Imagine falling out of a helicopter and pulling a chute. You don’t know why or how you got under this parachute but you are floating down into a thick and rolling landscape of deep forest. There are trees everywhere and you see wildlife a buzz in the tops of the trees. When you hit the …
This article is the first in a three-part series detailing fire in a survival situation. Don’t worry, I’m not going to attempt to teach you the tedious and tiresome fire bow and drill method. A simple Google search will probably net you 25 million results on learning how to start a fire from two pieces of wood. While the technique is interesting and can prove useful, the theory behind it and the execution of it are the two most important parts of that technique. If you understand what fire is, how it works, and how to be resourceful while in a survival situation, then that information alone will be enough to help you find ways to start fires. If you put more emphasis on planning, preparation, and understanding, you won’t have to waste 15 to 20 minutes trying to start a fire with a fireball and drill, not to mention the time it takes to fashion those articles from the wilderness around you.
It’s much more efficient to simply tuck a one dollar Bic lighter into your pocket or your survival kit. If you were to ask the most hardened survivalists the items that they would never be found without, likely you would receive the answers a Bic lighter and a good knife 95+ percent of the time. There’s a good reason for that: these two items offer more versatility than any other single item in a survival situation.
It’s not necessary to have a lighter to survive, but that one dollar investment and the mentality that comes along with remembering to pack it everywhere you go can be an essential part to the survival scenario.
Because of the goal of this article (to comprehensively cover the idea of fire starting in a survival situation), the various techniques will be covered pretty much across the board, including some fringe, “cute,” and utterly ridiculous methods.
The point is to give you options and knowledge and to help you understand the reasons why something can start a fire, so you can be able to determine the best method if you find yourself in a survival situation, regardless of the resources.
Some parts of this article will seem like fire starting 101. However, there is a lot to be learned from the basics. And perhaps not a high-ranking Boy Scout or successful participant from their program exists, that doesn’t understand quite a bit about utility, resourcefulness, and survival.
There are three parts to a successful fire:
Materials are your fuel source and your ignition source: what will burn and how.
Engineering is the design work involved in making inefficient and stable fire.
Monitoring are the safety considerations put in place to avoid additional concerns.
When you use all three of these segments in the process, you can almost ensure a successful fire (yes, this sentence is stating the obvious, but there’s more to fire than just lighting some fuel).
Materials for fire starting in the wilderness usually include a fire source, some tinder, some kindling, and then some larger fuel sources. Tinder and kindling will need to be as dry and combustible as possible, or contain a fuel source which is unaffected by moisture or other fire deterrents (like high winds, etc.).
Some excellent fire starters:
- char cloth (especially when used in conjunction with the fire piston)
Notes: it takes some time to make char cloth correctly, though it will help with your understanding of how fire works, to actually go through the process.
- cotton balls covered in Vaseline
Notes: either completely saturate the cotton ball with Vaseline or cover with a shell of wax before you put it into your carrying case.
- dry shredded wood
Notes: sappy, termite-eaten, rotted, or otherwise “used” wood would make the best tinder. You’ll want to look for stringy or easily broken pieces.
- completely dry leaves or pine needles
Notes: opt for firm and “crackly” pieces.
- “deconstructed” cattail
Notes: a large quantity of this material can also prove valuable as insulation between a shirt and a jacket as another “layer of loft”.
- alcohol, oil, or other accelerants
Note: if using to help along a fire, try to give it a couple seconds to begin to dissipate, but not too long so as to lose all the volatility of the accelerant.
- dryer lint
Notes: usually there are some detergents and synthetic fabrics in the mix, which can complicate things, and keep you from getting a reliable ignition.
- pine sap
Notes: combine with dry natural fibers/wood strands, etc. to create a better starter.
Notes: can pop and crackle a lot, and you should definitely get to know the characteristics before you try anything too “survival-y” with it.
- crushed up corn chips, especially the greasier brands like Fritos.
It’s pretty rare that you will find yourself in a position to use this item, but it does work, and that old bag of chips in your vehicle may help you start a fire for warmth if you crash into a snow bank (though if you do it right, the vehicle can also be kept warm). Don’t be afraid to use other vehicle items as makeshift fire starters as well (like your battery or gasoline, or fibers from various upholstery areas).
- steel wool
Notes: Probably the least likely item to find in your bag outside of corn chips (in this list at least), so from a practicality standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Suffice it to say: it works for a variety of fire starting methods.
- Wetfire; Tinderquik; FirePaste; Fire Gel (and other branded or commercial product sold as volatile fire starters/survival fuel
Buy them because they are nearly guaranteed to work, and they aren’t overly expensive, stash them in places you will need them, including your vehicle. In the case of non liquids, put them in your pack/pocket/survival kit.
Remember, the goal of using tinder is to easily start (with good reliability)the items you are using as kindling.
- The trusty Bic lighter (or other continuous flame lighters)
Pros: an hour’s worth of flame; a quick and easy start to fire; low-cost and widespread availability.
Cons: harder to light at higher altitudes; potentially a false security blanket.
- Fire piston:
Pros: guaranteed fire with char cloth; simple and relatively easy to use once you learn the technique; waterproof.
Cons: can be bulky; hard to use unless you understand the technique; relatively large investment compared to other fire starters.
- Swedish fire steel:
Pros: extreme simplicity; high-volume of sparks, waterproof.
Cons: somewhat bulky.
- flint and steel:
Pros: low cost; simple to use; long tradition; waterproof.
Cons: can be difficult to start fires without extensive practice and excellent tinder.
Pros: easy to use, instant flame; attached fuel source.
Cons: generally not waterproof; flame produced is not very long-term; has a shelf life.
- the sun:
Pros: cheap; more readily available than most other options (except at night and during bad weather).
Cons: requires other items; requires steady hands; not usable at evening/night or during adverse weather.
Pros: long life; widespread availability.
Cons: requires other items (like steel wool), bulky, not waterproof.
- chemical reactions:
Pros: guaranteed results
Cons: can be dangerous; requires good technical knowledge and skill; difficult to obtain/transport/use at times.
Three things are necessary for a fire to be sustainable: fuel, ignition, and oxygen. You’ll want to increase the amount of airspace within the tinder and the airflow to the base of the fire area.
Ideally you want the tinder to be as volatile and dry as possible, without going overboard (i.e. you don’t want to put a bottle full of gasoline in direct contact with a flame and be anywhere near it; but a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball that is dry should provide an excellent source of fuel for your ignition spark.)
Redundancy is always important when it comes to emergency/survival fire starting; you always want to have multiple layers of protection so you can guarantee the ability to start a fire. An excellent backup companion might be a fire steel or a fire piston, as these are relatively hearty, lightweight, easy to use and substantially more waterproof than chemical, or even traditional modern fire starting methods.
Additional unconventional methods of fire starting:
- signal mirror
- shaped, clear ice
- magnifying glass/glasses
- a clear heavy-duty bag filled with water
- highly polished metal with a parabolic shape (the bottom of the Coke can)
- steel wool with your cell phone battery
Signal mirror: can be used to focus solar energy into a batch of tinder.
Shaped, clear ice; magnifying glass/glasses; a clear heavy-duty bag filled with water: can be used like a signal mirror to magnify solar rays into a very focused point which eventually can cause enough heat to start properly prepared tinder on fire.
A highly polished parabolic curve on a piece of metal will also focus solar energy into a fire starting beam, given enough time.
A cartridge with the projectile removed can have its primer punctured to create an ignition capable of starting most tinder on fire. Exercise extreme caution and use as a last resort if necessary.
Steel wool contacting both the positive and negative ends of a battery will create a short, causing heat and eventually igniting the steel’s protective oil and then the steel itself.
These methods do in fact work, but they are cumbersome at best, especially if you can use one of the other above mentioned methods. If you find yourself in the backcountry and find a tin can and some sand you might be able to polish the can well enough to start a fire, but it could take you hours, and you will need strong sunlight.
The cartridge will be a last resort, and unlikely to ever work for you, as the bullet will be seated so tightly that it will be nearly impossible to remove the cartridge safely without tools, so again, exercise extreme caution and use a heavy dose of reality when determining your strategies.
The water and ice tricks work, but they are clumsy and you need a lot of patience.
About the only “foolproof” method listed in these ancillary methods is the signal mirror, and despite being relatively foolproof, it takes patience and muscle control, or luck in finding something to position the mirror correctly without having to hold it. It also requires sunlight.
Don’t worry—the cell phone battery + steel wool method wasn’t forgotten, but again exercise some reality. If you’re in a survival situation with a cell phone, why wouldn’t you attempt to make a phone call to help get you out or move to an area which will get a cell signal so you can do the same? Furthermore, isn’t it a lot easier just to carry some matches, a lighter or another easier, more hearty method of fire starting? In the end however: the cell phone battery trick does work.
Some additional tips:
- While a candle may not be an easy fuel source to start with a sparking tool, it may be easier to start than some other tinder. To use the candle as a more stable and longer lasting flame source, a tea light candle or a birthday cake relighting candle may be a good companion.
- After adding the Vaseline to the cotton balls, dip them in candle wax to make them completely waterproof (within reason), slice them in half when needed. This isn’t necessary if you completely coat the cotton ball in Vaseline.
- Make some char cloth by heating thick natural fiber cloth (muslin, jersey knit cotton, rope, kerosene lamp wick, etc.) until it catches on fire and burns thoroughly, but not completely, you want it to resemble charcoal, but in cloth form. Extinguish the flame a second or so after the entire cloth is black and burnt, but not before it begins to disintegrate. These cloths take well to sparks, and can start other natural tinder on fire easily.
- Try some dynamite/cannon fuse (remarkably easy to find, considering) or a trick birthday candle as a longer term fire starting source, but they are harder to light than some others.
- Practice makes perfect: if you aren’t practicing these techniques you can’t reasonably be assured to be able to carry them out in the field.
Hopefully this was a comprehensive look at fire starting fuels and ignition options. The next two articles will highlight fire building architecture and engineering, and fire safety and usage for survival situations.
It’s important to understand your limits as an individual, especially when in stressful situations. Planning, preparation, and practice will always go a long way to ensuring success in the “field.”
©2018 Off the Grid News
The post Fire for Survival Part One: Materials and Ignition appeared first on Off The Grid News.
The Complete Ferro Rod Survival Guide
A spark is an insanely powerful thing to carry in your pocket.
For most of human history, starting a fire’s been an epic and ongoing survival challenge.
Fire was such a crucial resource in ancient times; travelers carried embers with them. It was far easier to start a new fire from a smoldering ember.
After all, using stones to knock out a spark to catch a bit of tinder is not easy. Nor is using sticks to pop an ember out of a plank of wood.
And besides, they never knew if there would be enough dry fuel or the right stones to make a spark at their next stop.
It was much safer to carry an ember along wherever they went.
So what do you think ancient people would have thought about a spark generating device? One that fits in a pocket and throws off sparks hot enough to melt steel?
A device that throws sparks with just the flick of a wrist, and even soaking wet?
I bet they would have killed others for such a powerful device!
That would have been life-changing tech, back then. And anyone with access to it would have felt like a survival wizard.
Today we have a variety of fire-starting tools:
But there is only one type of fire starter that works under almost any conditions. A device that can get a damp bundle of sticks burning like a grease soaked towel in seconds flat.
But what are they exactly? How do they generate fire? How does one use a Ferro rod? And what are the best Ferro rods to buy?
Those are precisely the questions this article aims to address. The ins, outs, ups, down and all the nitty-gritty details of Ferro rods:
- What Is A Ferro Rod
- Why Ferro Rods Are So Awesome
- How To Use A Ferro Rod
- Best Ferro Rods
- How To Make A Ferro Rod
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
What Is A Ferro Rod
To understand what a Ferro rod is, you need to understand what it is made of. So, allow me to introduce you to Ferrocerium.
Ferrocerium is sort of like flint – but it’s not like flint at all.
Chemically, ferrocerium, the metal used in Ferro rods, is entirely dissimilar to natural flint rock. But they do, the same thing: generate sparks.
The main feature of ferrocerium vs. flint is it produces sparks that burn at around 5500-degrees F!
And can even result in molten globs of metal from the steel striker.
You can strike it using all sorts of dense materials, such as:
- glass shards
- knife spines
- or even flint
Whereas flint is stingy with giving up sparks without steel.
A typical survival Ferro rod consists of three components:
- The Ferro rod itself
- A striker
- A small length of string to bind them together
The Ferro rod was invented by the German scientist Carl Auer, around 1903. Since then Ferro rods have been widely adopted and used throughout the world.
They’ve been used in every modern war, and they’ve become embedded in survival culture.
Why? Because they are ideal for the outdoors as a staple survival tool in any scenario.
Ferro rods are a specific tool, with a specific purpose. However, they’re not like survival multi-tools that can function to serve a variety of purposes.
They do one thing, and do it damn well; they conjure fire.
Why Ferro Rods Are So Awesome
Let’s cover all the reasons why you should own and carry a Ferro rod.
Extremely Hot Sparks
As mentioned, when you strike a Ferro rod, you create a spark that burns upwards of 5000-degrees F.
At those temps, anything in its way is libel to melt or ignite without difficulty. They can even produce these hot sparks when they are soaking wet.
Making them a lot easier to use than the conventional steel-and-flint striker.
Size and Weight
Their size and weight play a lot into their usefulness.
Some Ferro rods are not much bigger than the size of a zipper. They are lightweight and fit comfortably into a pocket or compartment.
You can even attach one to a keychain, so you’ve always got a method for starting fires.
The bottom line is they are a useful tool for fire starting and a perfect addition to your:
Easy To Use
We touched on this earlier, but Ferro rods are dead simple to use.
Even without much practice, you can quickly figure out how to use a Ferro rod without a whole lot of guidance.
It’s a surefire way to bear flames even in the darkest, coldest circumstances.
It’s easy to take fire for granted in a world full of gas-powered stovetops, Bic lighters and blow torches.
Other Ferro Rod Uses
Ferro rods are useful for more than just starting fires.
Ferro rods also make decent signaling tools in the dark. The sparks they produce are so hot and so bright they are like a firecracker or a small flare.
So if you find yourself lost in the dark, and people are looking for you, use your Ferro rod as a backup signaling device. They can help people locate you in the dark.
The Ferro rod may be simple technology. But the purpose it serves is essential to civilization.
I can’t think of a single instance when it wouldn’t be useful to have a Ferro rod on hand.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
How to Use a Ferro Rod
The first order of business (as with any fire) is to get your tinder in order. Make sure you’ve got a small pile of little, dry twigs, bark, grass, or cotton.
Now situate your tinder, so there’s plenty of air underneath and throughout. That way when the sparks touch the tinder, there’s enough oxygen to produce a flame.
Once your tinder bundle is ready, hold the Ferro rod in one hand and the striker in the other.
Next, place the end of the Ferro rod right underneath (or against) your tinder pile. Angle the striker at 45-degrees and drag it forcefully, and quickly along the Ferro rod’s length.
Great, bright sparks will erupt from the friction between the two pieces of metal.
Direct the hot sparks straight into your tinder pile. The more sparks land within the tinder the hotter it will get, and the faster a flame will manifest.
When you notice smoke coming out of your tinder pile, STOP, bend over and blow gently into your tinder bundle.
The air from your lungs should nurture the spark burning within the tinder into a growing flame. Be careful not to blow too hard because you can accidentally blow out your hard earned flame!
Once the fire has a life of its own, start piling larger sticks and logs on top until you have a roaring bonfire.
Best Ferro Rods
These days, no matter the survival gadget you’re researching, the choices are overwhelming. There are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of producers. All claiming to be the “best” option for you.
It can be almost impossible to cut through the noise.
Which ones are good? And which ones are trash? Which ones are too much and which are just right?
That’s why I’ve included a list of highest rated, most widely acclaimed list of Ferro rods. That way you don’t have to sift through the ocean of cheap, crappy Ferro rods that exist.
Survival Frog FireLaces
Why not upgrade your current hiking boot laces with ones that have Ferro rods built into the tips? It’s a smart way to make a significant survival upgrade.
You can check it out in the video below.
Bonus Offer: At the time we published this article, you could pick up a set of Survival Frog FireLaces for FREE (only $3.95 s/h). Click here to see if this amazing deal is still available!
Schrade SCHFS1 4in Ferro Rod Fire Striker for Outdoor Survival Camping
The Schrade SCHFS1 Ferro Rod comes in at only 4 inches long and only 1.1 ounces.
It’s the perfect example of practical simplicity.
It includes the Ferro rod and a striker connected by a simple black lanyard.
Schrade uses only the highest quality materials, so this Ferro rod will perform when it needs to.
überleben Zünden Thick Bushcraft Fire Steel with Wood Handle
Consider the überleben Zünder the luxury edition Ferro rod.
It includes a wooden handle and a high-quality Ferro rod. This survival rod is advertised as having between 12,000-20,000 strikes.
That’s 12,000-20,000 times this small piece of survival equipment can save your life.
The striker on this Ferro rod even comes with a built-in can/bottle opener. It’s also embossed with a 50mm measuring stick.
Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle
Simple, and versatile, the Light My Fire Ferro rod is several tools built into one. Sor of like a firestarter multitool.
The grips on this Ferro rod are made of high durability plastic, and the rod is good for around 12,000 strikes.
Plus the striker can doubles as an emergency whistle as well. So, if you are stuck in a tight spot, you can always use your fire starter to call out for help.
Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter Survival Pack
This Swiss Safe survival package includes a whole host of useful items; including two Ferro rods.
Each Ferro rod acting as a multi-tool with a whistle and a compass on top of being a fire starting tool.
One of the best parts about this item is its money back guarantee.
So if you’re not satisfied with your Fire Starter Survival Pack; return it for a full refund.
Bayite Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter Ferro Rod Kit
This option is a very basic, but its a proven highly durable, highly rated Ferro rod.
The rod itself is connected to the striker by a braided length of paracord.
This comes out to 9 ft worth of cordage.
HOODDEAL 10PCS Pure Magnesium Ferrocerium Fire Starter
Luckily, you do not have to buy a new Ferro rod setup every time you wear through one.
You can buy these replacement rods and use them to refresh your trusty Ferro rod set up time and again.
Making Your Own Ferro Rod Multi-Tool
For those creative souls out there, who want to take Ferro rods into their own hands, I have good news.
Homemade Ferro rods can often function better than those commercially available.
Because you can add whatever you want to it:
- Add a compass to your Ferro rod setup? Sure.
- Stick on a little ruler on it? You bet.
- Add a bundle of fishing supplies? Why not!
- Attach it to a knife or a walking staff? Cool.
- Tie on a container full of cotton tinder? Smart.
- Attach a flashlight, a signal mirror, a small folding knife or whatever else you might think of? Hell yes!
Making your own Ferro rod set up offers a chance to customize and personalize your survival gear.
First, buy yourself a plain, Ferro rod (like those in the HOODDEAL Ferrocerium Rod pack). Then make your own Ferro rod handle.
Then braid a length of paracord to use to attach the striker to the rod.
Finally, attach the striker and other tools you want, seal it off and pack it away with the rest of your survival gear.
Homemade Ferro rods also make great gifts for friends and family.
Few things say “I love you” like a tool that can help someone survive a shit storm!
The Final Word
A fire has not always been such an accessible resource to come by.
Ferro rods offer survivalists a confident way to start a fire. They generate sparks hot enough to melt steel.
They are good for tens of thousands of strikes. And they’re lightweight, packable, and some of them act as multi-tools.
Granting you the ability to start a fire wherever, whenever, no matter if it is soaking wet and miserable out.
Plus it has near-mystical power. The ability to conjure flames with a rod is one that our ancestors would have been utterly blown away by.
Ferro rods are just freaking useful. And once you start using one, you won’t understand how you ever felt confident without one.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post Ferro Rod – The Best Ones To Own For Wilderness Survival appeared first on Skilled Survival.
If you find yourself in a survival scenario there are three things that you need to concern yourself with immediately. This scenario could be the realization that you are lost in the woods, it could be an urban survival situation or even recovery from a serious natural disaster. The beauty of survival is that these […]
The post Shelter, Fire, Water and the Survival Gear that Makes the Difference appeared first on American Preppers Network.
By Bill Heid – Off The Grid News
The lives and property of many Americas are in grave peril from new threats of historic fire danger this summer. In fact, drought is turning large areas of the country into a tinderbox.
The historic fire danger led to blazes that consumed more than 120,000 acres and forced hundreds of people to evacuate in Northwestern Oklahoma on Friday, April 13, CBS News reported.
Colorado might see one of the worst fire seasons on record this summer because of low snowpack the U.S. Forest Service warned. Low snowpack leads to dry conditions that create lots of fuel for fires.
Now, there are many articles out there that will show you how to use a flint and steel to make fire. There are bush craft sites, survival and prepping sites but never before have we had an instructable on the matter. This takes the use of a flint and steel from a different angle. The …
Its incredibly important that we have serious understanding of the wilderness. If you cannot develop that understanding on your own adventures, I think its important that you listen to an expert and take classes. These Q&A’s are top of the heap when it comes to understanding the bush craft world. You will find nothing that …
The post Tips For Fires Under Tarps, More Bushcraft On TV, Typha Fibre Extraction appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
In my time outdoors, one of the things I like to do is go investigate. I look at trees, water, and all sorts of flora and fauna. For me it is just truly enjoying nature Read More …
#AskPaulKirtley 62: Fires On Rock, Group Morale, Dangers of Wood Smoke and The Differences Between Traditional Scouting and Modern Bushcraft If you are looking for a guy who really knows the outdoors it is this Paul Kirtley. There is a lot of talk about bush craft skills and surviving in the outdoors. There are some …
The post #AskPaulKirtley 62: Fires On Rock, Group Morale, Dangers of Wood Smoke and The Differences Between Traditional Scouting and Modern Bushcraft appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Funny thing is, I use this fire starter all the time yet never thought about bringing it up here. I suppose it’s so simple and obvious I thought everyone did it (or some variation) but apparently that’s not the case.
This is by far the most common fire starter I use. I have more commercial stuff for kits but for a BBQ or to start a fire around home, start the fireplace or during a picnic this is what I do. Whenever there’s a BBQ party this is very convenient because the materials needed are already handy. People often act completely surprised as if you’re McGyver or something.
I bet there’s several variations but what I do is press one paper napkin into a ball and wrap it with the other, making somewhat of a cup.
Then I simply pour some vegetable oil inside. The paper ball absorbs most of the oil and the paper napkin acting as a cup keeps it from pouring out.
Place it in the fireplace or grill with the wood piled around it and light it up.
That’s it. It burns for a good few minutes, the more oil it has the more it burns, and it burns very hot too.
Give it a try next time!
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”
Funny thing is, I use this fire starter all the time yet never thought about bringing it up here. I suppose it’s so simple and obvious I thought everyone did it (or some variation) but apparently that’s not the case.
This is by far the most common fire starter I use. I have more commercial stuff for kits but for a BBQ or to start a fire around home, start the fireplace or during a picnic this is what I do. Whenever there’s a BBQ party this is very convenient because the materials needed are already handy. People often act completely surprised as if you’re McGyver or something.
I bet there’s several variations but what I do is press one paper napkin into a ball and wrap it with the other, making somewhat of a cup.
Then I simply pour some vegetable oil inside. The paper ball absorbs most of the oil and the paper napkin acting as a cup keeps it from pouring out.
Place it in the fireplace or grill with the wood piled around it and light it up.
That’s it. It burns for a good few minutes, the more oil it has the more it burns, and it burns very hot too.
Give it a try next time!
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”
Scroll down for a Special 50% Off Offer!!!
Your survival kit needs quality gear that you can count on when the time comes to depend on it. One of the important components of any kit you have should be the ability to make fire. A good fire kit is important. And a good fire kit has many options and ways to make fire, including a ferrocerium (ferro) rod.
A ferro rod that you should consider for your survival and fire kit is the Survival Hax 6″ Ferro Rod with Waterproof Tinder Holder. It is a solid piece of gear that comes with a few extras that provides redundancy in your preps.
The Survival Hax Ferro Rod comes with:
- a 6″ ferrocerium rod
- 5 feet of Paracord in the form of a lanyard
- a scraper that includes a bottle opener, hex wrench, and ruler
- a waterproof tinder holder with cotton
- and a plastic whistle.
The ferro rod feels good in your hands. It doesn’t slip like many smaller versions. There is not much to say about the scraper and paracord. The waterproof tinder holder is nice, but I couldn’t get the tinder to light. Some videos online make it seem like it works like a match, but I could never get it to happen with the ferro rod. I did get it to light with a lighter, so I know it can happen. I wondered if the cotton had some sort of accelerant on it, but after emailing Survival Hax, I was informed it didn’t. It is just a very compacted form of cotton.
In hindsight, I should have taken the time to open up the cotton and use it that way, but like I said, I was looking at some of the videos I saw online. I thought that if it worked like a match, it would be really awesome. In the future, I will probably include my own tinder in the container.
I wouldn’t bet my life on the whistle. It does blow and make noise, but I would prefer a metal type whistle to add to my kit.
The reason that you would go with this ferro rod compared to others on Amazon are the extras like the paracord, waterproof tinder container and scraper. You can often find it on sale on Amazon.
The good people at Survival Hax have provided a special discount code for Prepper Website readers!
You can get 50% off when ordering one 6″ Ferro Rod or get 60% off when ordering two from Amazon! Here is how you can take advantage of this discount offer!
- Go to Amazon.com <— This link takes you straight to the Ferro Rod page.
- Add the 6” Fire Starter Flint with Waterproof Tinder Holder and Whistle’ to your shopping cart and then checkout.
- On the last screen where it says “enter a discount or promo code” use discount code SH50FIRE
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A post shared by Prepper Website (@prepperwebsite) on Jan 15, 2018 at 10:47am PST
Check out more from Survival Hax – CLICK HERE!
- The Prepper Schema: Getting the Knowledge You Need to Prep
- DIY Altoids Fire Kit – So You Can Be Manly and Stuff!
The post Always Have a Way to Make Fire! A Large Ferro Rod for Your Survival or Fire Kit! appeared first on Ed That Matters.
How to Build a Smoke-Free Fireplace Fire In the early days of the collapse, everyone will be burning their firewood and eating the food on their shelves. They will have some resources they will be getting by. After about a week it will become clear that they are going to run out. After about 3 …
Make Your Own Altoids Fire Kit
Every preparedness minded person should know how to make a fire! You should know this skill even if you live in the city and don’t get out to the wild much! You never know when you might need to start-up a grill, start a fire to warm yourself or impress that pretty woman with your manly outdoor survival skills!
Your fire crafting skills should be complemented with a fire kit. Fire kits don’t have to be very elaborate. In fact, they should be kept pretty simple. An example of a fire kit that you can easily put together is this DIY Altoids Fire Kit.
Here are the contents of this Fire Kit:
1 – Altoids Tin
2 – Tea Light Candles
2 – Big Birthday Candles
1 – Mini-Bic Lighter
4-5 – Waterproof/Windproof Matches
1 – Striker (comes with the matches)
1 – Baggy with Cotton Balls and Vaseline
The contents pack very neatly in the tin!
One word about the matches. I had every intention of making my very own waterproof matches using Strike Anywhere Matches. However, I can’t seem to find Strike Anywhere Matches Anywhere! Even on Amazon, the stock is hit or miss. I would recommend if you happen to find some, to grab a box or two. There is one thing to remember about the “NEW” Strike Anywhere Matches. They are now “green” and don’t have the red phosphorus match head. Some reviews on Amazon say they don’t work as well as the old red ones, but they seem to be good enough…if you can find them.
I found the UCO Stormproof matches in the camping section of Walmart. But you can also find them on Amazon – CLICK HERE.
Check out my video of the UCO Stormproof Matches below. They are pretty cool!
A post shared by Prepper Website (@prepperwebsite) on Jan 5, 2018 at 8:20am PST
There are a ton of other natural and man-made items that you can add to your fire kit. What would you add?
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- The Prepper Schema: Getting the Knowledge You Need to Prep
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- The Simple Things Could Mean the Difference Between Life and Death: A Real Life Scenario
The post DIY Altoids Fire Kit – So You Can Be Manly and Stuff! appeared first on Ed That Matters.
Is Firewood a Part of Your Emergency Preparedness? Fuel is critical to survival. Even if you have a modern home with insulation you will still be cold in without something generating heat. This is true in most winter climates of our nation. Understanding firewood as a long term survival fuel is critical. If you find …
The post Is Firewood a Part of Your Emergency Preparedness? appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
Is Firepen a Viable Breaching Tool? – Gear Tasting 116 Some subjects just require a video and when I heard about this firepen I thought a video would offer a much better option to explain this tool. The question is whether it is breaching tool. Still, I wonder whether it is not only a breaching …
The post Is Firepen a Viable Breaching Tool? – Gear Tasting 116 appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.
No survivalist or outdoor adventurer should be going about without a trusty survival lighter by his side. It’s one of the most important things you should stash on your kit and backpack. If you’ve ever built a bug-out bag then you’ll know that it’s a must-have.
What’s so important about a lighter? It can be your best friend in emergency survival situations. It can mean the difference between life and death. When you’re hunting out in the woods, you’ll need fire to cook what you’ve caught. You’ll need fire to stay warm. It can keep you safe when you’re in unknown areas with wild animals prowling about. Fire will keep you from freezing in the winter.
Cold affects the extremities first, which means your fingers, head and feet should be kept warm at all times. In a blizzard, the human body can only survive for a few hours. This why where a lighter comes in handy- you won’t need to worry about starting a fire in survival situations.
Not all lighters are alike. Everyday lighters aren’t built to stand the test of time and the rigors of outdoor environments. Here’s where you should do your homework in determining the features that really matter. In short, you’ll need to think- what functions matter when looking for the best survival lighter?In choosing the best survival lighter for your needs, you’ll need to think about the following factors.
You will need to think about how you plan on using your survival lighter before you can start looking for one. A good lighter will be able to light a fire within a reasonable amount of time, but you’ll need to take in account the unexpected things that could happen in emergency situations. You will need to make sure that your survival lighter will be able to take a beating and work in different conditions.
Survival lighters should be durable enough that it won’t break if it falls to the ground. I put the emphasis on the word “survival” in both the situation and the product so that you can put it to use anytime you need it.
Rugged survival lighters should still create fire even if it falls at a certain distance. You should choose tough lighters that can withstand weight and impact easily. A stainless steel type of lighter serves this purpose as they are durable and rust-free even after prolong use.
There’s a number of varying weather and climate conditions whenever you go outdoors, including snowstorms, rains and floods. Your survival lighter must be able to work most of the time when you hit the switch.You’ll come across a number of lighters, and each will have its own pros and cons. For example, wick-based lighters are good for starting a fire in freezing temperatures, but the fuel system tends to leak as the lighter ages. If you can’t get around the disadvantages of your chosen survival lighter, then it’s best to pack more than one type depending on where you’re heading.
Don’t forget about this factor when you’re choosing your survival lighter. A regular lighter won’t work in pouring rain or in a gale, whilst a survival lighter can. You’ll need to think about direct flame as it could prove to be useful in emergency situations. Direct flame means that the fire emanating from the unit should be torch-like, which is great for quick-starting and power purposes. This means that you can flick on the switch and not worry about the rain or heavy winds.
Matches are a staple in a bug out bag, but when the bag gets wet the matches are no good. Suffice to say, they aren’t the best survival firemakers around. Getting a lighter that’s waterproof is part of the survival equation.
Some lighters have waterproof casing that keeps the moisture and the air out of the unit. This is one of the most important features that you should be looking for as you can’t expect the environment to be warm and dry all the time. Some lighter brands even have the ability to produce flames even if they’re submerged in water for a short while. Finally, the base material should be resistant to corrosive effects after being exposed to air and water.
A lighter in itself is made as a portable fire-making device. One thing that you should check is the overall weight. It’s one of the few things that you should keep close on hand at all times- in your backpack and in your pocket, if possible. Moreover, the compact form should be optimized for hand-carrying in certain survival scenarios.
There are different types of portable lighters. Some assume the shape of a capsule, which is compact and has a negligible weight factor. You can take them when you go camping, trekking, mountain climbing, etc. Keep in mind that every ounce of weight is important when you’re packing a survival bag. The perfect survival lighter is one that’s tough yet hardly weighs more than necessary.
If you want a lighter that you can use for a long time then you’ll have to think about refillability. There’s a certain advantage in having the ability to refill your survival lighter when it runs out, but it’s not a real must-have.
One of the more advanced features in a lighter is hands-free lighting. This factor allows the user to strike and produce fire using only one hand. In certain survival scenarios where you won’t be able to use both hands, this becomes an essential factor. Today, there a number of lighters that do multiple things. They can be made to create fire or be the sole source of heat.
Zippo lighter brands are known for their durability and long shelf life. When you buy a Zippo lighter brand, you also get the Zippo warranty. The company will replace the lighter for free and you’ll just need to pay for shipping. If you should know, the motto is “it works, or we fix it for free!”.
Zippo lighters are simple but very useful in a lot of emergency situations. You can rely on a Zippo-based lighter to ward off frostbites and hypothermia in chilly weather and in instances where finger and hand dexterity is compromised. With a Zippo lighter, all you need to do is to run your finger through the striker wheel using your pants fabric without even having to press down on the lever. Plus, you won’t need to do anything to keep the flame lit, which makes it a great hands-free device.
On the plus side, this type of survival lighter runs on flammable fuel that could be ignited with a spark. The design makes it very easy for a quick lighter refill using butane cartridges and naphtha-based fuel with a compatible nozzle. Gasoline and diesel in theory can work with a Zippo, but it’s not recommended unless in dire conditions.
The disadvantage in packing a Zippo lighter is that the flame only goes in one direction- up! Lighting something at an awkward angle will be a difficult task. You’ll also need to consider packing extra butane fuel cartridges as the gas escapes and evaporates over time.
The piezoelectric butane type lighters will serve as a great warming device for when you’re in a cold environment. Bic branded lighters may not work in extreme cold. There’s a reason why you can buy a pack of them for less than $10- they jam up, fall apart or won’t use up all the contained liquid fuel.
Some of the high-end lighters may still fail in elevated places. The beauty of butane is that they are completely replaceable and good for instant uses. You can get a good number and put one in your bug out bag, your emergency backpack and in your pocket for everyday use.
One of the things butane lighters are good at is creating a fire at ground level. The pressure inside the casing is able to put out a longer flame. The portable and lightweight nature makes it your go-to survival lighter for short trips and camping.
At best, butane survival lighters can create a spark to set small twigs and leaves alight. If you’re stuck in a real emergency having the ability to produce a spark is still better than having nothing at all. This type of lighter is an all-around device that can get the job done in many situations.
If you live in an area where there’s high elevation and windy climate, then windproof survival lighters are the best ones to get. These lighters can produce a flame even with 80mph winds- all you need to do is push one button. Moreover, the best windproof lighters can create fire in elevations up to 80,000 feet via manual control.
These lighters are made to float if you accidentally drop them in water. Choose one that has bright colors so you can easily find it in the dark. The flint strikes solidly even when they’re damp. The piezoelectric ignition makes it even easier to produce a flame even if your hands are cold or numb.
Finally, windproof lighters are designed so that they won’t leak fuel needlessly. They are also refillable with a fuel source. You’ll need to pack a separate canister.
Instead of producing good old flame, plasma lighters put out electric plasma bolts. Housed in the casing is a battery and electric current to start a spark. USB cables are usually included, but you’ll want to invest in a portable solar charger to increase the plasma lighter’s usefulness.
Operation is an easy and painless affair. Just use any finger to click the button, and voila! instant flame. The flame in this case is either a single or a double plasma that has a higher temperature than fire. The device houses a pair of ceramic electrode material where the electrical arc forms. One of the advantages you can get when you use a plasma lighter is that it requires no fuel or fluids to generate flames. It only takes an hour or two to be completely charged.
The Zippo Emergency Fire Starter is an excellent lighter that can be relied on in a number of emergency situations. The plastic bod
Moisture from air and water is kept out, thanks to a water-resistant O-seal ring that keeps the parts and the fluid dry. The patented wheel flint ignition will work everytime you need it. Plus, you get 4 waxed tinder sticks as a bonus when you buy this Zippo lighter.
I recommend taking the time to practice getting the hang of the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter before using it in the field. Bottom line is that this Zippo lighter will perform as expected in a number of survival situations.
Believe it or not, there are many things that could happen to make your lighter stop working. This is exactly why the Exotac Lighter FireSleeve was created. This survival lighter will work even when submerged for 30 minutes in 3 feet of water. The waterproof casing shuts out moisture.
The brand boasts that you won’t ever have to worry about the lighter not doing what it’s supposed to. In other words, the Exotac Lighter FireSleeve should work as advertised!
The gas lock allows you to keep the flame on even when not pressing the lever. The gas button has a safety feature that prevents the user from accidentally producing a flame when not needed. This survival lighter has been field tested before being put on the shelves to make sure it lights up in the harshest environments.
The Windmill Stormproof All Weather Lighter is just like its namesake. The lighter casing’s material is tough elastomer armor. A rubber O-seal makes the lighter waterproof. The fuel is basic butane and it’s refillable. It may seem like the All Weather Lighter is just like any other ligther in the market, but this is where the unique features come into play.
The flame output is adjustable. You’ll be able to see the fuel level, thanks to the clear sight glass. It’s one of the best lighters you can bring with you on the great outdoors and on excursions. It’s also one of the best value price lighter in the market. There’s no reason not to pack one in your bug out bag or survival backpack. Durability, stamina and a variety of functions round out the mix.
The Blazer CG-001 Refillable Torch comes with a lot of great features. The device is powered via a piezoelectric ignition system that can heat and light up different objects. You can use it to light twigs, burn paper and even roast a marshmallow. The electric flame may be controlled using the built-in fuel adjustment dial.
The blue flame that this survival lighter produces is resistant to wind, which is perfect for outdoor conditions and extreme environments. A peek at the clear fuel window will show you when you need to refill the Blazer CG-001.
One of the disadvantages of using a piezoelectric-based lighter is that it doesn’t work as well in the higher altitude. In terms of other EDC and survival scenarios though, you’ll be glad to have the Blazer CG-001 Refillable Torch by your side.
The UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter has ticked the boxes on the features that matter most. It’s windproof and can survive a storm and still work good as new. An adjustable tripe jet flame comes out reliably on all weather conditions. Moreover, manufacturer UCO promises that the striker may be used 30,000 times and that one full tank can put out 700 ignitions.
You get a bonus 3 ft of survival tape for each purchase of the device. The UCO Stormproof Torch Lighter is a great survival tool that can be used for multiple survival and emergency scenarios.
Windproof Fire Starting means you can flick the switch and get a strong flame even on the windiest days. One push of the ignition button and a powerful electric arc springs from the two ceramic points. Rounding out the essentials is a 10 second timeout safety feature and a green led light that indicates when the lighter is in use.
The lighter unit is powered by a rechargable Li-on battery. You won’t need to carry extra tanks of propane or butane cartridges. Instead, you may want to invest in a portable solar panel device or a powerbank that has a USB out.
The case is rubberized for durability and extra grip. The TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter comes with a paracord lanyard that can be extended to 3 feet. This cord can be used to increase your chances of survival, i.e., first aid, as a fishing line, suturing wounds, sewing and more.
The Xikar 9660BK Stratosphere II works in wet and windy conditions. The windproof flame has great focus and can be used to start a fire with less effort than other lighters. The rubberized grip case makes it easy to hold even when rain is pouring down in torrents.
A spring assisted lid makes exposing and covering the flame output an easy task. What’s more, a quick thumb ignitions lights a fire each time. The brand touts that there’s little to no gas waste in the tank fuel and that the lighter can be used for a long time before needing a refill.
Like the TekFire lighter, the Stratosphere II includes a lanyard hole with a bit of rope for emergency situations.
Zippo Outdoor Lighters have an all-metal body construction and small enough to fit in your pocket. Along with the excellent design, you also get the flame output and the hands-free operation that Zippo is known for. Simply push the button and let the flame stand on its own without further input.
The Zippo windproof lighter will work almost anywhere, even in the rain or in windy conditions. You can put the Zippo on any reasonably flat surface and it should stay upright. This feature becomes handy in cases where you need to put the Zippo lighter on a surface with the flame on while doing other things. Moreover, the produced flame is steady and won’t be blown out easily by a rogue gust of wind or light rain.
This Zippo lighter is refillable and the company maintains that you can use it for a lifetime. Zippo recomends using Zippo wicks, flints and genuine lighter fluid for the product to last a long time.
Produce a lasting, powerful flame with a handy IR switch. This survival lighter can create 300 sparks in one full charge. Bring along a USB cord and a power bank or portable solar charge for unlimited use. It’s a great lighter for when you don’t plan on using a fuel tank or butane cartridge.
The plastic casing is durable and can withstand reasonable weight. The company offers a refund if you’re not satisfied. Other than that, it’s a great lighter you can bring with you when you’re on the go.
By now you should have a clear idea of the different factors in play and the type of survival lighter you’ll need for specific survival scenarios. Keep in mind that it will pay dividends to have more than one survival lighter at any given time. Stash waterproof matches and other sources for starting a fire to have a well-rounded survival pack. Heed the survival mantra, “always be prepared”. Your favorite survival lighter should be with you at all times while reinforcing its weakness with a second unit. Prepare for any and all potential survival and emergency scenarios wisely!
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In today’s prepping survival marketplace there are many choices of fire starting tools. Fires can be ignited by using a variety of these available tools by using many different techniques. The bottom line though is to have a reliable fire starting implement that you can count on to get you a blaze started under all kinds of conditions. This tool can do that.
Brand new to the market to the point that sales packaging is not yet even complete, the Clickspring Fire Piston actually uses old school technology that has been around for some time. In this new tool fire starting is delivered by a precision machined tool constructed of aluminum and brass.
The Origin of Clickspring
If you want a lot of background information on this new product, your search may leave you with more questions than answers, but that does not impact the quality or function of the Clickspring Fire Piston.
The company or founding name Clickspring oddly comes from a home shop project development machine shop whose primary focus is on clock making. The proprietor “Chris” creates the home shop project videos that you can watch on YouTube.
Firing up the Clickspring
You’ll need access to a computer or device that can dial up the YouTube video that shows you how to start a fire using the Clickspring Fire Piston. The package I received for this product review contained no written instructions, no owner’s manual or a parts list. All that is described in the video. I can only assume once the final packaged product hits the market it will contain the necessary written information to learn to use it.
Also Read: DIY Firestarter
Though I could not ever get the sound working on the video thank goodness it came with subtitles, otherwise I would have been lost. It is not an intuitive use tool, primarily because it is a specialty precision engineered device. I had to watch the video several times to get the full orientation on it.
The fire piston uses a forceful thrust of air that is heated by a fast pump on the piston inside the chamber tube or body of the tool. There are seals forward and aft on the end of the piston rod that allows the pressure to rise as the rod is thrust forward down the tube. Apparently this rise in pressure creates the heat that ignites the tiny piece of pre-burned char cloth inserted into the forward end of the piston rod.
Once the piston rod is quickly thrust down the tube this ignites the char cloth which then glows red as an ember. The end of the rod with the ember is then held to the remaining piece of the char cloth to ignite it. Then this glowing char cloth is inserted into a wad of quick fire starting fodder such as a wad of dry grass, leaves or other materials that will start to burn. From there the fire is tended and built up as usual.
Tool Shop Specs
The Clickspring Fire Piston is milled or precision turned from brass and aluminum. Both end caps are brass. The tube is aluminum. The threaded brass end holds a small liquid filled compass which is a handy item. This cap is drilled though to hold a piece of lanyard material that is 700mm in length and a sliding brass keeper to tighten around the wrist or other holding spot. This threaded cap end screws down onto the threated end of the tool body or tube.
Related: Review of the Best Firestarters
The opposite end of the tube is where the brass piston rod with recessed dimple in the end of the rod holds the char cloth fits. This is inserted into the tube and held in place by the pressure created by the seals when the screw on end is in place. Caution here. If the opposite end screw cap is screwed down tightly, then the piston rod will not insert because of the pressure created by the seals on the rod. Once you handle it a few times you will quickly get the hang of how it all goes together and works. Again, watch the play-by-play video.
The overall length of the Clickspring Fire Piston is just 5.35 inches long. The outside diameter of the assembled tube unit is 0.75 inches. It weighs a mere 5.6 ounces. The entire unit is quite compact and easy to store in a Bug Out bag, vehicle glove compartment, backpack or cargo pants pocket. The Clickspring Fire Piston retails for $89 and can be ordered on Amazon.
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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Last night as we settled in to go to sleep, the peace was shattered by the screech of fire alarms. At first, I wondered if I may have left something on the stove. Our fire alarm is quite sensitive and can be set off by cooking smells. But I had long cleaned up the kitchen and nothing was on the stove. Then we thought the heater, which was turned on for the first […]
Brewing Coffee in the Wild Outdoors Enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t mean you have to leave your beloved cup of coffee behind! Camping, traveling, backpacking, and hiking can all be enjoyed and with your coffee Read More …
California fires are burning down everything in their path. Towns, neighborhoods and businesses have been burnt to the ground. While looking at images of the devastation it looks like a war zone. As of this posting 3,500 structures have been destroyed, 23 people have been killed, 285 remain missing, and 170,000 acres have been scorched to the ground. Homes have been reduced to ash and rubble. This got me to thinking about preparedness and how it relates to out-of-control fires. Preparedness For Fire What strikes me when I look at pictures of burnt out neighborhoods is that EVERYTHING can easily
In a survival scenario, when the stress levels are high and time is against you, even a simple action can pose serious problems. Splitting firewood to make a fire is an easy task when you have an axe, but you might not be lucky enough to have one. If that’s the case, wood batoning is … Read more…
Many if not most people including preppers have decided that bugging in, staying at home in the city is the best way to go. I am not going to say that bugging out to the wilderness/bush is going to be easy, certainly if you have had no previous experience & have not learnt any primitive skills, then it will be very hard for these people. But is the option of bugging in really a good idea? I don’t think so.
In the city when the electricity goes off there will be no power, no cooking, no sewage so no toilets, & no water on tap. We are talking a major shtf situation here, long term problems. Not safe to go outside & I don’t think you will be safe inside. Preppers boo hoo the idea that gangs, raiders, thugs could run a Mack truck through a house or set their home on fire. Think again! If they can’t simply break in & take what you have, they will destroy your home.
So you have food & water supplies, how long do you think they will last? There will be no hunting, no foraging. The supermarkets will have been raided & all stocks gone. Too dangerous to cook outside & too dangerous to bury your toilet buckets outside.
Think about it.
Regardless of what particular survival situation you might find yourself in one day, mechanical and repair skills are important to have — and not just for your car. You should be able to repair and maintain power tools, diagnose vehicle problems and fix them, and patch things up around your house and yard. Here are some mechanical tips every survivalist should know — take notes!
Generate Electricity with a Running Vehicle
If you have a vehicle, you have a source of electricity. However, you’ll need an inverter to convert your vehicle’s output into a usable form called alternating current. Simply start the vehicle, let it run, and attach the inverter to your battery. Be careful not to do so without starting it, as your battery will quickly die.
Be Able to Signal for Help
Whether you’re lost on a hiking adventure or in an end-of-world situation, it’s important to have experience in building a fire for attracting others’ attention. You’re a survivalist, so you should already keep matches or flint and hatching around for starting fires. Build three separate, equidistant fires in the shape of a triangle. If you don’t have fire-starting materials, make sure to preserve a fire if you can start it. However, if you’re able to spark flames at will, add green plants, tree moss, rubber, plastic, or oil to the three piles. This will cause thick smoke, alerting anybody who sees it. Wait… what if I can’t start a fire?
Start a Fire from Battery and Gum Wrapper
Batteries are solid sources of energy, although most people think of them as fuel for television remotes and radios. Survivalists with nothing more than a battery and a wrapped stick of gum can start a fire. Cut a long, narrow strip of gum wrapper. Or, tear one if you’re without scissors. Place each end of the cut wrapper onto the positive and negative ends of the battery. Within seconds, you’ll find yourself with sparks.
Barricading a Home
Every survivalist should know how to keep out unwanted visitors whether that’s zombies or a tornado. Barricade windows with boards diagonally across the interior of windows. Fasten hooks to the side of doors for you to place sturdy boards in, keeping intruders out of doorways. Use tarps to cover glass windows and entrances where the elements might get in more easily.
Easy Auto Repairs
Every survivalist should know how to complete a few simple car and auto repairs. This can keep your car on the road, even when you’re in the backroads. It can also keep you mobile should you need to travel through any event. Keep an air compressor on hand and a tire plug kit in the back of your trunk. This can keep your tires filled even when they are starting to go flat. Keep a gas tank patch handy as well. These can be purchased as most stores and will be invaluable should a gas tank start leaking. This can help with ATV, motorcycle gas tanks, and other vehicles as well as a car.
Modern society has businesses, government agencies, and individuals that provide virtually every service imaginable to people in need. However, in a survival situation, the benefits of society go out the window. Learning, practicing, and mastering these tips will help you survive troubling situations.
About the Author:
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.
Natural disasters happen all the time all over the world, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. There is pandemonium and chaos, fear and heartbreak each time. Is it preventable? Most of the time, no. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But there are some things you can do to prepare for a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare you, your family, home, pets, and livestock?
Right now, Marjory and her family are preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which is going to hit the Texas coast today.
Her homestead is expecting 20+ inches of rain and sustained winds of 40 mph. She says that is 2/3 of their annual rainfall.
Marjory knows how to prepare for a natural disaster. They’ve been to the grocery store, cleaned up the homestead, boarded up the windows, and scattered cover crop seeds in the pasture. In her words, “We’ve been broadcasting seed for the fall planting of pasture cover crops. Yes, the time to plant is before the rains or your likelihood of germination goes way down—you never know if/when it will rain again.”
Look for updates on Marjory right here on this blog post!
UPDATE August 25, 2017, 8:03pm CST: Hurricane Harvey has intensified. It is now a Category 4 storm as it makes landfall. Marjory has “battened down the hatches.” They are as prepared as they can be.
Prepare your family for a natural disaster
In 2004, my family and I were living in Florida. We went through 4 hurricanes back-to-back. Two boys, two cats, and I were huddled in the inner bathroom of our house. I lost three refrigerators full of food, and we lost power for weeks each time. It was the tornadoes spawned by the storm that finally got us. A 100 ft. pine tree with a 6-ft. diameter missed my car by inches. Our neighbors were not so lucky.
Make a plan
It’s better to prepare for an emergency or a disaster long before it happens. Choose reliable information sources, and know the warning systems in your area. Talk with your family about your plan, even young children will understand and not be so frightened. Be sure to include your pets and even neighbors in your plans.
- Choose a safe place to meet.
- Decide how you will contact each other (if cell service or electricity are out)
- How will you find each other?
- What will you do in different situations (fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, zombie apocalypse)?
Okay that last one was a bit of a joke, but all joking aside … what is your family’s disaster plan?
Create a disaster kit or bug out bag
Your emergency kit should be stocked and restocked regularly. Be sure to consider all of your needs and don’t forget your pets! You and your family may need to survive on your own for several days. You’ll need to be prepared with food, water, and other supplies for at least 72 hours.
Basic Disaster Supply Kit, or Bug Out Bag
Store everything in airtight plastic bags or put your entire disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry plastic bins or duffel bags. Check the items regularly to make sure they work and have not expired.
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This is for drinking and sanitation.
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio or NOAA Weather radio with tone alert. (Don’t forget extra batteries in your kit.)
- Flashlight – battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-crank (Personally, I prefer the hand-crank. I know it will work)
- First Aid Kit – Check it regularly to make sure it is stocked.
- Extra batteries – make sure you replace these regularly or use rechargables that get charged regularly.
- Whistle to signal for help – A whistle is much easier to use than your voice and carries over a longer distance. Make sure that each family member has one.
- Dust mask – in case there is debris in the air
- Plastic sheeting – makes a great impromptu shelter
- Duct tape- I never go anywhere without duct tape!
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Manual can opener for your food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with solar charger or a battery backup
Personal Emergency Supplies
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications (pain-relievers, anti-diarrhea, antacids, and laxatives)
- Glasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
- Pet supplies – Crate or carrier, pet food, and extra water for your pet
- Way to cook food
- Family documents (copies of insurance policies, identifications and bank account records, saved in a waterproof, portable container)
- Sleeping bag and warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in waterproof container
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
- Mess kit, cup
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles, cards, or other activities for children
After you create your disaster kit, remember to check it regularly.
Keep your canned food in a cool, dry place and replace expired items as needed. Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic containers. Rethink your needs each year.
Prepare your homestead for a natural disaster
Now that your family, pets, and you are safe during a natural disaster. Do you know how to prepare your homestead so it stays running?
- Remove any debris that could become a dangerous flying object. This includes tomato cages!
- Generator – if you have solar or wind power, it’s still a good idea to have a backup generator in case your alternative energy sources are damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster.
- Reliable water source
- Secure your livestock and small animals – have extra food, water, and bedding ready for at least a week. Have your halters and leads ready.
- Stock up on vet supplies, including bandages, antibiotics, supplements
- Make sure housing, food, and supplies for small animals (chickens, ducks, rabbits) are ready to withstand high winds or rising water. Create a make-shift pen in your garage, if necessary.
- Put heavy farm equipment under cover and tie it down.
- Tools & gloves – There will be a lot of mending after a natural disaster.
- Keep a written inventory of all livestock, including breeding and expense records, with your other important family documents.
- Make sure all animal branding, tagging, and other identification information are up-to-date.
Are you prepared? Tell us in the comments below.
The post Prepare For A Natural Disaster – Your Family And Your Homestead appeared first on The Grow Network.
If you plan to bug out to or just spend more time in the wilderness, it makes sense to learn about tress you could use for survival. You would have to exploit what resources are available in a certain region and you need to recognize the species you could use to make your life easier. … Read more…
This is Skilled Survival’s Preppers Checklist.
A prepper’s supply list that not only tells you what items and tools to stock for future emergencies but also how and why these resources are important.
We’ll deep dive into all the core essentials everyone needs to survive (like food and water) but also cover some lesser known items you’ll want to acquire as well. We’ll also go over a few of the best solutions for each item.
By the end of this preppers checklist – you’ll have your own stockpiling game plan for a variety of emergencies.
Here at Skilled Survival, we plan for the worst and hope for the best.
That means this preppers checklist is extensive and is written with a worst-case scenario in mind. A long term, widespread, emergency disaster in which life, as we know, becomes changed for a very long time.
Some people call such a major disaster event “TEOTWAWKI” (the end of the world as we know it) others call it “SHTF” (shit hits the fan).
And we could argue endlessly how likely any of these scenarios are, but we’re not interested in that conversation today.
Instead, if you plan for the worst, your plan will cover all emergencies big or small, long or short. If you plan for the worst, you’ll be ready. And that’s what’s important.
Before we jump in, make sure you bookmark this page right now so you can come back to this free preppers checklist often to build out your preps over time. Go ahead, do it now, before you forget.
Want a Downloadable and Printable Version Of This Prepper’s Checklist? Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Water and Hydration
“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” – Benjamin Franklin
For a SHTF event, you’ll want a large abundant source of clean, fresh drinking water at your disposal.
Maybe you live near a river, pond, lake, stream or have your own well. These are all great options if they don’t become contaminated or dry up.
But what’s your back up plan should your main water source become compromised? Or what if you don’t have a reliable source of drinking water should the taps run dry?
Drinking contaminated water will make you sick and can even kill you in some circumstances. But worst yet, having no water will kill you even faster.
We all know the body needs continuous hydration to function properly. It only takes a few days without water to die.
So, you must stock up on water – no exceptions.
You get to decide how much to stock and here are the tools to help you do it right.
Survival water bricks are the most convenient and simplest way to store a lot of water without taking up much space.
Water bricks are strong, stackable and make hauling water easier with a build in handle. They also take up very little space.
Each brick holds up to 3.5 gallons. So, ten bricks would give you and your family 35 gallons of water.
This amount would last a family of 4 about a week.
So, invest in a few water bricks today, and you can always add more later as your plans and needs grow.
If you don’t have any water stored yet, then this is your number 1 priority. Do this today.
This action alone could buy you weeks of survival in a worst-case scenario.
2 – Rainwater Collection System
We store water to ensure we have what we need in a prolonged emergency to keep ourselves and our families hydrated.
But in a worst-case scenario, we also need to replenish our fresh water stockpile or eventually, you’ll run out.
If you have a river, lake, stream, or even a backyard pool, then you may be all set and can forgo a rainwater collection system. But for everyone else, you should collect as much of the free H2O falling from the sky as you can.
At a minimum, you’ll need a large sturdy rain barrel with a spigot at the bottom. You can install the barrel under a gutter’s downspout to collect rainwater coming off your roof.
However, this is just the quick and easy solution. These systems can become much larger, more complex to handle longer-term scenarios. Here’s an article you should read to get information on this important topic and these complex rainwater collection systems.
Note: if the emergency is nuclear, rain water may be contaminated with fallout.
3 – Filtration System
You should stockpile fresh, clean drinkable water in water bricks or whatever water storage system you choose. But you must always filter and purify all new sources of water you collect. Especially after a worst-case disaster.
You should never consume untreated water unless your 100 percent certain it’s free of harmful contaminants. After a major disaster, you may not be able to trust those rivers, lakes, streams, or ponds the way we do today.
The Big Berkey is an easy gravity feed water filtration solution for families.
The Big Berkey is not small, so it’s not very portable. But we’re talking about stocking up and staying put, not bugging out, so this is the survival water filter you want.
4 – Jugs of Bleach
Many people already know this, but for those who don’t, it’s true that a small amount of bleach added to water will purify and kill most harmful bacteria or viruses.
Bleach is easy to stockpile; you can buy it in bulk and at a reasonable price. Just a few gallons of this stuff will last a long time.
It can also be used as a cleaning agent as well. So, it’s one of those excellent multi-use – multi-purpose items we all cherish and embrace. Get some.
Note: Bleach cannot remove water contaminated with chemicals, oils, poisonous substances, sewage or any physical item contamination.
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Just like water, you must replace the calories you burn off to remain a healthy (happy) human being. The process of not replacing the calories you burn is called starvation.
I won’t go into the gruesome details today, but trust me, starvation is a horrible way to die.
So, while severe dehydration kills much faster, the agony period is also much shorter. Even in a situation of zero calorie intake, you’re still looking at nearly a month (or sometimes longer) for the body to perish due to starvation.
So, it’s a slow, painful way to go. That’s why you want to stock up and avoid this fate at all costs.
5 – Freeze Dried Meals
First, we’re going to cover the fastest, easiest, simplest way to get a large food stockpile in place. However, be forewarned – it’s not the cheapest way to go.
Buying a large amount of pre packaged freeze-dried meals from a reputable vendor is the ultimate food stockpile short cut.
These are nutritious meals in a pouch; just mix with boiling water, stir, and you have a complete meal.
And the meal options are impressive. Way more variety than those old school MRE’s.
The most important aspect is the meals are usually guaranteed for up to 25 years due to the food being freeze dried and packaged in Mylar bags with nitrogen.
This means you don’t have to worry about the major headaches of food stockpile rotations and spoilage.
Also, these pre packaged meals are nutritious and delicious, so you can avoid the issues of stocking different spices and additives to make your “bags of rice and beans” tasty.
It’s the ultimate “set it and forget it” “done for you,” food stockpile solution. If you have the money, then this is the best way to go.
It may even end up being the best investment you ever make because if you end up needing it; it’ll prevent starvation! That’s an excellent return on your dollars if you ask me.
I personally use and recommend Valley Food Storage’s freeze-dried foods.
You can buy a years’ worth right now and be done with it, or you can buy a few months’ worth at a time. That’s up to you.
Your other option for food stockpiling is the Do It Yourself route…
6 – DIY Food Stockpile
So, your other main option to stockpiling a large amount of food is to do-it-yourself. Lots of people prefer this option, but it does take more time, effort, and planning to do it right.
First, you’ll need a list of the best long shelf life foods. Some of the core stables on this list are rice, beans, wheat, dried pasta, etc.
Then you’ll need to start acquiring those foods at your local grocery store. You’ll want to price shop and look for the best deal based upon calorie per dollar.
Once you bring these long shelf life foods home, you want to store them in a cool, dry, vermin free location.
Cool and dry locations help to prevent premature spoilage, and vermin free keeps the critters from snacking on your hard-earned stockpile.
You should also consider putting these foods into large Mylar bags and then placing them into food grade plastic buckets with lids to seal.
You’ll also need to buy some oxygen absorbers to remove any remaining oxygen from the storage bags to help prolong the shelf life of your stockpile.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to this process than most people realize. You need to educate yourself on this process to avoid any mistakes. Mistakes can jeopardize your hard work and precious calories.
So far all we’ve talked about is bulk foods like rice and beans, but nobody wants to eat plain rice and beans for very long.
Sure, that works for short-term emergencies, but if we’re talking worst case, unseasoned rice and beans will get old fast.
So, you should also plan on adding seasonings and spices to your stockpile.
You’ll also want to add other tasty items that have a bit of a shorter shelf life – for example, peanut butter.
And this is where food rotation comes into play.
If you buy five large jars of peanut butter over the next few months, you’ll need to consume them in order from oldest to newest.
When your family finishes a jar of peanut butter, you’ll start consuming the oldest remaining peanut butter next (before it spoils) and then buy a new peanut butter to add to the back of peanut butter inventory.
Same idea goes for canned goods or anything under a decade of shelf life.
It’s a process. You must stick to it, but it’s essential. If you don’t properly rotate and stay organized, your large stockpile of food will expire and could spoil.
Not only is spoilage a big waste of energy, time and money, but if you happen to consume it out of desperation in an emergency, you could get ill – which is the last thing you want in a widespread, worst case emergency.
DIY is without a doubt the most affordable way to stockpile a bunch of calories emergency. No argument here but you need to learn how to do it right to avoid disastrous mistakes.
I do some of both. I’ve purchased some food from my recommended vendor (Valley Food Storage) and DIY stockpile lots of food as well.
7 – Daily Multivitamins
I highly recommend stocking up on a good daily multivitamin. Getting all the essential vitamins and minerals in your diet won’t be easy after SHTF.
And while you should plan to have lots of variety in your survival diet through your food stockpiling efforts, it’s good to have a daily dose of everything you need in a gummy.
Plus, you can use these to barter with your less prepared neighbors. There will no doubt be those who are severely nutrition deficient. They may trade quite a lot of their valuable stuff for a bottle of vitamins.
8 – Cooking Fuel Source
In a worst-case survival scenario, we have to assume we won’t have access to standard cooking methods – such as natural gas or electricity.
And to cook food you’ve stockpiled, you’ll need to boil water at a minimum (for freeze dried meals) or an oven for baking.
There are a several survival cooking methods you can consider.
You could stockpile kerosene. You could look at a propane. You could buy a small heater stove with fuel canisters (the setup used by backpackers).
But honestly, these items are typically difficult to store in bulk quantities, and bulk storage can create safety hazards as well.
So, we think the best solution to stockpiling fuel for cooking is firewood. Of course, you need a lot of space to store a lot of firewood (so there are tradeoffs).
But with firewood, you can use it to build natural fires for cooking. And if you just need to boil water, to go with your freeze-dried meals, then you can get yourself a bio stove (or something similar) and easily boil water that way.
Plus, with a bio stove, you can generate electricity from the waste heat to charge batteries for a radio or charge a set of walkie talkies.
The Sun Oven
The sun oven is an incredible invention, and a must own for everyone who is preparing for a disaster.
It’s not the cheapest piece of gear you’ll buy, but it’s one of the best.
Of course, you need to live somewhere that gets a fair amount of sun throughout the year. But the sun oven does work on partly cloudy days.
Plus, if you’re not in a hurry, you can even get water up to a boil using it.
So, this device helps ensure you can cook your meals and eat your stockpiled food, without having to load up on a massive amount of liquid or gas fuels.
Plus, in a worst-case scenario, the smell and the sight of fire and cooking food might bring unfriendly starving folks around to relieve you of your meal.
With the sun oven, you can cook your food much more discretely. It’s truly one of the best “worst-case scenario” cooking solutions.
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Clothing and Warmth Items
Too many folks nowadays have way more clothes than they know what to do with. A line up of unworn garments just hanging in the back of the closet, unloved and forgotten about.
But having a few extra shirts, coats, socks and underwear is not a terrible idea when planning for a worst case event.
In a true long term disaster, you may lose the option of purchasing new clothes at the closest mall or online.
You actually may just have to live with what you have for a while after the emergency event.
But not all clothes are created equal. You need to focus on sturdy and warm (especially if you live in cooler regions).
9 – Spare Clothes
I won’t bore you with extreme detail here. Just make sure you have some extra warm clothes (especially if you live in cooler climates).
The items I recommend are things like warm flannel shirts, sturdy blue jeans, thick long johns, long wool socks, bib or full-length overalls, etc.
As humans, we don’t have fur or blubber to protect us from the elements; we have clothes. So, don’t take them for granted.
Take an inventory, make sure you’re comfortable with the number of spares items you have.
Warmth and longevity are more important than fashion. That’s why I trust brands such as Carhartt for my working and warmth needs.
10 – Sewing / Supplies
Home economics 101 – sewing.
It’s not quite a lost art (yet), but the trend is definitely on the way out. But you don’t have to fall into today’s modern throw away society.
Mend is your friend.
Don’t just toss out those blue jeans with a hole in the knees, get a sewing kit and some supplies and learn how to patch ‘em up.
I recommend you do all your sewing by hand. You shouldn’t rely on just a sewing machine because they rely on electricity.
The one exception for this is if you currently produce lots of off grid power already for your home. If this is you, then you can rely on a sewing machine because you’re not affected should the grid go down for good.
For everyone else, get one of these sewing kits and learn how to use it.
11 – Survival Gloves
I almost put “gloves” in with the rest of the “spare clothes” category above, but then I thought better of it.
Gloves are crucial for protecting your hands from all sorts of dangers – cold, splinters, cuts, scraps, pinches, etc.
One scrape of the knuckle could turn into a deadly infection in a worst case situation. One where you can’t be certain, there will be medical help or antibiotics readily available.
Also, when it gets cold out, you’ll need a set of warm gloves.
With the right set of gloves on your hands, you’ll have enough dexterity to use your survival knife or a firearm without taking them off.
Stock up on a few sets, because again, you might not be able to get more later.
12 – Footwear
Again, footwear deserves its own category. If you don’t take care of your feet, you’ll become a major liability to you and your family’s survival.
Don’t go cheap on footwear. A good set of boots can last a very long time even if worn daily – while a cheap pair will wear out in no time.
Also, while flip flops are technically considered footwear and are nice for a relaxing day on the beach, you’ll want rugged boots for survival.
And strong, healthy feet are a critical resource in a survival essential. Blisters, bruises, rolled ankles will slow you down which you can ill afford in a legit disaster.
You’ll need to be active, alert, and be able to move fast for all sorts of reasons. You’re at a significant disadvantage if you have sore feet due to bad boots.
There’s a reason why soldiers often stole the boots off a dead comrade in WWI. If the boots were the same size and in better shape than what a soldier currently had on, they upgraded on the spot.
13 – Stocking Cap
In a worst-case scenario, you’ll likely have to occasionally venture out into the cold and might not have a heated car or truck to warm up in.
So, bundling up will be your best option and keeping your head and face warm even in blizzard conditions is smart today and for a horrible future emergency.
14 – Hand and Toe Warmers
Keep a few body warming packets stashed away in your stockpile – just in case. Save them for serious emergencies only, like just before the onset of frostbite.
You can’t afford to lose your fingers or toes to frostbite in survival. That would be a “game over” type situation.
Nothing will drain heat from your body (and from your soul) than hiking for working in drenched clothes.
It’s a miserable experience, and it’s very dangerous in the cold.
This Princeton study shows “Generally conductive heat loss accounts for only about 2% of the overall loss. However, with wet clothes, the loss is increased 5x.”
So pack a poncho. Even durable ponchos are lightweight and take up very little space.
Get one with a hood to keep the rain off your head.
Heat and Warmth
If you live in a region with cold seasons, do you have a plan for providing heat that’s not tied to grid power or propane truck deliveries?
Again, in short term scenarios, you can plan to stock up on kerosene or propane. Both are viable, and the choice comes down to personal preference. Here’s an article that goes over the pros and cons of both options.
But in worst-case, it will be difficult to stockpile enough fuel to last you through an entire winter (or multiple winters).
So, what’s a well-prepared survivalist to do?
I get that this combination might not be possible for everyone but in my opinion, it’s the best option. So, I’ll cover it first.
Wood stoves are an incredible invention. The newer more efficient models can heat an entire home or cabin using very little firewood.
Having a woodstove and a massive pile of seasoned firewood is a dream setup for preppers.
The only thing that makes this situation better is having access to a bunch of downed trees on your property. These trees equate to an abundance of “free” heat to keep you and your family warm for the long haul.
17 – Alternative Energy and Traditional Heater
Another option to heating your home without grid power is to have an alternative energy source to run your home’s heater.
I won’t go into detail behind each alternative energy source – since we have an entire survival guide dedicated to the topic. So instead I’ll just list the most popular ones you may want to look into further.
- Hydro-Electric (water wheel)
- Bio Gas Generator
- Solar Panels
- Wind Turbines
- Bicycle Generator
Each of these DIY energy sources has its pros and cons. Some can be scaled up to large systems others cannot.
For some, it may make sense to invest into one of these systems while others may prefer to setup a couple of smaller systems to run dedicated uses.
The bottom line is getting off the grid for your heating and electricity needs is a real game changer – not only for heat but for all the other things we use electricity for in our daily lives.
Finally, if you live in an apartment, trailer home, or none of the above setups are possible for you, then this is your last best option.
Because if you’re not prepared at all, eventually you’ll run out of furniture to burn in a barrel.
So instead, get an emergency bivvy sleeping bag for each member of your family.
We all know the coldest hours of most days occur in the middle of the night when we’re sleeping and not active. These bitter cold night temps and lack of activity are the times you’re most in danger of freezing to death.
So, this emergency sleeping bag is a survival tool that will help prevent this horrible outcome. It works by trapping the heat your body naturally releases inside your sleeping bag.
Traditional sleeping bags are made from cotton or synthetic polymers, and while the really good ones will keep you warm in extreme cold temperature, they don’t hold in your body heat as well as an emergency Tact bivvy.
A Tact Bivvy is made with a space age material that traps up to 90% of your body heat. So even in the coldest of nights, it’ll trap heat your body naturally generates to help keep you above freezing to death temperatures.
Pair this TACT Bivvy with a high quality, low-temperature sleeping bag and you’ll improve your changes of cold weather survival significantly.
I’d even suggest those with a woodstove or alternative energy heat to invest in a few TACT Bivvy’s as a “last resort” solution.
Because they are a very smart item to store in your vehicles glove box for regular winter emergencies as well. It could save your life today and save your life tomorrow so get one for each family member and every vehicle you own.
Smaller Energy Tools
We touched on some larger alternative energy solutions, but I wanted to show you a few smaller setups. Some everyday tools you can use to generate some electricity on a smaller scale.
19 – Biostove
Some technologies make our society more complacent and less self-reliant, but that doesn’t mean all technologies are bad.
Some technologies do the opposite; they make us more self-reliant. The Bio Stove is one of these amazing technologies that are worth investing in – here’s why.
Everyone knows you can burn sticks and leaves to create fire. And you can use that fire to cook food. But did you know you can also generate power from that same fire? You can, if you own this new Bio Stove.
Cook your food and charge your smartphone at the same time.
To me, this is a highly useful device since it kills two birds with one stone. It’s an efficient way to cook a meal, and you can get power from that same heat energy. This is a dream scenario for prepared survivalists.
20 – Solar Charger
Having the ability to create lots of free energy from solar panels is great. It’s a worthwhile goal to get off the grid completely someday, and a few of us have reached this goal.
But for the masses, we’re still totally dependent on the grid. But this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare to capture some of the sun’s rays for a few luxury items in an emergency.
You may want to invest in a solar panel generator system that’s available on the market today for such an emergency.
Goal Zero makes several small, portable solar panel systems worth investing in.
These panels will allow you to power important tools and devices we talk about in other sections of this checklist.
Tools and devices such as radios or walkie talkies. Items such as a computer or a set of rechargeable batteries – batteries that might power a flashlight for illumination.
While even a few of these won’t be enough to support refrigeration, it will provide you a few energy luxuries you’d rather not live without.
Fire Starting Tools and Gear
Fire is your life blood in a survival emergency. You need it to purify water, cook food, for nighttime warmth, safety, and it’s a huge morale booster.
But what if you only have a lighter and a few matches in your home right now? Well, then in just a few weeks you might be out of luck.
That is unless you stock up on key fire-starting tools or learn how to start a fire with sticks.
So, everyone should have three independent ways to start a fire, and you should stock up on those methods to ensure fire-starting never becomes an issue.
21 – Stormproof Matches
These Stormproof matches are the real deal.
Regular matches are not good enough. If regular matches get wet, you can forget about having a fire. But with these, you can get them wet and stomp on them, and they’ll still stay lite.
22 – Ferro Rod Striker
Fire Striker’s work great if you know what you’re doing. It helps to understand the fire starting basics – including the use of very fine, very dry tinder to help get the sparks to ignite.
This fire striker is fantastic and is designed with 3,000 strikes, but practice with it a lot before relying on for emergencies.
The key here is this Firestarter cost very little and has the potential of thousands of fires within.
This is an excellent tool to have in your home disaster stock. A couple of these and you’ll never have to worry about running out of sparks ever again.
A lighter is a lighter, right? Not really.
Can your cheap BIC lighter work after dropping it in a river? Nope. Will a cheap BIC lighter’s flame stay lite in 80 MPH winds? Nope.
So, I recommend spending a couple of extra dollars on a new badass fire-starting technology: A Rechargeable Coil Lighter.
This lighter doesn’t use fuel; it uses electricity to create an electric arc which is both windproof and waterproof.
It charges via a USB port, so you’ll need a solar charger, a hand crank radio to recharge, or a bio stove to generate free electricity (all items discussed in more detail in other sections of this preppers checklist).
So by pairing the tools to create some free energy and then having a Tesla lighter, you just solved your long term fire starting dilemma.
24 – Tinder
As an experienced survivalist, you can normally find natural tinder in the wilderness. However, how do most of us start a fire? We use old crumpled up newspapers or similar resources, right?
But have you considered what you’ll use as tinder if the daily newspapers and junk mail stop showing up?
This is one area of stocking up that many people overlook because they forget how hard it is to start a fire without a good tinder source.
Cotton balls work well as tinder and you can buy them in bulk. They are also light and take up very little space. They also work even better if you add a small dab of Vaseline to them. So, Vaseline is another great item to stock up on.
You could also stock up on some TinderQuick fire starting tabs. Or you could stockpile all the lint from your dryer’s lint trap.
This tool by Gerber is one option. It has a fine grate to create tinder and includes a magnifying glass to start the tinder on fire using the sun and magnification (another fire-starting tool in and of itself).
Or you can add a couple of pencil sharpeners to your stock. Yes, they sharpen pencils, but the tiny shavings make great tinder. And you can use any small stick instead of pencils to create as much fine flammable tinder as your heart desires.
25 – Small Magnifying Glass
With the sun you can use magnification to focus light energy. This focused energy can be harnessed to make a fire. This device will work if you run out of butane or matches.
Plus, this Gerber Tinderbox helps make fine tinder from sticks and includes the magnifying glass built in.
First Aid and Medical Supplies
When in a worst case, prolonged emergency, we can’t rely on timely professional medical attention. We may have to become our own physicians, and so you need the basic tools to take care of your family’s medical needs.
26 – Personal Medications
If you have prescribed medications, then stock up as much as you can now. Hopefully, the meds you take are helpful but not life dependent.
If that’s your situation, then you need to figure out how to stock up as much of it or ration it as long as possible. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get more of your meds in a worst-case emergency.
27 – Antibiotics
Before the invention of antibiotics, even a small scratch or cut could turn deadly. Infections are hard to beat, especially once they enter the blood stream.
In a worst case disaster, you won’t be able to see your doctor and get an antibiotics prescription. You’ll instead get to survive on what you stockpiled. That’s why antibiotics are on this list.
However, there’s no easy way to load up on a bunch of prescription antibiotics. Doctors control the amount each patient can purchase.
So, the next best thing for stockpiling is to get a variety of antibiotics for fish and bird antibiotics. You’ll need to do some more research on which varieties to buy.
The bottom line is I’d rather have something to take to fight an infection than to be a helpless soul.
28 – Wound Gauze Roll
Gauze is the ideal dressing for bad cuts or severe burns. It’s light and takes up very little pack space.
29 – Surgical Tape
This stuff is made to keep gauze, pads, and bandages in place even when you’re on the move.
30 – Band Aids / Mole Skin Pads
Band-Aids are the best solution for small cuts and lacerations. They help keep open wounds clean and protected, which helps prevent an infection from developing.
You should also add a few moleskin pads for blisters. Band-Aids won’t stay in place on your feet while walking, but moleskin will.
31 – Neosporin (or similar salve)
32 – Pain Killers
For minor aches and pains, these can help keep you going. For serious injuries, pain killers will take the edge off until you can get more help.
33 – Vaseline
34 – Blood Clotting Sponge
Nasty, deep wounds won’t clot on their own. You have to apply intense pressure to the wound site for a long time to get the blood stop, congeal, and begin the healing process.
These Quick Clot Sponges will help with this life or death effort.
35 – Super Glue
36 – Sterile Alcohol Prep Pads
Clean all wounds early and often with these alcohol wipes. The alcohol will clean the wound, killing infection-causing bacteria.
37 – Hydrogen Peroxide
Use hydrogen peroxide to keep wounds clean and bacteria free.
38 – Tourniquet
You won’t need a medical tourniquet unless it’s a very serious life-threatening injury. But if you end up needing one, you’ll be thankful you stock it.
Stopping blood loss in a severed leg or artery saves lies. Belts can work in a pinch, but you’d rather have the real deal.
39 – Cotton Swabs
Use Q-tips to clean your ears. Allowing excess wax to build up in your ears can lead to infection.
And, the wax buildup will also muffle your hearing. And clear hearing is a major advantage in survival.
They are also ideal for applying small amounts of medical salves and liquids.
Lastly, you can tear off the cotton ends and use them as tinder to start a fire.
They are extremely light and useful, so feel free to pack a couple hundred of them.
40 – Tweezers and Nail Clippers
Also, use the nail clippers to help avoid hand nails. I used to bite my nails and would occasionally get an infected hang nail.
My finger got so infected once I had to take pain pills, use Neosporin and lost my entire finger nail a few weeks later. Don’t make the same mistake, take care of your finger and toe nails the proper way.
41 – Insect Repellent
Mosquitos are a nuisance and can transmit diseases, so if they are abundant in your region, you’ll want to pack a repellent spray with high amounts of DEET.
42 – Sun Screen
You should stock up on a fair amount of this stuff. Save it for the worst days and instead, keep your skin covered up with long sleeves and hats (even on warm days).
Get one with an SPF30, like this one, to protect you for longer periods of time. Higher SPF’s than this are mainly just a marketing ploy.
Personal Hygiene Items
This is survival we are talking about, so if you enjoy daily hot showers get ready for an abrupt change.
Not only will mass amounts of water be harder to come by post disaster but heating water up to levels that make showers enjoyable will be an extreme luxury. Why? Because it takes a lot of energy to heat water.
And these challenges don’t even consider how you’re going to create the pressure to needed to run water through a shower head.
So the more likely scenario (if you are prepared) would be to have baths (not showers), they would be less frequent, and you would heat the water using a cast iron Dutch oven over a wood stove.
The point here is that unless you invest a lot of time and energy into your preps today, your hygiene is not going to be nearly as good or convenient as it is today.
Improved hygiene and sanitation are both highly dependent upon our modern society’s wonders – grid power and water distribution systems. If these modern wonders go away, so will widespread hygiene and sanitation.
43 – Soap
Stock up on soap. That way you can maintain some level of cleanliness from time to time. Nothing fancy here. Don’t pay extra for skin moisturizing or scented, just a cheap and effective bar of soap like this one.
Buy in bulk. Also, consider learning how to make your own homemade soap. It’s surprisingly easier than you think.
44 – Razor Blades
There’s a lot of uses for razor blades, one of which is to shave. Now, I don’t plan on shaving much (or at all) in an emergency. I’ll go full ZZ top.
But if that’s not your thing, then you’ll want to have plenty of razors (or you could use a sharp survival knife) to keep your smooth baby face intact.
Plus, most American women shave their legs, so blades of some sort will allow them to avoid having hairy legs.
But in a real worst-case survival situation, the last thing you be worrying about is facial and leg hair. So that’s not the primary reason to have these on hand, they are useful survival tools beyond personal hygiene as well.
45 – Oral Hygiene
I’m not sure there’s anything more painful or annoying than having tooth decay issues. Cavities, gingivitis, abscess, etc.
Without access to dental procedures, you’ll get to live with these issues. So the best way to avoid them is to prevent them. That means you should invest heavily in good oral hygiene.
Dental work will be rare after TEOTWAWKI so taking the extra effort to prevent tooth problems will pay off in the long run.
This means you’ll want to stock up on some good toothbrushes, lots of toothpaste and a bunch of dental floss.
46 – Female Hygiene
You could stock up on a bunch of tampons, or you can invest in a menstrual cup.
Ultimately, the choice is yours but unless you’re stocking up on a lot of tampons, you might also want a backup plan should you ever run out.
47 – Hand Sanitizer
Use a small hand sanitizer to clean your hands before eating. Try to avoid ingesting bacteria from your hands and creating stomach issues or illnesses.
Diarrhea can become deadly if you don’t have access to medical attention or the right medical supplies. Again, prevention is best.
48 – Toilet Paper
For shorter term emergencies, it’s a good idea to have some toilet paper stockpiled. However, you should put a plan together for dealing with a longer-term emergency.
As gross as it sounds you might want to dedicate some small towels for this purpose, where you clean them and reuse them. Better than leaves and corn cobs though.
Essential Hand Tools
You can have all the power tools in the world, but without fuel or electricity to run them, you’ll be SOL. So, it’s imperative to stock up and collect all the basic hand tools.
Old school, yes, but guaranteed to still work in any emergency.
49 – Hammers
Any head of household worth their salt has at least one standard claw hammer. A good one will last you a lifetime, and for most, that’s all you’ll ever need.
However, there are a few specialty hammers you should acquire as well such as a ball peen hammer, a rubber mallet, sledge hammer, etc.
50 – Shovels
This is another hand tool standard. Digging in an emergency will be required. Not to plant a tree but to dig a latrine trench or an outhouse pit.
Make sure it’s a sturdy shovel and get a backup or 2 as well. The part that’s most prone to breaking on a full-length shovel is the handle.
But if your truly handy, you’ll be able to make yourself a new shovel handle should your break. But to do that you’ll likely need a good survival knife.
You might also want a few specialty shovels as well such as a good snow shovel, a small hand trowel, or a survival shovel.
51 – Survival Knife
I can’t stress how important it is to invest in a high-quality survival knife.
Spend some quality time researching good survival knives. Find one that meets your needs best because a good survival knife has so many critical survival uses.
Then once you’ve settled on “the one,” make sure you learn how to use it to make lots of items from scratch with it.
52 – Pliers
Have you ever worked on a serious project without the right pliers? Most DIY projects require this essential hand tool.
I’m also going to add a bench vise to the category as well. While this is not technically a plier it performs a similar function, but it’s static and not mobile. It holds items firmly place so you can work on stuff with both your hands.
Pliers do things human hands cannot. These are another essential hand tool necessary for successful long-term survival.
53 – Saws
There are a vast variety of saws you’ll want to add to your garage or shop in preparation for a worst-case disaster.
Let’s name a few: hand saw, hack saw, two men saw, coping saw, etc.
Carpentry work will be highly desired if the world is ever thrown into survival mode. Having these tools (and knowing how to use them) will be a craft not only to create tools and fix things. But can be used to help others in a barter economy.
54 – Hatchets and Axes
As we discussed already, wood is an essential resource to create heat for cooking and warmth. But we also use wood to build things.
Before you can begin building things out of wood, you need to turn a tree into useful lumber.
One standard way to down trees for wood or split trees into useful chunks is by hatchet or ax (or a two man saw works as well).
But even if you use a two man saw to down a tree, the fastest way to split wood is by ax or hatchet.
The bottom line is you should own at least one of each at the bare minimum.
55 – Hand Mill
Let’s move from the shop to the kitchen. Many people forget that the best way to turn wheat into flour without electricity is a good, high-quality hand grinder.
If you don’t have a hand grinder, you only other option to create flours based on raw grain is by using a stone and pestle.
But trust me, you want to invest in a hand mill today to avoid this slow and tedious process.
56 – Hand Pump
Just because life as we know it may change doesn’t mean you’ll no longer have a need for a good hand pump.
For example, the bicycle might become the standard form of local travel for everyone. Especially if the fuel industry stops and the fuel available dries up.
So, having the ability to pump air into tires will be necessary.
Illumination is necessary for all emergencies – short or long term. You’ll need good light to work under the darkness of night. And if forced to move or work in the middle of the night you’ll need it to see where you’re going.
I can’t imagine dealing with an emergency without illumination devices. Attempting to do so would put you at an extreme disadvantage.
57 – Super Bright LED Headlamp
Two words: Hands-Free.
I recommend getting one with both high beam, low beam settings; as well as rechargeable batteries.
And with the rechargeable batteries, you’ll need a way to recharge them. That’s where a solar charger comes in handy to keep your LED headlamp batteries charged up.
58 – Super Bright LED Tactical Flashlight
While a headlamp is important, you should also stock up a few LED Tactical Flashlights.
You have more control with a handheld LED flashlight and can shine it in multiple directions without having to turn your head. I prefer using a Tactical flashlight instead of a headlamp if I’m not using my hands to accomplish a task.
Get one that’s superb right but only needs a single AA battery. That way you can use rechargeable AA’s and don’t have to stock up on thousands large or unique battery sizes.
59 – LED Lantern
If you took my advice, you now have some headlamps and tactical flashlights, but what if you want to illuminate an entire room? This is why you need a few good LED lanterns.
Get one that uses standard sized batteries so you can use your rechargeable batteries to keep the thing running for years to come.
You can charge the batteries using the bio stove or solar panels setups we talked about earlier.
60 – Glow Sticks
Glow sticks work great to light up an entire area and not just a particular spot, which can be helpful for lots of situations.
However, they can give away your position to potential threats so only use these if you know there’s no one hostile around.
Communication and Intel are crucial for successful survival. Gathering information and sharing information with a survival coalition improves your chances of survival success.
Whether it’s a severe weather forecast or knowing the location of potential threats. The more you know, the more you can plan and adapt. It’s going to be one of your main defense tactics.
If you’re a part of a small group, you’ll want to communicate with each other over short distances.
And very useful if you get separated or are planning an ambush.
You’ll want regular updates on how the “situation” is progressing. This helps to decide your next move – providing confidence you’re heading away from danger and not into it.
The big advantage of a hand cranked radio is that you won’t need to worry about batteries and recharging.
Plus, this hand crank radio has ports so you can use the hand crank function to charge other small electronic devices you’ve brought with you.
You need a surefire way to get all available intel over emergency broadcasts.
62 – Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies
Owning a set of Walkie Talkies is a smart idea for any survival groups.
If your team gets separated, or you split up for strategic reasons, you’ll still be able to keep in touch at short distances.
Recharge your Walkie Talkies with your solar charger or hand crank radio.5
63 – Ham Radio Setup
Ham radio is hands down the best option to communicate with others at long distances in an emergency situation. While walkie talkies or Hand crank radios can tap into your local communications ham radio setups have been known to communicate around the world.
Self Defense Items
In the worst survival conditions, you’re going to be the hunter or be hunted. You need to be prepared to defend yourself and your group from enemy threats.
Threats from wild game and more importantly threats from other humans.
64 – Survival Firearms
So, which firearm is best for survival? To be honest, you could write an entire book on the subject.
It’s a very personal choice with lots of nuances to consider.
The good news is since your hunkering down and not bugging out; you can own an entire arsenal of firepower.
You don’t have to choose just one or two guns; you can stock up on 20 of them and as much ammo as possible as well.
65 – Ammunition
Ammo is to prepping like water is to life; essential.
There’s a reason why we always seem to be in an ammo shortage. Thousands of fellow Patriots are stocking up on as much of the stuff as they can get their hands on. Are you?
Ammo not only makes sense from a self-defense and home defense standpoint. But ammo will also be a highly tradeable commodity in a worst case prolonged disaster.
Obviously, you need to invest in other areas of your emergency stocks as well, but it’s not a terrible idea to make ammo one of your primary stock up items.
66 – Bow and Arrows
A couple of the more significant advantages of owning a survival bow are:
- Arrows are reusable.
- Bows are silent to shoot, especially in comparison to a firearm.
Here’s a longer list of reasons why survivalists should own a good compound bow or cross bow.
67 – Traps and Snares
Setting out traps to catch small wild game is a good use of your time. Instead of spending hours hunting in the woods, you can set traps and snares, leave them overnight and check on them each morning.
You should practice getting good at using these and learn all the methods to become an expert. It’s a great survival skill to have.
68 – Camouflage
I’m a big fan of camouflage, probably because I’m a duck hunter. I’ve got an excellent set of real tree 3d printed pants, jacket, waders and hat for the natural surroundings of my area.
Why? Because if you use a scouting system, you’ll want the scouts to be hidden. They want to see but not be seen, and that’s what camo does.
You also might take it up a notch and go with a full out ghillie suit. These will keep you well hidden in the right natural surrounds.
Misc. Survival Tools and Supplies
Finally, these are the random survival tools and supplies that will make your bug out just a little bit easier.
69 – Rechargeable Batteries
Add a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries in all the sizes you need for your electronic gear.
Or consider going with this new USB rechargeable battery technology. These units are an excellent device to own a few of for emergencies.
70 – Gold (Not Recommended)
It’s anyone’s guess what currency will be in circulation after SHTF, but stockpiling physical gold is not something we recommend. Though, we do recommend as part of your financial accounts.
This advice is rare online. Most survival sites suggest gold as one of the best items to stockpile. But gold has no immediate survival value.
You can’t drink it; you can’t eat it, you can’t shoot it.
Gold has historically acted as a great hedge against inflation and has held its value in times of financial crisis.
But gold in a long term, worst-case survival situation is more likely to become a liability than an asset.
71 – Paper and Pencils
Paper is abundant today but what if suddenly it wasn’t? Paper was extremely useful for communication an area before the telephone. Well, in a worst-case survival world, it may become highly useful again.
It’s also necessary for certain forms of entertainment – like drawing.
It’s not a terrible idea to keep a box or 2 of paper in your stockpiles along with some number 2 pencils.
72 – All Forms Of Entertainment
Keeping one’s sanity without modern forms of entertainment will be an important (but often overlooked) strategy.
With no TV or internet, there will be no shows or Facebook to fill the down time hours.
Instead, you’ll want a nice stash of excellent books. The sort you don’t mind reading, again and again, is best.
Also, any book on DIY projects or survival skills is worth a spot in your home library.
Puzzles are a great way to keep your mind occupied and challenged. Classic strategy games such as chess will also help pass the time.
Board games are good for adults and kids alike.
Playing cards can be used to play hundreds of different forms of strategic games – poker, gin rummy, solitary or even simple games like “slap jack” or “war” we played as kids.
73 – Corrective Lenses
Another often overlooked item many of us need to stockpile seriously is prescription glasses.
If you are at a severe disadvantage without glasses or contacts, then this is a major area of focus.
I’d recommend you have at minimum one extra set of glasses and preferably 2 or 3. They don’t need to be designer frames that cost hundreds of dollars.
Look for a sturdy pair at a low price point.
You can also stock up on contact lenses, but you’ll also need to stock up on cleaning agents and cases, etc.
Either way, having a pair of frames or 2 as backups is critical for the visually impaired.
74 –Duct Tape
There are many survival uses for duct tape.
For a list 25 of these applications check out The Daily Sheeple’s 25 Survival Uses For Duct Tape
Look for a bulk deal online and stock up on this essential “DIY” material.
75 – Scissors
There are a few tasks that you’ll be thankful you have scissors for. Often a good knife can substitute scissors but not always.
Just make sure you have a pair or 2 laying around your house, and you should be good to go.
76 – Gas Mask and Filters
As humans, we have no choice – we must breathe all day long, every day for the remainder of our lives. From our first breath at birth to our last breath on our death beds.
Remember we can live without water for three days and food for three weeks? Well, we can live without breath for only about 3 minutes.
Now, the odds are unlikely for oxygen to disappear suddenly. But what if the air you must breathe is poisoned or infected?
You may be forced to breathe death unless you can filter it out. Stock up on good gas masks and filters. You may never need it but if you do you’ll be glad you did.
77 – Electrical Tape
Electrical tape has a lot of worthwhile survival uses beyond just electrical.
The stuff stretches and sticks; there’s nothing quite like it.
78 – Vices
Vices are a way for people to cope with stressful situations. Well, what could be more stressful than a widespread crisis?
So feel free to stock up on alcohol, cigarettes, or even dirty magazines (if that’s your thing).
Not to consume these items yourself necessarily but to have valuable items to trade with should these vices stop becoming readily available.
That case of whiskey in your basement will last forever and hold its value – so it’s one of my favorite vices items to hoard.
Preppers Checklist Wrap Up
My final word of advice is to take action today using this free stock and defend checklist. Focus on the highest priority items first – food, water, medical, guns, and ammo.
After that, start building the rest of your list of items. Over time you’ll be able to amass a nice long list of critical survival supplies.
Fellow survivalists understand disasters happen when we least expect them. Complacency kills.
If you wait; it might be too late…
Remember: Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack
The post Free 78 Item Preppers Checklist: Not Just What But Why appeared first on Skilled Survival.
WOW! We have had some great posts lately and Shawn Michaels’ is no exception. Check out his article on Survival Tips for Camping in the Rain. 10 Survival Tips for Camping in the Rain Camping Read More …
Your compass is a measuring tool that can be adapted to a variety of needs. As shown here, it can be used to measure more than just direction.
You can use your magnetic compass to determine the width of a stream or small body of water without having to get wet. This quick and easy method of determining distance using a compass may just come in handy. In any case, it is always a good trick you can use to amaze your fellow survivors.
Here is how it is done.
1. Standing at the edge of the water, sight an object directly across from you on the far bank. Take a compass reading on this object and mark the spot where you are standing.
2. Walk along the stream until the compass reading to the same object across the stream changes by 45-degrees and mark this spot also.
3. Now measure the distance between the two marks you set. This will be equal to the distance between the first mark and the object you sighted across the stream.
Say you are standing next to a stream and directly across from you on the opposite bank is a large tree. Take out your compass and sight the tree.
Let’s pretend the compass reads 300-degrees (Azimuth type compass) or S30W (Quadrant type compass). Mark this spot and then walk either downstream or upstream until the compass sighting on the same tree reads 45-degrees in either direction from your first reading (either 255-degrees or 345-degrees on an azimuth type compass, S15E or N15W on a quadrant type compass).
Mark this position also. The width of the stream is equal to the distance between your two marks on the ground. If you have practiced pacing (and every survivor should) you can count the number of paces between the two marks and calculate the width of the stream.
The best survivalists are skilled in using whatever materials at hand in novel ways that give him an edge over his environment. “Thinking out of the box” is a trademark of the true survivor.
8 Life Hacks for Being Prepared You will never be prepared for every situation life can throw your way, and that is a fact. However, if you want to be able to find your way out of the majority of prickly situations, that can be managed. Investing time and energy to learn and hone certain … Continue reading 8 Life Hacks for Being Prepared
There is no doubt we are seeing a sort of renaissance in the art of survival and bushcraft. Not only are big names like Ray Mears, Bear Grylls, Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin getting a lot of attention, but there are so many popular YouTube channels on the subject it would be impossible to name them all.
For one reason or another, folks in America want to know more about skills of the wild. Perhaps it’s because our modern lives are leading us further and further away from our natural homes. Maybe it’s something people have always found interesting and the Internet has allowed us more access to it. It could also be that people see an impending crisis and want to prepare for it.
Personally, my biggest interest in bushcraft stems from my love of history and the natural world. One thing that constantly stands out to me as I study time periods like the Stone Age, Pre-Columbus America, and the American frontier, is how much applicable knowledge those people had about the world. Most folks think Stone Age hunters were dumb. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, they couldn’t read or write, but they had an encyclopedic knowledge of the world. Nature was their education.
One time-tested and proven fire-starting method is the flint-and-steel method. The basic concept was used even by the Romans some 2,000 years ago. Since then, it was adopted by the Vikings and was the common fire-starting technique during Medieval Europe. As Europeans reached the New World, they brought their steel and their method of starting fire with them. Eventually this technology would spread West with pioneers such as Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, Lewis and Clark, and Jim Bridger. They used it because it was a reliable fire-starting method that needed just a few simple natural materials to ignite.
Starting a fire with flint and steel requires only a little education, a handful of plentiful natural materials, and one special ingredient. The basic concept is to take a piece of flint and strike it against a piece of steel. When you strike the two together, sparks are generated as tiny bits of steel are removed. When the steel is removed and hits the oxygen it instantly goes through a process of oxidation and catches fire. This is why we get sparks. These sparks are what you use to start your fire. Obviously, sparks themselves are not ideal for starting fires, so the spark must be captured and sustained. This is achieved by using a charred material. Char can be made of many natural materials, but its enduring quality is it can catch a low heat spark and create an ember for up to several minutes. When the ember is added to a properly constructed tinder bundle, you get fire. As mentioned, it was this simple fire-starting technique that American frontiersmen took with them to the wilderness.
Although it is most popular to use 100 percent cotton for char today, some historians don’t believe char cloth was most widely used in the past. They speculate that for men living in the wilderness, cotton cloth simply wasn’t something they carried for fire. The supply was too limited. Rather, they learned to use natural materials such as punk wood, cattail, or a number of other naturally found materials. One trouble with these materials is they often do not catch a spark as easily as char cloth does. Even with properly charred wood, it can still take multiple attempts to get your spark to land just right. Recently, this got me thinking about how could I keep the simplicity, reliability, endurance and compact nature of the flint-and-steel method while improving it.
Story continues below video
What I decided to do was to blend a bit of historical skills with some new technology. Many folks already know that using a ferro rod is one reliable fire-starting method that is popular to use. In case you’re unfamiliar with ferro rods, they are composed of multiple materials that oxidize easily. Like a flint and steel, you simply run a striker over the surface and it creates sparks. One major difference, though, is that a ferro rod will throw far more sparks than a flint and steel. Sparks from most ferro rods will also burn much hotter than flint and steel sparks. Most folks I’ve seen using a ferro rod are casting their sparks into fine tinder in order to make fire. Material like shredded birch bark seems to be ideal. This works great if you have the right tinder, but processing tinder that fine takes not only time, but the right material. One way you can get the best of both worlds is to combine methods to get a very reliable fire-starting method.
Combining the 21st century technology with the first century technique is easy. You’ll need to have punk wood char already made from a previous fire to start. As mentioned, wood and other natural materials were likely used by mountain men, longhunters, and other explorers too far removed to be using cloth. You’ll also need a well-made tinder bundle, as usual. When you’re ready you can simply cast a few sparks from your ferro rod into your char. You should get an ember glowing in no time. After that, the process is exactly the same as any flint and steel, or other primitive fire.
The advantages of this technique are numerous in my opinion. For starters, it is a very reliable fire-starting technique as long as you have a small bit of knowledge of what to look for in your materials. Two, the materials are widely available in nearly every habitat. Three, the ferro rod is a very light and compact unit that works whether it is cold, wet or both. Four, a ferro rod will last for thousands of strikes depending on what you buy. My cheap one is advertised to last for 12,000 strikes. That can start a lot of fires. Finally, this fire-starting method builds off a time-tested process that carried people through all kinds of situations. All the ferro rod does is make casting sparks a little easier.
The ferro rod is a nice addition to any survival pack. It can create sparks and heat with just a few simple strokes of your striker. Combine this technology with some proven charred material, and you have a very reliable fire-starting method. By blending the old and the new, you can get the best of both worlds in order to get your next campfire burning.
What is your favorite primate fire-starting method? Share your tips in the section below:
How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit Bowl I found a great article showing you how to make a concrete fire bowl and I had to share it with you all. There is nothing better than sitting around a fire on the warmer evenings, heck, even the cold evenings… SO I went hunting for a …
Hi there Fernando
while some people are still recovering from the aftermath of the London fire, we have witnessed right next door, the devastating effects of another terrible fire this time in Portugal.
According to the news at least 30 people died in their cars while trying to escape from the flames (probably too late).
I think this reinforces the message of how important it is to read the (get out of dodge) situation, and is better to leave and come back during a false alarm than to lose your life…
I enclose a link (in spanish) La carretera de la muerte
Sorry for the delay in replying.
Yes, I saw the news. It’s just terrible. This yet again goes to show: living in more isolated areas does not mean you’ll never have to bug out.
Also, know your threats. Some areas are known to be affected by wildfires, if it happened once, you can be sure it will happen again. Especially in wooded or grassy areas you have to role play the situation and imagine what you would do if it catches fire.
Watch the clip below, its just terrible.
You need a bug out plan, and a good strategy with alternative routes is crucial here.
Also car selection. I would want a truck or at least and SUV, something with AWD or 4WD so as to go off road if needed when escaping. Also a good car kit, with food, water and clothes, especially good shoes for walking.
Above all, staying informed and taking action. I believe that in this case reacting in time would have been the difference between life and death.
Yet again it’s always easy when you’re not the one trapped in that inferno and you only read the news after it happened.
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”
Ask any survival instructor for their favorite fire-starting method, and you may get an answer that’s pretty far out there. By “far out there,” I mean that it’s going to be something that most people won’t know about. Somehow, survival instructors tend to collect fire-starting techniques and like showing their students the most unusual.
I’ve seen many different fire-starting techniques in my years — many of which seem only to have been developed to allow the instructor to have something that nobody else has. That doesn’t mean that the idea is easy or even practical; but in the right circumstances, it might be the only thing you can do.
Of course, you never know what circumstances you might find yourself in and what materials you might have available. That’s why it’s useful to be able to start a fire with a bow drill, with the parabolic reflector of a car’s headlight, or by carving a lens out of solid ice. But to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t want to depend on any of those, unless I had no other choice.
The Problem With Most Fire Starters
For that matter, I really don’t want to have to depend on a ferro rod, a credit card-sized Fresnel lens or some of the other methods marketed as “survival fire starters.” As far as I’m concerned, they all have one thing in common: They’re too hard to use.
I’m not saying that because I’m lazy, no matter how much it seems that way, but because in a survival situation, I can’t afford to waste time. I might need that fire right now to keep myself from getting hypothermia; and even if I don’t, there are a lot of other survival tasks that need my time. Unless needed, I don’t want to waste the time it takes to make myself a bow drill or to carve that block of ice.
The other important issue, that goes hand-in-hand with time, is dexterity. As your body temperature drops, so do your fine motor skills. So, if you are depending on a method that takes too long to accomplish, you’re in a race against your own body. You’ve got to get it done while you still can, or it will be too late.
At the same time, there’s another thing to consider; that is the weather. Anyone who carries waterproof matches or even stormproof matches understands that you may very well be trying to start your fire in the rain or in the wind, both of which will work against you. Any method which doesn’t account for that is likely to fail you when you need it the most.
OK, so what’s the solution?
Let me start by laying out the basic criteria that I believe any primary fire starter much have:
- It must be easy to use.
- It must be fast.
- It must work in the rain.
- It must work in the wind.
- It must be able to start a lot of fires.
At first glance, that list may hit you as impossible to fulfill with one single device.
It’s Not Matches …
Matches won’t fulfill that list, even though there are some absolutely excellent waterproof and stormproof matches. But the problem with matches has always been that they are a finite resource. No matter how many waterproof match containers you carry, you’re going to run out of matches, and I don’t know anyone who carries more than two.
The only thing that fulfills all the requirements that I laid out is a butane lighter. But not just any butane lighter will do. The average disposable light you can pick up at your local convenience store won’t do. While the average one fulfills several of those criteria, it won’t work when it’s windy. So, you must have some way of shielding it from the wind, which isn’t easy to do, or you must have something else to use when it is windy.
However, there are refillable butane lighters, which are known as “stormproof lighters.” These use a piezo-electric igniter which continues to strike as long as you are holding the gas valve open. So even if you use it in the middle of a hurricane, once it ignites, it can’t be blown out. It will just keep reigniting itself.
There are only two problems with these stormproof lighters.
But Will it Light in Cold Weather?
The first is that the ones designed for survival are a bit pricey, especially when compared to the one you can buy at the corner convenience store. But there are other piezo-electric lighters on the market, which sell considerably cheaper than the survival ones. The only real difference is that the case on these is much prettier, as they are intended to be carried and used for lighting cigars and pipes.
The second problem is that like any other butane lighter, the butane tends to liquefy in the cold. So, if you are out in the cold and needing to start a fire, the gas won’t flow and the lighter won’t light. That sounds like it disqualifies the lighter, doesn’t it? But not if you keep it inside your clothes, where it is kept warm by your body heat. In that case, the butane will flow just fine.
So, go ahead and keep collecting esoteric fire-starting techniques, just in case. But to keep yourself from having to depend on them, buy yourself a butane lighter with a piezo-electric striker. Make that one your EDC fire starter and you’ll be much more secure.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Building a fire in the wild is mandatory for survival and it also a great morale booster. You should know how to build one, regardless if you are fleeing the collapsing civilization or if you are enjoying a camping trip. Picking the right wood to build a fire is the most important step to get … Read more…
The post Picking The Right Wood To Build A Fire In The Wild was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.
You probably read the news already but in case you didn’t a 24-storey building, Grenfell Tower, turned into an inferno last night. At around 1AM the fire started in the 4th floor and spread all over the building in 15 minutes. This morning, firemen were still struggling to put out the fire. So far there are 12 confirmed dead victims but there are dozens missing still.
According to witnesses, there was a baby dropped from the 10th floor that was caught by someone below and managed to survive. Ropes were made with sheets to climb down, children in flames simply jumping from the building. It must have been a terrible scene to witness.
But then we think of it from the preparedness point of view. I never felt comfortable in high-rise buildings and have avoided them all my life. When in hotels, I try to be as close to the ground floor as possible, which is actually a good habit to incorporate when booking a room.
If I had to live in one, I would get climbing gear and enough rope to rappel down. Oh sure, it sounds silly, that is until you jump out of your window to avoid burning to death. Its not just fires. I know of several cases in Argentina in which people panicked during home invasions in buildings and jumped out of the windows several floors high. What about working in one? Yes, I’d like a way out as well. Fires, earthquakes, even active shooters this is the kind of thing that can save your life in a worst case scenario. Rappelling is simple enough it can be done by people of all ages and the equipment isnt that expensive either unless you want some high end gear.
Of course you have a number of other preparedness related topics involved here.
What have I said a million times about bugging out? Its not a choice, when you have to leave maybe you do it with nothing but your underwear. Many people learned that last night. Have a plan, have a place to go if your home is no longer an option. Have a VIP bag to grab and go if you only have seconds, have a bug out bag if you can carry it.
If you read my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” you know that a small satchel with your very important papers and documents (VIP bag) is important in case you can’t carry an actual BOB because you needs to help yourself or help others evacuated. Well, last night a woman evacuated from one of the higher floors with her six children… by the time she made it outside she only had four kids left. This is EXACTLY what I mean when I say sometimes even a backpack impairs your ability and needs to be left behind, so only a small satchel can be taken.
How about having a bug out plan, having prearranged place you know you can go to and have some clothes and supplies already there? Another point I made in “Bugging Out and Relocating”, you don’t need a cabin in the middle of nowhere, sometimes all you need is to crash in your parent’s house or your sister in laws just a few blocks away. In fact being near by makes life easier for kids going back to school, going to work, etc.
These are just a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind today as I watched the news.
What we do here is important. Preparedness is important. Of course it makes life easier and better regarding the little things in life, or even some habits that have lifelong repercussions like staying in shape and eating healthy, but it also means that preparing properly makes all the difference in the world when the unexpected happens and your home literally burns to the ground in front of you.
Vaseline & Cotton Balls – the Perfect Fire Starter? One of the most critical parts of survival is the warmth, protection and cooking ability of a fire. There is no other part of your survival arsenal that will provide you with as much as fire will. It can protect you from the cold, protect you …
The post Vaseline & Cotton Balls – the Perfect Fire Starter? appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
It always amazes me how ingenious some people can be… I doubt I would have ever thought of two of these ideas without having seen them first. Of course, I have seen the water bottle fire starting trick before and, honestly, I thought he was going to do something else with the light bulb but … Continue reading “3 Weird Ways To Make A Fire”
You’d think that after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant melted down, the US government would reassess the safety of our own power plants, and take the proper precautions so that we never face a disaster like that. After all, the Japanese government was pretty confident that their power plants were totally safe from natural disasters. No matter how confident we are about the safety of our power plants, we should take a second look at them.
It turns out however, that our government is not interested in taking the proper precautions. According to scientists, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is woefully underestimating how much damage our nuclear power plants could cause in the event of a terror attack or natural disaster.
Published by researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the article argues that NRC inaction leaves the public at high risk from fires in spent-nuclear-fuel cooling pools at reactor sites. The pools — water-filled basins that store and cool used radioactive fuel rods — are so densely packed with nuclear waste that a fire could release enough radioactive material to contaminate an area twice the size of New Jersey. On average, radioactivity from such an accident could force approximately 8 million people to relocate and result in $2 trillion in damages.
These catastrophic consequences, which could be triggered by a large earthquake or a terrorist attack, could be largely avoided by regulatory measures that the NRC refuses to implement. Using a biased regulatory analysis, the agency excluded the possibility of an act of terrorism as well as the potential for damage from a fire beyond 50 miles of a plant. Failing to account for these and other factors led the NRC to significantly underestimate the destruction such a disaster could cause.
“The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants,” said paper co-author Frank von Hippel, a senior research physicist at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS), based at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry’s wishes.“
And that’s not all. It turns out that if a power plant caused all of this damage, the nuclear industry would only be liable for $13.6 billion in damages, due to the Price Anderson Act of 1957. So guess who would get to foot the bill for a multi-trillion dollar disaster? It would be you and me, and every other taxpayer.
As if that wasn’t maddening enough, it turns out that it would be relatively cheap to modify our nuclear power plants to prevent this kind of disaster. A few billion dollars spent nationwide could someday prevent trillions of dollars in damages.
The NRC analysis found that a fire in a spent-fuel pool at an average nuclear reactor site would cause $125 billion in damages [which is a low-ball estimate], while expedited transfer of spent fuel to dry casks could reduce radioactive releases from pool fires by 99 percent. However, the agency decided the possibility of such a fire is so unlikely that it could not justify requiring plant owners to pay the estimated cost of $50 million per pool.
The NRC cost-benefit analysis assumed there would be no consequences from radioactive contamination beyond 50 miles from a fire. It also assumed that all contaminated areas could be effectively cleaned up within a year. Both of these assumptions are inconsistent with experience after the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.
Nuclear power was always supposed to be clean, efficient and cheap. But if our government doesn’t make the nuclear industry pay for these safety features, then nuclear power will be none of those things. There’s nothing clean or cheap about a fire that could cost trillions of dollars and contaminate thousands of square miles.
And if the US government isn’t going to force them to do the right thing with regulations, then perhaps they should go the other direction. Perhaps it would be best for the free market to sort out the nuclear industry.
We have to get rid of the law that only leaves this industry liable for a few billion dollars in the event of a disaster, because otherwise, our government and the taxpayers are basically subsidizing their future negligence. If the nuclear industry is worried that essential safety precautions will bankrupt them, then tough. If it wasn’t for that law, they would be forced to either shape up, or go out of business. Those possibilities would make us all a lot safer.
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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!
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.
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.
To 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.
Native 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:
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.
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? 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, …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
Fire 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.
Know 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.
Don’t forget smoke inhalation.
In 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 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 …
Survival 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.
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.
Simplicity. 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!
The 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
The 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.
This one has a gallon capacity for meats, soups, or chili. It also has support legs and is extremely durable and reliable.
Unlike 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
Have 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.
This 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.
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Fish 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
One 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)
Frying 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.
Luckily, 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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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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We have another guest post! This time we will learn about using unusual things as a fire starter from Aaron Sven at Ninja Ready. Emergency Preparedness: Unusual Household Fire Starters How many times have you packed for Read More …
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 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 …
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…
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…
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 […]
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 …
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 …
Heating your home with a wood stove. It sounds so warm. And cozy. And romantic. You know, sitting by the fireplace in your pajamas with your hot cocoa and a good book kind of romantic. But those of you who heat your homes with a wood stove know that it is, well, not as easy […]
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. …
Survival 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
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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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!
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 …
One 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.
Just 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.
Let’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?
- Lower cost
- Lighter weight
- Smaller size
- Stable, solid fuel
- Fewer moving parts
The MSR, of course, has its own advantages:
- Gas power
- Larger, more stable cooking platform
- Made in the U.S.A.
Since 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!
But 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.
I 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.
All Photos Courtesy of: Derrick Grant
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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…
It’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!
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
There’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
I’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
If 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!”
Sound off below!
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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.
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 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 …
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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
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
- 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!
- 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!
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.
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.
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
Items 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.
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.
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
A set of traction mats are reusable and can be easily repositioned to keep you heading in the right direction.
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.
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.
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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Items 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A fire will allow you to keep warm, melt snow into water, and signal searchers.
14 – Camp Stove
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.
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
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.
Winter 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.
The post How To Build A 16 Item Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit appeared first on Skilled Survival.
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 …