enough to eat and to make milk or eggs. Studies link all kinds of diseases and illnesses to hormones in meat.

Feed Your Livestock Right

Animals need vitamins and minerals just like we do. Your chickens will love you if you give them scratch – lettuce, melon rinds, garden scraps, grass clippings, etc. and it’ a good way to feed them healthy foods.

As long as it’s not coated in commercial pesticides and such, though! Cows and horses need quality grain and roughage that hasn’t been sprayed with chemical herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers.

What they eat eventually transfers to what you eat.

Grow Your Garden Organically

There are many effective ways to grow your food without using chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. You can use compost – both solid and manure –as fertilizer.

You can add Epsom salt to increase the magnesium content of the soil. Boiling water, salt water, and soap kill weeds and harmful insects. Neem oil, citrus oil, and eucalyptus oil, to name a few, all kill insects.

What you put on your plants is what you’ll eventually end up eating.

This is harder when you buy your food from local coops, etc. because you don’t really have any way of knowing for sure exactly how they grow the food. If you don’t trust the source, then wash and/or peel your produce before you process it.

I guess the lesson here is that you are what you eat, so eat healthily!

Be Paranoid about Food Safety

Now, onto other safety measures that will keep your stockpile ingredients safe and healthy.

When you’re canning, make sure that you always sterilize all of your equipment. If you’re canning low-acid foods such as meat, you have to pressure can it – if you don’t, there’s no way to know for sure that you’re reaching the temperatures, and holding them long enough, to kill foodborne pathogens like botulism.

If you are about to open a store-bought can of food and it’s bulging or damaged, toss it because it could be contaminated with botulism. By the same token, if your home-canned goods are cloudy, frothy, leaking, or make more than the standard little pop when the seal breaks, toss it. One lost jar of food – or even 20 lost jars – isn’t worth botulism.

Pay attention to appearance, smell, and texture. Those are ways that you can tell if your food is bad.

Finally, and this should be common sense, wash all of your food before you prepare it, and wash your hands, too. Cross contamination can cause a lot of problems and it’s too easy to avoid.

One other note – if you’re dehydrating food, make sure that you get as much of the moisture out as possible, and trim all of the fat from it that you can before you start drying it.

Dehydrated food is amazing, lightweight, and doesn’t take up nearly the space that canned foods do, so do it right.

Back in the days, our grandparents knew how to eat healthy and their eating habits were the key to a strong, healthy and long life.

Find how our forefathers handled their survival food, and steal their secrets for your own survival!

If you can think of other ways to keep your survival stockpile healthy, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

The 7 Rules Of How Not To Become A Target

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There’s a military axiom which says,“The best defense is a good offense.” I have my own, modified version of this. It goes, “The best defense is not becoming a target.” What I mean by that is that if nobody has a reason for attacking you, you won’t have to worry about being attacked.

You’ve got to realize that in the aftermath of any crisis, people are going to be on the prowl. You’ve seen it on the news reports; people looting, stealing, breaking into homes, even rooting around in garbage dumpsters for the things that they need to survive.

You’re going to see it again; only this time, you’ll see it much more up close and personal. That’s why you need to learn how not to become a target.

While there are no accurate figures as to how many preppers there are in the United States, estimates put it at somewhere between two and three million people. The rest of the people out there are expecting FEMA to come to the rescue, riding on a white horse and with federal government funds (otherwise known as your tax dollars) in their hands to solve all their problems.

Since most people only have less than three days’ worth of food in their homes, it won’t take long for all those millions of people out there to get desperate. Then they’ll start hunting. They’re first stop will be the stores, which will be cleaned out of anything useful. Then, they’ll start preying on each other.

There will only be two basic ways to prevent being attacked. The first is to look so strong to the attacker that they decide to leave you alone and find somebody else to pick on. Not only is that rather expensive to accomplish, it’s just about like putting up a billboard on the roof of your home that says, “Preppers Live Here!”.

The other way is to fool people into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking you. Poor people generally don’t think of stealing from other poor people, unless they see that the other poor person has something that they want.

The general assumption is,“They’re as poor as I am, it’s not worth attacking them.” Instead, they go looking for somebody who’s going to have something worth stealing. That somebody else is you, unless of course, they don’t realize that you have anything worth grabbing. Therein lies the secret; making it look like you’re not worth bothering with.

You’re home defense problems are going to be greatly lessened if they don’t come to attack you. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t know who you are, what you have, or that you are living any better than they are.

If you’re living like everything is hunky-dory, that will be like putting up that billboard again. Many of the things that you are doing to prepare for a disaster can very easily make you and your home stand out, making you into the target that you don’t want to be.

Even while you’re enjoying your stockpile of food and drinking from your well, using the light produced by your solar panels, you don’t want others to know.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

How Does OPSEC Help You?

All this is called Operational Security, or OPSEC. In the military, it’s the idea of denying the enemy information about who you are, what you’re doing, what your capabilities are and what your plans are. That’s really no different than what you need to do with your prepping. You need to deny the same information to all the people around you who might want what you have.

Light Discipline

One of the easiest giveaways that you are in better shape than your neighbors is having lights shining out of your windows, when everyone else’s power is out. Most preppers have alternate sources to provide their home with power in the case of an emergency.

Even so, if people see that light shining through the windows, they’re going to be wondering where it is coming from, and why you are the only one who has electricity. To stay safe, use low wattage electric lights, that won’t be so obvious.

If you have a battery backup system, you can run wires through your house to run 12 volt automotive lights. These may not be as bright as what you’re used to, but they will provide enough light for most activities.

The best thing to do is to install blackout curtains. These are dark, heavy curtains, which are designed to prevent light from escaping through the windows. They need to be made of heavy fabric and be larger than the window, so that they cover the window and can seal the space around it.

Don’t forget about flashlights either. While there will be other people with flashlights, the longer the disaster lasts, the less batteries there will be available for them. If you have to use a flashlight, use it sparingly, and do whatever you can to hood the light and keep it from being obvious.

In the military, they use a red lens on flashlights, with a light blocker behind it. The light blocker is a solid plate, with just a pinhole in the middle. Between the two, very little light escapes, keeping it from being seen from far away.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.


Unless you’re one of those fortunate people who has a propane stove or a cast-iron one, you’re probably going to be doing your cooking outdoors, which means cooking on your grille or in a fire pit. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good alternative for when your kitchen is out of order, but there is a very high risk that your neighbors are going to know exactly what you’re cooking. If that’s a pot of beans and rice, it won’t be such a big deal, but if you’re cooking steaks every night, everybody will know about this.

The longer you go without power, the greater a problem that’s going to be. The first couple of days after the power goes out, you’re probably going to smell a lot of steaks on the grille, as people try to use up what they’ve got in the freezer before it can go bad.

But once that first few days are over, there won’t be too many people with steaks to grill.

This is one of those cases that you can cover up with a bit of subterfuge. Hopefully, you’ve got a good enough relationship with your neighbors, that you’ll be helping each other out in a crisis.

So, if you go hunting and get a deer, it would seem normal that you would pass on some meat to your neighbors. Hopefully, the next week one of them will go hunting and share with you as well. If everyone in the neighborhood is grilling meat outdoors once a week, it won’t seem all that strange. The rest of your meat can be turned into jerky, and used in soups and stew that way.

Spices are another thing that can give away your abundance of food. When people are eating the most basic of foods, their sense of smell for well-seasoned food can actually be increased. If they smell well-seasoned food coming from your back yard, that will serve as another indicator that you have food.

I firmly believe in stocking spices, and I like well-seasoned foods. However, if my spice rack is going to cause me trouble, I’ll put a padlock on it and throw away the key. My family’s survival is more important to me than having gourmet meals.


Simple things can give everything away, especially to people who are looking for them. If you have a bunch of trash piling up at the curb and somebody is going to take a look in it and find a bunch of empty food packages, they’re instantly going to know that you have food while everyone else is starving.

The easiest way to solve the problem is to burn your trash. You’ve got to be careful about that, though, as burning trash could be a give away in and of itself. However, if you’re cooking outside over a fire, there’s nothing to say that you can’t use your trash to start the fire and burn some more of it as fuel. That will serve two purposes for you; get rid of the trash, and save your stock of fuel.

The same can be done if you’re using a fireplace to heat your home. Since you’ll be burning wood in it anyway, throwing some packages in there as well won’t be a problem. Once again, this can serve to dispose of the trash, while helping provide heat to your home.

If there’s no other possibility, then hide your trash in your basement or backyard, being sure to separate edible garbage from trash. The edible garbage can go into a compost heap, eliminating it, which will also help cut down on the stench from storing so much trash.

Appearance of Your Home

If you are in an area that was hit by a hurricane, there will be a lot of damage to homes and other buildings. While there might be a few which avoid any major damage, they will be few and far between. If your home is the only one in the area which doesn’t look like it sustained any damage, then it might look suspicious to people passing by. Likewise, if you manage to get it repaired faster than anyone else.

An easy thing that you can do to make your home look more damaged and increase your physical security in other ways, at the same time, is to put plywood over your windows. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas have pre-cut pieces which they can install whenever needed. If you have these, or can make some out of plywood, it will help make your home appear abandoned.

At the same time, those pieces of plywood will prevent anyone from seeing what’s going on inside and help keep any light from your lamps indoors. Should anyone decide to attack your home, plywood is fairly hard to break, making it harder for them to come through your windows.

Any gardening for fresh vegetables or livestock you have needs to be hidden in the back yard, preferably behind a privacy fence. If people don’t see it, hopefully they won’t think it’s there.

Noise Discipline

Noise can be another dead giveaway. The average person doesn’t realize how much noise they create, just doing everyday chores. That noise will show that your home is occupied. If you want to appear like an abandoned home, you’ve got to control the noise.

Even besides that, if you’re not trying to present the image of being an abandoned home, you still want to watch your noise levels, especially any sounds made by electronic devices.

If you have music playing in your home or your kids are watching a movie on the TV, it can probably be heard from outside your home. People hearing it will wonder how it is that you have electric power, when they don’t.

It’s not too much of a leap of imagination from there to wondering what else you might have that they can use.

Kids can be a real problem when it comes to noise discipline. If you have children, especially small ones, you’ll need to watch them constantly to keep them quiet. The best way to do this is to keep them busy with tasks that don’t make a lot of noise. Get them to help you and your wife around the house as well, making them a part, rather than just leaving them to play.


You’re going to be more physically active in the aftermath of a disaster, than you are today. Just trying to survive is going to keep you and your whole family busy.

Pretty much everything you do will have to be done manually,without the benefit of modern conveniences. That’s going to be a lot of hard physical work.

Trying to hide all this activity will be virtually impossible. Even so, there are a few things that you can do to camouflage your actions. More than anything, you can try and make your actions look like those around you. They’ll be busy trying to survive as well, so your actions to look like you are trying to survive shouldn’t look all that different.

Many things, like going to collect water from a nearby stream or lake will be the same as your neighbors are doing. Here again, you have a great opportunity for cooperation. If you can work together to collect and haul water, then you’ll just be part of the group.

You’ll also make the job easier for both of you, as you can help each other out. Of course, you’ll be the one with the water filtration system, so maybe you can help them out with that, in exchange for them helping you out in other ways.

Keep as much of your survival activity in your house or backyard as you possibly can. That will limit the number of people who can see what you’re doing to your immediate family and your immediate neighbors.

Here again you can co-opt them in your plans, by helping them. If they see you working in the backyard, growing vegetables, offer to help them get their garden started too; possibly in exchange for some labor.

Personal Appearance

With food shortages all around you, there’s a good chance that people are going to be losing weight. If you’re not, this could be another sign that you’re in much better shape, supply-wise than anyone else. In a town full of malnutrition, a chubby person is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course, if you’re already thin, you’re not going to have a problem with this. It’s only those who are currently a bit on the heavy side that are going to end up looking a bit strange to others. They might want to go on that diet that they were talking about for years, as part of their OPSEC routine.

In addition to weight, there are other considerations about your appearance that you should keep in mind. Clean clothing, shoes that are in good condition, shaving, haircuts, and nail polish are all things that will stand out like a sore thumb, if nobody else around you has them.

Once again, this is one of those things that’s going to get worse with time. At the beginning, everyone will look fairly normal. But as the lack of soap and water make an impact, people will wear their clothes longer, even though they’re dirty, wash their hair less frequently, and let their beards grow.

To some extent, you can get away with not looking like everyone else in this case, as long as it is easily explainable to the people around you. If they see you hauling more water than anyone else, they won’t have a problem with you wearing clean clothes.

If they see your wife cut your hair, they won’t think much of it. As long as there’s an explanation, they won’t worry about it.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

Survival Kitchen: How To Revive Cast Iron Cookware

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SVP cast iron skillet final

Want to know the best thing about cast iron skillets and pots? They’re practically indestructible and will last literally hundreds of years.

I used to have a couple that were well over a hundred years old. When they were stolen, I was heartbroken. Yes, that’s right. Somebody stole them. And that, my friends, is about the only circumstance from which you can’t revive your cast iron cookware.

Another great thing about cast iron is that, unlike most other kitchenware, you can use it on an open camp fire without damaging it. As a matter of fact, Dutch ovens were designed for just that use. They’re suitable to bury in the coals and use them as an outdoor oven.

Since you can use them outdoors, they’re excellent for making one-dish meals in and come in sizes that can accommodate a meal for one or a meal for ten depending on your needs.

How to Find Quality Cast Iron

I absolutely love this part – I have 6 different pieces of cast-iron cookware and I only bought one of them new. I found each of the other pieces at yard sales and junk stores.

Actually, I found the two skillets that were stolen at an old “antiques” store (translate junk shop) that sat along the highway leading into Mt. Airy, NC. I bought each of them for $5. Best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent.

This is the most important investment you can make to your well prepared survival kitchen!

I live in Florida now, and I still see them at about a quarter of the yard sales that I go to, and probably three quarters of the estate sales, and most of the time they’re listed at less than $5. The salvation army and Goodwill frequently have them, too.

You can, of course, also find them used online from places like eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, and Letgo, and you can buy them new at any home goods or super store. Basically, cast iron cookware is about as easy to find as toilet paper. Well, almost.

What to Look For

The good thing about cast iron is that even if it’s got some surface rust, it’s usually redeemable. What you want to watch for, though, are integrity issues.

Check to make sure that there are no cracks, and rub your fingers along the sides and bottom to check for uniform thickness. Set it flat and make sure that it doesn’t rock. Test the handle and make sure it’s sturdy.

Make sure that there aren’t too many cooked-on rough spots because, though you CAN get usually get them out, it’s a lot of work considering how easy common pieces like skillets and griddles are to find. If it’s a good one and you’re willing to invest the elbow grease and the time it will take to re-season it, then use the rough spots as a means to talk them down on the price.

Just make sure that it’s actually a cooked-on rough spot, though, and not rust that’s been painted over. I’ve seen it, believe it or not.

If you flip the cast iron skillet or pot over and there’s a lipped ridge or rim around the bottom of it, it’s an old one. That lip was used to keep it steady on top of a wood burning cook stove, so you can figure it’s a good 100 years old, at least, and likely older.

There will also likely be a seam visible across the bottom. Don’t let on like you know what you have because, if it’s in good shape, you’ve found a gem!

How to Revive Old Cast Iron

Now that you’ve got your gem at home, it’s time to bring it back to life! What I’m about to tell you may earn me some frowns from “those who say so,” but I’m speaking from 30 years of experience finding, reviving, and using cast iron cookware.

  • If it has rust that won’t just rinse off, sticky stuff, or baked-on crusties, use a steel wool pad to scrub all of the rust off. All of it. Inside and out. Yes, I’m aware that they say not to do this, but who are ‘they’?
  • Now that you have a clean, rust-free surface, it’s time to re-season it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the piece until it’s almost too hot to handle.
  • Remove it and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil, olive oil, or solid shortening inside and out. No butter or cooking spray. You may want to put a cookie sheet under it in the oven in case it drips, but you really shouldn’t have that much on it.
  • Put it back in the oven and bake for an hour, then allow it to cool completely and repeat the process. I like to repeat twice, at least, so that the seasoning really has a chance to set.

Remember that this is just the beginning of the seasoning part and unless you were fortunate enough to get one that already had a nice seasoning to it, it may take a few uses for the seasoning to completely cure and build a hard, non-stick coating on the inside of the pot or skillet.

Video first seen on Tasty.

The first few times I use a new skillet, I like to cook fatty foods such as bacon, sausage, or other meats in them so that they can absorb the fat and really get a nice non-stick coating going. Before you know it, it will be the best egg skillet you have. Seriously.

People differ in how they like to clean their cast iron. Some say not to use any soap, ever – just wash it out with water and call it good. I have a bit of a problem with that because of silly little things like salmonella and other creepy crawlies that make people sick. I use soap, but make sure that I rinse it WELL.

I definitely do not use steel wool on any of my skillets or pots after they’re seasoned. You shouldn’t have to. If food becomes cooked on, I just put a bit of water in the skillet and if it won’t soak off in the sink after a few minutes, I place it on the stove with about a half-inch of water in it and bring the water to a boil. That usually works to get off any stuck-on food.

Once you’ve washed it, place it on the stove on low heat so that it dries completely, then add a thin layer of oil (I just put a drop in the middle of the skillet and wipe it around with a paper towel) and let it cool. Done.

I really can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to let your cast iron air dry. It promotes rust, plus each time you heat it and add oil, it helps keep it non-stick so that your great-grandkids can enjoy it long after you’re gone. They will appreciate it as much as we appreciate the knowledge that we’ve inherited from our forefathers.

We still have a lot to learn from our ancestors. Click the banner below to discover more of the secrets that kept them alive!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Design Your Own Weapon, In These 14 Steps

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Survivopedia Design Your Own Weapon In These 14 Steps

Weapons are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Having the proper weapon makes self-defense much easier.

You don’t have to ruin your budget on the perfect gun, but you can challenge your skills and build your own homemade weapon. Learning how to build your own weapon is a handy skill that will serve you well in a survival situation.

It may be time consuming, but you will have a weapon that will perfectly fit your needs. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to build a knife that can be held better in arthritic hands or you want to design a super gun that breaks all the rules insofar as barrel length and projectile launching methods.

This article covers a step-by-step guide on how to build your own self-defense weapons.

If you follow these steps carefully and take your time with each phase, you will produce better weapons that will meet your needs.

Choose the Purpose of Your Weapon

Start off by deciding what you want to use the weapon for. Are you planning on building a self-defense weapon that will be used within arm’s length, or do you want to be able to attack something several feet to several yards away?

When considering this question, decide how lethal you want the weapon to be. If you are the kind of person that believes you cannot kill, there is no point to making a weapon that has a high chance of taking a life. In these cases, focus more on weapons that act as diversion, or those that will wound long enough for you to make your escape.

At this stage, it is also very important to decide how much you want to reveal about the weapon when you are carrying it. Do you want something that you can completely conceal regardless of where you are? If so, then you will need to list that as a priority so that you can fully evaluate which materials will meet your needs.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

Choose a Relevant System to Study

Once you know what you want the weapon to do, look at systems that have already been developed.

For example, if you know that you want to make a bladed weapon, study knives. If you want something more lethal, then go ahead and study systems that include adding poisons to the knife.

During this stage, try to find at least 100 designs so that you know as much as possible about what has been developed through time. If you are combining systems, such as a knife and a poison delivery system, make it a point to find 100 designs for both.

Narrow Your Selection to One Design

Out of 100 designs, you may only find 5 or 6 that have sufficient appeal to work with. You will need to find one design that has the most appeal, and then keep detailed notes on the other systems that may work for your needs.

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each design.

Create Your Own Design

When it comes to developing new personal defense weapons, many people are tempted to start here instead of studying other systems first. If you did your research well, you will find this step easy.

Take the time at this stage to make sure that you have all the best ideas in place for each part of the weapon. If you are going to innovate or bring in ideas from other weapons systems, make sure you understand how all the pieces will fit and work together.

At this stage, it is also very important to figure out how you will make allowances for wear, repair, and making changes based on available materials.

You should also make sure that you know what tools and skills will be required to make the weapon, use it, and maintain it.

Make a Blueprint with Scaling and Measurement Notes

There are few things worse than building a weapon without a detailed blueprint. When you don’t have a solid pattern to follow, it can be very hard to make precision parts. You will also find that it becomes all too easy to go off on a tangent.

No matter whether you get hung up on adding a style element, or you cannot seem to get the right shape for a part, a fully scaled blueprint can help keep you on track.

Make a List of Materials and Tools

Once you have a clear idea about what you are going to build, it is time to start assembling the tools and materials. You should also have a list of alternatives on hand in case you cannot obtain the items that you identified as ideal.

This list will also come in handy if you find out that you first choice wasn’t as good for one reason or another.

Create a Production Timeline

Before you begin working on the actual weapon, it is important to know how much time you plan to spend building the prototype, and then a full working version. This can help you save time as well as ensure that you make enough room for this task.

The last thing you will want to do is try to build something at the last minute, and then find out you needed far more time than expected.

Test the Materials

From polymers to metal and wood, there is a definite learning curve that you must go through. Simply reading a package or some instructions will not prepare you for all the things that come up when you work with the materials.

It is very important to know that you are comfortable with each material so that you know exactly how you are going to work with it while making the weapon.

This will also give you a chance to see if you need additional tools, or if you would be better served by using a different material.

Build a Prototype

Many people do not build a prototype because they think it is best to just aim for something that will work. When you don’t have a prototype, you waste material and time.

When you build a smaller working version, it gives you a chance to build and test your skills as well as see how everything will fit together. Even though a prototype won’t detect all your design problems, it can still be very useful.

Build a Functional Weapon

If you have been eager to build your weapon, then this stage is bound to be your favorite. Now is the time to put everything you learned plus your skills into making the finest weapon possible based on your plans.

Do not rush through this stage. Make sure that all the modules work correctly, and redo parts if they don’t come out right. Remember, your goal is a final product that will work to save your life, not put it in danger.

Test the Weapon

Once the weapon is built, you will need to test it out for strength and functionality. Each weapon design will require different testing strategies.

Do not test on live animals or other human beings. There are many ways to use dummies, blocks of wood, or other materials to see if you have a weapon that works properly.

When testing weapons, do not forget to wear adequate safety gear. Never assume that the weapon will work correctly. It is best to be well protected in case you made a mistake in the design, or something unexpected happens to turn the weapon against you.

For example, if you are working with poisons, gases, or liquids, make sure you are wearing full eye and face protection as well as an appropriate coverall and footwear.

Store the Weapon

After you know the weapon works, set it aside for a while. Give yourself some time away from the active development and building phase so that you can go back later and look at it with fresh eyes. This will also give you a chance to see how the materials change over time.

If a material is going to degrade over time or lose its usefulness, then it is best to find out before you need to use the weapon for self-defense.

Continue Testing and Studying Your New Weapon

From time to time, it is very important to test the weapon out and practice with it. This will give you confidence in using the weapon and help you find design and material flaws.

Make Modifications as Needed

If you find a problem with the design or materials, it is important to go back and fix them as soon as possible. In some situations, you may have to go back to the design and development stages and then build another version of the weapon.

As time consuming as this may be, it is better to take these steps with care and come out with something better the next time around.

Remember that a personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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Survivopedia Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

Even though there are plenty of pre-built new and used utility trailers on the market, they may not meet your exact needs. If you are going to use the trailer for any kind of prepper application, it is best to make sure you have everything you want in the design.

As with so many other things, this means you will more than likely need to design and build the trailer yourself. While this may cost more in terms of time and labor, in the end it may save your life and make living in the post crisis world easier than expected.

If you are looking to expand or upgrade your DIY skills, building a utility trailer will give you plenty of practice.

Stages of Building Your Trailer

These brutal financial times make it difficult to justify building a utility trailer that may or may not be needed to address some kind of major future crisis. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to build a utility trailer years, or even months in advance of a major social collapse.

By keeping the following points in mind, you can build a suitable trailer in just a few days, or even do so after a major crisis happens.

As you think about how long it will take to build a utility trailer, keep the following points in mind. You can divide the timeline into five main parts:

1. Planning and designing the trailer

You can plan and design a trailer at little or no cost. Make your basic plans on paper, and then do your research for free online. Look at other designs on the market, find out what materials are available, and get a good sense of how much all the parts will cost. Once you have the blueprint, parts list, and projected assembly plans, just about everything else can be done in a matter of days.

When of making up a parts list, include as many recycled or salvage parts as you can, and add at least 2 or 3 alternatives that suit your needs. This will make it easier to choose parts later. If you run out of time before acquiring all the building materials, you can use this list during and after a major crisis as a guide to viable materials.

2. Obtaining raw materials

Before you buy materials, purchase any tools that you might need. These tools can also be used for many other household and travel needs, so they won’t go to waste. The more time you spend using basic power and hand tools, the better off you will be in any situation.

The more time you have for obtaining building materials, the better. Aside from being able to budget more easily, you will see if there are reusable materials in flea markets, junk yards, or estate sales that might be of use.

Individuals that are building and maintaining comprehensive bug out plans should take the salvage and alternative material list along on test excursions. This is an excellent time to take note of what items may be available on the way to your bug out location.

3. Building the trailer

Preparing for an emergency is never easy, especially when you are concerned that all your hard work will be stolen by rioters or others. An utility trailer can be a bit hard to hide, and just about everyone that sees it will know what it is, or remember that you have one. Once a major crisis occurs,these people will be looking for you and ready to take anything of value that you might have.

This is the main reason why I don’t recommend building a utility trailer from the top down and having it all ready to go. Rather, it is better to build the trailer in units, test them out, and then be ready to assemble them at a moment’s notice. Many systems are small enough to be hidden in your home or garage, and then assembled later on when the need arises. If you make fast assembly and modular system designs part of your plans, this process may be easier than you would expect.

 4. Testing everything out

There is a definite trade off between testing out a completed trailer and keeping its existence as secret as possible. Doing your best to test specific modules may not be enough when you actually assemble the trailer.

Your best option will be to try and assemble the trailer in a quiet location where no one will know. Once you know everything works together as a unit, you can always take everything apart and then reassemble it in time of need.

5. Maintenance

As soon as you begin keeping supplies on hand, or materials to build the trailer itself, you will always need to be concerned about maintenance.

For example, if you purchased aluminum for the sides of the trailer or other parts, they may still need painting, lubrication, or other routine care to prevent them from being ruined.

Where to Get Materials From

Have you ever gone to a local hardware store, home improvement store, or automotive shop only to be disappointed by the inventory? You may find some items in these stores to get you started on a DIY product, while other items may not be available (thicker aluminum, for example).

Be careful how you shop online, and you should be able to keep your building plans secret.

Here are some other places where you might find building materials at a more reasonable price:

  • Local auctions and surplus events. Newspapers and websites dedicated to your town or city may list these venues as well as what kinds of materials are available.
  • Watch the classified ad listings in supermarkets, department stores, or other areas where estate sales, flea markets, or other private sales might be listed.
  • Military surplus outlets may also be of some use.

Check the end of the article for a list of websites that may help to salvage or find construction surplus materials.

Basic Parts

The absence of a means of propulsion doesn’t mean utility trailers are simple, or that you can build them with a lack of care and consideration. A poorly designed or constructed trailer can spell disaster. Do not cut corners or reduce quality if you want to build a reliable trailer!

Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems

The axle and suspension system must be able to support the entire weight of the trailer and everything in it. These parts must also have the flexibility to absorb shock as the trailer moves without bending excessively or breaking.

Many utility trailers have smaller wheels, but bear in mind that you might take the trailer off road or into areas with deep ruts, mud, or broken pavement. Spend a bit more on larger wheels with deeper and heavier treads so that the trailer passes more easily over these areas.

Basic Frame

The frame must work in conjunction with the suspension, axle, and braking system to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the trailer. No matter whether you choose an open design or a closed one, the suspension must be sturdy and durable. A frame that is built independent of the suspension will give you more options and also much better performance.

Coupler and Tongue Jack

If you do not have a good quality coupler and tongue jack on the trailer, it can lead to a number of problems including:

  • The trailer may break way from the vehicle pulling it along.
  • It may sway from side to side or be very hard to control when the pulling vehicle turns.
  • A poorly designed coupler may be difficult to connect and disconnect as needed.

Wall Frame

The wall frame must still be study enough to keep all of the items in the trailer secure no matter whether you design an open trailer or a closed one. Choose frame material that will not bend or buckle if objects inside the trailer hit it.

It is also best to choose a frame material that is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of a roof and enclosure if you decide to make these changes later on. Even if you decide on low walls now, make sure that you can bolt on taller pieces later on without sacrificing on frame strength.

Roof Frame (optional)

Try to make the roof frame sturdy enough to accommodate the roof covering and storage for other items. It never hurts to create a roof top frame that can also be used to house solar panels, small wind turbines, or other devices used to generate electricity, gather water, or carry out other tasks.


If you are looking for a cheap easy way to enclose the trailer, start off with canvas, and then keep a vinyl covering for times when you need to keep the interior as dry as possible. As time and budget allow, enclose the trailer with aluminum or some other more permanent and durable material. As long as the roof is made from a solid material (polymer or resin might work), you could also generate power and still use canvas for the trailer sides.

Access Points

Most people that build low walled trailers do not worry about doors or windows. On the other hand, even if you plan to live in a canvas covered trailer, you’ll need to enter, exit, add to, and remove items from the trailer.

Ventilation and adequate air flow are also important so that you don’t wind up with moisture, mold, and mildew buildups inside the trailer. Doors and windows on solid side, enclosed trailers can also make it more comfortable to live in.

Security System

When all your worldly possessions are going to be packed in a trailer going a long distance, security systems are crucial.

You can use electronic surveillance systems as well as specialty locks and bolts. Just remember that these systems are only as good as the materials used to build the rest of the If the sides are made of canvas or vinyl, there will not be much sense in installing locks. Instead, think about what kind of weapons you can use to defend the trailer as well as any devices that can be used to deter people from approaching it.

Internal Features

Shelves, seats, tie down areas, and privacy enclosures are all important for a multi-purpose utility trailer. Keep weight down by using plastic furnishings or ones that can be packed away easily.

For example, beanbag chairs are lightweight and can be put together to make a bed. Alternatively, use plastic tubs to store your items and then put an air mattress on top of them. Just because internal features need to be light weight and simple, that does not mean you have to be uncomfortable or unable to enjoy whatever time you may need to spend in the trailer.


Aside from running computers or other devices that store important data, electricity is important for power tools used to fix the trailer or build parts that were not complete before started using it. There are many devices that can be used to power a utility trailer, like different wind turbine designs that will lend themselves well to sitting on top of a trailer. As long as the trailer is in motion, the turbines will spin.

You can make a series of smaller turbines that are housed in other parts of the front of the trailer and then combine them into a single battery pack. This is especially important if you want your trailer to look as inconspicuous as possible. A few fans hidden behind grills will not be as noticeable as solar panels or a shell design turbine sitting on top of the trailer.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this DIY Home Energy System! 

Water and Sanitation

Many people that don’t plan on living in a utility trailer after a major crisis occurs think they can ignore water and sanitation issues.

On the other hand, you are always going to need clean water. As such, you should at least have some tools on hand so that you can purify water or pull it from other resources. Even if you store away plastic and a shovel so that you can retrieve water vapor as it evaporates from the ground, you will be ahead of the game.

Setting aside a small part of the trailer for sanitation and privacy needs is more important than you realize. At the very least, bring a few items along that you can use to meet these needs once they are assembled.

Tools and Skills You Need for the Project

You will need common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, metal cutters, drills, and hand saws for building your trailer, but also other items. These tools require electricity to operate, but it’s not impossible to make a sturdy trailer without them.

  • Welder – you need a welder to join together steel rods used in the trailer frame. Even though welding is not especially difficult to learn, you need some practice before you weld the rods together. Remember to wear a welding hood, gloves, and an appropriate apron. No matter how fascinating welding and the sparks it makes may be, remember that you are working with very high temperatures and a light source that can blind you in a matter of seconds.
  • Circular saw, jig saw, and hand drill – these power tools make cutting boards and other materials much easier and faster. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned in my preference for corded tools, however I have yet to find battery powered tools that lasted as long or provided as much power when I needed it most.
  • Hydraulic Jacks – you need at least 4 to support the frame while you are mounting the axles and wheels.
  • Hoists and Pulley Systems – if you start building in modules, hoists and pulleys make it possible to assemble completed parts in a matter of minutes.

Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?

When you make your own racks, shelves, and other furnishings, it’s easy to create what you need and in the size that you need it. But if you don’t have the time or patience to make furniture, it can be a very tedious task. Unless you upcycle free wood palettes or other materials, you’ll find that the cost of making your own furnishings is about the same as buying pre-made models.

Research on camping and RV gear, and you’ll find all sorts of things that can be used to make the utility trailer more comfortable and convenient. In many cases, this equipment may not meet all of your needs. You may not be able to repair the items if they break down, or they may not be as durable as you would like.

If you want cutting edge designs or newer technologies, those devices may also be more expensive. For example, if you want to include a wind turbine, it may be impossible to find the best in a pre-fabricated form, so you’d better look at different bladeless turbine designs, and build something that meets your needs.

Newer polymers and other materials on the market can make this task as simple as working with a 3D printer and a few well designed templates. Aside from cost and innovative concerns, when you make your own equipment you can always add room for adaptability. If you need to scavenge parts or build systems that are easy to repair, there is nothing like developing your own designs.

DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer

Building an utility trailer is like many other things in life. There are some basic things you should always do, and others that you should avoid.

Here are some of the most common practices that lead to building a trailer that will be durable and useful or one that will not be worth the effort you put into it.

  • Do not cut costs on critical components such as the frame, suspension, axle, and coupler. Everything in the trailer depends on how sturdy and durable these items are. If you don’t know how to weld, or don’t have enough practice in metal working, make sure that you know what you are doing before you tackle building these parts.
  • Do seek training for everything you need to do. From wiring the trailer for electricity to installing windows and shelves, it never hurts to take a few courses on these and other building oriented topics.
  • Never work on the trailer when you are tired, angry, or sick. Most of the time, you will be working with power tools, chemicals, or something else that can cause injury or death. Exhaustion, excess emotions, and illness can make you careless and impatient. Even if you are not injured, the mistakes you may make can come back to haunt you when you put the trailer on the road and discover these “hidden features”.
  • Always observe safety precautions. Goggles, ear protection, gloves, aprons, steel toed boots, dust masks, and respirators are all necessary safety gear that should be used. While many people today recognize the need for goggles, far too many do not wear protective ear plugs and respirators. Never forget that everything you are working with will create some kind of dust, smoke, or gas. None of these fumes or dust are good for your lungs or your health.
  • Give yourself plenty of room to work. Over the years, I have seen many accidents caused by a simple lack of working space. Make sure that you have plenty of room to lay all the parts and tools out. Keep your work area neat and clean. No matter whether you are working indoors or outside, it is all to easy to take a step backwards and trip over something you forgot was back there.
  • Make sure that others working with you observe safety and good working habits. If you work with a team, it is all too easy for you, and others to put things where they can pose a risk to others. If everyone makes it a point to put things back where they belong, it will be much easier to avoid accidents.
  • Always keep detailed records of everything you did and how each system fits together. Later on, if you need to diagnose problems or make repairs, these notes will give you a valuable point of reference. Include photographs taken during the construction process, these will make it easier to orient and prepare for making any required changes. Do not forget to update your notes and photos once you are done.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol while working on the trailer. As soon as you lose any kind of control of yourself, both the tools you are using and the materials can also get out of control. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns, and other serious injuries. If you must have a drink or take some kind of medication, stop for the day and then go back to it when your thinking and your reflexes are in better condition.

Take the time to design and build a custom utility trailer, and you’ll develop a perfect prepper solution!

While this task isn’t as difficult as it seems, you will need to put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. When a disaster strikes and you are able to move and live comfortably in the trailer, you will see that it is well worth the effort.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.


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6 Self-Defense Tactics For Weak And Small

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Self Defense

If you qualify as a small person, you may look as the perfect victim but when it comes to defending yourself, you have a couple of advantages that may make up for your stature.

First, the smaller you are, the more an attacker is going to underestimate you. They’re going to be more likely to assume that you’re an easy mark just because you’re smaller or perhaps physically challenged.

Second, they’re going to expect you to be afraid. If you don’t show fear, it’s possible that you can throw them off-kilter long enough to buy yourself a few extra, precious seconds. There are a few things that you can do to make this time count.

In this article, I am going to talk about some of those measures as well as share some other tips to help you defend yourself and your castle.

1. Take a Martial Arts Class

Martial arts are great both for self-defense and exercise. The health benefits of martial arts are out of this world. They help prevent muscle atrophy and bone loss and keep your connective tissues healthy. They also have the added benefit of giving you some extra skills that you can use to defend yourself if SHTF.

No matter what your fitness level is or what your physical abilities are, there are martial arts classes designed to meet your needs. The secret is to find a good trainer.

A huge advantage of martial arts or self-defense classes is that you’ll meet other individuals interested in learning to defend themselves. It’s likely that some of them will be doing it for the same reason that you are – prepping for SHTF.

Put out some feelers and you may just find some valuable allies that will be willing to join forces with you. That can be invaluable.

2. Learn to Use Your Brain as a Weapon

If your home is invaded in a survival situation, it may be more pertinent to use your head rather than your fists to defend yourself until you can gain the upper hand. For instance, trick the person into believing that you’re weaker than you really are.

Find non-traditional weapons that are handy such as your cane, a lamp, or even an ashtray. Make your first attempt count because you may not get another shot.

Offer to get your “money” from your purse and reach for you weapon instead. Don’t bother pulling it out; a gun will fire just fine though the bottom of your bag.

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3. Bring as Little Attention to Your Place as Possible

Wood cooking stove If your place is already boarded up and unattractive-looking, don’t bring any more attention to the fact that you’re there than necessary.

Make trips outside during times that nobody is likely to see you. If you can, build a path that’s blocked from public view in advance.

Using shrubbery or fencing will allow you a greater amount of privacy to come and go on your property undetected.

4. Take a Weapons Course or Join a Shooting Club

Knowing how to use you weapon is one thing but being comfortable with it is another. Taking a weapons course is a great way to safely learn how your gun works and how best to use it. You’ll also learn its shortcomings, which is just as important as knowing its strengths.

Joining a local shooting club has a few advantages. First, the more you load and fire your gun, the more comfortable you’ll be with it when it comes time to defend yourself. Gun clubs are also great places to meet like-minded people.

If you’re interested in being part of a community prepping network, chances are good that you’ll meet fellow preppers at a gun club. Just cautiously feel around. If nothing else, you might make some friends.

5. Plan Your Defense in Advance

The worst time to figure out how you’re going to respond in any given situation is when you’re actually in that situation.

Have an action plan based upon numerous scenarios and practice what to do in each situation. By doing this, you’ll identify possible holes in your plan and you’ll also be prepared to act instead of react when faced with the real-life problem.

Stockpiling ammo and guns is an important part of your survival plan. In order to determine your ammunition needs (or lack thereof), consider the following:

  • Are you planning on needing to defend yourself and your property aggressively?
  • Do you have plenty of excess storage space?
  • How long do you think the survival situation will last?
  • Are you planning on supplementing your food supply with game?
  • Is the disaster that you’re planning for a local event or a global one?
  • Do you have the funds to store enough ammo to get you through the disaster?
  • Do you plan on using ammo as barter?

Let’s take a look at these questions one a time.

First, are you healthy enough to operate a weapon? If you don’t have the physical or mental stamina to actually shoot another living being, then perhaps stockpiling weapons isn’t for you.

If you pull a gun on another person, especially in a desperate situation, you have to be prepared to use it and physically capable of doing so. Otherwise, you run the risk of your attacker disarming you and using your own weapon on you.

Next, if you don’t have enough space to store the amount of ammo that you think you’ll need, perhaps you should consider reloads instead.

If you’re only planning for a local disaster, remember that the rest of the world is going to continue to produce ammo so stockpiling it probably isn’t necessary and may even be a strain on your space and your finances.

Even if you’re planning on a global event, you may not need to stockpile more than a few boxes if the disaster is going to be a temporary situation that will be followed by a rapid recovery.

If, after you’ve considered all of these options, you still believe that you need to stockpile ammo, here are a few tips to help you do it.

  • Figure how long the disaster will last, then figure how many bullets you think you’ll use per day based upon what you’re going to be shooting at. Use those two figures to roughly estimate your ammo needs.
  • Make sure that your storage space is cool and dry, and likely to remain that way.
  • Store your ammo in containers that are airtight.
  • Rotate your ammo just like you do the rest of your stockpile. Make sure that you have the proper types of round for your weapon and for what you’re going to be shooting at.
  • If you still have kids in the house, store your ammo in a place that isn’t readily accessible to anybody who isn’t trained.

Sometimes the best self-defense is to back down and escape. It’s OK to run if you need to; if you’re faced with certain death or the need to leave your home, by all means, leave! If evacuation is part of your plan, you may want to hide a stockpile away from your home in a place such as a storage unit.

Try to protect yourself and your loved ones, as Brian M. Morris says in his “Spec Ops Shooting” guide to combat shooting mastery and active shooting defense.

Also, pack a bug-out bag with all of the necessary supplies that you’ll need to get you to your bug-out location.

6. Consider Buying Non-Traditional Weapons

In addition to your standard guns, there are common items that have now been weaponized. There are stun canes and that look like a regular cane but actually have stun-gun capabilities when engaged. There are cell phones like that, too.

Just about anything can be used as a weapon. Canned food, keys, a pen, lamps, rocks; really whatever you can get your hands on will be better than nothing but again, make your first move count by aiming for the throat, nose, head, groin or eyes if possible.

Carry your standard weapon, too. Pepper spray or your gun won’t do you any good if they’re in the upstairs drawer. It’s time to survive so be ready at all times.

There are many ways to learn how to defend yourself if you are weak and small, but the most important thing to remember is that you need to stick to the plan of attack (or escape) once you’ve committed to it.

This decorated former Green Beret shares a lot of lifesaving advice from his 25 years of service in this book. Click the banner below to grab your guide to gun mastery.


This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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7+ Tips To Survive When Camping In Winter

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Survive When Camping In Winter

For the average Joe out there, myself included, winter camping usually means renting a cabin somewhere nice in the mountains and spending the holidays with friends, family, and a few bottles of booze while chatting, listening to CCR and enjoying the downtime. (Still I would survive out there without these, if I have to.)

However, there are hardcore outdoors aficionados who actually resent the idea of camping in a heated cabin by a romantic wood stove. That’s not camping – it’s glamping.

Moreover, there are adventurous folks who prefer to grab their backpack, rent a snowmobile, and go somewhere in the wilderness away from the mad world, the rush, and the insanity of civilization for a few days or weeks.

Regardless of what your pleasure is about camping during winter, there are a few tips and tricks you should know before going out in the cold.

Hypothermia is a very “cold” (pun intended) fact to consider if camping outside in extreme weather conditions. If you want to return home in one piece, with all your thumbs and toes in working condition, then keep reading, as I will share with you some important information about how to stay warm even in -45 F. Okay, maybe not toasty warm when it’s that cold, but you got the idea.

To begin with, you should be realistic and realize that winter camping is not for everyone. However, if you’re properly equipped and trained, you may very well have the time of your life even on Everest.

Let’s begin with the basics: pre-trip planning. Pre-planning prior to any type of endeavor is the key to success, especially if we’re talking about camping during winter.

If you remember that old Bob Dylan song, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you where the wind blows. In other words, regardless what the weather forecast says, you must always prepare for the worst winter conditions possible. Better safe than sorry, right?

1. Plan Your Trip

Even if it may sound like overkill, make sure you’ll be packing all the emergency supplies you’ll ever need in a winter survival situation, such as extra food and water supplies (or means to procure water by melting snow and ice), extra clothes, etc., especially if you’re going somewhere remote.

Also, if the weather conditions are likely to bad, as in dangerous bad, you should play it safe and postpone your trip, that is, if you don’t want to win the Darwin award, if you know what I mean. If not, Google it. It’s fun in a macabre sort of way.

Pack light, but don’t scrimp on essential gear, like a camping snow shovel, plenty of lighting, spare batteries, a first-aid kit, ski poles/walking poles and always go for a strong/sturdy waterproof tent.

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2. Take a Friend With You

Another crucial rule when it comes to winter outdoors survival is a rule I’ve learned from a Jack London novel. Never travel alone. Period.

3. Research the Campsite

Research the area you’re going to visit, check the surroundings, see if there’s a forest nearby (read firewood), see if there are any villages or small towns around, learn how long it will take to get from point A to B, etc. We’re living in the age of Google Maps and satellite imagery, so you don’t have any excuse not to get proper intel before going in!

Choose the right campsite (the sun is your best friend during the winter, so check out where it rises), start your fire first thing, before anything else, plan ahead, and stay warm folks.

4. Inform Your Family & Friends

Also, remember to inform your friends and family about your whereabouts, i.e. where you’re going to be for the next couple of days/weeks or whatever, thus making sure you’ll be able to get help if SHTF. If you can give them a detailed map of your route, that’s even better.

5. Keep Warm

Now, let’s talk about keeping warm. Obviously, the main thing to consider when camping outside during the winter is the right clothing. That’s the detail that will make all the difference in the world.

Dress in Layers

Layers is the word. Wear layers of clothing, as layers are the outdoors explorer’s best friend, besides a good fire. Layers work by trapping air between them, thus insulating your body from the cold. A few layers of clothing are more efficient than a single one, regardless of how thick it is.

Also, stay away from cotton clothes, because cotton absorbs moisture (you’ll get sweaty at some point during your trip) and damp or wet clothes are your worst enemy when it’s cold outside.

Basically, you should use three layers of clothing: the base layer, something like a second skin which helps you trap the body heat (synthetic materials/merino wool are the best for the base layer), the mid layer, which works as the main insulator (you can go for fleece lined trousers/heavy fleece) and the outer layer, which must be waterproof.

Dress In Layers

Keep Your Feet Warm

Feet are the infantry’s secret weapon, as my old drill sergeant used to say, so when you go out camping during the winter, pay extra attention to your feet.

To avoid cold feet, keep your cotton socks at home and go for polyester socks or wool socks. Specialty stores stock special foot gear (read socks and boots) designed for hiking. Obviously, the boots are very important too, as they must be waterproof and grippy, especially if you’re going to hike through the snow or ice.

Never Neglect Your Head and Your Hands

A huge amount of body heat, almost half of it in fact, is lost through the head during the winter, so make sure you wear a hat that’s going to block the wind and keep your heat in. Finally, don’t forget a nice pair of gloves.

6. Know Your Gear

The sleeping bag is an essential piece of gear when it comes to winter camping, so know your gear well if you want to survive low night-time temperatures. The idea is that you’ll require a high-quality sleeping bag if you want to be comfortable during the night and wake up healthy.

Or, double up your existing one just in case by putting one inside the other. Remember to always put a foam roll mat (or 2) under your mattress.

The idea is that shelter is pretty important when camping during the winter, as you may experience snowstorms, strong winds, and the whole palaver. Don’t get cheap on your tent, nor on your sleeping bag. They can make the difference between waking up relatively warm and safe and having somebody find your popsicle body.

7. Know Your Body

Together with knowing your gear, knowing your body is very important. Some folks sleep cold, others sleep warm. There are variables, like your age, sex, fitness level, experience, the amount of body fat and lots of other factors, which differentiate between the comfort levels achieved by different people using the exact same gear.

If you’re not familiarized with winter camping, it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. I am talking about layers of clothing, sleeping bags, and just about anything else that counts toward survival.

Go to Sleep Already Warmed Up

Always remember to go to bed, (inside your sleeping bag that is) already warmed up. The idea is that warmth cometh from within, while the sleeping bag is playing just the insulation part, so if you’re freezing and sleepy, do a few press ups/sit ups or just jump around a little before getting inside your sleeping bag. You’ll thank me later.

Eat Late

Another trick for a good night’s sleep while winter camping is to eat late, ideally a hot meal just before going to sleep. The ideal meal would be fatty (as opposed to carbohydrates), as fat gets metabolized slowly by your body (it lasts longer) and, needless to say, you’ll require fuel to make heat, right? Cheese, olive oil, bacon, pork; you know what I am talking about.

Eat high-energy food at all times, preferably in the form of warm meals. If you can’t, go for nuts, chocolate, and energy bars. Cover your exposed skin in animal fat or vaseline, just like the Inuit have been doing forever, thus preventing frostbite and windburn.

Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry

Keep your sleeping bag dry at all costs, add more layers outside eventually as you need them. This doesn’t have to be clothes; it can be as simple as putting a metallic survival blanket over your sleeping bag.

This Emergency Survival Blanket helps retain 90% of your body heat. Get yours now! 

Video first seen on Survival Frog

Avoid breathing into your sleeping bag while sleeping (it introduces moisture) and sleep with your boots in your bag. Put them at the bottom of your sleeping bag so they don’t freeze during the night.

Leave your water filter at home and concentrate on boiling the snow. Chemical filters work painfully slow in the cold while mechanical ones may crack/fail due to the cold.


Don’t forget to drink enough water, even if you don’t have your usual thirst reflex, which is common in extreme cold. However, dehydration is a serious danger in sub-zero conditions, especially if you’re sweating. Also, a lot of moisture gets lost while breathing in and exhaling the cold air, as the air is very dry during the winter.

Try to prevent your water supply from freezing, but that’s easier said than done.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How To Choose Warm Clothes For Cold Days

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Cognitive function begins to be impacted when you lose just 2 degrees of body temperature. In temperatures below freezing, that can happen in just a matter of minutes if you’re not dressed properly.

The right clothing can quite literally be the difference between living and dying if you’re caught outside in bad weather.

Of course, keeping all of your fingers and toes and avoiding freezing to death are benefits of choosing the right clothes for cold weather, too!

Today we’re going to talk about the top considerations to keep in mind when choosing your winter clothing. Your primary goals are to stay warm and trap body heat inside.

Dress in Layers

The first and most important step to keeping warm is to dress in layers. This helps in several ways.

First, it allows you to shed some clothing if you get too warm. There’s nothing more miserable that sweating so much that your clothing gets wet, then being exposed to cold. Staying dry is extremely important if you’re planning on surviving long enough to warm your toes by a fire somewhere.

Layers also serve different functions. Your inner layer (or layers) should be made of something that wicks away sweat. A middle layer should be warm and insulating, and the outermost layer should block the wind. It’s also good to make this layer waterproof.


Now, most people make the mistake of only thinking about a coat; if you’re going to survive, you need to cover as much as your body as you can, while still maintaining mobility. You lose most of your body heat through your head, hands, and feet, so make sure that you keep those well-insulated.

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Layer One

The first layer, your long underwear, should wick away sweat. There are any number of synthetic and natural fibers out there, but the best wicking fabric is wool. Of course, it’s also itchy. Merino wool is much softer than other wools and wicks well, but it’s a bit pricey.

Of course, you can always get really into the project and raise your own sheep and make wool yarn so that you can knit your own long underwear, but that’s not an option, or a preference, for many people.

A cheaper, less time-consuming option may be to choose something other than wool.

Polypropylene doesn’t absorb moisture at all, which makes it a great material for your bottom layer, but it’s flammable. Just keep that in mind around the campfire at night.

Silk feels great but it doesn’t wick very well. Stay away from cotton and flannel because they hold moisture. That’s bad when it comes to staying warm, because that wonderfully soft fabric that felt so good on your skin when it was dry turns into clingy, heavy material that sucks out all of your body heat when it’s wet.

Oh, and anything that sucks your body heat out is promoting hypothermia, which, if you don’t know by now, is a bad thing. It also creates a petri dish for bacteria.

Speaking of which, there are several synthetic blends out there that actually have compounds in them that inhibit bacterial growth. This isn’t really a big deal if you’re going to wear it for a day or two, but if you’re going to be in it for several days or more at a time, it’s a concern.

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The Middle and Outer Layers

Your coat may serve as both the middle and outer layers if it’s stuffed with insulating material and has a wind-proof outer shell. The stuffing is the middle layer, and the shell is the outer layer.

Coats that are made to keep you warm as you go from your car to the office often offer more aesthetic incentives than functional ones. They keep you warm, but they’re not built to keep your heat in long-term or to really block wind or keep you dry.

When you’re choosing a coat for serious warming power in the real outdoors, go for a coat that has baffling – those little layers of pockets full of fluff that are sewn together, sort of like a quilt.

It’s good because it helps hold the down in place and create what coat folks refer to as loft. We normal people would probably just call it fluff or puffiness. You don’t need as much stuffing if your coat has plenty of loft.

Down coats are great, especially if you choose a good one, and they’re light. Cheaper varieties often use feathers instead of down, which aren’t as insulating. It’s all about the density of the down that traps the warm air in. You can tell how many feathers are in it by giving it the pinch test. If you can feel quills, there are feathers.

There are also good synthetic blends that offer great insulation as well as breathable yet waterproof shells that block the wind. Two common ones are polyester and nylon.

Since polyester is basically made from plastic, it has great value as an insulator and a windbreaker. Nylon is tough and doesn’t absorb much water. What it does absorb, it doesn’t hold. Instead, the moisture evaporates, making it great outer shell material.


You absolutely have to have gloves – think of them as a coat for your hands. For that matter, you want your gloves to have the same properties as your coat.

Mittens are the best option because they keep all of your fingers together in one warm little pocket, whereas with gloves, your fingers are isolated. It’s important that your gloves have great insulation if you choose to use them instead of mittens. Gloves do offer much more mobility than mittens.

What type of fabric you choose depends on your activity. If you’re going to be sweating, you want something breathable that wicks moisture away while keeping your hands warm. If you’re not going to be active, you may want to go for something with more insulation.

Socks and Hat

Cold feet are miserable. Not only that, they can be deadly. If you get frostbite, you run the risk of developing gangrene too. No fun. Wool socks are, again, the best because of their wicking and insulating properties, and cotton socks are the worst. Just as with coats, there are blends that work wonderfully, too.

If you want, you can always buy a coat with a hood. There are some limitations when you’re wearing a hood versus a hat, though, so if you opt to go with a hat, follow the same rule as you do with socks. Wool is good because it’s both insulating and wicking.

Oh, and don’t forget to cover your face. Your nose is one of the quickest appendages to freeze, so cover it up! A good wool balaclava will keep your head, face, and neck warm and toasty.

Choosing winter clothing that will keep you warm every day and alive if SHTF doesn’t have to be difficult, but you should consider your environment and assess your needs (durability, flammability, etc.) before investing in good outdoor clothing.

Some things you can skimp on, but this probably shouldn’t be one of them. Buy the good stuff – your life may depend on it at some point.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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11 Reasons To Stockpile Castor Oil For Survival

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Castor Oil For survival

Old timers used castor oil for everything from colds to parasitical worms, but recent generations have pretty much forgotten about it. That’s a shame because, if our elders are to be believed, it’s one of those multi-purpose items that deserve a place in your stockpile.

Read the following article, and you will see why our ancestors were so right about this natural cure!

Castor oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds of the castor plant and is composed mostly of the fatty acid ricinoleic acid. That’s the ingredient that is responsible for the healing, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties associated with the oil.

Though most of us don’t keep it at home any more, it’s still a common ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, massage oils and even textiles.

I’ve done some research and, though there isn’t a ton of formal research available to support its effectiveness as a home remedy, there’s usually something to be said for centuries of use by entire civilizations.

As you probably know, in order to garner our attention, an item has to do more than treat constipation or hydrate dry skin in order to make our list. We need products that can be used for everything from treating sunburn to sharpening scissors, and castor oil fits the bill.

Note: The treatments outlined here can also be used on your pets.

1. Skin Care

We’ll start with this one because, in addition to keeping your skin soft and youthful, it’s also used to ease the pain of severely dried and cracked skin and lips. In a survival situation, this is a condition that can quickly lead to gangrene, so it’s a big deal.

Castor oil is also a good base ingredient for soaps, lotions, and cosmetics because of its hydrating properties. It has omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, both of which are often used to promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. Some claim that it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help get rid dandruff and possibly athlete’s foot.

It has been shown to have analgesic properties, so it’s good to treat sunburn, rashes, bug bites and other minor skin conditions. It’ also used to treat ringworm. Just rub it directly on the skin.

Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties are great for treating cystic acne. The best thing is that it works fairly quickly. Swab it onto your clean face at night and you should notice improvement by morning.

2. Digestive Issues and Parasites

This is one of the most commonly-known uses for castor oil. It helps your bowels move. Be careful that you don’t use too much because it works remarkably well for this condition. You don’t want to become dehydrated, so start with a tablespoon and give it a few hours. Take more if needed.

If you want to just “take your medicine” and get it over with, just swallow it straight. If not, you can mix it with juice or a food. Apple juice would be good, because it also helps relieve constipation.

Castor oil is also a common home remedy for intestinal parasites.

3. Arthritis, Muscle, and Joint Pain

This is another common reason that it was used by our elders because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some say to make a poultice with other herbs and rub it into aching joints for relief. You can also take a tablespoon internally. If you have diarrhea, you may want to try the rub.

Video first seen on Ancient Current

4. Gets Rid of Corns, Moles, and Warts

The fatty acids in the oil are purported to dissolve these conditions. For corns, simply dip a cotton ball in castor oil and tape it over the blemish. Change it out once a day, but in a week, the corn will be gone. For moles and warts, add a bit of baking soda to the cotton ball, too. It may take a couple of weeks for this method to work. You can also try just dabbing it on regularly.

5. Get Rid of Yard Pests

Apparently, moles and other yard pests find the smell of castor oil as repugnant as people do because if you mix 1/2 cup of castor oil with a couple of gallons of water and sprinkle it around your garden or yard. It won’t kill them, but it definitely encourages them to find a better place to live.

The upside to this is that ferns and other greenery respond well to castor oil. It helps them look greener and lusher.

6. Hemorrhoids

Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil is often used to treat external hemorrhoids. Dip a cotton ball in the oil and apply it over your hemorrhoids. Leave it on for 15 or 20 minutes a few times a day if possible. If not, just applying daily will provide relief.

7. Lubricate Just About Anything

Because of its viscosity, castor oil doesn’t freeze, so it’s great to use to lubricate hinges, scissors, meat grinders, motor parts, and anything else that gets sticky.

8. Boosts Immunity

Because of the fatty acids in it, castor oil has been shown to boost your immune system by increasing white blood cell production. The odd part about this, though, is that it does it when you apply it topically. That’s right – just rub it on your skin and, according to the study, your white blood cells may increase by as much as 20 percent.

9. Treat Infected Cuts or Rashes

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful in healing a mild infection. Just dab it on with a cotton swab or dribble it directly onto the wound a few times daily until the infection heals. There are also many herbs that you can add to it to help even more.

Along the same lines, you can use it to help treat vaginal infections.

10. Treat Aching Feet

This is a treatment that waitresses have been using since, well, since before they were called waitresses. Just warm a bit between your hands and rub directly into your feet. You can also help lessen the pain throughout the day by rubbing some on your feet before you go to work, then wear cotton socks.

If you have extreme pain, you may want to try generously applying castor oil then wrapping the effected body part in plastic wrap before you go to sleep.

11. Pilonidal Cysts

I’ve read several testaments where people swear that a gauze coated in castor oil works to get rid of the pain and inflammation of pilonidal cysts. It may also help draw out the infection so that the cyst opens, drains, and can heal. Lay the gauze over the cysts, then place a heating pad over it and keep it there for an hour. People reported tremendous improvement just after the first treatment or two.

There are many uses for castor oil – these are just a few of the big ones. I’ve combined several of them under the skin care and digestive issues section because there are so many different uses for it for those particular areas.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

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Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.


As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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10 TO DOs In Winter For Your Survival Garden

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Winter Gardening Dos

You’ve worked hard to improve your soil, pick your seeds, and plant your survival garden. But now temperatures are dropping. Winter is here.

You don’t want all of your gardening efforts to be wasted during this harsh season. There are steps you can take to maintain and protect your survival garden this winter.

Taking care of your garden and orchard in the winter takes a little work, but it’ll be worth it in the spring when your overwintered plants are still alive.

You’ll have a head start on next spring’s planting, and you will be able to provide more food for your family.

Keep a close eye on the temperature during the winter months—the lower the temperatures, the more work you’ll have to do.

1. Care for Perennial Plants

If you’ve planted perennials like asparagus or rhubarb in your garden, you’ll be overwintering some plants. These will need protection from the freezing weather.

Once the ground has gotten cold, ensure that you’ve cut back these plants. Then cover them with four or five inches of a natural mulch. You can use:

  • Straw
  • Hay
  • Leaves
  • Wood that’s been chipped
  • Shredded pine needles

The mulch will protect your plants from the temperatures that can change rapidly in winter. You don’t want your plants to constantly freeze and thaw throughout the winter. Mulch helps keep their temperature more constant.

It also provides warmth for the roots. By protecting the roots of your plants from freezing, you’ll give them a much better chance of winter survival.

In addition to protecting your plants, the mulch will also provide nutrients to your soil. Just be sure to uncover your plants when spring comes. Then, you’ll want the mulch to be around the plants instead of on-top of them.

You’ll also need to continue watering your plants if you aren’t getting precipitation regularly. While plants don’t need as much water in the cooler temperatures, they do need some. Plan on a deep watering session at least once a week if the ground has begun to thaw and you don’t have a snowpack.

2. Start Your Seedlings

If your growing season is short, you’ll want to maximize it by starting your plants indoors this winter.  Before planting, you’ll want to ensure you have containers that drain well and good soil.

You’ll want to time this step right so your seedlings can be transported directly to your garden when they’re the right size. If you have gardening neighbors, ask them for advice on when to start plants. Otherwise you can check with your county extension agencies or online resources.

Start Your Survival Garden And Never Worry About Food Again – Read More! 

3. Keep Pests Away

Winter’s freeze doesn’t eliminate the threat of pests to your garden. Some insects, such as the tomato hornworm and squash vine borer, burrow underground for the cold season. If you had a pest problem before winter, you might find yourself with an even bigger one come spring.

One strategy to eliminate these underground pests is to till your garden before the hard freeze, but after small freezes. Turning over your soil will expose the pests to the cold and decrease their survival odds.

Bugs aren’t the only pests you’ll encounter in the winter. Hungry deer and rabbits will be searching for anything they can find when the snow is covering what they normally eat. Make sure your garden fence is solid to protect your overwintered plants.

If you have an orchard, you’ll also want to have wire around the base of the trees. This will keep animals from gnawing on the trunk. This video shows an easy way to keep animals away from your trees with stakes and wire:

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

4. Know Your Plants’ Hardiness Level

Not all plants can withstand the same levels of cold. Be sure you know the hardiness for your plants and trees. If the weather in your area drops lower than it typically does, you may need to take additional action.

When planting with overwintering in mind, always select hardy plants for your zone. You should know when your typical first frost occurs, and how low the average temperatures are when selecting seeds.

If colder than usual weather is predicted, ensure your plants have a thick layer of mulch. New plants and trees will need more protection than established ones.

Hardiness zone map

5. Protect Your Orchard

Trees can be vulnerable to freezing temperatures, especially if they’re not very hardy. Water that’s in the tree can freeze, causing limbs to break off and other damage. Here are some ways to keep your orchard trees from freezing this winter:

  • String some of the big, old-fashioned, non-LED Christmas lights through the branches. Though they let just a tiny bit of heat, it’s enough to protect from a light freeze.
  • Place a blanket around your tree. This obviously works best for small trees.
  • Don’t fertilize in the winter. This extra food boost will encourage your trees to grow, which is not what you want happening in the winter. Those new shoots will be extremely susceptible to damage.
  • Apply a frost cloth to your trees.
  • Mound the soil up high against the base of the tree.
  • Light a fire on the ground nearby to help warm it up and provide heat to the branches. You can save what you trim each spring to burn over the winter.

If you wrap or bank the trunk of your trees, be on the lookout for insect infestation. The bugs like a warm place to live as well.

A buildup of snow can also cause problems with trees. If you notice that the branches are bowing under the weight of the snow, help them out by knocking the snow off. This will keep your branches from breaking off.

6. Bring Plants Indoors

Some plants that don’t respond well to freezing temperatures can be dug up and potted for the winter. Just bring the pots inside, and care for them by providing water.

Here are some plants you can bring indoors for the winter:

  • Banana plants
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender

You can also dig up starts from other plants, and bring the shoots indoors. But, you’ll want to do that before the deep freeze occurs to help avoid transplant shock.

Winter is also a great time to start a small garden indoors. You can grow a variety of food indoors, which will help lower your winter grocery bill and provide fresh, local produce to enjoy. Just remember to keep an eye on your indoor garden and keep it in a room of your house that isn’t going to freeze.

7. Inspect & Organize

Since you won’t be using your gardening tools as often this winter, take time now to inspect them all. Your goal is to make your life easier once you jump into the gardening season again.

Sharpen your pruners, hoes, and any other tools you use with blades. Repair or replace any handles that have cracked.

Also, take time to walk your fence and make any repairs that are needed. If deer were a problem, consider adding another layer to increase the height of your fence.

Organize your garden supplies and make note of anything you’re running low on. Now is a good time to reorder supplies so you have them on hand when spring comes along.

8. Keep Your Compost Going

You’ll want compost in the spring to help get your garden growing again. If your compost pile is exposed to the elements, you can use a tarp to cover it. This will help keep the center warm and encourage the organisms to continue working.

The cover will also keep your compost from getting too wet. Too much moisture isn’t good for your pile.

You can save your food scraps throughout the winter to ensure your pile continues to grow. If you’re letting your compost pile go dormant for the winter, you might consider starting a small secondary pile. Just remember to keep adding carbon.

Video first seen on Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable

9. Plan for Next Year

Winter is the perfect time for planning your next year’s garden. Take time to sketch out your current garden’s layout so you can remember where each crop was planted. This will help you more efficiently plan crop rotation.

You can use the cold months to study new gardening techniques, research the best varieties for your area, and reflect on last year’s harvest. There’s always something to learn when it comes to gardening, so pick up some reading material at the library, and enjoy planning your garden.

10. Harvest Edibles

If you’re overwintering carrots, onions, cabbage, or other plants that will continue to produce in your climate, be sure to harvest the edibles. There’s nothing like farm fresh produce in the middle of winter.

For plants that grow underground, the freeze will eventually kill off the tops. This makes your edibles less visible. Be sure to mark where these plants are located so you don’t forget when your garden is covered with snow.

If you typically enjoy milder winters, the number of edibles you can grow significantly increases. You can also extend your growing season with cold frames or greenhouses. Remember to water the plants you have in there, and keep weeds at bay.

This way  you can have your own survival garden no matter the season. Click the banner below and learn how to grow an endless supply of nutritious food in your backyard with no effort and in extreme conditions.

Venezuela is in shambles. People were unprepared. How will you feed your family? 

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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3 Remedies From Medieval Europe To Heal The Common Cold

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Remedies For Common Cold

I think it was Hippocrates who said something along these lines: “let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.

Today’s article is about trying to find a cure for the common cold or, more precisely, reviving ancient remedies from medieval Europe.

And speaking of cures for cold, there’s another saying in my neck of the woods: if you take cold medicine, you’ll get better in seven days, otherwise you’ll be sick for a week.

Do you see where this is going?

Let me tell you another interesting little story: despite the fact that there are only a small number of basic ingredients to be found in OTC (over the counter) cold-medicine—around ten, give or take (ephedrine, ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin, pseudo-ephedrine etc.)—the number of cold-related drugs in your pharmacy is in the hundreds.

Each major pharmaceutical company that has a hand in the cold industry typically has at least 10 different types. Many have 20 or 30 or even more.

That’s pretty confusing, especially when you’re knocked out by a bad case of flu or cold, you can’t think straight, and you just want something to get you out of your misery. You’ll gladly spend a bunch of money to feel better.

Little do you know you’re wasting it on pure crap. Do you think I am exaggerating?

Basically, in the cold medicine racket, the name of the game is making money via marketing and brainwashing. Have you noticed the huge number of drug-ads on TV? 70% of the money a television is making outside an election is from Big Pharma, so let that sink in really well.

I am writing this article because last week I suffered from a bad case of cold, which rendered me pretty much useless until I started making and drinking an old cold/cough remedy that I learned from my grandmother.

Onion tea

It worked from day one, put me back on my feet, allowed me to think straight, to breathe and to write; you know what I mean.

And then I realized that for us preppers, knowing ancient remedies for a disease that is wreaking havoc this time of the year would make for an interesting article. So, if you’re into staying healthy without taking drugs, keep reading.

Let me tell you how it all began: awake at 4 AM. Can’t think, can’t write, can’t breathe, stuffy nose, sore throat. Does it sound familiar?

Well, I managed to crawl to my car and hit a local pharmacy. I bought some stuff pompously titled “cold medicine”, got home, medicated myself, hit the bed, and woke up 3 hours later still feeling horrible.

Then, it hit me: my grandmother used to make onion tea when I was little and I had a bad case of cold. I remember it smelled awful and tasted like rotten pig guts, but if I was a good boy and drank a lot of it, it worked.

With these things in mind, I went to the kitchen, gathered 3 onions, washed’em up pretty good, and put them in the kettle to boil.

The idea is to take 2-3 small onions and boil them slowly in a full kettle until the water is reduced by half via evaporation, then drink the tea as hot as you can stand it.

Trust me folks, it really works: sore throat-gone, stuffy nose-gone, I was alive again. It does taste hideous, unless you’re a die-hard onion lover, but it’s a small cost to pay.

Basically, with this magic potion you’ll be able to function, to be active: to be alive, so to speak, from day 1.

You must drink two 3/4 cups of tea per day, essentially one in the morning and one before bed, that’s important.

If you manage to squeeze 3 more in during the day, it will work like a Swiss watch.

If all you have in the house are big-fat onions, you’ll just have to cut them in half before boiling it, but remember: don’t remove the peel. That’s essential; just wash the onion thoroughly.

How does onion tea work? I really don’t know. There aren’t any “official” studies that I know of, probably because you can’t patent onions and sell them for 5 bucks a pop. It just does, provided you drink it hot as hell and you follow the recipe above.

Vitamin C

Besides onion tea, supplementing with vitamin C and D3 is also very important when it comes to mitigating colds and flu (these vitamins play an essential role in immunity overall), but it’s important to take big doses. The RDA is a joke.

For example, I am talking about 2-3 grams of vitamin C per day, together with eating lots of fruit: oranges, grapefruits, lemons, kiwis, apples and, again very important, raw onions and garlic (natural antibiotics).

The RDA is the minimal amount of Vitamin C (or whatever) to be taken daily in order to avoid getting scurvy (speaking of vitamin C). To be healthy, it takes for much more than that; remember that.

Vitamin C

Tomato Tea

Another way of naturally treating a stuffy nose/nasal congestion is tomato tea.

The recipe is:

  • 1 cup of tomato juice, (but I’d use 2-3 tomatoes cut in half instead of tomato juice)
  • a teaspoon of fresh garlic (basically a clove)
  • half a teaspoon of chili sauce (I’d use a small red hot chilli pepper instead)
  • one teaspoon of lemon juice (again, I’d use a whole fruit instead).

Add a pinch of salt into the mix and heat them together in the kettle until they start boiling, then drink the tea as hot as you can take it.

During the day, you can drink a mix of green tea and ginger tea with honey, as these ingredients boost the immune system and they break up phlegm naturally (the drugs are called expectorants).

Streptococcal pharyngitis or strep throat is a common occurrence when it comes to seasonal colds and flu, and besides my aforementioned magic onion tea recipe, you should try 2 additional tricks if you want to get better ASAP: first, gargle with apple cider vinegar after you dilute it in a glass of warm water (1-3 teaspoons of vinegar in 8 oz of water).

Second, gargle with salt-water and if you’re hardcore, you can try rubbing your infected tonsils with salt (using your finger that is). It’s not a pleasant experience, but it works amazingly well. You can boost the recipe’s effectiveness by adding powdered cayenne pepper into the mix.

Add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper plus one teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass, and mix well together, obviously. Gargle vigorously with this formula until you get better. It will definitely break up the bacteria coating in your throat so expect to spit profusely for a couple of minutes afterwards.

It’s very important to use high-quality, organic salt; not refined/processed stuff. I would recommend Himalayan salt (the pink variety), or salt-mine salt (the one that looks dirty). Processed, refined, snow white salt doesn’t work too great as it’s stripped of its essential trace elements.

I hope the article helped and I can’t wait to see your comments in the dedicated sections below, AFTER trying my onion tea, obviously.

Stay healthy folks and click the banner below to discover more ancient secrets that helped our ancestors survive harsh times.


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Moving Your Computer Off Grid

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Moving Your Computer Off-Grid

More than a few preppers feel that as long as they can provide food, shelter, water, and basic medical needs for themselves and their families, nothing more is required. Other preppers may feel that self defense, power generation, education, and machine repair are skills that will be required in the post crisis world.

Sadly, many preppers and also off-gridders tend to ignore or underestimate the need to have a computer that can be used to help make it easier to survive.

In all likelihood, these are also the people most likely to have serious problems in the post crisis world because they do not have a computer available to help meet a range of goals.

Computers and Prepping Can Get Along

A computer cannot hunt a deer for you, boil water, or make a pair of shoes, obviously. On the other hand, any computer with a connection to the internet can help you find out how to do these things and much more. When you find good information, it is also very easy to store those files on your computer so that you can read them and work with them whenever you want.

And if you are in a situation where internet access is still available, you can use your computer to contact friends and loved ones as well as people that might be able to help you get through a crisis. Then you can certainly relate to the quandary of many preppers that are finding out it is becoming impossible to make or obtain raw materials that would be needed in a major crisis scenario.

On the other side of the equation, many of the items you need for basic prepping can still be purchased online. All you really need is a prepaid debit card and an internet connection so that you can find websites where you can place your orders. Not only will you be able to get the supplies you need, you will also have a much wider selection of other goods to choose from.

Regardless of whether you are interested in the best quality gun cleaning kits, need a certain type of fishing reel, or need good quality vintage hand tools, you can find them all online. In fact, even if you are disabled, you may be able to find customized materials and tools that have been modified to meet your needs.

Most people don’t realize just how important it is to network with preppers from diverse geographic regions and make plans for bugging out that include those friends and connections. Consider what would happen if an earthquake or hurricane strikes your area.

If you only have friends and family in a local, or small area, chances are everyone will be affected. If you have friends in other states that might be able to offer temporary shelter or help you make a new start, then you will be well ahead of the game.

In these times and beyond, both money and barter systems are vital for exchanging needed goods and services. A computer is very important for expanding your trade and marketing options. It is also very important for securing alternative currencies that may play a vital role in remaining solvent in the face of currency collapse.

Most people would be truly amazed at how easy it is for the average consumer to secure foreign currencies, keep a good supply of them, and even use them as down and dirty form of currency trading or flipping.

The Tough Choice on the Best Device(s)

Off grid devices

Obsolete devices may still be very useful because certain older technologies are easier to work with and may be safer than newer devices that are routinely overclocked or are based on unstable hardware platforms.

If you are interested in newer devices, here are some categories, brands, and models that you can start off with for each category of device:


If you are primarily interested in a conventional desktop computer, my own experience leads me to believe the best option is to build the computer yourself so that you know exactly what parts are being used and how best to optimize the BIOS (this is where you can determine how fast the computer will run, whether or not the system can boot from a USB drive, and other aspects of basic operation) settings.

Since modern computer chips tend to run hot, it is very important to provide plenty of ventilation and cooling options inside the case. If your CPU and motherboard kit come with sub-par heat conducting gel, do not hesitate to find the best on the market.  It is also very useful to add extra fans and other cooling devices right inside the case.

Always remember, the cooler you can keep the chips during operation, the lower your chances of erratic freeze-ups or even ruining the chips.

Insofar as other vital parts such as hard drives, CD/DVD drives, and video cards, it truly depends on your personal tastes.

You will need a dedicated video card to gain access to these specialized chips that will reduce wear on the CPU and enhance computer performance at the same time. Be sure to study gamer forums and video editing forums to find out which video cards work best with specific CPU and motherboard combinations. A bad fit between these parts can truly be a disaster.

Memory cards (RAM) are yet another tricky, yet vital area of the computer that you will need to think about. This is also one area where only the best will do. It is better to go with the fastest cards that the motherboard will take, and also from the best rated vendor.


Unlike desktop computers, you will have far less control over what parts are found inside the case. Before purchasing a laptop, be sure to find out the model number of the CPU and motherboard. From there, you will need to look up the chipsets to find out what the optimal clock speeds are.

I have seen more than one laptop burn up at around the 1 year mark because a sub-part mother board with a slower timing chip was paired with a faster CPU. Since most buyers do not ask about the motherboard model, there was no way for them to find out that they basically had an overclocked system that was going to fail very quickly.

Overall, I can safely say that I don’t recommend spending 3 – 4 times as much money on a laptop when I can choose a much cheaper tablet and optimize it with less intensive apps. The only advantage a laptop might have over an off grid tablet is that it is easier to customize the programs.


An unlocked tablet will give you just about everything you need for basic document access and communicating with others. You can also choose apps that will enable you to create your own apps and carry out other more complex tasks.

Tablets also have the advantage of taking far less  power than a desktop or laptop computer. They can easily be recharged on a portable solar pack, and it is also fairly easy to bypass the battery.

Insofar as brand names, I tend to favor Lenovo, but have also found Alldaymall tablets to work well. The Alldaymall tablets are also a good bit cheaper, so you can purchase more of them and put them in your bug out bag as well as other locations.

Smart Phones

When it comes to a comfortable viewing experience combined with relatively low power usage, larger tablets will work much better than smart phones. That being said, in a “something is better than nothing” or a vital tool for your EDC, few things can rival a good quality unlocked smart phone.

While I recommend a 10” tablet for bug out gear, a 5” smart phone is truly  more than enough for EDC. Not only a phone this size fit easily into a purse or backpack, it is even easier to power than a larger tablet.

They also work well for reading a range of documents and will give you a good sized window for viewing videos. You can also hook up a folding keyboard and be able to carry out a number of tasks that would be difficult using the screen keyboard.

The Challenge on Providing a Steady Source of Power

Today, the vast majority of computers have sub par power supplies that make them more susceptible than ever to fluctuations in power coming into the system.

As our electric grid continues to crumble, rolling blackouts, brownouts, and line voltage fluctuations caused by excess usage during peak hours will shorten the life cycle of many computers. If you are generating your own power, it is just as important to make sure you know how to keep the current going into your computer as steady as possible.

There are some things you can do now, as well as consider when building a power system that will help you get the most out of every computer that you own. CLICK HERE to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get the free report on how to take your computer off grid.

Understanding the Impact of Utilization

No discussion about preparing your computer hardware for off gridding would be complete without at least touching on the resource cost involved in each program that you run on the system. For example, if you have a simple word processor program with no fancy graphics, it will take up far less processor and memory resources than one that has funny critters dancing around all over the place.

Apps that automatically play videos or programs that automatically play music also shorten the hardware life of your computer. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best computer for your off grid or prepping needs, it is always important to study benchmark tests and hardware longevity tests under certain loads.

Once again, you will find some of the best and most accurate information in the gaming forums.

Important Parts to Keep On hand

For each device in your EDC, bug out bag, or other location, there are some important parts that can help double or even triple the useful lifespan of your computer. Even if you lose some functionality, the main parts should still work for 2 – 3 decades on desktop units, and up to 10 years on laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

  • Start off by buying all of your devices brand new and with the maximum warranty available. If something breaks down during the warranty period, let the manufacturer or repair center take care of the problem.
  • Buy at least 3 to 5 non-functioning devices that are compatible with the make and model of each device. Usually, you can pick these units up for around 10 to 20% of the cost of a brand new device. You can choose different manufacturers as long as the parts are fully interchangeable with your device. You will use these devices to learn how to make repairs, and also for spare parts if something breaks down on your main device.
  • Since RAM chips take the most abuse on any computer system, keep a few spare ones on hand.
  • Have at least one extra power supply for desktop units. Unlike other parts of the system, you should never open up the case on the power supply unless you have a good bit of experience working with electronic devices. Never forget that the capacitors inside these power supplies may not be fully discharged, and that touching them or a live circuit can cause death or severe injury.
  • Keep at least 2 USB hubs handy that also have the capacity to power any device you hook up to them. When connecting devices to the USB ports on your computer, try to never at least one pair of ports.

What Happens When the Battery Dies?

If you have been thinking about using a smart phone or tablet as a place to store important survival information, you may hesitate because you know that the battery can easily be ruined by over charging, or that it will wear out sooner rather than later.

While some devices will continue to work while the battery is “charging”, others will not. If you have a device that will not work while charging, you will need to remove the battery and apply current directly to the device.

In this scenario, you must know how to keep the voltage and amperage as stable as possible before they reach the device. You can make your own controllers for this purpose then hook them up to solar panels or anything else that you will be using as a power source.

Just remember that you power controller may also need to go safely from AC to DC current as well as match the voltage and amperage needs of the device. If you aren’t sure how much power to provide for laptops, tablets, or smart phones, just go by what the battery is rated for.

Video first seen on PrepareForTheUnexpected.

Basic Toolkit

It will not be of much use to have plenty of parts on hand, and then no way to install them or make good use of them. Here are the most essential tools you will need for building computers or making repairs:

  • chip extractors for chips that are installed in sockets
  • high heat conducting gel
  • anti static grounding strap
  • precision and larger size screwdriver kit
  • magnifying glass
  • low wattage solder iron, solder, and flux suitable for computer parts
  • desoldering bulb
  • pliers and wrenches
  • wire cutters
  • anti-static bags and mats for placing boards on while you are working
  • multi meter, port testers, and digital logic probe

If you become especially proficient at scavenging and rebuilding electronics parts, it may be to your advantage to include a copper board etching kit. You can use these to make new circuit boards in a time of need.

Scavenging and Repair Skills

If you take good care of your devices, they may last for several years without need for repair. Once they break down, however, you will need to put your toolkit and stored parts to use. Here are some basic scavenging and repair skills that you can use to fix your own devices, or trade as service with others:

  • understand hardware part numbers so that you know which parts are compatible across different manufacturers
  • be able to solder and desolder chips or other parts without damaging the parts
  • know how to diagnose problems and figure out the best way to solve them
  • how to recognize which parts (example what a melted down chip looks like) need to be replaced or repaired
  • how to use software diagnostics, driver programs,  and BIOS programs to resolve problems
  • how to find viable parts in a junk yard or other locations where discarded electronics may be found.

Video first seen on The Off Grid Family.

Where to Get More Information and Training

Overall, you will find it easiest and cheapest to build and test your skills on desktop computers. If you go to a flea market or do some research online, you can easily pick up dozens of obsolete motherboards, CPUs, power supplies, and just about anything else for a few dollars.

Start off by trying to build a complete and functioning system. This will give you plenty of practice with identifying basic parts and help you overcome any hesitance you may have in working with computer parts.

While you are exploring these parts, take a course on basic electronics and then one on computer hardware. You can also find plenty of good books on this subject. In total, you should spend about 4 months on this part of your skill development.

Once you master desktop computers, you can go ahead and choose the parts for, and build your own system. If you do not want to build a desktop unit, then go ahead and start working on building your stockpile of laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

You can always practice your skills on non-working units as well as get to know more about working with smaller devices that require a good bit more patience and care.  If you develop a particular interest in these smaller devices, it will be to your advantage to take courses on how to repair them.

Without a question, the first time you bypass a battery during a major crisis or repair a failing laptop monitor you will see why these skills are every bit as important as anything else you may be learning and practicing for a time of need.


This Article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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5 Things To Know About Bleach Storage

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Things To Know About Bleach Storage

We’ve recently had a question from a reader about bleach storage. She lives in a warm area of the US and had a problem with leakage that ruined some of her other preps.

Starting from this question, today we’re going to take a look at proper storage of bleach as well as discuss some viable options for it that will suit your needs at least as well as bleach.

Why is Bleach Important?

Though many people think short-term of looters and thieves, one of the biggest risks to your survival when SHTF will be disease.

Because there may no longer be public water sanitation systems, water supplies may become contaminated. People won’t understand the need to keep waste away from water.

Another reason disease will be an issue is because of poor sanitation. Somebody with cholera will leave the bacteria behind and you may touch whatever is contaminated.

If you become contaminated, you’ll then have cholera. Those of us in the know and prepared won’t have as much of a problem, but the largest portion of society may not fall into that category.

Bleach kills 99 percent of disease-causing germs and you only need to have it in a ratio of one part bleach to ten parts water to create a cleaning solution that will kill germs.

You can also use bleach to sanitize your drinking water. For that, you use 8 drops of bleach per gallon of clear water and 16 drops for cloudy water.

You’ll also need to learn how to bathe without using contaminated water too, because some germs can permeate your skin while others will get to you when you lick your lips or get some in your eyes. It’s not OK to bathe in bad water. It’s better to not use water at all if you don’t have clean water.

However, you have other alternatives for sanitizing water that we’ll get to in a bit.

5 Things to Know about How to Store Bleach

First, it’s important to understand that bleach expires. When you buy it, use a black sharpie to write the date.

It’s a good idea to also write 8 drops/1 gallon because in an emergency situation, your brain may not be able to pull up all of the numbers you need. If you really want to be prepared, tape a plastic eye dropper to the jug, then when the bleach comes up in your rotation, just remove the eye dropper and tape it to the next new jug of bleach that you buy.

The ideal storage temperature for bleach is between 50 and 70 degrees F. At those temperatures, bleach maintains its full strength and efficacy for between 3 and 6 months. After that, it loses about 20 percent of its strength per year. If it’s stored in hotter temperatures, it loses its strength even faster.

The best way to store bleach is in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. Because the containers can sometimes be a bit fragile, you may want to store them on a piece of old linoleum, and keep them out of the way so that the bottles aren’t inadvertently kicked or knocked off the shelves.

It’s my guess that this is what happened to our reader’s bottles because they don’t generally degrade.

Just as with all of your prepping supplies, use the first-in-first-out rotation so that you’re always using the oldest product, and when it reaches its 6-month date, you don’t necessarily have to throw it out. You can still use it in the laundry, and if SHTF, as long as it’s not more than a couple years old, you can still use it to fight odors and germs in waste areas or to kill bugs in the garden.

The reason that it stays good for that is because when bleach breaks down, it turns into salt and water. Even if it’s completely degraded, salt still inhibits many bugs and kills others.

Because of its short shelf life, bleach isn’t the ideal stockpiling item because it’s not like spaghetti sauce – you may only use a gallon every few months in everyday life.

Though it’s definitely good to keep around, there are other safer, space-saving options with almost indefinite shelf lives that you can stockpile for water purification.

Note: If you’re storing ammonia for any reason, keep it well away from the bleach. Should a spill happen, you’re looking at toxic gas formation, or even, if enough ammonia is present, an explosive product. It’s a bad idea to blow up your laundry room.

Using Bleach for Water Purification

Bleach can absolutely be used for water purification, but it’s not your best option. We’ve already discussed the issue of short shelf-life, but it’s also not good for you to drink bleach. Yes, if you’re drinking city water, it’s chlorinated, but the maximum amount of chlorine is 4 ppm. That’s a heck of a lot less than 8 drops per gallon. Make sure that your bleach is unscented!

Another reason why you should only use bleach to disinfect your water is that when sodium hypochlorite (bleach) mixes with the organic contaminants in the water, it causes them to oxidize, which create carcinogenic trihalomethanes.

Video first seen on MySurvivalGear.

Boiling is the best option, but if all you have is bleach, then using it is better than drinking contaminated water by a long shot.

Because you have no idea what may be in a pond or a stream after an event, it’s a good idea to have your own water collection and storage systems in place. There are even natural contaminants that can make you sick. That will give you a leg up on your water sanitization needs. We have a few good DIY water collection/filtration ideas here.

Bleach Alternatives

OK, so we’ve determined that bleach may not be the most viable option for long-term storage, so what DOES work? You have a couple of options.

Steramine tablets – are often used in restaurants, daycares and other places that need to sanitize hard surfaces. One tablet sterilizes 1 gallon of water and there’s 150 tablets in a bottle. A case of them on Amazon is about 30 dollars. So, that’s pretty cheap. You can’t use it for drinking water sanitization, though.

Portable filters – for portable water sanitization, there are several different types of portable filters that you can buy (LifeStraw is one example), and you can also carry drinking water sanitization tablets. They’re a bit pricey compared to some other options, but then again, anything “convenient” usually is. The cheapest ones I found on Amazon were about 17 bucks for 100 tablets.

Calcium hypochlorite aka pool shock – this is my favorite drinking water sanitization method. It comes in dry granules and has a shelf-life of 10+ years. The best part? It’s SUPER concentrated – one 1 lb. bag treats 10,000 gallons of water – and it’s just as effective as household bleach for both sanitizing drinking water and sanitization of surfaces.

I wrote an article awhile back that explains how to use pool shock. Oh, and did I mention that you can buy that 1 lb. bag for about 12 bucks? Doesn’t get any cheaper than that. I’m not much on math, but off the top of my head, that’s like 1/10 of a cent per gallon of drinking water. That’s about as close to free as you can get.

Well, we veered a bit away from the original question about how to store bleach in hot climates, but I think that the best answer is, “You don’t have to store bleach at all because there are better alternatives.”

I hope that this information was enough to solve the problem. If any of you have more or better ideas, please share them with us in the comments section below.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Survive Eating Wild Winter Edibles

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Recently, we’ve been asked a question about what types of foods are good sources of carbohydrates in the winter.

The reader was specifically worried about his son, who is going on a military survival retreat in Maine and can’t afford to lose the 20 pounds that the program has warned him that he will likely lose. His question was about sources of carbohydrates.

My son will be sent to Maine in the winter for a 3 week military survival course. Others who have experienced this say that the participants will lose an average of 20 pounds during that time. He can ill afford to lose 20 pounds, so I was wondering if you knew a good source for carbs that can be found in abundance in the winter? I think he is fairly good at locating small game for protein. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Best regards,


Though there are many great wild sources of carbohydrates to eat in Maine, I’ve had a problem finding exact nutritional values of wild plants. Go figure. Since the main goal is preventing weight loss, we’re looking for plants that can be found in a great enough quantity to thrive, versus simply survive.

Therefore, we need plants that are both high in calories and found in enough quantity to make a substantial meal. The first part was easy, the second part, not so much. So, I’ll share what I’ve found.


It turns out that these plants are considered a pest by many because they grow so prolifically in marshy areas and around ponds.

Fortunately for somebody foraging, cattails are a great source of carbohydrates and nutrients year-round. In the winter time, the best parts of the plant to eat are the rhizomes, or roots, and the corms, the little shoots that are the beginnings of next year’s plants.

You probably won’t be able to just rip the cattail out of the mud; you’re likely going to have to dig for it a bit. Just run your hand down the stalk of the cattail and into the mud. Feel for the roots, then follow them down a bit and PULL!

Don’t stop with just one plant; grab several at a time because they’re not that heavy and you can carry them or store them in camp. No need to get wet more than once if you don’t have to.

Now, you’re going to notice little shoots around the base of the plant, which are older corms and are the beginnings of next year’s plant.

You’ll also find little pod-like pieces on the rhizomes and around the bottom of the stalks. These are less mature corms and are also edible. You can eat both types of corms raw. Just peel off the outer fibrous part and eat the delicate interior.

The rhizomes are going to look sort of hairy. Wash them as well as you can, then peel them just like you would a potato. Your goal is to extract the starch from the rhizome and there are a couple of ways to do this.

You can break up the rhizome and then put it in a small bowl of water and squeeze the rhizome pieces in the water until the starch is remove. The water turns a milky white. Let the water settle for a couple of hours and the heavy, starchy flour will settle to the bottom. Pour off the water and spread the flour out to dry.

The second way is to use your knife to squeeze the starch out onto a rock. Just lay the rhizome flat and slide your knife down the rhizome, sort of like you’re squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The starchy paste will collect on the rock.

Either way, you can let the paste dry and smash it with a mortar and pestle into a flour, or you can toss it in the pan and toast it as-is, toss it into a soup along with the corms, or you can eat it raw.

Of course, you can always make a bread with it by mixing it with other ingredients, but in a survival situation, you’re probably not going to have access to yeast and all that good stuff.


Rose Hips

These pretty berry-like plants not only add a pop of color to the winter landscape, they’re also a good source of nutrition and can be found in enough quantity to be worth the effort. Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant and are usually red or orange but can also be dark-colored. Just open them up, pop out the seed, and eat the flesh.

One cup of rosehips has 206 calories, 49g of carbs, and 31g of fiber. It also provides 110% of your RDV of vitamin A, 901% of your RDV of vitamin C, and more than 20% of your RDV of calcium and magnesium. Eat more rose hips!


They’re not just for Christmas anymore! Pine trees provide a couple of different sources of food. If you’ve ever eaten pesto, you’ve eaten pine nuts, which are found in pinecones. There is some work involved for the amount of food that you get, but there’s also a tremendous amount of calories and nutrition in them.

Just one cup of pine nuts has 909 calories, 92 grams of fat, 23% of your RDV of potassium and 84% of your RDA of magnesium. They’re also a good source of fiber, so that you have a slower digestion process. You’ll feel full longer.

All pine trees have edible nuts tucked into the pine cones, but only about 20 species produce seeds that are large enough to warrant the effort. Still, in a survival situation, something is better than nothing. Fortunately, there are often many different types of pine trees in the same area, so if you don’t get decent-sized nuts from one, try another.

Wild Berries and Fruits

Even if there’s snow, it’s still possible to dig through the snow to get to fruits, and if you’re lucky, you may even find some grapes or berries, especially cranberries in Maine, above the snow.

One of the advantages of having thumbs is that you can dig through the snow a bit if you find a bush to see if there are berries buried. Apples are another great resource that you can find under the snow.

Yes, they’ll be frozen, but they’re delicious, nutritious, and packed with carbs. They also drop late, so it’s probable that they were frozen before they rotted. Other fruits to keep an eye out for include peaches and pears.

Grass and Grains

Believe it or not, most (99%) of all grasses in the US are edible. They’re often tough for your body to digest, but they’re better than nothing. This includes wheat, oats, and wild meadow varieties. The best part to eat in the winter is the starchy base and the seed heads.

1% of the seeds are toxic and need to be cooked before being eaten, and if seeds are blackish or purple, avoid them because that’s a sign of poisonous fungus. Eat them if they’re green or brown.

I often consult a man very close to me when I have questions such as these, because he’s actually been there, done that as part of his army survivalist training. He made it all the way through the training and has described in great detail (and to my dismay) exactly what a bug feels like when you eat it. He says the trick is this – crunch (chew), crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow!

Aside from his advice about how to eat a bug with minimal “biting back”, he also says that the most crucial step to survival is knowing the plants, animals, and insects of your area. Know what’s edible and what’s not, and most importantly, know what will kill you if you eat it.

If you have a problem with being too thin, it’s important to realize that your body uses more than just carbohydrates for energy – it can also use protein and fat. The bottom line is that your weight isn’t dependent upon eating carbs. It’s a matter of calories in versus calories out. It doesn’t matter if those calories are in the form of carbs, fat, or protein.

There will likely be some energy dips while you’re transitioning from carbs to protein, so if you’re planning to use protein as your main source of energy during a retreat, you may want to do that before you leave. In real life, of course, you won’t have that luxury, but until then, do what you can to survive the survival training.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Help – It’s Illegal to Live Off-Grid!

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Living Off-grid illegal

It seems like every politician spouts rhetoric about how they support sustainability and promote the use of clean energy, but it’s mostly bunk. In fact, it’s illegal in some states, such as Florida, to live off the power grid.

Even if you have enough solar or wind juice to run indefinitely, you are still required by law to be connected to the power grid and to pay your electric bill, even if you don’t use a single iota of power from the utilities company.

Your home must also be attached to an approved sewer and a clean supply of water, but this is often fairly easy to work around. It’s the power that gets you.

Now, just to be clear, it’s not illegal to power your house with solar panels or use your own water filtration system or composting toilets; it’s just that you still have to pay the money to Big Utilities, too. Any way that you look at it, it rubs. At best, you’re paying money you don’t need to spend. At worst, you’re chained to the electricity grid whether you want to be or not.

We’ve recently had a question asked of us by one of you, dear readers:

How can you live off the grid if it’s illegal in Florida? Can you homestead and still go unnoticed? How can you do it and still stay safe?

I have an answer to these questions, but they’re not exactly ideal. First, do your thing. If you want to run your house off of solar panels, then by all means, do so!

If you want to use rainwater and a filtration system to meet your water needs? OK, what are you waiting for?

Just Because You Are Connected, Doesn’t Mean You Have to Use It

The laws only say that you have to be connected; not that you have to use it. For the most part, there’s no reason that you can’t homestead if you live in a state that requires this. Yes, it’s true that you’re not allowed to have a permanent dwelling that isn’t attached to the grid, and many city regulations disallow the ownership of livestock in city limits.

Right now, unless you’re willing to buck the system (I believe somebody should), you’re just going to have to suck it up and do it, as long as you want to live on the right side of the law. You can always have the electricity connected, then not pay the bill, but if you do, it’s legal for them to revoke your certificate of occupancy.

In essence, these regulations are simply devices used to protect Big Utilities under the guise of consumer protection. As usual, they know better than you what’s best for you.

Unfortunately, there was a case a few years ago that was used over and over again to support this fact, but the bottom line is that I lived in that city at that exact time, and it wasn’t her right to live off-grid that was what got her shut down.

You have to live in a manner that promotes health and well-being. In other words, you have to have clean water and you can’t just dump your sewer down the drain, which is what was going on in that situation.

But some misguided, misinformed people got ahold of pieces of information and ran with it before they had the whole story. It didn’t do anything to help the cause other than just make people look dumb by those who know what really went down.

Still, it’s true that, by law, you have to be hooked to power and have a clean supply of water and a sanitary waste disposal method if you follow the rules in Florida.

Now that you know that you basically have no legal rights when it comes to refusing public utilities, let’s look at what you can do within the scope of the law. You always have the option of saying the hell with the laws, but do that at your risk.

Living off the grid

Trust me – if you do decide to go off-grid in Florida, or anywhere else you aren’t allowed to free yourself of the strong-arming, you won’t be alone. Many people in Florida live successfully off the grid – they just do it right so that they don’t get caught. They don’t go pouring their waste down public sewers.

My advice? Keep your house hooked up, but have your off-grid methods in use. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t use them because you can. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a nominal bill for the pleasure of looking at the wiring at the end of the month, but you won’t have the same expense as if you’d use it.

I’m not going to say “living off-grid” because that’s not legal, but you can certainly live independently and sustainably.

If you have property that’s out of the way and you’ve decided to say to hell with the law and do as you please, you may want to build an outhouse, collect rainwater and filter it properly to meet your drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs, and find a way to stay cool or warm. Many choose solar panels to meet that need.

One Step Further

The next thing that you need to do in order to successfully live off-grid is to fight the laws that restrict you.

For example, there’s a proposed Amendment to our constitution that supposedly advances the use of solar power, but in reality, it’s setting the Big Utilities up to continue their monopoly on power in our state. Start by voting NO on 1, and on any other proposed law changes that take more of our rights and give more power to the government or Big Utilities/Pharma.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you own your life. If you want to live off the grid completely and risk getting caught, then do so. If you want to work within the parameters of the law and pay a few bucks per month for utilities that you don’t use, then go for it.

Regardless of what decision you make, make it for the best interest of yourself and those you love, because it’s a sure bet that you’re the only one who will.

There will come a time when you will face severe environments without power, water, fuel or means to buy food. The only way to survive is to learn how to live independently and sustainably.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How To Survive With Kids In Small Spaces

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Survive with kids

If you and your family are stranded in a small space or hidden shelter, you’ll need to have a plan to keep your kids entertained. Otherwise you’ll all end up on each other’s nerves and the already serious situation can quickly become much worse.

It’s essential to be as prepared as possible, so take time now to integrate some of these ideas. That way they don’t seem as strange to your children.

If you have a shelter or panic room already in place, practice spending time there. That way your kids aren’t dealing with both a brand new environment and a crisis.

Don’t Leave Your Kid in the Dark

If you’re in hiding, the kids are going to figure it out. Do them a favor, and tell them the truth. You don’t have to get into all the details, but definitely talk to your kids in an age-appropriate way.

Share what’s going on and what you have to do. That way your kids know your expectations and you can work as a team to survive.

Kids are perceptive, and will often pick up on emotions they’re parents are exhibiting. Taking time to talk about the situation will help ease their fears. They’ll know what they need to do, and most of the time kids rise to meet our expectations.

Have a Variety of Activities on Hand

You won’t be able to bring much into small quarters, but by being prepared you’ll make your shelter more enjoyable for everyone.

The age of your kids will definitely impact the activities you plan. Here are some ideas that’ll work for a large range of ages. Of course you know your kids best, so be sure to pick somethings you know they’ll enjoy.


Surviving with children

Having a variety of games on hands is great, but if space is tight you probably won’t have that luxury. The good news is with a little creative thinking you can create your own games with some basic items.

Games are a fun way to keep the family engaged. You’ll help distract your kids from what’s going on. Games are also relatively quiet activities, which helps if you need to stay hidden.

Here are some things to keep on hand for game time:

  • A deck of cards
  • A couple of card games that don’t take up much space such as
    • Tell Me a Story
    • Uno
    • FastWord
    • SkipBo
    • Phase 10
  • A couple of dice
  • A pack of index cards and a marker or two

With these items, you can create hours of entertainment. A plain deck of cards gives you everything you need for dozens of games. Here are ten popular games that are easy for kids to pick up.

  1. Solitaire
  2. Speed
  3. SlapJack
  4. 21
  5. King’s Corner
  6. Crazy 8s
  7. War
  8. Snap
  9. Golf
  10. BS

If you start learning one of these games a week as a family, you’ll build great memories now. You’ll also be familiar with them in the event of a crisis. Then playing cards will seem familiar instead of like a foreign activity.

In addition to playing the card games according to the traditional rules, you can experiment with adding rules or changing game play completely. With the boxed card games, you’ll have plenty of variety to create your own family favorites.

For instance, you can use SkipBo cards to play Go Fish. You can hide all of the wild cards from the Uno deck and have your kids go find them. The letters from FastWord can be used to see who can build the longest and shortest words.

You can use the dice to learn about probability, to roll for a treat, or to create new games. The index cards and marker will give you everything you need to create customized cards. Perhaps you’ll write words on them and use them to play Charades or Pictionary.

The possibilities are endless!

Pen & Paper Games

With a stack of paper and a pen, you can create a variety of games. Like the card games, take time to learn these now. That way you’re all set if you need them. Here are five favorite pen and paper games for kids:

  1. Hangman
  2. The Dot Game (where you try to make boxes out of dots by drawing lines one at a time)
  3. Tic-Tac-Toe
  4. Categories (everyone writes down a word from a named category)
  5. MadLibs (write a story but leave some words blank. Then have your child name a color, a noun, a number word, etc. to fill in the blanks.)

Games with No Materials

If you didn’t have time to grab any supplies, or you just need some fresh ideas, these games are perfect. They don’t require any materials.

1. Guess Who

One person secretly selects a character or person. The other players take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out who the mystery character is. You can ask:

  • Are you a female?
  • Are you in a TV show?
  • Do you wear fancy shoes?
  • Are you a real person?
  • Have we ever met you?

And all sorts of other questions. Once someone guesses the identify correctly, another player takes a turn. This game can keep everyone entertained for hours.

2. The Alphabet Challenge

Work together to name an object from a given category that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You can try to name:

  • Animals
  • Food
  • Vehicles
  • Boy Names
  • Girl Names
  • Verbs

You can decide in advance that you’ll skip a given letter if no one can think of an answer. That way you don’t get discouraged.

3. Math Drill

You can take turns giving math problems to each other. They’ll help keep your brain sharp. For younger kids you can ask them to count to a certain number. Older kids and adults can tackle multiplication or division questions, or problems with multiple steps.

4. I Spy

This classic is a great game for young kids. One person secretly picks an object in the room and then says, “I spy with my little eye something…..” and says the color of the object.

Everyone else takes turns guessing what the mystery object is.

White Boards

Since space will be tight, you won’t be able to bring an arsenal of art supplies. But, a small white board and a couple of markers for each child will help. Remember to throw in an old sock to use as an eraser.

On the boards you can have your kids:

  • Draw
  • Practice writing their letters or words
  • Write a short story
  • Practice math facts
  • Play any of the pen and paper games

They’re can be used individually, which makes them an ideal silent activity. If you’re able, you can have your kids take turns sharing what they worked on. That’ll help them feel connected.


Kids Activities While you can’t fit your whole library into your survival space, you can select a couple of books to bring.

You can either select read alouds or family favorites, or bring a couple of each.

If you bring enough books for everyone to have one, you can implement a daily reading time.

If you’re reading aloud, you can encourage your kids to draw something from the story on their white boards. Keeping their hands engaged will help them listen and stay quiet while you read.

Depending on your situation, you might have your kids act out a part of the story. Bringing books to life is a fun way to pass the time.

Simply talking about what you’re reading will encourage reading comprehension. After all, you don’t want to stop learning while you’re in your shelter. These discussions will also help draw you closer as a family.

Simple Sewing or Needlework

A needle and thread along with some scrap fabric is all you need to help your kids learn a new skill. They can practice sewing squares and then take the seams out and try again.

This Survivopedia post shares how to recycle an old pill bottle into a sewing kit. That doesn’t take up much space.

If you bring some yarn and knitting needles or crochet hooks, you can teach your child a skill that’ll help keep them quiet and engaged. They’ll be able to practice, and can always undo what they’ve created and make something new.

A Family Journal

When the crisis passes, you’re going to want to remember some events and feelings from your time in your survival shelter. Keeping a simple spiral notebook and a pen around can help preserve these memories.

Encourage everyone to write in the journal regularly. Your younger kids can draw a picture about how they’re feeling or what they did. Writing is therapeutic for many people. This process might help provide your children with an outlet to share the thoughts they’re having.

Fun Distractions

kids activities

There will be times when everyone just needs to hit the reset button. When the kids are fighting and everyone’s temper is short, it’ll help to have a few fun distractions to bring out.

You shouldn’t use these things regularly, but instead save them for when they’re needed most. You can pick up most of these items at the Dollar Store or around the house, so you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money on them.

  • Glow sticks
  • Stickers
  • A pack of bubbles
  • A coloring book to rip pages out of
  • A sheet and some clothespins to create a fort
  • A new game
  • A puzzle book like Crosswords or Word Searches
  • A toy car

Once everyone’s mood is lifted, you can put the special items away for another day.

Encourage Activity

Sitting for extended periods of time is rough on the human body. Break up your positioning if possible. Roll a die and see how many jumping jacks everyone should do. See who can do the most sit-ups in 1 minute. Take time to do this several times throughout the day.

You’ll help improve blood flow, and will help keep your muscles from getting stiff.


Of course you’ll need food in your survival space. If at all possible, ensure it is food that your family is used to eating. You don’t need any battles in your tight quarters.

In addition to your food reserves, you’ll want to have a few treats on hand. These can be pulled out to boost morale, to use as bribery in the event of immediate danger, or simply as a reward for something.

These foods make good treats for kids, and the adults:

  • Candy
  • Chocolate chips
  • Raisins
  • Small crackers
  • Dried cereal with fun shapes or marshmallows
  • Fruit snacks

While these aren’t the most nutritious foods, they can help provide a sense of normalcy to your children.  They’ll also help break up the routine of survival food and feel even more special.


Be sure your survival space has plenty of water on hand. You’ll need water for drinking, and also for hygiene purposes. You don’t want to run out of water!

A Place to Relieve Oneself

Kids have to use the bathroom, just like adults. Be sure you’ve thought through how this will work in your survival shelter. You’ll need a way to dispose of your human waste.

If you have babies, you’ll need diapers and wipes on hand. You can use cloth diapers and wipes if you have enough water to keep them clean.

You’ll also want to have toilet paper or substitutes on hand. Also bring along a bottle of hand sanitizer to help keep germs from spreading.

If you’re able to hang a sheet or something around your bathroom area, it’ll help add a sense of privacy to your shelter.

Give Your Kids Jobs

Kids love to feel useful. In a tight space, there might not be much that needs done. But, any job you can give your kid will help them realize that they are playing an important role in your family’s survival. You might be able to ask them to:

  • Dry dishes
  • Entertain the baby
  • Pick up the trash
  • Organize the supplies
  • Count the different items to help you take inventory
  • Dust

These jobs might not seem critical, but they’ll help your children embrace the situation.

Your Attitude Matters!

Your kids will know how your feeling. If you’re getting sick of being in the tight space, they’re going to pick up on that attitude and amplify it.

Even if it’s hard, try to have a good attitude for the sake of your kids. Look at it as an exciting adventure. Be cheerful about the activities you’ll do.

A little bit of enthusiasm on your part will do wonders in helping the family survive this tough time. This is especially true if the crisis lasts for an extended period of time.

What Ideas Can You Add?

Keeping kids entertained in tight spaces can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible! What ideas can you add to this list? Please share them in the comments section so everyone can have a solid list remember if they ever need it.


This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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7 Bartering Rules To Write In Stone

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Bartering Rules

In old times, people were exchanging goods, today we barter with paper money issued by the government. Whether people realize it or not, the bartering system is still alive and well. We do it every single day, when we go to the grocery store, the gas station, and when we pay the rent.

In a SHTF-type of scenario, paper money is completely and utterly useless. If you think that having a pig pile of supply will save you, think twice! You’ll still need to be able to barter with other survivors to get the supplies you and to survive.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to bartering with other survivors in a SHTF situation. Keep in mind that your life may depend on your ability to barter and acquire food and other supplies, so take these to heart.

Do I Really Need to Know How to Barter?

In case you aren’t familiar with the barter system, it’s pretty easy to understand. It can be defined simply as the exchange of goods or services between two people. For example, if you needed your car repaired, you would go to a mechanic who would require some form of payment in exchange for his services to fix up your automobile.

Most people today feel safe and sound in the current government issued currency situation, and don’t believe that anything is going to happen to upset things. However, all one needs to do is look at what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. People were stuck without any access to funds or outside help, so they were strictly on their own for survival.

For a barter economy to take over, we have to assume a major disaster; something that is serious enough that people aren’t confident in the government’s ability to back the value of the dollar.

Most disasters, such as natural disasters, martial law or civil war, won’t create a situation where a barter economy is needed. People will still use cash for their transactions, as long as they have cash to use. They will only resort to barter when they are out of cash.

That paints us a pretty ugly picture, one in which much of what we depend on to survive is lost. But that’s the ideal situation for those of us who are prepared and who have taken the time to learn the necessary skills to survive. We can take care of the opportunity to trade our skills for what others may have that we can use.

So, what sorts of skills will be useful for bartering in that time?

  • General survival skills – If power is down, something as simple as starting a fire or purifying water will be a valuable skill as many won’t know how to do those things.
  • Medical skills – Medical skills of all kinds will be in high demand, as normal medical services will be overrun. Sickness and accidents will increase, making these skills highly valuable.
  • Midwifery – Midwives will take over from medical doctors for most childbirths. The difficulty of getting to a doctor will make this necessary.
  • Gardening – Yes, something as simple as gardening will be valuable, as there won’t be enough food. Your vegetable garden will become very valuable. Being able to help your neighbors start their own gardens, which would mean having seeds for them to use as well, could be the key skill to build a neighborhood survival team, with you as the leader.
  • Animal husbandry – For the very same reason that gardening will be valuable, being able to raise livestock to feed yourself will become valuable.
  • Any sort of repair skills – With the loss of electricity or a market, products will become unavailable. People will need to keep what they have, getting it repaired if it breaks. This includes anything from repairing small appliances to vehicles and heavy machinery.
  • Small engine repair – Most mechanics are somewhat baffled when faced by small engines. But there will be a greater need to repair power tools, than cars.
  • Mechanics – When the economy is in trouble, people don’t replace their cars. They have them repaired and keep using them longer.
  • Building trades – While there won’t be as much demand for this as some of the other skills I’m mentioning, rebuilding society will require the ability to build new buildings or more likely, rebuild existing buildings to accomplish new purposes.
  • Blacksmithing – In olden times, the blacksmith was the local hardware store, tool manufacturer and general repair man. As people adjust to the new lifestyle, we will see a need for those skills resurface.
  • Practical engineering – From communications to pumping water, a host of infrastructure will need to be created, for those who survive. If the current communications network is destroyed by an EMP, some sort of communications will be needed for local governance and defense.
  • Clergy – Many people will have a struggle with adjusting to their new lifestyle. Clergy and other counselors will be needed for those who can’t make the transition on their own. Clergy will also be needed for the functions of baptisms, weddings and funerals.
  • Military – With any sort of breakdown of society, there is an increase in lawlessness. Some will gather together, forming gangs to prey on others and steal the necessities of life. If you can’t defend yourself or your neighborhood can’t defend itself, then you’ll become victims.

Determining the actual value of your skills will be challenging. It’s challenging enough trying to figure out the value of goods and services in normal times; in those decidedly abnormal times, it will be much harder to calculate.

Basically, we’re talking about the law of supply and demand here. If there’s a lot of clean water available, then purifying water isn’t going to be all that valuable. But if the city water supply is known to be contaminated, that same water will go up extensively.

Which Items Are Absolutely Essential?

The type of items you need to make it through a SHTF situation can be broken down into two groups. The first group is made up of items you absolutely must have in order to live. The second group is creature comforts.

Two things you must have in order to survive are food and water. These two are your number one priority. Since you need these items to live, that means others do too. If you have livestock and crops, these can be as good as gold in a bartering situation. By trading food and water you can almost guarantee you will get whatever you need from someone looking to trade. Make sure that you have a way to replenish your supply before you begin to trade these items, otherwise you will be in big trouble.

Another important group of items you will need is camping and hunting gear. Hunting will be one of your main sources of getting high protein food to eat and sustain your strength. Any item that can be used to survive away from urban areas will be great for trading with other people. Be sure to visit local hunting and outdoors shops and stock up on supplies when they are putting items on sale. This will make sure that when things go south, you will have “currency” to trade with those who don’t have the means of hunting or finding suitable lodging.

Creature comforts make the second group of items both to barter with and for are comfort items. These are items that aren’t necessary to sustain life, but they do make things more comfortable, and a little less dark.

Hygienic supplies like soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper are some of the best supplies to trade with. Staying clean is incredibly important to your health and safety. In a SHTF situation, a cut or scrape that gets infected could lead to death. Stock up on soap and toothpaste and you will have commodities that everyone needs, making you “wealthy” in this type of world.

Another comfort item that is good for barter is alcohol. People love their booze, even in a world that’s fallen completely apart. You will be surprised at the great lengths individuals will go to in order to get a cup of moonshine.

Video first seen on 7 TRUMPETS PREPPER.

7 Tips to Know for Bartering Safely

The value of everything will shift during that time period. Today, we value gold, silver and jewels. Those may retain value, but they won’t be very easy to barter. That’s because they won’t be useful for survival. The only people who would be interested in trading for gold and silver will be people who have enough excess that they don’t need to have in order to survive.

1. Be selective

While you might be thinking that a silver teapot isn’t worth as much as a ham, you have to realize that you’re thinking from the viewpoint of someone living in normal times, where food is plentiful. But that teapot won’t help you survive, while the ham will. When there is a serious food shortage, you might be willing to make that trade too.

2. Be fair

Try to be fair as much as possible. I know that some people would say to take advantage of the situation and get as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean you should. The problem with that is that you may just succeed in making an enemy. The best deals are those where both parties walk away from it feeling as if they won. A win-win is an especially big win for you.

3. Control your emotions

If you are bartering with someone, it’s like playing a game of poker. You don’t want to give away too much information in your body language or facial expressions. Keep a straight face! Do not let the other person see that you are in desperate need of the items they have. If someone sees that you need something badly, the price of the exchange will go up.

4. Don’t make yourself a target

Always ask the individual you are bartering with what type of items they are looking for. You do not want to show off your entire inventory to someone you don’t know. Start with the items that are of lesser value and work your way up to the valuable ones. Showing off the best you have first could cause you to be harmed by someone who is desperate for that item.

5. Don’t trade with weapons at first

Avoid trading with weapons at first. While items like guns and ammunition can be extremely valuable in survival situations, they can also be deadly. Trading with someone you don’t know well could lead to someone taking the weapon and using it on you. At that point they will also have access to your entire inventory, leaving you with nothing.

6. Make sure your deal is worked out

Always make sure that your “deal” is worked out before you start working. That way, there won’t be any surprises later. Granted, they could still refuse to pay, but at least they won’t be able to claim that it’s because they didn’t think it would be that much. Often, if people aren’t planning on paying, they will act disinterested in the negotiating process and look for an opportunity to take advantage; don’t allow them that.

7. Bring a friend

Speaking of taking advantage; it’s never safe to make a deal alone. You should always have someone there to protect you, preferably behind the people you are talking to. That way, if things turn sour, you have someone positioned to take them out, before they can take you out.

While no one wants to have a situation like this occur, the reality is that we never know what is going to happen day to day. It is better to learn these skills and be prepared, so that if that day comes, you aren’t the desperate one roaming around for the basics of life.

Stay well supplied and stocked with the materials mentioned above, and you will be well ahead of the curve when the SHTF. Remember to keep things simple, as our ancestors did. In fact, barter is one of the skills that we have to re-learn from them!


This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: Ultimate Survival Tips

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Ultimate survival tips

As preppers, not a day goes by without learning something new, isn’t it?

Even if you have just started prepping or you have years of experience behind, you still have to prepare for different survival situations. Thus, you have to develop certain skills, and a certain attitude, but also learn from your others’ experiences.

These days we stumbled upon some great articles on survival tips. We are eager to hear more from you about this topic so feel free to drop a line in the comment section below.

  1. Lessons Learned After Six Years Of Prepping



“As someone who has been prepping for six years, I have learned a lot along the way. During these six years, my survival skills, food and water storage, and general knowledge have grown exponentially to the point where I have grown comfortable, if not complacent, with my preps.

Alas, the world has changed a lot since 2010. Things I prepared for on day one are now far less important in the big scheme of things than the things I prepare for today.  Things I prepare for today are more far-reaching than issues associated with geographic isolation, the next big earthquake, or a regional food shortage.  What I now prepare for is a Venezuela-type economic melt-down, or a Cyprus-like seizure of bank assets and depositor bail-in.  I also prepare for an extended power outage lasting a year or longer.”

Read more on Backdoor Survival.

  1. How to Use You Smartphone As a Survival Tool

Phone survival tool

“Modern man seems to be permanently attached to the smartphone. For that matter, modern woman and modern teen are just as attached, and modern child is catching up. Basically, the smartphone has become an inseparable part of most lives.

It also can be a vital survival tool. Used properly, it can help you through a wide variety of calamities — saving your bacon before you fall into the frying pan.

We can break the ways a smartphone can help you down into two different generalized categories — things that it can do while intact and things that a broken smartphone can still do.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. What Emergency Fuels To Store For Survival

Emergency fuels

“My favorite emergency fuels to store for survival is one of my favorite topics to talk about, just so you know. I have a small yard, so I am not able to store as much as someone with a large piece of property. If I had a large parcel of land I would have a large truckload of my favorite charcoal/coal delivered. (I do not own a truck). I purchased several red five-gallon buckets with red Gamma lids to store my Ozark Oak hardwood charcoal. The reason I chose to purchase this brand is because I read about the chemicals in the barbecue charcoal briquettes you buy at the grocery stores or large box stores. I am not a scientist, but I will give you some tips that I have researched.”

Read more on Food Storage Moms.

  1. How To Build A Fire For Primitive Survival

How To Build A Fire

“At 1:20 am on February 20, 1997, on the floor of my small bedroom I began my nightly firemaking ritual, holding my bow drill in my left hand, and moving it back and forth feverishly until I ran out of energy completely. In front of me, lay a pile of smoldering ashes.

The ashes smoldered as they had done many times before when I had tried to build a fire. There was something different about this pile, however. It kept smoking.

Could it be?

I looked closer at the pile and, sure enough, a coal about the size of my pinky fingernail rested at its bottom. I had never seen this before!

I carefully picked up the piece of aluminum the coal rested on, and tipped the coal on my tinder pile, which consisted of dry cedar bark. I blew on the coal in the pile.

Poof – I had fire.”

Read more on ExxoGear.

  1. The Ultimate Collection Of Kickass Survival Ideas

Survival ideas

“If you are reading this, then chances are you have done some prepping already. If you are just getting started, then you can read about basic preps and bugging in vs. bugging out. The focus of this article is prepping ideas that go beyond the basics.

When I was thinking about how to approach this topic, it occurred to me that the best way to look at it is this—if you already have some prepping under your belt, then you probably have your food and water stores and medical supplies set up. You have decided whether you are bugging in orbugging out. You have learned a few basic skills to help with your survival. You might even have some weapons training under your belt.

But what comes next? There is never an end to prepping, and once you have the basics down, you need to move on to more advanced prepping and that means taking the basics and making them better! Here is a collection of kick-ass prepping ideas that cover a number of prepping categories. You can choose the ideas you like the best and implement them to help bolster your preps.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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9 Myths About Surviving On A Budget Debunked

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Surviving on a budget

While it’s true that you can certainly build a stockpile, and even a bug out destination, inexpensively if you’re resourceful, there are some myths out there about surviving on the cheap that I really have to debunk.

I Can Live on Less Food and Water

This is absolutely not the way to go. As a matter of fact, if you have to run, survive without heat or air conditioning, or expend any more energy than you are now, you may need even more calories than you’re surviving on now in order to maintain and survive. Even stress burns calories.

Store enough for at least 1500 calories per day if you’re a woman and 2000 calories per day if you’re a man. Cutting back on calories is not the way to go if you’re prepping on a budget.

I Can Live on Cheap Foods

Though this is true, cheap foods tend to be low-nutrient, high-carb, high-trans-fat foods that will not only NOT sustain you but will actually make you sick. Buying inexpensive food may be necessary to accommodate your budget, but there are ways to stockpile healthy foods for the same amount of money, or even less, than what you’d spend on garbage.

Couponing is an excellent way to get healthy food on a budget. Many grocery stores offer BOGO sales that, when combined with coupons, can result in huge savings. If you find a really good deal, buy a couple of extra to add to your stockpile.

Regardless of whether you’re living day to day in the world as you know it or in a post-collapse scenario, you need to eat a variety of nutritious foods.


Expiration Dates Don’t Matter

This is only partially right. Law requires that all foods have an expiration date, so many products that may be good for a decade or longer may have an expiration date of tomorrow. Much of this depends upon how the food is stored.

If it’s canned in glass or steel containers, the expiration date isn’t so important. If it’s preserved in plastic or paper, then the expiration date is likely closer to accurate. Another consideration is whether or not the food is preserved in an air-tight container. If so, the shelf life is extended considerably.

Gardens Equal Free Food

No. They don’t. Seeds cost money and so do plants. There’s also value in your time, and you’ll be investing quite a bit of that. You’ll also need to invest in or create fertilizer and natural or chemical pesticides. After the plants have grown, you’ll need to buy jars to can them, along with canning equipment if you don’t already have what you need.

Gardening is certainly cheaper in the long run than buying either canned food or fresh produce to can yourself, but it’s not without expense. The biggest advantage is that you know exactly what’s in your food. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a good article about the most nutritious, basic foods to start your garden.

I Can Build It Cheaper Than That

As a prepper, this is a great mentality to have, but if you don’t have at least a drip or two of the skills and knowledge required to complete the task, then you’re better off saving up, buying used, or asking for help.

While it’s true that many commercial items can be recreated (and often improved upon) by somebody who knows what they’re doing, that doesn’t mean that anybody could, or should, do it all the time.

For instance, I can most definitely build my own shed and save a ton of money by using upcycled and scrap materials, but I’m not going to build and install solar panels because I have absolutely no experience in that area, and it would be a dangerous waste of money for me to do so. It’s better to spend the money to buy them and pay somebody to install them.

I also wouldn’t use old, lead-paned windows in my building no matter how cheap they were because they’re a hazard and they wouldn’t hold up to hardly any stress. Would I rather find double-paned, safety-rated windows used or on clearance? Yes, and that’s likely what I’d do, but I would still pay the extra for the quality.

There’s a huge difference between saving money and cutting corners. To get an idea for some DIY projects to get you started, check out our current DIY page.

You Can Build a Bunker from a Shipping Container

I’m not sure where this one got started (probably from a movie or from somebody who was thinking with the mentality described in the last few paragraphs) but it’s not entirely true.

Shipping containers are built to be stacked and lined up together. That means that they’re reinforced around the edges and corners. If you put them in a hole and cover them with dirt as they are, the tops and sides will collapse.

We do have several ideas for building bunkers on a budget. Here is an article to get you started.

I Can Live off the Land

Doubtful, unless your land is lush with ripe berries, fruit trees, fresh vegetables and animals that will stand still and let you eat them. And that’s assuming you have the stuff to cut your firewood, skin the animal, build the fire, and complete the cooking process.

Oh, and do you like unseasoned meat? I hope so, because meat doesn’t come seasoned on the carcass, which is how you’ll have to eat if you’re living off the land.

Instead of picturing yourself in a Rambo scene, roasting a rabbit over a spit, you should probably picture something more along the lines picking up rocks and eating bugs. Seriously. You may need to check out our survival hacks article.

Even the most highly trained military personnel will tell you how difficult could be to live off the land, and they’ll also tell you that they might not do it again by choice. As a matter of fact, if you’re a former (or current) seasoned member of our military, please feel free to chime in about this in the comments section below.

I Have to Spend Money on a Bug Out Spot

No, you don’t. As a matter of fact, chances are good that if something catastrophic were to happen, you wouldn’t be able to get to it, anyway. Even if you do need to leave your home, you’re better off if you have limited resources to plan to stay with family or friends if you need to leave.

If you’re trying to prep on a budget, your money is better spent on stockpiling, upgrading your house if you own it, or saving your money to buy your own house so that you’ll own your own bug in home. Here’s a good list to help you prioritize.

I’m Only Prepping for Me

I know that there is a good portion of people out there who follow the construct that every man is an island, but I don’t happen to believe that. Many hands make light work and, especially if you have limited resources and funds, networking may be your best friend.

There are very few disasters that would actually cause as societal collapse, and even if that occurred, new societies would develop. Having a like-minded, prepared group of people ready to face disaster with you is much better than doing it alone.

I’m not saying that you should shout it to the heavens that you’re prepping for disaster, but I am saying that you may want to get a feel for your neighbors and pack back some extra ramen and vegetables for them just in case. After all, it’s cheap and extra food is always good – you can trade it or share it.

Prepping on the cheap isn’t that difficult, though it may certainly take you a bit longer than if you were rich. However, there may be some benefit to having to work harder for it; you’ll learn how to do things for yourself and you’ll develop an appreciation for what goes into the process. There are also a lot of survival secrets to learn from out ancestors, so click the banner below to find out more about them!


Because we’re naturally people who love to save money and find better ways to do things, I’m sure that there are many of you who have more to add to this article. Please do so in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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7 Mouth-watering Recipes To Cook In The Sun

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Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Just remember there are some big differences between the different types of solar ovens available on the market.

With just a little practice, cooking on a solar oven is a piece of cake, and these seven recipes are exactly what you’ll need to prepare a good meal.

And if you’re wondering how could I proceed all these mouth-watering recipes without a proper oven, keep reading the article below, because we have a great offer up for grabs!

Follow These 10 Advice for the Best Solar Oven Cooking!

Since there are so many variations of solar ovens, it’s hard to set any hard and fast rules but there are some dos and don’ts that are applicable to pretty much all of them.

Don’t Assume you’re Invisible

One of the reasons that solar ovens are good is because they’re smokeless; they operate solely off the power of the sun. However, most ovens depend on a shiny surface to reflect the sun to cook the food (think 80s-style tanning with the silver tray under your face).

This means that you have a reflective surface that is easily seen from up to miles away depending upon how flat your geography is. Though there won’t be smoke, there will be shiny, so make sure that if you’re using your oven and trying to hide that you are completely surrounded in such a manner that it can’t be seen from a hilltop or anywhere else.

You won’t be able to do much about planes and you can’t (generally) use it in the dark, but you may be able to position it in such a way that you can use it without giving away your location. Just plan carefully.


Don’t be in a Hurry and Start Early

Many solar ovens don’t get super-hot, so you’re going to need to allow plenty of time to warm it up and then more extra time to cook. Food will likely take longer to cook in a solar oven, though that won’t always be the case.

If you’re planning a meal such as beans or stew that takes hours to cook, you need to start the meal early. Remember that you can’t typically use your solar oven after dusk because, well, it’s powered by the sun.




Don’t Forget to Check the Weather

Remember, you’re counting on the sun. If it’s raining, you better have back-up rations if solar cooking is your only heat source. As a matter of fact, let’s make that a subsection here: Always have a backup cooking method.

If it’s smoggy or hazy, your food won’t cook as quickly and you’ll have to pay closer attention to make sure that your oven is pointed in the right direction.

Don’t Waste Food or Heat

Don’t waste food scraps or that precious heat – if you’re cooking supper tonight and planning a soup for tomorrow, use the leftover veggie and meat scraps to make a stock for tomorrow’s soups.

Put them in a jar or two, add salt or some vinegar or wine to pull the calcium out of the bones and into your stock, season it and toss it on the cooker

Don’t Forget to Level Your Oven

You’ve bought a super fancy oven, and you’re all excited to give it a shot. It’s set up and ready to go and you’re going to try something quick and easy – cookies.

You warm up your oven, you mix up your dough, you place the cookies on the sheet and slide it into the oven. Now all you have to do is wait, and you’re going to have ooey, gooey, deliciously crispy cookies.

You come back 20 minutes later and you have long, oval, thin cookies, which are crispy and delicious, but ugly as a mud fence in a rain storm because you forgot to level your oven. Now, the end result here is just ugly cookies, but if you were cooking cornbread or a pie, you would have had a mess on your hands.

So, the moral of the crooked cookie story is this: Level your solar oven!

Do Turn Your Cooker

Especially if you’re using a box cooker, it’s important that you turn it as you cook in order to increase efficiency. This isn’t as important if you’re cooking something quickly but if you’re cooking for longer periods of times (more than an hour), you definitely want to turn your solar oven in order to get the most out of it.

If you have to be away from your cooker for more than an hour or so and your food is going to take a few hours, point it to where it the sun will be directly on it in an hour and a half or so. As with all things survival and homesteading related, use your head and adapt to how long you’re going to be away.

Do Cook in Black Pans

Because you’re using reflection to direct your heat, it only makes sense that you use a non-reflective, heat-absorbing cooking vessel. A thin, black metal is best because it’s lightweight and dark colored. Cast iron is also good for a couple of reasons. First, it’s black and absorbs heat. Second, the iron holds heat for a long time.

As a matter of fact, even when I’m making cakes or cornbread in my iron skillet in a regular oven, I take it out a few minutes before it’s completely done because it holds so much heat that it keeps cooking for several minutes after the heat source is eliminated. The downside to iron skillets is that they’re heavy.

If you can’t use black cookware, use glass. Using aluminum or stainless steel is counterproductive. Never cover your food with foil.

Add Reflective Panels to Cook While You Bake

If you really want to crank up the temperature to fry foods, add additional reflectors that reflect the sun directly onto the food as well as the ones used to heat the oven. Elevate a shallow pan so that it touches the glass, then attach the three-panel reflector to aim the extra light onto your food. You can even do this while baking other products inside the rest of the oven.

Build Your Oven According to Your Needs

If you’re still experimenting with solar cooking, get the function down before you worry about a solid, permanent form. Also, if you just want to cook for yourself, you won’t need a full-sized cooker.

Do you want it to be portable? Do you want to cook for a large family? What size pans will you be using? Your cooker needs to have at least an inch headspace above your pot, including the lid. Build according to what you need.

Do Build in Security

If you’re building your own solar oven and it’s going to be substantial (not made from a pizza box) build in a way to padlock it to something larger. For example, you could build a place to attach a padlock to the hinges of a box cooker.

Time Your Cooking Accordingly

Just like when you’re cooking inside, don’t add carrots and spinach to a soup at the same time and expect them to cook evenly. Add hard vegetables first, and if you’re cooking more than one dish, start the one that takes longest to cook before you start the faster-cooking one.


Just use your cooking common sense that you use in the kitchen. If you don’t have any yet, you quickly will, as we help you cook your first meal on a solar oven with these 7 recipes.

And Finally, 7 Survival Recipes to Cook on Your Solar Oven

Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, these recipes are written specifically for that cooking method. Some of these recipes for solar ovens are basics, and some are for more luxurious dishes, but even in a survival situation, tasty treats can go a long way toward boosting morale.

After all, who doesn’t feel a little better after eating a good brownie?

Remember that times are going to be different depending upon how hot your oven gets. Some can get as hot as 425 degrees while some can barely break 325. Because of that, take the times with a grain of salt and start checking your food 5 minutes of so before the time listed to see if it’s done.

Fresh Baked Bread

This recipe will yield two loaves of bread or about 24 rolls. Remember that, unlike biscuits, the more you knead bread, the better it will be because kneading activates the gluten, which provides the elasticity.

  • oven-bread6 c bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 2 1/2 c very warm water (not hot!)
  • 2 packets quick rise yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Stir the yeast into 1 cup of the warm water and set aside so that it can activate.

Sift together the flour, salt and sugar, than add the butter or oil and the yeasty water. Stir together, then mix in the remaining water 1/2 cup at a time until your bread is kneadable but not sticky. You can do this in a bowl or on a lightly floured surface.

Continue to knead by folding the dough in half on itself and pushing together until your dough is elastic and shapes easily into a loaf. If you need to add a bit more flour or water to reach a good consistency, do so. Count on kneading for at least 5 minutes, and maybe even 10.

Place in a warm place, rub a tsp of oil over the top, and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise until it doubles in size, then punch in down, knead it just a bit more, then divide your loaves or rolls, place in bread pans, and allow to rise again. Place in your sun oven, which is hopefully around 300 to 325 degrees F, and bake for about 45 minutes.

Tap on your bread and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.

Pot Roast

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes)

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.


  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¾ c rolled oats or breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl thoroughly then place in a loaf pan. Bake in solar oven at 350 for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until meat reaches 160 degrees inside.

Barbeque Chicken

Great served with fresh vegetables, corn on the cob and cornbread. You can also serve it with rice to feed more people. However you want to serve it, it’s delicious!

  • 6 chicken quarters or breasts, or a dozen legs
  • 1/2 c vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for chicken. Just FYI, this is a good sauce to make ahead and can! Place chicken on a baking sheet and paint the sauce onto the chicken. You could marinate it in it for an hour if you’d like.

Place the chicken in the solar oven at about 325 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, saucing again about half way through. Chicken should be 165 degrees F in the center, not on the bone. A good tip is that the chicken will pull easily away from the bone.

Solar Brownies

Brownies are one of those comfort foods that will definitely boost morale with very little work, time, or special ingredients. Makes 1 8×8 pan or 4 pint jars.

  • 2 c sugarbrownies
  • 2 c white all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c dark cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar, shortening and vanilla together in a bowl, then beat in the eggs.

Add dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth – about 2 minutes.

Fold in nuts if you’re using them. Feel free to toss in mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or whatever else you like in your brownies. Batter will be thick.

Pour into a greased and floured 8×8 pan and bake in solar oven at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until brownies pull away from the sides of the pan.

Note: If you’d like to make these ahead in pint jars, simply combine dry ingredients well and add to jars. Write complete recipe on an index card and attach to the jar. To extend shelf-life, dry-can.

Apple Crisp

Apple trees grow naturally and prolifically in every state in America, so this is a dessert that will barely touch your food supplies in the fall. It’s also extremely easy to make and, except for the peeling process, it’s not difficult to make enough to feed many people. You can also rehydrate dried apples to make it.


  • 6 c apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/3 in slices
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 c water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

I always keep apple pie seasoning on hand and use this in replace of the cinnamon and nutmeg.


  • 1 c rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c cold butter

Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle in the lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to coat the apples. Pour into an 8×12 pan and cover with a lid. Bake in solar oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour, or until apples are almost tender.

Combine topping ingredients by cutting together into pea-sized pieces with a fork or pastry cutter. Remove the lid from the apples and sprinkle the topping evenly over them. Put it back in the solar oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping is brown and crispy and the apples are tender. Warm, homey, nutritious (for a dessert) and comforting.

To make peach crisp, simply substitute the same amount of peaches for the apples.

You can also make this by using your canned apple pie filling and skipping the first stage of cooking.


This is a dish that every survivalist and homesteader should know. It can be used as a bread or as a dessert – serve it with butter as a savory side for meals, or slather it with jam as a delicious dessert.

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c milk or buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients thoroughly then add butter, eggs, and milk. Combine ingredients thoroughly and pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake in solar oven at the highest temperature for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If your oven doesn’t get that hot, just extend cooking time until it’s done. The top should be a good indicator of when it’s done as it will brown fairly evenly as it cooks.

Buttermilk adds tenderness and lightness to batter because the acids chemically interact with the baking powder or baking soda. If you want the tang of buttermilk but only have 2 percent or whole milk, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to it and let it set for a few minutes before adding to the mix. It won’t have the thick creaminess of buttermilk, but will function the same.

Remember that for all of these recipes, you can use dry milk, canned or dried meat, fruit, or vegetables, and powdered butter and eggs. Just reconstitute according to directions and you’re good to go!

For the most part, cooking with a solar oven is extremely similar to cooking with a regular oven, except you may have to cook things longer. Nearly all of your favorite recipes, especially crock pot recipes, will translate right over.

Don’t think that you’ll have to skimp just because you don’t have a “real” oven, because this problem is now easier to solve that you have ever imagined. We have the best deal for you if you decide to buy a solar oven, and it’s now available on Survivopedia.

Click the banner below to take advantage of this incredible offer!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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8 Dangers After Floods You Need To Know About

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Dangers After Floods

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t drive across flooded roads or stay when you’re told to evacuate, but what about after the water recedes? You just go back in, clean up the debris, and start living again, right?

Well, no. Flood waters are full of disease-carrying bugs, and there are other dangers after floods you need to know about, too.

1. Bacteria

Flood water is nasty. It’s full of chemicals, garbage, animal waste, biohazardous waste (think about other people with bleeding wounds and open sores wading in it and often sewer and septic waste, too. It’s sort of like walking through a toilet that ten thousand people have used without flushing.

Then all that nasty stuff soaks into your belongings, your ground, and the surface of everything on your property that it’s touched. It’s imperative that you wear rubber boots, heavy rubber gloves, and follow other safety protocols when you’re walking through your property or touching anything that was in contact with flood waters.

Especially if it’s warm, pathogens breed like crazy, so just because the water is gone, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the yuck went with it.

2. Drinking Water

During flooding, city water is often contaminated due to broken pipes or leaks caused by collapses, breaches, or facility flooding. This means that basically, you’re drinking flood water. That’s how you catch such diseases as cholera.

The same holds true for well water. Flood water seeps into the ground and can contaminate your well. It’s important to test your water after flooding.

To ensure that your water is safe to drink, boil it at a rolling boil for at least 1 minute. If you’re above 6000 feet in elevation, increase that time to 3 minutes. I always at least double that just to be sure. You can also use purification tablets, bleach, or iodine to kill pathogens in your water.

3. Standing Water

Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease-spreading insects such as mosquitoes. After flooding, standing water is an issue in low spots and in places such as planters and buckets. There may also be standing water left in basements or other parts of your house.

Empty all containers that you can and use a sump pump or wet vac to get as much water out of your house and buildings as possible. Even sweeping out the water is often effective, though labor-intensive.

Open windows, assuming it’s not raining, and put in the corners to help floors and walls dry faster.

4. Unsafe Bridges and Structures

Flooding often causes structural damage to bridges, roads and buildings that may not be obvious to the naked eye. Don’t cross closed bridges and inspect your house and buildings closely before entering. Better yet, have your property inspected by a professional.

Remember, too, that even weight-bearing walls can be damaged during flooding, so if the dry wall is damaged, assume that the inner framework may be, too.

5. Mold and Mildew

This is a HUGE issue after flooding because mold and mildew hide in places that you can’t see. As a matter of fact, they thrive in dark areas. Both are ugly to look at, but more importantly, they can cause serious health issues including respiratory problems that can lead to death.

Black mold in particular can be deadly. In tropical areas where it’s humid most of the year, black mold is a critical issue that can actually cause a house to be condemned because the health risk is so serious. Since flooding occurs most often in the summer, all types of mold and mildew should be a consideration when moving back into a space.

Drywall or paneling that has gotten wet should be closely inspected for mold and mildew. Bleach in a 1:5 ratio to water will kill mold and mildew but you need to make sure that you kill it all. Again, a home inspection is in order just to be sure and you really should just replace drywall and paneling that’s gotten wet.

Here is an infographic from Heiton Buckley to help you make mold removal easier.

Mold Removal Infographic

6. Electrical Lines

One of the biggest safety issues following any disaster is downed power lines. Since many powerlines are now run underground, things can get particularly tricky. NEVER, under any circumstances, approach or try to handle power lines. It may seem like a common sense thing, yet people continue to die because they don’t heed that advice.

To be fair, many times downed power lines aren’t immediately obvious. Think about a tree that was swept over in the woods behind your house. You fire up the chainsaw to clean it up and don’t realize that there’s a powerline tangled up in it until it’s too late. Be extremely aware of what you’re doing and what’s around you.

If you’ve used alternate methods to power your home during a flood, don’t abandon it until you know for sure that the power is on and will stay on.

7. Stray Animals

After a flood, there are going to be stray animals that range from cats to even cows. Be careful when you see them and don’t approach them if at all possible. Remember that though they’re adorable, they’ve been out in the flood waters and could be carrying any number of diseases. It’s best to call animal control.

Stray Dog

8. Garden Dangers

As homesteaders and preppers, this is a huge consideration because we’ve invested so much time, effort, and money into our gardens. So what’s safe to eat and what do you need to throw away?

This is a concern especially for people susceptible to illness because of weak or compromised immune systems such as small children, the elderly, and the sick. Because flood waters carry so many health risks, it’s better to err on the side of caution no matter how healthy you are.

There isn’t just one easy answer to whether or not you can eat produce from a flooded garden. It depends upon how it was flooded – was it just standing under water that built up in your yard during a heavy rain or did water rush in from other places and cover it?

How far along was your garden when it was flooded? Had the seeds just been planted? Were the plants young? Did they already bear fruit? Are they above-ground, or root veggies?

First, if your plants were just waterlogged by clean, standing water in your yard, you likely don’t have to worry about much more than washing the veggies before you eat them.

If your garden was recently planted and the ground was flooded by overflown rivers or flood waters that cover large areas, you may still be OK. If the plants won’t be ready for at least 120 days, they will be considered safe to eat in most circumstances.

Early season plants that were already bearing fruit and will be eaten within a few weeks of the flood will be OK to eat as long as the fruits remained above water and the veggies are peeled and/or cooked.

Any produce that is damaged or has cracks that could let in contamination should be discarded.

Rotting Potatoes


A good guideline to use to determine whether your crops are safe to eat is the National Organic Program guidelines for harvesting food from soil that was fertilized with non-composted manure. If you’re using liquid manure, you may already be familiar with these rules.

This is because research suggests that food that’s been fertilized with non-composted manure may present more health hazards than food contaminated by flood waters.

Basically, the guide says that there should be a 90 day period between planting and harvesting produce grown in soil fertilized with manure that wasn’t composted. If the edible part of the plant came into contact with the non-composted manure, there should be 120 days between contact and harvest.

If the produce is ready to harvest when it’s flooded, I personally would count it as a loss and health officials agree with that sentiment. However, if the flooding happens part of the way through the growing season and you’re going to starve without the food, you have the option of cooking it.

Though cooking will kill most microbial sources of illness, it won’t do anything about chemical contamination. Again, in a life or death situation, produce that can be peeled should be.

Floods present many health and safety issues that must be dealt with immediately. Safety issues such as mold, pathogens, and structurally compromised buildings can’t just be ignored; you have to deal with them immediately.

Because every flood is different, consult with your local health department and department of agriculture for more accurate guidelines. Remember that if you evacuated, you shouldn’t go back until your area is declared safe, because there’s much more to consider than whether or not the water has receded. Water has to be checked, electric lines must be secured, and a thousand other details looked after. Be smart and be safe.

One of the best ways to get a head start on your flood cleanup is to prepare properly for a flood in advance. You can’t prevent everything, but you can protect yourself and your property as much as possible. You need to be prepared to face this emergency as no one – including doctors – might be there to help you out.


If you’ve experienced a flood or have anything else that you’d like to add, please do so in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia

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Here’s The Right Way To Build A Chicken Coop!

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chicken coop small

If you have a hammer and nails or a good drill, and a weekend afternoon, you can build your own chicken coop, spending less than the price of a new one or even for free.

Craigslist and local retail outlets are often a good source of used pallets, empty wooden crates and other scrap wood that you can get for free or at a minimal cost. You just need to know how to do it!

Chicken wire can be affordably sourced at a local hardware or farm supply store, along with a few hinges and a lock. With an afternoon of labor you can have a secure chicken coop for a handful of laying hens.

Here’s a really cool infographic from Urban Chickens Network about steps to take when building a chicken coop!

chicken coop

This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

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7 Intimidating Home Defense Alternatives

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cold weaponsAt the time of this writing, our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms are under serious attack. Obama and others have vowed to take our guns away, supposedly making the world a safer place. In reality, it’s not about making anyone safer, it’s about giving them total control.

Mankind was killing one another long before the invention of the firearm. Ever since man first realized that sticks and stones could hurt, they have used anything they could find as a weapon.

There are choices to be made, but don’t rely on Hollywood movies when estimating what using them means. Learn your limits, as it takes a lot of skills and practice to use them for your defense.


Bows were the most common distance weapon in use throughout the world for centuries. There are many things to like about bows, as they are lightweight, accurate and can shoot a fair distance. With practice, one can become extremely accurate with one and even learn to shoot it rather rapidly. On top of all this, they have the advantage of being a silent weapon: other than the “twang” of the bowstring, there’s nothing to hear.

I personally like bows and if I were to find myself in a situation where I felt it was necessary to leave my home and go hunting for adversaries, I would probably pick a bow over a rifle. To me, the advantage of being able to attack my enemies silently, without them knowing where the shots are coming from, surpasses the superior firepower of the rifle. Of course, I would take a sawed-off shotgun and a pistol with me for close work.

Most bow hunters will only use a bow to kill game at up to 40 yards, although the bow itself will easily kill out to double that distance. That makes it possible to use a bow for most outdoor home defense scenarios, although it isn’t anywhere near as effective for use as an indoor weapon. The amount of space one needs for drawing a bow makes it almost impossible to use it effectively indoors.

If you choose to buy a bow for a secondary weapon, then practice, practice, practice. You can’t get good with a bow anywhere near as fast as you can with a rifle or even a pistol. This is a weapon which requires much more skill to use effectively; but with that skill, it can be quite effective.


Knives have a great psychological impact on an adversary. Something about looking at a sharp piece of steel in an opponent’s hand, knowing that it might be residing in your guts in a few minutes, is enough to make even the stoutest of heart waver. Even so, using a knife effectively as a weapon is difficult. Unless you have had extensive training, don’t think you can use one to defend yourself.

Having said that, I still recommend having a knife. When everything else stops working, that knife might just take out your last adversary. Besides, there is nothing you would need more if you find yourself in a disaster situation: you’ll need it for catching and preparing food, building a shelter or making your way out.

For a knife to be effective as a weapon it needs to be the right knife and it needs to be used the right way. True fighting knives are much different than hunting knives, which are single bladed, although some are sharpened partially down the back side.

The best fighting knives are double-bladed, being sharpened down the whole of the back edge. This type of knife is known as the Fairburn, named for its inventor, Bruce Fairburn, who came up with the design while serving in China. The advantage of the Fairburn style knife over other styles is the ease of penetration that it offers. It can also cut in both directions when slashing. These may seem like small differences, but in an actual knife fight, they can be enormous advantages.

True knife fighters always hold the knife low, with the point of the knife upwards. Stabbing someone from above is another Hollywood invention. The human body is fairly well armored for protection from stabs that come from above. Between the shoulder bones and the ribcage, the most that a stab from above can do is muscle damage. On the other hand, the human body has almost no natural armor from stabs from down low. You can much more easily stab an enemy in the gut, causing serious damage, by stabbing from below.

Never try using a folding knife for a self-defense weapon. There’s too much of a chance of it folding on your fingers, hurting you instead of your assailant. Even lock-blades can’t be counted on, as there is always the possibility of accidently triggering the lock.


Throwing Knives

Throwing knives has a lot of sex appeal, mostly because it’s showy. However, as a means of self-defense, it doesn’t hold much value. Hollywood has always shown victims who were attacked by a throwing knife as being hit in the chest or the back. Once again, the body’s natural armor comes to the victim’s aid. Considering how a throwing knife flips when it is thrown, it’s almost impossible to penetrate the rib cage with one.

I learned how to throw knives years ago, thinking it would be useful for self-defense. That was before I realized how hard to target a human body really is. The only place that it would be effective to hit someone with a throwing knife would be the lower abdomen, hitting the stomach from the front, or the kidneys from the back. This greatly limits the utility of a throwing knife.


A sword can be a fearsome weapon in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. Of course, in our modern world, there are very few people who have any idea of how to use a sword effectively. Unless you are a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, you have probably never held a real sword in your hands, let alone tried to hit an opponent with one.

Learning how to use a sword requires even more practice than learning how to use a bow or knife. Having said that, if I was up against an opponent armed with a knife, I’d rather have a sword in my hands. The greater reach of a sword does hold some advantage over a knife.

Using a sword requires an incredible amount of upper body strength. The soldiers of olden times, who were limited to the use of the sword, instead of an assault rifle, had to be incredibly strong, especially to manage to wield a sword for an entire day’s battling. Unless you are much stronger than I, you won’t be able to use a sword for a prolonged engagement.

For most people, knives, swords and other such weapons are actually more of a liability than they are an asset. Their lack of ability to effectively use these weapons means that they are ineffective against their enemies. On top of that there is always the risk that the enemy can take the weapon away from you and use it against you. For that reason, avoid these weapons, except as a last resort, unless you have the time and resources to train in using them properly.

Sticks, Staves and Clubs

This category of weapons are referred to as “melee weapons” and can include anything that can be put on a stick, including axes and maces. The really great thing about this category of weapon is that it really doesn’t require any training. Simply grab what’s available and start swinging.

While you’re not going to accomplish much against a pistol-wielding bandit with an axe or stick, you will against one who doesn’t have a firearm. I saw an interesting demonstration once, done by people who were experts in the use of medieval weaponry. One man with an axe was able to hold off four men armed with swords. His advantage was that he could just go wild with that axe, while his opponents needed to look for an opening in which to attack.

If it comes down to the point where an intruder gets into your home and comes at you, while you’re unarmed, grab whatever is at hand and start swinging. If he’s got a gun, you’re not going to do real well, but if he’s got a knife, you’ve got the advantage.

Throwing Stars

Throwing stars, more properly called “shuriken” are another weapon that Hollywood has glamorized. In the movies, people get killed by expertly thrown metal stars, thrown by some martial arts expert or other. In reality, it’s almost impossible to do more than cause a scratch with one.

The shuriken was invented as a distraction weapon. In other words, to distract someone long enough to run away. If a ninja was caught in the act, they would throw a couple of shuriken at whoever discovered them, and dive through the closest window to make their escape. Used in that way, they are highly effective.

The other problem with shuriken is that it takes a lot of practice to become proficient enough to use them effectively. Having experimented with them, I know how hard it is to throw one accurately. If you’ve only got seconds to act, it’s better to fill your hand with something that’s going to be able to do your adversary some real harm.

Martial Arts Weapons

Most of the martial arts weapons started out as tools. In ancient times, farmers and artisans were forced to figure out how to use these tools as weapons, as they were denied ownership of any real weapons. Used by an expert, they can be very effective, but used by an amateur, they’re a good way of getting yourself hurt.

These weapons require lots of training and practice to use effectively. Swinging a pair of nunchuku (commonly called “nunchucks”) around to impress your friends isn’t going to prepare you to use them against anyone who manages to break into your home. When that happens, you’re more likely to hit yourself in the head, than you are to hit them.

Having anything in your hand is better than having nothing. Unless you are so highly trained in martial arts techniques that you can kill a person with your hands alone, you’re better off using almost anything, including these cold weapons. And if you have to chose one, do it wisely, according to your skills and abilities.



This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia.

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10 Secrets To Choose Your Tools For Homesteading

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ToolsWhen you are on a tight budget, it is very tempting to buy the cheapest tools you can find. For example, if you need handsaw, you may be inclined to pick one up in a dollar store and then hope that it will get you through a few projects.

While these, and other tools may get you through a small project, they can also be very dangerous and of little or no use in a crisis situation.

The tools you have on hand may well need to last for decades or even be passed along for generations before suitable replacements can be made and distributed at an affordable price. That’s why, when choosing tools for your homestead, or other bug in needs, you should keep the following ten points in mind.

1. How Versatile Is the Tool?

If you live in an apartment or a tiny home, then you are always going to be worried about how much room to allocate for tools.

In some cases, you will be best served by looking for tools that can accomplish a wide range of jobs without being ruined.  At other times, you may need a tool that can be used for some applications, and then have a second tool that will do something similar.

Unless you need a particular tool for a specialized job, aim for the most durable multi-purpose tools you can find. Here are the factors to consider, especially when buying drill bits and cutting blades:

  • A drill bit or cutting blade listed for use on wood or plastic will most likely be ruined if you try to use it on metal.
  • Simply choosing the cheapest metal working bits isn’t much better than buying bits and blades for wood. For example, a drill bit designed to go through corrugated aluminum may not even go through a tin can.
  • When choosing bits and blades, you are best served by getting the best possible metal working bits and blades. These will cut and drill through just about anything, and also last far longer than other types.

While you’re assessing tool versatility, think about the range of applications and how well it will perform each task.

In some case, a few less specialized tools will actually be of more use. For example, you might think that a large toothed, large saw blade is the best option for all your woodworking or metal cutting needs. On the other hand, if you need to cut curves or work with a smaller, more delicate piece of material, then a coping saw will be of more use.

And there are always going to be times when you need socket wrenches to get into places where you cannot use a monkey wrench. There is a newer wrench on the market that basically uses a set of bearings to create an adjustable socket wrench. Keep one of these onhand for survival needs since it can be adjusted to both large and small socket sizes.

There is simply no telling how quickly this particular wrench type will wear out or how much strain it can take. If you want to keep one of these onhand, then work with it and put it through as much testing as possible, and then keep a brand new one aside for survival needs.

You should also keep good quality conventional metric and standard socket sets on hand just in case the multiple socket wrench fails.

2. How Long Is it Guaranteed to Last?

Do you remember the days when vehicle engines, transmissions, and drive trains were guaranteed to last well over 100,000 miles? If so, then you may also remember that a four year old car was considered relatively new instead of at the end of its best years.

As with cars, the warranties on many tools made today is much less. While you can still get good quality tools that will last a long time, nothing says trust in quality like a manufacturer that will guarantee the tools for life. Even though the manufacturer may be driven out of business by a major social collapse, neither you nor they will know when that will happen. Therefore, lifetime warranties can be used as one of the indicators of tool quality.

If you have a choice between a cheaper tool with a limited warranty and one with a lifetime warranty, go for the latter even if is a bit more expensive. Remember, you might use this tool for decades on end or even pass it along to the next generation. No matter whether the tool in question is a screwdriver bit set, pliers, or other hand tools, buying the best will pay off in the long run.

3. Are There Older Versions of the Tool that Might Be Cheaper and More Durable?

As with cars and just about everything else in stores these days, you will find that things just aren’t as durable as they used to be. From that perspective, you may actually be able to save some money and get good quality tools by visiting the local flea markets.

In some cases, older, well maintained tools may actually be more durable and work better than newer ones. Just stay away from ones that are excessively worn or show signs of deep rusting. Here are some tools that you can consider purchasing second hand in the vintage section:

  • Hand power drills. These devices can truly last for decades and beyond even if they show some signs of wear. Make sure that you can get drill bits into it, and that they will not slip when you apply pressure from the crank or other hand levers.
  • Coping saw frames and hacksaw frames.  As with other tools, make sure these are free of rust and that they are solid across the entire frame.  Try to fit a new blade into them and make sure that the handle and blade holding areas will not give way under a work load.
  • Any hand tool that has screws or other tightening apparatus that can be adjusted. Check that the adjusters have not been sheared off, are rusty, or stuck in place. In some cases you may be able to revive these tools, however it may be best to look for something in better condition.

4. What Kind of Maintenance Does It Need?

Even the best quality tools may require oiling, cleaning, and other kinds of maintenance, so you’ll need to store away appropriate cleaners and lubricants. Other details may also be overlooked:

  • Some types of steel blade need to be stored away from humidity. While they may work fine on a daily basis, storing them in a pre-crisis situation can be a bit difficult. For example, if you don’t oil them once a month or use them on a regular basis, they may rust and be nothing but reddish dust when you open your survival bin. Even if you feel that your tools will resist rust and corrosion, examine them on a monthly basis even if you aren’t using them.
  • Blades, drill bits, and other tools are apt to wear down and need replacing. Depending on the blade type, you may be able to sharpen it several times before having to discard it. Have a good quality sharpener onhand, and use it as often as needed.

5. Does the Tool Require Replacement Parts?

If you visit a hardware store, you are sure to be amazed at the growing number of variations on common tools. For example, where you may have once bought a simple set of Philips and flathead screwdrivers, now you may be faced with an array of bits, ratcheting handles, power screwdrivers, reversible drill screwdrivers, and cordless screwdrivers.

When it comes to your survival toolkit, don’t put all your reliance on power tools. Aside from problems with EMPs, battery operated tools will never be as strong as those with a power cord. Power tools are truly wonderful to use and very convenient, but they will be worse than useless if you do not have electricity to power them.

Oddly enough, even the most simple hand tools these days may require replacement parts. For example, even though you can buy screwdriver bit sets with dozens of bits in them, they tend to be less durable than full bodied screwdrivers.

When it comes to bit sets, even high quality ones will shear or wear down very quickly. You can, and should keep a high quality set onhand plus a ratcheting handle, but do not overlook full bodied screwdrivers. At the very least, you should have a few of the most popular sizes plus the short shank counterparts for tight areas.

Saws, drills, and other key tools also require replacement parts from time to time. If there is anything that you should stockpile, these items will be more important than anything else. Without a spare blade to replace one that is worn or broken, it will be impossible to complete a number of tasks. When it comes to bugging in, this is truly one place were storing more is better than storing away less.

6. What Kind of Activities Will Ruin It?

Have you ever used a screwdriver to open a can of paint, or the back of a glass cutter to rap on a stubborn jar lid? If so, then you know that some tools are only limited by your imagination.

On the other hand, there are many woodworking tools that cannot be used on metal or plastic. There are also many metal working tools that cannot be used on solid metals or denser metals than they were designed for.

Always read manufacturer specs carefully so that you know what the limits of each tool is. In addition, before adding a tool to your survival stores, be sure to test it out. Try a number of different materials and see how much wear accumulates on the bits or blades.

Pay careful attention to the cutting surfaces. Do they appear darker as if they have been exposed to heat? Did the surface of the blade become even or appear worn?  If any given tool cannot pass these basic tests, then return it to the store immediately and go up to the next highest priced tool. There is absolutely no sense in storing away tools that will wear out after one or two uses when you can replace them now and have confidence in their durability later on.

7. How Best to Use the Tool?

One of the worst things you can do is buy a tool and then figure you will know how to use it when the time comes. For example, even as you read this, you may have hammers, pliers, wrenches, and all kinds of other tools laying around the house. Even though a hammer may seem very simple to use, that does not mean you know how to get the most from it.

Among other things, you may be the type that has to whack a nail several dozen times just to get it through the wood. On the other hand, professional carpenters may be able to drive those nails with a single blow.

Take the time now to learn how to use tools efficiently. Not only will you save wear and tear on the tools, you will find it much easier to complete tasks.

8. How Skilled Are You With the Tool in Question?

Simply reading about how best to use a tool is not the same as actually knowing how to do the job. Consider a situation where you feel that you know how to use a handsaw. Here are just a few things that you may overlook in a time of need. Aside from producing low quality, crooked cuts, some of these problems may actually lead to serious injury.

  • Forgetting to wear goggles when using tools. No matter whether you are cutting, drilling, or shaping wood, metal, plastic, or some other substance, bits of the material will go all over the place. While much of the material may fall as dust at your feet, other bits can very easily get lodged in your eyes. You may at first feel that a bit of sawdust in the eye is a minor inconvenience, but it can scratch the cornea of the eye and leave you with permanent scars that reduce the clarity of your eyesight. If that scratch becomes infected, it can also lead to blindness. Tiny bits of metal can also scratch and do serious damage. If the pieces of metal are big enough, they may also be able to cut blood vessels on the outer portion of the eyeball or in the eyelid.
  • Forgetting to wear a dust mask. If you thought the damage from sawdust or metal bits was bad for your eyes, then you may not realize that it is just as bad on your lungs. Remember that the working parts of your lungs are very fragile, tiny little sacks that allow the exchange of air between the lung tissue and blood vessels. Dust of any kind can ruin them and leave you with steadily decreasing breathing capacity. Though you may not feel it right away, constantly breathing in saw dust or any other type of dust is a true danger to your health.
  • Failure to apply blades and cutting edges in the right direction or angle. Many people feel that as long as the blade is cutting, they are doing things right. On the other hand, adjusting the angle will actually make the work go a lot faster and also prevent damage to the blade itself.
  • Failure to use proper grips and fasteners. Have you ever tried to cut a stick or dowel by bracing it on your leg or the floor? If so, then you may already know that you are wasting a lot of motion and energy trying to keep the material from moving. Always take the time to secure items you are working with using a good quality vice or other fasteners as needed. This is also good practice if you decide to use power tools. Needless to say, if you slip with a hand saw or other hand tool, it can do some serious injury to your hands, arms, or any other body part that gets in the way. If you have the same kind of accident with a power tool, it may well amputate that appendage. In a crisis situation, either type of injury can also  lead to a life threatening infection.


9. Can You Safely Use the Tool Now as Well as if You Are Injured or Disabled?

As time goes by, an aging body often loses the ability to do many things. For example, arthritis or other joint problems may make it harder to turn a screw driver, use a saw, or hammer nails.

Choose tools that will age with you and still be usable if you become disabled or injured. In this case, you should look for aftermarket grips or other accessories that will make the tool easier and safer to work with. Just make sure that you are as comfortable using these grips as you are a tool without these additional parts.

10. Can You Think of Projects and Ways to Use the Tool Now?

One of the best things you can do when assessing tools for survival needs is to use them now as much as possible. Choose a wide range of projects so that you can get plenty of practice as well as find out how durable the tool is. Here are some projects to use on the tools you plan to keep for survival needs:

  • Build wooden toys with many moving parts. This will help you establish a good level of precision with everything from saws and chisels to screwdrivers and nails.
  • Build cabinets, and then shelves that will need to accommodate fairly large amounts of weight.
  • Build toys or other small items from metal. You can start off by building toys from tin cans. This will help you practice bending and cutting metal as well as learn how to gauge the strength of metals. When working with metal, always take extra care to wear gloves in order to protect your hands from sharp, thin bits that are bound to occur.
  • Build a small shed or some other structure where you must assemble an inner frame and then add a roof, floor, and sides.  From there, you can also try building decks and ramps.
  • Take apart an old lawnmower engine and rebuild it to working order. This will help you learn how to clean grimy parts and recognize those that are worn. You will also learn some important things about dissembling and re-assembling basic engines.
  • Take apart an old motorcycle engine and put it back together. This will be an excellent place to learn how to make replacement parts if needed as well as repair and clean basic engine components.
  • Try taking apart and re-assembling a car from bumper to bumper.  While this may take a few years for the weekend hobbyist, it will truly be worth your effort.

As you can see, choosing tools is about far more than having a nice shiny set of sockets and saws hanging on the back wall of your work room. It is about having a small set of tools that you can rely on to help you get any job done and in any situation.

Take the time now to buy good quality tools and then practice with them as much as possible so that you will have both confidence and skill in a time of need.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Winter Survival: How To Snow Shovel Like A Pro

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Shovel ProAfter the record breaking blizzard that has put the mid-Atlantic states under snow we were faced with a new set of challenges. Sure, we talked about insulating your home and making sure no energy is wasted. We also covered how to use snow to insulate your home and how to deal with your car and driving under similar circumstances.

But what do you do when you are practically paralyzed by the heavy snowfall? When flights get cancelled and roads get closed and when nobody even bothers to make sure these roads are accessible to the ambulance and the fire fighters?

Some may say that residential roads fall in the owner’s care and they are the ones who should deal with the snow on those portions. But what happens when the owners are elderly or disabled people, unable to shovel this kind of snow and sometimes unable to pay for this service? We all know that this storm proofed to be deadly to many, but did you know that a significant part of the deaths were caused by heart attacks linked to shoveling snow? So our concern, and yours I hope, is legitimate.

You might not think of it this way, but shoveling snow is a pretty intense physical exercise that can prove to be fatal for those at risk. The categories considered to be at risk in this case are those with a poor physical condition, people like you and I who work at the desk, on a chair, all day long and don’t get to do a lot of sports, those with high cholesterol and of course those over 55. Actually, doctors recommend staying away from shoveling snow altogether after the age of 55.

The stress of the intense physical activity, coupled with the cold air that constricts the blood vessels, could cause blood to thicken and become prone to clotting, are a fatal mix for many.

How to Stay Safe 

Besides the risks described above, the more common health risk shoveling snow poses is that of low back injury. So whatever your age and your health condition, when dealing with this task you must take precautions.

First thing before getting to the shoveling part, start with a 5-10 minutes warm up. Move your arms slowly forward and backward, hold a body hug for 30-60 seconds, gently stretch your legs and back and take a brisk walk to help your muscles heat. If you have a bad back or you are over 55,  you better ask for help than risk your health and your life!

Picking a good shovel is also something you must pay attention to. If you choose an ergonomic one, with a curved or adjustable handle, it will take a lot of the effort off your back and your knees. Take care, when holding the shovel, keep your hands distanced on the shovel’s handle in order to distribute the force equally. When digging up snow make sure the force comes from your legs and not from your back, keep your knees slightly flexed in order to help with that.

Preferably you should push the snow aside, instead of lifting it and carrying it from one place to another. But if there’s no other way, make sure you keep your loads light and your knees flexed while doing so and don’t ever try to throw it over your shoulder!

Stop for two or three minutes every other 10-15 minutes, and stretch your back, arms and shoulders. While tackling snow, remove the top layers first, instead of going in depth. It’s much easier this way and especially for your back! And also consider removing the snow during 3-4 days rather than in one.

Other recommendations would be: layer clothing in order to keep warm throughout the process and also to be able to remove them one by one as you heat. Hydrate as needed and avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking that will overburden your heart and will increase chances of frost and hypothermia.

How to Build Your Tools for Snow Shoveling

Now that we’ve discussed some tips on how to handle the snow without ruining your health, let’s take a look at some really cool tools that will help you with your task. And that’s because not everyone was prepared for this type of downfall!

1. Homemade Snow Shovel

You won’t need much for this DIY tool, just a durable garbage can lid, some screws and a screwdriver, a single-edged razor blade or a box cutter and a wooden broomstick.

Use the blade (or box cutter) to cut the lid in two pieces with the cut edge acting as the scooping side, while the raised outer brim will keep the snow in place until deposited. The broomstick will become the shovel handle, that you will secure to the lid with three screw. Get the details here.

2. The Plow Wow

It’s available for order, but if you take a closer look at this contraption, it wouldn’t be that difficult to DIY. And if you feel like it, you could even help a neighbor or two and make a buck out of it!

Video first seen on Tyler Selph

3. Snow Shovel for Your Car

Watching this “bad boy” in action makes you want to give it a try even just to test your DIY skills and you car’s abilities. Imagine being able to remove snow from the comfort of your car, listening to your favorite CD and not having to freeze throughout the process. Here’s another plan of the same idea.

Video first seen on Rich In MN 1975

4. Human Powered Snow Plow

Now, I’m not sure this is actually easier than shoveling snow, but if you like riding you bike it sure is more fun and it seems more efficient. So why not give it a try?

Video first seen on Bob Beechy

5. The Redneck Snow Plow

This is the quicker and easier DIY version of the snow shovel for your car. Just try not to steal the parts you need to put it in place as recommended by the video!

Video first seen on gjvmnd

What’s the Easiest Way to Shovel Snow?

The option we saw above are great, but our favorite must be the following two.

Video first seen on Snow Granny

I am not sure exactly how this guy managed to fold the snow like that, but he got our respect for it!

Video first seen on Joshua Jordan

Now that you’ve seen how these folks used their imagination and whatever they had on hand to deal with the snow, let us know in the comments below how are things in your area and how are you handling the situation?

This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia



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Winter Driving: 5 Tips For Your Fuel Economy

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winter driving

You might not have heard of this, but last weekend Eastern Europe has been hit by a wave of snow and really low temperatures. So much so that roads were closed for over 12 hours.

Maybe this doesn’t seem so unusual, but what capture my attention was the survival story I stumbled upon. This guy managed to stay alive for 3 whole days after the facility he was working in was left without electricity. He got water from the already too much snow, he had some food supplies and his shelter? Well, his car!

It’s almost a miracle that he lasted for so long and he didn’t even need medical care after this ordeal. And although the rule of 3 played an important role in his survival, there is one thing without which he would have tragically failed: fuel. If your fuel reserve won’t last enough, you won’t stand a chance, so you must know how to stretch it as much as you need to.

You don’t have to get to Europe for harsh winter, heavy snow and winter traffic jams. Just take a look at Washington D.C. these days instead.

Is common science that cold weather reduces the range for all vehicles. Fuel economy tests show that a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 32°F than it would be at 73°F, and it can drop as much as 19% at 0°F comparing to 73°F. As for very short trips (3 to 4 miles of city driving), the fuel economy drops to 22%.

Take a good look at the facts below, as they could really change your perspective when you rely on your bug out vehicle and your winter driving skills for survival.

How Is This Happening?

Engine and transmission friction increases in cold temperatures due to cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids. The engine needs more time to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature, which explains why a shorter trip “costs” more fuel than a longer one. How much would you lose of your economy because of the less efficient components? Up to 14%! Combine trips so you could drive less often with a cold engine.

As for the battery, its performance decreases in cold weather, making it harder for your alternator to keep your battery charged. Drive at least 5 miles between start cycles to fully recharge the battery.

Everything you do to prepare your car prior to driving out of your alley increases fuel consumption, because you use additional power. Heating the cabin, window defrosters, and heater fans are the most “expensive” in terms of fuel, as they all use additional power. And more power means more fuel, which goes your economy down to 15%.

And remember that winter grades of gasoline can have slightly less energy per gallon than summer blends.

Also, colder air is denser, which will increase aerodynamic drag on your vehicle (especially at highway speeds), and decrease your fuel economy up to 5%. Even tire pressure decreases in colder temperatures, increasing rolling resistance and reducing the range up to 4%.

Icy or snow-covered roads decrease even more your tires’ grip on the road, wasting energy. Safe driving speeds on slick roads can be much lower than normal, further reducing fuel economy, especially at speeds below 30 to 40 mph. And remember that using four-wheel drive increases fuel consumption too.

How Can You Solve It?

Now you wonder what can you do about it. We have some clues for you below.

1. Start Your Preparations with a Good Vehicle

First, having the proper vehicle spares a lot of effort. Most preppers agree that less time you spend on the road, less danger you’ll face along the way. You need a vehicle that is not only fast, protective, and off-road capable, but gas-efficient as well. Whether you go with the family’s sedan or opt for a terrain vehicle, your main goal when bugging out is to get far away as quickly as possible. With that in mind, larger and heavier vehicles are bound to come with a drawback in the fuel department.

More, these types of vehicles stand out like a sore thumb when compared to your everyday cars, trucks, and vans. The ability to remain unnoticeable and safe when navigating through heavily populated and hostile areas, is just as important as your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Still, your vehicle of choice will be largely dependent upon your environment. The choice remains yours whether to purchase a designated bug out vehicle or update your daily commuter car for a SHTF contingency. But regardless of choice, the biggest concern for any bug out vehicle is fuel range. Above all other aspects, a bug out vehicle should be prepared and maintained to provide the best possible fuel economy.

2. Weight Control

For starters, weight is one of the biggest factors deciding a vehicle’s fuel range: an extra 100 pound could reduce your MPG by 1%. Removing any unnecessary equipment, supplies, or people from your car will inevitably translate to lower fuel consumption. That also means stripping the vehicle itself down of any unneeded aftermarket parts. These things reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamics and add weight, which translates to fewer miles.

Some preppers advocate that a bug out vehicle should contain as much food, water, and gear as you can carry. However, your chances of consuming everything on route are quite slim. So is your possibility of taking what’s left with you upon reaching your destination. For that reason, a 72-hour bug out bag for each family member is all the gear you’ll need in the car. Everything else can be found along the way or upon finding safety.

Removing hauling cargo on the roof, for example, reduces wind resistance, and increases fuel economy by 2% to 8% in the city driving, and 6% to 17% on the highway. If you really need to use it for your luggage, opt for rear-mount cargo boxes, which “costs” only 1% to 5% of your fuel economy.

3. Acceleration Control

You can also save on fuel by easing your pressure on the accelerator. Slamming the pedal to the floor every time you accelerate consumes significantly more fuel than applying less and gradual pressure. Most vehicles are also at their most efficient when cruising in their highest gear at a moderately low speed (40-50 mph).

Though your goal will be to get out of dodge as quickly as possible, you should still pay attention to your rate of acceleration and cruising speed. Driving fast may serve to get you out of dodge quickly, but doing so could stop you short of safety if your pedal’s to the metal.

Use cruise control if your car is equipped with this feature, and avoid aggressive driving, as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking waste more energy.

Avoid excessive idling too, considering the fact that it can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and other features that you use at the moment. Actually, turning your engine off when you are waiting in your car saves your money, because it takes only 10 seconds to restart when you need to drive off compared to how much fuel is burned while idling.

4. Tires Pressure & Maintenance

Despite seeming trivial, under-inflated tires can significantly lower a vehicle’s fuel economy by miles per gallon. Keeping them properly inflated will improve your vehicle’s fuel performance. It will also make for much safer travel across on and off-road terrain.

You should always strive to stay current with preventative maintenance on your car. This means the normal fuel, fluid, and filter changes in addition to addressing any engine problems indicated by the light on your dashboard. What may seem like nothing could be a dead oxygen sensor or related emissions problems that keeps your vehicle from performing.

5. Fuel and Engine

In today’s economy, most drivers opt for whatever gas is cheapest at the pump. Though some modern cars suggest using higher-octane fuel, most can still run on regular without any consequential long-term effects.

Cars with superchargers and modified intake systems usually mandate the use of premium gas. But if your car is rated for regular gasoline there’s reason to pay more at the pump.

Diesel engines are something to be considered, as they have much greater lifespan than typical engines and can be run using homemade bio-diesel fuel. In a long-term survival situation, gas could become a scarce commodity and mandate the use of alternate sources of fuel. However, it’s still advised that bug out vehicles running on regular gas carry one or two jerry cans of extra fuel that gets rotated into use regularly.


And Few More Cold Weather Tips

Remember not to use warmers and defrosters more than necessary. Scraping ice every morning makes you sick? Look for natural, low cost solutions, like parking your car facing east or using a vinegar solution for defrosting your windshields.

Video first seen on Ken Weathers.

Locks freeze, windows and mirrors ice over, tires get stuck – ice and snow are just miserable to deal with first thing in the morning, or at any other time of day for that matter. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Protect your rubber edges with cooking spray to keep them from freezing shot.
  • Blow some hand sanitizer on your car’s lock to defrost it.
  • Use a lighter to heat your car key a little bit before sliding it in the lock.
  • Don’t leave you windshield wipers up overnight so they won’t become stuck to your windshield. Cover them with socks to prevent snow and ice buildup on the wiper blades.
  • Dress your mirrors in plastic bags overnight to prevent them from frosting.
  • If your tires are stuck in the snow in the morning, place a piece of cardboard or your car mats beneath to help them roll.

Deciding to brave the roads during harsh winter, will confront you with challenges along the way, making it necessary to choose a vehicle capable to handle a variety of contingencies. Compromise has to be made, as no bug out vehicle can have it all. There is no such thing as the perfect vehicle, everybody has his opinion and makes his personal choices. Finally, the only thing that makes the difference is your skills.


This article has been written by Michael Martin for Survivopedia.


In Cold, Electric Cars Save You Even MORE Money

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Survival Knife Misuse: How To Wear And Tear Your Knives

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Knives misusesRegular knife users have learned to appreciate the versatility and usefulness of their blade. A knife is an essential part of your survival gear. It’s an investment much more than it is a purchase, because when properly taken care of, it may end up lasting a lifetime.

Though not all knives share the same quality standards, one thing is true about the majority of survival knives: they’re designed to withstand regular use for long periods of time. The question is: how should you care for your blade and what are the mistakes to avoid when using it?

12 Common Mistakes When Using Survival Knives

Even the most rudimentary of knives needs to be taken care of, but more often than not, knives become damaged because of improper use and maintenance routines. This may be the result of distraction, inexperience, a lack of proper instruction or carelessness.

But make no mistake: a blade that isn’t properly taken care of will surely become an unusable blade. Let’s first discuss some of the most common mistakes that beginners make when using their knives. What are the bad habits that shorten the lifespan of your knife?

Not Knowing the Limits of Your Knife

Each material has natural limits that it cannot surpass. Knives are not exceptions of this rule. Yes, we may have been brought up in the confidence that knives are wondrous tools capable of withstanding absolutely everything. Similar to Japanese katanas or Thor’s magical hammer, we expect them to perform a plethora of tasks and have completely unrealistic expectations.

Make no mistake, knives are made of steel and steel should also be used with caution. Different knives are created for different purposes. It’s simple: you really can’t use a fillet knife to skin a deer.

Though you may try your hardest, the knife wasn’t designed for that task and will not only perform poorly, but will also have to suffer as a result. So instead of choosing the wrong knife (or an all-purpose-blade for any and all tasks), read up on useful guides on choosing the right knife and work from there.

Not Oiling Your Knife

Many knife enthusiasts regularly oil their blade to ensure that it remains in pristine conditions. You may already be doing this for folding knives (springs and joints), however, you may also apply oil on the blade of your knife. Just use a cloth to apply the oil evenly across the blade. This step is particularly useful in humid areas, where rusting is a concern.

Though the oil you use is subject to personal preference, I recommend Dri-Lube for folding knives. You can find it in any firearm store. Aside from drying on contact, it’s also easy to apply, doesn’t drip or run and will not attract dirt or lint. You’ve surely experienced this with folding knives: they’re simply lint magnets. Be watchful of overspray though.

Failing to Clean Your Knife

Just because you use your knife regularly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also regularly clean it. Running water is often enough, but you must always ensure to dry the knife thoroughly. This is a step that most beginners ignore and end up paying the price for. A knife that isn’t completely dry will never be rust free. Ideally, you should use a cloth that’s used specifically for this purpose.

Also, make sure to not forget your knife in water for longer periods of time.

Depending on your knife’s handle, you may have to also perform other maintenance tasks. Wood handles should be treated with linseed oil while leather handles should be cleaned with leather cleaner. If you own a knife that features a bone handle, never soak it in water.

Knife Abuse and Misuse

There’s a specific purpose for each tool in your toolbox, but this simple concept seems to be lost when it comes to knives. Most people ruin perfectly beautiful knives by substituting them for screwdrivers. Don’t get me wrong, there are emergency situations when there’s no other solution and, despite some whispered objections, such substitutions may be understandable. Anything else is nothing short of abuse.

The tip of your knife is its most delicate part. It’s also the most useful because it makes precision tasks particularly simple to complete. That’s why you should always try to protect the tip. But more often than not, even when a screwdriver is readily available, knives are used in their stead.

Good quality knives won’t wear so easily and may withstand multiple substitution rounds, however, they will become damaged in the long run. Opening cans is another such example. Granted, some multi-purpose knives may be used to open cans, but a high-quality hunting knife, for instance, will certainly suffer.

Steel is a sturdy material, but as previously mentioned, it has its limitations. Steel has certain elastic capabilities, it resists abrasion, corrosion and vibration. But this resistance is limited and you’ll surely damage your blade if and when those limits are exceeded. When a blade is made to pry in small spaces, it is forced in the direction in which its structure is less resistant. This may result in the blade being curled or damaged.

Failing to Sharpen Your Knife

While it may be true that any survival weapon, even a dull knife, is better than none in a situation that demands it, there’s no excuse for not properly sharpening your survival knife. In fact, let’s get one thing straight: even if you own the best survival knife that money can buy, if it’s dull, it simply won’t cut.

A dull knife is just as useful as a fork in a survival situation. This only leads to frustration. Now, in such a sticky situation, there are things that you can do to sharpen your knife. In all others, use the multitude of tools that ensure proper sharpening.

Whetstones are the oldest (and perhaps simplest) way to sharpen knives. Your father, his father and his father before him used whetstones. You’ll want to make sure that you always maintain a consistent contact angle between the whetstone and the knife and respect the angle of sharpening that your knife came with.

Video first seen on How To Make Sushi

Sharpening rods are another popular sharpening system because you only need to position the knife vertically on the sharpening rod and swipe it down while pulling the knife towards you.

Never attempt to sharpen your blade on power-driven grinding wheels, as they burn the temper from your blade. Another common mistake that beginners make is pressing too hard when sharpening their knives against diamond sharpeners. Make sure to read about the best ways to sharpen knives or ask more experienced knife users to show you how it’s done.

Extreme Temperatures

Steel doesn’t only sustain mechanical damage. Extreme temperatures are also harmful to your blade. Sub-zero temperatures can make the steel brittle and increase its sensitivity to vibration and impact. On the other hand, extreme heat may damage the hardening of your blade.

You know that something’s wrong when your blade doesn’t return to its normal color after being cleaned. If it displays shades of dark brown, yellow, or even worse, blue and violet, you know that the hardening is lost. In those portions where the discolorations appear, the steel of the knife is softer and can be damaged with ease.

Ignoring Environmental Influences

Environmental agents are just as likely to corrode a blade, especially if the steel is non-stainless steel. Some knives come with their own holster, but consider protecting your blade if you don’t want it damaged.

Overlooking the Handle

Your knife’s handle is also important: water, glues, humidity and chemicals can all damage it. More importantly, in the case of folding knives, failing to regularly inspect the pins is another mistake that beginners tend to make.

Improper Storage

Knives are meant to be used, however, there are moments when you simply don’t use your knife. Simply abandoning a knife in a shelf will do a lot of harm. Ideally, you should store a knife in a shaded and protected area.

Make sure that it’s not exposed to direct sunlight or humidity (as moisture affects the blade) and don’t store the knife inside a leather sheath as it attracts moisture and creates pits on the blade.

Failing to Repair Your Knife

A knife is bound to take the occasional beating, however, most knife owners will hurry and repair the blade themselves instead of taking it to an authorized technician. Note that some high-quality knives have a lifetime warranty that becomes void when you attempt to repair them.

Using the Blade as a Makeshift Fire-Striker

Granted, we already cautioned against using a knife for anything other than its intended purpose, but this particular case is worth drawing attention to. I’m what you call a knife elitist: knives are tools that must be cherished and taken care of, however, there are some who believe that they are mere instruments to be used however their owner sees fit.

This is something I strongly disagree with. I’ve seen people using the blade of their knives when lighting a fire with ferro rods. Damage to the blade is guaranteed. More importantly, it’s a shame to disrespect a blade like that.

Using the Knife as a Makeshift Shovel

This also happens. But chances are that your knife will come into contact with hard rocks that will end up chipping your blade. You’re better off avoiding this altogether.

Did we miss anything? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

Interested in improving your safety? CLICK HERE to find out more!

This article has been written for Survivopedia by J. Thomas Roberts from Knifeista.

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The DOs And DON’Ts Of Gun Cleaning

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Gun CleaningDo you really want to give intruders or others with harmful intent an opportunity to harm you or your family members just because your guns are so dirty they misfire or jam up at the worst possible moment? I bet you don’t.

Make time to clean your weapons and get into the habit of doing so regularly. And take a good look at the article below so you could do it right and safe!

Never Use Gasoline and Kerosene to Clean Guns

Gasoline and kerosene are two very flammable and dangerous chemicals to clean your firearms with, because using them can cause a fire hazard and also damage the metal finish.

Gun bluing and other metal finishes can be damaged or removed from all metal parts of the firearm. On rifles, pistols, and shotguns, the use of gasoline or kerosene to clean the stocks can remove the stock finish if it is painted or lacquered.

In the past, I have personally seen people who have clean their weapons with gasoline or kerosene and forgot they were smoking. These individuals were very lucky because when the firearms flash fired, they weren’t burned too badly, but they did singe the hair off their arms and hands.

The only good thing about this incident was that it burned off all the useless oil and soften the cosmoline on the outside of the weapons. Unfortunately the weapons sustained minor burning of the stocks and slight damaged to the gun bluing.

Also the use of very strong solvents or strippers can remove the finishes on all metal parts and all wooden or plastic stock parts. In some cases, the solvents or strippers can damage the plastics of the stock furniture set and make them soft or worse, even dissolve them.

Remember that dumb moment from “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” movie when the old lady soaked the pistol in the kitchen sink because it was all greasy and “full of dirt”? Well, never ever do this with you gun!

Hot water and dish washing detergents will cause rusting of the metal parts of the action and the barrels. If you were to soak wooden stocks for a long time to remove grease, dirt, grime, or cosmoline, there is a good chance of warping the wooden stock.

Cleaning Cosmoline

When buying new guns or surplus rifles, pistols, or shotguns it is very important to remove the cosmoline or other metal and wood protectors that are used to shield the weapon from moisture and rust. When removing these protectors on new weapons, it is much easier because in most cases it is nothing more than a thin coating of a lubricant to protect all of the surfaces.

In surplus weapons that have been stored for many years, the cosmoline or other protectors may have turned almost into a solid heavy waxy substance. There is no easy way to remove this cosmoline. To clean these weapons, you must do it slowly and take your time to have the job done, and use one of the following ways to remove this substance.


Use WD-40 and spray it heavily on the metal and the wooden parts. WD-40 will easily strip any cosmoline that is on the stock or the metal parts of the weapons. Simply spray on the WD-40 and then just wipe off the cosmoline.

You will need lots of rags or paper towels that can be used to remove the cosmoline as it is dissolved from the wood or metal. A plastic scraper will also help you when cleaning the stock. The plastic scraper will remove large quantities of the WD-40 and cosmoline mixture at one time saving you rags and paper towels.

Remember to clean not only the outside the stock but the inside as well. At this point, a good safety check of the stock, the action, and barrel assemblies would be a good idea. When cleaning the barrels of surplus and modern weapons that have cosmoline on them, you must be sure to get all of the cosmoline out of the barrel.

Failure to get all the cosmoline out of the barrel can cause a barrel obstruction that could lead to the damage of the barrel or physical injury to the shooter.

Another way to clean cosmoline off surplus weapons that are heavily preserved is to use mineral spirits. When using mineral spirits, it is safe for all wood parts of the weapons and also the metal parts. Mineral spirits, like WD-40, will dissolve the cosmoline on all wood and metal parts. The mineral spirits are a little bit expensive but it will work quicker then WD-40.

When you have removed all the cosmoline with mineral spirits you need to oil all metal parts when finished. For the wooden stocks just wipe dry and then air dry to remove any vapors from the mineral spirits. When finished, oil all wooden stock parts with a good stock oil of your choice.

Using a Heat Gun

heat gunThe use of a heat gun is another way to remove cosmoline from firearms. For the heat gun to work effectively on removing the cosmoline, the heat gun must be set at approx 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best way to use the heat gun is to go back and forth over an area and then wipe off with paper towels or rags. The heat gun method can also be used on metal parts by going back and forth over the cleaning area.

When using a heat gun to remove cosmoline be ready to spend a couple of hours cleaning the wooden and the metal parts properly.

Using Plastic Bags

There are some people who use black plastic garbage bags to help soften the cosmoline on surplus weapons. To do this you first wrap all the wooden parts in paper towels. Be sure the paper towels are tight and every nook and cranny of the underside of the stock.

After the paper towel layers are about three to five layers thick use masking tape to hold the paper towels in place. Next place the wooden stock parts that are wrapped in paper towels and place them in the black plastic bag.

You can put this black plastic bag in the bright sunlight where the sun will heat the black plastic bag. As the temperature in the bag rises, the cosmoline will soften.

After a few hours, take the wrapped wooden stock parts out of the bag and remove the paper towels. Wipe the excess cosmoline off all the wooden parts. The amount of cosmoline on the wooden parts will determine how many times you must wrap up the wooden stock parts and place them in the black plastic bag.

Using the Oven

In the past, I have also used an old oven to bake off the cosmoline. I would not recommend doing this with your primary cooking stove because cosmoline can be very sticky, and when melted, the odor will be hard to remove without a good stove cleaning.

Set the heat at 150 to 175 degrees and put the rifle stock on the middle rack of the oven. To keep the oven clean, I recommend putting aluminum foil to catch any drip of the cosmoline. When the wooden stock begins to sweat and the cosmoline is loose, use rags or paper towels to remove the cosmoline from the wooden stock or other wooden parts.

While using this method it is very important to stay with the stove and keep an eye on it to make sure that no wood or the cosmoline catches fire in the stove.

I have seen people who were cleaning surplus weapons with heavy cosmoline just do a light cleaning. They didn’t realize that the cosmoline was still in the lands and grooves on the rifling of the rifle barrel.

After they cleaned the action and stripped the wood, they took the weapon to the firing range to shoot it. Because the weapon was not cleaned properly, when they loaded the weapon for test firing, they forgot to check the barrel before firing the rifle.

For safety sake a string was tied to the trigger to fire the weapon, which was tied down to a rifle rest. When the rifle was fired, there suddenly appeared a large bulge in the rifle barrel, and the rifle was blown into many pieces because of a grease obstruction in the barrel.

Most people do not realize how high the pressure is in a center fire rifle when it is fired. If the owner of the rifle had been sitting behind the rifle when it was fired, the odds are that he would have been killed!

Because nobody was sitting behind the rifle on the test fire bench, nobody was hurt or injured. The only thing that was damaged beyond repair was the surplus rifle. It was not a very expensive lesson, for the surplus rifle was only worth about $75 at the time.

Why It Is Important to Clean All the Parts of Your Firearm

Every major firearms manufacturer provides detailed information on the proper methods used to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the guns they produce, and this information is usually packaged with the firearm.

If this information is not present with the firearm at the point of purchase, it is advisable to ask the manufacturer for this info or where it may be obtained. For safety reasons, the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning, maintenance, and care should always be followed.

Be sure that you clean all the recommended parts of the weapon, because this is not the time to be lazy or to take any shortcuts. But don’t jump to the other extreme, and go below disassembling the firearm beyond what the manufacturer recommends.

In some firearms, going beyond what is recommended can void your warranty because the weapon cannot be reassembled without special tools, and can possibly pose a danger to the shooter if the weapon is not correctly reassembled.

It is very possible that the weapon looks like it was reassembled correctly, but was not. Aside from maiming or injuring the shooter, there is a possibility of breaking parts or destroying the weapon.

Sometimes when people get lazy or do not clean a semiautomatic action correctly, some problems may occur. The ordinary action of a firearm releases fine particles of gunpowder, metals, and other contaminates into the receiver and barrel of a firearm, which may cause malfunctions. In rarer cases, extreme buildup may cause the firearm to explode upon being fired.

Slamfiring is a malfunction caused by a heavy buildup of dirt, grime, and other contaminates in such a way that a semiautomatic may temporarily and involuntarily become fully automatic – ie it will fire repeatedly without another pull of the trigger until the firearm is out of ammunition.

10 Tips for a Safe Gun Cleaning

  • Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded. It seems like every few weeks there is an article in the paper, or a story on the news about an accidental death from a firearm. Many times this occurs when the weapon is being cleaned, when the person did not realize it was loaded, and it went off. To avoid this happening to you while cleaning your gun, always treat the gun as if it is loaded.
  • Never point at anything you wouldn’t shoot at to begin with. Even if you have removed the magazine and emptied the chamber, only point your gun at things you are okay with shooting at.
  • Disassemble your gun in a safe place. Interior walls don’t stop bullets, so know what lies behind them. Safely cleaning a gun means making sure that if an accidental firing were to happen, nothing you value would be damaged.
  • Slow down. Cleaning your gun is not something you rush. When you rush, mistakes can happen. Clean your gun when you can give it your full focus and attention. Be methodical. It is best to clean your gun when you can be alone, without interruption or distraction from others.
  • If you don’t want to kill, injure, or maim, don’t let the muzzle of the gun point at a living thing even if in your mind you only think you are in the process of cleaning your gun. The gun is like any other machine, it will do exactly what you make it do within the limits of its mechanical tolerances and condition: if you pull the trigger and there is a bullet, then the gun will fire at whatever the muzzle is pointing at. This seems like common sense, yet many gun owners point the gun in irresponsible direction while cleaning; and then spend the rest of their lives wishing they could take that bullet back.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed at the ground during any kind of transport, and pay attention to what would be hit if the gun were to fire.
  • When cleaning your gun, keep your hand away from the trigger. Once you are ready to clean that area, deliberately pick a target (even though the gun is empty), and keep your gun aimed there while cleaning. In other words, if the firearm was to fire, where would an acceptable place be for a bullet to go? Aim it there before you ever allow your finger near a trigger.
  • Reassemble with care. Keep ammunition away from the gun while reassembling, and reassemble with the same care and precision used to disassemble. Again, only point the gun at something you are okay with destroying.
  • Return to safe or case immediately. Do not leave a gun out after it has been cleaned. The sooner it is returned to a locked case or safe after cleaning, the lower the risk of accident and injury.
  • Sometimes when people are cleaning 22 caliber rifles or pistols with a multi-section cleaning rod they push the cleaning rod too far out the front of the muzzle of the rifle or pistol. This could cause the crown at the end of the barrel to be slowly chipped and damaged over time in such a way that it can cause loss of accuracy. The spot that actually does the damage to the crown is where the jag on the cleaning rod is screwed in. Push the cleaning rod to the end of the barrel crown, and then make sure that only the jag (but not the area where the jag is screwed in) exits the rifle barrel.

cleaning gun

What Are the Golden Rules of Gun Cleaning?

Definitely, the first golden rules of gun cleaning is safety.

  • Always handle any firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Always make sure your firearms are not loaded before cleaning, storing or traveling.
  • Always be sure that the gun is unloaded with the action open and a magazine out. Remove all live ammunition from the cleaning area. This includes any ammunition that might be in the magazines.
  • Be sure you know how to disassemble the firearm you are working on. If you do not, review the manufacturer’s manual for the weapon you are working on before you start to disassemble the weapon.
  • Before loading any firearms be sure that the barrel bore, chamber, and action are clean and clear of obstructions.
  • Always wear safety glasses when cleaning firearms.
  • Always keep and store your firearms and ammunition in locked receptacles out of reach and sight of children and untrained people.
  • Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used or by the number of rounds that the manufacturer suggests.
  • A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.
  • Remember to only lubricate those parts of your firearms that require it.

What Are the Killing DON’Ts in Gun Cleaning?

  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while cleaning your firearms. Alcohol, as well as any other substance that is likely to impair normal mental or physical function must not be used before or while handling or cleaning firearms.
  • Never indulge in “horseplay” while holding your firearms.
  • Never take anyone’s word that a gun is unloaded.
  • Always make sure that your firearms are not loaded before laying it down, or handing it to another person.
  • Never abuse your firearms by using it for any purpose other than shooting.
  • Never leave a firearm cocked and ready to fire unattended in the cleaning area.
  • When reassembling a firearm after cleaning be sure not to force parts back together. If they do not fit, disassemble the parts that you tried to assemble and look for the proper fit.
  • After cleaning your firearms do not forget to use the proper lubricant on the slide rails, the barrel, or any other internal parts that need to be lubricated.
  • If your pistol has a bushing, be sure that the bushing is properly seated in the slide of the gun.
  • If you don’t clean your pistol or revolver after every range shooting session, then you should at least lubricate them. If you do not, you may cause over heating or freezing up of the pistol or revolver.
  • Not keeping your firearms lubricated can cause excess wear of the metal on metal contact points of the pistols and other firearms.

It is crucial that when you are cleaning your firearms, do not make the common mistakes that sometimes occur when people are distracted or don’t know how to disassemble the firearm they are working on. Gun cleaning –same as shooting – is a serious task.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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