8 Alternative Ways to Cook without Power!

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8 Alternative Ways to Cook without Power Whether stranded in the wilderness by accident, or relaxing at your campsite on a weekend getaway, hunger will come calling – and without traditional cooking instruments or appliances readily accessible, keeping your party fed means trying new methods of cooking. Don’t wait to experiment in the woods; review … Continue reading 8 Alternative Ways to Cook without Power!

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Native America Survival Secrets: How They Cooked Without Metal

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No Matches, No Metal, No Problem! How The Native Americans Cooked

If you are anything like me, then you are fascinated with how native people lived before the Europeans came to the “new world.” I find immense satisfaction in doing things on my own, without the benefit of modern technology.

I’m not knocking modern life. It certainly has its appeal! I’ve washed clothes by hand (exhausting), skinned animals and tanned hides (also exhausting), and made huge batches of soap with animal fat and wood ashes (more complicated than it sounds). One thing that has always perplexed me, however, is exactly how did the native people of this land make fire and cook without metal or matches?

In this article, we are going to take a look at how they did it and how you can, too, if the need should ever arise.

Making Fire the Old-Fashioned Way

Perhaps the first thing that comes to your mind is Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway, right? I can relate! When I first tried to rub two sticks together to make a fire, I had huge blisters and no fire. Thank goodness I had brought some matches with me!

So did the native people actually rub two sticks together? You bet they did! This is an old tried-and-true method that really does work, and isn’t that hard, if you have a little practice beforehand. In the same manner that Tom Hanks used, they would find one stick about 12 or 18 inches in length and break off the end, at about a 45-degree angle. Now, taking another stick only a few inches in length and placing it on the ground, they would make a small indentation, using a bone or rock most likely, and put the pointed end of the longer stick into the indentation of the small stick. The longer stick was placed between the palms and whirled back and forth, creating friction. The wood dust created by the friction would start to smoke. A piece of dry, light stuff was applied and then blown on to create fire.

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This method must have caused plenty of blisters, however, so it was also very common among nomadic tribes to carry hot coals in the hollowed-out horn of a buffalo or moose antler to carry to the next campsite. Fires could then be started again from the hot coal.

Other tribes discovered that by striking two types of stones together, such as pyrites or chert, they would produce sparks. These sparks could ignite dry, light material fairly quickly. Later, Europeans brought flint and steel, which often was carried by native American people, but before that, it was usually stones made of pyrite and/or flint.

No Matches, No Metal, No Problem! How The Native Americans CookedTo avoid blisters, other tribes invented what is typically called a bowdrill. This uses a bow, very much like the kind used for hunting, with the exception being that the sinew was loose. In the same manner as mentioned above, the person would put one stick on top of another stick, but rather than use your hands to manipulate the vertical stick, the “string” of the bow was wrapped around it. One hand is placed on top of the vertical stick, while the other hand pulls the bow back and forth. This creates a great deal of heat and friction and has been known to start a fire in less than two minutes.

If making fire by any of these methods interests you, then I would suggest that you practice beforehand. I made the assumption it would be fairly easy, and it is — but only after a few hours of practice.

No Pot? No Problem!

Well, at least for the native people it was not a problem to cook without metal pots or pans! For modern man, not as easy.

Depending on which tribe we are talking about, there were more ways to cook food than you can shake a stick at — with sticks being the most obvious choice. This is perhaps the easiest and least labor-intensive method that every camper learns pretty quickly. Put your meat on a stick and put it over the fire. However, there were plenty of other ways to cook food sans the ever-ready stick.

Ash cooking is still used in many places, even today. Fish, frog legs, even potatoes, can be wrapped in leaves and placed near or under hot ashes and coals. This is quick and effective, even if it means you might get a bit of ash on your food. Ashes actually don’t taste too bad!

Cooking in pits also was another popular method, especially if you wanted to cook a great deal of food at one time. Pits were dug into the earth, and then lined with an animal hide, fur removed, inside of the hide facing up. The food was placed in the hide, then covered with another hide or leaves. Hot coals were put inside the hole, and then covered again, usually with twigs and leaves.

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No Matches, No Metal, No Problem! How The Native Americans CookedNative people were well-known for their soups. How did they manage this without a metal pot? Similar to the pit method, a hole was dug in the ground and a piece of hide was used to line the hole. Water and food was put into the pit, where a fire was going nearby. Clean rocks were heated in the fire, and then dropped into the water. You would be surprised how quickly the water will reach a boil in this manner!

Tribes that lived near the sea were known to use large conch shells as pots to cook food. Southern tribes, such as the Navajo and Hopi, used clay pots, while others simply put flat rocks right next to a fire and let the food cook directly on the rock.

Last, but certainly not least, is a trick my father taught me. Small game that weighs about 2 pounds (1 kilo) or less can be easily roasted using a leather thong. My father would take the leather lace out of his boots, dunk them in water, and then tie one end of each lace to the meat. He would then make a stake out of a branch that made a “Y.” Putting one stake on each side of the fire, he would tie a lace to one of the stakes, and with the other lace, he would tie it to another small stick, with the stake being used as a support. The loose stick was then twisted around and around, so that the meat was on a manual type of rotisserie. He told me that his father taught him this skill and I must admit that it was pretty spectacular! Our meat was always perfectly done on all sides!

Try some of the above cooking methods on your next camping trip! You just might surprise yourself at all the ways you can make a fire and cook without modern utensils.

What fire-making or cooking tips would you add? Share your advice in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Gear vs. DIY Gear: Swedish Torch Solutions for Pennies!

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Who hasn’t seen that cool piece of gear advertised and just thought, “I would like to have that?” Thanks to Youtube and social media outlets like Facebook, videos are shared that make gear look very attractive.

I recently took the bait and watched a video for the Sportes MITI-001 Lightweight Swedish Fire Torch Log Grill.  Although I can’t find the exact video anymore (see VID at the end for the MITI-001 in action), I remember that I thought the concept was interesting and so I went to Amazon to see if they carried it.  They did!  But the price was $71.00!  I thought that was way too crazy a price for something like this.

I then thought about the possibility of making something that worked on the same concept, that kept the logs together, but WAY cheaper and lighter…something someone could put in their bug-out bag.  I remember seeing that one video where someone used a chain and stretch band to cut firewood. I thought a chain around a Swedish Torch could work!

As I was thinking about how heavy a chain would be needed, I decided to look for a video and low and behold….it’s been done before.



You can even do a Swedish Torch with small logs and a vine to tie it all together.  Like in this video.



I know the concept of the Sportes MITI-001 is to provide a grill-like surface, but you really have to think about if the price is worth it.  I mean, if you are in the woods every weekend, maybe.  But if not, a chain would work.  The important thing is to keep the wood upright long enough to cook your food.

If you’re building a Swedish Fire Torch for backyard fun, this video might inspire you to split some wood easily.


Sportes video


Do you use any “tricks” or have you see any online that you would like to share? Drop them in the comment section.



How to Make Fire With a Lemon – Fact or Fiction?

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How to Make Fire With a Lemon – Fact or Fiction? When SHTF, sometimes we need to get creative. While you may not have all of these items on hand, I just wanted to show you what you can do with items you may be able to scavenge and a little ingenuity (MacGyver anyone?). Ok, …

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How to prepare your off-grid home to survive a wildfire

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Wildfires are unpredictable and destructive beyond belief. If you live off the grid in a fire-prone area, you need to prepare your home and family to survive a wildfire. It is known that wildfires can occur anywhere, but they are most dangerous in heavily wooded areas. Once the dry period sets in and the undergrowth … Read more…

The post How to prepare your off-grid home to survive a wildfire was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Why are chimneys on the outside?

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Why are chimneys on the outside?

Why are chimneys on the outside?

Unless you live in a very tropical or year round warm area, you will need a way to keep your home warm. For many of us, that means having a wood burning stove or a fireplace. Have you ever noticed that chimneys are often built on the outside of the house? Ever wonder why?

There are very good reasons why chimneys are often built on the outside. It had a twofold purpose, one was safety. Originally chimneys weren’t lined with anything, just a stack of barely mortared rocks, you might even be able to look through the cracks and see the flames on the inside.

There was always a risk of fire, back in the early days there was not a fire department to come put out a fire, nor was there insurance to cover any loss, and losing your home, especially in winter could have been a matter of life and death assuming you survived the fire. People had to take care of themselves, if there was a chimney fire, if it was on the outside of the house, you could lasso the chimney and pull it down, allowing it to burn itself out in the safety of the yard instead of burning down your home.

The other issue is space, many of the cabins built back then were small but functional. They needed to keep as much room free in the main room as possible, you couldn’t have a fireplace taking up valuable room elsewhere in the house, so it was put on an outside wall. I understand that issue, our place when it was first built was a very small, 16×16 room, we made the front door a sliding door rather than one that would open into the room, that saved us some very valuable floor space.

Watch this video to learn more about chimneys and their location.


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Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living

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Off-grid, gasifiers, heating, electricity, green energy

Fire Her Up: – Gasifiers are not new technology, having been used well before the world wars

Located in Northern Finland just inside the Arctic Circle lies the village of Kempele; a small community of ten families living completely off-grid. However, their lifestyle may be somewhat different from what is considered the “conventional off-gridder”. The homes have fully equipped kitchens, an abundance of low energy lighting – some have Jacuzzis! So how do they provide enough electricity and heat to sustain them throughout the year which can include a very cold Finnish winter (-30°C kind of cold)?

The answer is a Volter Gasifier plant. Using wood chips from the local area, the gasifier burns this fuel incompletely to produce wood gas, which is then burned to provide electricity. The thermal energy produced is used to heat a huge water tank, which then pumps the warm water through a series of pipes making up an underfloor heating system for the houses. By using the thermal energy to heat water the community is reducing its electricity usage. Any excess electricity is stored in three large battery packs for later use.  The Volter is able to power and heat the ten homes for the whole year, even through the cold winter. Each family pays €1,500 ($1580) per year for both their heating and electric.

The Volter system starts at €150,000 ($158,000) which the community paid for collectively, by pooling their resources. Although a steep initial investment, it’s taken only seven years for the community to see returns. In locations where the cost of electricity and heating is higher than Finland, returns on the initial investment could be seen in as little as three years.

After the success of Volter’s initial pilot project in Kempele, the product design has been adapted and streamlined to look more aesthetically pleasing and is being rolled out across a wide range of countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK.

But what exactly is a gasifier and how does it work?

Gasification is the process of using heat to transform a solid fuel, like wood, into a flammable fuel, normally gas. Initially the solid fuel is burned without enough oxygen, a process called incomplete combustion. The output gases produced (including carbon monoxide and hydrogen) are still combustible and so can be burned as a fuel. This is basically a process which involves controlling the stages of combustion. You can find out more details on the staged combustion process here.

Gasifiers are not new technology, in fact far from it. During the Second World War over a million vehicles in Europe had on board gasifiers due to a rationing of fuel such as diesel. They have also been used in agricultural machinery such as tractors.

In more recent times however, gasifiers can be used to power whole communities, such as in the example above or can be more small scale.

For example, the BioGen Woodlog Power and Heat Unit produced by Microgen. This on or off-grid unit is a combination of wood gasification and Microgen free piston power generation, providing both a power and heating solution. Wood is placed in the primary fire box which produces wood gas by being heated in low oxygen conditions. The wood gas is then sucked into a second fire box with higher oxygen conditions where it is fully combusted. It is in this second firebox that the head of the Microgen biomass stirling power unit is located. When this reaches a certain temperature the unit starts to produce power which can be in either AC or DC. The heat of the fire boxes is absorbed by a coolant through heat exchangers on the walls of the boxes.

The thermal output is a maximum 20KW, with a water capacity for 100 litres and temperatures reaching up to 90°C. The 180cm x 60cm x 85cm unit weighs in at 450kg and has 80% efficiency.

For other suppliers of small scale domestic gasifiers, including All Power Labs and Northern Self Reliance, visit this site.

There is also the option to build your own gasifier and there are many instructions available online for various models. However, working with flammable materials and toxic gases can be very dangerous and should you decide to go down this route, it is very important to do lots of research and take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.

The post Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

10 Best Survival Skills for Natural Calamities

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Tomorrow is never certain.  We never know when there might be a dissonance which can disrupt the comfortable nature we are used to on a daily basis. There are many different emergency events which some people prepare for but, unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore. At some point in our lives, we will have

SURVIVAL TREES: BASSWOOD – Amazing survival resources from the Basswood Tree

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As spring quickly approaches, I’d thought I share with you why the BASSWOOD tree is one of my favorite Survival Trees!


Trees can provide a survivor with elements from all four core survival priorities:  Shelter, Water, Fire and Food.  Trees can be used for warmth, hydration, food, tools, and self-defense.  It’s crazy to think that one can use a tree to start a fire, take shelter under it, and then find themselves able to eat and drink from it.  Trees provide an immeasurable number of materials essential to survival, and studying the different species, as well as what they offer, is a worthwhile endeavor that will pay major survival dividends time and time again.

This article is an except from my much more extensive POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES that will ship (autographed) in the APRIL FORAGER EDITION APOCABOX.  Each tree is accompanied with illustrated drawings of its leaves and (on occasion) other identifying features, such as fruits, nuts, barks, or buds.  The guide (nor this article) is not designed or intended to be a tree identification guide. Rather, it should act as a supplement to other guides on the subject, offering survival specific information and insight that typically is not covered (or even mentioned) in the average identification guide.  

The use of each tree type is broken down into some or all (if applicable) of the following five survival categories: Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, and Tools & Miscellaneous.  The information contained in these categories has taken me nearly two decades to compile, learn, and test.  Yet, I am sure there are still uses and resources for each tree that I do not know.  It is my hope that this article deepens your knowledge and appreciation for the amazing BASSWOOD tree.

Basswood (American Linden) : Tilia americana

The American Linden, or Basswood, is one of my favorite survival trees.  Not only is it entirely edible, but the Basswood also provides a surprising number of other survival resources.  In Britain, this species is often referred to as the Lime Tree, though it is not the source of the lime fruit.


The Basswood tree is not a particularly good tree for shelter.  However, mature Basswoods are notorious for sending up a slew of smaller sucker Basswood trees from their base.  This is one way I am able to identify Basswoods in the winter when their leaves are gone.  These sucker trees are usually very straight, tall, and easy to harvest.  Although not very strong, like oak or maple, they still make great shelter poles if fallen branches aren’t available.  Basswood is a very soft wood and a favorite among wood carvers. Even 2-3” diameter saplings can be cut easily with just a knife.  Consider this option before spending significant calories on a tree of a different variety.


Basswood trees can be tapped just as a Maple can be tapped.  Although not nearly as high in sugar content and not worth boiling down for a sweet syrup, Basswood sap is incredibly refreshing and is one of the fastest sap trees I’ve ever tapped.  Young sucker trees, as well as 1st season growth on branches (1/2” in diameter or smaller), can provide a survivor with a very functional spile.  The centers of these two are very pithy and can quickly be reamed out with a wire or a thin branch with a sharpened point. I’ve used many a Basswood spile while gathering drinking sap from Basswoods, Maples, and Birches.  Friends of mine who make tobacco pipes will often use a young basswood sucker for the tube because of its hollow nature.

The Basswood is also a sign that you are probably near water, as they prefer moist, water-rich environments.  If you’ve found a Basswood tree, keep looking because there is likely a water source close by.  


Basswood is not a great wood for extended warmth and heat, but it is without question my favorite wood to use for friction fire kits such as Bow Drill and even Hand Drill.  Basswood, especially sucker trees and 1st year growth branch wood, is the perfect consistency for friction fire lighting.  The light-weight, porous wood generates a nice hot ember very quickly.  Sucker trees at the base of mature trees are my favorite for this, but fallen limbs and branches will work just fine as well.  Regardless, it is one of the softest woods available.  When available, I use Basswood to make both the hearth-board and spindle for my Bow Drill fire kits (see POCKET FIELD GUIDE:  Master the Bow Drill).


Young Basswood leaves are my favorite wild edible green.  I eat a basswood leaf salad at least two times a week from March-May.  When their flowers are in bloom, I will add them to the salad, as they are edible too.  The leaves are very mucilaginous and may pose a texture issue for some.  While edible all throughout the summer, Basswood leaves are best when young and smaller than a silver dollar.  I also like to steep 10 or so flowers in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes to make a fragrant tea that I very much enjoy.

The seeds of the Basswood are edible as well, though, they are time consuming to collect.  They dangle from underneath the leaves in small clusters and are attached to a tongue-shaped bract.  The hard, outer shell must be cracked away to access the edible seed. I simply do this inside my mouth and spit out the hull, although I’ve been known to chew it up on occasion.  When green, before the hull turns hard and brown, these can be ground into a paste or added to soups and stews.  Basswood seeds, leaves, and flowers can all be added to soups and stews.

The inner bark of Basswood (the whitish layers between the rough outer bark and the solid wood) is edible as well and has a very refreshing texture and flavor.  It reminds me of cucumber.  It can be scraped away in handfuls and eaten raw or boiled to break it up and soften it for chewing and digesting.

Basswood leaves can get quite large and make perfect natural tin foil for baking meals in earthen pits or in the coals of a fire.  Wrap food in at least 5-6 layers of green leaves and tie with the peeled bark from young basswood suckers or branches.

An old-timer once told me that he heard of families in the Great Depression who added basswood sawdust to bread-mix as a filler to make rations last longer.  The wood is not poisonous, so it’s something to at least file away in your brain.

Tools & Miscellaneous

As mentioned previously, the hollow tubes from basswood suckers and young branches have many uses.  Some of these include: 

  •        Spiles for tapping trees
  •         Drinking straws
  •         Blowing tubes for making coal-burned containers
  •         Smoking pipes (not necessary for survival but interesting nonetheless)
  •         Trap systems that require a hollow tube (yes, there are some)
  •         Bobbers/floats for fishing

Basswood is a very soft, nonpoisonous wood and makes an excellent medium for a variety of cooking utensils including spoons, ladles, forks, chopsticks, stirring sticks, and spatulas.  Most of these can be carved with just a knife in very little time and with little effort.  Using basswood for such tools also reduces wear and tear on your knife blade.  Due to their fast and straight growth, basswood sucker saplings also make excellent quick and dirty arrows for bow and arrow or atlatl.  They are lightweight, have few branches, and very easy to fire or heat straighten.

By far the most incredible resource the Basswood tree provides is cordage.  That name “BASS”wood is actually derived from the word BAST, which means plant fiber.  The inner bark of the Basswood tree is one of the most easily accessible fibers I’ve ever gathered from the wild.  It is best gathered when the sap is running heavy during the spring months.  With saplings that are 3” in diameter or smaller, the tree can be scored from left to right.  A knife can be used to pick at the score line and once a piece large enough to grab is available, entire strips that are many feet in length can be pulled from the sapling.  If care is taken, saplings can be cut down and the entire sheath of outer and inner bark can be removed in one piece by carefully peeling from the bottom.  Pounding the bark with a wooden mallet (metal will damage the inner bark fibers) will help it to loosen and will be necessary to process trees much larger than 3” in diameter.  I’ve seen sheets of bark pulled from basswood trees (with many hours of careful peeling and pounding) as large as 2 feet wide by 15 feet tall.

The inner bark fibers, just beneath the rough outer bark, can be processed into cordage that can be used to make nets, clothing, baskets, traps, or any other accoutrement necessary for survival.  On the younger saplings with a thin layer of outer bark, the freshly peeled strips of bark can be used right away as crude cordage for shelter building or rough bindings.  In my courses, I’ve seen two adult men pull on opposite sides of a 2” strip of basswood bark and not be able to break it.

For a finer, more pliable cordage, the bark must be soaked (called retting) in water for at least a couple weeks.  The rotting process loosens the inner bark fibers from the outer bark.  It can then be easily pulled away in long ribbons that can be used as is or stripped down into thinner cordage.  The soaking can be done in a container or at the bank of a pond and river.  This process of retting works for many varieties of trees including, Walnut, Willow, Tulip Poplar and Cottonwood to name a few.

Because Basswood bark can be removed in large chunks from the tree (typically during spring months only), it is an excellent candidate for crafting bark containers.  Below is a basic pattern for making a seamless bark container.  The dashed lines represent fold lines.  



If you’re like me and like to learn how to glean food and resources from trees and plants, consider subscribing to the APRIL APOCABOX called the FORAGER EDITION.  It is all about foraging and includes an exclusive signed copy of my POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES where I detailed the survival uses for many more incredible trees on the forest.  To subscribe to the FORAGER APOCABOX, CLICK HERE:  http://www.myapocabox.com

For more of my Pocket Field Guides, please visit my Amazon.com page at: https://www.amazon.com/Creek-Stewart/e/B0076LIRK6/

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


Inferno: Ten Facts You Should Know About Fire

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fire_flame_facts_top_tenFire can be a beautiful thing to behold; knowing how to make fire is an essential skill that kick-started the next phase of human evolution, and it’s been keeping us alive ever since. As majestic as it is, fire is equally dangerous and will become deadly if unprepared. Fire can cross your path in several forms: As a way to create warmth; to send a signal; to prepare food and boil water; it can be as simple as lighting a cigarette or a campfire, or you can be faced with the wrong end of a ranging forest fire.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here’s what you should know about fire…

The three elements of fire.

This is basic high school science, yet something a lot of people discard when in an emergency. Fire needs heat, fuel and an oxidizing agent to burn. This is known as the Fire Triangle, and it’s vital when you’re making a fire or trying to kill one. (Fire needs 16% oxygen to burn; the air around us contains approximately 21%).

Have a fire starter kit.

Fire starter kits are cheap and there are thousands available for order on the internet; take a look at some of the options on Amazon.com and make sure that you have one as part of your survival kit. You’d rather have it and not need it, right?

If you make your own fire starters, do it carefully.

Many frugal survivalists prefer to make their own fire starter kits at home instead of buying them. That’s great, as long as you do it safely. (One of the most disastrous examples I’ve seen was an enthusiast who made his own portable kit in a small tin, then placed it next to the fire: It heated up, and the results should be relatively obvious. Store combustibles safely. It’s fire. Be careful).

Read Also: PureFire Tactical Survival Fire Starter

Don’t rely on matches.

Matches are a go-to for many avid campers, but it could also be their biggest mistake. Yes, there are ways to light wet matches – take a look at this article on WikiHow to see how – but that is not a chance you can afford to take when it’s your survival being put at risk. You’ll very likely be safer with a flint fire starter kit.

Certain woods are poisonous when burned.

poison_sumacKnow how to identify different types of woods, and know which are poisonous when burned. Novice fire starters often collect any wood they can find for their fire, only to be told by the locals later that they should have stayed away from it – or, in the worst-case scenario, serious illness or death occurs. Some include Elder wood, poison Sumac, and poison oak. Illness or death can occur from fumes, and any food prepared over a poison-wood fire could kill you.

Know how to treat a burn.

Common remedies for treating a burn include the application of some sort of fat or oil: Mayonnaise, butter, cooking oil or margarine. DON’T. This literally adds fuel to the burn, and it can lead to anything from infection to grilling your burn wound like a steak. Emergency guides generally recommend immediate cooling of the burn until help can be found – cold, sterile water. Have burn gel as part of your emergency kit, always.

Putting out fires are different.

Depending on what kind of fire you’re looking at, the way you put it out differs. Never grab the nearest thing and throw it on the fire; in many cases, that’s going to be an accelerant like alcohol, petrol or paraffin. (Also, never pour water on an oil fire. You’ll turn a fire into an inferno). Have a fire extinguisher handy, and keep baking soda and sand nearby. Remember how fire has three elements? Remove its oxygen.

Related: Six Steps to Harden Your Home Against Fire

Don’t forget smoke inhalation.

top_facts_smoke_fireIn most house and forest fires, the cause of death isn’t being burned alive, but smoke inhalation. Symptoms can include a dry cough, dizziness, nausea and potentially coughing up blood. Go down, because heat travels upwards and smoke tends to be less dense at the bottom. Fire can also be dangerous in other ways, like falling debris and burning embers.

Burnt food is carcinogenic; keep an eye on that fire!

Hone your barbeque skills at home when you’re not in a survival situation: Learn the tricks behind fish versus chicken versus beef; you can even bake on an open fire if you know how. Keep in mind that when food burns, acrylamide forms – this is a carcinogenic and obviously dangerous to your health.

Putting out camp and food fires are essential.

Put simply and in the words of an anthropomorphic bear, only you can prevent forest fires. Always make sure your fire is properly extinguished (and a fire that looks dead isn’t always), never leave a fire unattended and don’t put your tents, sleeping bags, gear or combustibles too close to the fire. Sand is your best friend for putting out smaller fires, so always keep a bucket or two nearby.

Send us your best fire starting tips for in the field (or at home) through the comments.

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How To Make A Quick Emergency Lamp From A Mop

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How To Make A Quick Emergency Lamp From A Mop In a real emergency situation we all need to use everything around us in order to thrive and survive! That being said, I remember seeing this somewhere on the internet years ago and I am sorry I can’t remember which site. Luckily I can remember …

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15 Survival Cooking Methods You Can Use In Any Disaster

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 15 Survival Cooking MethodsSurvival cooking is cooking food without modern conveniences such as electricity or natural gas. It’s primitive, it’s back to the basics, and it’s foolproof once mastered.

I love to cook.

Call me a freak, but preparing my own food, to my tastes, in my kitchen, with my ingredients is a favorite exercise of mine.

It’s good for the soul and it usually ends up tasting pretty freaking awesome.

My kitchen is a sacred space where I wield sharp blades, tend to hot surfaces, mix and match with my vast array of spices.

Sadly, my stocked pantry, spice rack, refrigerator, and freezer won’t always be at my disposal.

Likely a future event will shut down electricity, put my home in danger, and compromise my kitchen. Whether it’s a natural disaster, an extended emergency or the apocalypse, I won’t be able to cook like I normally do.

And while that’s tragic, we don’t have to call it an end to a good meal. Even without your fancy gas powered stove, electric oven, propane grill, food dehydrator, or microwave you can still cook up a damn tasty meal.

In fact, survival cooking is a skill that can turn a dire situation into an enjoyable mealtime. That’s why survival cooking is so important.

When everyone else is eating expired canned goods, your family will be enjoying fresh hot meals.

14 Survival Cooking Methods

One of the best parts of survival cooking is that it doesn’t require a high degree of accuracy. It’s a sloppy science, one you can afford to learn through trial and error.

In fact, in an emergency, you won’t even have the option of gourmet. Chances are you’ll be working with few ingredients and you’ll be hungry enough not to notice.

This is far from rocket science – more like basic chemistry – hunter-gatherers perfected these tricks long ago, and if they were capable of doing it, you should be too…

You’re smarter than a caveman, right?

So we’ll start off with the most primitive survival cooking options. Then we’ll focus on a few new survival cooking devices to help with your emergency food plans.

1 – Makeshift Grill

Let’s start with the easy and the obvious first. If you can start a fire, you’re already halfway there.

A glowing pile of coals is easier to control than open flames for cooking. So let your fire burn down to orange flameless coals before turning your fire into a grill pit.

Once you get your bed of coals glowing, find a grate you can use as a grill. A section of chicken wire or even chain-link fence will work in a pinch.

Place your grate over the coals and let it get hot (to disinfect it) before placing your food onto the grill. Now cook your meal to your satisfaction.

2 – Makeshift Griddle

The makeshift griddle is similar to the makeshift grill. However, instead of using a grate, you use a flat surface that conducts heat.

Thin, flat rocks work fairly well and are often easy to find. Sheets of metal, ceramic tile, and other similar surfaces will work too.

Place your flat heat conductive sheet into an open fire and let it warm up for a while. Then place your food on the griddle and start fryin’.

3 – On a Spik

This is an age-old method, popularly used for whole pigs. But the concept works for any animal you can kill, skin and clean.

Use a metal pole or sturdy wet branch to shank through the meat from end to end. Note: if you use a dry branch it will burn and your meal will drop directly into the fire.

Prop both ends of the skewer up on a forked support so that the food’s suspended over the flames. Now rotate the spit to evenly cook your feast.

4 – Earth Ovens

Believe it or not, you can bury your food in the dirt, and it cooks. It’s true.

Dig a pit and start an open fire in the bottom of it. Get it really going so you can cultivate a nice bed of coals. You’ll want to start the fire a good 2 hours before you start cooking and let it burn to a low smolder.

Depending on the size of your food, your fire pit may vary in width and depth. For example, if you’re planning on cooking a whole pig underground, you are going to need a 6 x 6 x 6-foot hole and a big fire.

Once you’re ready, cover the fire with large stones. Then throw a layer of grass or other vegetation down for moisture, and add your food. Finally, toss on an extra layer of vegetation on top and fill the hole up with dirt, burying your food.

Allow up to a half or full day for cooking (depending on size and heat).

Earth ovens are an ancient form of cooking. It’s been used for hundreds of thousands of years around the world by different cultures. Way before the advent of electricity or natural gas.

5 – Stone Oven

This is a quick and easy way to make an oven with heat control.

With stones, build a small chamber big enough to fit your meal. Give it three walls and a top, leaving one side open for easy load and unloading.

Next, stack wood around the stone box and start your fire. The fire’s heat will warm the stones and the inside of the chamber will get hot. Hot enough to cook whatever you stick in there.

Control the stone oven’s temperature by adding or removing logs to your fire.

6 – Dehydrating Food

Food drying can be accomplished in several different ways.

The easiest is sun-dehydration (or sun-drying). This is where you lay out your food and let the sun suck out the moisture. Low moisture helps preserve the food, helping it last much longer.

You can also dry food or dehydrate fruit by letting it slowly bake over a heat source (like a campfire) until crisp.

7 – Barrel Stove

If you can get your hands on a steel barrel and have the means to cut it up, make a barrel stove. They’re a fantastic way of controlling heat for cooking.

First, stand the barrel up on one end, and cut away a rectangular section at the bottom. This is where you’ll load your wood. Now, punch about a dozen nail-sized holes in a group about halfway up on the backside for an air vent to allow a draft.

Finally, cut a small section out of the top of the barrel where smoke and air can escape. You might even attach a chimney-like apparatus if you have the necessary materials.

You can also buy a barrel stove kit to make this process even easier.

8 – Coffee Can Stove

This is a trick I’m pulling straight out of the Cub Scout’s Handbook.

Get your hands on a tin coffee can. Remove the plastic top and wrap. With a knife, punch three or four evenly spaced holes along the base of the tin coffee can.

Flip it over so the opening is on the ground and the bottom is on top. With a gel candle or firewood, heat the can from the inside and use the flat top surface for cooking.

If you want to control the flame or feed the fire easier, cut a small square hole on the side of the can and add a second smaller can to feed sticks.

Types of Emergency Cooking Stoves

Emergency stoves come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. So it’s a sure thing that you’ll be able to find one that is right for you.

Most of the following options can be added to your bug out bag, to your car’s survival kit, or put in your survival backpack. So if you ever have to get the hell out of Dodge, fast, you’ll always be prepared with a camp stove on hand.

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Here’s a list of emergency camp stoves to choose from.

biolite camping stove9 – Biolite Camping Stove

The Biolite Stove is SICK! Not only does it turn sticks into heat, but it harnesses energy to charge electronic devices.

You get three products in one with this nifty little future survival stove. A heater, a stove, and a charger.

10 – Emergency Pocket Stove

sf pocket stoveSimplicity. That’s what this emergency pocket stove is all about.

The small metal box opens up into a standing platform and holds the fuel cells. Pull one of the fuel cells out, light it, and place it underneath the platform. You now have a crude emergency camping stove.

And it’s highly portable. Seriously, this thing fits in your back pocket!

11 – Jet Boil Wilderness Stove

jet boilThe Jet Boil is the stove I use on all my backpacking trips because it’s so light, packs down well, and it boils water fast.

It only holds a single liter but is absolutely perfect for all my wilderness adventure needs.

This will work perfect for short term survival situations but you’ll have to stock up on the propane bottles for a long term one.

12 – Dutch Oven Stove

dutch ovenThe dutch oven stove has been around forever, but it works great. The only downside to using a cast iron dutch oven is the fact that they’re freaking heavy.

You won’t be adding this to your pack or bug out bag. However, they’re perfect for a bug out vehicle or survival trailer.

This one has a gallon capacity for meats, soups, or chili. It also has support legs and is extremely durable and reliable.

13 – Solo Stove Lite – Compact Wood Stove

solo wood burning stoveUnlike the high-tech Biolite wood stove, the Solo Stove Lite doesn’t come with extra bells and whistles. Which might actually be more attractive for some folks.

It’s simply a lightweight, packable, stainless steel stove. Perfect for those who like to venture out into the great wide open.

Just add wood, light it, and you’re good to go.

14 – Sun Oven Stove

all american sun ovenHave you ever heard of a Sun Oven? This is a prepared survivalists dream tool. The sun oven can cook any meal you’d cook in a kitchen oven using the power of the sun. No fuel, no electricity, no wood, just sunshine.

It’s a bit of an investment but you shouldn’t wait for a disaster to start using this survival tool. Start cooking homemade solar meals all year long and save on gas and electricity today.

15 – Traditional Wood Stove

wood stoveThis options is NOT portable and takes some serious time and money to install but they make excellent disaster scenario stoves. A good wood stove also serves double duty as an emergency indoor heat source.

In a prolonged power outage, nothing’s better than a wood stove to provide both heat and the ability to cook awesome survival meals. If you’re serious about getting prepared, find a way to install a wood stove in your home or bug out location.

A Note on Creative Survival Cooking

There is a bigger takeaway from all this. It’s more than just simple survival cooking techniques.

It’s the bigger idea of preparing, adapting, and overcoming.

  • Preparing by making investments in the right tools today.
  • Adapting to the situation you find yourself in.
  • Overcoming obstacles to survive.

Using any resource available to you to make the most of your situation and to best ensure your survival. Improvising is a survival skill for any situation, not only when you’re hungry.

It’s like the show Iron Chef – the chefs have no idea what main ingredients they will have to use until the game begins. Then they have to use whatever they can to create the best meal possible.

In most survival situations, you’ll not know what resources and ingredients you’ll have on hand. You’ll likely have to make due with whatever happens to be there.

Being able to do this successfully is vital, and it opens the door for infinite possibilities. You can make a kitchen out of an empty meadow with a little creative survival thinking. Learn to apply this to all situations and you will go far.

The Final Word

Preparation is the biggest key to maintaining one’s survival. Eating food is an essential part of staying alive. So make certain you’re prepared to handle your own sustenance in dire circumstances.

You can’t assume grocery stores and restaurants to remain open throughout a disaster. Instead, you better understand the basic concepts behind survival cooking and food stockpiling.

So remember what you learned here today by practicing.

Even if you invest in a camp stove, you should still practice all the survival cooking methods. Even the best camp stoves are not reliable 100% of the time.

Someday you may find yourself in need of a makeshift survival kitchen. And you’re skills and knowledge may be put to the ultimate test.

Which of these cooking methods are you planning to use when disaster strikes? We want to hear from you in the comments below.

Will Brendza

The post 15 Survival Cooking Methods You Can Use In Any Disaster appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Basic Essentials for Cooking Fish Off the Grid

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survival_bucket_of_fishFish are a nutritional powerhouse; with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a potent cocktail of nutrients that influence human brain function, optimize hormonal production, and even prevent aging! They’re also a camper or survivalist’s dream come true. Why, you may ask?  Fish go fin-in-stream with the most important resource – water! Whether you love the outdoors, want to be a little greener, or need to eat to survive, learning to cook fish using traditional “off-the-grid” methods is a useful addition to any culinary arsenal. There are a many techniques available to catch wild fish, ranging from building your own rod to catching with your bare hands, but this article is going to discuss how to best cook up your catch.

By John S., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

First, let us discuss the different types of fish meat. “Oily” or “fatty” fish are fish that are over five percent fat by weight, while lean fish are under five percent. Oily fish include anchovies, carp, herring, salmon and sardines. They are generally known for their moist texture and richer flavors. Lean fish include bass, cod, catfish, and perch. They’re known for being a little tougher and a little less flavorful. Your location will be a big factor in determining what types of fish are available to you. Study up on your local species to be best prepared to feed yourself, for fun or survival.

Baking on Smoldering Coals

survival_coals_fishOne of the best, and most basic, off the grid cooking techniques is baking on smoldering coals. While this method is useful for any kind of meat, it adds a certain smoky edge to fish that’s extremely delicious. Oilier fish are especially good when cooked with this method, since the hearty fats seal in a moist texture. Salt is a staple in every kitchen, and you may often hear people talking about bringing salt on outdoor excursions. This isn’t only for the taste, but it’s also especially useful in preserving food, so you should take care to keep some with you on all outdoor cooking excursions and during your survival practice.

Read Also: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit

As for leaner fish, they’ll bake best wrapped in foil or, in an emergency situation, large leaves will do the trick. The wrapping helps trap moisture in and steams the fish. Feel free to dress a coal-baked fish up with some lemon juice and butter if you’re cooking for leisure! It’s probably safe to say you won’t have these items handy during a survival situation, but in that situation, anything edible, and especially nutritious, will be delicious.

Pan Frying (if possible)

fish_survival_pan_fryingFrying the fresh catch in a large cast iron pan is also an option, if you came prepared with the pan and a little oil. If you’re frying for fun, a simple mix of flour, breadcrumbs and your favorite seasonings will keep well in a zip lock bag, is easy to transport, and makes for yummy treat. Even without the mix, the fish will be a great meal on it’s own; especially if you’re eating for survival. The biggest key is to make sure the oil is hot enough, a spit test should do the trick. Simply wet your fingers with some water and flick the moisture into the pan, if the oil “spits”, or jumps and bubbles, on contact, then you’re ready to cook.

You will need long tongs or a durable cooking spoon to flip and “fish” out the filets once they’ve fried to a light golden color. This method tastes great, even with only light salting, and works well for both types of fish. If no tongs or cooking spoons are in your repertoire, you can use a multi-tool or knife so long as you’re careful not to damage it, as you will need it for other important tasks as well. Worst case, there should be twigs and sticks around for you to use as cooking tools.

Building Your Own Smoker

Last, but not least, fish meat is fabulous fresh out of a smoker. Not only is it fresh, but smoking fish, or any meat for that manner, is optimal for survival-based situations because prolonged smoking results in dehydrated, well-preserved food that can be saved and stored for several days. Building, or finding, a smoker can be tricky, you just need to create a small space where a rack can hang above a fire and a ventilation system to bring the smoke up through the fish meat.

Related: Teach Them to Fish

Stacking appropriately-sized rocks is a good and, usually, convenient method of construction. Covering the vents with foliage can help trap in smoke and improve the cooking process, and burning clean, dry logs will provide the best smoky flavor for the food. While this process does take longer than the other two, the preservation effects of smoking could mean the difference between life and death, so it’s definitely worth learning about and practicing. For example, if you are in a survival situation and are having luck catching some fish, you may want to use a lot of that meat in the smoker simply for preservation, and then consume the meat at a later time when you may be running low on food.


survival_fish_filetLuckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to preparing fish off the grid using very little materials. Salt is perhaps one of the most underrated items in a survival situation, as it offers a convenient method of preservation. Adding other herbs, spices and extras will provide a welcome kick to your next camping meal, but of course, this may be out of the question in a survival situation. Lastly, Always make sure any fish you consume is thoroughly cleaned and cooked before consuming. This, combined with thorough cooking, will ensure you have a nice edible fish packed with nutrients to keep you going. Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re out in the backcountry or doing some camping, try cooking some fish with as little materials as possible, ideally using natural objects around you. Good luck!


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Insta-Fire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling And Fuel

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InstaFire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling, And Fuel Insta-Fire is a safe, simple, and versatile new Charcoal briquette lighting and fire starting product. It has water-repellent properties, 1/2 cup of Insta-Fire has a minimum of 10 minute burn time, and is super light weight – weighing 1.8 oz. Use it to light campfires …

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Boots That Incorporate Emergency Fire-Starting Kit

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Boots That Incorporate Emergency Fire-Starting Kit Built into the inside sole of each Substratum boot is a small storage cubby. Owners could theoretically store all kinds of small items inside this pouch, but Rocky S2V designed it specifically for fire-starting equipment. One boot holds an Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie flint firestarter and the other boot …

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days Improvised cooking was part of everyday life during the time of the pioneers. Most families were lacking even the most basic cooking utensils. In order to prepare a hot meal, they had to improvise and look for alternative cooking methods. Cooking with mud was one of the …

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Cooking with mud like in the old days

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In my youth, I was extremely fortunate to be raised by my great-grandmother. She lived to be 96 years old and she managed to share some of her survival knowledge with us. Cooking with mud was her way of remembering the struggles she faced while settling down.   She and her family came to America … Read more…

The post Cooking with mud like in the old days was written by Dan Mowinski and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

The basics of starting and maintaining a campfire

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You may say that you already know how to build a campfire. In fact, everybody knows how to build a campfire. However, allow me to offer some suggestions that could facilitate things for you when you need to start a campfire in the wilderness. I spend a lot of time in the outdoors and I’ve … Read more…

The post The basics of starting and maintaining a campfire was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

10 Essential Tips for Surviving a House Fire

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In a normal survival situation, fire is something you need for things like light, heat, protection, and the ability to cook food. But in the event of a house fire, it can become your biggest enemy and something you need to escape from immediately. Many people have tragically perished in house fires, and if you […]

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How to Make a ‘Poor Man’s Hot Tub

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How to Make a ‘Poor Man’s Hot Tub Ok, this is just cool. This project “How to Make a ‘Poor Man’s Hot Tub” is just right up my street. If you have the back yard to do this why not put it on your bucket list. The one item you’ll need is an old cast-iron …

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How To Make A Horno Oven

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How To Make A Horno Oven This is a great multi purpose oven, if you are camping, hiking or just surviving this Horno oven or in simple terms, a brick or stone and mud oven could cook your food, boil water so you can drink it and keep your shelter warm long after the flames go …

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DIY Self-Pressurizing, Chimney-Type Alcohol Stove

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DIY Self-Pressurizing, Chimney-Type  Alcohol Stove If you want one of the most efficient survival cooking stoves known to man, you are at the right place… Don’t spend a fortune on the big heavy propane stoves when you can make a self-pressurizing, chimney stove for cheap. This is a great project for anyone to try out. …

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34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now

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survival hacksSurvival hacks are solutions that break the rules. The best survivalists don’t just blindly follow rulebooks, so we hack when necessary. Sure, there are hundreds of survival guides we learn from but you’re at a huge disadvantage when you rely too heavily on any one resource.

Real survival is a creative endeavor that requires fast thinking and an open mind. Sometimes you have to improvise, adapt, and make it up as you go along. You have to make split-second decisions. You have to work with what you have got.

You have to think like McGyver by survival hacking your way to safety.

Some of the following survival hacks are my own personal tricks, others I have learned from different survivalists, but together they are very useful and applicable in most any survival scenario.

But remember: you can always “make up” a new survival hack on the fly. All you need is a goal and a handful of random materials. There’s always more than one way to solve any problem.

The following list of survival hacks is not comprehensive. In fact, these 34 survival hacks are just a small drop in a much larger bucket. But this list will inspire you in a creative survival sort of way.

The Survival Hacks (We’ll Start Simple)

1 – Dorito Fire Starters

If you need to get a fire started ASAP, but don’t have paper or lighter fluid, use Doritos (any corn chip will work well). These chips are flammable and will ignite quickly. They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Time to survival hack your way into building a much larger fire.

They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Use Doritos to survival hack your way to build a much larger fire.

2 – Alcohol Swabs as Fire Starters

Similarly to Doritos, alcohol swabs are incendiary. The alcohol makes them flammable enough to catch quickly and the cotton holds a flame long enough to establish a lasting fire.

3 – Battery as Fire Starter

Another great survival hack to generate flame is to use a battery and a couple small pieces of tin foil (or wire). By placing one tin foil strip on each end of the battery, you can get the foil to heat up and burst into flame.

Any battery will do, and the flame generated should be big enough to set fire to paper, thin bark, alcohol swabs or even Dorito chips.

4 – Pencil + Jumper Cables + Battery = Fire

Simply attach the cables to your car battery like you are giving someone a jump. But connect the other ends to a pencil.

The graphite core of the writing utensil will conduct electricity, heating up and causing the pencil to burst into flames.

5 – Crisco Candles

Often times, in survival situations, people lose electricity to power their lights. But fear not! As in times of old, you can use candles to generate light. But what can you do if you are fresh out of wax candles?

Crisco makes a good candle “wax” substitute. Just run a makeshift wick through a big glop of it and you’ll be good to go.

6 – Crayon Candles

Crayons are more than just art supplies for kids. They can be stood up on end, lite on fire, and viola you have a makeshift candle. Each crayon candle will only last about 15 minutes but you can get a box of 96 crayons. That equates to 24 hours of emergency light.

7 – Terra Cotta Heaters

Here’s a survival hack for when there is no electric heat, and you need to warm up a small room. Well, without a fireplace, starting a fire in the living room is out of the question. But there is another way: terra cotta conducts heat very well and radiates the warmth that it collects.

By placing a few candles beneath an upside down terra cotta pot (which can easily be bought at any hardware or garden store) you can create a mini-heater that will pump out a surprising amount of heat.

Set up a few of these makeshift heaters and your home will be nice and toasty in no time!

8 – Coke Can Alcohol Jet Stove

Cut the top of the coke can off about 2-3 inches from the bottom of can, and turn it upside down. Drill or poke holes in the bottom of the can so that air can flow through the ‘stove’. Place a gel fuel tin (or something similar) under the upside down coke can and light it.

You may have to adjust the size of your holes and the airflow somewhat, but once you get it, you should have a working jet stove.

9 – Wild Plants For Insect Repellant

Smoke of any kind works as a general insect repellant, but a few wild plants work as well.

The video below is proof that the right wild plants will keep these dangerous pests at bay.

10 – Super Glue Stitches

Super glue is small, easy to carry, and when there is an open wound that needs closing there really isn’t anything (short of actual stitches) that is better suited for the job.

Just make sure to pinch the laceration closed until the glue dries.

11 – Makeshift Slings

Slings are one of those things you don’t need until you really need one. Luckily, they are pretty simple and really easy to improvise: bandanas, t-shirts, hoodies, blankets and tarps can all work.

If it is too big, cut it, if it is too small, tie a few together.

12 – Hunting Broad Heads From Keys

With the right kind of tools and a file, a key can be shaped into a makeshift hunting broadhead.

13 – Duct Tape Fletching

If you are making your own arrows, you will undoubtedly need a form of fletching. Fletching is the feather (or foam, or plastic) “rudder” at the end of your arrow. It stabilizes the shaft during flight and increases accuracy by a great measure.

In a pinch, when you do not have the time to craft fine fletching on each arrow, duct tape can provide the necessary stiffness to balance the flight of your projectile.

14 – Can Top Fishing Hooks

Fishing is one of the best ways to gather food in wilderness surviving. But finding the right materials is not easy. Luckily, one very common item makes for an almost perfect fishing hook: pop tops!

The fun little tags on top of your beer and soda cans are a great shape to make a fishing hook out of. All you have to do is remove one segment of the top and file it to a point. And there it is: you’ve got yourself a functional fishing hook.

15 – Gorge Fishing Hook

Gorge fishing is one of the oldest methods for fishing. Human beings have been using this technique for thousands of years to catch fish, and it is pretty simple: sharpen both ends of a small twig or stick, and carve out a notch in the center of it.

Wrap line around the carved notch and stick your bait on one sharp end. Drop the gorge hook in the water, and when a fish swallows it, pull the line hard and the twig will turn sideways inside the fish, lodging in its throat and securing your dinner for the night.

16 – Fish Trap from 2-liter Bottle

Take the cap off of the top and cut that end of the bottle right just where it reaches full thickness. Flip the smaller piece and insert it back into the bottle, in reverse. You may have to make a few cuts in the cap end so that it fits snugly inside the bottle’s body. Tie (or otherwise secure) the inverted cap end inside with wire or string.

The basic idea of this trap is the same as any commercial crabbing trap: for fish to swim inside, where they will not be able to swim back out.

Of course, don’t expect to catch any monster fish with this, but it is a good way to secure a few mouthful of minnows.

17 – Yucca Sewing Kit

This is one of my favorites, but it is also only viable in certain geographic areas of the United States.

Yucca is a sharp, agave-like plant with big fat leaves that end in sharp barbed points. Cut one of the leaves off the plant, and start shaving off the edges, until you are left with a long thin, single strip of Yucca with the barb at one end.

Now, cut that thin strip in half and twist the two strands together like a small rope. This will increase the tensile strength of the twine and leaves you with a sharp needle and a thread with which to sew your torn garments.

18 – Water Bottle Ceiling Lights

Need a ceiling light, but don’t have electricity? We got you covered. Just fill a transparent water bottle with water and cut a hole in the roof of your shelter (this probably will not fly in the house).

Jam the bottle up in the hole, and there it is! The light will travel through the water and disperse (hooray for physics), creating a source of light to brighten up your darkest days.

19 – Desk Lamp Water Jug

Gallon jugs of water can work as lamps too! Just fill them up, and wrap a headlamp around them. The light from the headlamp will turn that gallon jug into a bright desk or table lamp.

20 – Improvised Compass

This is one of the oldest and most useful survival hacks in the “book”.

Get a cup or puddle of water (it does not matter as long as it is still and not flowing), lay a leaf in the center of it and gently place a sewing needle or piece of wire on top, so it floats. The magnetic fields of the Earth will naturally orient the needle to point North/South.

This trick has saved thousands of humans over the centuries and is a hack every survivalist should know well.

21 – Rain Collection from A Tarp

All you need is a large tarp and a 5-gallon bucket to collect a significant amount of water when the skies open up. Even in a light drizzle, you can collect a decent amount of drinkable water with this simple survival hack.

22 – Signaling Whistle from Bullet Casing

Maybe might have noticed that larger spent bullet cartridges look a lot like whistles. This similarity was not lost on us, and with a few precise cuts, you can make a very loud, very shrill whistle, perfect for signaling distress.

23 – Folgers Toilet Paper Protector

What is worse than going to the bathroom only to discover you have no toilet paper? Going to the bathroom and discovering that the toilet paper you did bring is soaking wet… I only had to make this mistake once before I changed my ways forever.

Now, I use a coffee can to house my toilet paper, keeping it forever dry! Zip lock bags work well too and pack easily.

24 – Condom Canteen

Yeah, you read that right. Those trusty rubbers are good for more than just baby-prevention, they can also save you from dying of thirst.

Fill one up with water, and carry it with you if there are not any other viable options for transporting the water. Just make sure the condom is not used, or flavored, or lubed.

25 – Improvised Reflective Signals

These can be fashioned from any number of reflective materials; rear-view mirrors, CD’s, polished metal and even jewelry can work.

Of course, some are easier to work with than others. But as long as it shimmers in the sunlight, you should be good to use it as a distress signal.

26 – Tarp Shelters

Survival shelters are hard to come by in many situations. Especially a waterproof shelter. But with a

But with a large survival tarp, you can make sure that you stay dry and protected from the elements.

Tarps do not insulate very well, though, so while it is possible to just hang one up and pass out underneath it, you won’t be staying warm for long. So, the best way to remedy this it to build a small stick frame (like that of a tent) and lay the tarp over it.

Then, pile dirt and moss and leaves up against the sides of the tarp, this will act as insulation and keep your heat from dissipating too quickly.

Snow can be substituted for the dirt in winter (like an igloo).

Here’s where you can get an Aqua Defender King Camo Tarp like the one in this video.

Complex Survival Hacks

27 – Hunting Bow from a Bike Tire

There are a few slightly different methods to accomplish this, but the general idea is the same. First cut the frame of a bike wheel in half, clean out the spokes and sand down the sharp edges.

Then create a guidance system for your string with a couple of well-placed eyelets along the cut rim of the wheel.

The video below goes into much greater detail. It takes time, and it requires a number of supplies to accomplish successfully, but this is the kind of thing that could be used for hunting or self-defense in a pinch.

28 – Makeshift Raft

If I learned anything from the movie Jaws, it’s that empty plastic containers float pretty well. That simple fact applies to smaller containers too; like drinking water bottles and gallon jugs.

By fastening a bunch of empty plastic containers together – either with string or by wrapping them all together in a tarp – you can create a pretty big flotation device capable of carrying at least one person.

29 – Coffee Can Wood Burning Stove

Coffee cans are useful for a lot of purposes. But perhaps my favorite (and one I learned years ago, back in cub scouts), is the wood burning rocket stove.

Turn the metal coffee can (plastic won’t work, sorry) upside down on the ground, and punch a couple of ventilation holes in (what is now) the top of the can. You can also cut a small circle of the flat part for increased airflow.

Cut a square out of the side of the can where you can feed the fire inside. Now all you have to do is collect wood, and keep the inferno inside your coffee can burning.

These stoves work great for cooking outdoors when you don’t have a gas stove or don’t want to cook over an open fire. They also generate a lot of heat and can act like a small heater on chilly nights.

30 – Blanket Chair

Just because you don’t have access to your favorite Lazy Boy recliner, doesn’t mean you have to forsake comfort entirely.

By building a tripod A-frame out of 4 or more solid branches, and tying a blanket or a tarp to it, you can make a very comfortable, single person camp chair, perfect for keeping your bum off the cold ground.

31 – Homemade Penicillin

If you are not familiar with the revolutionary excellence of penicillin as an antibiotic, you need to get educated. This awesome little mold was one of the first ever discovered antibiotics used to fight bacterial infections.

And in the wilderness, or in a survival situation, having an antibiotic to fight an infection will absolutely save your life.

Before antibiotics were discovered, people regularly died because of small cuts that got infected. And you will too, without antibiotics. But you need to be careful, making sure to follow every step in the process as closely as possible.

And I wouldn’t wait around until you have an infection to start growing penicillin – because that is already too late. This is one that needs to be planned ahead by growing your own or with survival antibiotics

32 – Ping Pong Ball Smoke Bomb

Have you ever tried lighting a Ping-Pong ball on fire? If so, you know that they are incredibly incendiary. They light up like the 4th of July.

By wrapping tin foil around the ping pong ball, and leaving a funnel for air at one end, you can create a fairly effective smoke bomb.

Put a flame to the bottom of the tin foil wrapped ball until the plastic inside ignites. And BOOM! Smoke will start billowing out the funnel.

33 – Grass Tire Pressure

If you get a flat tire and do not have an air pump, a spare, a patching kit, cell service to call for help, or any other viable option, you can fill a burst tire with grass and other foliage to provide just enough support to drive on it.

Simply cut a few holes on the inside of the tire and start stuffing! Obviously, you will not be able to use that tire ever again – it will need to be replaced – so don’t do this unless you have no other options.

34 – Improvised Perimeter Alarms

Security is important and becomes more important in survival situations. Air horns, firecrackers, or any triggering device can be rigged with string to go off when someone trips the wire.

A well-planned perimeter alarm system can help you get a good nights sleep when you’re concerned about trespassers.

You can pick up some Sentry Alarm Mines that work with .22 rounds. When tripped, these will fire off the .22 round and make one hell of a bang.

The Final Word

There is no “right way” to survive. Each individual is going to have his or her own survival style, tricks, and hacks. I highly encourage everyone to develop your own…

No website, book, or teacher will ever capture every possible survival hack. Quite simply because, there’s always new ones being developed by clever survivalists. Anyone with a handful of materials, a goal, and the will to survive, will rig together things in order to stay alive.

So share your own survival hacks with us today in the comments below!

– Will Brendza

The post 34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now appeared first on Skilled Survival.

How To Clean Your Cooking Gear with Wood Ashes The Right Way

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How To Clean Your Cooking Gear with Wood Ashes The Right Way If you are camping or bugging out and you have no soap to clean your cooking gear, do not fret , you can use the ashes from your camp fire to do the “dirt” work for you. This method has been used for …

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The post How To Clean Your Cooking Gear with Wood Ashes The Right Way appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Prepping Guide for Winter Survival

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Even the most prepared of families can fall on hard times when winter comes. Depending on where you live in the world, winter can mean extreme cold temperatures, harsh winter storms, and complete lack of food resources. This can add up to life-threatening situations, which is why prepping for winter should be at the top of everyone’s list. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind for making the most of winter survival.


This is possibly the most important factor in preparing for the winter. The cold can totally incapacitate, and even kill a person, in a matter of a few hours. Preventing yourself from exposure to the cold is the first step in winter survival. Cold can make a person’s immune system more vulnerable to pathogens, so keeping warm enough will keep you healthy.

Make sure that you and your family have the right kind of winter clothing. The best possible option combines both price and utility, and wool fits the bill for both of those categories. Wool is an incredible material all around. Naturally resistant to bacterial growth, it can be worn consecutively for days, even weeks, at a time and will not be hazardous to your health or hygiene. It is the most effective fiber at keeping skin warm, especially when acting as a base layer.

To stay warm – have multiple layers available. Wool base layers, followed by a clothing layer, then a core warmer (like a vest), and an outer sweater. A jacket on top of that, along with a hat, gloves, and warm socks, and any human can stay warm in even the harshest cold weather. Additionally, warming packets can be added to pockets, gloves, and socks. Clothing should fit well to prevent heat loss. If you live around rain and/or snow, then a waterproof layer is a must. None of the warmest clothing will work if you can’t keep it from getting wet. And wet + cold is a recipe for serious trouble. Stay warm and dry!

Additional Heat

Most likely, if you live in a place with deep, dark winters, clothing won’t cut it by itself. You will need a way to generate heat to stay warm, especially in the night when temperatures drop to their lowest. Look into purchasing a gas stove, along with extra gas containers. A generator is a basic prepping piece of equipment, and can also be used to power heating devices like space heaters.

The other option is to have a good old-fashioned wood fire. The problem with this is that you might not always have dry wood to burn, and it can also attract attention if you are trying to keep a low profile.

Food and Water

Without these two items you will be hurting in no time, so it is important to ensure that you and your family have clean water to drink, and enough food to eat. Water is more of an immediate need, so make sure that you have several options for gathering it. If you live near a stream or river, have multiple filters to use in case one breaks or is lost. Mechanical filters with ceramic filters work the best, and are very price-effective. Have a way to contain water – purchase several jugs that you can store enough water in for a few weeks at least.

Canned food keeps the longest and can be kept for years on end. Make sure that the cans are not dented, which can be a sign of botulism. Have a diverse set of canned foods, from beans to vegetables to canned meats. This way your nutrition will not falter and you will be in the best possible state of health to tackle other survival concerns.

Be sure to stock up on some treats here and there, as this is the best way to boost moral. Candies, chocolate, vape juices can all provide something to create a good mood in the dark and cold of the winter.

Prepping for the winter is a serious task and should take a lot of forethought on your part to make sure you have everything you could possibly need. You know best what your winter conditions are like where you live, so think about possible circumstances that might arise and what you can do to mitigate winter threats. With adequate prepping, you can survive winter in relative comfort and stability.

The post Prepping Guide for Winter Survival appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

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Video still: Wilderness Rocks, YouTube

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

How can you stay warm even in the coldest of climates if you are compelled to trek through the great wilderness around us?

There’s no way to know the exact conditions you may have to endure, or the situation that will lead way to the SHTF we have all been anticipating.

But you can be ready, and practice to hone your skills until that day comes.

Whether camping or bugging out, there are some good tips and skills for adapting for harsh winters, and these may come in handy, particularly if you live in the northern parts of the country.

On top of the appropriate warm gear, it would be wise to be able to control heat while backpacking or on the run. While it isn’t easy to do in every situation, it is possible even in a temporary structure.

One of the best strategies to use a portable, wood-burning stove designed to safely set up inside tents, with the stove exhaust exiting through a sectioned-pipe (also portable) that is designed to vent through hole in the roof of the tent or shelter.

Best of all, these stoves are relatively affordable (or you could make your own).

Check out this video via Wilderness Rocks:

Hot Tent Wood Stove Bushcraft Overnight winter survival Backpacking.

Here are some other videos on how to best handle the harsh climate of winter survival camping.

As usual, there isn’t just one right way to do it, but putting these strategies into practice will give you the opportunity to work out which methods work best for your needs.

The last thing anyone wants to do is discover they are inadequately prepared to deal with the cold once there is no turning back.

Solo Bushcraft Camp. 2 Nights in Snow – Natural Shelter, Minimal Gear.

Warmest Winter Survival Shelter – Deep In Bear Country

Bush Camp Long Term Winter Survival Shelter Construction

Whatever you do, make sure you stay out of the cold long enough to avoid getting hypothermia, or succumbing to the elements.

Surviving in this climate can be one of the most deadly settings you’ll ever encounter.

Continue reading at SHTFplan.com: Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Fire, Prepping, Shelter

DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

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DIY Fuel

By Chris Black – SurvivoPedia

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

Filed under: Fire, Prepping

How To Start A Survival Fire When It’s Cold, Wet & Miserable

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How To Start A Survival Fire When It’s Cold, Wet & Miserable

Image source: Pixabay.com

With winter weather finally here in most of the country, it’s a good idea to keep yourself ready to start a fire. We aren’t normally warned about pending survival situations, so it’s important to carry an EDC bag or survival kit with us at all times. That ounce of prevention really is worth much more than a pound (or three) of cure.

If there’s ever a time when starting a fire is critical, it’s in cold weather. The biggest survival danger we face in the wintertime is hypothermia. Cold weather is bad enough on its own, but if you happen to fall in a river, or otherwise get wet, your chances of survival drop from difficult to very iffy indeed.

But starting a fire in cold weather isn’t anywhere near as easy as it is in warm weather. Not only are you fighting the difficulties of heavy clothing and your body being made stiff from the cold, but finding dry fuel and a good place for a fire are much more difficult in the cold. On top of that, it seems like most fire-starters just don’t want to work as good when it’s cold outside.

Locating the Fire

Finding a good location for your fire is even more critical in cold weather than it is at other times. To start with, the ground may not be dry. Chances are, things will be covered with snow, making it hard to find good, clear locations. If they aren’t covered with snow, then you might find that all you have is frozen ground. That won’t work well, either, as the fire will melt the water in the ground, which will then try to extinguish the fire.

Your best bet is a bed of stones — not just a circle of stones around the fire, but stones under the fire, as well. That will not only protect your fire from the wet ground, but also from any water from melting snow that decides it wants to try and run through your fire pit.

Learn The Secrets and Tricks Of The Word’s Top Survivalists!

You can easily make a broom out of pine branches to clear off an area and find the stones you need for your fire. If no pine trees are available, then you might want to try pulling up a handful of long dried grass.

Finding Dry Fuel

Fuel can be deceptive in the wintertime; that which looks dry might not be. The problem is that any water in the wood is probably frozen, making the wood seem dry. Unless it is coated in snow or ice, a branch laying on the ground will look dry, even if it’s filled with ice.

Always check the weight of any branches you pick up. With experience, you’ll soon have a pretty good idea how much a dry branch of a certain size should weigh. Try comparing dry branches to freshly cut, green branches sometime, and you’ll see that the green branches weigh considerably more. So, if the branch is heavier than that, it’s most likely not a dry branch.

Look for dry branches in the same places you would if it were raining. That means sheltered areas where the rain won’t fall directly on them, while being off the ground so that they don’t soak up water from the ground. One of my favorite such places is the underside of deadfall trees. There are usually a whole bunch of dry branches which can be broken off easily.

Dry Tinder

How To Start A Survival Fire When It’s Cold, Wet & Miserable

Image source: Pixabay.com

The bigger problem is going to be in finding anything you can use as tinder. Tinder, by definition, is dry stuff. But you’re not going to find much dry stuff around, unless you happen to find an abandoned bird’s nest somewhere.

This is why our ancestors carried a tinder box with them when traveling. Rather than having to look for tinder when it would be hard to find, they were able to use the tinder they were carrying with them. Then, when they found something that would work as tinder, they replenished their stock.

This is what you should do, as well; carry your tinder with you. Whether that’s in the form of char-cloth or a commercial “fire-starter,” having something that will readily ignite with you is a great guarantee of your survival. You could find everything else you need in nature, but if you can’t find something to use as tinder, you’re going to have trouble making a fire.

I carry a commercial fire-starter with me, as well as cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly. Either one will work, even with damp wood, so I’m always sure that I can start a fire. Between the two, I have enough in my bug-out bag to start 50 fires and enough in my EDC to start 20. Why? Because I want to be sure that I can get a fire going, if I need one.

Starting Your Fire

This isn’t the time for impressing people with your ability to start a fire by rubbing two dry sticks together. Nor is it a good time to try and get a couple of sparks from a Ferro Rod into some dry tinder. If you need a survival fire in the winter, then you can’t afford to waste any time. Forget finesse and go for the sure methods of fire-starting, matches or a butane lighter.

The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

Butane lighters are my favorite fire-starting technique. The best are the ones which have a piezo-electric igniter. Not only will those work every time you strike it, but they continue striking, so that if the wind blows the flame out, it reignites immediately. A waterproof butane lighter with a piezo-electric igniter isn’t anywhere near as cheap as a disposable Bic, but they are worth the investment.

Now, I’ve got to say something about butane lighters here. That is, they don’t work in cold weather. If the weather is cold enough that you’re wearing a coat, it’s cold enough to keep the butane in your lighter from turning into a gas. But, there’s an easy way to overcome this; that’s to keep the lighter inside your clothing, where the heat from your body will makes sure that the butane can flow.

Of course, matches will work as well, especially if you spend the extra money to buy stormproof ones. The only problem is that you’ll be more limited as to the number of fires you can start.

A Final Thought

One way to eliminate the problem of having to start fires in cold weather is to carry one with you. The American Indians did this, carrying hot coals in a cone made out of tree bark. If you’re in a survival situation, you might want to consider doing this, too. Not only will this keep your fire going, but it makes an excellent hand warmer, as well.

What winter fire-starting advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Winter Camping and Backpacking Guide

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Winter Camping and Backpacking Guide Backpacking and camping in the winter can make for some beautiful scenery and challenging hiking.  While it can be a great adventure, more preparation is necessary when the weather isn’t so forgiving.  Thrifty Outdoors Man has a comprehensive guide to winter backpacking and camping that helps.  There’s a checklist for …

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MSR Whisperlite vs Esbit Pocket Stove

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katahdinOne recent fall weekend my wife and I went to hike Maine’s Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park. It was a gorgeous hike, as you can see in the image. The hike wasn’t for sissies, however; that or we’re just old, but we hiked for about 8 miles and 8 hours before we were back at our campsite and ready to eat a little Mountain House for dinner. Yes, we could have packed a full grill and made a meal fit for royalty, but that means packing the grill and a whole lot of effort. After a full day of hiking? No thanks. Mountain House is fast, easy, and it tastes good. Besides, I wanted to test a new stove, the Esbit Pocket Stove, to see if it would have a place in our camping/emergency gear. Could a disposable, light, tiny stove heat the water we’d need for food and drink? It could be life changing! Well, not really, but it could certainly change our approach to some hiking/emergency situations.

msrflameJust in case it didn’t go well, I’d brought our standard hiking stove, the MSR Whisperlite. Most people are familiar with the MSR brand of stove, the Whisperlite being the most common. They’re solid, time-tested, with simple mechanics. They can be a little messy at times, particularly when starting them, and you have to carry liquid fuel, but they work. I’m not sure one brand in this style of stove is any better than another. Jetboil seems like another nice brand, particularly if you like using propane. Propane is cleaner and can be set to simmer. The Whisperlite-type stoves can burn multiple fuels, however, better for survival situations.

pocketstoveflameLet’s get back to the Esbit stove, though. I’d never heard of this thing, but it seemed to have potential. “Use for cooking, boiling water, making hot coffee or tea,” the package reads. It’s made in Germany, which has a reputation for producing decent products. The box contains a foldable “stove” (a foldable, metal frame to hold a small pot of water or pan) and 6 half-ounce fuel cubes. The burn time, it claims, is approximately 12 minutes per half-ounce cube. The fuel cubes are stable, non-toxic, and they light easily with a match or lighter. The manufacturer claims that, depending on conditions, one cube will bring one pint of water to a boil in approximately 8 minutes. Not bad! The exterior conditions on that weekend were nothing short of beautiful. Figuring how the package also says the stove works well at altitude, I figured we were all set with “depending on conditions.” We had ideal conditions.

If you’re sensing this is shaping up to be a David versus Goliath matchup, you’re probably right. I’m not so naïve as to think a ten dollar, solid fuel, disposable pocket stove has a fair shot against an eighty-five dollar, white gas-fueled camping stove. The difference in construction and power between the two stoves is obvious. It’s clearly not an apples-to-apples matchup. Still, it was an interesting experiment for me. If the Pocket Stove did what it said it could do, there would be a whole range of situations I’d prefer to have a Pocket Stove over an MSR Whisperlite or comparable stove. When, exactly? I’d use a Pocket Stove over an MSR in any of the following scenarios:

  • Flying overseas. We had a recent trip to Iceland. The airfare there was reasonably priced, but once you’re staying there, everything is expensive. Gas is expensive, beer is expensive, souvenirs are expensive, and dining out is very expensive. We packed our MSR Whisperlite with an empty fuel bottle that we filled there. The plan was to hit the grocery store and cook anything easy from the stove to save money. It’s the scenery you’re after in Iceland, after all. The first day there we searched Reykjavik for Coleman white gas, a bottle that we used little of by week’s end. A solid fuel Pocket Stove would have been much more convenient and we could have packed it on the plane.
  • Day hikes. Here in New England, it’s not uncommon for us to make a day trip to a local mountaintop. It’s nice to do it not bogged down with weight/gear. It’s also nice to have a hot cup of coffee or tea at the top, and maybe a hot lunch if it’s late season hiking. I don’t know how much the Pocket Stove weighs, but it’s barely anything. The MSR and its bottle of fuel have weight, weight I’d rather leave at home.
  • Emergency kits. The Pocket Stove is tiny and easy to slide into an emergency kit for your vehicle or backpack. No worries about liquid fuel, and less costly to purchase if you’re only buying a stove for just-in-case purposes. One of these Pocket Stoves, a small pot, a few Mountain House meals, and you’re in good shape.
  • Bug out bag. Theoretically, your bug out bag (BOB) only needs to get you from point A to point B. Hopefully that’s not a great distance to travel, and if you’ve got to do it on foot, the less weight and size your stove has the more weight and room you have for other items. The Pocket Stove seems more suitable to a BOB.

The more I think about it, the scenarios above are exactly the types of situations I use my Whisperlite in, so the Pocket Stove—if effective—could prove to get far more use than the Whisperlite.

So what are the Pocket Stove’s advantages?

  1. Lower cost
  2. Lighter weight
  3. Smaller size
  4. Stable, solid fuel
  5. Fewer moving parts

The MSR, of course, has its own advantages:

  1. Gas power
  2. Multi-fuel
  3. Larger, more stable cooking platform
  4. Made in the U.S.A.

stoves-on-tableSince 80% of my entire stove use is to boil water, either for drink or to add to dehydrated food, the test was simple: see how each compares when boiling one pint of water. I lit the stoves and they were off to the races!  I know, I know, the MSR fuel canister looks awfully close to the Pocket Stove flame. I just moved the can there for the pic… *ahem.* This Whisperlite always takes a little tinkering to get it going, but the Pocket Stove fuel was easily lit with a lighter. However, you can see the significant difference in the flame. The Whisperlite has a healthy roar to its sound. The Pocket Stove’s solid fuel is more like a dancing flame than the Whisperlite’s burner.

The Whisperlite’s bendable windscreen is a great benefit. Not only does it help reduce wind hitting the flame, but it reflects the heat back toward the burner and up the sides of the pot for greater efficiency. The Pocket Stove has no such screen, making it more susceptible to wind. There was another problem, however. The Pocket Stove’s flame is very low to the surface level. Needless to say, it caught the picnic table on fire in the process.  Sorry Baxter State Park officials!

boiling_stoves_msr_esbitBut soon we had reached full boil… well, the MSR did.  Your can see here the MSR was at a full, roiling boil. It took 4.5 minutes—fast! You can also see here where the Pocket Stove’s lack of windscreen left the flame blowing out the side resulting in poorer efficiency. Mind you, this was by no means a windy day. The air was quite still. Conditions were ideal.  That said, Esbit claims it takes 8 minutes to reach boil, which is still fast, so we kept it going. Except, the fuel cube burned out at 7.5 minutes, despite Esbit’s claim that each cube will burn for 12 minutes. I stuck my finger thermometer in the water and it read slightly warmer than lukewarm.

pocketstoveflameonsideI attributed the failure to burn to the flame blowing out the side rather than sitting fully under the pot. I moved the stove to the ground to save the picnic table, lit another cube, and surrounded it with the Whisperlite’s windscreen. That still didn’t seem to help.  The second cube eventually burned out and after 13 minutes and 20 seconds sitting over the Pocket Stove’s, flame the water was finally hot enough for tea, but still not boiling.

Sadly, this little stove failed to live up to the claims. The only purpose I can recommend it for… is… well I guess I can’t recommend it for any purpose. I took the remaining fuel cubes and tossed them into the campfire to watch them burn. The foldable stove I threw in the trash. I guess you could use the fuel cubes for emergency fire starters, then the unit goes from being a cheap stove to becoming an expensive set of fire starters. You can do better than that. Esbit could do better, too.

Don’t buy the Esbit Pocket Stove. Save your money and splurge on an MSR, Jetboil, or similar quality camping stove. You won’t be disappointed.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things apocalyptic.

All Photos Courtesy of: Derrick Grant

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

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Wilderness Survival: Respect the Sacred Order

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The sacred order is: Shelter first – then water, fire, food. In a survival situation, you need to conserve energy and resources. If it’s late in the day or you are in a place with limited resources, what you do first matters. Panic and frustration get in the way of success in any situation, but … Read more…

The post Wilderness Survival: Respect the Sacred Order was written by Dan Mowinski and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Ten Ways To Survive the Winter Cold

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winter_river_snowIt’s getting to be that time of year again and winter is nearly upon us. You know what that means,  snow. If you live in the northeast, you’ve seen your fair share of it.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the cold and snow and thought I’d pass on a few things I’ve learned and seen over the years.  Playing outside in a good winter snow is awesome.  I love snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snow mobiling, winter camping, and just about anything that can be done outside in the winter.  I’ve never understood folks who go inside at the first snow fall and stay there until spring. Why huddle under a blanket or camp out next to the wood stove when there’s so much to do outside!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Armed with years of experience in hostile winter conditions, I’ve prepared an informative list. If you’ve read this list and followed it, you’ll be better prepared than most individuals.

1.  Dress for Winter

thick_snow_heavyThere’s a couple of ways you can be prepared for winter that will allow you to enjoy it.  This first one may be a little obvious, but in order to stay warm you’ve got to dress for it.  There’s a few guidelines for dressing for winter and the first one is to dress in layers.  Try to dress in synthetics as much as possible, but wool is also a good material to wear.  A good pair of winter boots to keep your feet warm will make your life a lot better as well.  There are thousands of winter boots out there, but I’d suggest something thick and durable.  I wear technical ice climbing boots and gaiters for just about everything, but I figure most people won’t want to pay $500 for a pair of boots.  Shop around and find yourself something comfortable.  You don’t want your gloves to be skin tight.  In order to provide warmth they need to be a little loose.  If your hands start to sweat take them out of the gloves if feasible.  If it’s below zero you probably won’t be able to, but wet gloves suck when it gets cold.

A good coat will consist of a shell and inner liner.  If I’m working hard snowshoeing, I’ll take the outer layer off and put it back on when I’m no longer working. If the temps are in the 20’s or 30’s, it’s not that big a deal unless the wind is blowing. When the temps dip below zero, you have to pay special attention to how you dress and how much you sweat.  Sweat can kill you in cold weather. Be prepared to change your clothes if necessary. I usually carry an extra set of long johns in my pack, so if I sweat I can change into something dry when I stop moving.

2. Bring Snowshoes and Skis  

If you’re going out in deep snow, the only way to move around is with snowshoes or skis.  Deep snow is very hard to navigate. If you’re on foot, your lack of mobility could kill you.

3.  Stay Hydrated  

If you’re moving outside during the winter, you’re dehydrating at a summer rate.  Be wary however, your thirst reflex kicks off in cold weather.  Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.  If you’re hiking, keep that canteen handy and take a swig from time to time.  A good way to monitor hydration levels is to check your urine colors.  If it’s yellow, you’re getting dehydrated.  The darker the yellow, the more critical it is for you to drink.

4.  Don’t Underestimate the Environment 

winter_hike_survival_prepI’ve met people hiking in the winter with light clothes, no packs, and no clue.  I actually had one guy ask, “Do you know how to get out of here?”  We were hiking some back mountain trails and he and his son were completely lost.  They had no maps, no compass, no pack,  and no chance at survival if conditions deteriorated.  If you do go for a hike, make sure you’re able to take care of  yourself in a worst case scenario.  It’s better to carry those fifteen pounds of extra gear just in case.

5.  Know How to Start a Fire in the Cold and Snow 

With fire and shelter, you can survive adverse conditions. Starting fires is a skill that takes practice.  When you can light a fire with a lighter, begin using matches.  When you’re proficient with a match, use a firesteel.  Once you’ve mastered the fire steel, try making a bow drill.  When you can light a fire with a fire steel or bow drill, using a lighter almost feels like cheating.  Practice!

6.  Don’t Overestimate Your Skill 

snow_fire_survivalIf you’re an expert at desert survival, understand that doesn’t mean jack shit when the temp falls to -20 and you’re faced with three feet of snow.  I camp out year round and try different things to see how I’d make out in an emergency.  Last weekend (mid-November 2016) I spent the night in my tipi.  The temps were in the high 30s and I decided to sleep with just a couple of blankets to see how I’d make out.  I damned near froze my ass off because I wiggled off my sleeping mat during the night and the ground was leaching the heat out of me.  Make sure you understand all the nuances of how cold weather can impact you.

7.  Know How to Use Your Gear  

Whatever gear you decide to carry, you must know it like the back of your hand.  How will your stove fuel behave in cold weather?  Did you know that your Jetboil needs a special mix of fuel in the winter in order to work properly?  Same thing is true with Bic lighters.  If you do get a flame in really cold weather, it’s puny.  Test the integrity of your gear. When your life is on the line, you don’t want your equipment to fail.

8. Take a Map and Compass and Know How to Use Them

Terrain looks different in the winter.   I’ve hiked trails in the summer and when I went back to that same trail in the winter I had a hard time finding my way.  Why?  When it snows, it bends the trees over and they have a tendency to cover the trail.

9.  Know How to Build a Shelter 

In order to prepare a camping spot, pack down the area with your snowshoes. Let it set a half hour or longer and you can make blocks for an igloo.  Did I mention deep snow is hard to move around in?  You can either dig a snow cave or make an igloo out of blocks that you cut from the snow.  Keep your shelter small and tight and it will retain heat better.  You’ll find that snow is a remarkably good insulator!

10.  Be Physically Fit.  

There’s a lot of heart attacks from older and middle aged men who live a sedentary lifestyle after a big snow storm.  Snow can be quite heavy and the physical exertion of managing this snow can kill.  Keep yourself physically fit and it won’t be an issue.

There are many factors to keep in mind when you’re outside in the winter, but if you dress warm and use common sense you can have a great time.  Instead of saying, “Oh damn, winter’s almost here,” you can now say, “Alright!  Winter is almost here!”

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

Photos Courtesy of:

Mont Blanc Treks
Christophe Brutel 
Kendall Whitehouse
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Top 10 Ways to Use A Knife For Survival – Guest Post

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In an effort to get you more and varied information, we have guest posts. This time we bring you Brian Cox from StayHunting.com. — Top 10 Ways to Use a Knife for Survival Situations One Read More …

The post Top 10 Ways to Use A Knife For Survival – Guest Post appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

12 Reasons Fire Is Crucial For Disaster Survival

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During a major disaster, you probably won’t have the convenience of modern utilities such as gas, electricity, and clean water. Whether you’re in the city for work or in the wilderness on vacation, you’ll need to turn back to the basics of survival if the SHTF. Your immediate priorities should be shelter, water, fire, and […]

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How To Start a Fire After It Has Rained

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How To Start a Fire After It Has Rained While it may seem very difficult to get a fire started after it’s rained, if you don’t live in an incredibly humid place, learning the skill of getting a fire running while conditions are still pretty wet is actually not too bad. Being able to light …

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How To Build a Self-Feeding Fire

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How To Build a Self-Feeding Fire  Build a Self-Feeding Fire and stay warm all night long with out waking up to feed the fire! In the video below Paul demonstrates a technique for building a fire structure that will burn continuously and does not require ANY management. This is a great method to know if …

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The TOP 11 Gifts For the Skeptical Prepper

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Written By Mike Harris

With the Holidays fast approaching I know how frustrating it can be trying to get loved ones the perfect gifts that is not only practical but will benefit them in ways a flashy pretty piece of jewelry or a cool video game can’t. Having first hand experience with getting high dollar prepping items for non-preppers who not only don’t appreciate them but also shake their head in disdain is a feeling all to familiar to me. So here I have compiled a list of 11 gift ideas under $50 that can put that loved one in a better predicament of preparedness without them even knowing it. This list is non-excusive that will make for great gift ideas for both guys and gals of all ages!


  1. Portable Power pack

Portable Power packs come in all shapes, sizes, colors and capacities. I have found these not only extremely well received by non-preppers but unprecedented by most in the overall preparedness value it brings. The typical IPhone battery is about 2,000 mah of power. With power packs ranging from 2,000 mah to the 50,000 “All Powers” external power pack. The user can charge their portable electronics many times over. Not only are their uses for small electronics great but also they provide so much diversity in regards to their many colors, sizes and applications. Giving your loved ones the ability to meet all their small electronic needs is a huge prepping multiplier! We all know inclimate weather, terrorism, earthquakes, accidents, and overall disaster will happen it’s never been a matter of if but when. According to Current statistics there are over 260 million cell phone users in the United States of America! With this knowledge in mind equip your loved ones with the ability to send that text message, write that tweet, updated that Facebook status, hash tag their ideas, post that controversial idea, record that memorable moment. But most importantly give them the life saving power they need to get in contact with Emergency services and loved ones in the event something goes wrong! You will be happier and can rest assured knowing you have set them up for success.


  1. Foldable solar panel

Small foldable solar panels are not only “hipster and progressive” in many aspects but provide a wealth of preparedness capabilities unparalleled in many respects. Not only do these solar panels provide an unlimited amount of electricity when the sun is out but are very easy to store and user friendly to use. Requiring virtually no maintenance upkeep, they can be that lifeline you can depend on when everything around you is falling apart. They can be used and implemented anywhere at anytime as long as there is light. Even under bad forecast they can provide you the life saving power you or someone you know may need in the event of a disaster.  Now couple this with an external power pack (Apple Product Power Pack) and now you have an unlimited power source that can keep you off grid indefinitely! You will be hard pressed to find something that brings more independence and stress free living then being able to personally provide for all your small electronic power needs free from the power grid!



  1. Solar flash light/ Lantern

Light more often then not is something that is taken for granted by the average person. Fortunately most of us live in a world where we can flip and switch and magically we have light. While this is ideal it’s not always the case when disaster strikes. Solar Lighting not only gives the user the ability to have light where they may otherwise not have it but also allows them to have lighting abilities indefinitely because they are not susceptible to depleted disposable batteries, or oil sources like what we see with traditional flashlights and oil lanterns. Natural sunlight light can be taken advantage of during the day and can be used at night. Also like the already mentioned items many of them have the ability to be also used as an external power pack giving them more then one use. We don’t realize the importance of light until the light goes out and we hear that boom in the middle of the night! Remember two is one, one is none. To see the capabilities these light devices have check out my product review.


  1. Cutting Tools

When you say cutting tools you are referring to a broad diverse spectrum of “sharp objects”. This was done purposely every one is different and requires different types of cutting tools. What I would give a college sorority girl that drives a Toyota corolla and has no preparedness inclination versus an avid hunter that drives a lifted 4×4 truck and stays off the beaten path for days at a time is going to be different in style and ergonomics; but the methodology and application will be very similar. Examples for a self-defense situation I would be more inclined to give a college sorority girl a “Honeycomb Hairbrush concealed stiletto dagger” or a “Cat personal safety key chain”. They are complete concealable very fashionable that can go with any purse or outfit. These items will provide a quick control for an unprecedented attack while serving primarily as an everyday use item. While for my avid hunter, Military, or EMS person I might give a “SOG Fast-hawk Hatchet” that can be used as a self defense tool, extrication device, wood cutting tool etc. As you can see cutting tools have a wide range of styles and uses that can serve a diverse array of preparedness needs without coming across as such.


  1. Portable water filter

Portable water filters are one of those small cheap out of sight out of mind water applications that quite frankly will at a minimum sustain life! These make a perfect gift for all people regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. I can say from personal experience being well traveling around the world these have been a game changer. Being in other countries where the tap water was considered unsafe due to viruses and bacteria I never had to worry about where I got my drinking water. Especially with products like the “Sawyer mini Water Filter” that will easily screw onto any commercial water bottle I was able to fill up my bottle (from any local water source) attach the filter and keep moving without any fear of contracting any water borne illnesses. Most commercial portable water filters on the market today will remove over 99% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli and remove over 99% of all protozoa elements such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. The “Sawyer Mini Water Filter” Claims it can filter up to 100,000 gallons and weighs only 2 ounces. According to science the average adult human body is 50-65% water. On average the every day American family uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. While this is taking other water usages into calculation one can still see the importance of water especially when considering that in a disaster the average person will be expending more calories and using more water. No matter where you are whether that be in a local park, traveling in another country, or in the safety of ones home drinking clean potable water is an absolute necessity and water is unequivocally the giver of life! Make having clean and potable water a necessity!


  1. Waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities

The waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities are what gets the person from the sidelines into the action in regards to preparedness. This is a gateway preparedness gift. Regardless if you are an NCAA Cheerleader, Surfer, camper, Military Service member, or the everyday person the ability to access to and have all their music and electronic needs met is an extremely good selling point. According to a Nielsen’s Music 360 2014 study, 93% of the U.S. population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week jamming out to their favorite tunes. The waterproof speakers encourage the user to take their lives off the beaten path, to push beyond the realms of their typical everyday habits. The external charging capabilities give the user an added layer of support and comfort being outside in those environments. Now add a foldable solar panel and the possibilities for adventures off the beaten path are endless. It’s much easier to engage someone in a “what if” scenario or talk about preparedness if your already off the beaten path, outside the “safety confines” of the power grid simultaneously creating your own endless energy while listening to their favorite music. I’m just saying!



  1. Seed Bank/Plant

Seeds and plants are one of the only prep “gifts” that will give back in dividends that will exceed the initial cost. Being able to take a handful of seeds or a plant and create an endless life-sustaining ecosystem is truly beyond words. Permaculture does more then just provides a means by which to feed ones self. Permaculture in many respects is one of the most rewarding pursuits we can do as human beings. Giving us the ability to create and take care of life, being independent of the corporate bureaucracy of Big Ag, and allows one to create their own sustainable paradigm. The lessons gained from the successes and losses of growing.  Not to mention the invaluable skill set that has been slowly taken out of our modern day society. Living in a day and age where we have become so dependent on a system that could careless the consequences of their actions and practices should worry us all. So stay one step ahead of chaos get someone you care about a small seed variety pack, or a tomato plant. If you really like them get them a moringa tree!



  1. Multi-Tool

Multi-Tools are invaluable to anyone, they provide hundreds of functions and are more compact then wallet or small makeup case. Yet it provides the essentials to most day-to-day maintenance. Whether we are talking about opening a bottle or performing a plumbing task using pliers and a cutting tool. The Multi-Tool is a silent hero; it can be carried as an EDC or left in the glove box of a vehicle until needed. It’s a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. You won’t necessarily build a house with it but it can get you out of pretty much any tight situation you might find yourself in. To top it off, in modern day 2016 Multi-Tools are no longer big bulky steel bricks carried in the same old leather or webbing straps. They come in all styles, colors, and designs. They even have bracelet Multi-Tools



  1. Hand-Crank Emergency Power Source

I’ll let you choose what features are important to you but having a power source independent of another source but your will is absolute by its own definition!  We don’t get to choose when disaster will strike, or how it strikes, or what is affected. What we can do is decide for ourselves how prepared we will be. Having the ability to provide an indefinite amount of light, power, and communication etc. day and night is what preparedness is all about. How many times have we looked down at our cell phone and realized we at minimum battery life now, now throw a wrench in your charging plan. That’s where these device swoop in to save the day. Many Hand-Crank Emergency Power Sources charge at the same rate as plugging it into a wall outlet. So in a few minutes you can bring a phone back from the dead regardless of the time, emergency, or situation you find yourself in!



  1. Emergency Car Kit

Do you know a loved one with a vehicle? Do they have an Emergency Kit in their vehicle? If they don’t they are wrong and so are you! In the United States alone, approximately 7 tire punctures occur every second, resulting in 220 million flat tires per year. Approximately 50% of Americans don’t know how to change a tire. I could talk to you for days on this subject but at the end of the day one must ask him or her self some simple questions. In an emergency situation will you depend on technology (AAA), the kindness of a stranger, or empower your self and loved ones to be self-sufficient?  I can’t tell you how many people I have helped that have found themselves broke down on the side of the road. It breaks my heart because I know somewhere down the line they were failed! Don’t fail your self or your loved ones. Give them and yourself the tools for success and most importantly train them to do the basics!



  1. Candles/Fire-Starter

Last but certainly not least we have candles and fire starters. I put these two in the same category because they go together very interchangeably. For the record U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion annually, excluding sales of candle accessories (Source: Mintel, 2015). Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households, and are seen as an acceptable gift by both mean and women. Not to mention Candles come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes and uses. We see this from votive to floating candles to those that are used in religious and ritual like settings.

Regardless of why or how you use candles the ability to hold a flame is paramount in a disaster situation! So if holding a flame is paramount starting a flame is essential. Now I’m not advocating going out and getting everyone a Ferrocerium rod bush craft kit with char cloth all included. Nor am I saying go out and get your 19 year old college sorority daughter a pack of cheap plastic Bic lighters either. The great thing about fire starters now-a-days is that they come in all styles and colors. You have the Colibri Scepter lighter that looks like a tube of lipstick for the ladies to the custom Harley Davidson zippo for the seasoned veteran biker. In my humble opinion I would say that candles and fire starters are not only the easiest, and least expensive gifts to give but will arguable be, the first thing one reaches for in the event of a disaster. The ability to have a lite candle not only helps our physical needs in regards to light and heat. But the psychological ones are just as important if not more. The flame’s soft illumination reaches the soul; it can deliver hope and instill a calming relief.  This coupled the aromatherapy of a scented candle can literally make all the difference in a disaster setting!


This completes my Top 11 gifts for your non-prepper friends and family. While the old slogan “it’s the thought that counts” may resonate with a lot of people it’s important to realize that your feelings and thoughts won’t be the deciding factor in who lives and who dies. Their ability to react logically and swiftly with the right tools will be the deciding factor. While you may not be able to control ones actions you can equip them with the right tools and get the brain working in the preparedness mindset without them even realizing it and that is the purpose of this article.

I can tell you from personal experience when I realized this reality. I was there when the May 3rd Tornado hit the Midwest in 1999. Not only do I remember the destruction that it left in its wake in my small Cleveland County, Oklahoma town. I remember my mother reaching under the bathroom sink to grab three candles so she could provide just a little light to her 3 confused and frightened boys. I remember her lighting these candles she had received as a gift. I don’t remember who gave them to her, but I can tell you I will never forget the smell of that first apple cider candle she lite, nor will I forget the impact of what a simple candle can do for a small frightened family in a ravaged home. I don’t personally think that individual who gave us those candles envisioned the scenario that they would be used for. Nor do I believe they knew the impact that such a small gift would have on someone’s life. But what I can say unequivocally was that small flame ignited hope, determination, and most importantly a quenching desire to seek knowledge on all that is preparedness and to teach others everything I can. So wherever you may be, wherever life might I have taken you I want to say from the bottom of my heart; Thank You.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article, I hope to bring you more content in the future.


Author bio

Mike Harris is a full time RV’r spending the last couple years traveling not only the country but all over the world. Being a 4th generation sailor he has not only operated all over the world but grew up experiencing the rich diversities that make this world great but also a dangerous place. He is still Active duty he is a Search and Rescue Corpsman (Flight Medic) and an Aerospace Medical Technician.  His preparedness and desire for sustainability are deep rooted in reality. Having to endure and face catastrophe is not just a job description but also his personal mission. He has trained both local and federal agencies as well a foreign. He done real life missions he was there during hurricane Sandy and was also apart of the 2515th NAAD. When not working or prepping you can find him traveling the country in his RV, hiking off the beaten path or enjoying much needed catch up time with friends and family. You can catch his adventures on his YouTube channel.

The post The TOP 11 Gifts For the Skeptical Prepper appeared first on American Preppers Network.

How To Build A 16 Item Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit

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winter emergency vehicle kit

If you’ve yet to build a winter emergency vehicle kit, now’s the time.

With fall currently in full swing, those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains are seeing the first signs that winter is near.

Soon, the mountain peaks will be capped white with snow and roadway conditions will change for the worst at the drop of a hat. Icy roads and deep snow are extremely dangerous for travel and a leading cause of stranded vehicles.

Every year, we hear stories of motorists stranded in blizzards. Sometimes it’s only overnight, but occasionally (on rural back roads) they are stranded for days or weeks, huddled in their vehicle struggling to stay warm.

Too many of those sad tales end in tragedy. For example, here’s a story of a man trapped in his vehicle for 2 weeks when caught in a freak blizzard storm.

He was luck, he survived. But if he’d properly prepared, he wouldn’t have had such a close call.

With some basic survival knowledge and a stash of survival supplies, your odds of surviving stranded in a winter blizzard goes up significantly. These are supplies everyone should store in their vehicle for winter travel. It’s called a winter car emergency survival kit.

This kit will help you accomplish two things. It will help you get unstuck should your vehicle slide off the road. And this kit will help you survive should you not be able to get your vehicle unstuck.

So you winter emergency vehicle kit is made up of items that fit into these two categories:

  • Gear to help you get unstuck
  • Supplies in case you can’t get unstuck

car-stuck-in-snowy-road-1Items To Help You Get Unstuck

Your best bet is to be self-sufficient and avoid spending a night (or longer) stranded. So it’s worth having a few key tools in your vehicle to get you going again.

Mainly, the preventative equipment required for self-rescue consists of 1) ways to remove (or simply move) snow and 2) traction devices to help you get a grip on icy and snowy surfaces. Plus a few items to make the use of these items a little more convenient.

1 – Snow Shovelwinter car kit shovel

A good, sturdy shovel is an absolute must for a winter car kit. Often, some efficient digging can help you quickly get free.

And even if you still can’t get your vehicle free, a shovel will allow you to keep your vehicle from being entirely buried under a snow drift. Because a vehicle that’s completely buried in snow is nearly impossible for a rescue team to spot.

Or if worst came to worst, you could use your shovel to build a snow shelter.

2 – Windshield Scraper and Brushwindshield snow scraper and brush

In all winter weather conditions, you’ll have to remove a lot of snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof and windshield.

A good, heavy-duty scraper and brush with a long handle will save you a lot of time and effort, as well as make it easier to see out your windows, keeping it out of the ditch.

Have one of these is a must have all winter long. I’m always amazed when people are huddled in their cars for 30 or more minutes waiting for their vehicles defroster to warm their windshield because they don’t own a scraper. Talk about unprepared!

3 – Traction Mats

Often, a litttraction matsle extra traction is all that’s needed to get moving again. Many people use sand or kitty litter, but these items only work once and then you’re out of luck.

A set of traction mats are reusable and can be easily repositioned to keep you heading in the right direction.

4 – Tire Chainstire chains

In packed snow road conditions, tire chains are an excellent way to help with traction and prevent sliding in the first place. However, they are a controversial topic, so make sure to check the local regulations regarding their use.

Many western states, require tire chains in severe conditions. In the Midwest, they are illegal in most jurisdictions even during the worst snows.

If you carry chains, make sure you know how to install them – put them on first in your dry driveway and later in a snowy parking lot.

It’s a lot harder to get them on tight and secure when it’s dark, and you’re fumbling with cold hands, so you’ll appreciate the practice if the need arises.

5 – Small Tarpsmall-tarp

A small tarp makes kneeling in the snow (and roadside slush) a lot easier and drier.

It also helps keep you from losing parts or tools into the snow. A 5’x7′ tarp is a perfect size for a lot of roadside uses.

6 – Battery Boost Jumperbattery-boost-charger

Cold weather is rough on your vehicle’s battery, and it’s easy to find yourself unable to start the engine when you need it most.

A self-contained battery jumper is a simple solution and much better than waiting for another motorist to jump start your engine.

7 – LED Tactical Flashlight

All survival kits need a super bright LED EDC flashlight. If it’s dark out or the blizzard has blocked the sun out you’ll need illumination to see what you’re doing. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of batteries in your winter emergency vehicle kit as well.

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Help Written In SnowItems In Case You Can’t Get Unstuck

If you have to stay out overnight, you’ll need a few more things.

At this point, your focus turns from getting your vehicle out, to keeping yourself and your passengers protected from the elements and as warm as possible.

8 – Waterstainless-steel-water-bottle

In the winter, the colder temperatures often trick people into assuming they don’t need to drink as much water. You tend not to feel as thirsty.

The truth is you need to stay hydrated to maintain proper body temperature, no matter the weather outside. Want proof?

High-altitude mountaineers spend about as much time melting drinking water as they do climbing – it’s THAT important.

A stainless steel water bottle is an excellent choice since you can use it over a camp stove or small fire to melt and heat water.

Never eat large amounts of snow directly. Always melt the snow before ingesting. If you eat snow directly, you’re basically using your internal body temperature to melt the snow. This can lower your core temperature and lead to hypothermia.

9 – Foodhigh-calorie-food-bars

In the cold, your body is craving calories in any form, burning them at an increased pace to keep your core body temperature up.

Cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, plain chocolate bars, jerky. I like the high-calorie bars since you buy them once and you’re food preparation is done.

Snickers bars may taste great, but you’ll chip a tooth on the caramel trying to eat one that’s been sitting in sub-zero temps for even a few hours.

If you’re able to heat water over a stove or fire, consider adding powdered hot chocolate or another warm drink with lots of calories.

10 – Extra Warm Clothesmechanix-gloves-1

If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, chances are you’ll int the cold for an extended period of time as you attempt to get out on your own.

Quite often, this can leave you snowy and wet, a bad combination for cold weather survival.

Carrying a change of clothes and some extra insulating layers will let you get out of any wet clothes and warm up while you plan your next move.

Glove are a must. If you’re trying to do any of these survival tasks with bare hands you’re not going to be successful. I like Mechanix brand gloves since they provide me the dexterity to perform survival tasks. Try lighting a fire with thick mittens on; not fun.

11 – All Weather Reflective Blanketall-weather-blanket

You can go with a thick wool blanket but I prefer an all-weather reflective emergency blanket.

These blankets are made with a heat reflective internal layer that helps trap the body heat you’re generating. Keeping you warmer, longer.

Also, consider how many people you’ll be traveling with and be sure that you can keep everyone warm.

12 – Paracord (FireCord)fire-cord-paracord

With so many paracord uses for survival, it a must-add item to any survival kit. You should spend a few dollars more to get Firecord. It designed with 7 strands of paracord and 1 strand of Fire Cord you can use as fire tinder.

12 – Waterproof Matctesla-coil-lighterhes anwaterproof-matchesd Coil Lighter

Keeping a box of waterproof strike-anywhere matches and a coil windproof lighter in your vehicle is simple insurance in the winter.

A fire will allow you to keep warm, melt snow into water, and signal searchers.

14 – Camp Stove

Your matches and lighter won’t be worth small-portable-camp-stovemuch if you don’t have something dry enough to burn.

In dry, cold conditions (like the Rocky Mountains), you may be able to find enough dead, dry wood to maintain a small fire, so a fire starter makes a wise addition.

In wetter climates (like the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest), finding anything dry enough to burn is always a challenge. So adding a small portable camp stove is a better option.

15 – Extra Fuel Bottlefuel-bottle

Obviously, extra fuel can be handy if you’re relying on your vehicle for shelter. Running the engine for heat will help keep you warm, but it will also slowly drain your gas tank.

Carrying a couple of extra liters of fuel in a sturdy container will give you a bit of a buffer in case you run out.

And One More Item

16 – Winter Travel Kit Bag / Totewinter emergency vehicle kit duffle bag

A large zippered duffle bag is a great way to keep all your winter travel survival supplies organized and contained in your trunk or under the back seat. Once you’ve assembled your supplies, choose a bag that will fit them all.

It doesn’t necessarily need a lot of pockets, but make sure you have a way to separate your spare gas can and your camp fuel from the rest of the gear.

Action PlanWinter Emergency Vehicle Kit Action Plan

This action plan can be summed up in just two words: Do It.

Invest in the gear and supplies listed in this article. Then put them all in a duffle bag and put this bag full survival items in your trunk.

You have zero excuses not to do this. If you drive in winter conditions at all, it’s your personal responsibility to invest in a few essential tools and supplies.

This responsibility goes double for anyone who drives others around. That means parents of young children and those who take care of handicap or elderly.

The time to take meaningful action is NOW before the first flakes begin to fall.

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What You Need For A Secure Storage Room

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Another Guest Post today. This one from the folks at Delivering Customers on a Secure Storage Room. Hope you enjoy. — What Should Your Secure Storage Room Contain? The Secure Storage Room: What you Need Read More …

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Survival Gear Review: Vargo Titanium Wood Stove

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Most quality bug out kits give a hefty nod to a petroleum powered stove. Whether white gas, vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_sticks_hot-2compressed gas or fuel tablets, the common thread is the need for man-made fuel. Even the multi-fuel stoves are at risk when there is nothing to eat. Enter the mini-wood stove.  Vargo makes an impressive line of titanium products including the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove. Folding flat and weighing just 4.3 ounces, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does the same things a conventional stove does without the need for extra help. Add another half ounce for the hexagon-shaped velcro-closure pouch and two dozen wooden matches, and the kit still doesn’t break five ounces. 

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Fuel Load out

Using sticks, bark, and the essentially unlimited supply of fuel found in any forest, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will boil water and cook food better and faster than a small campfire. The shape and design of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove makes for concentrated heat and focused energy all in a tiny package. The stove has a five-inch diameter base that focuses the energy out of a three-inch chimney. The area of a circle is pi times the radius squared. So a five-inch base has about 19.6 inches of surface area, and the chimney has about seven inches of area. This means that almost three times the amount of burnable real estate heat is concentrated into the business end of this little wood furnace. Since pure titanium has a melting temperature of over 3000 degrees F, there is little chance that this alloy of Ti will ever soften during use.

Also Read: 15 Ways To Start A Fire

The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is a set of seven hinged panels all folding flat into a quarter inch high plane. One panel is the hexagonal base, and the others are the six triangular walls. Piano hinges connect all the panels, and one simple notch on the base provides support and alignment with a wall panel, and another spring clip on the base holds the whole thing together. A single panel remains movable as the door.

Black Pots Matter

Unlike other folding stoves, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is ultralight and folds together in mere seconds. The folding mechanism creates a solid furnace that supports pots and has a door to open when feeding is necessary, which, by the way, is very often. I’ve used other flat-folding wood stoves and was impressed with their efficiency, but not their assembly. This becomes especially important when it’s cold, dark, wet, and there is no flat surface in sight. Further, the stove will be caked with black carbon so the less it must be handled, the cleaner your fingers will remain.

Gas stoves are great when they have gas. Otherwise they are dead weight. Campfires are a vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_screws_cross_barswonderful morale building tool, but heavy on the smoke, smell, and evidence. Plus, most folks new to campfire cooking build way too big a fire and make a mess of things. Part of the dramatic efficiency of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is that it has a raised base with 19 hexagonal-shaped ventilation holes in it. The flow of oxygen into the base of this stove makes for a much hotter burn than wood sitting on the ground. This also means you must keep the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove sitting on its base feet in order for air to freely circulate under the stove. As the holes fill with ash or the stove sinks into the ground or snow, the efficiency will suffer tremendously. As such, keeping the base above ground is critical to a healthy fire. 

Wood Fired Afterburner

Up at the hot end of the stove, five of the six panels have a V-shaped notch about a half-inch wide and ¾-inch deep that allows flame to escape the stove and wrap up and around the pot. A sixth but smaller V-shaped notch is on the door. Since the top of the door is half an inch below the plane, the smaller door V actually corresponds to the bottom portion of all the other panel Vs. This makes for a level mount for wire or stakes but would prevent the door from opening. The top of the door is the largest vent. All these vents provide plenty access for pot-blackening carbon to coat the sides of your cookware.

The V-shaped notches also have another purpose. By placing small metal rods, tent stakes, or four-vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_cut_hatchetinch steel grabber screws across the top of the stove, you create a grill-like cap on the top allowing small containers to sit above the flames. Stainless steel water bottles may require this mod. If you prefer, you could just add a four or five-inch square of screen to use a grill surface. I don’t recommend a circle of screen due to all the exposed wires ends from cutting that shape. The more you add to this kit, the more you deviate from the lightweight simplicity you paid for.

Related: 5 Dollar Preps: DIY Fire Starter

If you’re adventurous, you could put the stove upside down inside a pot to make a small grill. You can cook meat and veggies right on the stove-top.  With the proper mods, this stove has the potential to be a very versatile addition to your survival kit. 

Feed Me Seymour

The success of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is dependent on a steady and endless supply of small lumber. The Vargo eats pencil-sized sticks like there’s no tomorrow so have a pile on hand before lighting up this hungry monster.

In reality, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does not burn wood much faster than a campfire, instead it feeds on a diet purely of high-surface area kindling. The interior of the stove is rather small so the fire burns hot and fast. The first time I took my Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove for a spin, it kept coming close to going out. I thought I could take a break from stoking it, but I was wrong. You only get a few minutes of downtime between feedings. And you cannot put a nice juicy log into the fire to make a big glowing ember. To put it simply, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is more like a blender where you keep adding sticks and they keep disappearing in flames.

Phase Changing

I was equally surprised at how fast a half-quart of water came to a boil on the Vargo Hexagon vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_centimeter_thinTitanium wood stove. The concentrated heat literally firing out of the titanium tipi went directly into the pot. Time-to-boil depends on your wood, starting water temperature, outside temperature, and the shape of your cooking pot or cup. Something in the 10-15 minute range is a normal boiling time. Other variables include altitude, quality of fire, lid use, and wind. If you double the amount of water, it seems to triple the amount of cook time.

This titanium stove gets sooty quickly. That’s one big difference between a clean-burning gas stove and a primitive tree-burning one. In fact, the stove becomes a pretty dirty thing to handle. Thankfully the black nylon pouch included with the stove keeps soot contained. 

Check Out: Gear Portable Military Wood Stove

Of course, this stove should burn about any fuel you can fit inside it. So fuel tablets, alcohol, and other dedicated burnables will work. However the opposite cannot be said for tiny tablet and alcohol stoves which have trouble digesting wood. If alcohol is a preferred cooking medium, Vargo does make a titanium alcohol stove that fits inside their wood stove creating an efficient windscreen and additional stove. 


The downside of a small stove is that it is small. A small stove supports small pots with small water capacities. vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_quart_cupUnder ideal conditions, you could balance a quart of water on Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove, but that’s pretty gutsy. Instead, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove works great with small pots and large metal cups. I use both stainless steel and titanium cookware, but always single-wall. The double-walled cups can explode if heated, so keep that factoid in mind.

The price of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is around sixty bucks or roughly three times the price of its stainless steel counterpart. So if weight is not an issue, you could buy three iron versions for the same price of one titanium one. The stainless version of the Vargo Hexagon wood stove weighs almost twice as much as the Ti version but both are considered light weight by reasonable standards. Well, actually the steel one is just lightweight. The titanium one is ridiculously lightweight.

Stained for Life

One use and the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will have permanent blackened walls and lightly rainbow patina. Live with it. You can get some of the carbon off by scrubbing the stove with sand or dirt after it cools. I’ve wire-brushed mine but it’s usually not worth the effort. The next time you fire up your stove, you will re-blackening it.

The simplicity of a campfire has always been its main attraction. So, adding a little titanium tech to the campfire concept is hardly a big step. The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove should be a welcome addition to any bug out bag or survival kit. The stove probably won’t make the difference between life and death, but it will do important cooking and boiling tasks much better than when in the open air. If time is critical and you need to keep a low profile, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is worth it’s minuscule weight in gold.

Vargo Hexagon Titanium Wood Stove is available on Amazon (Click Here)

Photos By:
Doc Montana

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How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

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How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

We have all seen videos around the internet on starting a fire with steel wool and a cell phone battery. That is  a great way to start a fire in an emergency. The issue is that many phones now have sealed batteries. So I wondered Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? With phones dying so fast many people carry these portable charging devices. 


How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

The Parts

For this build, I bought the cheapest power bank I could get. It was $4.88 for a 2,000 mah battery bank. Which should, it states, provide you with one charge. For our needs, this will be plenty of juice. The usb battery pack came with a tiny usb cable. also we will need steel and tinder. I used some charcloth and a cotton ball. Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it

Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it doesn’t work well. I had to wash it off and let it dry all day. 

We will need to cut the end that plugs into your phone all of the mobile battery pack. Mine only had to wires. Strip off a little of the wire to expose the bare wires. 

Starting The Fire

I tried several times with just the cotton ball with no luck. I added a piece of charcloth under the steel wool and got it to work right away. Once the charcloth caught I started slowly blowing it to get it to burst into flames. It took just a few minutes to work. 

Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? The answer is yes. Save your phone and just 


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Outdoor living made a little easier

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The Solo Stove Bonfire makes the perfect centre piece during your outdoors adventures

The Solo Stove Bonfire makes the perfect centrepiece for your outdoors adventures


ampfires are unpredictable and some camping stoves arw bulky and let’s face it, impractical. Whether you want to heat some porridge to start your day and or keep warm whilst you star gaze, a reliable fire would be an asset.

A new Kickstarter company might have the answer.’Engineered for adventure’: Solo Stove is offering a new kind of off-grid fire pit and stove range, which pushes the limits of combustion airflow efficiency.

The stove only uses the highest-grade 304 stainless steel in the design and it’s engineered to maximize the airflow of the burning process. So basically, it’s pretty powerful for such a compact, easy to carry around essential. Starting from $69.99, the stove comes in a three types. The lite stove good for an intimate setting of 1-2 people and the titan model, one for a bigger get-together of 2-4 and finally the campfire version for 4+.

A look inside the Lite Solo Stove

A look inside the Lite Solo Stove

There’s no heavy battery needed either. Simply pop a few small twigs and logs in the bottom and the stove will burn through them to give you authentic flames, painting a smooth ambiance that will help make the most magical memories with nature and your loved ones. The possibilities are illustrated beautifully in their short video. The clean up is easy too, just wait for the stove to cool down, shake the remaining ash out of it and back into the bag it goes. When you’re ready to move, it slips into a drawstring bag which you can connect to your rucksack or carry yourself.

The company is also creating a bonfire, using the same technology to build a bigger experience which can be used in your own backyard. Hayley Perry, a spokesperson from the company explained: “As a wood burning fire pit, the Bonfire runs completely on biomass and is the most eco-friendly fire pit on the market.” They’re offering a 10% commission on every $1 that you contribute, so if you’re interested, click here to donate. Pre-orders will be available on their website in October with the official release happening in early December.

The post Outdoor living made a little easier appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Family

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No matter where you live, your home is at risk for some kind of natural disaster. Whether you’re on the earthquake-prone west coast or right in the heart of tornado alley, it’s crucial to learn how to prepare your home and family for possible disaster. Disaster preparedness is crucial when it comes to taking care of your family. Here are a few ways to ensure your entire family stays safe in the event of a weather emergency:


  1. Make a family emergency preparedness plan.

Not only is it important to sit your family down and discuss exactly what to do in the event of an emergency, it never hurts to have a tangible copy to refer to in the moment. Natural disasters are hectic and panic has a way of making you forget what you’re supposed to do, so having a reference is always a good idea. Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family that covers all the potential disasters for your area. Where should your kids take cover in the event of an earthquake? Does your spouse know where the emergency flashlights are? Do you have a designated emergency contact your children can reach out to if you’re unavailable when disaster strikes? Keep hard copies for emergency reference, but make it a constant conversation to refresh everyone’s memories.


  1. Take special considerations for children.

You’ll want to make sure your kids understand the gravity of a true emergency and the importance of acting quickly and appropriately. If you live in the country, your kids should know that the second they hear tornado sirens while in the backyard playing, they can’t waste a single second in dashing to the basement. If you live in the city, talk about “safety spots” near their school — like a trusted friend or family member’s house — they can go in case getting home amid the chaos simply isn’t possible. Make sure they understand that their safety should never be compromised under any circumstances; not even to save your garden from ferocious hurricane winds.


  1. Buy a few medical books.

You never know what injuries may occur, so stock up on some emergency medical books — don’t rely on a smartphone’s access to the internet or a tablet having enough charge to pull up the information. A few books on basic first aid, sterilization, and emergency care, as well as any applicable pet emergency care literature should be enough to keep you prepared. This is especially important if you live in a secluded, rural area and rescue crews may take longer to reach you in an emergency. One of the best medical books you can add to your household is “The Survival Medicine Handbook” by Dr Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. Also known as Dr.Bones and Nurse Amy they focus on teaching people how to deal with emergencies in laymen terms so we all get it.


  1. Prepare your pets.

Ideally, your pet is micro-chipped with up-to-date information, but never underestimate the power of his collar and ID tags; these items can be a major help to getting him back if he runs away or becomes lost in a crisis. Keep in mind that even if you live in a residential suburb where most people know your pet, he could wander farther than you expect and without tags, a rescuer may assume he’s a stray. You should also make sure his leash and carrier are somewhere easily accessible should you need to evacuate the house in a hurry.


  1. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice safety drills in your home on a regular basis. Switch up the times of day and situations in which you alert your family to a practice emergency, including during meals and smack dab in the middle of game night. Go over what to do in situations away from home so that even if you’re somewhere unfamiliar on vacation, everyone will know what to do should emergency strike.


When it comes to floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and all of their havoc-wreaking cousins, there’s no such thing as “too prepared”!

The post Disaster Preparedness for Your Family appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Fire fuel sources that will never fail you in the wild

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The ability to make a fire in the wilderness is undoubtedly one of most important survival skills that one can master.  There are many ways to create a fire and your success depends greatly on the type of fuel sources you have available. The examples listed in this article will never fail you and are … Read more…

The post Fire fuel sources that will never fail you in the wild was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Make A Pine Knot Torch For Emergency Light

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How To Make A Pine Knot Torch For Emergency Light Whether navigating the woods in a survival situation or simply needing an emergency light when resources are limited, knowing how to make a torch with just a few common supplies is a valuable skill. When SHTF you might just need a steady source of light and heat. If …

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Beginners Guide To Surviving

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Submitted By H.D.

What is it that makes a natural disaster so dangerous? Is it the fact that, we can’t prevent it from happening? Or does it have to deal with our inability to recognize the signs? The answer is neither. The reason why a natural disaster is so dangerous, evolves around preparation. To put it another way, they’re dangerous because we don’t prepare for them. A large percentage of the American population goes throughout their day-to-day lives without ever thinking of a natural disaster occurring. A beginners guide is something we all need to make us aware of what we need to do.

With that being said, ask yourself, “How can we survive something we’ve never prepared for?” it would be equivalent to taking an exam in a subject you’ve never studied for. The answer is simple, you can’t! This is why earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornado’s rip cities apart, taking thousands of lives and causes billions of dollars in damage.

According to DoSomething.org, between the years of 2000 and 2012, natural disasters caused $1.7 trillion in damage and affected 2.9 billion people. The researchers later discovered that, 2012 marked the third consecutive year worldwide natural disaster damage exceeded $100 billion.

Believe it or not, natural disasters like wildfires can strike at any time, without warning. In other words, even if we tried to recognize all the signs before a disaster hit, one could still strike unexpectedly. Those are the ones that cause the most destruction.


Here are some things to keep in mind before a natural disaster hits your home.


Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late


  1. Preparing For A Flood


Like most natural disasters, flooding can affect anyone, regardless of where they live. Within the United States, it’s actually the most common type of natural disaster. As a result, flash-floods has caused about 200 deaths annually, according to LawHelp. In order to make sure you’re protected, get to higher ground. Don’t attempt to operate a motor vehicle no matter what – otherwise you risk the chance of getting stuck, or even swept away by fast moving water.


Ways To Protect Your Home

  • Seal the basement walls with waterproof compounds.
  • If possible, have a sump pump, as well as a backup one that operates on batteries.
  • Check and make sure that all electrical components are no less than 12 inches above any assumed flood levels. This will help prevent you from getting electrocuted.


  1. Tornado Watch

A tornado is a combination of wind and water that can travel anywhere from 250 to 300 miles per hour. Needless to say, a tornado can destroy any and everything it comes in contact with. Turning everyday household objects into dangerous projectiles that can kill people and damage property. Before strengthening your living environment, check and make sure your home is out of harm’s way. To emphasize, make sure you live somewhere that isn’t within arm’s reach of the windstorm.


Tornado Proof Your Home

  • If you live in an area that’s prone to tornado’s, make sure you cover your windows to protect them from shattering. Garage doors should also be checked and reinforced. Just because it’s one of the heaviest and most powerful pieces of machinery in your entire house doesn’t mean it can’t be blown away by a twister.
  • Schedule a home inspection to have your house and roof checked.
  • Make any repairs necessary in order to ensure your safety.


Despite the fact that tornado’s are commonly known to occur in the springtime in areas of the U.S. known as “Tornado Alley,” the truth is, tornadoes have been known to occur in every state and in every month.


  1. Hurricane Season


Anytime a hurricane is approaching the coast, you will more than likely witness people scrambling to hardware stores buying whatever they can get their hands on. Although this may sound like a good idea, the reality is if you wait until a “hurricane watch” has been issued, you’re too late. During a hurricane, homes might get damaged or even destroyed by high winds and high waves. Meaning that, windows will be shattered and homes can even fall to the ground if they’re built on a weak foundation in extreme storms, like Hurricane Katrina.


Don’t Waste Time

  • First and foremost, don’t wait until a “hurricane watch” has been issued to the public before grabbing the hammer and nails.
  • Remove weak and dead trees or tree limbs located on your property.
  • Have a backup plan in case you have to evacuate your home. Also set aside some cash, and make a “grab” and “go” bag that has all your important paperwork, and personal information stored inside.
  • Lastly, make sure you have a battery-powered radio, so you can keep up with the latest news.


  1. Tectonic Plates Shifting (Earthquake Preparation)


Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever experienced an earthquake you know how scary it can be. According to Ready.gov, earthquakes are defined as sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface. These events happen along cracks within the earth’s surface called fault lines resulting in a release of energy that causes the earth to shift and move; shaking buildings, bridges, and homes. In the United States, earthquakes are more commonly known to occur throughout the western region, however, other states have been known to experience this disaster as well.

Since earthquakes are unpredictable, make sure your home is sturdy enough to withstand intense shaking, no matter where you live. In the case of an earthquake, it’s always better to assume the worst and have too much rather than not enough.


Don’t ignore the signs.


  • For heavy items that can fall over, secure them to a wall or floor.
  • Breakable items should also be moved closer to the floor or placed on lower shelves as well.
  • Check your foundation for cracks, and any loose wires that may cause a fire. Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes come without warning. Therefore, you should make repairs to your home immediately after inspection.
  • For families, make sure your children and other loved ones know the earthquake safety drills.


  1. The Do’s & Don’ts For All Natural Disasters



Do Don’t
●       Stock up on food.

●       Don’t forget to purchase lots of water.

●       Assemble a first-aid kit for cuts and bruises.

●       Pack spare clothes in case you’re away from home longer than you expected.

●       Sanitize whatever items you use properly.

●       Drink water you think might be contaminated.

●       Forget to wash your hands as much as possible.

●       Hold on to food items that may have come in contact with contaminated water.

●       Forget to protect important documents. After all, once they’re gone, they’re gone for good!

●       Store food outside.


As a final point, even if a natural disaster isn’t threatening you or your family, it’s still a good idea to stay prepared for whatever comes your way. If you live in areas that are prone to disasters, never second guess leaving your residence if you have to. A home can be replaced, but a life can’t.

Be safe out there!


Thank you again for taking the time to read my article. I would like to know, have you ever experienced a natural disaster before? Or, do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’ll be checking for comments, so feel free to express your thoughts on today’s article.








H.D. loves taking advantage of the sunny weather outside. If you can’t catch him online reading whatever he gets his hands on, you might be able to catch out playing football with friends, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241.





The post Beginners Guide To Surviving appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Survival Skills: How to Build and Cook in a Steam Pit

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How To Build And Cook In A Steam Pit Building a steam pit is hard work, so I am told. I personally have not made one, but it is worth all the trouble of building it. This traditional method of cooking works extremely well and you can cook a whole meal in one pit. I …

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How To Have A Fire Pit: No Smoke, Odor or Ashes And Plenty Of Style

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How To Have A Fire Pit: No Smoke, Odor or Ashes And Plenty Of Style  I have to say this fire pit tutorial is just wonderful.. No smoke, odor or ashes is great in my books. Fall is just beginning, so enjoy the cool evenings around a wonderful odorless and less work fire pit with minimal installation. …

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

Plan, Plan, Plan

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

You WANT to Have Lights and MORE Lights!

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

Lite Saver - 3 in 1 Light

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

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


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

Some examples are:

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

Think About Safety

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

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

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

A Thought on Cell Phones

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

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


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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

What would you add?


Stove Necklace Idea

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Stove Necklace Idea I saw this and I had to share it with you folks! This is awesome… There are no instructions on how to make one, but It looks like you could make one pretty easily (some DIY knowledge would help tremendously). A little soldering and boom, your very own personal, portable cooking vessel …

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Survival Gear Review: Barricade Fire Blocking Gel

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Firegel Saves House

Looked at the news lately?  Hot, dry and windy.  Fire season is upon us again.  It is starting to really Home fire protectiondry out up here in the high country of Rocky Mountains where wildfires are our biggest nemesis.  My paranoia level is around a 5 on a scale of 10.  Statistically the chances of your house going up in flames, due to wildfire,  is less than 1%.  Where did I get that number?  I made it up after reading a bunch of sites.  I really couldn’t find a real factual number, but if you take into account the number of homes in the danger zone and how many homes are lost, it isn’t hard to think that it is a realistic starting point.

By Pineslayer, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

So why worry?  Because it will happen to someone everyday somewhere.  There is an additional risk SHTF Survival(while more remote) of a fire caused by nuclear war.  If you really want to scare yourself, you can read this creepy theory put forward by Jerald E. Hill of the Rand Corporation called “Problems of Fire in a Nuclear War” from 1961 (click here).  But hey, even if the chances of fire by mother nature, careless campers, or nuclear war are remote, isn’t that why we prepare?  I don’t know about you, but my home is more than just a shelter.  It is filled with memories, dreams, food storage, and survival gear.  :)  Losing my bug in location is not a good option.  So obviously no one wants to lose their home to fire and fighting a wildfire is a dangerous activity, so let’s improve our chances.


Many of you have read about foaming systems that can be installed to suppress fires.  I have talked to Best Firegel for home protectionlocal firefighters who have witnessed their effectiveness.  The downside is cost, thousands.  So for the average homeowner it seems a daunting project.  Enter Barricade FireGel.  If you can operate a hose or power washer, you can give home a fighting chance. Their site is packed with information, so go there and start reading.

Also Read: 6 Steps To Harden Your Home Against Wildfire

I cut trees all summer long.  It might be for forest health, new building sites, or defensible space.  Most people think that if they move the trees back away from their house they will be OK, but they are missing many key components of how a fire devours homes.  Flammable materials stacked next to the home, bad.  Wood decks, tall grasses, and shake roofs, all very bad.  The ember storm from a fire will find any chink in your armor.  Push all potential combustible items away from the structure.  The next step is Barricade Firegel.

So I was getting ready to make some mini-decks out of old cedar wood from my deck replacement project.  Take a blow torch to them and see how they fare with and without Barricade Firegel.  I spent some time on their website about an hour, and realized that would be a waste of time.  Their site has plenty of video’s and info, the stuff works.  Spraying the whole house might be your best option, but maybe a couple of sides would work too.  Consider general wind direction, slope, and where any flammable items are your property.   Fire likes to race uphill with the wind at its back.  Generally the wind is coming from the West, generally.  So consider how much gel you would need to spray that side down, any decks, vehicles, and out buildings.  If you have a wood sided home, consider buying a few gallons more.

Barricade FireGel Hard Use Video

How Much Do I Need?

This will require a little calculating on your part. Each 1 gallon container of Barricade concentrate best wildfire protectionwill coat 500-700 square feet of area. The area you cover depends on how thickly you apply the product. A ¼ inch covering is recommended. The average home will take between three and five 1 gallon containers of Barricade concentrate.  Their FAQ section is packed with info.

Related: Gransfors Axe Review

We recently had a fire up by my house in the mountains.  Within a week it was 100% contained and completely put out.  2 firefighters lost their homes and I know one young couple who lost theirs as well.  The 2 that were arrested are…habitual losers and criminals from out of state who forgot to put out their campfire.  The forest is crawling with these types, leaving their fires unattended, feces everywhere, begging in parking lots.  Sorry to get off track here, but it does go to the need of protection/security.  I see pitchforks and torches in the near future.

Have A Plan

Now back to our story.  It is hard to imagine a prep more important than one that keeps a roof over your head.  Whether it be during good times or bad, when the balloon goes up and the fire is raging, you are the first line of defense.  If you do the grunt work ahead of time, your stress level will be exponentially lower.  Wait until the last minute and be prepared to suffer.  You don’t want to be that person who looks back and wishes they had spent that few hundred bucks to save what was.  Harsh?  Yep.  Mother Nature has a take no prisoners attitude, respect her, understand her and be prepared to fight under her terms, with a little help.  Here is a quote that I love when I think about fighting a larger opponent, “Like a reed in the wind, I will bend , but will not break.”  Name that movie.

Related: Understanding Axe Types

After writing this and doing my homework, I can think of no better product to fight wildfire.  If you surround your home with bales of hay and firewood, this might not save you, if it does I bet FireGel would love to hear your story.  Clean up your property, be smart and get some Barricade FireGel.  I have a couple gallons and I’m buying more for my outbuildings, cars, (insert here what you want to save).

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Flood – Fire – Evacuation

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Two of the most common reasons to evacuate your home, workplace, or any other safe area are flood and fire. Right now, both are being delivered in spades, and perhaps, your family is being affected by an emergency evacuation.

In the Los Angeles area, nearly 90,000 people are being evacuated due to the Blue Cut wildfire that is virtually out of control, still. Where do 90,000 people go? That’s the first question that crosses my mind. Are they all headed to hotels? The homes of friends or family? How many have nowhere to go and can’t afford even a single night in a hotel?

Louisiana residents have been slammed this month with massive amounts of rainfall. They’ve been forced from their homes, too, and at least 10,000 of them have had no choice but to stay in official shelters. Vehicles, ruined gardens, family heirlooms, brand new school supplies — gone.

Flood and fire all too often mean a complete loss of everything. Can you imagine losing all the contents of your home? Take a quick scan right now and think, what if I lost all of this? That must be one of the most devastating feelings anyone can experience — to watch as your home fills with water or is consumed by flames.

Yes, we care!

At this point, those of us who are safe and sound can help by providing financial assistance directly to organizations that have reputations for managing their money well and quickly getting on the ground to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.

Organizations like American Red Cross definitely have trained personnel and funding, but sometimes it’s just the little random church or scout group who load up pickups and trailers with cases of bottled water, blankets, baby formula, tents, tarps, and rope, and form a rag-tag caravan to more quickly deliver the goods where they’re needed most. They hit the road using their own debit cards along the way at gas stations and fast food joints, neither expecting nor wanting reimbursement.

That’s the America I know and that I grew up in. We’re there for each other when it’s needed most, and what you look like or what you believe is immaterial.

Here are a few links to organizations that have good reputations for managing their funds wisely and being able to provide the most essential help, quickly:

Samaritan’s Purse

Salvation Army

American Red Cross in Louisiana — Local chapters of American Red Cross are quite good at mobilizing quickly and utilizing local resources.

Operation Blessing

Second Harvest Food Bank

And what about FEMA and the massive amount of money they have at their disposal? I just heard that FEMA is finally getting to Louisiana to provide help. A day late and a dollar short.

Get out quick when it matters most

Unfortunately, once we donate that $10 or whatever we can afford, there’s not a whole lot more to do except step back and give serious thought to, “What if that happened to us?”

Could you and everyone in your home, pets included, get out fast when it matters most? Have you thought ahead to where you would go and do you have some funds set aside to pay for that hotel room or those meals at Subway? You must take your pets with you — please don’t even consider leaving them to their lonely and fearful fate. It’s easy enough to put together a pet emergency kit, like the one detailed in this article. Even a couple of large ziplocs loaded with dry dog or cat food and a plastic bowl for water is better than nothing.

When I wrote my latest book, Emergency Evacuation: Get Out Fast When It Matters Most, these are the scenarios I had in mind. It’s a quick read. Probably won’t take you more than a couple of hours, but I loaded it up with the kind of help, advice, and tools that I would want if my family ever had to vamoose out of our home. I also knew that my readers would have pets, babies, toddlers, and even handicapped loved ones to consider — so I made sure to include advice for those special situations as well. Get it in Kindle if you want to start reading and preparing and don’t want to wait for the paperback to arrive.

Probably the most important thing you can do right now is to make plans to evacuate. This isn’t a time for perfection. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of not taking care of something important because I had this idea in my head of how it should be and I didn’t have the money, the time, whatever to do it perfectly. Fill those ziplocs with pet food. Buy a cheap case of water bottles and have it near the back door ready to grab. Go through your drawers and closets and put together an outfit or two for each person and put them in The Evacuation Suitcase, The Evacuation Bucket, or whatever else you have handy.

This isn’t time for coordinated outfits or dithering over which suitcase to use. Just get ready! You can always go back and make improvements, but if you ever have to get out fast, you may not have time to do any of this. That’s how urgently some of these emergencies occur.

I hope I’ve given you a huge nudge to put basic plans in place. I hope you, me, none of us ever have to experience the terror and bewilderment of an emergency evacuation, but if we do, the plans and supplies that are in place will make it less traumatic.

Want to really get prepped?

Join me for 10 full weeks of Prepping Intensive, starting in September. I’ll be giving you weekly prepping assignments, challenges, assessments, and even check in with you on Sunday nights to listen to your progress. You’ll get to hear from prepping and survival experts like Jim Cobb, herbalist Cat Ellis, Fernando Aguirre, Michael Snyder, Arthur T. Bradley, and Selco in a small group setting where you can get your questions answered. You’ll have their attention and my attention, as our goal is to help you and your family get solidly prepared in 10 weeks.

There’s a lot more I have planned for Prepping Intensive students, and you can read all about it here, but the important thing is to sign up to receive a notice when registration opens, because we’ll have a Flash Sale in that email that won’t be available anywhere else.

Whatever you do, take just one action today and each day, so you aren’t caught offguard.




6 Life-Saving Uses For An Ordinary Glass Bottle (Don’t Miss The Video For No. 3!)

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6 Life-Saving Uses For An Ordinary Glass Bottle (Don’t Miss The Video For No. 3!)

Image source: Pixabay.com


It can be frustrating to see litter and trash lying on streets and in fields, but for the savvy survivalist, some trash can turn into life-saving tools.

One such item that is commonly thrown away but can be re-purposed into a variety of different survival uses is the glass bottle.

Here are seven survival uses for an ordinary glass bottle:

1. Make a glass blade.

A glass bottle can be easily re-purposed as a tool or weapon, and specifically as a glass blade. We’re talking about everything from knives to arrowheads to spear points to practically any kind of razor-sharp instrument that you can think of. Just be careful not to cut yourself when breaking the bottle into the shape you need.

2. Boiling water.

In any kind of survival situation, you will always have to boil or purify water before you drink it. Drinking water that has been contaminated in any way whatsoever can sometimes be more dangerous than not drinking any water at all.

Ultra-Compact Water Filter Fits In Your POCKET !

Simply fill the bottle up from the nearest river or lake that you find, and then suspend it over a fire with some sort of cord. The water will begin to boil in just a matter of minutes, and any harmful bacteria or pathogens inside of it will be eliminated.

3. Starting a fire.

On a day where you have plenty of sun, fill up your glass bottle with clear water. Then, position that bottle in between the sun and whatever you’re using as tinder; charred cloth works best for this method. The sun will shine through the bottle and onto the tinder. Hold the bottle steady and roughly an inch or two above the tinder. (It requires patience.) Once the smoke starts to appear, gently blow on it to create an ember that can then catch flame.

Story continues below video:


4. Transporting water.

Make sure that you have a cork or some sort of cloth to wrap around the top as a lid. If you’re electing to stockpile your water, then do so in a cool and dry location; storing water under the sun or in a hot room greatly increases the likelihood of harmful bacteria or pathogens developing in it.

Portable Device Restores Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

5. As a container.

You don’t just have to use your glass bottles to store water. You can also use them to keep water out. Store anything in your glass bottles that you need to keep dry, such as sugar, salt, cloth and medications.

6. As a portable torch.

Beyond using your glass bottle to get a fire going, you can also use it to maintain a fire, as well, specifically in the form of a torch. Clean up your water bottle from the inside-out, and make sure that you have a wick and some torch fluid on standby. Fill the bottom part of the bottle with water underneath the wick, and then the rest of the bottle with the torch fluid.

Pour a little bit of the fluid over the wick and then place it into the bottle. Light the wick and you have a torch.

What survival uses would you add? Share your tips in the section below:  

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

How To Make The Mini Metal Foundry

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How To Make The Mini Metal Foundry I have been sharing great DIY articles for years now so I thought I had pretty much seen all there is in regards to DIY projects but boy was I wrong! This DIY mini foundry project is easy and cheap to make and best of all, you can …

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How To Start A Fire In The Rain

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How To Start A Fire In The Rain The ability to create fire is a skill that should be practiced in all weather conditions. After all, the times when you most need fire are also the times when fire is most difficult to build. Therefore it is essential to have a solid understanding of what …

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Purify Water Using Chemical Treatments

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Water purification tablets are a great back up form of water treatment. They are excellent Bug Out Bags and survival kits because they are light weight and inexpensive. Water purification tablets are also great to store in your vehicle or your bug out location to disinfect water on demand.  If the water supply I am drawing from is extremely shady I combine both a filter and the tablets to ensure my safety. Also, be aware that water purification tablets have a shelf life. Check the expiration dates on your tablets and replace any that are expired.

Water purification can come in tablet or droplet form. The tablet form is better because it is a lighter weight that droplets and easy to use when in a stressful situation.

Two water born pathogens that commonly found in untreated water- Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Cryptosporidium is a genus of apicomplexan protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans. According to the CDC it is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. In a disaster situation where government maintained services are effected, it is highly likely that this protozoa parasite will find its way into our water supply.

Giardia attached to the wall of the small intestines. Giardia is also an infectious protozoa and it is a big deal in emergency preparedness because it can have such a dramatic effect on your health. The symptoms of Giardia, may begin to appear 2 days after infection, include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. 

The typical infection within an individual can be slight, resolve without treatment in about 2–6 weeks, although sometimes longer and sometimes the infection is more severe requiring immediate medical attention. 

There are three main types of water purification tablets on the market (Chlorine (NaDCC), Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide) . Not all are equal as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Choose the purification tablet that works the best with your situation and location.

Chlorine Dioxide Tablets (Potable Aqua, Katadyn and Aquamira Brands). Even though the word “chlorine” is in the name, chlorine dioxide is neither iodine nor chlorine. It uses a highly active form of oxygen to purify water so it leaves absolutely zero taste. As a nice bonus the action of chlorine dioxide causes a lot of sediment to drop out of suspension (fall to the bottom) leaving the container of water more clear and further improving flavor. Chlorine dioxide tablets are a good choice for those allergic to iodine, with thyroid problems, or on lithium. Always follow product usage instructions.

Chlorine NaDCC Tablets (Potable Aqua, Oasis Plus, Aquatabsand Rothco’s Military “Chlor-Floc“ Brands). NaDCC, also known as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or sodium troclosene, is a form of chlorine used for disinfection. NaDCC tablets are different and improved over the older chlorine based (halazone) tablets. When added to water, NaDCC releases hydrochloric acid which reacts through oxidization with microorganisms and kills them. Many tablets advertise no chlorine after taste. Unopened NaDCC tablets have a shelf life of 3-5 years, if opened they should be discarded after 3 months. Always follow product usage instructions. 

Iodine Tablets (Potable Aqua,Coleman, and Coghlans brands). Iodine Tablets use iodine to purify contaminated water. Most iodine purification tablets tend to leave a funny taste to the water and some discoloration, however vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be added after the treatment time to improve the taste and remove the color. This often comes in the form of two bottles with two separate tablets. Iodine water treatment has been proven to be somewhat effective against Giardia and not effective against Crytosporidium.  Always follow product usage instructions. 

The Easy, Cheap Way To Make A Cob Oven

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The Easy, Off-Grid Way To Make A Cob Oven

Image source: Myrtle Glen Farm


No homestead is truly complete without a cob oven. It is one of the iconic signs of rebellion and a step in the direction of freedom.

A cob oven is a baking chamber that reaches temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It works like a battery, holding heat for more than 24 hours when constructed properly. With one load of wood you can cook pizza, bread, a turkey and even leave potatoes inside for baked potatoes – and do it all outside your home without warming the kitchen.

The cob oven goes back centuries, and it is not only efficient at cooking, but the taste cannot be replicated. For example, you might think it would dry out a turkey, but it rather traps the steam inside the cooker, making the food moist. Even better, it’s fairly inexpensive to construct.

Instructions vary on how to make them, but there are a few constants:

  • A base
  • Fire brick
  • Clay (earth clay, fire clay)
  • Sand
  • Straw
  • Water

A base can be made of just about anything secure. You could use the ground, but it would be difficult in which to work. A cinder block base is my option for cob ovens. They can be built inexpensively and to any size. I have seen bases made of wood, but you need to be careful to make it secure because there will be a few hundred pounds of cob on top.

New Solar Oven Is So Fast It’s Been Dubbed “Mother Nature’s Microwave”

Fire brick is used as the floor of the cob oven. Here’s how to do that: After building the base, put a layer of sand and level it out. Lightly place a layer of firebrick on the sand so it’s as level as possible. This firebrick will be able to handle the high heat and insulate the floor of your cob oven.

To get the needed inner shape, just make a mold using moist sand like you do at the beach. Cover the dome-shaped mold of sand with strips of wet newspaper.

Story continues below video

For the dome, you’ll need the following ingredients: clay, sand, straw and water. This is the hardest part, because depending on the clay source it may have sand in it. Buying a bag of fireclay makes it much easier, guaranteeing that it lacks the sand. Either way, make a mixture of sand, clay and water that allows you to make a ball, turn it into a snake, and then back to a ball. (The ratio will vary, but many people use 1 part clay to 2 or 3 parts sand.) It should hold its shape well and be on the dryer side. The less sand you use, the more cracks you will have later on. Once you think you have a mixture figured out, put all the ingredients onto a tarp and start adding straw while mashing by foot.

Now, shape a door, using brick and cob. It can be any shape, but just keep in mind the size is dependent on what size food you plan to stick in it. Get creative and alter the sand dome as you need, to make it all work.

Make softball-size portions of cob to place at the base of the sand mold, and then work your way up. Use consistent sizes to control the thickness of the cob wall. There should be 2-3 layers of cob, making it 4-6 inches thick. The thicker it is, the longer the heat will hold.

Let your new cob oven dry for a day or two before pulling out the sand mold. Make a small fire to help speed up drying time. You can keep it protected by making a lean-to over your stove, protecting it from rain and snow.

The great part about this is that the cob can be crushed and reused if you ever want to make changes.

Have you ever made a cob oven? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts In Your Area? Read More Here.

DIY Heavy-Duty Rocket Stove

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DIY Heavy-Duty Rocket Stove Rocket stoves are fanatic, they enable you to cook food, heat up water with hardly any fuel, 4 large sticks is enough to boil a pan full of water. Rocket stoves keep the fuel in oxygen and high heat at all times, this is why they are so efficient. They hardly …

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Items You Should Hoard for a Disaster

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Your top priority as one concerned about preparedness is to make sure your family has enough food and water to survive during an emergency or disaster. While you won’t get far without this, exclusively storing food and water may leave you without key essentials in a disaster.

There are hundreds of items you could collect for every possible outcome. But to maximize time, money and space, you should think strategically about what you can reasonably store and even take with you if you need to bug out.

Items You Should Hoard for a Disaster

To help you get started, here’s a list of 27 items to consider adding to your stockpile. You may not need them all, but even a few can help you be better prepared.

Guns and Ammo

  • Guns and ammunition are critical to protecting your family and supplies. Consider getting a large bore handgun and a shotgun, plus at least 500 rounds of ammo. Don’t forget cotton cloth and cleaning solution to keep your guns clean and in working order.

Fire Starters

  • Lighters, matches and magnesium sticks are all essential survival tools, whether you’re trying to cook, stay warm or even send a rescue signal. You may also want to include charcoal and lighter fluid.


  • Propane and gasoline will be very valuable for cooking and transportation. For safety, store these away from your house, such as buried in your backyard.


  • A crank-operated radio provides access to information such as where to get help, areas to avoid and incoming weather. Look for a radio that can charge other electronic devices.


  • Make sure you have a working LED flashlight for each family member (plus extra batteries). These will help if you lose power or to get the attention of rescuers.


  • A tent is a must for your bug-out bag. A lightweight backpacker’s tent or military pup tent won’t take up much space, and you can even use a tarp (which has other uses) with a taut line stretched between two trees.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Since you can’t count on emergency services in a disaster, make sure you have several fire extinguishers on hand to put out fires at home.

Water Purification

  • You’ll need a supply of iodine tablets to ensure you have clean water in an emergency. These could save your life if your water filter stops working.


  • Knives are essential items for your stockpile. A fixed-blade hunting knife with a six-inch blade and a sturdy sheath is a great option, and you’ll probably also want a pocket knife.


  • Parachute cord is an incredibly useful tool. This lightweight, durable material can do everything from binding logs together to pulling heavy objects to making a splint.


  • You’ll need a sturdy backpack if you have to bug out. Look for one that’s water resistant with a reinforced bottom, plus wide straps that won’t hurt your shoulders.

First-Aid Supplies

  • Your first-aid kit should include bandages, gauze, medical tape, burn ointment, aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea medicine, different types of splints and cotton balls. Vicks VapoRub is also useful for various ailments and can ward off bugs.

Lip Balm

  • In addition to preventing chapped lips, this handy little item can be rubbed on hot spots to prevent blisters from forming. You can also use it to prevent rust on blades.


  • Having a quality compass is essential if you need to bug out. You’ll also want several maps of the area, and you should practice how to navigate with them.


  • Bandanas are a multipurpose item for many situations. A bandana can become a sun shade, a dust mask, a towel, a sling and even a pot holder, among other uses.


  • A poncho can protect you against the elements and can also be used to keep other items (like firewood) dry as well. They fold flat, so they won’t take up much room.

Duct Tape

  • Duct tape does just about everything. You can use it to repair a tent, waterproof or patch shoes, keep gauze on a wound or even make a cup. It takes practically zero space if you wrap a length of it around your water bottle.

Super Glue

  • You can use super glue to repair things like a water bottle or knife handle, or even to seal up wounds and blisters.


  • Sunglasses are an absolute must to protect against snow blindness when hiking in winter. Look for polarized UVA or UVB shades, and consider also storing a pair of safety glasses.

Baking Soda

  • Baking soda can extinguish a fire without wasting valuable water. It also neutralizes many odors, from trash to sanitation and even your shoes.

Garbage Bags

  • Heavy-duty garbage bags are a multipurpose item you can use to store gear, provide shade, protect you (or your backpack) against rain and even make a flotation device.

Coffee Filters

  • Coffee filters can become toilet paper, plates and paper towels, also working as a food cover to keep insects away.

Aluminum Foil

  • Foil is useful for storing cooked food, cooking over your campfire and keeping bandages clean.

Dental Floss

  • Floss is essential for preventing tooth infections, which can kill you. It can also be used as cordage.

Hygiene Products

  • Feminine products will certainly be in high demand in a disaster, including as a bartering item.

Can Opener

  • You’ll need a way to get into your canned food, and you’d be smart to have a few backups as well.

Kitty Litter

  • Cat litter is useful in many situations, including getting a car unstuck that’s bogged down in mud, sand or snow. You can also sprinkle it in your emergency toilet to absorb odor.

While these items are helpful for survival and bartering, it’s important not to tell people about your stockpile because it could make you a target. There’s obviously a limit to how much anyone can reasonably store, but the more you have now, the better off you’ll be if (or when) disaster strikes.

Frank Bates, founder of 4Patriots LLC, is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a website featuring hundreds of articles on how to be more independent and self-reliant. He also offers Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.

The post Items You Should Hoard for a Disaster appeared first on American Preppers Network.

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

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6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com


I know the feeling — after watching an episode of Man vs. Wild or Survivorman. You’re pumped and ready to survive anywhere.

But before you head out for an extreme, pee-drinking, slug-eating adventure, there are some survival skills you can’t do without.

No. 1. Navigation

With good navigation skills, you probably won’t find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere, to begin with. But in case your navigation skills can use some work, we will list some tips.

To find north, get a stick about waist height and dig it into the ground. Ensure the place is clear and flat so that you can see the shadow clearly. Put a marker (small stone) at the end of the shadow. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes, and then place a marker at the end of that second shadow. Stand with the first maker to your left and the second to your right. You are now facing north. The sun moves from east to west across the sky, so finding the east-west line will help you determine the north-south line.

Other navigation tips:

To avoid turning in a circle, pick an object in the distance and walk to it. Find another object in the same line and walk. Continue this until you are where you want to be.

Measure your pace. A pace is a step (left foot, right foot, then left again). Go outside and count how many paces you need to take to walk a mile. You can use this information to find how many miles you have walked in a survival situation. Knowing your pace is also a good way to estimate the length of time it will take you to walk to your desired location using a map.

Portable Device Restores Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

Use the palm of your hand to measure how many daylight hours are left. Find a clear view of the sun and the horizon. Put your hand up in front of you (to see your palm) and aligning it with the horizon. Your pinky finger should be on the horizon line. Now place the other hand on top of your first hand. Remove the hand at the bottom and place it at the top of your second hand. Repeat this until your hand has arrived at the height of the sun. Each hand from horizon to the sun is estimated as an hour. Count how many palms you had up to know the number of daylight hours you have left.

No. 2. Lighting a fire

Without fire-lighting skills, a simple outing in the wild can turn into a survival situation real fast. Being able to start a fire not only provides warmth, but it’s also a way to cook food and purify water — and it is a psychological boost. In a survival situation, that boost in confidence can be what keeps you alive.

So there are the basics:

  • Tinder – a bird’s nest (preferably one without a bird in it) is an effective way to make the most of your spark.
  • Kindling – small sticks and twigs.
  • Fuel – big logs and branches. In wet conditions, split your wood to get to the dry center.

Adding a layer of wood on the ground before lighting the fire is a good practice. In wet and cold conditions, the extra wood keeps the cold ground from sucking the heat and killing the fire.

A flint stick, bow drill set (friction fire), magnifying glass, lighter or anything producing concentrated heat/spark can help start the fire. Find one method that works best for your location and practice it.

Light the tinder, and then add the kindling and then the fuel. Be patient with your ember. Allow it to smolder and flame inside the bird’s nest before putting it down and adding the rest of your wood.

3. Finding food

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

When lost, especially in the jungle, one of the most abundant food is greens. Knowing edible plants in your area is essential.

There are some common characteristics of poisonous plants:

  • Avoid plants with milky sap.
  • Don’t eat white berries.
  • Avoid all mushrooms, unless you’re an expert.
  • Ignore plants with thorns, spurs and hairs.
  • Stay away from plants with groups of three leaves.

If you think you found an edible plant but are unsure, then use the skin test. Crush the leaves and put it on a sensitive area (inside elbow or wrist) for about 15 minutes. If there is a reaction in the next eight hours, don’t eat; if not, proceed to the mouth test. Take a small piece of the leaf and place on your lips for three minutes. A burning or tingling sensation means you should discard the plant. If nothing happens, chew and keep in your mouth for 15 minutes. Swallow if there is no reaction. Don’t eat anything for the next eight hours.

When testing a plant’s edibility, use a plant that is in abundance. Search online for edible and poisonous plants in the area you are interested in exploring.

4. Finding and purifying water

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

You can survive about three days without water but 21 days without food. You’ve got to have water.

The water that runs off the mountains and hills flows down into the valleys. So if you are in a mountainous region, your chances of finding water increase as you head down to the valley or low-lying areas.

Boiling water for more than 15 minutes is a quick way to have drinkable water. But just in case you can’t get a fire started, filtering the water is also effective. Use a bottle or plastic bag and add a bottom layer of charcoal, and then a layer of sand. Repeat, and then add a layer of stone or grass to filter the bigger impurities. It also is useful to carry a portable filter, such as a Paratrooper Filter.

Ultra-Compact Water Filter Fits In Your POCKET !

There are some other methods for finding water:

  • Cutting a vine first from the top, and then to the bottom to collect drops of water.
  • Collecting dew by soaking a cloth or shirt. Then, ring it into a container.
  • Digging a hole in a dry spot near a swamp and allowing water to collect.

5. Security and self-defense

Although there may not be any dangerous predators in your area, you should always be ready to defend yourself.

Sharpening a long stick can be used as a spear and also as a walking stick. Bamboo or river cane, due to their hollow inside, make a great dart gun. Darts can be carved out of hardwood (black locust), splinters or thorns.

Setting traps is a great way to catch food and immobilize a predator. Tie the short grass around your location to trip an intruder. Dry leaves around the perimeter also can alert you of an intruder in the area.

Keeping a positive attitude and a willingness to survive has gotten many lost campers and hikers out alive.

6. First aid

Practice your first-aid skills at home on your partner or a family member.

Here are some basics:

  • Cuts – Clean the wound. Stop the bleeding by applying pressure and bandage.
  • Breaks – Immobilize limb to keep from further damage. If an arm is broken, for example, then use two straight sticks (split a big log/branch in two as straight as possible). Place them on each side of the arm and bandage them together. Use a cloth to make a sling and to keep the arm elevated.
  • Sprains – Rest and ice. If near a river or lake (water is usually cold), then soak a cloth and place it on the sprain. Repeat until skin feels numb.

Keep in mind: The wilderness has everything you need to survive. Knowing what they can be used for is what differentiates the survivalist from the ordinary man. The more you know, the less you need.

What skills or advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

How To Make Pine Cone Fire Starters

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How To Make Pine Cone Fire Starters There are a lot of fire starters out there, but these are cool and can have them as a decoration in the house if nothing else, until you need them. This DIY project is creative and practically free. These dipped pinecones are so easy that this can be a really fun project …

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The post How To Make Pine Cone Fire Starters appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Sturdy DIY Brick Fire Pit Step By Step Tutorial

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Sturdy DIY Brick Fire Pit Step By Step Tutorial Having a sturdy fire pit on your property is not only awesome for BBQ’s and summer nights having a drink around it. Think about if the power goes out, this fire pit can be transformed into an awesome cooking vessel that can be burning all day …

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Ultimate Fire Building Guide & Glossary with Dozens of Techniques

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Since the dawn of time, man has been on a quest to dominate fire. It started with the Neanderthals and continues with modern man. Fire is used in an infinite number of ways to help make life easier. Learning how to build, start and maintain a fire are skills everyone should have. It could save your life when SHTF.

fire building guide


  1. What is fire
  2. Pre-fire prepping
     2.1. Tinder
     2.2. Kindling
     2.3. Wood logs
     2.4. Tools
     2.5. Tips
     2.6. Wood stacking designs
  3. Ways to start a fire
     3.1. Improvised homemade methods
     3.2. Made in the wild, natural materials
  4. Starting & sparking tools
     4.1. Store bought
     4.2. Using chemicals
  5. How to maintain fire
  6. Extinguishing & clean up


1. What is Fire?

Fire is a chemical reaction that occurs when certain conditions are met. When heat, fuel, and oxygen are combined, fire is born. This birth occurs because of combustion. In the presence of oxygen, when a form of fuel is heated to the temperature at which it can ignite, fire is produced. When you are gazing at the beauty of a fire, you are looking at a combination of gasses that include oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen.

Fire protects, nourishes, and warms. It is used to help keep away wild animals and has been used as a tool in warfare. It is used to cook food that cannot be eaten raw. It warms us on cold days. Fire is also used to help grow food, create pottery, craft glass, and the list goes on. On the flip side, when out of control, fire is a fierce enemy. Man has always held fire in reverence because of what it gives and what it can take away.



2. Pre-Fire Prepping – Securing the Area

Before starting a fire, certain safety measure must be taken into consideration. Whether you choose to build your fire in the woods, on a campground, or in your backyard, there are different precautions that must be taken for each scenario. If you are starting a fire in the woods, you must choose an area that meets certain criteria. The area that you choose should be clear of overhead dangers like tree branches. You should also clear the area of dried leaves or anything else that could easily catch fire. Another thing to avoid is building your fire along a path that is frequented by wild animals. If you choose an area where there are a lot of animals like moose, deer, mountain lions and bears, your fire could attract them and you could put yourself at risk.

After securing the area, you must decide how you will build your fire. You can start the fire near a huge rock or create a fire ring created from stones. Avoid using porous rocks like sandstone or limestone for your fire ring as they can ignite or explode.

When building a fire on campgrounds, ensure that you build your fire in permitted locations. If there are fire pits on the campground, use these pits to start your fire. If you are building a fire in your backyard, you can use a ring of stones, a safety blanket, or construct a fire pit. These methods are effective at helping you contain the fire.


2.1 Tinder

Tinder is any material that is very flammable and can easily catch fire from sparks or a flame. When building a fire, tinder is your foundation. Useful forms of tinder can be found in nature, made at home, or you can use commercial tinder.


Natural forms of tinder include materials such as:

  • Pine needles
  • River birch – River birch contains resin (natural oils) and will light quickly and burn longer.
  • Cattail – A piece of cattail can be twisted so the fibers are released to create a small nest. Cattail catches fire easily, so it’s great to use when you want to start a fire fast.
  • Dried thistle – Like cattail, thistle catches fire very easily.
  • Cedar bark – Crush cedar bark into finer particles so it will light easier
  • Fatwood – This material comes from the stump of pine trees. Also known as Maya sticks, you can cut shavings from these sticks down to use as tinder.
  • Dead leaves, grass, thistle
  • Dried orange peels, potato chips, corn chips

Some types of tinder that can be made at home include:

    • Char cloth (char paper) – Char cloth can be made from fabrics like cotton or linen. Once made, you can carry pieces of char cloth in a small tin. This material has a very low ignition temperature and is very useful to use in damp conditions or when natural tinder is scarce.
    • Vaseline cotton balls – Cotton balls covered in Vaseline are a very useful and economical form of homemade tinder. To make this tinder, all you need to do is coat cotton balls with a teaspoonful of Vaseline. You can store the Vaseline coated cotton balls in a Ziploc bag or a small, plastic container.
    • Twine – Twine is another economical form of tinder. Pieces of twine can be cut into 6-inch length and then torn to create a tinder bundle.
    • Dryer lint – Gather lint from your dryer and use it as tinder.

Commercial tinder can easily be bought. The advantages of commercial tinder over some types of natural and homemade tinder is that it has a very low ignition temperature and burns for a longer period of time.

      • Fire tabs – Fire tabs are inexpensive pieces of bound fibers that can be used to start a fire.
      • Fire cord (paracord) – Paracord can be cut into smaller pieces and then torn into bundles like twine.
      • Wet fire tinder – Wet fire tinder is large tablets that can be used to start a fire even in wet conditions. You can use an entire tablet, break off pieces of the tablets, or use shavings to start your fire.

2.2. Kindling

Kindling is small pieces of twigs or sticks that are used in starting a fire. After igniting the tinder, kindling is placed on the tinder to help build the fire. The twigs are usually anywhere from one-quarter to one inch in diameter and six to twelve inches long. Kindling can be found on the ground or snapped off the branches of dead trees. Other materials used for kindling include:

      • Feather sticks – these are thin pieces of wood shaved down into curls.
      • Fatwood – Wood that comes from a pine tree stump and cut into thin lengths. Other forms of wood can be split into small lengths to create kindling as well.
      • Pine cones.
      • Larger pieces of wood batoned into smaller pieces.



2.3. Wood Logs

Tinder and kindling are needed to get the fire started, but wood logs are what will keep your fire burning for a long time. The length of time your fire burns correlates with the thickness of the wood logs. Smaller pieces of wood, like those found on the ground from dead trees and branches, will burn quickly and you will need to keep adding wood to your fire to keep it burning.

Larger pieces of wood will definitely burn longer, but they will be harder to find. Normally, you will have to cut the wood to the desired length with tools you have brought along with you.


2.4 Tools

Chances are that you will need to cut the wood you need to build your fire. For that reason, you will need to bring tools with you to get the job done. One of your most essential tools will be a solid, fixed blade knife for batoning. Others tools you will need to bring along are a hatchet and a saw.

Tools like a folding saw Japanese pole saw, bow saw, or a pocket saw are great ways to cut wood into smaller pieces without having to carry around heavy tools with you. Camp axes are also relatively lightweight and very handy when cutting wood. You can purchase lightweight, combination tools that come with multiple tools such as a Leatherman or the Zippo four in one woodsman. This tool comes with an ax, a saw, a mallet, and a tent stake puller.

camp saw


2.5 Wood Stacking Designs

When building your fire, you can choose from a variety of designs. Each design carries advantages and disadvantages with them. The teepee design is easiest, but this design will also burn the quickest. You can also choose a log cabin design, lean-to, Dakota fire hole, or a rakovalkea gap fire. With all the designs, it’s best to have your tinder, kindling and wood ready beforehand.


      • Teepee Design

The teepee design is built by placing your kindling and firewood in the shape of a tent. You can add the tinder first, light it, and then stack the kindling and firewood in the shape of a tent, or you can leave a little door to put in the tinder after you have constructed your teepee. Some people find it hard to construct the teepee design as it tends to fall down into a big pile. One way to avoid this is to use a large pile of debris, like leaves, to give the structure a solid form. Once completed, add the lighted tinder through the small doorway or cubbyhole created earlier. You will need to keep adding fuel logs and kindling with this design, as the wood will burn quickly.


      • Lean-to Design

This design is appropriate if you are building a fire where there is wind or rain and you need a method that will help get your fire going before it has the opportunity to be extinguished by the elements. You can build the lean-to by using a large log as a way to block the wind or rain. If you are building the lean-to on the dirt, as opposed to building it on a suspended platform like a rock, dig a small area around your tinder to allow more air to flow. The next step is to place your kindling so it leans over the tinder and against the big log. Once you have the fire going, you can add your fuel logs to the lean-to.


Courtesy Themanual.com


      • Pyramid or Log Cabin Design

This design will burn longer and require less maintenance than the lean-to or teepee design. To start off, you will need to start off with your base logs. Place two logs about six inches diameter about a foot apart and place your tinder bundle and kindling in the center. For best results, place your kindling in a teepee style. Once that is done, you will stack logs on top of the base logs in an alternating pattern. From this point, there are variations in the construction of this design.

You can place the logs on top of base logs by two, three or four. Be mindful of the fact that the more logs you place in a row above the base logs, the more you will limit air flow. As you continue stacking the fuel logs in alternating fashion, you have the choice of using logs that decrease in size or using logs of the same size. Using logs of different sizes allows more air flow so your fire will burn higher and hotter.


      • Self-Feeding Design

Out of all the designs mentioned so far, the self-feeding is the one that will last longest. It also requires less maintenance than the others if constructed correctly. This design is similar to the design of the log cabin fire with some slight variations. You begin construction of this design by placing logs on the bottom as a base, but these logs are placed close together. Only about an inch or two of space is left between the logs. Once the foundation is complete, you stack logs on top of the base logs in the same fashion as you do with the log cabin design. These logs will be close together, with three to four logs per layer. With this design, you will put your tinder and kindling on top instead of placing it on the bottom. Instead of burning from the bottom upward, the self-feeding burns from the top down and it burns slowly.


      • Dakota Fire Hole Design

The Dakota fire hole design allows you to build a fire that won’t be seen from a distance, is great for cooking, and is very easy to put out. To begin, you will need to dig a hole in the ground up to three feet deep. The depth of the hole depends on the size of the fire you want to build. If you are planning on building a Dakota fire hole, it is a good idea to bring along a shovel. You could use your hands, a knife, or stick to build your hole, but it will be hard work and will take longer. After completing the first hole, you will need to dig a hole approximately twelve inches away and about half as deep as your first hole.


An underground passageway that connects the two holes will need to be created in order to provide a maximum flow of oxygen. Once you have finished digging the second hole, dig a hole the leads to the first one. It should be wide enough to put your arm through. Once you have constructed the holes, build a fire in the first hole as you would build any fire in any wood stacking design you choose. Then, add your tinder, kindling and fuel logs on top. This design works well for cooking food, can’t be seen from a distance, and is easier to clean up when you are finished with the fire.



Courtesy Offgridweb.com


      • Rakovalkea Gap Fire

Break out all of your tools because you will need them if you want to build a rakovalkea gap fire. Although this design is labor intensive, the fire will last even longer than the self-feeding fire.

This design uses two long logs as the fuel. Fallen birch trees are optimal to use for this wood stacking design. Once you have carried the logs back to the camping area, it is time to prepare the wood.

You will need to create a channel on one side of the logs. The best tool for this will be your hatchet. Cut one side of each of the logs so that there is a channel in the wood that extends from one end to the other end. Doing this will cut off the bark and expose the dry wood inside. After creating the channels, you will need to gather long pieces of wood used to help support the logs. The best wood to use to support the logs is green wood.

For the support or base log, you will place pieces of wood about three feet in length close to the ends of the logs. The pieces of wood used to support the logs should be about one foot away from the ends of the logs.


You’ll also need two pieces of wood to wedge between the logs to leave space for kindling. These pieces of wood will have to be carved as well so that it creates a level surface between the logs. Another piece of green wood will be needed to use as a stake to hold the logs in place. Trim one end of this wood into a point and drive it firmly into the ground. The placement will be approximately two feet away one end of the base log.

In order to be sure that the top log doesn’t roll over once you’ve started your fire, you’ll need to take another stick and nail it to the top log at the opposite end of where you’ve placed your stake. At told, this entire process could take as little as 15 minutes. Your mileage may vary.

Now, it’s time to get the tinder and kindling in place. Place the tinder and kindling of your choice between the two logs. You will need to gather a lot of kindling to get the fire started and keep it going well. For tinder, you could use vaseline coated cotton balls, birch bark, or pieces of char cloth. For kindling, gather lots of dry twigs and wood of various sizes. If pine cones or fatwood are available, be sure to use that as well. The resins contained in the pine cones and fatwood will get the fire going faster and keep it burning longer.

Spread out your tinder and kindling well and then light it up. Once lit, you will notice the flames spread quickly. If you notice the flames dying down, keep adding small fuel logs between the gaps. If constructed correctly, the rakovalkea gap fire will burn brightly and last all night.

2.6 Tips

Batoning – Use this technique to cut bigger pieces of wood into kindling. Choose a piece of wood that is lightweight, dry, and between 16 and 32 inches. Set the wood on a level surface like a tree stump and wedge your fixed blade knife or hatched in the center. Use another piece of wood to drive the blade downward to create thinner pieces of wood.

With a long piece of firewood, saw halfway through the pieces and then break the pieces with a stick or by stepping on it firmly with your foot

If you want a really fast way to break larger pieces of wood into smaller pieces, you can elevate the ends of a fallen tree between two rocks. Use another large rock and smash it into the middle of the tree to get it to break. This method will only work with dead trees so be very careful.

Another way to break longer pieces of wood is to wedge it between u-shaped tree and break it. Put some WD40 on your blade when cutting wood to make it slice through the wood easier.


3. Ways to Start a Fire

You’ve learned about tinder, kindling, fuel logs and wood stacking designs. Now, the various methods to start a fire will be addressed. You can start a fire with batteries, magnifying glasses, natural materials like flint rock, sticks, and chemicals. Of course, the easiest way to start a fire is with tools like matches or a lighter. Read on for detailed information on the different ways to light your fire.


3.1 Improvised Homemade Methods

      • Fire Piston

A fire piston consists of two parts. The first part is a cylinder which has a hole in the center and the second part is the piston. This device is constructed such that there is an airtight seal when the piston is inserted into the cylinder. It functions by creating a dramatic increase in temperature (as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit) when the piston, along with an easily flammable material such as char cloth, is rammed into the cylinder.

To use the fire piston, you need to insert a piece of char cloth or other flammable material onto the end of the piston. Insert the piston so that it is seated into the cylinder and then firmly grasp the cylinder with one hand and depress the piston by slapping with your hand. Once that is done, carefully remove the piston and your char cloth should now be a small coal. Carefully transfer that coal using a knife or a stick onto your pile of tinder. Loosely grasp your tinder bundle and blow on it until it produces a fire.


      • Battery and Steel Wool

You can start a fire very quickly by using a battery and steel wool. The most popular method involves using a 9V battery. A 9V battery works easiest because the negative and positive terminals are on one side. To get a fire started with steel wool and a battery, all you need to do is touch the terminals to the steel wool. It will immediately give off bright sparks. Once the steel wool ignites, you can quickly transfer it to your tinder bundle and blow on it to help feed the fire.


      • Magnifying Glass

You can start a fire with a magnifying glass, eye glasses or anything through which the sun’s rays can pass. By directing a beam of sunlight through a magnifying glass and aiming it on a flammable material like paper, char cloth or a piece a wood, you can start a fire. The sun’s beams must be directed through the lens of the magnifying glass until a small dot is visible on the object you want to burn. Once you see the dot, try to hold the lens steady for ten to twenty seconds until the object begins to smolder. Once achieved, transfer your ember to a tinder bundle and blow on it until you’ve got a flame. This will work with any object that has a convex lens including eye glasses, binoculars and a clear bottle filled with water.


3.2 Made in the Wild from Natural Materials

Bow drills, fire plows, and hand drills are the most difficult ways to start a fire. These methods are labor intensive but if you are successful in starting a fire, you will get a great sense of accomplishment. With these methods, it is crucial to choose the right types of wood. To get the best results, these natural fire starters should be made of wood from trees like sotol, cedar, cattail, basswood, and aspen.


      • Bow Drill

One of the earliest methods for making fire was through friction and that is exactly how a bow drill works. Bow drill have four main parts that include the bow, hearth board, bearing block, and the drill.


Courtesy Robertsbushcraft.com

To create embers with a bow drill, the first step is getting the hearth board ready. Cut a small depression in the board about one inch away from the edge. Place the hearth board on a surface like a flat rock, and place one foot on the edge of the board so you can drill. Then, take your drill and wrap it around the string of the bow so that it fits snugly. Place one end of the spindle into the depression you created and place the bearing block on top of the drill to hold it in place. Move the bow back and forth in a sawing motion repeatedly until you see smoke coming from the hearth board. Stop and cut a wedge into the wood with the point aimed at the center of the depression you created.

Now you are ready to make your ember. Recreate the steps above but this time put a leaf or piece of wood under the hole to catch the ember. You will need to keep constant pressure on the drill and keep sawing back and forth until you see smoke coming from the hole. It will take time, practice, and you will burn some calories but in the end a nice ember will be formed. Gently lift your hearth board and with a knife or small twig, remove the ember so it rests on the leaf or piece of wood and then put it on your tinder bundle. Blow on it and when a fire has started, add it to your chosen wood stacking design.


      • Fire Plow

A fire plow is another way that you can product embers or coals by rubbing sticks together. Preparing the wood to make a fire plow is not as labor intensive as making a bow drill, but if your technique is correct and you craft your tools well, you should get the same results. Oak, hickory, elm and ash are good materials to use for your fire plow.

Start off by choosing a piece of wood from a fallen branch that is completely dry. This will be your baseboard. Use your knife to cut off the bark and other rough edges until both sides are level. Find another piece of wood, preferably from the same tree, and cut it down to a length equal to that of your forearm. Then whittle it down until there is no bark and one end is cut at about a forty-five-degree angle.

The side with this angle is what you will use to plow into your baseboard. When this is complete, you will take the smaller piece of wood, place it on the baseboard at an angle and keep moving the stick vigorously back and forth until you start to see smoke. After a period of time, you will create a depression in the wood. When you start to see little pieces of black soot, plow faster and make sure not to go beyond the point where you see the pile of coals. When you start to see smoke, continue plowing for another minute or two. You should be rewarded with a small ember for your efforts. Transfer this ember to your pile of tinder and blow on it gentle until a fire starts.


      • Hand Drill

Like the bow drill, creating fire with a hand drill requires that you craft your tools. Whereas with a bow drill you will optimally need to make six different tools, with a hand drill you only need to make a drill and a hearth board (fireboard).

As with the hearth board for the bow drill, the fireboard should be cut so it is level on both sides. The fireboard should be one-fourth of an inch in width. Once the fireboard is created, take your knife and cut a small divet into the wood.

When you are done crafting a fireboard, you will need to find or make a drill or spindle. For your spindle, you will need to choose a piece of wood that is roughly three-eighths to one-quarter inches wide and from twenty to thirty-two inches in length.

Creating the fire:  The first step is to take the working end of the spindle and put it into the small divet you created earlier. Next, take the drill between the palm of your hands and rub your hands together while applying downward pressure. When applying downward pressure your hands will naturally move downward. For this reason, you will need to keep repositioning them so they are are the top of the spindle. Continue this process until you have created a black mark in the hole. Use your knife or small saw to make a triangular notch in the wood where the point of the triangle is in the center of your divet.

hand drill fire starter

When this is complete, rest the hole on a dry leaf or piece of wood. Using the same action you used to create the black mark in the hole, keep rubbing the drill between your palms and applying downward pressure as quickly as possible. The key to creating an ember is to keep the friction going as long as you can until you see steady smoke coming from the hole in your fireboard. Once this is achieved, use a slim stick or knife and lift the fireboard to reveal your ember and transfer it to your pile of tinder.


      • Using Rock to Start a Fire

When it comes to making fire with rocks, the harder the rock, the better the sparks. On the Mohs hardness scale, flint rock is 7 but so are chert, jasper, and quartz. Flint rock is the most commonly thought of rock when it comes to making fire, but you can also start a fire with the other rocks mentioned. In fact, you can get sparks from any rocks that share the same properties. If the rock has a smooth, shiny surface, sharp edges, and facets, there is a high chance you will be able to create sparks with the rock.

There are two techniques you can use to start a fire with rocks. The first technique works best if you use iron pyrite or marcasite stones together, or one of these stones with flint, quartz, jasper, or chert. By striking any of these two stones together and using a highly flammable tinder like tinder fungus or char cloth, you will be able to start a fire.

The other technique commonly used to start a fire with stones is to have a fire striker. The fire striker can be a knife or a carbon steel striker. Carbon steel strikers come in various forms, but the most popular form is c-shaped and allows you to grasp it in such a way that makes the steel easier to handle and helps protect your knuckles from being cut on the sharp edges of the rock. To create a spark with a fire striker and a rock, you just need to hit the striker against an edge of flint rock until sparks are produced. Putting a piece of char cloth on the edge of the rock that you are striking is an easy way to quickly catch a spark and start a fire.



4. Starting & Sparking Tools

Knowing how to start fires with homemade and natural materials is a great skill to have, but most require a lot of work and there is the risk you will not be able to start your fire with these methods. For this reason, it is a good idea to carry starting tools with you. The list of starting tools include ferrocerium rods, fire starters, lighters, and matches.


4.1 Store bought

      • Ferrocerium Rods

Amongst outdoorsman and survivalists, ferrocerium rods, or ferro rods, are a favorite when it comes to starting fires. These rods are compact and can be purchased with a piece of striking steel attached to it by a chain or you can just buy the rods and use a knife as a striking tool. In addition to ferrocerium rods, you can purchase magnesium blocks that can be used in combination with ferrocerium rods.

Ferrocerium rods are exceptional tools because they allow you to produce sparks that can reach temperatures higher than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Magnesium, when ignited, burns at temperatures that are 1,000 degrees higher than sparks created by ferro rods.

To use magnesium and ferrocerium rods to start a fire, you only need to use your knife to scrape shavings of magnesium onto your tinder. Place the magnesium block close to your tinder to get the shavings in a small area. Then, scrape your knife or striking tool against the ferro rod in a downward motion so that the sparks will catch on the magnesium shavings. The shavings will catch fire easily. In wet weather conditions, magnesium will be your best friend because it burns quickly and white hot.


      • Fire Starters

If you want a fire starter that produces sparks like a ferrocerium rod, but operates like a lighter, you can use something like the Blastmatch or Sparkie. These tools will produce strong sparks and, unlike the other tools mentioned, you only need to use one hand to operate it.


      • Lighters

Lighters are considered primary fire starters because of the ease with which you can create a flame. By depressing a button or rolling your thumb over the spark wheel, you can create a flame in seconds that can be added to tinder to help you start a roaring fire. Lighters are definitely the easiest to use when starting a fire, but they are difficult to operate when it’s cold and they can easily break down leaving you with no easy way to start a fire.


      • Matches

Matches, like lighters, are also considered to be primary fire starters. But not all matches are created equal. Paperboard matchbooks like those you get at restaurants are the least desirable. These matches are flimsy, unreliable, and extinguish quickly in wet weather. Wooden stick matches are better because they will burn a bit longer and are made with a more durable material. You can use normal wooden stick matches which require you to strike it against a specific material or strike anywhere matches. Strike anywhere matches, like the name implies, are matches that can light when struck against any rough surface. However, if you want truly reliable matches, then you want to invest in stormproof matches. These wooden stick matches have an orange, potassium chlorate coating that allows the match to stay lit even after being submerged in water.



4.2 Using chemicals to start a fire

Another interesting way to start a fire is by using chemicals. You can start fires rapidly and easily using chemicals, but there are some drawbacks. When using chemicals, you need to make sure your eyes and skin are protected so you won’t get burned.


      • Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound that is made of potassium and permanganate ions. These ions form to make crystals with a purplish to a black hue that can be combined with other substances to create a fire in seconds. Here is a list of ways you can make fire with this chemical.

By mixing potassium permanganate with glycerin in a five to one ratio, you will be able to start a fire in less than a minute. If the fire starts too slowly, add a drop or two of water. You can also start a fire by combining this chemical in a one to one ratio with sugar and grinding the ingredients together In under a minute, you can get a fire started by mixing equal parts of potassium permanganate with brake fluid.


      • Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid is a substance that is colorless to yellowish in hue and has the capacity to destroy others substances that it comes in contact with. The corrosive nature of sulfuric acid can help you if you want to start a fire quickly.

Adding equal amounts of sodium chlorate and sugar with a few drops of sulfuric acid will produce a fire quickly.  Sugar, potassium perchlorate and a few drops of sulfuric acid will instantly create a fire.

Other ways that you can start a fire with chemicals include:

Place finely ground particles of zinc and ammonium nitrate on paper and then add a few drops of hydrochloric acid.  Pool chlorine added to brake fluid is another way to chemically start a fire.


5. How to Maintain a Fire

There are innumerable ways to get a fire started, but they will all be pretty useless to you in a survival situation if you can’t keep that fire going. In order to keep your fire going, you have to remember the three components that are necessary to make a fire. In order to make fire, you need air, heat, and fuel.

maintaining & blowing on fire


      • Air

When oxygen is cut off, your fire will be extinguished. You can easily test this by lighting a candle and covering it with a jar or cap. Likewise, if the fire you build is being smothered by the fuel because you’ve placed them tightly together and cut off airflow, it will go out or be very difficult to maintain. No matter which wood stacking design you choose, make sure that there is enough space between the kindling and fuel to always allow oxygen to circulate.


      • Heat

Heat is another thing to consider when maintaining a fire. If you’ve started a fire and only have a few coals or embers burning, heat is not being produced in sufficient quantities and your fire will go out. If your fire is dying, add kindling to it and then add more fuel logs to get the fire raging higher and hotter.


      • Fuel

Tinder helps get your fire started, kindling is the next step to get it to grow bigger, but your fuel logs are what ultimately will sustain the fire. If you are trying to maintain your fire with only kindling made from small twigs or branches that are small, you will constantly run out of fuel and trying to maintain your fire will be a real chore. Good fuel logs have a diameter at least the size of your wrist. You will increase the size depending on the wood stacking design you choose and the length of time you want the fire to burn.


6. Extinguishing and Cleaning Up

A roaring fire will keep you warm, help you cook your food, and give you something beautiful to look at but you can never forget the dangers of fire. Many forest fires or house fires have started due to carelessness and left behind a path of destruction. When you are done with your fire, extinguish the fire and thoroughly clean the area.


      • Extinguishing the Fire

One obvious way of extinguishing your fire is with water. If possible, have a bucket of water nearby, when you are ready to put out the fire. Before adding water, separate the pieces of wood with a stick. Carefully spread out any logs and coals that are still burning. Next, slowly pour the water over any logs and burning coals. You may be tempted to just dump the entire bucket of water quickly over the logs and coals but try to avoid that. Doing this could create a great deal of smoke and ash which could be dangerous to you. In addition, there is a good chance you will not properly extinguish the fire and that means another trip to the lake or creek to get more water.

When you don’t see any steam coming from the log and/or coals, hover the back of your hand over the coals. If you still feel the heat radiating from the coals, add more water. Keep checking the coals and adding water until you can touch them without burning yourself. Optimally, you should have added enough water that in the end, your bed of coals has a soupy consistency.

Water is the best way to put out your fire, but if you have no water available, sand or dirt can be used. When using this method, you will need an amount of sand or dirt that is equal to or greater than the number of coals remaining. This process will involve adding sand (or dirt) and stirring until you have smothered the burning coals.


      • Cleaning Up

After ensuring that your fire has been completely extinguished, it is time to clean up. If you have a pile of coal remaining, take handfuls of it and disperse it over a large area far away from the campsite. After this is done, use a tree branch or your hands to cover the area with dirt or fallen leaves. Cleaning up the area after you are done with your fire is good for the environment and a courtesy to those who will visit the area after you. Enjoy your time in nature and all the wonders it has to offer but always remember to leave no trace.


The post Ultimate Fire Building Guide & Glossary with Dozens of Techniques appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Survival Skills: How To Make A Torch

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Survival Skills: How To Make A Torch Hollywood always makes everything look so easy. The scene opens with someone stuck in a cave, tunnel, temple or another suitable backdrop for an adventure movie. Our hero grabs up a leg bone from an expired adventurer, wraps it in rags and lights the contraption on fire to …

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The Right Way To Start A Fire When It’s Wet Outside

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The Right Way To Start A Survival Fire When It's Wet

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Fire has long been considered one of man’s best friends. It provides both light and warmth, it enables us to cook our foods, and it aids us in the production of primitive weapons.

Therefore, understanding how to build a fire is an essential skill for any outdoorsman, and the ability to build a fire in wet conditions is especially useful. Thus, the first thing you need to understand about building a fire is that it is all about the production of BTUs! While that may sound like an oxymoron, the fact is that heat production is the single most important key concept to building and managing a fire, regardless of whether it’s a campfire or the fire in your wood stove. It is essential to understand how heat and air react, with both wood and moisture, in order to gain a proper understanding of how to build a fire in wet conditions. Obviously, a heat source is required to light a fire and both oxygen and fuel are needed to maintain it.

The second concept that you need to be aware of is that the less dense and/or the smaller the diameter of the fuel is, the faster it burns; the denser and/or the larger diameter the fuel is, the slower it burns. Further, it is important that you have enough fuel at hand before you start the fire to get it going so that you don’t have to scramble to find appropriate fuel while you are trying to build your fire.

First Steps

To start a fire in wet conditions, you will first need some lightweight, small diameter fuel known as “tinder.” Next, you will need to build a small platform on which to start your fire; when you build a fire on the ground, some of the heat it produces is absorbed by the ground beneath the fire and when that ground is wet, building a fire on top of it will cause it to produce steam, which will dampen your fire.

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It also should be noted that any small tree branches lying on the ground during a soaking rain also will absorb a significant amount of moisture; when gathering tender in wet conditions, it is best to look above ground. For instance, the upper sections of tall stands of dead grass are often dry enough to burn after a rain, and pine trees often have a plethora of small, dead branches on their lower extremities that can be easily collected.

The Right Way To Start A Survival Fire When It's Wet

Image source: Pixabay.com

Once you have sufficient tinder and fuel to start and maintain your fire, the next step that you need to take is to clear the ground of any debris or leaf litter until you reach bare ground. Then, place several short sections of small diameter dead limbs side by side to create a platform on which to start your fire.

Starting the Fire

Next, place your tender in a pile on the platform that you built and apply heat. While a magnifying glass, a match or a butane lighter will serve the purpose in many cases, sometimes your tinder and fuel are simply too sodden to ignite easily; in those situations, you need a more intense source of heat. Consequently, it is wise to carry a Magnesium fire-starter block with you, in addition to waterproof matches and a butane lighter. With this device, you simply use a knife to remove some shavings from the edge of the block and then, you either use the imbedded flint striker or a match to light the magnesium, which will burn so intensely that it will light anything that is placed on top of it.

Ultra-Compact Water Filter Fits In Your POCKET !

Once your tinder is going, you simply add small bits of slightly larger fuel to the pyre until you have built the fire up to the size that you want. But when doing so, you need to plan ahead, because when placing larger pieces of damp fuel on the fire, those pieces will first need to absorb enough heat to convert the moisture they contain to steam so that it can evaporate and then, they will need to heat further to reach the flash point before they will burn. Thus, it is imperative that your fire be really hot before you start adding larger pieces of wet fuel, and that it has enough heat to dry the fuel that you do add.

If You Can’t Find Dry Wood

The last concept that you need to be familiar with is that split wood burns better than round wood. If are having trouble finding sufficient quantities of small, dead limbs to build your fire, then you can use your survival knife and a baton to split larger pieces of damp wood to expose the dry interiors in order to produce burnable fuel for your fire.

The key concepts to remember when building a fire in wet conditions are that fire is all about the production of heat and thus, you need heat to light and maintain a fire.

Fortunately, all of this is not as difficult as it might sound, since there is really very little difference in building a fire in dry conditions and in wet conditions, other than being aware of the key concepts mentioned above, and planning ahead so that your wood is dry by the time that you need it.

What advice would you add on starting a fire in wet conditions? Share your tips in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here.

Field Reload Kit With Brass Shotgun Ammo

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“Urban Man: Here is another great video from a friend of mine.”
Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.


1. Brass shot shells (size for weapon system being used, 12 gauge, etc.)
2. Shot
3. Pyrodex Rifle and shotgun powder (or preferred brand)
4. 209 shotgun primers
5. Large pistol primers
6. Wadding material
7. Over shot card material
8. Lighter and glue stick
9. Primer crimp tool or “C” clamp setup with deep well socket
10. Primer removal tool
11. Powder tamper tool
12. Powder and shot measuring tool
13. Container for brass shells
14. Container to store kit
15. 15/64 inch drill bit
16. 23/64 inch drill bit
17. Wad and over shot cutter tool
18. Drill
19. Flat piece metal stock
20. Rubber hammer or similar 
21. Flat piece of wood stock

Converting brass shell to accept the 209 primer:

1. First use the 15/64 drill bit and drill out the primer hole.
2. Using a 23/64 drill bit, drill a slight recess in the primer hole deep enough to allow the primer rim to seat flush with the bottom of the shell. See photo above.
3. Seat the 209 primer like you would a regular 12 gauge shell when reloading.

Note: Shotgun firing these types of reloads need to be cleaned more often than factory loaded ammo.

These 10 Desert Survival Tips Will Help Make You An Expert

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Desert Survival Tips - Desert Landscape With Bleach Skull

If you live in, near, or travel through a desert, listen up because this article was written for you. Deserts present a unique survival challenge. They are unlike other survival environments and have a totally different set of survival rules to follow. That’s why I’ve put together this list of my 10 best desert survival tips.


The post These 10 Desert Survival Tips Will Help Make You An Expert appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Waterproofing Matches 101 – How to Do It and Save Tons of Money

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Waterproofing Matches 101 – How to Do It and Save Tons of Money One way to start a fire in the wild is to use matches. In fact, when most people think about survival fire starting, matches are one of the first things that come to mind. While there’s nothing wrong with matches, they do …

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Reload 209 Shotgun Primers Using Field Expedient Methods

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Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.
Tools used for field expedient reloading
Items needed to reload 209 primer
Removing 209 primer components
209 primer assembly

“Urban Man” My survival buddy sent me another post in a series of reloading shotgun ammo. This video shows how to reload the primer as well when you have no primer replacements.”

Suggested tools used:

1. Antique hand primer crimp tool
2. Wood dowel for powder, wad and shot compressing
3. Primer removal tool with socket base (5/8 inch socket)
4. Rubber hammer
5. Wad cutter tool (for what ever size shell you are loading)
6. Flat punch that fits inside primer cup to flatten out dimple
7. Flat piece of metal stock
8. Flat piece of wood
9. Strike anywhere matches
10. Powder and shot measuring cups
11. Wad material (paper, plastic, wool, etc)
12. Over shot card material (cardboard, playing cards, etc)
13. 5.5 mm socket (used to remove primer cup)
14. Pin or finishing nail used to pound out primer cup.
15. Lighter or similar flame source
16. Glue stick
17. Rifle and shotgun powder with container (I used Pyrodex RS)
18. Bird shot with container (I used #7 1/2 in the video) 

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

One drawback from reloading spent primers is the chance that the match head powder or what ever other ignition source was used may not ignite and you get a dude fire.

In the event the primer does not ignite, wait about 60 seconds with the end of the barrel pointed on target in the event there is a cook off. A cook off is when the powder could be smoldering but has not yet ignited. If it ignites and the end of the barrel is pointed toward someone, there may be a chance of an accidental shooting.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

How and Why You Need To Make The Uber Match

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How and Why You Need To Make The Uber Match Spend 10 minutes making a few of these Uber badass matches and never worry about starting a fire again! These serve as a source of ignition and a fire starter/kindle all in one. This project is really easy and really cheap. Stop spending 5 or …

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16 Ways to Start a Fire Without Matches

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16 Ways to Start a Fire Without Matches Let’s face it, fire is important. If for some reason the physical laws of our world quit providing fire, we would be in trouble. That is what it would feel like if you had to create a fire in a survival situation and did’t have the tools or …

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Fielding Expedient Ammo Reloading

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“Urban Man~ Here is an interesting lesson from a survival buddy of mine.”

Caution: This lesson is for educational purposes only. Gun powder is dangerous. Firing damaged or incorrectly loaded ammo is dangerous as well.

There may be a time in ones life when it may become necessary to have to reload ammo in the field, especially in a wilderness survival situation or the collapse of society. 

We are comfortable in knowing that at the moment we have access to ready made store bought ammo. But, what if that luxury was some how taken away? What if there were no stores left or available to purchase our ammo?

In such as situation, ammo can still be available if one knew how to obtain what was needed to reload their own. Spent ammo shells, especially shotgun shells can be found laying around all over the desert. Primers can be reconditioned and reloaded. Black powder can be homemade. Lead shot can be made from scrape lead.

You really do not need fancy reloading equipment in order to reload ammo in an emergency or self reliant situation.

Learn now to start saving your spent ammo hulls and shells. Set them aside to be reloaded at a later date when the time is needed.

Here are the steps that were covered in the video to reload a 12 gauge shell: (if this is the first time a plastic shotgun shell is being used, cut the top crimp fingers off the shell where the crimp line meets the star crimp.)

1. Remove primer
2. Install a new primer
3. Measure powder and add to shell
4. Using dowel rod, gently compress the powder in the shell
5. Add correct amount of wading (plastic, paper, animal hair, leather, etc.)
6. Using dowel rod again, gently compress the wad into the shell
7. Add correct amount of shot. (insure that there is enough room at the opening of the shell to add the over-shot card)
8. Add over-shot card and compress gently with dowel rod
9. Add glue over top of shot card ensuring that the inside walls of the shell receive glue as well
10. Immediately add another shot card over the top of the first one and apply gentle pressure to allow glue to spread out

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

The Survivalist’s Clever Trick For Making A Smoke-Less, Undetectable Fire

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The Survivalist's Clever Trick For Making A Smoke-Less, Undetectable Fire

Image source: Pixabay.com

A Dakota fire hole is not simply another way to make a fire. It is the survivalist’s trick to cooking food – or simply staying warm — when limited wood is available.

What makes it so special are all the advantages it has compared to other fire models:

  • It has little smoke.
  • It burns more efficiently.
  • It cooks food quicker.
  • It lasts longer.

Not only does the Dakota fire hole have those benefits, but it is a good skill to learn for any outdoorsman, survivalist, camping extraordinaire, or regular/everyday individual.

How to Build It

Building this fire hole is not as complicated as it may seem, as it basically consists of two holes. The first hole is called the “main” fire hole. To create it, the hole must be dug a foot in diameter and a foot deep. At the bottom of this main fire hole, the chamber is located. The chamber is where the wood will be burned for the fire. The chamber needs to be a few inches bigger than the rest of the hole to fit larger pieces of wood. The other hole is called the “airflow” hole. The airflow hole is where the air goes through to feed the fire. It needs to be half a foot in diameter, although the depth varies.

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The airflow hole should be dug and angled toward the chamber. So, basically the airflow hole needs to be dug straight down and then angled to the bottom of the main fire hole. The airflow hole also should be positioned upwind from the main fire hole. Then, simply put the kindling into the chamber and light it up. As the fire gets stronger, add more pieces of wood to the fire. Start with smaller pieces of wood and then add larger pieces as the fire gets stronger.

Story continues below video:

If someone is looking to cook with the Dakota fire hole, simply put a wire screen and whatever needs to be cooked on top of the hole. If no screen is available, even fresh sticks could be used, since the fire is lower than the surface. The main magic behind this fire is that the airflow hole sucks the air down through its tunnel to the chamber in the main fire hole. This allows the fire to burn better and longer than other methods.

The Dakota fire hole is definitely for people of all shapes and sizes. Anyone who simply wants to cook outside can use this to cook their food at a faster and more efficient rate. Also, a person who is surviving out in the woods can use it and not have to worry about getting huge loads of wood to keep the fire going. Another great advantage of this fire hole is that the fire and smoke cannot be seen. If someone is trying to stay undetected, this is the fire hole to use.

Any person can use the Dakota fire hole — the unsophisticated but easy way to build a survival fire!

What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

The Forgotten Fire-Starting Ingredient The Pioneers Used

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3 Natural Materials For Starting A Fire in a Pinch (The Pioneers Used No. 1)

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Fire has rightly earned its reputation as one of the most important aspects of survival. Anyone with experience in bushcraft and primitive living will tell you fire is not only essential for the direct benefits it offers, but also for other skills: making primitive glues, tanning and arrow making are just a few examples. This is beside the fact that meat cooked over a fire is much more palatable and safer to eat as well. Fire is simply a necessary component of any survival situation.

In reality, we live in a world where fire starting is ridiculously easy. For a few bucks you can buy enough Bic lighters to last you for years. Even with that being the case, though, some people want the ability to start a flame in other ways – say, when they don’t have a lighter. One of the simplest ways that was extremely popular prior to the invention of matches is flint and steel.

Flint and steel has been used for fire since before Roman times. It is the fire technology with which our frontier was opened, and men like Daniel Boone and other mountain men used it. The process is incredibly simple and effective. All you really need is a piece of steel and something to strike it against that throws a spark. Flint works superbly for this purpose and is the most popular material for the job. There is, however, a secret ingredient our ancestors used that plays the biggest role in this process: char.

Char refers to any natural material that has been “charred,” a process we will dive into in a moment. Charring certain natural materials changes their chemical composition. I’m no scientist, but the technical term for this change is called “pyrolysis.” Regardless of the name, most bushcrafters are only concerned with one thing: It works. Once charred, certain natural material will catch a spark from the flint and steel and create an ember. From this ember, a person who understands the basic elements of fire can create a blaze in a few short minutes. It is almost spellbinding the first time you see it in action.

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To be sure, not every natural material can easily be turned into char. Here are three popular natural materials for making char.

1. Rotten wood

3 Natural Materials For Starting A Fire in a Pinch (The Pioneers Used No. 1)People who were removed from civilization for an extended period of time had to use materials they could find. One of the best char materials, and most abundant ones, is rotten wood. Rotten wood is typically scattered all about, so one huge benefit is not having to pack it with you as you go. When selecting wood, try and select small pieces that are punky, or in other words, porous and light. It is best to look for suitable material near creek beds or in low-lying locations. These locations have more moisture, which helps to rot the wood faster. Rotten wood would have been the most popular choice of char material for experienced woodsmen and frontiersmen.

2. Cattail

A third popular material for making char is cattail. Cattails are abundant in many parts of the country and make suitable char material. When you are gathering cattail for char, you want to be sure and get full heads that have not begun to release their seeds. Before you make the char, you will need to pull the seeds from the plant and get only the cattail “fluff.” Cattail fluff is an easy-and-abundant way to make char, but keeping the fluff together can be a challenge. I would not recommend cattail fluff for a first-time firemaker, but after practice it can be used easily.

3. 100 percent cotton

Most people are introduced into the world of flint and steel through what’s called “char cloth.” Anything 100 percent cotton works just fine. Beware of any shirt blended with synthetics, as these will not catch a spark like natural cotton will. While cotton is popular today, and historically was used as well, it wasn’t the most popular method for people removed from civilization; they would soon run out of it after significant time in the wild. In our modern world, we can get cotton cheaply and easily enough that it is the best option for beginners.

3 Natural Materials For Starting A Fire in a Pinch (The Pioneers Used No. 1)For anyone interested in making char cloth, the process is fittingly simple as well. You can accomplish the task in 10 simple steps:

  1. Find a fire-resistant container of some kind that can be closed. An Altoids tin has become the iconic flint-and-steel container of our day.
  2. Punch a small hole into your container or tin.
  3. Get a fire going and get a good bed of coals burning.
  4. While your fire burns, break your char material down to a size that can fit in the tin.
  5. Fill the tin with the desired amount of material. For efficiency sake, it is best to fill the tin fairly full.
  6. Close the lid and place the tin on the coals. At this point it is worth noting that you don’t actually want the material to catch fire. It needs to bake more than anything, and coals serve this purpose the best.
  7. char 4Soon, the tin will begin to smoke. This means the charring process has started and things are moving along just fine.
  8. Once the tin has quit smoking, that means your char is made and you should remove the container.
  9. Allow the container to cool for a few minutes before opening the lid.
  10. You should now have char material made that will catch a spark for your next fire-making adventure.

As you can see, making char is an extremely simple process, but nonetheless invaluable to know for long-term self-reliance escapades. Learn the ins and outs of the flint-and-steel fire-starting method and you are not only learning a skill to help you develop more self-reliance, but you also are carrying a torch from the past.

What advice would you add? How do you make char? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Great Forest Fire article

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This is a great article about first-hand experience with forest fires.

It’s a two part article. Here are the links.



Many times people move to a house in the sticks and think that’s it. They’ll never have to worry about anything because they “already bugged out”. Wrong. First, wherever it is that you live, that place can no longer be your bug out location. By definition a bug out location is the place where you go when your main place of residence is compromised, so it can’t be both at the same time. Second, living in the sticks doesn’t mean bad things can’t happen. There’s a number of things that can go wrong forcing you to either evacuate or rearrange your lifestyle due to personal circumstances like sickness, family, employment, etc. Forest fires are a good example, and these affect a lot of people every year. As always, a bit of preparation goes a long way.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

How To Identify the Best Fire Starter

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How To Identify the Best Fire Starter When it comes to getting a fire going, whether it’s in your fireplace at home or at your camping site in the middle of the woods, you want something else to rely on other than matches. That’s why you should have the best fire starter on your side …

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14 Ways To Light A Campfire Without A Match

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14 Ways To Light A Campfire Without A Match Being able to stay warm, cook food and purify water is paramount to surviving any situation. This means you have to be able to start a fire, this is not so easy without a lighter or matches! I can testify and tell you from personal experience …

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How To Make DIY Fire Logs from Recycled Newspaper

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How To Make DIY Fire Logs from Recycled Newspaper If you’re like me, you have loads of scrap paper and old newspaper laying all over the place. I even have access to paper from work. This is a great way to save money and make a long, hot burning log. These would be great to …

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Make A Fire Piston For $1

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Make A Fire Piston For $1 The fire piston is one of the most amazing survival fire starting device ever conceived! Make this fire piston for a dollar or even if you have to buy the plastic still very cheap to make. This fire piston is made our of acrylic and works every time, the …

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USA Made Fire Steel: Have You Tried it?

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Recently I went to a preparedness convention in Georgia and had a great time. I was very impressed with a lot of the booths that were set up, but I have to tell you about one of my favorites, the Fire Steel Booth with Georgia Pyro.

I have seen a LOT of fire starters in my day and have tried many different kinds. This one takes the cake. What drew me to his booth was the amount of sparks I saw flying from one strike, but also the size of the sparks. They were HUGE!

So I started asking questions about their product and found out some very interesting things. For starters, they are USA hand made right here in Georgia, but also that their fire starters produce an amazing amount of 3000 degree sparks and their magnesium burns at 5000 degrees. WET or DRY and their larger rods give over 20,000 strikes!

Their scrapers are 1/4″ square high speed steel tool Bits. They are very sharp and very easy to strike. So much so that you can actually use it to scrape wood shavings to use as tinder. David Bailey demonstrates in the videos below.

Look at all those sparks!

Starting a Fire with Cotton

Scraping Off Tinder

If you want to see for yourself, he has a list of shows he will be at on his website. There are nothing but outstanding reviews there as well. We purchased the fire block at the show but will be getting the Tiger Maple one soon to add to my husbands bag. I can not stress enough that you will not be disappointed in this product. You guys know me, if it is USA made I’m all about it. Especially if it is done by an individual verses a corporation. I personally prefer supporting the little guys. 🙂

Check David Baily out at GeorgiaFireSteel.com and let us know what you think!!

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14 Survival Uses For Your FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight

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FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight - 14 Real Survival Uses

So What Makes A Tactical Flashlight…Tactical?

A real tactical flashlight should be able to survive the harshest of conditions. Heat, moisture, and high impacts should be a non-issue if its truly tactical.

And also I’d argue that it should have more uses than just simple illumination. If it’s going to truly live up to its tactical nameplate; it needs to be designed to help keep you alive. To help you survive.

So what could be more tactical than a flashlight that has 14 real survival uses? So in this article, we’ll cover 14 uses for the FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight.


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Massive Survival & Preparedness Printable PDF Collection

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Massive Survival & Preparedness Printable PDF Collection Let’s say you weren’t paying attention to great sites like SHTFPreparedness.com, owned little or no books on preparedness and survival and let’s face it, wanted to learn some new skills quickly because you were caught entirely with your pants down when SHTF. I have been asked a number of …

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