Top 7 Reasons I Carry a Mini MultiTool

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When you think of every day carry items, it is common to think of things you may need in a big emergency.  But when I decided to participate in this post round up with my other preparedness blogger friends, I knew exactly what my favorite every day carry item was.  Because I actually carry it […]

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere

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by Todd Walker

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

What’s in your pockets? If you look at the popular trend of pocket dumps on social media, the answer appears to be everything, except the kitchen sink. I seldom see fire tools in these pocket dumps. Of course, our Everyday Carry items will look different depending on our jobs, lifestyle, and skill level.

Several of us from the Prepared Bloggers are sharing different EDC (Everyday Carry) items we never leave home without. Being the pyro that I am, I choose fire. Be sure to read the other value-adding articles by my friends in the links below this article.

The concept of carrying essential items on one’s person is smart habit. If ever separated from your main preparedness kit, the stuff in your pockets, plus your skillset to use said items, may be the only tools available.

The tool doesn’t determine your success. Your skills determine the tool’s success.

The quote above applies to preppers, survivalists, campers, carpenters, homesteaders, accountants, school teachers, and, well, all of us.

Pockets of Fire

If you frisked me, no matter the locale (urban or wilderness), you’d discover a minimum of three ignition sources in my pockets…

  • Mini Bic lighter (open flame)
  • Ferrocerium rod (spark ignition)
  • Fresnel lens (solar)
3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

L to R: Key chain Exotac fireRod, mini Bic lighter, wallet fresnel lens, and two wallet tinders: duct tape and waxed jute twine.

Let’s break these down and discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and a few tips to successfully use each fire tool. Keep in mind that these are simply ignition sources and do not guarantee a sustainable fire. For more info on the importance of fire, you may find this article useful.

Bic Lighter – Open Flame

Since a road flare isn’t practical for EDC, I carry a mini Bic. The resemblance of road flares to dynamite puts people on edge, especially law enforcement officers. I do have them in my vehicle kits though.

The times you really need fire is usually when fire is hardest come by. I’ll take an open flame over sparks, solar, and especially fire by friction every day of the week and twice on Sundays! As mentioned previously, you must put in deliberate practice to hone your fire craft skills by actually Doing the Stuff or these fire tools just look cool in pocket dumps on Instagram.

To learn more on building sustainable fires, browse our Fire Craft Page.

Cold hands loose dexterity and make normally simple tasks, striking a lighter, difficult. Modify your EDC lighter by removing the child-proof device wrapped over the striker wheel. Pry it up from the chimney housing. Once free, pull the metal band from the lighter. Two metal wings will point up after removal. Bend the wings down flat to protect your thumb when striking the lighter.

What if your lighter gets wet?

On a recent wilderness survival course, I taught our boy scout troop how to bring a wet lighter back to life. Each threw their non-child-proofed lighter into the creek. After retrieval, they were instructed to blow excess moisture out of the chimney and striker wheel. Next, they ran the striker wheel down their pant leg several passes to further dry the flint and striker. Within a few minutes, lighters were sparking and each scout had a functioning fire tool again.

The lighters I carry in my bushcraft haversack and hiking backpack are more tricked out than my plain ole’ EDC Bic. Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up for adding redundant lighters which may be of interest…

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

This full-size Bic is wrapped in duct tape holding a loop of cord which attaches inside my haversack. The green cap (spring clamp handle end) idea came from Alan Halcon. It keeps moisture out and prevents the fuel lever from being accidentally depressed.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

The cap removed reveals the child-proof device missing.


  • A mini Bic will give you approximately 1,450 open flames.
  • A wet Bic can be back in service within a minute or so.
  • So easy to light a five-year-old can use one.
  • Designed to be used with only one hand.


  • It’s difficult to monitor the fuel level unless the housing is clear.
  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • Extreme cold limits a Bic. Keep it warm inside a shirt pocket under your overcoat.
  • A mythical disadvantage is that lighters won’t work in high altitudes. If Sherpas use them on Mt. Everest, this lowland sherpa is sold.

Ferrocerium Rod (Firesteel)

In the bushcraft/survivalist/prepper community, ferro rods have the hyped reputation of being a fail-safe fire maker. The device is simple and won’t malfunction, they say. Scrap the metal off the rod, and, poof, you have a fire, even in the rain. Sounds good but don’t buy the marketing hype!

“Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
~ Thomas Sowell

In my experience teaching both children and adults, using a ferro rod for the first time ends in failure more times than not. Yet everyone is told to add one to their emergency fire kits. I carry a small one on my key chain because I enjoy practicing fire craft skills. They’re a novel way of making fire but, like any skill, require practice to become proficient.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

The fireROD by Exotac  has a watertight compartment which will hold a full cotton makeup pad for tinder.

Of these three ferro rod techniques – push, pull, and thumb lever – the latter is my favorite on softer firesteels. It offers more accurate placement of sparks. The drawback is that the thumb lever requires more fine motor skills and coordination which go bye-bye in an adrenaline spiked emergency scenario. That’s why I carry a Bic!

If you’ve never tried the thumb lever technique, here’s a short video demonstration which may help…

One of the many reasons I practice fire by friction is the fact that it teaches the importance of preparing proper tinder material. Marginal tinder takes more heat to combust. Even with 3,000 degree ferro rod sparks, you may fail to ignite damp, finely shredded tinder. The amount of heat needed for ignition depends on the amount of surface area compared to its volume. Think in terms of small hair-like fibers. When you think you’ve got fine tinder, shred it some more.

Even without a “proper” striker or knife, any object hard enough to scrap metal off makes a good substitute.

A ferro rod/metal match is not my first choice in fire starters. It’s a fun bushcraft tool to use though.


  • Scraped with a sharp rock, broken glass, or any object sharp enough to remove metal particles, 1,500º F to 3,000º F sparks spontaneously combust as they meet air.
  • Sparks even in wet conditions.
  • The average outdoors person will never use up a ferro rod.
  • Can ignite many tinder sources.
  • For more info on ferro rods, click here. My EDC rod is way smaller than the one in the link.


  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • They’re difficult to use if you’ve never practiced with this tool.
  • Intermediate skill level needed.

Fresnel Lens

A quality fresnel lens is useful for starting fires, examining plants and insects, splinter and tick removal, and reading navigational maps. I carry a 4 power lens in my wallet. It takes up about as much space as a credit card. I ordered a 3-pack from Amazon for under $7.

Sunshine is loaded with electromagnetic energy in the form of photons. A fresnel lens simply harnesses the energy to a focused point creating enough heat to start a fire.

A few tips I’ve learned may help here. Not all tinder material will combust. You’ll get smoke and char but may never have an actual flame. In the short video below, within a second you’ll see smoke on crushed pine straw. Once a large area was smoldering, I had to blow the embers into a flame.

Increase your odds of solar ignition by keeping the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays and the tinder. Move the lens closer or further away until the smallest dot of light strikes the target. Brace your hand to steady the spot of heat. Smoke should appear almost immediately. Afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun. Keep this in mind when practicing this method.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~

Keep the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays to concentrate the most radiant energy on your tinder.

Just for fun, I discovered that cocoa powder, which I carry in my bushcraft kit, makes a useable coal with solar ignition. Have fun playing and experimenting with fire!


  • Beginner skill level. Ever drive ants crazy with one as a kid?
  • Can ignite different tinder materials
  • Lightweight
  • Saves other ignition sources on sunny days.
  • Never wears out. Always protect your lens from scratches and breakage.


  • Dependent on sunshine.
  • May only create an ember which can be coaxed into flame.

EDC Fire Tinder

Duct tape and waxed jute twine ride alongside my fresnel lens in my wallet. You’ll also find a full-size cotton makeup pad stuffed inside the cap of my ferro rod. Wrapping a few feet of tape around an old gift card gives you an emergency tinder source for open flame ignition. Setting fire to a foot long strip of loosely balled duct tape will help ignite your kindling. There are so many multi-functional uses of duct tape, fire being one of them, that you should always carry at least a few feet in your wallet.

The waxed jute twine can be unravelled to create surface area for spark ignition. Unraveled, it can also be used as a long-burning candle wick. Either way, it’s nice to have another waterproof tinder in your pocket/wallet. Here’s a link if you’re interested in making your own waxed jute twine.

If all you have for ignition is a ferro rod, duct tape will ignite, but again, don’t count on it if you haven’t practiced this method. See our video below…

It never hurts to have multiple fire starting methods on your person. Drop us a comment on other EDC fire starters that I haven’t mentioned.

Be sure to scroll down and check out the other articles by my friends at the Prepared Bloggers.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.


The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations.

Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge!

But, even if you’re just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC.

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it’s gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Let’s Talk Kershaw: Top EDCs, Flippers, & Fixed Blades by Kershaw Knives

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Let’s Talk Kershaw: Top EDCs, Flippers, & Fixed Blades by Kershaw Knives

I was asked if we’ve got a top Kershaw knives round up by a reader the other day, and since we haven’t yet gotten one up, here we are. Kershaw is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knives, and frankly, if you are reading this, I very much doubt you haven’t owned one –… Read More

This is just the start of the post Let’s Talk Kershaw: Top EDCs, Flippers, & Fixed Blades by Kershaw Knives. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Let’s Talk Kershaw: Top EDCs, Flippers, & Fixed Blades by Kershaw Knives, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

AR Wheeler Trigger Guard Install Tool Review

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Editor’s note: Please welcome Evail Juan to He will be a regular here, providing reviews on firearms, firearm accessories and tools, as well as other prepper related gear. I recently received a Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard as a gift (Thanks Sis). But upon reading how to change it out from the Mil Spec guard, […]

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Best Tactical Backpacks of 2017: Reviews, Features, & Our Top Picks

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Tactical Backpacks: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?It was not a good day.For the first time in over 15 years we drug our sorry butts back to the trailhead in defeat, with the loss of our gear as evident as the loss of our pride. Broken straps, lost cell phones and water …

The post Best Tactical Backpacks of 2017: Reviews, Features, & Our Top Picks appeared first on Know Prepare Survive.

Survival Life Article – Brita Water Pitcher

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Another one of my reviews has been posted over at Survival Life, so when you get a chance give it a look. I have many different ways of filtering water on-hand and the Brita Water Pitcher is one of the easier ones to use. However, as the article points out, it isn’t as effective as […]

The post Survival Life Article – Brita Water Pitcher appeared first on Smart Suburban Survival.

7 Important Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

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We have another guest post from Mina Arnao and This time we find the 7 Important Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit. — Emergencies like natural hazards can be unpredictable and often leave you Read More …

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10 Must-Have Survival Items for Your RV or Camper

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Editor’s note: Please welcome Angelica Garcia to  I know it’s still winter and we have a good 4 to 6 weeks of cold left, but my two-year-old camper is sitting in the driveway, beckoning. I can’t wait to hit the road with my family, get away from it all, and still feel like I’m […]

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Keeping Pack Weight Down If You Need To Bug-Out

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bug_out_open_roadYou’re at home one night and the power goes out.  Hackers have taken down the grid and you need to bug-out to your sister’s house a hundred and twenty miles away.  Traffic is gridlocked and no one is driving anywhere anytime soon.  You decide to bug-out on foot with your pack. Six miles down the road, you’re dying from the weight of the pack.  It feels like you’re carrying a Volkswagon on your back because you’ve got so much stuff in it. There’s a lot to be said for sticking to the basics when you build your bug-out bag.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Back in the dark ages (early 1980’s) when I was in the Marine Corps, a full pack for a basic infantry man ran about sixty pounds.  That was the canvas shelter half, poles and stakes, sleeping bag, food, mess kit, clothes, etc.  Lord help you if you were the machine gunner or radio man because that added a lot more weight to what you had to carry.

Stick to Basics

bug_out_roman_legionaries_marchingI remember going on forced marches for ten or fifteen miles and suffering because of the weight.  You eventually get used to it, but I wouldn’t say I ever came to enjoy it.  I soon learned what was important and what wasn’t and ditched the excess stuff.  Apparently this has been a familiar theme through the ages because during the Civil War soldiers started out with haversacks weighing forty to fifty pounds, but soon learned to drop the excess weight and only get by with the essentials.  I’d be willing to bet the same has held true for soldiers going back to the Roman legions where they were sometimes estimated to carry up to eighty pounds – a ridiculous amount of weight.  But then again, they were professional warriors and when they signed up it was for a much longer tour than four years like the average tour today.  Roman soldiers underwent conditioning marches that were brutally hard.  Vegetius wrote in De Re Militari:

To accustom soldiers to carry burdens is also an essential part of
discipline. Recruits in particular should be obliged frequently to carry
a weight of not less than sixty pounds (exclusive of their arms), and
to march with it in the ranks. This is because on difficult expeditions
they often find themselves under the necessity of carrying their
provisions as well as their arms. Nor will they find this troublesome
when inured to it by custom, which makes everything easy.

Our troops in ancient times were a proof of this, and Virgil has remarked it in the following lines:

The Roman soldiers, bred in war’s alarms,
Bending with unjust loads and heavy arms,
Cheerful their toilsome marches undergo,
And pitch their sudden camp before the foe.

Lighten Your Pack

As you probably surmised from the title, this post isn’t about soldiers and their pack weight.  It’s about you carrying less weight so that you can bug-out effectively if it ever comes down to it.  Unless you spend every day hiking a sixty pound pack fifteen or twenty miles, the likelihood of being able to do so when the SHTF are slim to none.  From the section above I reiterate:

Nor will they find this troublesome when inured to it by custom, which makes everything easy.

Chances are good that you’d be stopping along the way and ditching gear, thus you really need to focus on packing just the essentials.  I’ve seen packs on Youtube and in blog posts that a Clydesdale couldn’t carry.  They’ve got everything in there from three changes of clothing to enough ammo to fight off the zombie apocalypse all by themselves.  And the kicker is that quite a few of those people are about fifty pounds overweight and the act of actually carrying it more than five miles would probably kill them.

The Essentials

So what exactly are the essentials?  This depends on you:  your skill level in the woods, your fitness level, your bug-out plans, your destination, and your mission plan.

hike_march_bug_outThe worst case scenario is a full scale bug-out, meaning that you’re taking off and you need to live out of your bag for a minimum of three days, but probably longer.  If you’re careful, you can probably get away with forty to forty-five pounds.   This includes a tent, sleeping bag, freeze dried food, a quart of water with water filter, spork, small cook pot and stove, fuel (unless you’re carrying a small woodstove like a Solo Stove), lightweight poncho, and other essential gear. If you buy the lightest gear (usually the most expensive too), you should be able to have a good kit that weighs in the forty pound area.  I hiked a piece of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine and my pack weighed forty-four pounds when I started.  I spent a lot of time getting that pack weight down, but it was worth it.  I also spent weeks leading up to that hike walking the road with the same boots I’d be wearing and carrying the pack to get used to the weight.

Read Also: Get Outdoors!

Rather than run through all the scenarios, I’ll list out some of the things I carry in my everyday woodsman kit and why I carry it.  I’ve managed to pare the weight down to about twenty to twenty-five pounds (depending on how much water I carry) and I’ve found this to be an acceptable weight as I’ve gotten older.

Then again, I also have a lot of experience in the woods and feel comfortable entering the forest with what some might consider minimal gear. I consider my kit to be a GHB or Get Home Bag, meaning I’ll only carry it about 30 miles in a worst case scenario, which for me is walking home from work.  I like to move fast and light and not be seen if at all possible.  So rather than carry weapons I choose to leave that weight behind and avoid confrontation.  I suppose the worst thing is someone steals my bag from me, which means I’ll be that much lighter on the way home.

Let me say up front that many of you won’t agree with my philosophy on firearms and that’s fine.  I live in Maine and in the area I’ll be walking through, people are unlikely to cause me problems.  If you live in the city and carrying a big pack loaded with shelter, water, and food makes you a fat target, then you’ll probably want to consider carrying a gun as protection.  Again, this all comes back to your situation and threat assessment.  But keep in mind that guns and ammo are heavy, so choose wisely.

To survive a night or two in the wild here’s what I carry for the basics:

  • Military Grade Poncho
  • Survival Knife
  • Firesteel and Lighter
  • Three Freeze Dried Meals (minimum)
  • Small Flashlight
  • 1 Quart Steel Water Bottle and Filter
  • Pot Set with Homemade Alcohol Stove and Four Oz of Fuel or Small Woodstove
  • Small Plastic Cup and Five Coffee Packets
  • Multitool
  • Map and Compass
  • Bandana
  • Titanium Spork
  • Gloves and Hat in Cold Weather
  • Sleeping bag/Wool Blanket
  • Notebook and Pen

This pack weighs between 20 and 23 pounds depending on the extras I put in.  If you’re going to rely on the above kit as your guide, other things you’ll  need to add to the list:

  • Experience in the wilderness/bushcraft skills
  • Much time spent evaluating and using each piece of equipment
  • Overall physically fit (weights and aerobics four to five times a week)
  • Skill with map and compass

Wilderness Survival Skills

packing_light_gear_minimumThe more you know about wilderness survival the less gear you have to carry; however, the longer it will take you when you have to set up camp.  It’s a trade off and you need to be able to judge yourself and the situation in order to make the best decisions.  A few days ago I took the following kit into the woods and made a shelter using no tools whatsoever.  I used two trees to break sticks to length and used fir boughs for insulation.  I used a lighter to get the fire going, but that was the only man made item I used.

Related: 15 Ways to Start a Fire

shelter_fire_camping_out-2It’s important that you tally up your knowledge, experience, and skills in addition to the gear you’ll carry. All of these things are important when trying to figure out the best way for you to bug-out. It’s also important to weigh your weaknesses.  For example:  if you’re overweight or otherwise not able to carry a pack for a long distance, you’ll need to make alternate plans.  Bugging in might be your best option, so instead of preparing to leave, you plan for an extended stay in your home or apartment.  But I digress.


In order to get your pack weight down you need to focus on the essentials.  My advice is to lay out everything you could want, put it in your pack (if it will fit) then take it for a walk.  If you can do three to five miles with that weight without much trouble, congratulations!  You’re probably going to be ok.

If you find yourself struggling after a mile or two, take your pack home and start going through your gear and eliminate stuff you don’t need.  Got a big flashlight that holds four D cell batteries?  Get rid of it and get a small halogen light that uses a couple of Triple A’s.  If you’re walking alone and have a three man tent, ditch it for an ultralight single man tent. That will save you five or ten pounds right there.  That’s the kind of mindset you need to bring to your gear.

Visualize what a camp out will look like and keep that thought in your head as you go through your stuff.  Always challenge a piece of gear.  Some of it will pass the test, but some of it won’t.  Don’t be afraid to cut back. I believe that speed in getting out of an area will be vital and it’s hard to do if you’re chained to a sixty pound pack.  After all, we’re not Roman soldiers!

Do you think a pack should have everything and the kitchen sink, or do you think a minimalist mindset is best? Let me know in the comments below. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

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Body armor life saving tactical gear!

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Body armor life saving tactical gear! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Hey guys and gals, on this episode of “The Prepping Academy” we’re covering fun life saving tactical gear. That’s right, we are talking body armor. We have a special guest expert on this topic joining us in this show. It’s going … Continue reading Body armor life saving tactical gear!

The post Body armor life saving tactical gear! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Affordable, Accessable, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC

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Affordable, Accessable, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC

Carrying your knife around your neck is not a new phenomenon, nor is it a fad. It’s a concept that’s been around forever. Whilst the practice of wearing a neck knife has garnered traction for situations, sad to say, neck knives have never enjoyed mainstream success. Survivalists like Cody Lundin famously wore their knives around… Read More

This is just the start of the post Affordable, Accessable, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Affordable, Accessable, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Affordable, Accessible, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC

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Affordable, Accessible, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC

Carrying your knife around your neck is not a new phenomenon, nor is it a fad. It’s a concept that’s been around forever. Whilst the practice of wearing a neck knife has garnered traction for situations, sad to say, neck knives have never enjoyed mainstream success. Survivalists like Cody Lundin famously wore their knives around… Read More

This is just the start of the post Affordable, Accessible, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Affordable, Accessible, & Discreet: Best Neck Knives You Can EDC, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Tactical Pens

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by Ryan

The best items for your everyday carry kit are items that are hidden in plain sight.  Items that you can use in your everyday life allow you to expand your kit without having to keep that item concealed.  A tactical pen is simply a pen designed for uses other than writing.  It must be a functional writing tool, but tactical pens are typically designed for self-defense.  Even airlines will often let you carry your tactical pen.  They are great for stabbing at vulnerable points like the neck and eyes.  However, they also allow you to target pressure points for non-lethal force.

Why a Tactical Pen?

There are several reasons that a tactical pen could be a better option than other concealable weapons.

  • Multiple Functions – Unlike a handgun or knife, a pen can be used for several different every day and survival purposes. When building any survival kit, multifunction tools allow you to keep the kit as small as possible.
  • Non-threatening – If you are going to be attacked, it can often be beneficial to appear unarmed. Guns or knives must be hidden to accomplish this.  If a gun or knife is seen, an assailant will often disarm you immediately.  With a tactical pen, you are hiding your weapon in plain sight.  An attacker will rarely confiscate a tactical pen.
  • Cannot Be Used Against You – One of the most dangerous aspects of carrying a gun or knife is that your attacker can use it against you. It takes little skill or experience for an attacker to injure or kill you with conventional weapons.  However, an attacker will rarely have the skill to use a tactical pen against you.  In fact, in most cases they will be more inclined to use their bare hands.
  • Element of Surprise – Many would say that your greatest advantage in a physical confrontation is the element of surprise. A weapon that does not appear to be a weapon is an excellent way to gain this advantage.
  • Non-lethal – In most cases a strike from a tactical pen will disable an attacker without doing any permanent damage. This is preferable in most situations.
  • Easy to Conceal – A tactical pen is much easier to hide in your pocket than other weapons. Most knives and guns must have a sheath or holster specifically designed for concealment.
  • Inexpensive – Most tactical pens are much less expensive than a gun or knife.

How to Choose a Tactical Pen

When choosing a tactical pen, there are several variables to consider.  Most people only own one tactical pen, so it is important that you pick the right one.  Here are some points to think about when choosing your pen:

Material – Tactical pens are typically made of one solid piece of metal.  Unlike a normal pen, they are designed to take an impact without bending or breaking.  Most are made with aircraft grade aluminum, but some are even made from titanium.  The strength of your pen will be based on the material type and design.

Grip – With a pen being small and cylindrical, is could easily slip out of your hand after impact.  A good tactical pen will have design elements to prevent it from slipping.  Some have ridges designed to fall in between your fingers for a better grip, while others are tapered in the middle and fatter on the ends.  Ideally, you want some sort of design element to improve your grip.

Appearance – If a tactical pen looks too different from a normal pen, it defeats the purpose.  You want it to completely blend in.  If it is obviously a weapon or tool, other people are that much more likely to try to take it from you.

Function – Any tactical pen should have a sharp point for stabbing, but some are so much more.  These days you can buy tactical pens with glass breakers, fire starters, whistles, and styluses.  Some even have flashlights built in to the pen.  The newer models have DNA catchers to allow police to identify your attacker after the attack is over.  The more functions your tactical pen can cover, the fewer items you need in your EDC kit.

Here are a few quality models that you can consider purchasing:

How to Use a Tactical Pen

If you are attacked, there are specific points to target on the human body.  The tactical pen is not a knife or sword.  You cannot just swing it at an assailant and defend yourself.  You have to be surgical.  If you hit the right points, you will easily disable your attacker.

Remember that your goal is simply to get away from your attacker.  You do not want to use lethal force if you can avoid it, but you also do not want to give your attacker a chance to recover and hurt you.  The key to this strategy is multiple strikes.  When you find a point of impact, hit it several times before you back off and try to escape. This will ensure that your attacker stays down.

Here are some points to target on the human body:

Hands – Hitting an attacker in the palm, knuckles, or back of the hand is very painful.  Often an attacker will grab your arm or shoulder, so their hand is readily available to strike.  In many cases you can break the smaller bones in the hand with just one strike.

Feet – If you find yourself on the ground at the feet of your attacker, this is an opportune time to strike.  Attackers assume you are not a threat when you are on the ground, so this gives you the element of surprise.  Striking the feet of your attacker will likely not break the skin, but it might break bones.  In addition, the natural reaction to this type of injury is for the attacker to drop to the ground.  This gives you an ideal opportunity to flee.

Knees – The knees are another vulnerable part of the leg that will drop a man to the ground.  If you stab at the front or back of the knees, it will be very painful.  In addition, there are tendons and ligaments that can be damaged.  This would keep your attacker from following as you run.

Thighs – The thighs are meaty and make a good target for a tactical pen.  A strike to the inside or the outside of the thigh is normally very painful.  However, there are also pressure points on the inside of the thigh that intensify the pain.

Groin – Any strike to the groin is painful, but with a tactical pen that pain is amplified.  This is an easy way to drop a man to his knees.  You will likely have enough time to get away after just one good strike.

Ribs – The ribs are always a vulnerable spot on a person.  There is little flesh to protect the bones and internal organs.  A good strike with a tactical pen can break ribs or cause internal bleeding.  It is incredibly painful as well.

Sternum – The breast plate is a spot that can easily be injured, but it adds a psychological edge as well.  Any time you strike areas near vital organs, the injured person is likely to fall to the ground and curl into the fetal position.  Until they realize exactly what has happened, they think their life is in danger.  This is a great time to run for it.

Arm pits – You would not think this is a prime area to target, but the arm pits have little protection and lots of nerve endings.  If you can catch your attacker with their arm up, hold it in place with your left hand and strike with your right.  It is very painful and should drop him to his knees.

Neck – The neck is one of the few places on the body where you can actually kill somebody with a tactical pen.  A strike to the base of the neck on the jugular vein could render an attacker unconscious, while a strike to the throat could cause death. If you have no other choice, this is the spot for which to aim.

Eyes – The eyes are always a great non-lethal spot to target.  Not only is a strike to the eyes painful, but it makes it virtually impossible for your attacker to follow you.

Head – Any strike to the head is going to be painful.  In addition, it can cause a great deal of bleeding.  This can blind your opponent or just make them more concerned with their own well-being.

Once you have selected your tactical pen, take the time to practice with it.  It is important that you are comfortable targeting these specific areas when the pressure is on.  It is one thing to know the areas to target, but another thing to be able to act swiftly when attacked.  Practicing in low lighting or with the sun in your eyes is also a good idea.

In addition to practicing where to strike, it is also important that you practice how to strike.  Tactical pens can be held like a sword for thrusting forward, or they can be held backhanded for a downward stabbing motion.  In most cases, sword style will give you more accuracy with your strikes.  Your attacker is also less likely to block this type of movement.  However, each tactical pen has a different shape and grip.  You may decide that your pen works best by holding it a different way.  It is important that you can stab a solid, heavy object without the pen slipping or dislodging.

Also, while practicing, remember that your best move is to stab repeatedly at one particular spot.  This means that your grip has to allow you to keep making the same motion without it slipping. In most cases, you do not want to stop making contact until your attacker is on the ground or disabled in some other way.  However, at that point it is best to run for help.  Legally speaking, you can be charged with assault if you keep striking after your assailant is obviously disabled. Do what is needed to get away and then make a run for it.  If you have hit the right spots, you should have no problem getting to safety.

Force Multiplier!

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Force Multiplier Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Force multipliers. If you’re not familiar with what these are this is a good show to listen in on. The essence of a force multiplier is any tool or tactic that gives you the upper hand. It’s a very broad term and can … Continue reading Force Multiplier!

The post Force Multiplier! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

UK Knife Laws: Restrictions, Prohibitions, & What’s Legal to Carry

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UK Knife Laws: Restrictions, Prohibitions, & What’s Legal to Carry

UK knife laws are a minefield of conjecture and hearsay. It seems everyone has an idea of what they can and can’t carry, but in reality, the situation here is both very simple and extremely nuanced depending on the application of the law as per what law enforcement “feels” the law should be. This is… Read More

This is just the start of the post UK Knife Laws: Restrictions, Prohibitions, & What’s Legal to Carry. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

UK Knife Laws: Restrictions, Prohibitions, & What’s Legal to Carry, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Salomon: High performance footwear

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The Philosophy

Every hiker knows that his boots are the most important part of his gear. Lose your backpack, lose your pants, its all good, but without shoes… your mobility is greatly handicapped and without mobility you have very few options.

Given how important it is to have adequate footwear during an emergency, your daily wear shoes should reflect that. If something happens and today whatever you chose to wear is all you will have to walk several miles, get by for days or even weeks, walk across broken terrain, help people or extract yourself or others across rubble and debris, keep yourself dry when raining. Therefore we are looking for practical, capable footwear.

Salomon Quest and X-Ultra

I’ve been using Salomon footwear for about a year now and have not been disappointed.

Even the low-top hikers X-Ultra have kept my feet dry and provided more than enough foot support and traction.

The Salomon Quest boots are a in a league of their own. Tough, impossibly comfortable once broken in and durable.

The grey ones are the typical hiking boots that made the Quest boots famous. Since these ended up in the feet of military personal nearly as much as in the feet of hikers, they came up with the Quest Forces model. The colours are more militaristic and use leather loops instead of metal eyelets but other than that its mostly the same great boot.

I think they all work very well for all-round footwear. They are comfortable enough for normal, everyday use yet provide serious hiking capability if it’s ever needed. It doesn’t hurt that they look great. The Quest boots are clearly more suited for moderate to cold climates (especially with Goretex models) and the low top do well in very warm climates. These do have goretex as well, which granted, makes it warmer, but then again its great to step on a few inches of water and not have a single drop go in (have done so numerous times already)

Give Salomon a try. You won’t be disappointed.


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”.

Get Home Bags 101

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by Jeanie

Unlike the bug out bag with everything (or almost everything) you need to survive away from home, the Get Home Bag (GHB) has what you need to help get you home in an emergency. Without further ado, let’s talk about what it should look like and what to pack in it

How Big Should the Get Home Bag Be?

This will depend on the season, and the emergency you are preparing for – a winter GHB will be a bit bulkier than a summer GHB.

The GHB should be carried with you to work/recreation and not left in the vehicle. Obviously if you are travelling in the vehicle it will be with you and easy to grab should you need to get out quickly. It doesn’t need to be huge but its compartments should have the basic stuff to enable you to get out of a situation, rescue others if need be and make it home safely within 24 hours. If you load too much into it you are going to be jettisoning half of it as the further you walk, the heavier a load tends to get. Ideally, the GHB should not weigh more than 8 pounds when packed.

How long should I pack for?

The time it takes to get home will depend on your daily commute. If you work say 12 miles from home it will take around 4 hours depending on walking speed, which for the average person is around 3 miles per hour. That is assuming there are no obstacles you have to avoid like roaming hordes of looters and rioters. If you have a 60-mile commute it will take a lot longer!

Why would I need a GHB?

There are various scenarios when you may need a GHB to help you survive the night and to help you get home. Here are some possible scenarios: riots, a terrorist attack, bombings, a snow storm, hurricane, a violent storm that washes away roads, a landslide/mudslide, a break in a dam wall, a tornado, an earthquake, roads blocked due to snow, power grid goes down, a vehicle break down in a SHTF situation, vehicle jammed in by other vehicles in TEOTWAWKI.

Most times there will be some services working, but there will be a great strain on those and you aren’t guaranteed that you can get outside help, so going it alone means packing the essentials to make the best of a bad situation.

These are 20 essentials

#1 Water – your most important item. The problem is it is going to be the heaviest single item in your GHB. For around 6 hours ½ a gallon should be enough in average temperatures.

For safe water carry a few Aquatabs. They are around $10.95 for 50 and come in various strengths for treating both small quantities – like a pint of water up to huge quantities for communities.  If you suspect the water you come across is not sufficiently pure for drinking, this will kill most organisms that could cause disease like giardia, cholera, typhoid and dysentery. The Aquatabs come in blister packs of ten and have a shelf life of 5 years. If you buy in a tub the shelf life is reduced to 3 years.

Other choices are Chlor Floc –water purification powder packets currently in use by the US military, they are a bit pricier, though.  This video  shows how they work:

When using these tablets or powders remember to wait at least thirty minutes after adding them to water to kill the bacteria.

Your water container should be stainless steel to prevent accidental breakage should your GHB come in for rough treatment and the powders or blister pack should be in a waterproof container with your medicines (see #16) in case your GHB is soaked.

#2 Shoes and socks

The kind of shoes worn to the office won’t be much help for a long hike home. You need ones that can cope with water, mud, rough ground and above all fit your feet comfortably providing some cushioning and support. You will also need fairly thick socks to avoid getting blisters. High top sneakers do a good job of supporting ankles. Hiking boots can be hard on the feet in urban situations where you may need to climb over stuff – like walls and over fences. The more resilient and pliable the shoes the better.

#3 Headlamp – leaves your hands free. Besides allowing you so see where you are going, it alerts others to your presence if you want to be rescued. It also allows you to help extract others from vehicle wrecks, rubble or snow.

#4 Hat – the type depends on weather conditions. In summer pack a wide brimmed hat that can be used to protect from sunburn or scoop up water. In winter one that will keep you warm.

#5 Bandanna – stops dust getting in your face, can act as a sieve for water, can be used as a bandage, a sling (with some paracord to give the length needed) Stops sweat dripping in your eyes, protects you from sunburn on a long hike and if moistened with water will keep your head cool.

#6 Sunglasses – to protect from the glare from heat, snow glare, stop dust particles getting in your eyes in strong winds and protect your eyes from flying debris if you need to chop something down.

#7 Tactical tomahawk – you need one that is light and strong – full tang preferably. You may need it to break out of a wrecked car, break into a wrecked car to rescue someone, clear debris, break down a door, cut poles to make a stretcher, chop firewood to keep warm or defend yourself. Depending on the design it can be used for chopping, penetrating (with the spike) and hammering.

#8 Matches or lighter in sealed watertight bag to enable you to light a signal fire, keep warm or keep beasts at bay.

#9 Underwater flashlight with wristband Most times emergency situations involve water – floods, mudslides, torrential rain. With an underwater flashlight you don’t have to worry about keeping it dry. You can pick your way through flooded areas, dive to locate someone, use it for signaling, or avoid obstacles on your way home.

#10 Fold up poncho/rainsuit

The little plastic ponchos aren’t heavy duty but do the job in warmish areas – they come with a plastic hood so you don’t get mind-numbingly chilled from your clothing being wet through. They take up less space in the GHB than a coin purse. After all you aren’t going to live in one for days. If you are in super cold areas then you might need a full rain suit with pants and top  – but they can be noisy (you don’t want the people to know where you are) so you may want to buy the ones with the fabric overlay so you can move silently.

#11 Space blanket

In full summer in warm state,s you wouldn’t bother with this but it too folds up very small and the silver space or emergency blanket can be shaken out to cover you when resting or if you have to spend the night outdoors. It too doesn’t take up much room. If you have two you of them you can make a tent like this:

#12 Gorilla Tape is useful for all sorts of things – like turning space blankets into a tent or taping shoes onto your feet when the upper parts company with the sole Always have some in your bag to tape up injuries, apply splints and more.

# 13 Emergency rations

When blood sugar levels drop people don’t think as clearly – and in order to get home safely in a SHTF situation you need your wits to be razor sharp.   Humans can survive without food for around 3 weeks but a small energy bar or two or a small pack of beef jerky or pemmican isn’t going to weigh down your GHB and will keep you feeling sharp. Other high-energy foods are trail mix, hard candy, almonds and dates. The Manasir Bedouins of Sudan can survive on a handful of dates a day in the desert – they call dates al-Zad-al-negidh –  the food for travelling.

#14 Gloves

Choose your gloves according to the climate in your area. One pair of heavy duty well fitted gloves will mean not getting cuts and scratches when moving debris, branches or rubble in order to get through an area. They can keep you warm in cold weather or protect you from blistering hot surfaces in a fire situation or a desert.

#15 Jacket/long sleeve shirt

In winter chances are you have a jacket on or with you, so you won’t need another in your GHB but in hot areas a light jacket or  long sleeve shirt will protect you from the searing heat of the sun and cooler night air in desert areas. It also protects against nicks and scratches if scrambling through the woods or over rubble and debris.

#16 Medicine/spectacles

People who need an asthma pump or epilepsy pills or other vital medications should have them with them. Overnight a person who normally doesn’t need to take pills won’t need headache tablets and such stuff.

Also leave out the plasters – if you get a deep cut rather have a decent size bandage in your GHB with a pressure pad – you can use the bandanna for a pressure pad in an emergency. Put on some rubbing alcohol  – you should have a small amount of this or some Neosporin cream. Chances are you won’t even feel small nicks in a high adrenaline situation – doctor those when you get home. Your medicine, water purification tablets and bandages can go in a ziplock bag and then into a tight sealing tin – like an altoids tin –  that is puncture and water proof.

If you wear glasses and are kind of blind without them then make sure the sunglasses you have are prescription ones and have a pair of ordinary prescription spectacles (in a hard case) in case one pair gets broken.

#17 Firearm and spare ammo

Some people insist on carrying at all times – this may just be extra weight but in a SHTF situation you don’t know what kind of people you’ll be dealing with. But, it is important to have had proper combat training so that the gun can be used effectively.  Get training from a Special Forces veteran if you can. The Glock 17 is light and efficient, but the specific is each prepper’s personal choice.

# 18 Knife/multitool

Let’s not go for overkill here – you are just out for a few hours – forget the knife if you have a gun or tomahawk – thugs are less likely to argue with those weapons. All you need is a multi-tool, which has a small knife anyway to cut the gorilla tape. No gun, no tomahawk?  Well then take a Bowie knife to intimidate zombies. But you are seriously not going to need it for much else, unless you have serious trouble opening up the energy bars.

#19 Paracord

This shouldn’t even be in your GHB – it should be on your wrist fastened into a paracord bracelet like this:

You can then use if for 101 things including lowering items a short distance to others who may be stuck in inaccessible places, creating a life-line, replacing shoelaces, supporting your space blanket between trees to create a makeshift tent or using as a tourniquet. By all means pack extra paracord if you think the one on your wrist won’t be enough.

#20 Cash is king when systems go down. Have enough on you for emergency transport if available, supplies, and other eventualities.

You Might Need These


These wouldn’t go into your bag as such but you could keep them in your vehicle. Most times it makes more sense to stay with the vehicle than risk exposure to the elements but maybe you need to get help quickly or to escape – then these would come in handy. It would depend on your situation and where you live if you choose to include these.

Directional/communication equipment

If you live within 10 miles of home you are likely to know alternative routes, back roads, footpaths, culverts to hide in.  If you don’t then make it a weekend activity to go for walks or runs in the area taking note of all the available alternative routes and hiding places that could be used when on foot. This way you won’t need a map.

Chances are you will have your cellphone on you and for a few hours you should have signal so can use the built in GPS or compass on your phone. If you are seriously preparing for a longer time on the road or TEOTWAWKI then perhaps a small hand-held compass could help – but each item you put in the backpack adds to the weight – the idea is to move as fast as you can to get out of danger – not camp out unless it becomes absolutely unavoidable.

If you are worried about other members of your family and what is happening in your area then a CB radio could be useful.


Only put in a mosquito repellant if you have mosquitoes in your area and think you will be out overnight, otherwise this is just more weight.

Bear repellant – sure pack some if you know you are in bear country and are fairly sure you will meet one.

You won’t need pepper spray if you have a firearm or tactical tomahawk. Pack some if you have no other weapons.

Family Safety

Make sure you equip kids with their own GHBs and discuss with them what they should do in an emergency. Do they stay at school of after care until you get to them or do they make for a nearby safe house that you have pre-arranged or get home by themselves if they are old enough?

This is particularly important if their school is in the opposite direction to where you work – it’s easy enough to collect them on foot on your way home but if you have to go past your home and a couple of miles in the opposite direction then there should be an alternative plan made to get them home with a relative – assuming home is still standing and safe.

That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen

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That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen

There’s not always a heck of a lot new going on in the survival, outdoor, & camping world when it comes to interesting gadgets, new products, and overall innovation. This makes sense, since when it comes to camping, survival, & the general outdoors, many choose (wisely) to stick to what they’ve already got because, well plainly put,… Read More

This is just the start of the post That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

UK Legal Knives: Best UK Friendly Folders to EDC in Old Blighty

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UK Legal Knives: Best UK Friendly Folders to EDC in Old Blighty

When I returned to the UK in May of last year, I found the transition to be quite jarring in terms of legally permissible EDC knives. In Canada I quite happily carried anything I damn well pleased, as the legislation is so vague (knives are legal, weapons are not – the cop gets to decide… Read More

This is just the start of the post UK Legal Knives: Best UK Friendly Folders to EDC in Old Blighty. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

UK Legal Knives: Best UK Friendly Folders to EDC in Old Blighty, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

6 Reasons why you should own a kerosene heater

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For most people that live in locations where winter temperatures mandate heating to remain comfortable or even survive, staying warm is crucial. This means having a main source of heating and at least two backup plans. Remember that three is two, two is one and one is none. People may use electricity, natural gas, heating oil and wood, just to name some. It still surprises me though that a lot of people don’t include what is probably the most rugged system, ideal for disasters which is kerosene heaters.

Sengoku CTN-110 KeroHeat 10,000-BTU Portable Radiant Kerosene Heater

Why should you get one?

1)They are cheap. Some on Amazon go for under 100 bucks and if you keep an eye out you can often find them on flea markets or garage sales for a lot less. Keep in mind that you may need a new wick for it though. Other than the kind of fuel used, the wick is the second most important part of a kerosene heater.

2)Most reliable way to heat a home. There just isn’t a most straightforward and reliable way to provide heat. Electricity will be down during serious storms, propane bottles can leak, found empty when needed the most. A generator is a far more complex machine, and it is nowhere nearly as efficient in terms of heat per fuel used. With a kerosene heater you can literally buy one, keep it along with a few gallons of fuel stored in a garage and years later you know you can have it running in a matter of minutes. Kerosene heaters are extremely simple machines. There really isn’t much that can break of otherwise go wrong.

Dura Heat Convection Kerosene Heater, 23,000 BTU, Indoor- DH2304

Dura Heat Convection Kerosene Heater, 23,000 BTU, Indoor $139

3)Its safe. Like with all open flame heaters, you have to make sure you have ventilation of course. A cracked window, just a couple inches will do for smaller rooms. For larger family rooms even less than that will do. You should still have a CO detector to be on the safe side but these modern heaters burn very clean and are extremely safe. Kerosene is one of the safest fuels you can store.

4)Its compact. If you have little room around to spare and nowhere to stockpile cords of woods then this is the way to go.

5)It can be used in any type of building. Kerosene heaters are used all over Japan in both houses and apartments. No complicated or expensive installation is requires.

6)It can be used for cooking and lighting besides heating. The models with flat tops can usually warm up, even boil water placed on top of them on a pot. The model shown below also has a glass body and can double as a lantern.

Dyna-Glo WK11C8 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater, 10500 BTU $97.72

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

How to Assemble an INCH Bag

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by Karen

In the prepper world there seems to be a bag for everything. There is your bugout bag (BOB), your get home bag (GHB), and your everyday carry (EDC) bag. But there is another bag that might just be more important than all of these because it is the bag that you leave home with knowing that whatever is in that bag is what will keep you alive indefinitely. It’s the I’m never coming home (INCH) bag and this is one bag you definitely do not want to get wrong.

Why an INCH Bag?

The name really says it all—the I’m never coming home bag. Many preppers consider their BOB an INCH bag. They have packed it as such. However, a BOB is ideally something with which you can survive for just a few days or even weeks, something that will keep you going as you move from your bug in location to your bugout location or are temporarily on the move for some other reason. People with a BOB intend to go back home or reach another destination at some point.

When you carry an INCH bag, it is because you will be bugging out permanently. You will have to leave and survive on the move. You simply cannot stay at your bug in or bugout location. Reasons you would have to leave your home, and thus carry an INCH bag, include:

  • Your home/bugout location is destroyed
  • Looters or gangs have taken your home
  • There is a lot of civil unrest
  • There is no food or water left where you are
  • There is so much disease that you need to get away
  • All communication is down
  • Stores and gas stations are closed

These are just a few of the reasons why you might need to get out of Dodge. There are plenty of others, as well as warning signs of when to bug out permanently.

Selecting the Right Bag

Before you can pack the contents in the bag, you need the bag. Since your INCH bag will contain everything you need for survival, it needs to be big and it needs to be sturdy. When choosing the bag you will use, consider the following:

  • How well it fits your body shape and size: Make sure it fits the length of your torso.
  • How much support it offers in terms of frame and support straps: Packs with an external frame tend to offer better support and you want to make sure there are adjustable straps that will allow you to distribute the weight between your shoulders and your hips.
  • Whether it is waterproof: You just don’t want your stuff getting wet.
  • The number of extra/external pockets and compartments: Make sure the pack has enough room for everything and that there are compartments in which you can store things so they are within easy reach.

You absolutely need to invest in a high-quality bag. It might cost some extra dollars, but it is worth it. You also want to get a bag that is neutral in color, something that will blend in with the natural surroundings. This will help you go unnoticed, whereas a brightly colored pack will make you a moving target, one that has a lot of useful items others will want to steal.

What’s Inside?

The key to packing an INCH bag is to take a minimalist approach. This is a bag in which you will pack more than you would in your BOB, yet you want to do your best to ensure that it does not weigh more than 25% of your body weight. Thus, if you are a small woman who weighs 120 pounds, your pack should weigh no more than 30 pounds. If you are a 200-pound man, then you can carry up to 50 pounds.

So, your INCH bag will be heavier than your BOB, which has its drawbacks, including moving more slowly and traveling less distance each day. However, you will have everything you will need for survival in any environment. Now, let’s get back to that minimalist approach.

When packing your INCH bag, you need to think over the long-term. Instead of packing a lot of food, you need to pack tools and equipment that will allow you to get food while you are on the move. Instead of packing water, you need to pack a means of purifying the water you find as you go. You need to carry tools that will help you build a fire and build shelter, rather than the matches and tarp you might otherwise carry in a BOB. With that in mind here are the most essential categories of items you should include in your INCH bag.


The go-to water solution for a BOB is water purification tablets and a LifeStraw, and while you should still pack these, you will want to include a simple stainless steel water bottle. Why? Because you will run out of tablets and your LifeStraw filter will get used up and you’ll still be out there. So instead of using those tablets and the LifeStraw, save them as backup and just boil your water. If you have a stainless steel water bottle you can boil your water in your water bottle and keep on moving.

Food and Protection

  • Snares
  • Slingshot
  • Fishing line/compact fishing pole and hooks
  • Crossbow

As with water, you can only carry so much food with you, and after a few days it will be gone. While you could take some MREs or other lightweight and easy to carry food (e.g. freeze-dried), you should ensure you have with you the means to catch your own food. There are calories all around you if you know how to hunt and fish. Foraging will also supplement your diet with much needed plant nutrition.

By having a compact fishing rod or fishing line, you can catch fish that are highly nutritious. With snare wire and a slingshot, you can catch small game. With a crossbow, you can catch bigger game. Just make sure you get these things ahead of time and practice so you become skilled in how to use them.

Why not a gun? Well, you can and should certainly have one, but the bullets will eventually run out and then it will be useless. The fishing line and snares are reusable. Ammo for a slingshot can be found anywhere there are rocks (which is pretty much everywhere!). Arrows for a crossbow can be reclaimed and reused most of the time, and if you build your skills ahead of time, you can make arrows out of what is around you.


Have a serious first aid kit. Fortunately, first aid kits are already small, compact, and lightweight, so you don’t have to alter this much. Just be sure to pack what you can in as compact a package as possible.

But as with your other food and supplies, eventually the items in your first aid kit will run out, so you need to be familiar with how to identify medicinal plants and learn how to use what you find in nature to help you with medical care and procedures when necessary.


When you are surviving on the move, there are certain tools you will need in certain situations. The key is to take with you the fewest number of tools that will effectively get any job done that needs doing. You essentially need bushcraft tools that are easy to carry and effective for the many tasks you will need to perform, such as clearing brush, cutting firewood, and skinning and cleaning animals. Here are the basic tools you need:

  • Large knife
  • Small knife
  • Hatchet/small axe
  • Saw
  • Multi-tool
  • Carving tool
  • Whetstone
  • Firestarter
  • Navigation
  • Compass
  • Gas mask
  • Shovel (compact and foldable)
  • Small sewing kit


When it comes to clothing, you need to have clothing for all weather situations. This means warm- and cold-weather clothing and waterproof clothing. However, you should pack one extra of each thing, not multiples. There simply is no room and you’ll have to get used to having less and washing what you do have in the nearest creek once a week or so. Just be sure the clothing you do have is high quality, moisture-wicking, and include some wool in there.


Tents, tarps, sleeping bags, and pillows are all added weight that you don’t need, even if you might want these luxury items. If you have a high-quality bivvy bag, one that is like a tiny tent, you can survive quite nicely. Add your survival shovel for when you need to dig a trench to tuck down in and you are all set.

This is the basic must-have gear for an INCH bag, but you may want to include other supplies and equipment to ensure your survival. This is fine, provided you choose carefully and they will fit in your pack.

Assembling Your INCH Bag

When you assemble you INCH bag, be sure to pack the heaviest, least used items at the back and bottom of the pack and the lightest, most frequently used items near the front and top. You can use the exterior compartments for the smaller items you need to access frequently and quickly, such as your water, compass, and weapon. Packing a bag well will mean the difference between awkward discomfort and relative comfort and ease of movement.

Ultimately, you need to be sure you have everything in your INCH bag that you can use to survive the rest of your life on the move if need be. However, you might have noticed as you read through what you need to pack that there was something else you need to go with these items—skills!

Your survival when on the move will depend on the skills you master even more than the items you pack in your INCH bag. It is critical that you practice using everything you have, that you learn how to hunt, fish, and forage, and that you become skilled at bushcraft. The contents of your INCH bag and the skills you build will keep you alive and well.

Build a Longterm Survival Supply Bag

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bug_out_bags-2Some preppers and survivalists might scoff at such an idea.  After all, beyond the initial 72 or so hours of a bug out scenario, most would think you’d be surviving out of more permanent supply sources than another bag or storage box.  Well, you might be, or in some cases, you might not be.  SHTF happens.  The idea of a secondary supply bag then may not seem like such a bad or farfetched idea.

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

Every bug out plan however perfectly executed may not pan out exactly as planned.  You may have cached out a perfect bug out hiding location, a camping spot, another shelter at a long range destination or other hold over site until calm returns, or a new lifestyle starts.  But what if you don’t make that back up site right away or at all?

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

What if there are delays or outright changes in the plan altogether?  What will you do if roadblocks hinder your progress or throw you off on an entirely new route, one you have not practiced or are even familiar with.  Suppose riots, armed threats or searches deter you?  If any of that happens or more, you’ll need additional survival provisions to survive.  

Defining Long Term

prepare_SWOT-2This is obviously the hard part.  During any kind of a SHTF, time frames simply cannot be nailed down, or likely even predicted.  Everything is in flux, and I mean everything.  If you were even successful at getting away from your primary residence, or work with family in tow if that is part of the plan, then you will spend some time in travel.  You may have calculated the Bug Out trip in advance knowing how many hours or days it will take to arrive at your back up location, SHTF housing or secure site.  Assuming that all works out.  

As a suggested back up plan then, or a sort of supplemental Plan B, one should also prepare for the potentiality of an extended short term situation turning into something more.  But what?  It seems reasonable all else being equal to have emergency provisions beyond the 72-hour scenario for a minimum of two weeks at least with the possibility of a month not being unrealistic.  

Back Up Bag Scenario

jeep_offroad-2Let’s be truthful here, too.  In most real Bug Out situations, you do not want to have to plan to abandon your vehicle to hike on foot.  It could happen, but it is not a best case scenario to strike out into the woods with a one bag source of supplies.  Most of us are simply not equipped physically or emotionally to hike off into the sunset to try to “live off the land.”  Perhaps the top tier of survivalists could, even for a while, but it is the toughest plan to achieve.

If it comes to it, should you become detoured, plan instead a hide in place by the vehicle on an abandoned road, under a bridge, or other place where your vehicle could be parked relatively safe, and out of sight.  Then plan to camp there with your vehicle and supplies as long as you have to or indeed as long as you can.  Doubtless this could be a highly “iffy” situation, but it could happen.

Also Read: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

The vehicle then becomes your fort, your storage container, tent, and thus offering some measure of security and comfort.  But, you’ll need the extra extended supplies, goods, and gear to make this viable until you can move on or be forced to hunker down there.  

Then later, if you do reach your intended secondary site, these back up provisions can be used there in addition to what you may have already cached in place or hidden along the way.  To be honest, if Plan A never works out, and Plan B’s provisions are expended, then basically all bets are off.  

You may have to then shelter in place, wherever or whatever that turns out to be.  It is not without consideration to think about a scrounging plan as well, but hope it does not come to that.  Always remember many others are out there vying for the same limited sources of supplies or even what you have already secured.  

Secondary Bag Priorities

Granite-102-side-1_436a00ed-364d-440b-a93f-172e6f472a16_1024x1024-3By bag, this could be a very large zippered duffle type bag with triple or more interior space than your initial 72-hour Bug Out type bag.  Ideally, it would need sturdy grab handles on each end and perhaps the sides.  Loaded such a bag will be heavy.  Two people will likely be needed to load it in a vehicle. But, honestly, it does not have to be a bag at all.  There are some very large, and of course heavy when loaded as well, storage boxes that can withstand a lot of abuse.  These can be packed, locked, and stored in a ready grab spot as a throw in bag/box.  This may not be an option for every prepper, but it is a backup worthy of consideration. Again, this bag or box should be provisioned with enough additional consumables and gear to manage the two weeks to a month or even longer term.  

It would seem the highest priority should go to food, and water, or additional equipment to convert questionable water sources into acceptable water, as not enough could be transported via this plan.  Food supplies, also need to be light, and offering long term viability.  This means a large quantity of quality pre-packaged survival foods offering maximum variety and palatability.  This implies commercial survival foods, dry packages, freeze-dried, and or MRE type meals.  Frankly, you can forget carrying canned goods and such as the weight and volume would be too much to handle.  

Though debatable as personal choices, a good cooking mess kit should be included as meal prep would be more than munching a protein bar at this point.  Minimalist type gear is important, but necessary anyway.  

Bug_out_bag_flashlight-2Add to the long term bag more gear.  An axe, more tarp covers, more medical supplies especially medications needed for specific disorders that require treatment.  Rope, rough wood saws, a hammer, large nails/spikes, batteries, more matches and butane lighters, candles, more flashlights, zip bags, heavy duty trash bags, work gloves, a knife or two more.   Water storage bags would be helpful.  Include light fishing gear and/or nets.  Add whatever else you can manage.  Seasonal clothing as space permits or yet another soft bag?  

Add more ammo, perhaps a thousand rounds each for a primary rifle and handgun with half that for a shotgun.  Add one or two more weapons if convenient.  Sounds extensive?  Expensive?  Perhaps.  You have to make that judgement on what you can handle.  These goods are carried by the vehicle and stored there during travel or roadside camping, perhaps for the endurance.  

The long term survival bag (LTSB) then is provided to extend the usual 72-hour initial Bug Out period as or if needed.  It certainly could come in handy and also in the end supplement what has already been stocked at some alternative sheltering site.  It’s just an idea, but one acted upon soon and in hand rather than merely wished for later under more dire circumstances.  

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Vacuum packaging clothes

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A few posts back, I mentioned that I carry some spare clothes in the vehicle winter gear box. I vacuum pack them for two reasons – first, it keeps them clean and dry; second, it helps to compact items to conserve space. But, a picture is worth a thousand words.


For this example, we’ll use this Carrhart Face Mask..a bulky, thick, warm head/face covering that is well suited for spending the night in a cold vehicle. For the purpose of size comparison, note the beer-can sized object next to it.


We fold it into thirds so it’ll fit in the bag, slide it in and set it down for comparison. Note the amount of loft/bulk…it’s about half as tall as the Coke can. The coke can is about 4.75″. The folded face mask is about 3″ thick. Let’s draw the air out of it and see what it compresses down to.


Finished product. Not only is it now going to stay dry and clean, two very important features for a piece of gear that might be called upon in an emergency, but the thickness is a fraction of what it was before. When space is at a premium, this is an exceptionally good way of making the most of what you have.

Sure, buying yourself a vacuum sealer is a very(!) good way to maximize your savings on bulk purchases of meats and whatnot, but it also comes in very handy for protecting and storing items that absolutely must be stay in good condition. A buddy of mine just bought one the other day and when I talked to him a few days later he’d already had a good time experimenting with it and sealing up all sortsa stuff.

By the by, I actually do use the stupid thing for kitchen purposes. The absolute most useful thing I’ve done with it, in regards to food, is using it to store extra spaghetti sauce. See, I’ll make a huge batch of meat sauce with beef and sausage. Then I’ll put a couple ladles of sauce into a bag, let it freeze solid in the freezer, and once it’s solid I’ll vacuum seal the bag. (Because vacuum sealing a bag of liquids is messy. So..freeze solid.) Then, months (or years) down the road when I want a quick and easy meal, I’ll throw on a big pot of water for pasta. As the water comes to a boil I drop the bag of frozen spaghetti sauce in there. It thaws as the water comes to a boil. Remove bag, add pasta to water and cook. Put the thawed bag in the microwave for a couple minutes and when the pasta is done I just cut the edge of the bag and add sauce to the pasta. One pot cooking. I’m tellin’ ya, if you’re an imaginative dude you can come up with a lot of great ideas on how to exploit a vacuum sealer.

Survival Gear Review: Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10

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Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_overall_viewMany folks these days are not interested in single-function devices whether a watch that just tells time, a phone that just makes calls, or a flashlight that just, well, flashes light. So enter Celestron, a company known for telescopes and innovation. Celestron is now exploring the market of creative tools that improve your chances of survival. Or at least make the situation more convenient and comfortable.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a newer offering that combines a 300 lumen rechargeable flashlight with a pair of 5000 milliamp-hour (totaling 10,000 mAh) USB outputs of external backup power for phones, tablets, and cameras, combined with an electric hand warmer that pumps out enough micro-BTUs to take the edge off cold fingers when it matters most.

A Pound of Light

This set of valuable features does come at a cost. Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 weighs in at 17 ounces (486 grams). That’s a handful, about the same as a fully loaded Glock 42. But given that there is a pair of USB outputs (a one amp and a two amp) this light is more than meets the eye.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_Charging_iPhone_USB_PortsThe input jack to charge up this beast requires a standard mini-USB port, not the ubiquitous micro-USB that powers almost all non-Apple cell phones and other portable electronic devices on earth. I’m not sure what’s behind the continued use of the mini-USB since I don’t see any real advantages over the micro-USB that is the global industry standard for cell phones, and properly known as the Common External Power Supply or Common EPS.

Remember This

The operation of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, or its smaller brother, the Thermotorch 5, is pretty simple but must be memorized. The single large button on the upper side toggles through the low-medium-high flashlight settings. If depressed and held for three seconds, the hand warming capabilities are initiated. Another three seconds of constant button-down and the feature is turned off. It does take minutes before you will notice much of a temperature change in the flashlight’s shaft, and five minutes later you will be enjoying this feature.

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_charging_iPhoneCelestron calculates that you can charge your iPhone four times, your iPad once, and GoPro or music player about seven times. The dual 10000mAh (combined) battery power can also be routed to 48 hours of 60 lumen light (low), 30 hours of 100 lumen light (medium), and eight hours of 300 lumen light (high). However, to the human eye, there is not a dramatic difference between 100 and 300 lumens, and between 100 and 60 lumens. So for most use, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 will be used at it’s highest or lowest flashlight setting. As a big fan of Surefire’s decision of a five lumen minimum, I think that amount is a useful low end cutoff when you really do need low light or a wildly long runtime.

An added feature under the tailcap of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a four-LED battery level indicator that shows how much juice is left, or how far along the recharging is progressing. The LED indicator is activated with a push of the flashlight button and they stay lit for about 10 seconds.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can also give you up to 10 hours of hand warmer heat between 103-114 degrees F. Or, if doing a little cold weather nighttime E&E, you can get about six hours of 60 lumen light while the handwarmer is chugging away. The handwarmer feature is a welcome addition to cold night use with bare hands. But I found that if it’s cold enough to need a hand warmer, it’s cold enough to use gloves. However, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can warm up other things besides hands including batteries, electronics, and gloves and mittens. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does not blast out heat but it does take the sting out of your cold hands. Right now it’s about 2 degrees above zero F outside, and I suspect that using the handwarmer might actually improve internal battery life, or at least maintain it at a higher output. Just a guess, but why not test it?

Pushing the Limits

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_voltmeterSetting the flashlight outside, I let it cool off to about 8 degrees F as measured by my infrared noncontact temperature sensor. I plugged in my USB tester that measures voltage. When cold, the USB voltmeter recorded about 4.90 volts. After 20 minutes of the handwarmer function turned on with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 sitting in the almost-zero outdoors, it warmed itself up to about 60 degrees F. The USB voltage output was measured at a maximum of 5.02 volts. I learned three things. First, the handwarmer function will not work at the same time as the USB charging ports. Second, the ambient temperature plays a big role in how warm the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get. And third, the heavy aluminum Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get dangerously cold to the touch and requires either gloves or use of the hand warmer for any sustained bare hand holding. Smaller lights like the Surefire are also cold when left outside, but have a much lower overall density and thus smaller heat capacity allowing their smaller profile to warm up in the hand much faster. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is like holding a billet of aluminium which in a defensive situation could be a good thing. In fact it is reminiscent of the 2-D Maglite flashlight/club/boat anchor.

Read Also: Milwaukee Work Lights

I don’t see backpacking with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10. But not because of it’s weight or size. But because I like to travel in the wilds with a supply of batteries. Unless I also carried a solar panel charger with mini-USB cable and some sunny weather, I would get one use from the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, although that is really three uses in one.

Where the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does shine is car travel, off roading, and base camping. Having a rock-solid light/charger/hand warmer is a good thing if you don’t have to carry it far even though it does ship with a nice belt holster with velcro closure.  Considering the Celestron’s long-life light and external battery pack, this flashlight will always be on my shortlist of electronics when heading out on a domestic adventure or for camping near my truck.

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Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?

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Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?

Knife forging is a hot topic amongst knife aficionados and collectors. I feel it’s safe to say that there isn’t a single aficionado or collector in the knife industry who hasn’t formed an opinion on “forged knives.” There’s a reason I’m putting that in quotes – and that’s because what people mean when they say… Read More

This is just the start of the post Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Check Out The Best Survival Backpacks

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Finding the right backpack to keep your BOB items in is not an easy task. You need something reliable, you need something you can carry.

Depending on your age, sex, location, climate, level of fitness and so on, you need to make a decision on which backpack to get.

Hint: if you’re on a tight budget, you might find an old backpack somewhere in the attic that you could use. Just keep in mind that, in case of a bug out, it might not be strong enough to hold your gear together.

Whatever decision you make, it’s up to you to get informed, so click here to learn more about survival backpacks.

Build Your Own DIY Fishing Kit

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Alright, if you’re checking out this site, chances are you are well aware that you can find guides on building many different handy survival kits and other survival items right here on Know Prepare Survive. Let’s take a moment to speak about a Do-It-Yourself minimalist fishing kit. You can stash this fishing kit in your …

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Priorities for prepping on a tight budget

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A while back, I wrote an article for folks that are brand new to prepping. If you missed it, click here to read it. Anyway, I got some positive feedback on that article, but I also received a few emails asking me to be a bit more specific. They wanted to know where and what […]

The post Priorities for prepping on a tight budget appeared first on Plan and Prepared.

Get Outdoors!

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get_outdoors_winter_tipi-2Believe it or not we spend more time in our vehicles than we do outside.  I have friends who live in or around the city and their idea of getting some nature is to go down to the park and have their kids play on the swings for a half hour while the parents play on their phones.  A friend came up to our house to visit from the city a year ago and I took her young son and my five year old daughter to the woods.  This boy walked about twenty feet and tripped over a log because he didn’t know to look at the ground for obstacles.  He was so used to walking on manicured lawns and paths it never occurred to him that there might be something in the way!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Kids between the ages of five and sixteen spend an average of six and a half hours per day in front of a screen, which is terrible; however,  I do believe the kind of screen time spent is important.  I assume that most kids spend their time watching videos, playing games, and engaging on social media.  This kind of screen time is passive and they are just sitting there slowly turning into a vegetable.  If they are producing something on the other hand, like writing a blog post, then I think the screen time isn’t as bad.  Yes, they’re not physically active; however, if they are producing some kind of content then they are stretching their minds and growing in that regard.

get_outdoors_snow_play-2Physically, on the other hand, this can’t be good for them.  I have a seven year old boy who would gladly veg in front of his Kindle playing games all day if we let him.  I also have a five year old girl who would sit in front of the TV watching Netflix and eating chips if we gave her the thumbs up, but we don’t.  My wife regularly throws the kids outside and makes them play out there.  The funny thing about kids though is that once they’re outside playing they don’t want to come in.


There’s nothing wrong with technology per se, it’s only when we allow it to consume our lives that it becomes an issue.  From the first moment we get up to the time we go to bed, we are stuck to some kind of screen.  I’m not saying I don’t, but we do try to have a little balance in our lives.  My wife hates the amount of time the kids spend in front of their devices. As such, we will force them to play outside.

Read Also: 10 Ways to Improve Your Survival Fitness

We live on a nice piece of land in Maine where there’s plenty of forest and open space.  My son learned to ride a bike when he was three, got his first motorcycle when he turned five, a 125 cc four-wheeler when he turned seven and drives them like pro.  My daughter loves to create crafts and I set aside time for her and I sit down where she will create things while I draw.  I have a tipi and wilderness camp where we spend a lot of time and the wifi doesn’t reach.  My boy can start a fire with a firesteel and can recite the Survival Rule of Threes.

get_outdoors_fire_start-2I like to think my family has a good balance with learning the old ways, being outside, and today’s invasive technology.  I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so I remember what it was like without a smart phone, computers, and when the only TV had antennas.  Cartoons only played on Saturday and after a few hours of watching them my mom would boot us outside until lunch.  We hung out with our friends in person and built dangerous bicycle jumps, climbed trees, and did other things that, by today’s standards, would certainly have got our parents in trouble for neglect.

But let’s face it, barring some kind of major SHTF Carrington event, our smart devices are here to stay and I don’t think that’s a bad thing; however, we do need to balance screen time with outdoor time.  Kids need to get outside and play.

Location!  Location!  Location!

We used to live on a  busy main road, which I absolutely hated, but when it was just Mrs. Jarhead and myself, we were willing to tolerate it because it was easy for us to jump in my truck and drive ten miles to the local hiking trails.  As soon as we found out she was going to have a baby, we put that house on the market and moved as fast as we could.  We did not want our kids being brought up near a dangerous, noisy road.

It was the best decision we ever made.  We now live on a back road in Midcoast Maine with tons of woods surrounding us.  It’s not like we lived in downtown Manhattan before the move – we actually moved less than ten miles, but the location we chose was much better suited to our lifestyle. People might say, “But Jarhead!  You’ve never lived in the city!  How can you make a comparison?”

get_outdoors_coffee-2Good question.  Actually I used to be a consultant for a big company based out of St. Paul, Minnesota and for two and a half years I lived on airplanes, stayed in hotels, and drove rental cars all over the country five days a week.  As a matter of fact, I spent the last two months traveling in NYC:  Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.  I’ve been to just about every major city this side of the Mississippi and a few in Canada.  (I actually liked Toronto.)

So yes, I can make a strong comparison between the slow country life and fast paced, high stressed, city living.  Listen City Dweller – I’m not telling you to move to the country, although I’ll bet you’d be a lot happier if you did.  People in the cities are stuck in their high-rise caves, living on top of each other, stressed out of their minds at the high cost of living and lack of paycheck.  They stay in these dark caverns venturing out only to work or to do other things inside.  Few people actually have a chance to get back to nature and I find that very sad because they don’t realize the health benefits they are missing.

Ironically, it’s these same city people who say, “If TSHTF I’m going to bug-out to the wilderness and live there until it blows over.”  Hmmm, not so much.  Folks, if you’ve never spent any time in the wilderness and that’s your plan, I beg you to reconsider.  If I had a choice to choose between a city dweller with a full pack and my son with a firesteel, I’d take my boy ever time.  At least he knows how to start a fire using natural materials and to look for shelter!  Surviving in the wilderness is extremely difficult even for people who’ve been trained.

Get Outside!

get_outdoors_jarhead_dad-2Take your family camping.  Take them on a long hike in the woods, wherever that might be.  Let your kids know what it’s like to carry a backpack and walk for awhile.  It’s ok for them to be a little uncomfortable.  Give them responsibility to do things like gather kindling or firewood.  Show them how to set up their tent.  Allow them to help in the decision making for certain things.

My five year old loves coming out to the tipi with me because I’ll make her noodle soup.  Not the most nutritious meal, but being outside climbing trees and running around is great for my kids and we do it several times a week.  My son is old enough now to use a hatchet and loves the opportunity to swing it at dead trees to help with firewood.

Granted it’s a little more difficult in the winter, but we still do it.  I’ll go out on a Saturday or Sunday and stay four or five hours and sometimes will even spend the night out there (yes – even in the winter).  My kids come out to visit and when they’re tired from cutting and carrying wood, climbing trees and wrestling in the snow, they walk back to the house.  It’s awesome!

Related: Cold Weather Camping – Why You Should Try It 

get_outdoors_reading-2If there aren’t any kids in your family take yourself outside.  You’ll be happier and healthier for it.  Being in nature has shown to bring positive health benefits, so if you’re feeling depressed, you might want to spend a few days in nature without electronics and see if that helps before running to the doctor for a prescription. But that’s another article! Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!


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Why a Dutch Oven Should Be Part of Your Survival Kit

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If you’re one of those folks without power, heat, or warmth because of the recent snow storms, you probably know that you need a cooking tool that can bake, boil, fry and saute. It should also be able to function with a variety of heat sources, since you don’t know when the electricity might come back on.

My nomination for this wonder implement has been around for hundreds of years. It’s easy to find, cheap and effective. Go get a cast iron Dutch oven. This cooking tool has a proven track record, and it can use virtually any heat source.

Survival with the Dutch oven

Hurricane Katrina was due to hit land in a few hours, and my relatives in Mississippi, about 150 miles north of New Orleans, weren’t sure what was going to happen. I overheard my wife talking on the phone to her sister, Patti, of Clinton, Mississippi. In the middle of the hurricane preparation discussion, they started talking about recipes and what to cook, using a cast iron Dutch oven!

Everyone near Katrina faced a potential power outage that could last indefinitely. There was a discussion of evacuating, versus staying put. Among the urban survival necessities in any natural disaster is a way to cook and purify water by boiling, and a Dutch oven serves this purpose beautifully.

We had given Patti a hand-me-down cast iron camp oven with the lipped lid and three legs. Designed to be heated on top and bottom with campfire coals or charcoal, the camp oven was considered a necessity on the American frontier for at least two centuries. That type oven was taken on the Lewis and Clark expedition, was used by travelers on the Oregon trail, who surely used it to cook foods on this list. The oven was indispensable in countless cabins, lean-tos and soddies.

Firepans are a critical part of your Dutch oven survival kit. They allow you to cook on snow or damp ground without putting out the coals.

Technically, a “Dutch” oven has a rounded top and  no legs and can be used in a conventional oven on top of a stove, or on an outdoor propane fish cooker of grill. Here is an example of this style of oven.

Today, a camp oven is on my short list of tools for my disaster survival kit. And if you’re one of the people stranded at home because of the record snows, or are anticipating some sort of disaster, you need a Dutch oven, too.

A Dutch oven can be used to boil water, make a stew, bake bread, and cook virtually anything that can be fitted inside. And if you were forced to evacuate an area, a camp and/or Dutch oven is compact and light enough to be easily transported. My wife’s advice to her sister was to go to Walmart and get:

Put the oven, these items, and some basic cooking utensils in a square milk crate for storage, and you’re ready to bug out. If you have more than one Dutch oven (one to use for everyday cooking and another for camping/emergencies), this milk crate system is excellent. Just store it with your other camping/hunting/emergency supplies.

Must-haves for your Dutch oven survival kit

I’ve been cooking with Dutch ovens at hunting and fishing camps for decades, and on many camping trips and Boy Scout and Girl Scout outings. Beginners frequently ask for a list of tools to get started in Dutch oven cooking. So, here’s the basic, bare-bones list of Dutch oven survival kit necessities, proven over the years.

1 12-inch Lodge brand shallow cast iron oven

I like Lodge cast iron best because it is made in America and has a proven quality record, but that’s just personal preference. Other experienced Dutch oven cooks may use different brands, such as Camp Chef, so chose whatever you like. You’ll get what you pay for. A cheap, poorly-made oven won’t work particularly well, and you’ll probably end up replacing it with a quality piece. Sometimes, I take an aluminum oven on outdoor excursions instead of cast iron to save weight.

3 shallow metal pans with lipped rims

These are critical, and common dog food pans work very well. Put one pan underneath the oven to protect the coals from dampness and help regulate heat; and another pan is used to store coals. The third is a spare that is used to cover the oven and protect it from rain or snow while cooking. Here is an example of this type of bowl. See the video below to see how these pans are utilized.

1 Lid lifter

In a pinch, a pair of channel lock pliers will work. Don’t underestimate the weight of the Dutch oven filled with food or how hot it gets! A lid lifter gives you plenty of distance from the heat source when you want to check on your food or stir it.

1 Trivet or tripod

This is a wire or metal rack that holds the lid while you stir the contents of the oven or adjust seasonings. It keeps the lid out of the dirt and clean, and if you’re cooking outdoors, you may not have a nearby, heat-proof surface.

1 Knife

You probably don’t need a tactical or survival knife, (even though, in an emergency, any  knife you have is a “survival knife”), but you will need something that will work for food preparation.

1 Nylon spatula and nylon spoon

This is used for cooking, serving, and cleaning the oven.

Sources of heat and organizing your gear

Charcoal is easy to use, and generally, in good supply. But when the charcoal runs out, you can use firewood, driftwood, coal, wood scraps from a dumpster, etc. Shipping pallets, generally found about anywhere, burn quite well. If the pallets are made of hardwood, which many are, then you’ll get great coals! You can also prepare for disaster by integrating an outside heat source into your normal cooking routine. My propane fish cooker stays operational year-round on my patio because it is used constantly. Even when there is snow on the ground, we still go outside to fry bacon or cook fish.

If your plan is to use mostly charcoal briquettes with your outdoor cooking, a Chimney Starter will make life much, much easier for you. It heats up the briquettes super quickly so you have coals for cooking in no time.

This Lodge camp oven and propane fish cooker will work very well for cooking and boiling water, even when the power is out.

The lid lifter, trivet, “survival knife,” spatula and spoon all fit inside the oven. All these items fit into a nylon commercial Dutch oven holder. Another great way to carry everything is in a square milk crate. Put the metal pans on the bottom, and the oven won’t tip over. The loaded crate stacks nicely.

Cleaning a Dutch oven is easy. Take the spatula, scrape out any food residue, and fill it with water. (Never put cold water into a hot oven. It might cause it to crack.) Put the oven back on the coals, and boil the water. Usually this will be enough to clean the oven, and all that remains is to scrape out the softened food debris and wipe it dry. Rub the cast iron with a light film of oil to protect against rust.

Obviously, there are other “nice-to-have” cooking items that could be included, but this basic Dutch oven survival kit will get you by. Check out these Dutch oven no-fail recipes for getting started or even if you’re an experienced outdoor cooke!

For more information about Dutch ovens and cooking outdoors, contact:

The International Dutch Oven Society

Lodge Manufacturing

Camp Chef

by Leon Pantenburg of SurvivalCommonSense, and updated by Noah, 1/7/17. All photos by Leon Pantenburg.

The post Why a Dutch Oven Should Be Part of Your Survival Kit appeared first on Preparedness Advice.

Hiking Boots For A Survivalist

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Another great guest post from Tina Mancini from Delivering Customers. This time about Hiking Boots. Footwear, Are Hiking Boots The Best Choice Of A Survivalist? One of the main things you need to be able Read More …

The post Hiking Boots For A Survivalist appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

How to pack a bug out bag

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If you want to optimize your bug out bag to save space, make it lighter or simply to fit more gear, know there is a lot you an do. From figuring out the right backpack and containers to knowing cool tips to pack them all together, you should definitely spend some time on this.

One way you can do it is modularize your bag, meaning grouping items together based on the tasks they perform. You can have:

  • a fire starting kit
  • a first aid kit
  • an electronics module
  • …and so on

Read more on the BOB experts

Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, Myths, Sharpening, & More

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Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, How to Sharpen, & More

Unless you’re new here (hell, even if you are new here) in most cases you’ll know that Thomas has a little bit of a knife addiction. Calling him obsessed is probably severely under-representing the nature of his relationship with knives; he collects them, uses them religiously, fondles them regularly, is in one of the happiest… Read More

This is just the start of the post Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, Myths, Sharpening, & More. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, Myths, Sharpening, & More, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, How to Sharpen, & More

Click here to view the original post.
Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, How to Sharpen, & More

Unless you’re new here (hell, even if you are new here) in most cases you’ll know that Thomas has a little bit of a knife addiction. Calling him obsessed is probably severely under-representing the nature of his relationship with knives; he collects them, uses them religiously, fondles them regularly, is in one of the happiest… Read More

This is just the start of the post Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, How to Sharpen, & More. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Knife Guides: Best EDC Knives, How to Sharpen, & More, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

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5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

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When training new shooters, especially rookie law enforcement officers or those new to concealed carry, I always provide a solid foundation of basic marksmanship.

There is, however, another critical element of preparedness and training for those relying on a firearm for defensive purposes. When I started out many years ago in a law enforcement career, my training sergeant left me with a quote I will never forget: “Don’t let your equipment defeat you.” I find myself constantly using that doctrine still today, for both myself and students. Due to the constant new choices and technology for all firearms-related gear, it applies now more than ever.

So what, exactly, am I referencing? Simply put, do not allow your selection of equipment to be a hurdle to success in defending yourself. Tools must be deployed effectively and quickly when your life or the lives of others are at risk. If the gear you utilize for concealed carry impedes your ability to respond and deploy accurate fire … then that gear may in fact defeat you. Put another way, your gear can lead to a deadly encounter.

The following are areas where I regularly see students struggling with their concealed carry gear.

1. Belt and holster system

How may your carry system defeat you? By not allowing you to access your firearm quickly, wearing your gun in a way that others can access it, having too many retention devices to defeat in order to get the gun into play, or forcing you to draw in ways to which you’re not accustomed. These are but a few of the issues that can occur.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

Your holster or carry system must secure the handgun properly. That means retaining the gun in a way that prevents unintentional loss to gravity or another person, while giving you easy, rapid access. The shortest path to such a system is a sturdy belt and holster for waistline carry or a designated compartment for off-body carry (purse, pack, brief case, etc.). You must train with the holster system that you intend to use on a daily basis.

2. Magazines

How may your magazines defeat you? By not feeding ammunition properly, not allowing the slide to lock back, and possibly interfering with ejection/extraction. Again, to mention but a few!

I like to address the magazine separately because it is critical to proper functioning. My suggestion: Use good, factory-made magazines for your defensive pistol, and test them! There are some excellent aftermarket mags for certain handgun platforms, but day in and day out, I use original factory mags for everyday carry.

After hard use in training you may want to consider having a second set of mags for everyday carry. Inspect your mags and never hesitate to replace if needed. Also, consider carrying a spare magazine for your carry pistol — something I rarely see CC folks do.

Revolver carriers must make sure that their speed loaders and/or speed strips match the revolver they carry.

3. Ammunition

5 Ways Your Gear Can Cause You To Lose A Gun Fight

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How may ammunition defeat you? There are two ways – by not cycling in your handgun of choice or not firing when you pull the trigger. There are a variety of causes; most commonly it’s old ammo, hard primers, poorly made reloads, etc.

Another cause is human-induced and may seem obvious, but I have seen it often enough to mention: inattention or misunderstanding of the caliber of ammunition your handgun requires. This can, of course, lead to injury to both shooter and gun.

Most folks train with ball/FMJ ammo, as do I. However, I never fail to test the ammunition I carry every day in my sidearm. This is to determine if the ammo will feed and cycle without fail in my carry gun. Anyone who has been shooting a semiauto handgun has probably experienced some failures to feed with certain types of ammo. Some handgun platforms and models are more prone to this than others. Bottom line: Shoot a magazine or cylinder full of that costly defensive ammo, just to make sure.

4. The handgun itself

How may your handgun defeat you? There are lots of ways:

  • Not a good fit for your hand.
  • Too many added features that interfere with reliable operation.
  • Safety and de-cocker mechanisms that the shooter cannot manipulate well, especially under stress.
  • Sights that are barely visible.
  • A magazine release that won’t allow for mags to drop free and clear when an emergency reload is needed.

The choices are endless. Caliber, make and model, single- or double-stack magazines, to name a few. Not to mention the add-ons: night sights, red dot sights, laser, extended mag or slide release, etc.

To me, the simpler and more reliable, the better! Don’t get me wrong: I like some added features (such as night sights), but I can live without most.

5. Failure to train

While training is not equipment, it cannot be minimized. In fact, it may well be the most critical factor. You cannot and most likely will not prevail in a defensive encounter if you have not drawn your carry pistol from its holster under stress. Or you have not fired some rounds down range in the last year. Or you’re using magazines with ammo that you’ve not tested together. Can you clear a handgun malfunction quickly if needed?

Bottom line: Does the handgun go “bang” every time you need it to? Does it have reasonable accuracy? Does it function well with all brands and types of ammo? Are the sights easily visible and highly functional? Is it easy to operate without lots of unnecessary manipulation?

I don’t get wrapped around the axle about caliber. Choose what you shoot well, have confidence in, and train with it often. All this will add up to not letting your equipment defeat you!

What mistakes have you seen concealed carriers make? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

Serious Survival: How much food should you stockpile?

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It seems that for every blogger or forum member there’s a survival expert as well. That’s great because there’s such wealth of information and you can learn from different experiences and accounts.
Then again the downside… every blogger and member thinks he’s an expert.
You see, for realistic survival and preparedness it’s crucial to differentiate the “I think” and “I believe” from the “this is how it went down” “this is why”.
We all know that food is essential for survival. No food and you won’t last long. Same goes for water (and I see it overlooked more often). Keep in mind that while a day without food may suck a bit, but a day without water will be tough indeed. In certain warm climates it can be downright dangerous.
We all get how important food and water is, but then there’s the classic survival question: How much food should you have stored for emergencies?
Doomers say you need years worth of food. Decades even. After all you die if you don’t eat. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are famous for their year worth of food approach, although many have far less than that.
Officially speaking, what would a real expert recommend? says to have 3 days worth of shelf stable food and bottled water. That may seem as very little but in general most emergencies are either resolved within that time frame or help becomes available. Still, tell this to anyone that spent a week or more snowed in during a storm and he’ll find it lacking.
So how much? A Week? A Month? A year?
The first piece of advice is one you’ve probably heard before and that it is to store what you eat. If your kids don’t even know what rice looks like then having buckets full of the stuff isnt that much of a good idea. Either store something else or actually start eating rice.
There’s two very important reasons for this.
First, if you don’t rotate your food supply it just becomes one of those “just in case” things, and you’ll find yourself throwing food away every few years. This makes keeping large quantities of food stored a great waste of money. Second, if you store what you eat there wont be any difference between emergencies and “normal” times, at least food wise.
In our home we love rice and lentils and prepare rice and lentils stews often. Its tasty, very healthy, stores well for years and its pretty affordable too. Some canned tomato and vegetables and you have all you need for a great nutritional meal.
Another important point is understanding how much calories you actually need. The standard reply here is 2000 calories. Sure, if trekking the north pole you’ll need 5000 instead but even if some manual labour may be needed during disasters there’s people that stay healthy AND active with a lower caloric diet. 2000 will do well enough.
The 3 day recommendation by is based on a rather optimistic government recommendation. If they have said instead to have 7 days immediately people would be wondering “Wait, so you’ll let me hang there for an entire week?!” People don’t react well to uncertainty and avoiding panic is a government’s #1 priority. Two weeks worth of groceries is just common sense. It doesn’t put a significant dent in your wallet if done correctly, and yes, it is true that it will cover 99% of the disasters and emergencies you’re likely to face in your lifetime.
I already imagine people thinking “but I want to be ready for SHTF, a worst case scenario, the real end of the world stuff!”.
OK, lets do that. Lets say it’s a worst case, total SHTF scenario. But lets keep it real and look how does it actually play out in the real world rather than fantasize about it.

Related image
Lets say you have 2 years, no, 10 years worth of food. Lets say you have that plus means of producing more, a fully working farm.
Now lets suppose you have your ten year supply of food, plus a farm, plus a pile of guns and ammo… and you’re sitting in Eastern Ukraine when the Russian troops roll in. Or Aleppo when they are levelling every structure around you with barrel bombs. Or in South Africa when white farmers were exterminated and kicked out of their homes. Or in Fukushima when the tsunami destroyed everything and the radiation scorched the land. Do you see a trend here? More food, or a bigger farm would have done you no good. In all of these sometimes like more cash or gold to take along with you when you bug out or even better money in an offshore account would have been far more useful.
“But… I want the end of the world to be more convenient…”
Ok, what about Venezuela? You have out of control inflation, out of control crime and poverty with people starving. Even farmers starve there(posted about just this a few weeks ago), just like Irish farmers starved during the genocide known as the Great Famine or Ukranian farmers died during Holodomor, reduced to cannibalism. Yes, sometimes its natural disasters, but in others its lack of means of production, and an authoritarian government ensure that people starve in spite of having land and the knowledge to work it.
In my experience after the collapse of Argentina’s economy I would say it was somewhat similar to Venezuela during the times of Chavez. By this I mean horrible inflation, but not reaching the levels of food poverty seen today in Venezuela. Food was available, just two or three times more expensive than before. Just imagine how you would deal with such a scenario if you woke up to it tomorrow. Indeed, we all wished we had more food stocked up, and we rushed to buy more right away desperately trying to beat the nonstop inflation. I sure kept several months worth of food stockpiled. But still, at the end of the day if you had money you ate.
I stayed for over a decade after the collapse of 2001. In retrospective I probably should have left sooner. Personal circumstances, heck, life I guess, made us delay our departure. Still, we always had the resources to leave ASAP if needed. This is more than what most people in Venezuela can say.

Image result for irish great famine
In such a complex situation would a 10 year supply of food, or a farm, made much of a difference? Not really. The food would have been nice, but the money to buy it was just as good besides having a conservative stockpile. A farm? Maybe more of an anchor to the country at a time when leaving was the clear path. A farm in a place like Venezuela, where you cant sell it, or if you do you don’t get anything for it, really does you no good.
So, start with a couple weeks worth of stockpiled food. Work towards a month. Then 6 when you can afford it and have the room for it. 6 to 12 months is the maximum I would recommend, with 6 months being the most realistic objective for most people. Six months of food gives you plenty of time for things such as unemployment, family problems. 12 months helps greatly when dealing with inflated prices, food shortages, and overall instability in the country where you maybe spent several months maybe saving money and looking for a job abroad, for a way out of the country entirely.
The lesson being, If you need more than 12 months worth of food, then more food will do you no good because what you really need is to get the hell out of there!
Take care folks,

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”.

Comfort Equipment.

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Comfort Equipment.
Definition of Paleolithic. Of or relating to the earliest period of the Stone Age characterized by rough or chipped stone implements. Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Humans have been surviving for thousands of years, back in the Paleolithic period life was hard, even so these people must have had some creature comforts, perhaps local flora placed on their beds to make it softer and keep them up off the ground. Tools were very basic being made of wood, stone bone, horn or antler, and yet these people survived.

Make no mistake, most of the equipment we carry today is for comfort, to make life easier, but we could survive as a people without the equipment we carry. Some items I deem essential, a good medical kit for instance. But as for the rest, no it is not a necessity, just a preference. So why all this modern so called “survival gear”? Does it add to our comfort? In some cases perhaps, but it also has drawbacks. Take the sleeping bag for instance. Great until it gets wet, then it will not retain as much of your body heat as an ordinary pure wool blanket! I am not going to list all the fancy gadgets here that are basically designed to attract people that like gadgets, people that have no real sense of what is needed to survive long term in a wilderness situation. But I would like you to think about this. Every time you add a piece of equipment to your pack, ask yourself these questions: Do I need this? Is this piece of equipment sustainable? If it breaks can I fix it? Will this piece of equipment serve a needed purpose, or is it just taking up room where I could be carrying something else that is more important, such as water, food and ammunition?

Think about the tools that you carry or are about to purchase, think about their purpose. The knife, what is it used for? Skinning and butchering game, and for defence; Is the blade long enough for defence use? Can I kill with this blade or is it too short? The axe, used for many tasks that involve the cutting and shaping of wood as well as for defence and possibly needed for hunting. How easy would it be to replace a broken helve? How heavy is it? Can I use the poll as a hammer to drive stakes into the ground? And so on and so on. Your equipment needs to be versatile & sustainable, it needs to be able to perform the function that it’s namesake was originally designed for. Paleolithic flint knives were not used for cutting down small trees; they made flint hand axes for that purpose. In today’s modern world of survival equipment manufacturers seem to have forgotten this common sense approach that those primitive people in the Paleolithic took for granted. Think about that, your life may depend on it!

By David Wright.

Bought a couple of these… maybe you should too.

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If you don’t have a good set of electronic earmuffs, get these:

Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuff $38.72

Best Sellers in Amazon. For under 40 bucks, I just don’t think you can beat them. Not many products get over 10.000 reviews, a 4.5 star average. I was about to get some fancy Peltors but after seeing these and such overwhelming positive feedback I went for these instead.


I got a couple, one for myself and another for my oldest son that is now shooting with me. Hearing is just too important, and it makes no sense for any avid shooter not to have a quality set of earmuffs.


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”.


7 Manual Kitchen Tools That Work with No Power

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Editor’s note: Plan and Prepared welcomes Jack Neely back with his latest offering. Enjoy! Manual kitchen tools that work with no power are important to have in case of an emergency which includes power outage. Having the right type of manual kitchen tools makes every task much easier. In fact for certain tasks, the manual […]

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Knife & Outdoor Gear Stores: Best Sale, Deal, & Clearance Pages to Watch

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Knife & Outdoor Gear Stores: Best Sale, Deal, & Clearance Pages to Watch

This past Black Friday/Cyber Monday I wasn’t too happy with the deals we shared on this site, and started thinking about how the sales we’d gotten throughout the year had actually been better deals then the vast majority of the items we’d snagged during these “sale holidays.” It’s pretty disappointing when you hang your hopes… Read More

This is just the start of the post Knife & Outdoor Gear Stores: Best Sale, Deal, & Clearance Pages to Watch. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Knife & Outdoor Gear Stores: Best Sale, Deal, & Clearance Pages to Watch, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

3 Items to pick up Next time you’re in IKEA

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1)Batteries. Their primaries are cheap and pretty good quality but the best deal is their rechargables. These are made in Japan and great quality. I read somewhere that these are the same as Eneloops. Not sure if its true or not but “made in Japan” does point in that direction and again, the quality is there. I’m using these to replace the AA and AAA in my kits given that all alkalines seem to leak eventually. This is much safer and works well with the second item in the list.

2)AA and AAA USB charger. Its cheap, compact and works. I bought one of these for the car. If It goes well I’ll get one or two more. Can’t remember the price but it was just a few bucks. You don’t find cheap and well-made chargers that often, especially this small.

3)USB LED light. Missing in the picture here but it’s a small black LED light that connects to a USB port. I found it close to the batteries and charger. Very minimalistic like IKEA usually does it and cheap too. It could be a bit longer but its small so as to be out of the way. Maybe not as much of a bargain as the first two but I’m giving it a try to see how it does.

Take care folks!


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”.

The Best Prepper Christmas Gifts of 2016

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The Best Prepper Christmas Gifts of 2016 As Christmas gets closer, you may find yourself needing a few more gifts under your tree to complete your list. Whether you are dropping hints for friends and relatives, or need to get the perfect present for the prepper in your life- we got you covered. Check out …

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit?

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit? We got a reader question asking us if we could make a low-budget student survival kit. If you yourself are a student or know one and would like to give him or her a survival kit that would be excellent for wilderness survival but that doesn’t break …

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The post Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit? appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central. Self Inflating Mattress

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Over many years and after having many friends recommending them, I have thought about getting a self inflating mattress. Thankfully, the folks at were gracious enough to let me review theirs. To begin with, Read More …

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A Correlation Between The Equipment You Choose and The Skills You Learn.

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A Correlation Between The Equipment You Choose and The Skills You Learn.

I believe that when choosing equipment for survival use in the bush, there is more to consider than just ease of use and sustainability. Obviously when preparing for long term wilderness living, you need to choose equipment that will survive the years of use, but what about a correlation between the equipment & the skills you learn from using this equipment?

As an example, anyone can learn primitive fire lighting skills, they can learn about native plant tinders & the difference between tinder & kindling. They can learn about wet weather fire lighting & where to find dry kindling in the rain, but how many people do you think will actually learn these skills if they are using a BIC lighter or a ferrocerium rod & Vaseline cotton balls to make fire? Let us take another example; using bow & arrows for hunting. If you are using a bow for hunting, or even a muzzle-loader, you need to know how to stalk your game in close. You may only get the one shot, plus you need a clean kill or at the very least a disabling shot. But how does this compare to someone using a long range modern breech-loading rifle?

Now for those of you that now ask the question what does it matter? I say this, IF you are unable to get a fire going with your BIC lighter or if you should take a fall & break your lighter, how are you going to make fire? If you run out of ammo or your modern rifle malfunctions, how are you going to be able to hunt for food? Yes I know, you may have learnt how to make traps & learnt about trapping, you may also have more BIC lighters on your person, but you can surely see where I am coming from. I believe that a person who is primitive oriented & chooses to carry primitive equipment (pre 19thcentury), is likely to be more knowledgeable regarding primitive survival skills than someone who uses modern equipment.

What equipment do you use? What primitive survival skills have you learnt? Think about it!

5.11 Rush 72 Backpack Review

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It is hard to describe to people who just don’t get it…Why buying the right backpack is so damn important.It isn’t until you are knee-deep in disaster that you realize that buying the cheaper, not so expansive model was not one of your finest moments.Always keen to learn from my mistakes – and the trip …

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Buying a Survival Kit? Why It’s Always Better to Make It Yourself

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Buying a Survival Kit? Why It’s Always Better to Make It Yourself There are a lot of pieces of gear you can buy to increase your chances of survival, but one that’s most frequently marketed toward survivalists is the “handy dandy” survival kit. Is it wise to buy a survival kit? Are these things ever …

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What is Apocalyptic Survival?

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What is Apocalyptic Survival?

There are many terms used for serious survival, apocalyptic, SHTF,TEOTWAWKI, in my book all mean the same thing; something big has gone down that seriously changes the way we live and the way we look at things around us (I do not include a nuclear strike in our vicinity that most people could not survive). It could be an invasion from another country; it could be an Alien invasion. It could mean that the grid is down from a terrorist strike. What it is not is a normal temporary black out. It is not a chemical truck turning over in your neighbourhood. So let’s get this straight, a real serious survival situation is not for hobby survivalists. A hobby survivalist can go bush for a weekend or even a weeks camp-out and they will probably be okay providing no natural disasters occur or the camp is attacked by feral humans.

Now I must say that there is nothing wrong with being a hobby prepper, providing you stay within the limits of your expertise, you should be fine. Enjoy yourself. I do not mean this to sound demeaning, but facts are facts. If someone’s main fire making tools are a ferrocerium rod, some bic lighters and a box of matches, then they are not thinking long term. They are only prepared for a short term survival situation. Anyone who carries only one knife and that knife is used for multiple bushcraft tasks is not thinking long term survival. Now a lot of these people will defend their choices of gear, and that is fine. I see no point in arguing the point. But the fact is that in a major survival situation, these people will not survive.

If you are a serious prepper/survivalist you will be using flint, steel and tinderbox as your main fire lighting tool, and you will have learnt at least one other primitive method of fire lighting as a back-up. Your main knife will be for skinning, butchering and defence, and your choice of blade will reflect this. You will have at least one other blade which will be for camp chores and general usage. You will also be carrying a belt axe/hatchet or tomahawk for the heavier cutting chores and for defence, and you will know how to use these tools to their best advantage.

My hunting knife.
My legging knife.
My friction blade clasp knife.
The serious survivalist will have some form of hunting tool suited to long term wilderness living, be it a traditional bow or a firearm. If it is a firearm then you need to think very carefully before making your choice. You know what sort of game you may encounter, and you know that you may also have to depend on this tool for defence. Do not compromise other important survival needs in your pack by carrying too much weight in ammunition. I choose to carry flintlock guns. A flintlock gun has many advantages over a modern firearm and some advantages over the use of a bow. But having said that I am still very much in favour of carrying a bow, both the bow and the flintlock gun are long term sustainable tools for wilderness living. They may have a disadvantage in a fire fight compared to a modern firearm, but I firmly believe that both are better than a modern firearm regarding their versatility and long term sustainability.
.62 caliber flintlock fusil.
.32 caliber flintlock rifle.
.70 caliber flintlock pistol.
Knowing how to make and use traps is important, their use on a trap line will save on ammunition, and they are working for you day and night. Learning primitive skills is very important; they will help keep long term, as will primitive equipment. Modern equipment will eventually run out or break down, and the hobby prepper who only carries modern gear will gradually find themselves living a Stone Age lifestyle. Those people who invest in pre 19thcentury equipment will not likely ever have to drop below that level of comfort, be it 18th century or 12th century because again, it is sustainable.
A quick word about so called 24 and 72 hour survival packs. As a get home pack I think these are a good idea, but as a survival pack to take bush, I personally would not advise it. None of us can predict how long we may have to survive in any given situation. Limiting your pack to mere hours instead of a lifetime in my opinion is pointless. Use your main survival pack all the time, whether it is just for a weekend camp or longer. This will make sure you are well prepared and it will make you more familiar with your gear.

Here below is a list of skills our group members learn and practice; also there is a list of benefits of using a flintlock muzzle-loading firearm. If you are serious about being able to survive in the future should anything major happen to affect our quality of living, then I urge you to be honest with yourself and evaluate the skills you have and the equipment you carry.

New England Colonial Living History Group 1680-1760.

This is a list of basic skills in which we expect an 18thcentury woodsman or woods-woman to have some experience with in our group. There is no time limit set, learn in your own time & if we can help just ask.

·      Flint & steel fire lighting

·      Wet weather fire lighting

·      Fire-bow fire lighting

·      Flintlock fire lighting

·      Flintlock use, service & repair

·      Marksmanship with either gun or bow.

·      Field dressing & butchering game

·      Blade sharpening

·      Tomahawk throwing

·      Making rawhide

·      Brain tanning

·      Primitive shelter construction

·      How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket

·      Cordage manufacture

·      Moccasin construction and repair

·      Sewing

·      Axe and tomahawk helve making

·      Fishing

·      Hunting

·      Evasion

·      Tracking

·      Reading sign

·      Woods lore

·      Navigation

·      Primitive trap construction & trapping

·      Open fire cooking

·      Fireplace construction

·      Clothing manufacture

·      Drying meat & other foods

·      Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation

·      Knowledge of native foods & preparation

·      Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.

·      Scouting/Ranging.

·      Basic first aid.

·      Finding and treating water.

General leather work.

Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.

1)   Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent caliber firearm.

2)  The smoothbore is very versatile, being able to digest round ball, bird shot, & buckshot, or any combination of two of these (can also use minies).

3)  The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.

4)  You can vary the load if needs be.

5)  The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.

6)  Lead can be retrieved from downed game & remoulded with a simple mould & lead ladle. This means that you can carry less lead, & more of the lighter gunpowder.

7)  You can make your own gunpowder.

8)  You can use the lock to make fire without the need for gunpowder.

9)  You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.

10)        IF the lock should malfunction (these are very robust & it is not likely) you can easily repair it if you are carrying a few spare springs & a few simple tools.

11) If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.

12)        You do not need a reloader, brass shells, caps, or primers. The latter have been known to break down in damp conditions or if they are stored for too long.

13)         Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.

14)       Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.

15)        Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of caliber (NSW)

16)        A .32 caliber flintlock rifle is more powerful than a .22 rimfire, less expensive to feed, more accurate over a greater distance, able to take small & medium sized game, & other than not being able to use shot (unless it is smoothbore), it has all the attributes of the other flintlocks.

17)        Damage from a .62 caliber-.75 caliber pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.

18)         By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.

19)        There is less kick-back to a muzzle-loading gun.

20)       Antique Flintlock muzzle-loading guns do not require a license, registration, or a permit to purchase in NSW Australia.

Here is a list of the equipment that I carry. As in everything, equipment is a personal choice based on experience.

Equipment List.

.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.

.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

Gun tools and spare lock parts.

Shot pouch and contents.

Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).

Powder horn.

Ball mould and swan shot mould.

3 Gunpowder wallets

Lead ladle.

Butcher/Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Clasp knife.


Fire bag.


Belt pouch.

Fishing tackle in brass container.

Two brass snares.

Roll of brass snare wire.



Market Wallet.

Tin Cup.


Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).

Medical Kit.


Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.

Dried foods in bags.

Wooden spoon.


Whet stone.

Small metal file.


One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).

Two glass saddle flasks.

Length of hemp rope.

Bottle of rum.

Holiday Gift Guide

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I was asked to put together some of my favorite product recommendations for my first ever Holiday Gift Guide. Please enjoy and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. In no particular order   Griffin Read More …

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Your GPS Is Awesome – Until It Gets You Lost

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china_maine_gpsThe other day my wife sent me on a mission to China to recover an important tactical item.  That would be China, Maine and the item was a coffee table she found on Craigslist.  Anyway, I jumped in my trusty pickup truck, fired up the GPS, and headed inland from the coast to grab the package.  The GPS, a literal device, took me on the shortest route. Which, as you’ve probably discovered, doesn’t always necessarily mean the fastest.  I was going up over mountains, down back roads, and twisting back and forth on an old dirt road that made me happy I have survival gear in the back of my truck.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Now, the coffee table was in South China, and when I got to an intersection where I could go left to South China or right to China it took me right.  Confused, I stopped and checked it out a little closer.  It took me north over China lake and down the other side.  Ok, I thought, maybe they consider “south” to be on the west side of the lake.  People and directions are funky and I was willing to give my GPS the benefit of the doubt.  With a few misgivings, I followed the GPS.

Related: Why I Prefer a Map and Compass Over GPS 

I should have listened to my instincts.  I got to the other side of the lake and all my warning bells were now going off like a  five-alarm fire.  I pulled over, looked, and sure enough the GPS was taking me to the wrong address.  I put in the address I wanted and it pointed to another area.  I won’t use the real address, but here’s an example of how it appeared. Address I typed into the GPS:  83 Fire Road #45, China Me.  It decided I really wanted to go to: Fire road 45, no number address.  Ok, they give addresses very oddly in China, so I tried this instead:  Fire Road 83, #45. It then decided I really wanted to go to Fire Road 11. WTF?

I poked at it for a few minutes with rising frustration then did something I haven’t had to do for awhile.  I asked for directions. There was a guy across the street playing with his dog and I pulled in and asked if he knew where Fire Road 83 was.  He rubbed his chin for a minute while his friendly black lab sniffed my leg.  I patted the dog (best part of the whole trip) while he thought about it.  He then pointed me to the other side of the lake with some head scratching, giving me low confidence in his directions.

At a store on the top of China lake, I stopped and asked directions.  Nope.  They had no idea.  I called the woman I was getting the item from and she asked where I was.  When I told her I was at the top of China Lake, she said, “What are you doing there?”  She then gave me some confusing directions on how to get to her house.  I finally asked her what she was near and she gave me the address of a bank.  When I put that in to the GPS, it worked and I followed it there. Of course, when I got there, the GPS told me I was at Fire Road 83, #45, just where I wanted to be.  Really? Thanks a lot!

Not Just Road Directions Either

gps_compass_lostA few years ago I was hiking behind my house following my GPS.  As you know, driving and hiking are two very different forms of navigation, so being the paranoid survivalist that I am I was keeping track of my location with a map and compass too.  At one point I looked down and it showed my location in a town about fifteen or twenty miles away in a completely different county!  There was a moment of “congnitive dissonance” as I looked at both map and GPS.  Finally I put the GPS away and followed the map and compass.  I knew exactly where I was even if the GPS didn’t.  I told a friend about this and he said, “Yeah, sometimes that happens.”

So, I did what any self-respecting human being would do and turned to Google.  Turns out this is a pretty common issue. Wow.  I’m no Luddite.  I love my phone and my laptop.  I use Linux.  I understand computer networks.  I get it.  But after a little study, I’ve determined that if you’re going to trust yourself to a technology that works “most of the time,” you might find your ass lost in the woods crying about your GPS.

Carry a Compass

appalachian_gps_trailI’ve written about this before and I’ll write about it again.  If you’re going to go out in the wilderness, carry a map and compass.  Carry it, know how to use it, and at the very least be able to follow a cardinal direction. A few years ago Geraldine Largay went off the Appalachian Trail and got lost.  Her body was found a couple of years later.  She had a compass but didn’t know how to use it. A compass is not an ornament.  If you put it in your pack, at least know the basics of how to use it.

In my opinion, the best way to operate in the wild is to use your GPS as primary navigator with a map and compass as backup.  This accomplishes two things.

  1.  You’ll learn map and compass reading almost as well as how to use a GPS.
  2.  If your GPS fails for whatever reason, you’ll know where you are and how to get out safely.

Use a Bailout Azimuth

I coined the term Bailout Azimuth. If you’re lost and can’t go point to point, you can at least follow your compass until you hit a road, stream, river, or landmark.  Refer to the map on Geraldine Largay. Look carefully at where her remains were found and then look where the Appalachian Trail is.  A little common sense and some very basic map reading skills could have saved this woman’s life, but she chose to walk north looking for a cell phone signal instead of following her compass south back to the trail.  I’ve been in this part of the Maine woods before and it would be quite easy to walk off the trail and get lost.  That’s why a compass is a critical piece of equipment.

Related: GizzMoVest GPS Cases 

In this case, she moved north of the trail.  The moment she discovered she was lost, she should have pulled out her map and compass.  She would have seen that she was hiking east on that particular piece of trail. With a little study, she would have found that moving south or east would bring her back to the trail.  Instead she made a fatal error and moved north.  This really breaks my heart because a small amount of time spent at a compass class could have saved her life.

There are many stories where a GPS led people off road in their vehicles and they wound up stranded in the wilderness.  Sometimes they get rescued, sometimes they don’t.  Don’t be a statistic, folks.  Learn how to read a map and compass and be a survivor.  That’s why you’re here isn’t it?  To learn how to survive?  Trust me, if there’s one skill you can learn that trumps everything else, it’s how to navigate in the wilderness with a map and compass.


Use your GPS!  Like I said, I love mine; however, I try to be critical of it when traveling because it’s not always 100% accurate.

Here’s a little challenge for you.  The next time you decide to go on a trip take out a map and plot it by hand to see if you remember how.  I’ll bet when you look at the route you selected and where your GPS wants to take you, you’ll be thinking, “Why the hell is it taking me that way?” Questions?  Comments?  Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Jarhead Survivor

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

The pump shotgun: 7 Reasons why it’s the classic survivalist Workhorse Gun

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Mossberg 500 ATP 7-shot with rifle sights

From killing zombies to defending your home, you cant go wrong with the dependable pump shotgun, especially with the two most popular ones, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870.

Jack of all trades master of none describes the pump shotgun perfectly.

1)In most hands, quick follow up shots aren’t as fast as in a semi auto rifle (or shotgun) then again the pump action can be surprisingly fast in the hands of an experienced operator and each trigger pull puts nine 9mm projectiles on target faster than any other firearm.

2)It requires manual operation between shots. Then again, the pump action ejects any cartidge no matter the condition and will reliably slam a fresh shell in place as dependably as no other gun.

3)Capacity isn’t as high as in a 20 or 30 rounds rifle magazines, then again the tube can be constantly fed, topping up the magazine which is something you can’t do with a detachable mag rifle.

4)It lacks the range of the rifle, but with rifle sights or red dot and slugs you can break the 40-50 yard limit set by buckshot, and do so accurately.

5)It may not seem very tacticool, but few other firearms are as durable, as reliable or as easy to repair and replace parts.

6)Shotguns can operate with a variety or cartridges, from birdshot to buck or slugs, even non lethal. No other firearm provides such flexibility.

7)They are cheap too, meaning you can arm more people. For the price of one medium grade carbine or rifle you can buy shotguns to arm three or four adults, maybe more with second hand market shotguns.


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”.

Colter Functional Bandana

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It was a pleasure to receive two new versatile pieces of everyday carry from Colter USA. Their bandana is 100% cotton and the two that I have are Know Your Knots and Stargazer. Regardless if you know Read More …

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KastKing Fishing Rod Rack: Fishing Rod Holder Review

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Nothing kills good fishing gear quicker than having it laying around in a pile somewhere in your garage. The KastKing Rod Holder protects your investment and safely stores your favorite fishing rods. […]

The post KastKing Fishing Rod Rack: Fishing Rod Holder Review appeared first on Monster Fish and Game: Fishing and Hunting tips, tricks and techniques.

10 Essential Survival Items To Pack When Hunting

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Whether you’re a hunting pro or just a newbie in the game, there’s a 90% chance you’ll end up forgetting some things that you should’ve prepared beforehand. But don’t fret, because we’re here to make sure that you’re properly covered and armed for any kind of situation—emergency or not—that can happen while you’re out and …

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Trapping in the Wild

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Trapping in the Wild! Josh “7 P’s of survival” This show in player below! Listen in as we talk about all things trapping! Brian King is with us to explore the entire spectrum of trapping. We cover training, gear, selection of grounds, reading sign, lure and how to make it. Also discussed, setting a line, harvesting … Continue reading Trapping in the Wild

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Survival Gear Review: Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle

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While everybody else is storing gold and silver, I am finding the best ways to invest in what I believe is going to be the currency ofepic_water_straw_standing the future: clean water.  I highly recommend assessing your own situation and finding ways to store and purify as much water as you can. For home situations, purifying water isn’t too difficult. Sometimes though, we are forced to move from our base of operations. In this case, you need a way of purifying dirty water while on the move. The Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle claims to provide a solution to this issue so we checked it out.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Thorough Filtration System

Systems for cleaning water can range from a few dollars for water purification tablets to hundreds of dollars for stand-alone systems. While the more expensive systems might be nice to have, I wanted to find a reasonably priced, mobile system. I found the Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle for $59; right in the range of how much I want to spend. The Epic Filter can produce up to one hundred gallons of drinkable water. On a per gallon basis, this is a solid investment. Moreover, the Epic Filter has been EPA certified to remove the following:

  • 99% of unpleasant taste, odors cloudiness, silt sediment and chlorine.
  • 99% of heavy metals, Aluminum, Asbestos, Cadmium, Chromium 6, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Radiological Radon 222
  • 99% Toxic chemicals, Arsenic, Trihalomethanes, Chloroform, PCB, PCE, Detergents, and Pesticides( DDT)

Seems impressive, doesn’t it? According to the product materials, the bottle kills contaminants with an ‘iodinator’.  From what I’ve gathered, the iodinator dilutes just enough iodine to kill bacteria without affecting taste.  Just remember to read the instructions and follow all steps. A water-born disease is a heavy price to pay for negligence.

Also Read: Weighing the Options For Drinking Water

There are four parts to this water bottle. The plastic bottle body, the straw, top, and the filter. The Epic Filter can be unscrewed and fitted with new, affordable filters. When the filter is new, there is a sticker on the bottom of the filter that must be removed before use. I took the filter out and tripled rinsed the bottle before getting the filter wet. The instructions say to fill the bottle up and squeeze water through the filter and out of the top. It recommends to carry out this step two times.

Testing It Out

The bottle itself is somewhat soft and easy to squeeze. Initially you have to squeeze the bottle a few times as the filter is soaking upepic_water_filter the water and traveling up the straw section. The first time that I filled up the bottle I used tap water. Some reviews I read stated that there was a terrible iodine after-taste and that the bottle leaked water from the top. I shook the bottle vigorously and squeezed while the flip top was closed. No water escaped from the bottle. I then opened the flip top and shook the bottle. Only a few drops escaped from the flip straw.

Finally, I squeezed the bottle and sucked up a mouthful of water. In order to better judge the quality, I spit the water out after swishing for ten seconds.  I detected no iodine taste. People are concerned with taste so I wanted to be sure about this taste test. I allowed the water to sit in the bottle and filter for one hour and took another drink. Again, I detected no level of iodine or any other substance.

Related: The Platypus Collapsible Water Bottle 

I next wanted to test how well the filter filtered out chlorine. I used non-scented bleach. When purifying water with bleach, use five drops of bleach per liter of water. I decided to add four drops of bleach to the bottle. After taking the screw top off, it was easy to detect the smell of bleach. I screwed the lid back on and squeezed the bottle.  I could not detect a bleach smell or taste.

Extra Features and Final Verdict

The bottle comes with a koozie wrapped around the middle of the bottle with stats on the effectiveness of the bottle. I think this is a nice touch for those unfamiliar with the product. On the neck of the bottle is an adjustable wrist strap so that you don’t lose your bottle while dipping it into water sources.

I have been using this bottle for about a week now and I am extremely happy with this system. I found it interesting that there is a noticeable taste difference between unfiltered tap water and Epic filtered water.  For the price of the bottle, gallons filtered, filter refills, and ease of use, I am happy with my Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle. T-Shirts Now Available





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Suunto Core All Black Military Watch Review

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Suunto Core All Black Military Watch Features Let’s get it out of the way now, the Core does not have GPS. It does have plenty of other features like a barometer, altimeter, and compass (an “ABC watch”) Ease of Use Super simple to use, there’s no need to even read the manual! Price The Suunto …

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A Guide to the Best Survival Lighters

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I think it is fair to say that the ability to start a fire is arguably the most important aspect of survival. Fire allows you to purify water, cook food, avoid hypothermia, dry clothes, deter insects, keep away predators, and see at night. Dehydration and hypothermia are the two most common ways that people die in a survival situation, and fire helps with both of those threats.

Of course being able to use a ferro rod or make a friction fire are essential skills for a survivalist or prepper. That being said, I always want a good lighter with me to make things easier if possible. You never know when you may need to start a fire quickly in less than optimal conditions. A reliable lighter is the best way to do so.

There are several different types of lighters that are popular with survivalists, so it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. In this article I will cover the benefits and drawbacks of each style so you can make the most educated choice possible.

Zippo Lighter

The Zippo lighter is a classic, it is made in the USA, and is what I used back when I have used since I was a teen. There are several advantages to a Zippo over other lighters. One is its durability. The Zippo is almost indestructible, and all Zippos come with a lifetime warranty.

Another selling point for the Zippo in a survival situation is its versatility. Not only can you refill the fuel as many times as you like, but you can use almost any flammable liquid. In a SHTF scenario finding fuel would be tough, so this feature is very valuable.

The fact of the matter is that you can use the same Zippo for a lifetime as long as you do not lose it. Between the refill capability and being able to replace the flint, it will never wear out. It is not waterproof, but just dry it out and you are back in business.

The functionality of the Zippo is great as well. I always loved that I did not have to hold down a gas button to light it or keep it lit. On a cold day when your hands are frozen it is nice to light it on your pant leg. The lighter is windproof so it is perfect for any outdoor adventures.

Zippos are priced reasonably these days and you can normally pick one up for under $10 if you shop around. The only real downside to this lighter is that is does not do well with high elevations. Zippos start to struggle at around 1000 feet above sea level.

Butane Torch Lighter

Butane torches are fairly popular these days and have some significant advantages and downsides. Many are made of similar materials to a Zippo and cost about the same, but I doubt they would last as long. Most have an electrical component that is not waterproof, and it is very hard to find one with a lifetime warranty.

However, they are windproof and actually allow you to shoot the flame straight down if needed. You do have to press and hold a button to keep the gas flowing, so warm up your hands first.

The other downside is that you have to refill these lighters with butane. This means that you may have a very hard time finding fuel once SHTF. I would imagine butane in stores would fly off the shelves if we were dealing with a major disaster. I have used them before and am not a huge fan.

Metal Match Lighter

I have seen these weird little lighters advertised on survival sites, but never knew much about them. It turns out they have some similarities to a Zippo. The main difference is that you run a metal match against a striker to ignite the flame. The match is screwed down into a fuel reservoir, so you dip the wick in fuel every time you put the metal match away. When you strike it, the wick at the tip of the match lights and stays lit for quite some time.

The flame does not keep going indefinitely like a Zippo because of the small amount of fuel you are using. Also, I would struggle to call these windproof. A strong wind would likely blow them out. The construction is all metal and would likely hold up well, but the wicks are cheap and have to be replaced frequently.

Just like a Zippo, you can use any flammable liquid for fuel. This feature moves it up higher on my list. However, there are two major advantages the metal match has over the Zippo. It is completely waterproof when closed, and each one only costs about $2. They do not hold much fuel so you would have to keep some on hand all the time.

USB Arc Lighter

These lighters are the latest technology and might be a good fit if you plan to keep a source of power with you. Anymore I carry a battery pack and a solar charger with me in most cases, and sometimes a crank charger as well. These lighters use no fuel and charge with a USB cable, so they will work as long as you have access to power.

It may not be the best option for a SHTF situation, but it is pretty handy for outdoor adventures. For the most popular models there is no need to press a button to operate the lighter. You simply open the top and shake the lighter. It will then shoot an electric arc across the gap. The lighter will stay lit for several second, or you can close the top to shut it off.

Of course since there is no flame, this style would have to be considered the most windproof of them all. This also means that altitude will not affect this lighter at all. Because of this I may take one on my elk hunt next year. I do not know of any other lighters that work above 10,000 feet.

This lighter has a lithium battery so it is designed to last a long time, but it is an electrical device. I have doubts about how long it would last getting beat up in the wilderness over and over. It also happens to be tied for the most expensive of the lighters we considered.

Bic Lighter

The Bic lighter is another classic, but the disposable kind. The best part about these lighters is that they are so inexpensive that you can buy bunches of them. If you buy in bulk you can get them for under $1. I had a friend in college that would buy 50 at a time and spread them all over his apartment so there was always one handy for him or any guests. If they got stolen or lost, it was no big deal

Despite being inexpensive, Bic lighters are surprisingly reliable. Occasionally one will break, but for the most part I never had any issues. They are not waterproof or windproof, so the Bics are not as convenient in that aspect. However, they push out their fuel with enough force that you can shoot a flame downwards about a half inch. It does not seem like a big deal, but when lighting a campfire that can make a huge difference.

Bic lighters sometimes have issues in the cold, and they do not do well with elevation. They cannot be refilled at all, so it is best to have several with you. One of the benefits of inexpensive disposable lighters is that you can put one in your pocket and a couple in your pack. If you are in a group you can give one or two to each person. This ensures that you have fire even if you get separated from your group or your pack.

High Altitude Floating Lighters

These lighters are just as expensive as the USB lighter and have some nice features. It is basically a modified butane torch. The lighter is a push button electric ignition with butane fuel. You do have to hold down the button to keep the flame going, but the flame is pushed out a couple inches which makes it easy to light campfires.

The main differences are that it floats and is waterproof. There are even cases of people running them through the washer and lighting it on the first try. In addition, you can adjust the mix of air and fuel to compensate for elevation. This lighter will work fine up to 8,000 feet above sea level.

The manufacturer claims this lighter is windproof up to 80 MPH winds. I do not care to walk around in winds of that speed, so I will have to take their word for it. There have been instances when the lighter would not light due to low quality butane. Of course this lighter can only be refilled with butane, so fuel sources are limited in a SHTF situation.

And The Winner Is…

When looking at the best lighter for a survival situation, there are several factors to consider. The most important ones would be reliability, ease of use, refill capability, and cost. Secondary concerns are performance in the wind, the ability to direct a flame downward, water resistance, performance in the cold, and performance at high altitudes.

After factoring all of these variables, I was forced to pick two lighters. You always want to have both a primary and secondary source of ignition, so my decision fits with that rule. To be honest, I just could not decide on one. This was based on the assumption that elevation would not be a factor.

My primary ignition source would be the Zippo lighter. You cannot look past its price, durability, and versatility when it comes to refilling the fuel. My backup ignition source would be the Bic lighter, and probably two or three of them. The cost just cannot be ignored, and the quality is pretty darn good. So there you have it. I hope this article has helped you make your selection so a flame is there when you really need it.

Do you Have These Go Bag Essentials?

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by Nicholas

It’s not uncommon for preppers to use the terms ‘go bag’ and ‘bug out bag’ as if they were the same thing.  But the reality is that a go bag and bug out bag are two vastly different setups. They each have different intended purposes, but at the same time, neither is less or more important than the other.

If you’ve already put together a personal bug out bag, great!  But if you don’t have a go bag put together yet, or if you thought that a bug out bag was the same as a go bag, then you’re going to need to put your go bag together now.

So, what’s the difference between a bug out bag and a go bag?  A bug out bag is a larger pack designed to hold enough gear and supplies to last you multiple days. Bug out bags are often referred to as three-day survival bags or 72 hour packs. When you need to bug out of your home, your bug out bag is what you carry with you. It’s much heavier and larger than a go bag and generally contains items meant for survival in the wilderness.

In contrast to this, the go bag is a much smaller and lighter bag that contains more essential items.  It’s not designed to keep you alive for multiple days in a survival situation, but rather to serve as your emergency response bag if a disaster happens now and you need certain items to get you home.


Each go bag should be unique and contain the gear you think you need, but to help you along here is a list of recommended items to include:



The first thing you need is a good pair of reliable boots, which can be tied to the outside of the bag, to save space, rather than stored inside of it. Boots or at least sturdy shoes in your go bag can be life-saving if you happen to be wearing shoes unsuitable for walking long distances, such as heels or flip flops. Having a pair of boots with your go bag guarantees that you will always have a pair of footwear with you that provide protection and good traction. NOTE: You would also be wise to include a pair of comfortable socks.

Jacket or Sweatshirt

While a jacket or sweatshirt to takes up more room in a go bag, it will be worth it. Sure, it may be hot and sunny out when disaster hits, but keep in mind that a storm or chilly night could develop before you make it back home. If that happens, you’ll be glad you had a jacket with you.


This may be the most clichéd survival item of all time, but no go bag is complete without one. Go with a folding tactical knife with an ergonomic grip and a sharp, serrated blade, and a clip to carry it securely in your pocket.  A folding knife is better than a fixed blade for a go bag because it’s more lightweight and takes up less space.


A small LED flashlight with a bright beam (along with extra batteries or even one that is hand-crank) is a must. Go with a small metal model with a clip that can be secured to the inside of your pocket if necessary, just like your knife.


Some preppers like to keep a handgun in their go bag while others don’t. On one hand, a handgun provides you with a means of self-defense in a dangerous environment. On the flip-side, it takes up space and bulk in your go bag. If you already have a concealed weapon on your person as part of your everyday carry kit or EDC, you may not need one in your go bag.

Whether you choose to have a gun in your go bag is entirely up to you, but if you do have one, make sure it’s reliable, chambered in a common caliber, and compact enough to be hidden on your person if needed. It should be large enough to fight with, and you should carry at least one spare magazine or speed loader with it.

Water Bottle

Everyone knows the importance of having water in a survival situation. Water is essential to keep you hydrated, quench your thirst, and to aid in cleaning an open wound.  Rotate the water in your go bag out at least once every 6 months, and include a small filter or purification tablets with it (i case you need more when you’re on the run).

Protein Bar

Your go bag won’t be big enough to fit an entire meal and you can manage 24 hours or much longer without food if necessary, but you can at least pack a protein bar or two to give you a quick burst of energy or to calm your rumbling stomach. Food in your go bag is more of a comfort item than a necessity, unless you are diabetic or have other health issues that require regular nourishment.


Keep a variety of bills ($1s, $5s, $10s, and $20s) in a waterproof case or bag within your go bag. You may need money if you need to buy something you need from someone or if people have blocked off a road and you need to buy your way through.


A lighter is simply your easiest method to get a fire going and it can also serve as a backup source of light to your flashlight in a pinch. Alternatively, you could carry a magnesium flint striker or a box of waterproof matches (or a combination of those things).

NOTE: in addition to your lighter, you should also include something that’s highly flammable so you can get a fire going quickly. Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline and then sealed in an airtight container are a good option, so is dryer lint.


Like the knife, the bandana is a very clichéd survival item but it’s also among the most versatile. You can use it as a tourniquet, wrap around your mouth and nose to keep dust out, use it as a cool compress if you have a headache, as a napkin, and so on.  Besides, it takes up virtually no space or weight anyway, so why not include it?

Up-to-Date Map of the Area

Even if you think maps are outdated in comparison to a GPS, include a physical map in your go bag instead. Your GPS only works while your batteries last and if satellite communications are not impacted. Your map works as long as you can keep it from being burned or wet. Make sure your map is a recent print and covers your entire city in addition to the surrounding area.

First Aid Kit

Within your go bag needs to be a first aid kit that includes all the basic medical items such as bandages, gauze pads, antibiotics, tweezers, tourniquets, hand sanitizer, and so on. It doesn’t have to be a complete medical kit (which would take up too much room to be a separate bag on its own), but it does need to include all the basics and be enough to keep you comfortable or temporarily treat an injury until you make it home.

NOTE: include at least 24 hours’ worth of prescription medications in your go bag as well.

Pen and Paper

This is simply for taking notes as you go. Keep the paper in the form of a notebook and consider carrying a Sharpie or thick marker in addition to a pen.  The notebook should be sealed in a waterproof bag or container.

Roll of Toilet Paper

You never know when you’ll have to go, and while it will be inconvenient to have to while working your way home in the middle of an urban disaster, it’s definitely better to be prepared then not to be. You’ll live without it but it’s a nice comfort item. Keep at least a small roll sealed in a waterproof bag.

Emergency Contact Information

Have a written list of all ways to contact your friends and family members who live in the city and in the surrounding area. This include home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, social media information, home and work addresses, and whatever else you can think of.


As you can tell, your go bag will be a lot less complete than your bug out bag.  But it’s supposed to be that way.  The purpose of your go bag is not to survive for an extended period, but rather to keep you alive and comfortable while you’re working your way home in the middle of a sudden urban disaster. Like we said earlier, it’s the bag that you use to get home to your bug out bag.

You want your go bag to be light so that your mobility and agility are not at all hindered by it.  Include only the most essential items and a few comfort items.  If you can think of anything else that you feel needs to be included without adding too much weight and that you feel could increase your chances of survival in your area, go ahead and add it.  But the list you have read is a good place to start and you’ll want to include as many of these items as you can.

The Mission Drives The Gear

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Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could camp_bugout_gearprobably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff?  If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.

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

Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part.  You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared.  This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.

Re-Do Your EDC

What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag?  Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame?  Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag?  Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day?  How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?

How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, beretta-pico-3unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again.  Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize.  The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.

Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so.  If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.

Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible.  If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items.  Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF.  Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.

Revise Your Escape Plan

In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun.  This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR.  You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.

Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water.  Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.

Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile.   Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you.  That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home.  Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.

Prioritize the Bug Out Plan

Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.

Also Read: More Tips for Your Bug Out Bag 

Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.

For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.

Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan

Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take.  As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be.  Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo.  If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.

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10 Hidden Weapon Storage Ideas

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Standard weapon storage can often be bulky and frankly unattractive; this obviously is a huge turn off to anyone looking for gun storage for their home, most people prefer something unobtrusive and attractive. Regular gun safes also often take up a lot of space, which is not ideal if you live in an apartment building …

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What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

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Medical Kit.


Food bags & containers.

Water bottles or flasks.

Tools for hunting & defence.

Shelter & bedding.

What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

The debate regarding equipment versus skills is ongoing, in my personal opinion, both are of equal importance. We are not just talking about survival; we must also be concerned with our quality of life. Yes learning primitive skills for long term survival are very important, but you have to think about what these skills can provide you with & what they can’t. For instance, if you need to cook a stew, then you need a fireproof container. You could experiment making clay vessels, you can also use animal skins & use the hot rock method. But how much easier is it to carry a metal kettle with you?

So why am I mentioning this? I am mentioning this because weight matters if you have to carry it on your back when travelling on foot. There has to be some compromise between two principles, minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. When people are asked about the hunting tools/weapons, top of the list is usually high powered breech-loading firearms. These are fine for self-defence, but how practicle are they for long term survival? The larger the caliber, the more the ammunition weighs, & the more space in your pack it takes up. We need to prioritise, is it more important to carry a lot of weight in modern ammunition? Or is it more important to carry more medical equipment & supplies, vitamin supplements, more food & more water? If we are travelling alone, we can not carry both.

If we are only carrying a modern firearm & we intend to use it for hunting & defence, then the ammunition will not last long. We can of course avoid a fire fight by keeping a low profile, & we can save on ammunition by setting up a trap line for meat. But how secure will you feel knowing that when your ammunition runs out, you will be left with nothing with which to defend yourself or procure game? Your alternatives are: carrying an air rifle, carrying a traditional bow & arrows, or carrying a flintlock muzzle-loading gun/rifle & pistol. Another alternative for those in America might be to carry a modern sidearm in combination with one of the aforementioned hunting tools, or carry a bow & a modern firearm.

Weight is the all important factor, that & sustainability. Solid form medications have a long shelf life, so we need to take advantage of this. Dry foods too have a long storage capability & it is important that we carry as much food as we can. Eventually we hope to be able to take the time to forage for edible flora & hunt & trap game, but until that time comes, we are on the move & we need to keep a low profile.

Can primitive skills supply you with medications? Yes of course they can, but finding the herbs you need will not be easy, & especially so if you are already feeling ill. We need to think about our well being, our comfort. Any item that is sustainable & will make life easier is worth carrying, within reason. Skills will enable you to make a survival bow & arrows, but if you should ever come up against someone with a gun, you may have some difficulty surviving. Something that people often fail to take into account is the shock factor of a firearm, the noise & the impact of the missile. A bow against a firearm can not deliver this.

Anyway, the purpose of this article is to make you think before you leap. Think about the equipment you are going to carry & how it will best benefit your survival physically & mentally. Learn all you can about primitive skills, & if you plan to survive on your own retreat, then think about the living skills you will need to keep things in good repair.

When it comes to transporting equipment on foot, you can use a hiking trolley, but like all forms of transport from vehicles to animals, there will always be a negative side. The tracks you will leave to be followed, the places you can’t go, the noise you will make.

Organizational Fail- Where the Heck is My 9mm Ball Ammo?

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Writing about our failures is never fun. It is always more fun to talk about a cool new toy or something awesome we did. This is not one of those posts.

I needed 500 rounds of 9mm ball ammo today. The reason will be clear later,  that isn’t what this post is about. I went to the first place I thought I would find 9mm ball ammo in quantity and it wasn’t there. Went to the next place and it wasn’t there either. Went back to the first place and really looked.

I thought for a second and went to a third place where I found a can of 9mm ball. Winchester white box from probably 2008. Good solid ammo. Wish they had prices on them to show what I paid.

Anyway this was a big ole ball of fail.  The bottom line is I currently have serious organizational issues beyond the home defense set up level. Access to ammo  isn’t a realistic problem it is just a canary in the coal mine. We talked about ammo which I am not really concerned with. In my bedroom I think there are 5 loaded AR  mags between my fighting load (hd) and a sort of active shooter bag. Also at least 3 spare glock  mags. That more than meets any home defense needs I could possibly have.

My stuff both preparedness and otherwise needs to get better organized.  I really don’t have any excuse except laziness for not doing this. Currently I don’t have anything big going on for most weekends so I could easily put in 3-4 hours 2 days a week working to fix this. Just need to get off my ass and do It.

So what are my goals:
1- MOP-After this weekend which is busy I want to spend st least 6 hours a week (probably on the weekend) on sorting and organization.  The girl I’m seeing works weekends so I have the time. I plan to do this until the organization is done.
2- MOE- Within 30 days have full fighting load, bob and bug out stuff separated, organized and ready to go.
3- MOE Within 60 days have all prearedness related stuff organized.
4- MORE- Within 90 days have all of my various possessions organized. Donate a lot to good will, unneeded camping stuff to local Boy Scouts or survivalists,, sell some stuff and organize the rest. 

Homemade Survival Gear and Tools

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by Shannon

Immediately after you find yourself in a dangerous situation, most people think first about how they’re going to defend and protect themselves. Often, the situation will give you little leeway and there’s an even smaller chance that you just happen to have the proper resources within reach. This is why having the basic knowledge and skills to make homemade resources is important.

The beauty and advantage of knowing how to make several things such as weapons and gear are that you have as many of them as you can make. This suggests an unlimited armory. Depending on your skills, you may even manage to make quality gear and weapons that can last longer than those you normally buy from a store.

To help you gain a basic understanding, here are a few homemade survival gear and tools that you can make on your own.


The knife is one of the most basic survival weapons that you should have in critical situations. Having something to help you protect yourself will help lessen your worries. A knife in hand gives you the advantage of not being completely helpless and vulnerable. While some people may have gotten the chance to visit a reputable store and purchase a good knife, you may not have gotten around to that yet.

But worry not. Here’s a quick list of tips on how to make your own knife from scratch:

  1. Virtually anything that has or can have a sharp point can be made into a knife. Bones, shells, aluminum, steel, and carbon are just some of those materials. Pick a kind of blade that will suit your current situation. The goal is to make a knife that can perform its basic functions such as puncturing or slicing. You need to reach a compromise between an object that will make a good sharp knife but still withstand considerable pressure and resistance.
  2. One of the few things that can fulfill the requirements above is stone. While it’s true that it may take some time to make, the result is usually sturdier and sharper than anything you want to use.


  1. The caveman knife or the knife that’s made from smashing rocks together gets its name because of the materials you will need. It does not require any money but it will demand a lot of strength and effort. Do not settle for anything less than a knife that works perfectly.
  2. Picking a handle for your knife is a lot easier compared to the first few things you have to do. The only thing that you’re going to want to make sure of is that it fits in your hand. Handles can be potentially dangerous if you choose your materials haphazardly. Find a handle that can hold your blade in place while at the same fit in your hand comfortably and without causing any injury.
  3. Tie everything together with a rope that is as sturdy the as the whole knife itself. Never overestimate the ability of the rope you’re going to use to hold everything together. One can argue that this part is what makes the knife worth using.


Being able to see the general condition of a place that is meters away from you is a handy ability. It allows you to determine if there’s anything dangerous nearby without actually going to where you think the danger might be. On that note, it’s an advantage to have a telescope on hand for anyone who would like to survive dangerous situations such as being stranded on an unknown land.

Fortunately, this is another thing that you don’t have to spend your money on, especially if you’re not picky. Here’s how to make one:

The general guidelines for making your own telescope is to first know your lenses. Every kind serves a different purpose. Choose a lens that will help you the most in your situation and something that you’re comfortable with. Second, be mindful of the length. Assess your emergency kit and choose the size of your telescope accordingly. A squashed telescope is not good for anything and you will most likely need both hands in a survival situation which means that you can’t hold your telescope forever.


Probably one of the things that most people forget about surviving in the wilderness is the fact that you may not have time to create your own toilet. In some situations, you may not even have the luxury of time to squat and pee or take a dump because you’re on the run from something or someone who could harm you. This is where homemade diapers come in handy.

If you’re trying to survive with your family, then your kids will have needs too and they might not have the patience to wait until the appropriate time to relieve themselves. If you’re traveling, sometimes you can’t afford to take a stopover. In the same situation, even parents can wear their own diapers to help tide them over at least until they’re a considerable distance away from anything or anyone dangerous.

Because supermarkets will almost certainly be the first place that will get looted in the case of a disaster, you might not get the chance to buy and stockpile diapers. But there’s good news. You can make your own diapers from minimal materials.

For those who have a sewing machine on hand, check this out for detailed instructions on how to make cloth diapers:

If you have to make one quick, this is how you can:


Another survival tool that can come in handy is the compass. Having one means that you can at least have a general knowledge of where you’re at and where you should go. It helps you navigate through the woods and even in open water.

Like the knife, telescope, and diapers, you don’t need to spend money on a compass. All you need is a plastic bowl filled with water, cork, magnet, and a needle. It might seem a little dubious but this video explains why it’s pretty reliable:

This is one of the times when you can trust Mother Earth and all its elements not to lead you and your family astray.


Common sense dictates that you should never put your gun between the waistband of your pants and your skin. There’s a possibility that it might go off and you will end up with an unnecessary injury that you could have prevented from happening if you had a holster. This common rule also applies to knives and just about any kind of weapon.

Why not just put them in the bug out bag? You never know when you might need your weapon. The last thing that you want to happen to you is to be unprepared for a fight simply because your weapon is in your bag. In that situation, you might not have enough time to open the bag and grab it. This is why knowing how to make your own holster comes in handy.

Not only does it cost less, it also gives you the freedom to calculate the sizes you see fit and at the same time, make sure that it has quality. The only disadvantage is that it’s time-consuming. Regardless, it’s still worth it.

Here’s how you can make your own leather holster either for your knife or for your gun:


As you keep forging through the unknown in an effort to survive, you will accumulate a lot of things that you think may come in handy. Anything sharp, something that can function as a container, water bottles or even game from your hunt will have to be set aside. At the same time, you have to think about how fast you can gather your stuff and flee if you have to.

Having an extra bag has its benefits. A bag made out recycled plastic bottles it sturdier than ordinary cotton and best of all, it’s waterproof. It’s the perfect thing to have when you need to keep important things from getting wet or damaged. It also plays to your advantage because you’re likely to encounter water bottles in a lot of public places. You just need to know what to with them.

Here’s how:

  1. The number of plastic bottles that you need will depend on how long you need the bag to be. The best and balanced number is three bottles. Make sure that they’re at least the same size even if they’re not the same brand.
  2. Cut the top of the bottles.
  3. Take one bottle and cut two lines (width should be the same as the bottom of the bottle) on both sides. Don’t remove the strip as it will serve as the connecting agent of your bag.
  4. For the other two bottles, cut two line on one side with the width approximately the same as the strips on the first bottle.
  5. Punch holes through the sides of the bottles that you cut through. Be careful not to punch the holes too closely or too far apart.
  6. Join the bottles by tying a rope through the holes and wrapping the bottom of the bag in tape. At the topmost holes of the left and right bottles, tie a rope to make a handle.


In order to survive critical situations, we not only have to gather food and find water, we also have to have a shelter wherein we can sleep through the night. Sleep is important because it’s the only time that your body and brain can have the time they need to rest and recharge. Without sleep, we compromise many things such as alertness, awareness, physical abilities and reaction times. That one-second delay before you realize there’s danger may be just what it takes to kill you.

For sleep to be effective, you will have to be as comfortable as possible even if you’re laying down on the ground. You will also need warmth to keep your body temperature regulated as you take your much-needed rest. A lightweight sleeping bag must be in your survival gear and tools if you wish to survive longer.

Here’s how to make one at home:

  1. Start by choosing what material your sleeping bag is going to be made from. It can be a quilt or cloth or anything that is lightweight but still give you the amount of warmth that you will need. Remember that the most practical sleeping bags are those that you can carry around without it being in the way or being too heavy.
  2. Decide whether you want to have a hooded or non-hooded sleeping bag. The only difference in the process of making is that you’re going to have to sew together the hood and the rest of the sleeping bag.
  3. Lie down in the material you chose and make sure that you have enough space for most of your preferred sleeping positions. But be careful not to create too much space as that will take away the warmth.
  4. The best way to ensure that you have the right size is to make a cutout pattern so you don’t have to lie in it every time you finish making it. It also helps you give it definite measurements that will come in handy if you have to readjust and resize your sleeping bag material.
  5. Every time you sew through the fabric, make sure that you fold it so it doesn’t fray. This includes the process when you make the two ends of the fabric meet by sewing in a zipper.
  6. After you’ve made your sleeping bag, you can attach Velcro over the sleeping bag to give your another set of security measure in case the zipper breaks.
  7. Don’t forget to make a foot pocket to complete your sleeping bag. The process is general the same and it would really help if you found a material that you can split into parts so that the sleeping bag is more or less consistent in terms of fabric.

There are many other survival gear and tools that you should have in case of emergencies. Most people will panic because of the absence of some of those tools. But if there’s anything about survival that we should remember, it’s that it goes perfectly with creativity. You can make just about anything from everything and all you need is time, effort and innovation.

What You Need For A Secure Storage Room

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

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Survival Gear!

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Survival Gear! Josh “7 P’s of survival” Listen in player below! On this episode we talk all things survival wear with Dustin Hogard. If you can’t survive with your everyday carry then you need to modify that everyday carry. I have tested a variety of survival bracelets, belts, micro kits and clothing. I have to … Continue reading Survival Gear!

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Update, Content, News, and months of podcasts.

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Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here on the blog of SurvivalRing, and I do apologize. Life has been rather full outside the front door, and the moments in front of my computer (normally plural…the laptop is still down with a *Windows 10* infection) have been focused on research, online radio work, and […]

Homemade Survival Gear for Long Term Treks

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Survival 101: Homemade Survival Gear Quick NavigationFire and Heating ToolsWhat You NeedInstructionsLightShelterDIY Fishing RodWhat You NeedInstructionsDIY Water FiltrationWhat You NeedInstructionsPlanning a long-term trek through one of the many beautiful forests or mountain tops can be a great experience for you and friends.However, it’s important that you bring a survival bag with you to prepare yourself …

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What’s Wrong with 1911 for Survival?

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I love how consistent you have been over the years advising your readers to rely on the Glock. I agree with your assessment concerning reliability/durability, availability, weight, etc. All things considered the Glock is simply the right answer. I’ve got a 1911 and have used that design ever since I was 12 years old, but it just shows a lack of understanding for someone to recommend the 1911 to someone who is new to firearms and needs something simple and reliable. Just knowing what “the extractor tension test” means is enough proof that the 1911 is for the dedicated hobbyist and not for the beginners first pistol. I feel bad for people who are new to firearms, need one, and are fed tons of well meaning but convoluted information about what is “best” from so called “experts” who have confused their personal hobby with someone else’s practical needs. Indeed you are correct: the answer is simple for the beginner; the answer is Glock 19.


My first serious gun was a Norinco 1911. At the time internet was still pretty new and there simply wasn’t the massive amount of information that is available today. Back in those days if you wanted to learn about something you bought these things called “magazines” (for you kids, its like a website or blog, but printed in paper every month or so) Guns & Ammo Magazine said the Norinco 1911 was great for a “street custom” and that’s exactly what I did. I took a perfectly functional 1911 that never had a hiccup and spent almost a thousand dollars worth of dual tone finish, hammer, sights, trigger, springs, guide rod, walnut grips, fancy torx screws, brand name magazines, etc. After enough messing around I managed to end up with a gun that jammed more often. Cutting a couple loops from the new recoil spring helped greatly. Going back to the original guide rod solved the problem completely. At the end of the day the only thing that made a real difference was the nicer sights I installed. The rest was mostly cosmetic. Here it is in all its glory:


In my case as well, for years this was the only handgun I used. I learned to love the 1911. Learned to shoot it, clean it, repair it.

But a Glock it is not, Most of the parts required careful hand fitting. Every spare part in the Glock just drops into place. Even then the 1911 is less reliable and more sensitive than the Glock. It’s heavier, holds less rounds and in those 500-1000 round weekend classes you’ll get cut and scrapped by every single sharp edge of the gun. You shoot slower with the single stack 1911, need to reload more often and unless you have a big magwell its harder to reload too compared to that huge gap where you slap Glock magazines in.

You mention Glock 19s for beginners and that is true, every single person I taught how to shoot for the first time they all shot better with Glocks. But that doesn’t mean its not a gun for elite shooters too. In fact Navy SEALs recently adopted that same Glock 19 as their sidearm. Most world class professional shooters from the tactical community that I know of also use one kind of Glock or another, mostly 19 and 17.


Gun nuts, we love all kind of guns. Shoot as many as you can, collect tons of them, but when it comes to your sidearm, make sure it’s a Glock.


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”.

Thermos cooking Rice and Lentils

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Thermos cooking has been around since they were first introduced but if you aren’t familiar with the concept and if you haven’t tried it out then keep on reading and check the video below.

Thermos cooking is one of those great survival tips. Its simple, it can be done with common objects like a thermos found in most households, its probably the most fuel efficient way of cooking and it addresses a key survival problem: Preparing food when the grid is down. We learned about making a simple can stove with the Supercat stove video. Still, boiling water and cooking food are two different things. Cooking requires more time and (more important) more fuel. Well, you don’t need to worry about that with thermos cooking.

Simply preheat the thermos with a bit of boiling water, remove it, introduce the food (think rice, pasta, lentils) and fill it up with four parts of water for each part of food. Tighten the cap, shake a bit and that’s it. Let it sit for some time. For rice and lentils it can be 8 to 10 hours. For pasta 15-20 minutes will probably do. You’ll need to experiment to see how much water you exactly need for each food and how long it takes to hydrate and cook properly. A good Thermos makes a difference. The ones I used were rated for 12 hours and after 12 hours the water inside was still too hot to touch.

Here’s the video experimenting with rice and lentil Thermos cooking.

Here’s one of the best selling Thermos in Amazon in case you need to grab one for your kit.

Thermos Stainless King 24 Ounce Food Jar $24.99


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”.

External Belt Gear Rigs

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USMC web gear

When the soldiers left the ships to fight in that big war to end all wars, the troops were all carrying a webbed web gear reviewbelt around the outside of their coats or jackets. This webbed belt carried a wide variety of accessory pouches for ammo, weapons magazines, medical supplies, a canteen, maybe a holster for a 1911 Colt .45 and other optional gear items. The external webbed belt kept the gear weight well distributed around the waist and easy to access. Some web gear units even had shoulder straps.

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

Without carrying these immediate need items on the pants belt itself, the soldiers would not have their trousers weighted down or pulling excessively at the waist. Also this web belt could be quickly detached to set aside, however these rigs were usually carried at all times.

Fast Forward

Today, preppers and survivalists would do well to copy this gear carry mode themselves. In fact, such rigs are once again finding favor with outdoors enthusiasts from hunters, campers, hikers, and survivalists working around bug out camps. These external belt rigs can be customized to easily carry needed items that are used often or that can be reached or deployed quickly. With a little planning and thought, such an outside carry belt can be easily designed and outfitted. What gear should be added to such a rig? Make a list then narrow down the choices.

Also Read: Pistol Bug Out Bag For Under $500

Start with a heavy duty belt. Some still like and carry the old military surplus webbed belts and theseexternal_belt_gear_rig_pistol_knife_survival can work with the proper accessory attachments. Better yet is a thick leather belt that will not bend or bind with a load. I bought a double layered leather 1.5 inch wide belt recently off the rack at Cabela’s. It is super stiff, but will become more pliable with use. It has a good brass buckle. Now I see carry belts with steel lining inserts to add further strength.

Make sure whatever belt you get is large enough with enough adjustment holes to fit over outer clothing including light jackets as well as heavy coats. It may be best to wear a coat into the supplier or retailer to get a proper fit over the outer garment. Try on different styles to see what seems to work best.

Gear to Attach and Carry

So, what to hang on such a belt? The first thing that comes to mind is a sidearm weapon in a holster. This of course can be any handgun that you use confidently and have practiced with often. Likely you wear this outdoors, so if working on a farm, ranch, bug out camp or similar environment, you may want a handgun with substantial enough power to dispatch varmints or other intruders that might invade your space.

The most common choices that most will pick include a 9mm or a .45 ACP. Revolver shooters will pick a .357 Magnum (for which .38 Special ammo can be used), a 44 Magnum (with .44 Special ammo) or perhaps a .45 Long Colt. Obviously other choices are available, too. One of my personal favorites being the .41 Magnum in a Smith model 57 or 58.

Your handgun choice can be fitted to any number of holster types and styles that suit your uses best.external_belt_rig_holster_campknife Pick a heavy duty, durable holster with good gun retention. A safety strap is not a bad idea, because when working outdoors and such you do not want any likelihood of the firearm dropping out of the holster or being snatched out by a tree limb or vine or trespasser.

Next besides a weapon would probably be a good camp knife. The blade choice should be something between a hunting knife, general purpose Bowie, or heavy blade that can do some chopping along with regular field cutting tasks. An ESEE #6 comes to mind. If you want or need a pocket knife sized utility blade or two, then carry one of those, too in a smaller scabbard.

Read More: Survival Knife vs. Hatchet – A Question of Gear

Now comes all the options that preppers, farmers, or other outdoors workers might choose specifically for the kinds of field work they are performing. It might be a hatchet or small hand ax, a mini-first aid kit with meds, a canteen, compass, cell phone w/case, ammo pouch or pistol two-magazine pouch, bear spray, other accessory pouches (forestry tape, bright eyes, paracord, insect repellant, small digital camera, snacks and nabs, fire lighter, flashlight, multi-tool or other gear items). The balance in picking these items is not to unduly weigh down your belt rig.

Wearing the Rig

Where to wear or use this belt rig? Obviously, outdoors, but such a rig could be worn while working inside and survival web gearout around the bug out camp, farmhouse, barn, or other situation. It should be an easy take along when riding an ATV, UTV, or even a horse or tractor. The rig would be ideal for walking the property to inspect fences, gates, and for security observation.

The belt rig would be good for hiking trips, too, assuming such carry is permitted on public use trails. WWII soldiers found great utility in the everyday carry of their gear over their coats with a webbed belt. It spread the weight around the waist, but gave immediate access to needed items. Preppers and survivalists can adopt this type of rig for many uses performing a variety of tasks. Be creative in how you design your belt rig so it becomes a real go-to gear carry option.

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How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 2- A Comment and the Cost Of Not Using This Approach

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Yesterdays post

How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach 

received a comment I thought should be addressed. It also lead to a larger issue. The comment was:

What’s the causative event? Duration? Any secondary or cascade failures? What geographical area? Season? Localized, regional, or nationwide? Just John, or does he have his young son for the weekend or aging parents to care for?

Whatever you guess you’re most likely you’re going to be wrong, so “P for plenty” here. Can’t make a plan until you can define the problem(s), but once the problem(s) are known it’s often too late to stock up on the gear/supplies to execute the plan.

My response is as follows:  First of all thanks for taking the time to comment. To the first paragraph I was attempting to do something fairly generic. By region we can take a pretty good swag at what the threats are. The gulf coast has hurricanes and the west coast has earthquakes. In the middle are some mountains and a lot of rivers that flood. Obviously if John lives in the inland PNW say in Spokane, WA his winter gear will be very different than if he lives in south Texas. We know what family members we have. I’m not saying every person has the exact same needs though I think if we really look at it aside from regional weather and family size needs differ very little. The question of how much we can and want to prepare is an open ended one. 

To the second paragraph I have to disagree.

 Look at it like this. You are going to the grocery store but forgot the list. You need to shop now for some reason so you can’t go get the list from home. Do you 1- try to remember the list? 2-Make a new list? Or 3- Do you just throw random shit in the cart and to make up for it being totally random buy a lot of it? No sane person would do #3. If you would not grocery shop that way why would you possibly prepare that way?

To paraphrase Eisenhower ‘plans are useless but planning is indispensable’. What are you buying? Why? How much? How did you decide how much? The honest answer is most people are pulling it out of their butts.

More to the point I want to talk about the downside of haphazardly buying more and more stuff.

Everyone has limited resources and space. 

 If you spend money on stuff that does not fit into cohesive and logical systems you are not using your resources as efficiently as possible. Either you are buying one thing when you should be buying another or you are unable to afford something because you bought another thing instead. Two examples here.

First is an older Southern Man I know. He is a serious survivalist with an enviable set up. The thing is he doesn’t have body armor or modern night vision. He described them as ruinously expensive. This is ironic to me because the man has a massive gun collection. He has to have 50k in guns, probably more like 100K. He could sell a Colt 1911 he never shoots, an M1A he wouldn’t miss and one of his HK 91’s and buy a NOD for him and body armor for his whole family while still having way more guns than he could ever use. His resources are miscalculated. This is partly because he just kept buying guns instead of building cohesive systems.

 The other is anecdotal to me working on my own systems. The things I need multiples of are often unexpected ones. I DO NOT NEED a bunch more guns but I do need another couple of gun belts and weapons cleaning kits. Footwear is also a theme that keeps coming up but not usually Army boots, actual stuff I would wear in real life that I can comfortably walk all day long in. Hygiene kits as well. These are all things I would not have thought of unless I started looking at systems.

 That new FLIR Scout TK is $600 (I want to see some reviews vs the normal Scout model and stuff but in principle I am really excited as its solidly affordable) and I want one. Instead of buying some items I might not actually need I could add this really cool capability to my BOB. 

Even if you have a lot of them its still limited. To paraphrase Jim Rawles of Survival Blog “For $500 I could fill my garage with toilet paper”. Obviously if your garage is full of TP you can’t store 5 years of Mountain House goodness in it. 

Finally it is not that I am against having a lot of stuff. By all means keep developing systems to suit your worries as far as your finances and space allow. If you want and can afford a fully stocked doomsday bunker then get one. My concern is about using the money and resources you have as efficiently as possible. To get the most out of your dollars and space by planning instead of just going about it haphazardly.


How Much Stuff Do We Need- A Rational Systems Based Approach

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I have been working, albeit slowly, on trimming down the amount of stuff I have. Eventually the elephant in the room of survivalist stuff has to be confronted. Otherwise it would be like talking about the US budget without touching entitlements, totally pointless.

Part of the first look will be easy. Unnecessary older junk. What may have been a better than nothing back up for a college kid may not be necessary for me now. Also if I just toss the random junk in a dozen boxes it might go far enough to eliminate a box. You get the idea.

What to do with the significant accumulation of stuff is a more pressing issue. This made me ask myself “How do I figure out how much stuff I need?”

I want to have the right stuff in the right quantities. Space is limited and will be a real issue for some of my upcoming plans. So the P for plenty plan doesn’t work. If you have a big house with a barn and a shop then then space not likely a concern. However even if space isn’t an issue money, to some degree or another, almost surely is. So while you might have a lot of space to store stuff that doesn’t fit into your plans it would still be better to spend your limited money on the right stuff.

What I realized is that I was looking at this from the wrong angle entirely. Instead of arbitrarily deciding how many of a given item I need to keep around what if I look at it from the other side…

The realization I had was that I should decide what systems I want to have and then figure out what stuff is needed for them. This way instead of a wild assed guess on how many pistols or multi tools or knives or backpacks I need I could actually have a number that comes from somewhere.

I am still working on this one for myself. Honestly I’m not sure how much of it I would wnt to share anyway so lets instead discuss a hypothetical persons set up.

Lets say John is a survivalist. A pretty normal guy who lives in a mid sized town. He has a normal job and makes decent money. 

EDC light- concealable pistol, folding knife, light, etc.
EDC heavy- full sized pistol, robust folding knife, spare mag pouch, light, etc.
Fighting Load- EDC heavy plus rifle, body armor, chest rig, hydration system and light day pack.

Get Home Bag- lives in vehicle. Usual get home stuff. May include a hand gun.

E&E set up. Change of clothes, cash, pistol, day pack, etc.

Light bug out set up- Bug out Bag plus fighting load weapons. Suitable clothing and footwear.

Heavy bug out set up (vehicle based)- Think car camping on steroids with stuff to sustain for awhile.

Operational Cache- A rifle and pistol, chest rig, hydration system, medical gear, day pack.

JIC go to war set up- One EDC light pistol, two full sized pistols, two rifles, a pump shotgun and a precision rifle. Decent amount of ammo, mags and all the usual nylon, leather, etc. This would ideally be at some sort of bug out type location.

JIC survival set up- Think mountain man. A deer rifle, shotgun and a .22 pistol with ammo. Ax, shovel, saws, seeds, salt, shelter like tarps, cordage, etc. Buried where you can see your self going for a Plan D if things go all Zombie Apocalypse.

Another persons systems might differ. They might have 2 E&E caches and no JICC go to war set up. The exact quantity and make up of their systems could differ based on their needs/ wants. Also obviously I did not try to list the entire composition of every system.

The point would be to decide how you want to be set up and make that happen instead of just getting more and more stuff.


Backcountry Belt Kit: Essential Tools to Carry Around Your Waist

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by Todd Walker

Backcountry Belt Kit: Essential Tools to Wear Around Your Waist ~


There are many scenarios where you may be separated from your backpack and gear. Tipping a canoe or tumbling down a ravine come to mind. These types of accidents can quickly relieve you of the gear which makes for a comfortable wilderness outing. Having essential gear in your pockets and attached to your belt could turn your luck around, and, not being too dramatic here, could literally save your life.

I leave my main pack at base camp on short scouts on backcountry outings. Depending on the purpose of my trek, I usually grab my canteen set and head out. Of course, the ring belt I made is secured around my waist… always! No matter what happens to my other gear, essential stuff is attached to my ring belt. That’s right, I wear two belts: 1.) A traditional belt to prevent me from looking like a hip-hopper “who be sagging” in the woods; 2.) My ring belt to keep self-reliance tools secure and accessible.

Here is what’s on my belt…

Belt Kit Items

First, let’s look at the ring belt itself. I bought a strip of leather and crafted the belt using a D-ring, Chicago screws, and waxed thread. It’s a simple design I first learned from Justin Wolfe at Wolfe Customs. To make your own, use a leather belt blank which measures about 20 inches longer than your normal belt. Attach a ring or D-ring and your set.

My D-Ring belt after completion.

My D-Ring belt after completion.

To tie a ring belt, thread the end through the ring around your waist. Run the end under the belt from the bottom creating a loop. Pass the end back through the loop and cinch tight. If you don’t have a ring belt, traditional belts will work. However, one advantage of ring belts is their ability to be worn over heavy winter clothing for easy access to frequently used tools in the field.

One alternative use for the leather ring belt is a strop for cutting tools. Loop the belt around a tree and pull tight. Strop your knife by moving the blade up and down the leather with the cutting edge facing the opposite direction of the stropping motion.


Arguably one of the most important tools for outdoor self-reliance, a sharp knife is essential. Whatever knife rides on your belt, testing its abilities and limits is paramount. Before depending on a particular knife, put it through blue-collar woodcraft work for several months. By the end of your test period, you’ll know whether or not it fits your needs.

The Genesis on the left is Dirt Road Girl's knife... which I've been testing for over a year now.

The Genesis on the left is Dirt Road Girl’s knife… which I’ve been testing for over a year now.

If you’re just new to bushcraft/woodcraft, I’d recommend reading my article on Bloated Bushcraft to give you some perspective on knives and skills.

My main belt knife is a L.T. Wright Genesis I purchased for my lovely Dirt Road Girl at the 2015 Blade Show. Ya see, I’m just running it through its paces to see if it’ll be dependable for her.😉 This article isn’t a Best-Knife discussion. There’s no such thing. However, I have found her Genesis to be very robust and resilient over the last year in the field.

Fire Kit

At our last Georgia Bushcraft Campout, I was fortunate enough to win a really well crafted possibles pouch made by Reliance Leatherworks in a fire challenge. This pouch replaced an old military pouch I carried for five years which had previously housed my fire kit.

Backcountry Belt Kit: Essential Tools to Wear Around Your Waist ~

Possibles Pouch Fire Kit: 1) Possibles pouch, 2) Pouch for flint and steel, lighter, fat lighter’d, tonteldoos, and char tin, 3) Tonteldoos, 4) Char tin, 5) Flint and steel, 6) Bic lighter, 7) Magnifying lens in leather pouch atop birch bark container from Siberia, 8) Fat lighter’d, 9) tinder

The contents of my fire kit pouch consist of multiply methods to burn sticks.

You may have noticed that my ferrocerium rod is not in the pouch content list. The reason is that I carry a rather large ferro rod in a leather sheath alongside my folding saw. More on those items later.

The idea behind a good fire kit is to carry multiple methods of starting a fire in various weather conditions. Having different ignition sources gives you options. You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of each source in our Bombproof Fire Craft Series.

Ferrocerium Rod and Folding Saw

Being resourceful, I shop antique stores, thrift shops, and yard sales. I found a one-dollar leather sheath which was used to hold screw drivers and re-purposed it to hold my Bacho folding saw and large ferro rod. A carabiner connects the sheath to my belt. A pair of leather work gloves also hang from the carabiner.

For a handle on my ferro rod, two feet of one inch Gorilla Tape is wrapped around the end of the rod with a loop of paracord taped into the wrap. Here’s my reasoning for this handle:

  • Extra Gorilla Tape is never a bad thing
  • Epoxied handles tend to come loose with heavy use over time – not so with this tape
  • The loop allows me to clip the rod to the carabiner on the ring belt and insert into the folding saw sheath
Backcountry Belt Kit: Essential Tools to Wear Around Your Waist ~

The paracord loop is secured to my belt through the carabiner on my saw sheath


I carry a sidearm in the woods and everywhere legally allowed. You just never know what you’ll walk up on in the woods. Four-legged predators don’t concern me much in Georgia. Walking to my base camp recently I saw gang graffiti painted on rocks in the pristine creek. Just up the creek my semi-permanent shelter was tagged in red spray paint as well. This happened on 70 acres of private land.

Tagging on my shelter

Gang tags on my shelter

Not all who wander the woods are there to enjoy nature. Paying attention to human nature, I choose to pack heat in the back country.

Pocket Stuff

Pants pockets serve as a redundant reservoir. I carry a Swiss Army Knife, chap stick, and a mini Bic lighter in one front pocket. My truck keys are in the opposite pocket with a spare ferro rod attached. My wallet is in my back pocket. Yes, my wallet contains survival items like duct tape. My cell phone rides in the opposite pocket. Even without cell service in the hinter boonies, the camera feature is invaluable to me in documenting my adventures.

Canteen Kit

I can attach my 32 ounce canteen kit to my ring belt if necessary. However, I prefer wearing it over my shoulder with a paracord shoulder strap for emergency cordage. The front pouch of the carrying case has redundant fire starters, an EmberLit stove, and an eating utensil.

My backcountry belt kit, coupled with the last two items mentioned above, gives me essential tools to enjoy my time in the woods. What do you wear on your backcountry belt?

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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How to Straigthen, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts

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by Todd Walker

Atlatl Series (Part I) – Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower

Having built an atlatl in Part I, you now need to make a straight stick to launch. In this tutorial, we will make river cane atlatl darts from scratch. Even if you haven’t made an atlatl, primitive archery enthusiasts can use the same technique in arrow making by adjusting the nock end for a bow string.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts ~

Atlatl Darts

I was called out by a gentleman about using the term “spear-thrower” in the title of my first post on making atlatls. If you’ve read my article, you quickly find that the projectile thrown from an atlatl is a flexible dart. Spear conjures images of a caveman tossing a heavy, rigid sapling at prey or predator. Atlatls propel a light, flexible spear (dart). I often wonder about the paleo-genius who first discovered and leveraged this technology without the benefit of modern physics. He probably opened a cave classroom illustrating his invention on stone walls.

A month after my atlatl class with Scott Jones (Workshops at the Woods), he offered the companion class on making atlatl darts and arrows with his friend and fellow Georgian, Ben Kirkland. Both of these gentlemen are experts in primitive technology and excel in effectively sharing tribal knowledge.

River cane is said to be our modern day equivalent of plastic to indigenous tribes in the southeastern United States. Scott made several river cane practice darts for our class to throw. We added duct tape fletching which I’ve used before to make expedient arrow fletchings. Before adding feather fletchings, duct tape can be applied to test the dart’s flight. Satisfied with the performance of a dart, you can easily remove the tape and fletch the shaft with real feathers.

Heat and Bend…

No matter what material you choose for your shaft, straightening darts or arrows require heat – not by hanging them from barn rafters as Scott has been told by the uninitiated. His mantra on the laborious process is… “Get off your ass, go out and start a fire, and straighten your d*mned arrows.” On that 90 plus degree day in July, we built the fire and sweated to un-bend cane in pursuit of a straight dart.

Here’s what you’ll need to straighten shafts:

  • River cane
  • Leather gloves
  • Leather knee pad
  • Knife and/or fine-tooth saw
  • Fire

A roaring fire is not required to heat and bend shafts. In fact, I retreat to my shop in the Georgia heat and use my DIY Plumber’s Stove and/or a soldering torch. Call it cheating if you like, but I’ll take a cool shop with a small fire when straightening lots of shafts in the summer.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

Keep the cane moving through the flames

As for cane size, the large end (growth nearest the ground) should be approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. The small end will likely be about 1/4 to 3/8 inch (pencil-size) at about six to seven feet. The large end will be the forward end of your dart with the smaller end serving as the nock. Before cutting to length (6-7 feet), leave extra cane on both ends for gripping in the heat and bend process described below.

Take a seasoned length of river cane and remove the branches and leaf sheaths. I break off the branches with my hand in a swift, downward motion and carefully trim the stubs even with a sharp knife. Use of a thumb lever with your knife to gain needed control to prevent accidentally cutting into the shaft.

Now begins the repetitive process of heating and bending. Sight down the shaft to locate bends. Move the bent section of cane through the fire in a constant motion. How long? Until the area is evenly heated. Experience will be your best guide. Leather gloves are recommended.

Once heated, place a folded leather pad or insulation layer over your knee, apply gentle pressure to the bend in the same fashion you’d use to break a stick over your knee – only with less pressure. I found a slight rolling motion against the knee yields good results. Allow the heated shaft to set for a few seconds on the knee before checking for straightness. Sight for more bent areas and repeat… and repeat… and repeat… and… repeat. You’ll eventually create a straight dart if you stick with the process.

Cut Cane to Length

There are no set design formulas for atlatl dart lengths. The acceptable guideline from experienced dart-throwers is about three times the length of your atlatl.

Once you have a straight shaft, beaver-chew with a knife through the cane to prevent splitting. Beaver-chewing is to make a series of shallow cuts around the circumference at the cutoff point. Make a few passes until the cane easily snaps off. A fine tooth saw works as well.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

Shirtless Scott Jones going the abo route and cutting cane by abrading with a stone. It was hot that day!

Leave enough hollow portion on the small end of the cane for a nock to mate with the spur end of your atlatl – 3/8 of an inch ought to do it. You can always take more stock off but can’t put more back on. Chamfer the inside of the nock with the tip of your knife to form a female funnel of sorts. Test the fit on your spur and tweak as needed to insure a solid fit. If you’re using a “quickie” bamboo atlatl described in Part I of this series, detailed attention to the nock is not as important.

Hafting Darts

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

Scott preparing to haft a stone point.

On the business end of the dart (large end), leave enough cane (4-6 inches) past the last node joint to haft a point or insert a fore shaft. Another interesting technique Scott demonstrated for hafting was to use a short, larger diameter section of cane or bamboo with a stone point attached. This short female fore shaft is slipped over the outside of the shaft instead of being inserted into the hollow end of the dart as I had only ever witnessed.

Material and Tools

  • Points: Stone, bone, antler, hardwood, gar scale are good material
  • Glue: Pine pitch glue, hide glue, hot melt arrow point glue (commercially available), or a regular glue stick
  • Lashing: Animal sinew, artificial sinew, waxed thread, even dental floss will do
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Duct tape

To add forward weight to practice darts, several methods can be used without a permanent hafting job. This is where duct tape becomes your friend… again! Scott described the use of duct tape by primitive practitioners as “modern man’s rawhide.” Fill the hollow forward end with sand or BB’s and tape it closed. An old nail can also be inserted in the hollow and taped.

For permanent points hafted directly to the dart end, bore a 1/8 inch hole about half an inch from the end of the dart. Bore a second hole directly opposite and on the same plane as the first hole. With the tip of your knife inserted in one hole, cut toward the end of the cane. Cut until you’ve removed a straight section of the cane. Repeat on the opposite hole. Widen the section as needed to accept your chosen point. Dry fit the point and adjust the width. A gar scale may seat fine without widening the slot.

Once satisfied with the dry fit, heat your glue and apply a glob into the slot on the shaft. While the glue is hot and pliable, insert the point in the slot. Reheat over the fire if necessary to line up the point with the shaft.

Make a few wraps of sinew around the slot/point connection for a secure hold. Before applying the sinew, wet it thoroughly in your mouth with saliva. This moisture activates the natural glue in the fibers. No need to tie-off natural sinew. It will stick when applied and shrink as it dries. Hide glue can be applied to the wrap afterwards to add hold and prevent moisture from effecting the sinew. Other cordage material must be tied.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts ~

A dogwood fore shaft inserted in one of my atlatl darts

Adding a male fore shaft to the end of your dart requires less precision. Make two splits on the forward end of your dart in a cross hair configuration (perpendicular to one another). The splits should be about 1.5 to 2 inches in length. When wrapped with sinew, these splits will act as a grip on the fore shaft like a drill chuck on a drill bit. Scott noted that fore shafts are likely to split the end of your dart anyway. This method creates a controlled spit and added purchase.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts ~

A collection fore shafts at Scott’s class

Fore shafts can be carved from wood, bone, antler, or anything you can imagine. They need to be tapered to fit the end of your dart but not so much that the tip of the fore shaft contacts the end node of the shaft.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

The long barbed point left of the stone points is a stingray barb which was used by aboriginal people in coastal areas.

Fletching Darts

Duct tape makes a field expedient and serviceable fletching. Tape two pieces to the nock end of your dart so that they stick to each other around the shaft. Trim the edges to shape and you have a fletched dart. If the dart performs well, leave the tape or remove it and use real feathers for the fletching.

Not all feathers are legal. Using eagle, hawk, owl – (raptors), or birds covered under the Federal Migratory Bird Act could land you in legal trouble with big fines. Here’s a link to get you started researching legal feathers.

In this tutorial, I’m using legally harvested wild turkey tail feathers. The method used is called Eastern Two Feather fletching.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

Ben Kirkland demonstrating the Eastern Two Feather fletching technique. Notice the two goose feathers attached at the nock end of his arrow.

Material and Tools

  • Feathers
  • Scissors or knife
  • Glue
  • Sinew

Use two feathers curved in the same direction. Make two cuts about an inch from the tip of the feather perpendicular to the feather shaft (rachis). If using scissors (which are recommended), cut in the direction from feather tip to the base of the feather. Cut in the opposite direction if using a sharp knife of flint flake.

How to Straighten, Haft, and Fletch River Cane Atlatl Darts -

Cuts made for the Eastern Two Feather fletching.

Trim down both sides of the shaft to the previous cuts leaving only an inch or so of bare shaft. Now trim down both sides of the shaft leaving 3/4 inch of vane on both sides. Grip the inside curved vane (concave part) and strip towards the base so that about 2 inches of vane is left on the tip-end of shaft.

Measure the desired fletch length by placing the feather in your outstretched hand. Your length from the tip of your index finger to the inside of your thumb is a good length – about 5 inches give or take. Remove the portion of the long vane at that point by pulling toward the base.

With a sharp knife on the shaft at the point where the end of the short vane connects, make an angled cut to the center of the shaft. Carefully flatten your knife and cut down the center of the shaft through the hollow end of the feather. Cut the half-shaft off about one inch past the large vane.

One method of attaching the fletching is to bend the tip end of the feather shaft toward the outside of the feather. Unfold the stem and place it on the dart with the outside of the feather facing up and past the nock end of the dart. Heat the dart shaft area where the fletching will be attached. Apply a small amount of pitch glue on the shaft to hold the feather in place. Repeat this step for the second feather. The position of the fletching doesn’t need to line up on darts like they would on an arrow shaft’s nock. Just attach them directly opposite of each other near the nock end of the dart.

With the vanes temporarily attached, apply sinew wraps to hold permanently. Fold the feathers back over on top of the dart. Twist the fletchings 45 degrees around the dart shaft. This causes the feathers to spiral around the dart shaft. Pull the vane shafts tight and repeat the previous step to attach this end of the feathers.

Safety Note: When applying feathers to archery arrows, make sure the forward ends of the fletching are flattened and completely covered with sinew. Any exposed feather shaft will rip through your arrow rest (skin) on release causing much pain.

Making your own darts and arrows is a time-consuming journey. However, learning to reproduce a deadly primitive weapon from scratch is quite satisfying!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Zero Tolerance ZT0561: The Beauty and the Beast

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ZT Zero Tolerance 0561 Hinderer Collaboration Dark Earth Scale Folder

The Zero Tolerance 0560/0561 is a knife that combines great materials, American craftsmanship and an outstanding esthetical design (fancy words for pretty).

And pretty it sure is. Maybe the prettiest folder ever made. In my opinion even more so than Rick Hinderers Xm-18 which inspired it. People will say they like the Elmax steel (more on that later) or that they appreciate Rick Hinderer’s design, based on his experiences in both rescue and firefighting. As someone with decades of experience with knives, using them, buying them and yes, even making them and reading books specifically about knives I can tell you this: Looks is what catches the attention of 99.9% of buyers when they first see a knife, and this is particularly true about the ZT0560. Very few folders have such eye-pleasing lines, proportions, colours and texture.

Is it all about looks though? Of course not.

The design is sound. The 3D machined titanium scale is very solid and comfortable, providing a good frame lock. By the way, if its not locking solid and disengages when lightly smacking the spine of the blade then send it back for replacement because its not supposed to do that. They need to tighten the locking bar or maybe address the contact surface of the bar. The Lock Bar Stabilizer prevents the accidental over travel of the lock bar during closing of the knife. The steel insert in the lock bar prevents both the sticking of the lock bar due to titanium-steel contact. It also means it wont wear down nearly as much after years of hard use. If it gets used that much, which is unlikely, its just a matter of replacing the insert. Steel is premium Bohler-Uddeholm ELMAX steel with extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. This super steel is stainless but acts like carbon steel allowing relatively easy sharpening in spite of its outstanding edge retention ability, which sometimes comes at the cost of much more work needed for sharpening. The blade geometry is a wide, drop point shape. Thick, but pretty classic. The bevel angle is pretty steep, which makes sense for a work knife although a more narrow bevel should be put in it to take full advantage of the high quality steel. This will come at a cost though, super steel or not, a more narrow angle means less steel behind the edge. Mess with this only if you know very well what you are doing and intent to use the knife for cutting and carving in softer materials. Otherwise, leave it as it is. There nothing wrong with it.

The blade has thumb studs but its clearly intended to be used as a flipper. My knife came with an unusually strong detent. After flipping it about a thousand times its just now starting to let go enough and feeling comfortable to deploy. So yes, a break in period makes it better. The squeaking sound is also gone now. After that, the knife opens smoothly thanks to the KVT ball-bearing opening system. I’m still using the first interphalangeal joint in my index finger rather than the pad for stronger deployment of the flipper.


The ZT0561/0560 has a four position deep pocket carry clip. Scales are machined titanium on one side and G10 on the other.

The design, while pretty, is not perfect. For example the thumb studs are all but useless for opening the knife. ZT says they aren’t intended to be used, rather worth as a blade stop when the knife is opened, the studs resting on the scales. If you still do use it, the studs easily catch the flesh of your finger pad. This also happens with the jimping on the flipper and the web of your hand between the index and thumb(why put jimping there at all?) Clearly, flipping is the intended method of use. The G10 scales have some sharp edges. These can be easily fixed with some sand paper, same thing for the (again) jimping that is a tad too aggressive in the handle. Although its easy enough to fix, you shouldn’t have to do any of this on a +USD200 knife.

Finally, maybe the thing that bothers me the most but doesn’t seem to be bothering others: The KVT ball-bearing opening system. Yes, its supposed to be super smooth but with the strong locking bar that slows it anyway I just don’t see the point vs traditional washers. You don’t really gain anything over correctly worn in phosphor bronze washers, while being less abuse resistant. Don’t get me wrong, it will work for cutting your entire life if you look after it. But washers are stronger if you even need to pry with your ZT. Can you pry with your ZT0560 if you need it? Yes you can, you can pry the hell out of it. If it wasn’t the case I wouldn’t have bought the knife and I wouldn’t be writing this. Its just that with the ball-bearing system you are more likely to deform the titanium contact surface. Washers are simply tougher and I always prefer tougher.

But I read that this knife sucked…

I always do a lot of research before buying anything, especially when I’m spending this kind of money on a knife.

As good as the ZT0560/0561 may be, its not perfect. Many users have reported problems with the steel being too soft, rolling or chipping. After researching some more it seems the problem was with the heat treatment of the earlier version around 2012 or so. In some cases, sharpening the knife fixed the problem (soft metal on the outside, but ok on the inside) in others the heat treatment itself was the problem and the knife needed to be sent back for replacing the blade. Even in the early models, this was very rare and most people were extremely happy with the performance of Elmax steel. These last few years such a problem is unheard of as far as I know.

If you want something similar, a bit smaller, a lot cheaper and without the KVT system, check out the ZT0566.

Zero Tolerance 0566BW Hinderer Folder BlackWash Knife with SpeedSafe $159.47

You have a knife that have the same great built quality, ELMAX steel, but a 3.25 inch blade rather than 3.75 with Speed Safe assisted opening system.


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”.

The Poor Man’s Guide To Survival Gear

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The Poor Man’s Guide To Survival Gear   It will be to your distinct advantage to know which cheap survival gear is available and actually worth the dollars you’ll spend on it. If you can save money without sacrificing too much quality, there’s a good argument to be made for going for the cheaper alternative. But what …

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Survival 101: Put together a basic food stockpile

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Dry Organic Whole  Wheat Pasta, 99.9% Ethanol and a Super Cat Stove.

Food is critical for survival. That’s no secret. Air, water, food and shelter, those are the rules. Although air related preps do exist (respirators) and are critical (try not breathing for a few minutes see how that works out for you) its pretty much all around you all the time. Shelter is key as well. Exposure kills, but we have evolved a good bit and its not as hard to find adequate clothing and shelter although both are vast survival topics. Something similar goes on with water. Yes, water is essential and water purification itself is tremendously important. I’ve been without running water and its no fun. Far worse than not having power.

Now food. Food’s the thing. You need air every few seconds, you need water every few hours, and food too you need every day. But the thing about food is that even today it’s a) not as plentiful, not when compared to water let alone air b) Its far more expensive.

Lack of food is the thing that has killed millions throughout history. It still does. Its easy today to lose perspective of how important it is but in places like Venezuela where most barely have a couple servings of food in storage, they know the truth.

I never went through anything quite that bad but got a bit of a taste of it myself in Argentina, especially right after the economic collapse. All of a sudden all prices doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled. Suddenly it became damn hard to buy anything. Its ok if you have a hard time buying a new phone of stupid crap like that but having a hard time buying enough food to keep you going is serious business. What are you going to do? Ask friends and family? (Who happen to be going through the same thing themselves)? Beg? Eat out of the trash? Oh wait, you’ll grow your own right. That’s nice, and by all means do, but let me tell you one thing: When things are SO bad that a country can’t get its act together to keep rice and oil stocked, then finding seeds/fertilizer/supplies/tools and the long etc needed for gardening is almost impossible. If anything having a garden helps, but it not a solution to the food problem. There’s a reason why when famines occur millions die. Very few people are truly self-reliant food wise, and even those that are they need a good amount of supplies and infrastructure to keep their operation running long term. Now if you’re one of those fully self-sufficient persons in all aspects of survival including food production then more power to you. If you’re just another mere mortal wondering how to tackle this issue in a simple manner keep reading.


Lentils, Canned Olive oil and whole Grain Rice

Crunching numbers…

I’m no cook. I’m no Mr. Pantry either. Some people love the food and cooking side of prepping but that aint me. Like any Argentine worth his salt I can cook any dead animal with charcoal or firewood and I make a mean pizza, but other than that and a handful of basic recipes that it. This is more about having calories to keep you alive. So with that in mind here’s the idea: Stores are closing, there wont be any power, what do you stock up today to keep you alive? Oh, to make things interesting, its just one food item you can pick. The rest you will have to pick yourself, grow, trade for /work for or buy later down the road. Now some folks with go for bulk red winter wheat and that’s fine, but I’ll go with this: dry pasta. Its basically the same thing as flour, only that already processed into a form that is easy to cook. Its cheap, lasts for years, cooks in 5 minutes and keeps you alive. A pack of pasta can cost about .50 cents. Around here you can get somewhat nicer organic whole grain pasta made in Italy for 1.50. This may not be the cheapest, but its affordable and good quality. Each pack has 500gr of pasta, enough for four servings. For 60 servings, enough for two months, that’s 15 pack of pasta or 7.5 kilos, which costs 22.5 Euros (roughly the same in dollars in USA). Caloric wise 100gr of pasta gives you 350 calories, which means 875 calories worth of pasta per day which isnt even close to the 2000 calories you need per day. You either need to have either four servings rather than just two per day, or (more likely ) complement your diet with something else. Rice and lentils would be my suggestion (they will need more fuel for cooking though), and plenty olive oil over whatever fresh vegetables you manage to procure. Realistically speaking though two servings of pasta per day makes sense to crunch the numbers for a basic staple that will be supplemented with other food, but a pack of 500gr a day per person is doable and this gives you either food to eat four meal of a day, or more clever, eat two and trade the other two for something else so as to vary your diet. A pack of 500gr a day per person costs 45 bucks a month, still very doable, and where using the more expensive type of pasta that costs twice as much compared to the cheaper store brand. In most American Walmart you have Great value spaghetti going for $2.07 for 908gr. (2lbs). Buying 17 packs per person should be enough for a month (eating or trading) which is just 35.19USD a month. I get it, you wont eat pasta all day for the rest of your life, but at this rate a year supply of pasta is $422.28, 1800 calories a day. In case youre wondering, you can live on that. Thin, but alive. Throw in some fruit, vegetables or multivitamins to cover vitamin C requirements and avoid scurvy and you’ll be better than you imagine. With pasta as your main staple and little else to round up a more balanced nutritional diet a dollar a day per person is possible when buying bulk.

So pasta rocks. It keeps you alive, its dirt cheap, lasts for years (decades if stored away from bugs and humidity in a sealed container) and it cooks fast. Now if the world is ending, or a bit less tragic if you go Venezuela, how are you going to cook it if you don’t have electricity? A Super Cat stove and alcohol is a viable solution. Lets crunch those numbers then. You need 50ml of alcohol to get a pot of water boiling for 5-6 minutes. If you do this twice a day that’s 100ml per day, or 3 litres per month. Around here a bottle of 250 ml of 99.9% ethanol costs 0.7 cents, so its 2.8 Euros per liter. 8.4 Euros of fuel per month, 100.8 Euros a year.

This is of course and oversimplification of a topic that is pretty complex but having food in your belly makes all the difference in the world. With a dollar a day per person and 110 USD worth of fuel for cooking having 6 to 12 months worth of food really isnt as hard as some people believe it to be.


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”.