Prep Blog Review: Food Lessons For Survival

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It’s survival food time again! From how to grow your own vegetables, to how to stockpile correctly, this topic never gets old, and it’s one of my favorites, too.

Starting with a few food lessons from the Great Depressions, and continuing with some emergency food preparedness basic, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered five useful articles on this topic.

  1. 10 Food Lessons From the Great Depression

“A time wracked with suicide and fear the great depression was a holly terror on the nation.

Many people exclaim that the crash of 2008 cost them everything. The truth is that the “everything” of 2008 was very different than the everything of 1930. Mothers left alone by their husbands to feed children while living in doorways. Losing children to disease or hunger and not having a dime to help them, nor a way to procure one.

All that terror aside the emulsification of cultures and despair in America during the depression created everlasting practices in the management and creation of food. The type of meals that remind you of your grandmother and her dinner table. Many of these meals are still popular today. Many of the methods are used widely as well.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. Emergency Food Preparedness Basics Every Prepper Should Know

“Emergency Food Preparedness is essential for every prepper to have. In this video we will be talking about the 3 different types of emergency food preps that essential for survival.”

Video first seen on Smart Prepper Gear.

  1. 13 Direct Vegetables to Direct Sow

“To direct sow your seeds just means to plant your seed outdoors in the garden where it will grow instead of starting the seeds indoors in containers under lights.

If you live in a warm climate, you can direct sow almost any crop. Those of you who garden in colder areas either begin sowing seeds indoors under lights or purchase seedlings form a green house that can be transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost is past. If we don’t start some crops ahead og time, there isn’t enough time to produce a harvest before our first fall frost.”

Read more on Grow A Good Life.

  1. How to get Your Chicken to Lay More Eggs

“Does it seem that your egg collection is decreased or that your hens aren’t laying as they once did? Or the yolks are pale and lackluster, lacking the nutrients they should provide? When the chickens are part of a plan for independent living or as a structured food supply, this can put a damper on things and thwart being able to rely on them as a nutritional resource.

It can be a catastrophic event in a survival situation to have your chickens stop producing a crucial food source.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Perennial Plants that Produce Food Year After Year

“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.”

Read more on Prep for SHTF.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Take The Advantage Of Growing Hydroponic Plants!

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.

But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.

You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.

Here are just a few advantages of growing hydroponic plants.

Plants Grow Faster and Yield More Fruit

Studies show that plants grown hydroponically grow 30-50 percent faster than soil-grown plants and also yield more fruit. This is probably because there is a constant supply of water and the nutrients are delivered straight to the roots throughout the day.

Since the plant doesn’t have to search through the soil and break the nutrients down in order to absorb them, it’s free to use that extra energy to grow and produce.

Also, there is generally more oxygen in water than there is in soil. This helps the plant absorb nutrients faster and it also promotes root growth.

No Weeding

Since you’re controlling the medium and you only plant what you want in it, you’re not going to be dealing with weeds, and if you do manage to get a couple weed seeds blown or carried in, they’re easy to pluck out, roots and all.

This saves you time, and prevents the plant from fighting with weeds for nutrients and water.

You Control the Nutrients and pH

One of the biggest problems that we face when we grow plants in dirt is that we’re often at the mercy of the quality of the soil. Without sending it off to be tested, it’s tough to tell what nutrients are in your soil and how acidic it is.

Since some plants prefer a more acidic soil and others prefer neutral or base soil, you’ll find that some plants grow better in your soil than others.

With a hydroponics system, you take all of the guesswork out of the growing process because you control the amount and type of nutrients as well as the pH. This is another reason that plants are healthier and more productive.

You Know What you’re Eating

You really don’t know what’s in your soil even if you’ve lived there for 20 years because pesticides, chemicals, and even acid rain can contaminate it with all sorts of harmful materials. When you grow your plants using the hydroponics method, you know exactly what’s in the food that you eat.

Year-Round Fruit

Because there’s no dirt to mess with, hydroponic systems are exceptionally easy to manage indoors or in a greenhouse, which means that you can have fresh produce year-round.

If you get sick of growing tomatoes, just switch them out and grow some basil to go with them. Since your plants will also yield more fruit, you’ll really ramp up your production.

Indoor/Outdoor Options

We just mentioned that hydroponic systems are easily adapted to indoor growth, and there is more than one reason why that’s a good thing. First, you don’t have to go out in the rain or heat to tend your plants, or look at a snow-covered, barren garden in the winter.

That’s great, but what about security? If you’re growing plants inside, nobody will know what you’re doing. In hard times, when you’re trying to survive, this can be a deal-changer. And you don’t necessarily need much room for an indoor hydroponics system, either.

As a matter of fact, we’ve tried on, the Plug & Farm Towers can be mounted against a wall and only extends about 6 inches from the wall. It’s only a few feet wide and tall, but is designed so that you maximize your growing space. You can use it in an apartment or even a slightly large closet as long as you have the necessary lighting.

Less Space

Unlike traditional soil growing techniques, hydroponic systems lend themselves nicely to growing in stacked trays. I’ve seen many setups that range in size from the Plug & Farm Towers to ones that consist of 5 or 6 layers of trays that are several feet wide with a couple of feet between each layer.

If you use a gravity system, you can get quite clever with your angles so that each layer trickles down to the next, then is fed back up to the top again. Even using a hydroponics system that large, you’ll still be using very little water in the scheme of things.

Vertical crops

Soil Quality Doesn’t Matter

This one sort of goes without saying since you’re not using soil. To drive home the point, though, I live in Florida and the soil is extremely sandy, with just a bit of loam on the top. Tomatoes grow OK here in that, but they’re merely compared to ones that I grew in the rich soil of West Virginia.

However, if I use a hydroponics system, I don’t have to worry about soil quality. If you pair this with an indoor growing system, you can grow pretty much anything.

Lower Water Requirements

Any plant needs water because that’s how it absorbs nutrients.

Now, of course we can’t give an exact number here because the US has such a wide variety of soils and rainfall amounts, but in soil that’s not too wet or too dry, and grown in conditions that aren’t miserably hot with low humidity, it will take about 20 gallons of water per week to water a 32 square foot garden. That’s a garden that’s roughly 5 feet x 6 feet.

Now, if you have to water an area that large using a hydroponics system, you’re going to use as little as 1/4 of that. Maybe less if you’re filtering and oxygenating the water, because it’s a re-usable source.

In other words, with a soil garden, you’re going to be using 80 gallons per week, but in a hydroponics garden, you’re going to be using that initial watering (5 – 7 gallons) over and over again.

When you’re in a survival situation, that’s a huge difference in the amount of something that you need to live! In essence, that saves you an extra 15 gallons just in the first week, and, even assuming you lose a couple of gallons to evaporation weekly, you’ve still saved at least 40 gallons. That’s enough water for almost two people over a month!

Diseases and Pests are Easier to Get Rid Of

The way that many diseases and pests attack your plants to begin with is via soil. So, since you’re eliminating soil, you’re also eliminating much of the risk of your plants becoming infected. And one of the main reasons that pests and diseases are so hard to get rid of if you DO get them in soil-grown plants is because they hide in the soil and keep reinfecting your plants.

With a hydroponics system, there is no dirt to hold the pest or disease, so they’re easier to get rid of if you are unfortunate enough to contract them in the first place.

Greater Variety

Since you’re no longer dependent on soil quality or large land areas, and you can easily use a hydroponics system to grow year-round in a greenhouse or indoors, you can grow basically whatever you want.

You can also experience three or even four growth cycles (depending on what you’re growing), so even if you have a smaller growing area, you can grow one plant this cycle, and another plant the next cycle.

Physically Easier to Grow and Harvest

You can grow your plants at whatever height is comfortable to you – just build your system accordingly. That means that you don’t have to bend over on your hands and knees like you do when growing a traditional garden.

You don’t have to weed the garden, either, at least not on any serious level. If you do need to pick out a few, they pull out easily because their roots aren’t buried in dirt.

Now that you have a few really good reasons to try a hydroponics system to grow your fruits and vegetables, get started! We’ve provided a link to one that we’ve personally tested. It’s efficient, easy to assemble, and simple to use.

It’s also big enough to make a nice wall garden outside, but small enough to use inside even a small apartment. And with only 10 minutes a day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

This Is The Smart Way To Invest In Food!

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The Smart Way To Invest In Food

Remember when Mom or Grandma would send you to the pantry or down to the basement to grab another jar of pickles or peanut butter? There were probably at least a couple of extra jars behind the one that you grabbed.

That’s because they lived through times when having backup food meant the difference between eating and going hungry. They had it “just in case.” Do you practice this? If not, you should.

We live in unsure times. The United States economy is by far the largest in the world; more than twice that of China, the world’s second largest economy. US money and goods support the global economy to the point that if we suffer an economic collapse, we take the rest of the world down with us.

But there’s one solid way to hedge your future – a basic commodity that everybody will always need: food.

Considering the state of the nation right now, an economic collapse is just as likely as not – maybe even more likely. The crazy explosion in the US monetary system and the instability of our government doesn’t just make it possible that we’ll face hyperinflation in the near future – it practically guarantees it.

Food costs are going to keep increasing and in the case of an economic collapse, will quickly increase to the point that foods that are barely affordable to many households now, such as meat, will be completely out of reach. The price of many “affordable” foods such as sauces, pasta, rice, sugar and flour will likely increase to the point that they’ll barely be affordable, assuming they’re available.

Until recently, the primary concern for most of us was economic collapse, with governmental collapse being a peripheral concern. Now, in these uncertain times, either – or both – is increasingly likely. Both would bring about life-altering circumstances that would dethrone the current money-based system in favor of a barter system.

Guess what that does to all those stocks, bonds, and savings accounts (and for that matter, cash) when that happens: they become worthless. But do you know what gains value exponentially? Food. And to a lesser extent, hygiene products. Investing in both will give you the tools you need to barter, survive, and even thrive.

No matter how poor somebody is, they’ll always need to eat. That doesn’t mean that you should gouge them. It just means that you’ll have a commodity that will be of value to everybody.

So, investing in food is the way to go. Even if you only invest in it passively, without ever selling a single noodle of it, you’ll still be saving much more by buying food for tomorrow at today’s prices than many investments that most of us can afford would yield. The longer you eat food bought at today’s prices, the more money you’ll save.

Food costs, with the exception of fresh fruit, decreased for the first time in years from December of 2015 – December of 2016, but that isn’t anticipated to continue. The USDA anticipated a hike in 2017 based on stable conditions – in other words, before the political climate changed so radically. Essentially, you have the chance right now to buy at bargain basement prices and put off buying when the prices go up.

So, how do you invest in food? Well, there are several different ways, and you can do it, at least to a certain degree, no matter where you live or how much money you have.

Considerations to the Return on Your Investment

Unless you have a huge farm with numerous gardens and storage spaces, and a lot of money to feed livestock and grow fresh produce, you have some challenges. That’s OK. You just need to work with what you have and find a proper way to secure your future.

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Space

This is probably the biggest limitation that you may face. If you live in a 1-bedroom apartment in an urban environment, the only space you may have is a closet and some cabinets. That’s fine. Make the most of what space you have by stockpiling a variety of staple foods and hygiene items.

Even the cabinet under your bathroom sink will hold more hygiene products than you might think. The more you can buy now at a lower price, the more you’ll save. Utilize your space well, buying products that you’ll use, and that will last.

Shelf Life

No matter how much space you have, shelf life is always a consideration. If you buy enough food to meet your needs for five years but it expires in two, you’ve wasted your resources.

Allocate your money responsibly and with forethought. Know how much you and your household eat monthly/annually. Use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method and store food in a way that will preserve it for as long as possible.

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What Types of Food You Can Store

While you can save a ton of money on buying extra boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter, there are some types of foods that will save you more than others.

For instance, meat, eggs, and dairy prices are anticipated to increase significantly more than cabinet foods but they don’t have much of a shelf-life. Consider your resources and storage capabilities when you plan your shopping.

Methods to Help You Invest in Food

Now that you know what you need to consider when you’re investing in food, let’s talk about ways to help you invest better so that you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Buy a Freezer

Milk, meat, and eggs just aren’t shelf-stable as-is, but they’re the top foods that increase quickly in cost. You do have some options. All of these products have canned or powdered options that have excellent shelf lives.

You can also can your own meat and butter, and you can buy a freezer to store up to a year’s worth of food. Believe it or not, all dairy is freezable.

Many people are worried about lack of electricity in the event of a collapse and avoid freezers, but the odds of complete electric failure are pretty slim if you have an alternative power source. Most meats and dairy store frozen for up to six months, or even a year. Also the cost of a freezer, if you have a proper place where you can put one, will be covered by the savings in a short time.

2. Build a Food Storage Space

If you have the space, build or buy an extra food/supply shed. The money that you save in food and necessaries will pay for it in very little time.

3. Use Coupons and Sales

If you combine coupons and sales, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can build a stockpile for next to nothing. It’s a matter of paying attention to what’s on sale.

For instance, today I bought 6 bottles each of ketchup, shampoo, and laundry detergent for $13 total. My total savings was $24. And that doesn’t even count what I’ll save by not buying later when the price is higher.

All three are products that I use and that would be valuable if something happens and I need to barter, so there’s no way I can lose.

4. Buy Popular, Necessary Products

There are some foods and products that everybody just has to have. Examples: flour, green beans, tampons, deodorant, etc. Don’t buy a ton of lima beans if they’re on sale unless you really love them because they’re not a popular food. Sometimes there’s a reason things are on clearance – nobody else wanted to buy it!

Also, if you’re preparing for a bartering situation, alcohol and tobacco are going to be premium, in-demand products. Cigarettes are brutally expensive, but loose tobacco and rolling papers are fairly inexpensive and, as long as they’re sealed in air-tight containers, have a long shelf-life.

Regarding alcohol, remember that it’s not just for drinking – you can make tinctures and clean wounds and first-aid tools with it, too. Having extra vodka or bourbon is never a bad thing.

5. Buy Healthy Products

For some reason, people seem to want to pile in the boxes of cookies and cans of spaghetti-o’s because they’re cheap and delicious, but have no (or little) dried eggs, milk, canned meats, or meal stretchers such as flour and rice.

Think healthy. It’s important that you buy foods that you like – and cheap is good, too – but remember that you may be depending on your stockpile for survival. Stock up with healthy foods, too.

Also, canned milk, eggs, flour, rice, and other similar products are extremely versatile. You can eat or drink them as-is, or you can use them in recipes to make other products such as bread, cakes, side dishes, etc.

6. Buy in Bulk

This is our final point today, and it’s a big one because you may not need 20 pounds of flour or sugar now, but will you use it eventually? Of course you will, and it really doesn’t go bad as long as it’s stored properly.

A 20-pound bag of sugar often costs only a few bucks more than a 5-pound bag. Same with sugar. Compare cost per unit instead of just thinking of one being more expensive than the other. Dollars to donuts, bulk is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than smaller portions.

Now that you have some ideas about how to invest in food, start planning, then start buying. You can have a great stockpile built up in no time even if you just buy stuff that’s on sale buy-one-get-one-free and put back the extra. It adds up quickly, and you’ll have a nice nest egg sitting in your pantry or basement!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

11 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In Bad Weather

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

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

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

Wear a Full-Face Helmet

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

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

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

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

Have Good Boots

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

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

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

Wear a Sturdy Coat Designed for Riding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carry Survival Tools

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

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

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

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Wear Gloves

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

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

Wear Chaps

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

Avoid Road Paint and Other Road Debris

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

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

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

Look Ahead

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

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

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

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Ride Staggered

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

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

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

Keep Bike in Good Repair

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

Slow Down

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

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

Ride safe, and keep the shiny side up!

Stay safe and prepared! Click the banner below to grab this offer TODAY!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Survivopedia_Hot_Water_From_Your_Wood_Stove

Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Kitchen: How To Revive Cast Iron Cookware

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SVP cast iron skillet final

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

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

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

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

How to Find Quality Cast Iron

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

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

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

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

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

What to Look For

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Revive Old Cast Iron

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

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

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

Video first seen on Tasty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: 50+ Natural Heal-Anything Cures

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Heal Anything

Without access to modern pharmaceuticals and medical care, your own life and the lives of your loved ones will be at risk in the aftermath of a disaster.

Your health should be number one priority in a survival situation, and when it comes to medical preparation for a post-disaster scenario, natural remedies are the safest way to go.

For this week’s Prep blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic. From plants and herbs you can grow in your own garden, or even indoors, to natural ingredients you stockpile in your pantry I present you 50+ natural heal-anything remedies.

1. 7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

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“There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

2. 5 More Useful Plants for Herbal First Aid

“Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) – Mullein is well known as an ingredient in topical oils meant for the ears, but it’s a good plant to have on hand for a number of other things. For respiratory support, it’s traditionally used for dry, irritated coughs where there may be a feeling of tightness in the lungs. It’s also very useful as a muscular and skeletal support herb! Part of this is because mullein has a reputation for being very lubricating for joints and tissues, and it was traditionally thought of as a pain relief herb especially suited for cramps, spasms, and physical injuries. It’s a lymphatic herb that supports the immune system.
Herbal Actions: expectorant, demulcent, antispasmodic, vulnerary, lymphatic”

Read more on Indie Herbalist.

3. 5 Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

oregon_grape_forage“The crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.

Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.”

Read more on Survival Cache.

4. 46 Effective Home Remedies and Natural Cures for UTI

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“Here’s a sad health fact: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the 2nd most common infection in the body. According to NIDDK, there are at least 8 MILLION cases of UTI every year!

This inspired me to come up with this MASSIVE and IN-DEPTH article about Urinary Tract Infection which includes a visual how-to guide about 46+ home remedies for UTI.

I encourage you to learn about UTI, know its causes and symptoms, then dive right into the comprehensive and informative list of remedies that you can definitely apply at home!”

Read more on Ultimate Home Remedies.

5. Emergency Wound Care: When All You Have Is In Your Pantry

herbal-medicine

“Without access to hospitals and emergency medical care during off-grid emergencies, a simply infection from wounds can become life-threatening. Having knowledge of alternative medical treatments using natural wound therapies could save a life.

Years ago, the Mrs. and I made a major move.  We had a specific timetable to adhere to, and as we were moving ourselves, efficiency was the word that exemplified our overall goals.

About an hour before we were going to batten down the hatches and hit the road, she slipped and slammed her shin on the edge of the moving van’s bumper: a combination of a laceration and abrasion, as well as potential for a broken bone.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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New To Prepping? Here’s Where To Start From

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New To Prepping

Bit by bit, the ranks of preppers are growing all the time. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the government can’t protect them and doesn’t even do a very good job of providing support in the aftermath of a disaster. Oh, they throw money at it, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

Every new prepper is faced with the same problems and the same questions they have to answer for themselves. It’s not that there’s no information available for new preppers to use, it’s that there’s too much information.

Check online for prepping or survival and you’ll find an enormous amount of information, not all of which agrees with other sources. Wading through all that and finding the information that one needs can be a daunting task.

You might very well be one of those newbies; someone who has just decided to look at prepping for the first time. If so, welcome to one of the most important movements in our country today.

Prepping is an individual journey that each of us take, with no two walking exactly the same path. Yet we are preppers together, part of a fellowship of like-minded people who have decided that it’s time to do something for themselves.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that just looking at information isn’t enough. Being a prepper means taking action; preparing yourself and your family for whatever problem or disaster might come your way. Preppers believe in self-sufficiency; trusting in themselves in an emergency, not in the government.

But where does one begin? Of all the things that one can do to become more prepared, which one or ones are the most important? What does one have to do, in order to truly be prepared?

These questions are complicated by the fact that each person’s situation is unique. Oh, we all have things in common, but we also have our own needs, our own family, our own skills, our own resources and our own risks that we face. So cookie cutter prepping doesn’t work. Each person has to determine what their own needs are and how to best meet them.

Even so, there are some things we should all do at the beginning; things to get us on the road to becoming better prepared. The first steps we need to take on this journey may not be what you’re thinking. In fact, I’d be surprised if many preppers thought about these steps, before walking along the path for a ways.

Educate Yourself

It’s easy to think of prepping as just stockpiling supplies for a rainy day. That’s actually where most of us start off. Whether we just buy a couple of bags of beans and rice or go hog wild buying prepackaged survival food, squirreling food away for a rainy day seems like an almost instinctive act; something we easily gravitate towards, as a starting point for our prepping.

There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and in fact you need to do so; but before you start stockpiling, it’s a good idea to know what to stockpile. Not all foods keep well, nor do all of them provide the right nutrition to get you through an emergency. Take some time to research, before running off to the grocery store.

While you’re at it, you need to research much more than just what foods to stockpile. Our modern society doesn’t prepare us well for survival. If anything, it prepares us to die blaming others. But you can’t count on those others to help you survive. They don’t know how to either.

Our ancestors of 200 years ago were much better suited for survival than we are. For them, every year was about survival. They either stockpiled enough preserved food and cut enough firewood to make it through winter or they died. There weren’t too many other options available. Their lives were simpler, their needs and wants more closely associated with surviving and they had the skills they needed to take care of themselves.

There are a wide range of skills that you need to learn, some of which you might actually already know. If you like to go camping and spend time in the outdoors, you’re off to a good start, as the skills associated with those activities are closely related to survival skills.

Remember that a knife is a must have tool for outdoor survival as it helps you hunt, make shelter, start a fire and defend yourself.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Hunting, fishing, and starting a fire are all good survival skills. But you’ll also need to know how to grow food in your garden, purify water and defend your home as well.

For preppers, learning isn’t something that begins or ends, it’s just something that is. We start out learning about survival when we get into prepping, and we keep on learning for the rest of our lives. There’s always some new skill or information to learn; all of which is ultimately useful.

Develop a Survival Mentality

Most people tend to look at survival as a physical activity; but it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to have the right attitude to survive or no matter what you do, you’ll fail.

What do I mean by the right attitude? I mean the attitude of a survivor. You have to be convinced that you’ll survive. You have to be convinced that you’ll overcome. You need to be convinced that you can do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family alive.

Here in America we’re protected from many of the harsher realities of life. Few Americans have had to kill and prepare their own food. Unless you’re a hunter; you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how to kill and clean a chicken for dinner, let alone how to properly field dress and butcher a deer or other large animal. But if it’s not done properly, the meat from that animal can be tainted in the process.

But you know the hardest part of killing and preparing that animal? It’s getting over the idea of having to do it. Most of us are squeamish when it comes to things like that; squeamish to the point that we’d die before killing that chicken.

Family food

Yet for millennia our ancestors hunted, killed and ate their own game, without the slightest bit of squeamishness. Men would bring the game home from their hunt, and their wives would clean and cook the animals. They didn’t throw up; they didn’t feel funny about it; they did it, and they enjoyed the meal that they prepared.

For us, here in America, overcoming the imprint of our society and accepting the needs of survival is paramount to being able to survive. Most have to do so at a moment’s notice, when they are faced with their first disaster. But those who develop a survival mentality learn to make the adjustment at their leisure, when it’s easier to do so.

Interestingly enough, attitude is so important to survival, that every military manual on survival starts off with a section on attitude. When you consider the amount of money and effort that goes into the preparation of those manuals, that one single fact is rather telling. Attitude is key to survival.

Analyze Your Family’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each of us has a different family, with different strengths and weaknesses. Some family members might have skills or abilities which easily translate to a survival setting. Others have special needs that have to be considered when making our survival planning. Typically, we find a bit of each in our families.

Surviving as a lone wolf is much harder than surviving as part of a team. In a team, each individual is able to take part of the load, helping each other. With each one learning the necessary skills and doing part of the necessary tasks, not only does the work become easier; but more importantly, the chances of the team’s survival becomes greater.

Your family is your first survival team. Even if you join with others, in a larger survival team, your family is still the core of your personal team. As such, it’s important that you understand what your family is capable of doing, what it is capable of learning, and even more importantly, what you might need others to do for you, because you are incapable of learning to do it for yourself.

As part of this, you also need to analyze the assets you have at your disposal.

Do you have a vacation home somewhere, that you could use as a survival retreat if you needed to? Do you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle? Do you have enough land to turn your home into a homestead? Do you have camping equipment? How much money do you have available to use for prepping? What tools do you have, which will help you survive? Does your home have a fireplace? All of this, and more, will ultimately affect your ability to survive.

This process of analyzing your family will ultimately tell you what you need to do, in order to get from where you are today, to where you need to be. But don’t just do it once; from time to time you should reanalyze the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Decide What Risks You Face

Prepping is ultimately about being ready to face a disaster, whether that’s a personal disaster, a regional disaster or a nationwide disaster. The problem is, none of us know the disaster that we are going to face. That makes prepping a little bit difficult.

But not knowing doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare. It just means that we prepare for likelihoods, rather than certainties. In other words, while it’s safe to say with certainty that we’ll all face some sort of disaster, sometime in our lives, what exact disaster we might face is nothing more than a likelihood.

So, the thing you need to do is figure out what the most likely disasters are, that you are going to face. That stats with figuring out what possible disasters you could face, ranging all the way from loss of a job to a zombie apocalypse, with natural disasters and the loss of the electrical grid in between. Don’t leave anything out at this point, as all you’re really doing is brainstorming possibilities.

Once you have your list of possible disasters, you need to give each of them two scores, say on a scale of one to five. The first scale is how likely you feel it is that you’ll actually face that disaster. The second scale is how much of an impact that disaster would have on your life. Some disasters, such as a zombie apocalypse might have an extremely low likelihood, earning it a one on that scale, but an extremely high impact, should it actually happen, earning it a five on that scale.

SVP prepping

(Note: The term TEOTWAWKI is commonly used by preppers to stand for “The end of the world as we know it.” This does not mean the literal end of the world, but rather, the end of our  modern lifestyle that we are accustomed to.)

Combining the two scores gives you a number from 2 to 10. That number is the one you use to prioritize considering that particular disaster in your planning. The way that usually works out, is that we concentrate on the highest ones and ignore the lower ones.

But in preparing for the highest ones, we are probably going to be prepared for whatever happens with the lower ones.

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you have to work with and what you’re likely to face, you can start your survival planning. Once again, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life. Everything you learn has the potential to change and improve your plans.

Your plan needs to define what you will do in each of the potential disaster situations you are likely to encounter, especially the high likelihood, high impact ones. You will find that there will be some overlap between different scenarios, but there will also be things that are unique to each one.

From this, you can determine how much you need to stockpile, whether it’s for a month, six months, a year or the rest of your life. You’ll also be able to determine the best place for your family to survive, in a variety of different situations. In many of those scenarios, you’ll be better off sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But there might also be some which require you to bug out and go to a survival retreat somewhere.

Don’t expect that you’ll get everything right the first time around. You will most likely forget some items, because of being focused on other needs. That’s okay. As you continue to study, you’ll find the places you need to fill in, to make your survival plans and your stockpile more complete.

Prepping is a process, not a destination. You’ll probably never reach that point of perfection, where you sit back and say to yourself: “Self, I’ve arrived. I’m ready for anything.”

But rather, you’ll gain more and more confidence that you can take care of yourself and your family, no matter what comes your way. Each little step will give you and your family more security, and ultimately, that’s what prepping is all about.

A good knife is the most important tool you can have with you. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Storing Ammo: A Guide For Preppers

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Storing Ammo

When most people think about organizing their ammo stockpiles, they do so based on cartridge or shell type. For example, if you have four or five different types of ammo, you may be inclined to store them all in separate containers.

While this method seems practical at first glance, you may find that other methods will work better. In particular, you should not keep all ammo of the same type together in the same location.

Let’s say you have five different ammo types, and ten boxes of each one. You also have five ammo cans that you can use to store the ammo. Instead of putting all of one type in each can; put only two boxes of each type per can. In this way, you will have five cans of diversified ammo.

Here’s why this arrangement has a few advantages:

  • If you have to move quickly, grabbing even one can will ensure that you have at least some ammo for any gun that you are able to bring along.
  • It will be much easier to store your ammo in different locations without having to worry about which one holds the ammo you need at some point in the future. As long as you are able to retrieve one can, you will know that you have at least some usable ammo on hand.
  • You will find it much easier to practice with all of your weapons on a regular basis. Just make it a point to use all of the ammo in each can and you will never have a gun laying around that hasn’t been fired in years because you put the ammo in some place that isn’t easy to get to, or worse yet, you forgot the location.

What a Good Storage Location Is

Good storage locations for ammo aren’t as easy to find as you might think. Many people try to bury ammo stockpiles under their home, stash boxes behind closet walls, and even put ammo cans under their bed. While these places may be safe, dry, and cool, they are also the first places thieves, rioters, and others will look if they invade your home.

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When hiding ammo, you should make it your business to find locations that:

  • Are easy to defend. It is very important to make sure that you can arrange zones of fire around your stockpile. Always consider that people may stumble onto your stockpile by accident, or they may even be watching you as you put items in the stockpile or remove them. It is always best to choose a place where you have an advantage in terms of defending the area if needed.
  • Choose a location where you can make more than one entry point. If someone does find your stockpile, you should be able to enter through another location and neutralize the invaders
  • Look for an area where it is safe to destroy the ammo if needed. When you know all is lost, there is no point to letting thieves and rioters steal all you worked so hard for. It is better to have the stockpile in a place where you can destroy it rather than see it be stolen.
  • It should be easy to move the ammunition out of the area and into another one with ease.
  • There should be enough room to expand if needed.
  • You should be able to keep surveillance on the area from a distance without being detected.
  • The area should be hard to spot by satellite or other overhead scanning systems that might be used to locate the stockpile. In addition, you should also be able to get to the location without being easily spotted.
  • High temperatures and moisture are extremely damaging to ammo. Try to pick a place that is as cool and dry as possible. If you have to choose between cool and dry, choose the area that is cool, and then make sure that the ammo itself is packed carefully away in moisture and water proof containers.

Choosing the Right Containers

Today, there are many different kinds of containers that you can use to store ammo.

If you are budget conscious, then go for the metal ammo cans or boxes. You can purchase them new or used at surplus stores as well as at gun shops and gun shows. Before you buy an ammo can, make sure it is free of rust, holes, and other signs of corrosion.

ammunitionThe lid should fit properly and create a waterproof seal.

It may also help to have some extra room in each box, especially if you haven’t purchased all of the guns yet that will be part of your permanent stockpile.

When choosing containers for ammo, think about what will happen in those first hours after a major crisis occurs.

To be fair, if you aren’t on a heavily guarded estate with plenty of supplies and acreage, you might have to leave your home and the majority of your stockpile behind. This is why your ammo storage plans must also include ensuring you can bug out with enough supplies to meet your needs.

Have a dedicated backpack or ammo pouch with at least five boxes of ammunition for the one gun you will absolutely take with you no matter where you go.

If this is your everyday carry gun (a.k.a. EDC), then by all means, go ahead and carry the bug out ammo with you as well. The backpack or pouch should be comfortable to wear and not be noticeable to others. Make sure that the internal pockets are waterproof, yet breathable so that moisture does not collect in the bag.

You will also need to inspect the pack on a regular basis to make sure that the constant weight of heavy ammo rubbing against the fabric does not lead to wear that will let water get into the ammo.

Storing Gunpowder

Many mid to advanced level preppers store away gunpowder in the hopes that they will be able to reload ammo in a time of need.

Storing gunpowder is not as easy or as safe as storing away cartridges and shells. Because gunpowder releases gases upon ignition, you should never store it away in an ammo can.

If the building the can is stored in catches fire, or the temperature reaches a critical point for some other reason, the ammo can will explode and cause major damage.

Also avoid storing gunpowder in the house or in a building for the same reason.

It is best to store gunpowder in a dedicated and well built outdoor magazine where it will be heavily guarded and safe to be around.

Supplies and Equipment to Have Onhand

Overall, there aren’t many supplies that you need to keep on hand to store ammo and keep it in good condition for years on end.

Desiccant

Regardless of where or how long you are storing the ammo away for, each container should have a few packets of desiccant in it. This will help reduce moisture and condensation.

Waterproof Ziploc Bags

Every can should also have a few extra waterproof Ziploc bags and a permanent marker. If a box happens to break or is damaged, then you can always put the cartridges or shells in the bag to keep them safe.

Clean Rags

It is also important to store away clean rags so that you can clean ammo off if needed.

Pull Cart

When you first buy an ammo can, you may not think it is very heavy. By the same token, lifting one or two boxes of ammo may not seem like much. Once you start adding a few dozen boxes to the can, you will find it very hard to push the can from one place to another let alone pick it up to move it.

This is why you will need to have a pull cart or some other kind of wheeled bed that you can use to move ammo cans from one place to another.

The cart should have some kind of pole or extension that you can raise up and use as a post for a pulley system. All you have to do from there is store some rope in the can and a pulley that can be attached to the pole.

At the very least, if you have to lift the ammo can into the back of a truck, you will be able to do so faster and with less risk of injury to yourself or others.

Video first seen on AnalyticalSurvival.

Why Storing Multiple Ammo Caches Is Important

Let’s say you are a homeowner, but you don’t have much property; or you rent an apartment and also don’t have access to much land. Let’s also say that you have decided you are going to bug in regardless of what happens in your local area and in the rest of the country.

Many people that decided to sit it out through a hurricane or other natural disaster can tell you that one bad situation was enough to last them a lifetime.

While some people may have been lucky and got through several storms with no problems, a major social collapse is a very different and far longer lasting scenario. As a result, it is best to try and make at least some bug out plans and factor ammo storage needs into those plans.

Most people that plan to bug out after a major crisis actually have five or six locations that are located at different distances from their current position. These places may be the homes of family members or friends, or even areas where they have visited and feel they can live comfortably.

No matter where people are planning to bug out to, they will usually set up caches of supplies that can be accessed along the way.

When it comes to ammo, small caches like this in multiple and diverse places is just as important as food, water, and medicine. Just make sure that the areas you choose are safe and hard to find by others. If you do leave ammo with friends or family members, make sure that these are people you can trust regardless of what is going on.

Even if you are absolutely certain that you aren’t going to bug out, it will be to your advantage to store away ammo in several different locations.

If you are storing ammo in your own home, make sure that you have five or six locations that are hard to find, and one that is somewhat more visible.

You can use the more visible cache as a means to lure invaders into a zone of fire, or allow it to be taken in the hopes that invaders won’t go looking for the more important items in your stockpile. You can also set up snares and other booby traps that will neutralize invaders.

Never use explosives or anything that will start a fire near the ammo cans or you can wind up making the situation even worse.

Rotate Your Ammo

No matter how carefully you store ammo away, some condensation will always build up, temperatures will change, and the ammo itself will begin to deteriorate. This, in turn, means that you should be using ammo even while you are building up your stockpile.

Always use the oldest ammo first and make sure that you replace it with the same or better quality rounds. For example, if you have about half your stockpile dedicated to rounds with steel casings, do not backtrack and buy more aluminum rounds to replace the used ones. Instead, go for more steel casings or see if you can afford rounds with brass casings.

Keeping your ammo stockpile in a steady state of rotation also helps ensure that you will actually practice shooting. From developing muscle memory to gaining confidence with cleaning and caring for weapons, just about everything starts with shooting on a regular basis.

If you can’t find a reason to go to the range other than rotating your ammo, at least it’s better than not doing any shooting at all.

Inspect the rounds on a regular basis. There are few things worse than having ammo cans sitting in the attic for decades without paying any attention to them. During this time, you may not know about rust that may have developed on jackets and casings.

If you wind up needing decayed rounds, you won’t be able to use them safely. If you rotate ammunition on a regular basis, you will isolate problems quickly and replace ruined ammo with something that you can use in time of need.

Gain as much experience as possible with different kinds of ammo. Once you know what kind of rounds your gun can take, try ammo from different manufacturers.

When you routinely rotate and use part of your stockpile, test out different products and see how they work for you. Later on, if your stockpile is gone or inaccessible, you will know how any ammo you find will work to suit your needs in a self-defense situation.

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7 DIY Ways To Remove Odors From Your Pantry

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Ugh! You open the door to your pantry and your nose is assaulted with the vile smell of rotten produce, spoiled broth that spilled on the back of a shelf, or just plain mustiness. It smells as if it’s seeped into the walls, so how do you remove odors from your pantry without repainting the whole thing?

Surprisingly, you have several options. The first thing you need to do is clean up the mess. Thoroughly.

Until you do that, you’re not going to be able to get the smell out. If it ran down the walls behind the shelf, you may need to clean the wall clear down to the baseboard. Do whatever you need to do to clean it up completely.

Now, you’ve got the mess cleaned up, so how do you make it smell better?

Vinegar

You can always use a bit of vinegar to wipe down the walls and shelves. Just blurp a half-cup of white vinegar into a half-gallon of water and start wiping. This will likely make your pantry smell like vinegar for a bit, but it’s better than rotten potatoes.

Cleaning and wiping with vinegar is also good to get that musty smell out. Dust off the tops of your less-often used containers and just tidy up in general. Most of the time, it’s mildew or dust that gives your pantry that musty smell.

Vinegar can be used to get rid of cooking smells. Leave a small bowl of vinegar in the kitchen or in the pantry overnight to absorb the odors and you can enjoy cooking for your loved ones.

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Bleach

We all know that bleach kills almost anything, including bacteria that cause odors. Use 10 parts water to one part bleach to wipe down your entire pantry, shelves, floors, and walls, and you’ll soon notice that your pantry smells much cleaner.

If the mold and mildew have settled into rough wood, simply put your bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray it over the wood.

Baking Soda

OK, this one is actually best to use as a preventative measure, but placing a couple of boxes of open baking soda around your pantry will help prevent and eliminate most odors. You may want to use this in conjunction with other methods if you’re in a hurry or the odor is particularly offensive.

Change the boxes of baking soda out every few months to keep them working. This also works wonderfully in the fridge and freezer. Just pop the top and set it on a shelf. Baking soda is one of those must-have, multi-use survival items that you just have to have.

odor elim

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have antibacterial properties, and it’s not hard to find one that smells good. Mix several drops (how much depends on how strong you want it to smell. Use the sniff test til you find a ratio that works for you) into a half-gallon or so of water and wash down your entire pantry.

Some good suggestions are orange oil, rose oil, lavender oil, or even tea tree oil or eucalyptus if you like that piney, astringent smell. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar to really get some bang for your buck and knock out nasty odors.

Charcoal

Charcoal is an excellent odor absorber and one that I particularly like because all you have to do is rip the bag open a bit and set it in your pantry. If you’re like me, you go through charcoal pretty regularly because you grill, so the bag doesn’t have time to lose its odor-absorbing qualities.

You can use charcoal in your cabinets, too. Just place a piece of two inside in the back and change it out every few months. Cool trick – if you have a plastic container that smells like onions or garlic, pop a piece of charcoal in it overnight with the lid on it and it will smell tremendously better by morning. The smell will likely be completely gone.

Mineral Oil and Alcohol

To remove stubborn odors from your pantry and condition and seal wood so that it won’t absorb more odors, mix 1 pint of mineral oil with a half-cup of rubbing alcohol and wipe all surfaces with it. Again, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell good.

Lysol

Odors in pantries are typically caused by bacteria or fungi that are feeding of food or moisture and causing rot, mold, or mildew. Lysol, as well as bleach and vinegar, kills 99 percent of these pathogens and will therefore get rid of the odor. The distinct advantage that Lysol has is that it now comes in a variety of pleasant scents.

Lysol comes in mist and spray solution. Use the mist if your pantry just smells a bit musty (it’s handy to keep in the bathroom, too!). Use the cleaning solution if you’re cleaning up rotten produce or if the odor is so pervasive that you have to clean your shelves. Lysol cleaners are great to use when you’re spring cleaning.

Just a word of common sense caution: don’t spray Lysol on your food, especially produce that you’ll be ingesting directly.

Odors in your pantry can spread to your whole kitchen. If nothing else, they’ll assault your olfactory senses every time you open your door. Since the odor can be absorbed by boxed goods and even pastas and other foods, this is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Prep Blog Review: Freeze Drying Or Dehydrating?

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When it comes to food preservation for survival, I am always trying to find the best technique. I want to preserve not only the taste of the, but also the nutrients. Freeze drying and dehydrating are easy techniques that you can do at home.

Are you curious to discover the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating food for survival? In this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Food, With And Without A Machine

how-to-freeze-dry-food-with-and-without-a-machine

“Learning how to freeze dry food is something that’s gaining popularity.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because many preppers are now simply discovering the “long forgotten” art of freeze drying their foods at home.

In truth, freeze drying has been in constant commercial use for generations. Applying it in your home is quit easy, with or without a special machine.”

Read more on BeSurvival.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Your Food In Your Home

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“Learning about the common methods of food preservation is important. When we find ourselves in a situation where food scarcity is on a large scale and the number of people dying because of starvation is rising at an alarming rate, having stocked or preserved food is definitely a life saver.

There are food preservation methods and one of them is through the process of freeze drying. Through vaporization, this process removes the moisture from the food. One of the awesome things about this method is you can save freeze dried food for a lot of years.”

Read more on Survival Life.

  1. How To Freeze Fish For Long-Term Survival

Preserving-fish-for-long-term-survival

“Living in a world where supermarkets are out of business is certainly no easy task. In order to survive in such world, you will be forced to hunt or fish for your food. Fishing for long-term sustenance requires for you to know various methods of preserving fish.

Of all flesh foods, fish is the most susceptible to tissue decomposition, rancidity and microbial spoilage. To prevent your fish from going bad there are some popular solutions that people have been using with great success. Preserving fish can be done through freezing, canning, pickling and smoking.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 6 Rules To Follow When Dehydrating Foods

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“Before you go crazy dehydrating, keep in mind that there are a few rules to follow to ensure food longevity, freshness and prevention of discoloration.

You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable, regardless of quality or ripeness. If something is too ripe and soft, you can always puree it and dry the puree. Although using the best quality fruits and veggies will result in the best quality dried goods, remember that the goal here is preservation, not perfection. So don’t be afraid to dehydrate the bruised, overripe, and slightly damaged goods. Just make sure not to put mold in the dehydrator as it can spread and infect the rest of the foods.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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How To Make Lye At Home

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Making Lye At Home

Knowing how to use what you have on hand to make what you need is one of the hallmarks of a true prepper or homesteader. So is repurposing items and avoiding as much waste as possible.

So, in that frame of mind, what do you do with all the ash left after you build a fire, or dozens of them throughout a winter? Make lye!

There are many uses for lye, chemically named potassium hydroxide. You may also hear it called caustic soda or caustic potash. There are two different chemicals referred to as lye – the type that we’re talking about today that’s made from wood ash, and sodium hydroxide, which is made from salt.

The reason that we’re focusing on the type made from ash is that all of the ingredients that you need to make it are already right there in your house. Actually, you only need two ingredients – water and ash.

That’s it. To make sodium hydroxide, which is a common ingredient in industrial cleaners and caustic products such as drain cleaner, you need carbon electrodes and a power source. Not exactly prepper-friendly.

What’s Lye Used For?

So what, you may ask, is lye used for? Well, several things. First, it’s a necessary ingredient in soap.

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You also need lye to make biodiesel and can use it to adjust the pH of your soil. There are also cooking uses for lye, such as making chocolate and preserving processed foods, but that’s pretty delicate and it’s completely outside my wheelhouse.

Oh, and lye also degrades soft tissues and, given enough time, will soften and break down bone. This was actually a trick used by a famous mobster to dispose of bodies. So on that note, let’s talk about how to safely handle lye.

Handling Lye

You need to exercise extreme caution when using lye because if it comes into contact with your skin, it will almost instantly start interacting with the fatty tissue to turn you into a bar of soap!

Seriously, that’s kinda what happens. Wear goggles because it can – and will – put you blind. It’s a good idea to use gloves and wear long sleeves, too. If you happen to get lye on your skin, pour vinegar on it to neutralize it.

Lye will also erode some metals – specifically aluminum – so be careful what you make it in.

Ingredients Needed to Make Lye

We’ve already discussed that you only need two ingredients to make lye: water and ash. Sounds easy, right? Yes it is, but you can’t use any water and ash or else the lye won’t leech properly out of the ash and it will be too weak to be effective.

Rainwater is the best and cheapest water to use. You don’t want to use tap water regardless of whether it’s city or well because of the minerals and chemicals in it. You can use water distilled using a steam process, but that can get expensive quickly. So, get a nice rainwater catcher and you’re in business.

It’s always a good idea to have rainwater collection vessels anyway, because it can be used as a backup water source or as a source of gray water to wash clothes and water plants. Well now you have yet another use for it.

You can’t use just any ash, either. Well, technically you can, but the soap that’s made from this type of lye made from softwoods and coniferous trees will be soft soap instead of hard soap. Good woods include ash, apple, hickory, beech, cherry, birch, elm, oak, walnut and maple.

You want to use hardwoods for your fires anyway because it burns longer, and we all know that you can’t use pine in your woodburners or fireplaces unless you want the resin to accumulate and burn you out at some point, likely in the middle of the night.

Lye Making Methods

So now that we know what woods and water to use to make the best lye, let’s talk about a couple of methods.

There are three basic ways to make lye at home:

  • the ash bucket method
  • the barrel method
  • the cooking method.

They all three work; it’s just a matter of personal preference and how much effort you’re willing to invest.

We’ll discuss them in the order that I just listed but again, a reminder not to use aluminum containers. Use glass, wood, enamel, stainless steel, or heavy-duty plastic.

One final tip: some of the old timers would add 2 percent or so lime to the ash mixture to make sure it produces a good hard soap. Salt works too, but you add it to the fat during the soap-making process instead of at the lye phase. Use about 2 ½ pints salt to 5 gallons of fat.

The Ash Bucket Method

This is pretty much exactly what the name implies. It’s kind of the lazy prepper’s way of making lye. Add a few cups of hot water directly to your full ash bucket and stir. Make sure you have a second ash bucket to hold your dry ashes! Let it sit for a few hours, stirring every thirty minutes or so.

Use a ratio of about 2 parts water to one part ash. Equal amounts work, too, but don’t exceed a ratio of around 3:1 water to ash if you want your lye to make quickly.

Once you’ve stirred it several times throughout the afternoon, do the egg test. This is a great way to test the alkalinity of your lye water. If you drop the egg in and it sinks, the lye is too weak and you need to let it sit for a while longer. Stirring more frequently may be helpful, too.

The lye has the perfect pH when the egg floats with about a quarter-sized part of it sticking out of the water. If your lye accidentally gets too strong, just add a bit more water. Throw the egg away when you’re done because it’s not edible after coming into contact with the lye.

Once your lye is perfect, pour it slowly and carefully from the ash bucket into another bucket making sure that you don’t pour any of the ashes into the mix.

Video first seen on Eddie Borges.

The Barrel Method

To make lye using the barrel method, you’ll need a water-tight wooden (or stainless steel) barrel and three catch receptacles. Drill several small holes in the bottom of the barrel, then set it up on bricks or blocks that you can get your catch basin underneath of it to collect the lye. Make sure it’s stable – the last thing you want to do is spill lye everywhere.

Line the bottom with a layer of clean stones so that the straw that you’re using in the next step doesn’t clog the holes. Put a thick layer of straw over in the bottom of the barrel, then fill it almost all the way with ash. Pour hot water over it, then remove the container underneath that’s now full of weak lye water.

You’ll have to repeat this process several times, just pouring the used, filtered water over the ash and straw until the lye becomes strong enough. Just so you know, the lye is perfectly fine, but the straw may discolor it a bit by turning it yellow.

After you’ve repeated this process five or six times, do the egg test and continue accordingly.

Alternatively, you can use a barrel with a spigot instead of the holes and just let the water sit in it for several hours and test. When it’s done, just drain the lye out the spigot, leaving the ash residue behind.

The Cooking Method

This method is perfectly acceptable but you need to make sure that the room is well-ventilated just to be on the safe side. We’re going to start the process by adding the ashes and the water to your pot. Bring it to a slow boil or simmer and cook it for a half hour or so, then allow it to cool and do the egg test.

If it’s not strong enough, pour the water over a fresh batch of ashes and repeat until your lye is as alkaline as it needs to be. And be careful that none of it splashes on you as you boil it.

See, now that you know that lye isn’t so hard to make, you can do it yourself whenever you need it as long as you have ashes and rain water, just like our ancestors used to make it.

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Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

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Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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10 Ways To Prepare Your Tractor For Survival

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Prepare Your Tractor For Survival
Homesteaders and farmers recognize the importance of tractors in daily life. These vehicles tend to be very durable, but it’s important to make sure you can still use them in a post-crisis world.

Aside from increasing the number of things you can use the tractor for, taking these steps will also help your tractor last longer and perform better during its lifespan.

Know What the Tractor Can Do

Over the years, I’ve purchased all kinds of gadgets in my quest to find devices that use less electricity or power while delivering at or near the same level of usefulness as more conventional devices.

For example, when I was still learning how to use power tools, I thought battery powered tools would be better or safer than conventional ones. It wasn’t long before I found out that “under powered” means nothing more than slow and virtually useless.

To this day, my very first battery powered jigsaw sits in its original box somewhere in the attic, with a battery that I haven’t charged more than once every few years to see if it still works. At the same time, my conventional powered jigsaw sits right next to my desk and is always ready to use.

When it comes to preparing a tractor, it is very important to know just how much work they can do. Simply put, you cannot get an engine rated for 5 – 10 horsepower and expect it to do the work of a 25 horsepower engine.

If you are going to add accessories to the tractor, or in any other way expand what you use the tractor for, it is very important to know if the engine, drive train, and transmission can truly take the added wear and tear. The last thing you will want to do is purchase attachments or make plans only to find out that the tractor won’t suit your needs. Get a good sense of what your current tractor can do so that you can purchase something better or look for alternatives before it is too late.

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Buy Adapters that Expand their Usability

Did you know that you can purchase an adapter for a tractor that can be used to plow snow?

While many preppers think of tractors as farm and homestead equipment, they may also be useful to conventional homeowners and apartment dwellers. The sheer number of attachments and accessories for tractors make them as versatile as they are powerful.

Here are just a few attachments that you may find of use for homesteading as well as some others that can be used by just about any person that is concerned about having a versatile travel vehicle in time of need:

Forklift Attachment

It’s ideal for people that have large stockpiles stored in boxes or crates. The fork lift can be used to lift all kinds of heavy items at one time. Depending on size and power of the main tractor, a forklift may also be useful for lifting and pushing small vehicles out of the roadway.

Steel Tracks

No matter how big or sturdy tractor tires may be, muddy terrain or complex areas can be more easily navigated with steel tracks that give you advantages similar to what you would have with a tank.

Log Dragger

If you are planning to cut down large trees, you can easily haul the lumber with this tractor attachment.

Spade and Bucket Attachments

These devices will give you a chance to use the tractor as you would a backhoe.

Steel Enclosure

This should be one of the first things you buy, especially if you plan to use the tractor like a forklift or backhoe. The steel cage will keep you safe and may also make it easier to use the tractor in a wider range of weather situations.

Harrows, Scrapers, and Pipe Layers

There are all kinds of attachments for tractors that can be used for planting crops, or digging into the ground for some other purpose.

Get All Shop Manuals for the Tractor and Accessories

As with any other motor vehicle, you need as much information as possible about the parts and functionality of every system in your tractor. A shop manual will give you far more information than just how to exchange old parts for new ones. You may get a better look at what is inside each part so that you can refurbish the parts if needed.

These schematics will also help you gain a sense of additional skills and tools that might be of use to have on hand. For example, if a specific part has a rubber diaphragm, then you know that this part may be something that wears out faster than others. This information will show you what things are best to have in your stockpile. In this case, you will store away materials that can be used to make a new diaphragm as well as extra parts that can be changed out as needed.

When it comes to sourcing replacement materials for parts refurbishing, new polymer and resin technologies may offer better replacement materials. Once you get a look at the shop manual and study it carefully, you will know more about what kind of newer materials may work as well, if not better. Considering you may have to keep the tractor running for decades or even pass it along to future generations, you need as many suitable materials on hand as possible.

A shop manual will also give you a complete listing of every part used in the tractor. Did you know that it may be possible to scavenge parts from vehicles that aren’t the same make and model?

Usually, the key to achieving this goal is to know exactly where the mounting points are and if they can be adapted to your vehicle. Once again, the schematics for the parts used for your tractor will give you some good ideas about how the insides are arranged. This, in turn, makes it easier to estimate what can and cannot be done with scavenged parts.

Setup and Maintain a Maintenance Schedule

It is very easy to be inspired by all the power you wield when you have a tractor at your fingertips. On the other side of the equation, a tractor is still a machine that requires good quality routine maintenance to keep it working for as long as possible.

It’s all too easy to forget when the last oil change was, or when you carried out some other maintenance task. As with your car, setup and maintain a maintenance schedule for your tractor, based on the following:

  • Consult the shop and owner’s manual so that you know what should be done at each maintenance interval.
  • Include a listing of all materials and tools that you will need.
  • Identify any areas where you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skills to do the job yourself. Even if you cannot do the job at the nearest time interval, make it your business to get the necessary training to do the job the next time it is needed.
  • Set aside enough time so that you can do the job yourself and be sure that you are doing it well.

When it comes to prepping, there are some additional things you should add to your maintenance plans. Consider a situation where you have been doing routine maintenance, but haven’t done any tests to check on the engine compression. Even though the tractor is operating just fine, wear and tear is going to add up over time.

It is best to have some advance warning of parts that may fail so that you can be ready to repair or replace as needed. You will need to consult the shop manual and research each part of the tractor. The more you learn about the risks, the better chance you have of developing tests that will help you diagnose and repair in time.

Convert for Multiple Fuel Use

Just about every prepper is aware about the lack of fuel for motor vehicles in the post crisis world; this topic comes up as often, if not more than EMP proofing. Even though many tractors run on diesel, make sure that you have systems in place that can take advantage of biodiesel, wood burning and methane.

One of the most fascinating emerging technologies involves using hydrogen to partially or fully power motor vehicles. While kits designed to inject hydrogen into cars and trucks are still controversial, there is far more progress being made with tractors. There are already kits on the market that covert water to hydrogen through a hydrolysis process without having to involve a commercial electricity supplier.

Video first seen on Daniel HHO Hydrogen Donatelli.

Consider changing out the tractor’s engine entirely and using a steam engine instead. This is the best way to incorporate the largest number of fuels because you can burn just about anything to generate steam.

If you decide to keep the internal combustion engine running in your tractor, it doesn’t harm to keep a steam engine, boiler system, and transmission connections on hand. If you do run into a situation where the main engine is of no use, then you can try installing the steam engine instead.

When considering alternative fuel types, remember that any system you use must also have a good chance of surviving an EMP. If you experiment with hydrogen fuel, eliminate solid state technologies as much as possible. Instead, look for ways to use gears and other simple machines to replace of electric motors and controls. In a worst case scenario, you can still try shielding these and other vulnerable parts of the tractor with EMP proof paints and coverings.

Have the Right Tools and Spare Parts

More than a few preppers think that if they find an second hand tractor that matches their own, they will have more than enough spare parts to get through a major crisis.

Tractors and their parts are made in largely automated factories just like cars and trucks. This means if there is a problem on the production line that impacts one part, it is likely that it will impact every reproduction of that part until the error is discovered. In most cases, that error is not discovered until hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of consumers wind up having the same kinds of problems.

So even if you do buy a spare tractor, the parts in it may be just as inclined to wear out or break down in the same order as the ones in the tractor you plan to use on a regular basis. In fact, if you buy a tractor that doesn’t run, the part that you need most may be the very one that you already know isn’t working on the spare!

From this perspective, choosing the best parts and tools comes down to researching before you actually buy anything. Once you go through the shop manual, research on consumer forums dedicated to the tractor model that you own. If you see that several people have the same problem, then make sure that you have extra spares for that part, or that you can refurbish what you have.

Be Able to Maintain and Repair On Your Own

Have you ever kept the same vehicle for so long that friends and family members joke that you must have replaced everything but the gas cap?

If so, then you have an idea about what it will be like in the post crisis world where you will have no choice but to patch things, bypass them, or make something new to replace something that fails. You may view this as an educational hobby right now, but these skills will become important.

Here’s what to learn if you plan to maintain and repair your tractor at the highest possible level:

  • Know how to salvage and repurpose any metal that you happen to come across.
  • Know how to recognize sources of metal ore and extract it from natural sources.
  • Know how to mix different ores and minerals to produce a metal suitable for making tractor parts.
  • Be able to heat, forge, and anneal metals so that you can shape them into usable parts. This includes extruding wire and making precision cuts and holes in any given piece of metal.
  • Find out more about polymers and other materials that can be stockpiled and used to make prototypes or actual tractor parts. You’ll also find useful to have a 3D printer on hand.
  • Be able to weld, solder, and manage every other aspect of metal working.
  • Find ways to melt down plastics or other non-metallic parts so that you can make new items or repair old ones as needed.

Overall, I recommend getting rid of as many computer based or electronic controls in tractors and other vehicles for the sake of EMP proofing and also long term durability. Even though computer chips and solid state devices can go for decades and work perfectly, there will come a day when they stop working.

Unlike purely mechanical devices, there is simply no way to repair a blow IC chip or other solid state part, and all of your efforts will go to waste if you cannot replace these parts with functional new ones. Use your time to make changes that eliminate these devices instead of trying to store them away or figure out how to diagnose them.

Have at Least 3 Safe Storage Locations

No matter how many people die or are wounded when a crisis begin, those left behind will also die off or be injured in large numbers. Before that happens, desperation will drive people to do all kinds of things: joining together to pillage and loot any place that might have food or other important resources.

If you have a tractor and land, sooner or later some kind of rouge element will find its way to your door. From EMP blasts to hostile invaders, you need at least three safe storage locations for your tractors, accessories, and spare parts.

When planning your storage locations:

  • Try to divide up the items into caches so that anything found at one site is useless unless it is combined with items from 2 or three other locations. For example, if you are storing away engine parts, do not store the tools in the same cache.
  • It’s best to have underground storage locations since these will be easiest to protect from nuclear radiation. If you are already building a shelter for yourself, you can add on to that shelter more easily than building a structure above ground for the tractor.
  • The shelters should all be EMP proof.
  • The shelters should be hard to find from the ground or by land. Learn more about ground penetrating radars as well as how to disguise the tractor signatures as much as possible.
  • Make sure that all of your caches are easy to defend. Choose areas where you can quickly arm traps as well as areas where you have enough room to lure invaders into fields of fire.
  • The caches should be far enough apart so that you can get the tractor into them as quickly as possible no matter where you happen to be on the homestead.
  • Resist the temptation to connect all the caches via underground tunnel. If someone does invade and gets to one of the caches, it will only be a matter of time before they find all of them.

Practice Making Your Own Fuel and Secure Provisions

Regardless of how many ways you modify your tractor to accept different fuels, you need to know how to make them. Make sure that you can produce and store the materials until you are ready to turn them into fuel. For example, if you went ahead and installed a steam engine or a wood burner in the tractor, then make sure you have plenty of trees.

Also if you are going to make biodiesel or some other fuel from natural resources, make sure you can carry out the task for decades or more. Many biodiesel manufacturers today rely on GMO corn.

If you purchase these seeds, it is likely that they will not produce viable seeds for the next season, and the plants that grow from these seeds won’t release pollen that reaches crops earmarked for food. Not only will you lose the capacity to grow corn for biodiesel, but you may also wipe out safe corn for food.

Rather than use GMO seeds, learn how to make biodiesel from sugar beets. There are many heritage strains of this particular plant that can be used for food and biodiesel. As an added bonus, sugar beets usually yield more fuel per acre than you would get from GMO corn.

Once you have all the materials for making fuel in place, make sure that you can store the fuel safely. If you are lucky, you will have one or two crops to harvest per year, and then you will need to make the fuel and store it until more can be made. As with storing the tractor, store fuel tanks underground and in multiple locations.

Know and Practice Making Lubricants

Motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and other maintenance products may become unavailable before conventional fuel stores run out. No matter how many bottles of these materials you store away, they may decay over time or be used up before you were expecting a problem. If your tractor develops oil ring wear and burns more oil, and you cannot replace the ring, your oil stores will go faster than expected.

At least, learn how to strain oil to remove the worst of the debris. Look for oil blends that will not break down as fast as older types. Remember, no matter how much you filter the oil, that does not mean the molecules in the oil have the same capacity to lubricate and remove heat from moving parts.

Overall, you will find it very hard to make a motor oil that will match the characteristics of modern oils. You can still do some research on this topic, as well as the main ingredients found in modern lubricants.

Experiment with different materials to see if you can make something that will last for at least a short time. Look for the best quality oils that last the longest and storing them away for future use. If you can’t find what you need, then mix different products to see if you get something that works better.

Some aspects of preparing your tractor for a major crisis will be easier than others. Set tangible goals for yourself so that you have a functional tractor on hand when you need it, and even if you only accomplish some objectives, it is better than not doing anything at all.

No matter whether you work with a group to divvy up the tasks, or it takes you several years to complete them, you will be taking action that leaves you better prepared for anything that may happen to disrupt your way of life.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Trayer Wilderness Cookbook – Volume 1

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After reading and reviewing How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle, I could not wait to see what kind of recipes Tammy Trayer would cook up in The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook Volume 1. It is good to Read More …

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Design Your Own Weapon, In These 14 Steps

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Survivopedia Design Your Own Weapon In These 14 Steps

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

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

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

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

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

Choose the Purpose of Your Weapon

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

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

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

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Choose a Relevant System to Study

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

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

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

Narrow Your Selection to One Design

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

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

Create Your Own Design

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

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

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

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

Make a Blueprint with Scaling and Measurement Notes

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

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

Make a List of Materials and Tools

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

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

Create a Production Timeline

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

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

Test the Materials

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

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

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

Build a Prototype

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

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

Build a Functional Weapon

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

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

Test the Weapon

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

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

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

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

Store the Weapon

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

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

Continue Testing and Studying Your New Weapon

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

Make Modifications as Needed

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

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

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

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Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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Survivopedia Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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

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

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

Stages of Building Your Trailer

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

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

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

1. Planning and designing the trailer

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

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

2. Obtaining raw materials

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

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

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

3. Building the trailer

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

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

 4. Testing everything out

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

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

5. Maintenance

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

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

Where to Get Materials From

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

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

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

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

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

Basic Parts

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

Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems

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

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

Basic Frame

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

Coupler and Tongue Jack

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

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

Wall Frame

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

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

Roof Frame (optional)

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

Enclosure

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

Access Points

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

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

Security System

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

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

Internal Features

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

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

Electricity

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

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

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

Water and Sanitation

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

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

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

Tools and Skills You Need for the Project

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

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

Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?

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

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

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

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

DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.americanbuildersurplus.com/

http://www.salvex.com/

http://www.contractoryardsale.com/

http://www.bmomn.com/

http://www.govliquidation.com/Scrap-Metal.html

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10 Reasons To Have A Sewing Machine

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Survivopedia Resons to have a sewing machine

If you visit any department store or second hand store, you are bound to find more clothes than you know what to do with. No matter where you look, it seems like there is no end to cheap clothes that can be used for every occasion.

As a result, most people see sewing as a “hobby” or a skill that they don’t really need to learn. But many clothes will vanish very quickly after a disaster, so you might have a reason to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.

Here are ten things that may just change your mind on this matter.

What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best?

If you sew on a regular basis, choose a good quality, heavy duty sewing machine. Personally, I have always preferred Singer over any other brand. Modern sewing machines can be programmed for embroidery as well as many other complicated tasks. Do your research to make sure that the internal parts are sturdy enough to meet the challenges of stiff, bulky, or very thick material.

There are also many vintage models that still have metal gears and motors powerful enough to last for decades more. Just make sure that you have a finger guard installed if the machine doesn’t already have one.

It can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the needle. As dainty as the sewing machine and needle may look, the motor is strong enough to push the needle right through your finger.

In addition, sewing by machine can also be a very hypnotic task. It seems simple enough to keep your fingers away from the needle, but it is all too easy to loose track and wind up with a serious, and very painful injury.

As a prepper, think about what you will do with devices that require electricity. It does not matter whether this loss comes from an EMP or a hurricane. The fact remains that modern sewing machines require electricity in order to run. If you are not confident in generators or DIY power generation methods, then look for foot or treadle powered sewing machines.

Today, you can choose from antique machines as well as newer ones. For example, the Janome 712T does not have a motor and runs without electricity. It is more expensive than motor powered machines, however the expense may be worth it if you want to be sure you can sew regardless of the electricity situation.

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As Clothes Wear Out You can Remake Them

Not so long ago, you could buy a sweater or pair of jeans and expect them to last for several years. Today, even more “rugged” garments wear out in just a year or two.

Since you will not find new garments in the post collapse world, you will have to find some way to make your clothes last a bit longer. In this case, you can take apart old clothes and use a sewing machine to piece together parts that are in better condition.

Here are some things you can do with a sewing machine that are difficult, if not impossible to do by hand:

  • Many fabrics today have a good bit of stretch to them. When these fabrics are sewn by machine, it is much easier to create sturdy overcast stitches (a stitch commonly used to prevent fabric from raveling) that will not come apart. Even though it is possible to make overcast stitches by hand, it is hard to control the spacing and tightness of each stitch when dealing with stretchy fabric. No matter whether you are trying to sew together pieces of jersey knit, spandex, or some other stretchy material, a sewing machine makes the job much easier.
  • When people make garments with elastic in them, they usually fold the fabric over and then sew the seam so that a column is left to draw the elastic through. If you look carefully at commercial garments, you will often see the elastic is sewn directly onto the fabric. Since there is no margin or extra material to work, it will be impossible make a column for the elastic to go through. This, in turn, means that you would have to try and resew the elastic onto the garment by hand if you did not have a sewing machine. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no pin in the world and no elastic stretching device that makes this a comfortable, let alone feasible task. On the other hand, when you have a sewing machine, the weight of the foot and the tractors beneath the fabric easily keep the fabric in position while you manually pull the elastic so that it fits properly on the material.

Easier to Darn Socks and Other Items That Develop Holes

Have you ever just tossed a sock in the trash because it developed a hole? If so, then you may also be very unhappy with the fact that modern socks really do seem to wear out a lot faster than ones made just a few years ago. While it is not especially difficult to darn sock holes by hand, this task is also much easier to accomplish with a sewing machine.

You will also find that it is much easier to use a sewing machine to patch small holes in other kinds of garments without using additional material to make a patch.

When you use a sewing machine to stitch across a flat piece of fabric, you don’t worry about the fabric bunching up or becoming uneven. If you have never done embroidery on thinner fabrics by hand, you won’t realize just how hard it can be to repair holes on garments without a sewing machine.

Even if you try to put the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep it from bunching, you will have a hard time getting good quality stitches that don’t rub at your skin when wearing the garment.

Sew Heavier and Coarser Fabrics

Before sewing machines were invented, our ancestors routinely sewed together furs and other thick, heavy materials. If you have denim garments, or clothes made from other heavy, coarse materials, you will find it very hard to make, let alone repair them without a sewing machine.

You will face problems associated with manufacturers that compensate for using less fabric by using stronger stitches or patterns of stitches to make a durable garment.

During crisis, you’ll face constraints on the nature and amount of fabric that you have on hand to work with. If you’ll be using old garments as a pattern for new ones, then you can also use smaller margins and come out with a functional garment.

If you try to duplicate these stitches by hand, you will find that it takes more fabric. Since sewing machines also use two threads (one under the fabric from the bobbin, and one from above on thread spool), the stitches will always be stronger and tighter than ones done by people who have limited experience with sewing.

Many people feel they can sew heavy fabrics by hand as long as they take their time and focus on making even stitches. In most cases, it will take 2 – 3 times longer by hand, and leave you with both eye and hand strain.

You won’t have time to spare in a survival situation. If you don’t have time to mend clothes or make them by hand now, don’t expect to do it then. A sewing machine would solve this issue and leave time for other tasks.

Make Money as a Seamstress or Tailor

There is no question that people are becoming more frustrated with commercial garments that do not fit right (since when does a petite woman of 5’3” have an inseam of 32 – 36”?!), look hideous, cost a lot, and do not last for very long.

The cost of fabric, patterns, and notions aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but many people are taking up sewing in order to have nicer clothes. If you become proficient as a seamstress, you can make money now as well as after a social collapse.

Custom Design Clothes that Meet Your Needs

When you go on a shopping expedition for prepper clothes, you are bound to be overwhelmed by all the coveralls, heavy jackets, Thinsulate gear, and camouflage prints. What happens when you are in an actual disaster and find out that you need to move to a warmer climate, or that most of the clothes in your stockpile won’t meet your needs?

A sewing machine can be used to make any kind of garment, including camouflage. Store away patterns in different sizes as well as a range of fabrics to meet all your needs, rather than completed clothes. From waterproof fabrics to denim and fleece, it is easy enough to add these items to your stockpile and then use them as needed.

Being able to design clothes is also very important if you have children or expect to have a baby after a major crisis. Given how many growth spurts children go through, you’ll need clothes that can be let out at the seams, or adjusted as needed.

When you buy modern clothes, there is no extra fabric let alone a way to modify larger garments for smaller sizes. And if you look at modern patterns, you will find many places where you can cut the pieces a bit larger, and then simply leave more fabric at the seams.

As a prepper, you know that your body is going to change a lot after a major crisis occurs. If food is scare, or you get very sick and lose a lot of weight; or you may wind up putting on a lot of water or edema.

Either way, all those clothes you stocked away may not fit properly, and worse yet, may restrict your movement. It is very important to have a sewing machine and fabric on hand so that you can make new clothes that fit properly.

Make Blankets and Quilts for Many Purposes

Do you have blankets and quilts hanging around that have been part of your life for decades? If so, then you may not give much thought to the availability of these items during crisis. Both novice and advanced preppers have been known to only keep a foil emergency blanket in their bug out bag.

But what happens when disaster strikes, you are on the road, and need something a bit warmer and sturdier? Even if you can find fabric and some kind of filler to make the blanket warmer, it can take days or even weeks to sew a quilt or blanket by hand.

In most cases, however, you can sew the exact same blanket or quilt using a sewing machine in just a few hours. You can use anything from worn clothes to fabric set aside in your stockpile to make blankets and quilts with ease using a sewing machine.

Here are just a few situations where you might wind up needing more blankets than you have on hand:

  • If you are trying to shelter animals that no longer have a building to live in. Blanket can offer warmth and comfort to stressed animal. They can also be used to temporarily restrain the movement of animals that need medical care, or for other reasons.
  • As a temporary shelter when there are no materials available for a tent.
  • To cover supplies or anything else that needs to be protected from dirt and dust.
  • All the blankets in your stockpile were stolen, burned in a fire, or ruined in a flood involving municipal sewage or other contaminants. At the very least, if you had a few clothes or some fabric that escaped the destruction, you can still sew them into blankets or quilts with a sewing machine.

Get More Out of any Fabric You Come Across

Surviving a social collapse is going to involve a lot of innovative thinking and action. Regardless of how much you have in your stockpile, or how well run your homestead is, just about anything can come out of the blue and send you into a tailspin.

Once you are in the situation, the things you underestimated are apt to stick out like sore thumbs and hurt just as badly. In this case, not having a sewing machine can make it difficult or impossible to make use of any fabric that may be available.

Consider a situation where you are moving through an area with very little vegetation. You have a sewing machine with you and a portable power system that can be used to run the motor. As you pass through an abandoned junk pile, you find a stack of clothes that cannot be worn; but not the rope that you so desperately need.

To resolve this situation, all you have to do is cut the garments up into strips and sew them together into longer pieces to make a rope. When you have a sewing machine, you can make use of pieces that are only a few inches long and about 2 inches wide.

If you tried this same task with hand sewing, you would not be able to consistently make strong enough seams in a reasonable period of time.

Make Or Repair Furniture Covers

Do you have an old couch or recliner that either needs to be thrown out or reupholstered? As trivial as this problem may seem when compared to others, it will only get worse after society collapses.

In particular, if you are bugging in, there is a chance that floods or other disasters may ruin your furniture to the point where you can no longer use it. For example, if you have a couch, the cushions and any other soft parts will have to be discarded.

Rather than throw the entire piece of furniture out, you can at least try to salvage the wood or metal frame that supported all the soft parts. Once the frame is repaired and safe to use, just about any fabric and soft stuffing can be used to “reupholster” the furniture. If you have a sewing machine, you can also sew much heavier fabrics or layers of fabric in order to make something more durable.

Similar to many other things, there will be a time in the post crisis world when people will do as much as they can to make pre-existing items last for as long as possible.

This, in turn, means that you can barter or trade your furniture repair skills for other things that you might need. As time goes on, you can also shift your furniture repair trade to actively making furniture from raw materials that others begin putting together in larger quantities.

This is the only ultra-precise machine that can spit-out personalized pieces of woodwork!

Build Shelter Covers and Carrying Aides

One of the worst things you can do as a prepper is think that bugging in means you will have shelter and that you won’t need to bug out for some reason or other. It is very important to understand that a crisis can come from where you least expect in.

For example, while the vast majority of preppers focus on problems that will affect the entire society, something may come along that affects only you or your family. This may include job loss, illness, or the sudden passing of a family member that enabled you to have shelter and security.

Even if you do a minimal amount of research on homeless people, you will find that it became impossible for them to afford shelter and the basics of life. No matter whether these people suffer from illness, addiction, or just plain bad luck, the fact remains they were not prepared for personal financial collapse.

Given the angst in our society these days against our incoming president, sabotage by those who dissent is entirely possible. Under these circumstances, you may find that one disaster after another will arise that leaves you without shelter.

Let me be clear in saying that a sewing machine won’t solve all your problems. However, you can use it to your advantage while you still have some assets to work with.

You can take old garments and sew them into blankets, carrying aides, and anything else that will make it easier for you to travel. If you can find a safe place to store the machine, then you may also be able to make some money with it and get back on your feet.

There is also no question that many homeless people today live in cars and trucks. While this may not seem like a good place to have a sewing machine, you can still use it to make shelters outside of the vehicle. If society does collapse further because of internal or external pressures, you will still have a viable trade and an important tool to work with.

Make Toys and Other Items for Children

When I was a little girl, the battery powered toy craze was just getting started. I remember my parents being unhappy about all the “plastic battery powered junk” that cost a lot and didn’t seem to last.

lot-of-8-original-vintage-cabbage-patch-kTo this day, some of my fondest memories are of my mother sewing little stuffed toys for me.

From iron on appliques to furry teddy bears, I spent hours watching these creations unfold on my mother’s sewing machine.

Later on, we did these projects together and had far more quality time than we would have had if she just bought me a bunch of plastic toys.

During illness or great distress, it is normal to look back on safer and more peaceful times. These days, it often seems like our children will have no such peaceful times to look back on. Even if they do remember their childhood, it is likely to be filled with violent video games, nonstop social pressure, and all sorts of other worries.

Sewing toys with your children is a simple, inexpensive way to give them, and you, peaceful times to look back on. While that may not seem important right now, just think back to the times when you were in crisis and what memories like this meant to in terms of helping you get through the situation.

Making toys for children isn’t just something that works well in a time of social collapse. It is something you can start doing now that will build bonds and give you and your children a chance to enjoy time together. Building custom toys can also give you a chance to innovate and perhaps come up with something marketable that other children might like to have.
Perhaps off topic, but never doubt the possibility that you can make a fortune with a sewing machine and a good idea for a toy. Anyone that remembers the Cabbage Patch Doll craze can certainly relate to the fact that sewn toys can easily become very popular in a short period of time.

As you will recall, the Cabbage Patch Kids were invented by Martha Nelson Thomas, a woman who learned quilting from her mother. Just remember, if you do come up with something that becomes popular, you will need to copyright patent, and trademark the design so that no one else can steal it and profit from theft of the design.

In the arena of prepping, there is always a sense that time is limited. When you don’t know what will happen, or what challenges must be overcome, it is very tempting to cut corners. For example, when it comes to clothes and other fabric based items, you will more than likely buy what you need or hope that you can make do with what you have.

Even though sewing by machine is often relegated to a “craft” or a “hobby” it is a vital survival skill that you may wind up needing. Today, you can increase the chances of surviving long after a major catastrophe by learning how to use a sewing machine and having one in your stockpile.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: Best Practices For Storing Survival Food

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Disasters can happen to anyone, anytime and hence you can’t prevent them, you can prepare for them. I want you to answer to one question: if disaster strikes tomorrow, do you have the basics covered? And when I say basics I mean food and water.

Water and food are at the top of the list when it comes to storing for survival if you want to have a healthy, ever-lasting, super-diversified diet when SHTF. But storing food for survival becomes overwhelming when you keep buying, and buying without a plan in mind.

That is why, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles that sum up the best practices for storing survival food.

  1. Top 10 food Storage Myths

TOP-10“The internet is full of websites that give information on survival topics, including food storage. There are dozens and dozens of books that will teach you “the right way” to store food and YouTube videos galore. Most contain valid, trustworthy information, but mixed in with that are a number of food storage myths that many people accept without question. Here are 10 that I take issue with, and I explain why.

Myth #1:  You should stock up on lots of wheat.

When I was researching foods typically eaten during the Great Depression, I noticed that many of them included sandwiches of every variety. So it makes sense to stock up on wheat, which, when ground, becomes flour, the main ingredient to every bread recipe.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. The Best ORAC Foods to Stockpile

“ORAC stands for ‘oxygen radical absorbance capacity.’ It is a unit of measure to determine the antioxidant capacity of a particular food. The higher the ORAC unit value, the more antioxidants a food will have.food Storage

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and therefore play a role in overall long-term health. Of course, you may think: why should I care about my long-term health when SHTF? No, you probably shouldn’t. But, if you are like me, you’re probably rotating your food stockpile. So when your cans are about to expire… instead of throwing them away you can eat a healthy balanced meal.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. 50 Food Items To Keep Stocked for Emergencies

food-storage“Emergencies happen every day. We are faced with everything from a broken-down car on the freeway, medical emergencies, financial difficulties and natural disasters on a pretty consistent basis. Over the last 16 years, our country has been faced with some major events. We were attacked on 9/11 and many other terror attacks followed, we were faced with the devastating effects of Katrina, school shootings, our officers being shot, economic difficulties, and even rioting in our streets. All of these things are red flags that remind us to be prepared for just about anything.”

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

  1. How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

dehydrating-herbs-for-storage

“Herbs are one of the first plants we put in our garden. There is nothing like fresh culinary herbs to intensify the flavors of food. As well, herbs are hardy garden plants that don’t have to be watered as much as vegetables and can serve more than one purpose by being used as natural medicine. For instance, did you know that a sage leaf can be used instead of a band-aid because it has natural healing qualities? Some of these popular culinary herbs are oregano, thyme and sage and can grow year-round in many parts of the country.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.  

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9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

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Survivopedia 9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so there is a good chance that you will awake to some sort of emergency at some point, if you haven’t already.

There you are, sound asleep until you are jolted awake by a bump in the night, a deafening siren, the rumbling of an earthquake or the shouts of a loved one. How prepared are you?

The purpose of the gear you have bedside should be to get you oriented and situationally aware and then get you to a safe room (often the master bedroom closet). This will delay attackers and provides hard cover as well as structural support against disaster to keep you safe and give you time to communicate and ready an appropriate response whatever emergency you are facing.

Situational Awareness

As you start awake, the first order of business is whether this is like a thousand other times you have awakened and gone back to sleep or whether this time is different.

Since you may be making that determination in a state of sleep drunkenness, it is to your benefit to make use of tools that can improve your situational awareness.

1. Worn Equipment

I make a habit of wearing an ordinary-looking necklace that has a small LED on it and some restraint escape tools inside it. This way I can always find my way in the dark, start a fire and have a shot at escape should I be unlawfully detained, even if I am hauled out of bed in the middle of the night in my underwear or otherwise caught at a disadvantage.

I started wearing it because I travel to places where the kidnapping of US citizens is a significant threat, but I found it so useful to always have an LED handy that I just kept wearing it. I vary its configuration depending on where I am and what I am doing.

The Survival Necklace

You can purchase a basic necklace pre-tied from Oscar Delta or contact them and ask if they’ll build you a custom model that meets your needs and level of training, which may require that you email them from a DOD or Department email, depending on what you want, since they are in the UK.

I suggest that you learn to tie and build your own so you can customize it as your environment and needs change and because survival is the king of all DIY pursuits. If you need help, just ask.

Survival Necklace

I’ll list the contents of mine as it is today, but I change it as needed and tie new ones as old ones get worn out in life or used in training.

  • Technora 200 Friction Saw – Cut zip ties, flex cuffs, rope.
  • Zirferrotech Zircon Ceramic Microstriker Bead – Great ferro rod striker and breaks tempered glass (side & rear car windows) with surprisingly little force both due to its extreme hardness. Your car door could be jammed in a crash, you could need to exit the rear of a vehicle when the locks have been disabled or you could need to safely break auto glass to rescue someone else. Non-ferrous.
  • Tungsten Carbide Microstriker Bead – Like the wheel on a lighter. Breaks tempered glass.
  • Large Fishing Swivel – I could have used any number of snap hooks but wanted mine to be able to pull double duty as fishing gear if needed. I just smooth any sharp edges.
  • SO LED – Red or White light models made by CountyComm. Availability is spotty but very inexpensive so buy a bunch if you find them. The slide switch is easy to actuate with one hand. Positive on/off. Simple design. MOLLE/snap clip accessory for bags and gear.
  • Silicone Tubing – Fuel line tubing conceals handcuff key and bobby pin.
  • Advanced Handcuff Key 3 – Matches the tooth spacing for TOOOL’s ultimate handcuff key. SnakeDr removed some metal from the barrel on this model so it works with the maximum number of high security handcuff models possible and still opens standard handcuffs.
  • Bobby Pin – “Reach around” tool for the handcuff key in case you get illegally detained in handcuffs with your fingers away from the keyways. Handcuff shim, lock pick, lock tension tool, sharp bit of metal to work knots or duct tape, etc.
  • Ferro/Magnesium Toggle – I use firesteel.com. Availability is hit and miss, but they are the best performing ferro rods I have tested to date and I have tested dozens. The bond between the magnesium and ferro rod is probably as strong as either and this combination gives magnesium to use as tinder which is a big plus in the Rocky Mountains in winter or in 99% humidity in the Brazilian jungle.

2. Light and Footwear

If you are jarred awake by an earthquake or similarly destructive event, your bedroom windows may be all over your bedroom floor, making footwear necessary to prevent injury.

When you wake, your eyes are adjusted to the dark, but you need enough light to orient yourself and grab what you need without making racket.

I prefer an LED with a low red setting work setting to save my night vision while I get my bearings when I wake up in the night. I tried the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact Military IR but it turned out to have a design flaw.

Boots

The switch takes a lot of force to turn and is just soldered to the circuit board without any load bearing support to the housing so they end up breaking after a year or so of moderate use.

I replaced it with the Petzl Strix IR, which has been rock solid to date. It has an IR IFF strobe, but lacks a visible strobe. I guess Petzl decided that was outside the scope of use for this type of light.

3. Cell Phone & Charging Cradle

Your smart phone can be a powerful tool for situational awareness, but the problem is that mobile voice service is often the first thing to stop working in a major emergency, so be sure to choose emergency notification services that notify you via text messaging.

If you haven’t yet, check out the National Weather Service page if you are in the USA or the equivalent in other countries and choose SMS notification services that are the best fit for the risks you face based on your location, climate, employment, etc.

Most of the notification services are free, but you can always pay for more features. Get the FEMA app if you are in the US (I haven’t had any black helicopters come for me yet) and any other notification services that apply to you.

Just keep in mind that these notification services are third party and are no substitute for All Hazards Weather Radio. The technology necessary to run the cellular phone network makes it inherently fragile. Because the All Hazards Weather Radio system is much simpler, it is much less fragile.

4. Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio

Midland WR-120 Public Alert Certified RadioEvery survivalist should have one of these radios!

They can notify you of severe weather alerts, large scale disasters alerts such as earthquakes or any event warranting notification of the public and has saved my bacon more than once.

Given that most of us spend a third of our lives sleeping, without something to wake us up in an emergency, we very well may sleep right through the first crucial hours of an emergency. In an emergency where it is necessary to bug out to survive, you very well may miss your window.

As I consult with survivalists, I often find that they have spent thousands of dollars on 4-wheel drive vehicles and bug out bags and made elaborate preparations to bug out, but don’t have a $30-$60 Public Alert Certified radio that close a chink in their armor that leaves them exposed 33% of the time.

It’s good to have that warning the other 67% of the time that you are not sleeping as well.

There are two types of All Hazards Weather Radio:

  • NOAA Certified
  • NOAA Public Alert Certified.

Here, we are focused on the later. Many radios are NOAA certified, but not Public Alert Certified. They will receive NOAA alerts and can listen to weather radio channels but lack many of the features of Public Alert Certified radios, which are programmable with codes for each county to only receive alerts for the counties you specify.

They are programmable by severity, have a “wake up” feature that allows alerts to turn on the radio, display information important about the threat as a banner in their LED display, and have ports to attach external notification devices such as strobe lights, sirens or pillow shakers to help notify the hearing impaired and talk to other equipment.

To clarify, the words “Public Alert Certified” only appear on the programmable radios with external notification and auto wake up. If possible, you want a radio that is not programmable to your county, type of threat and threat level. Otherwise, your radio will constantly alert you to events that will not affect you.

By telling the radio what you are and are not concerned about (programming it) you can eliminate false alarms.

5. Security System Reporting Mechanisms

If you have a home security system, make sure that you have reporting mechanisms at your bedside. Many older alarm panels will tell you which zone was breached, but this will not be of any help unless you have a panel installed beside your bed so you can see it.

Many newer systems can send notifications and even real-time video to your cell phone, but may need Internet access to do so. Make sure that all alarm sensor and reporting has battery backup all the way from every sensor to the panel to your hub, switch or router to your cell phone.

If your system includes Dakota Alert MURS sensors, you will want a MURS radio receiver on your nightstand.

History has many survival lessons to teach on the subject of situational awareness sans electrical grid.

In the 1800’s in Utah Territory, there lived a man named Orrin Porter Rockwell.

Depending on who’s account you read, Porter Rockwell was an outlaw, a lawman, a bodyguard, a tracker and a scout in the Nauvoo Legion that waged a guerrilla campaign of harassment, robbing and burning supply trains, and preventing resupply of the US Army in the Utah War.

Porter was as famous as famous a gunfighter as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Bat Masterson or Tom Horn in his time and killed more men than all of them combined.

Between the friends and family of those he killed, upstart gunfighters looking to make a name, the men he jailed and those he fought against in the Utah War and other skirmishes, he certainly had to watch his back.

His employment had him on the trail tracking outlaws and guiding parties West to California during the gold rush which had him returning to the Salt Lake Valley alone and sometimes sleeping off a night of drinking on the trail, so Porter developed a strategy to give him some warning.

You might expect a man like Porter to have a large ferocious dog, but as many miles as he made horseback in a day would have killed most domestic breeds. Instead, he chose a little white dog that could ride with him horseback, behind his saddle.

He trained the dog to lick his face to wake him instead of barking when someone approached his camp. Porter’s portable biological alarm system helped him to die of old age instead of a bullet and is easily duplicated today and even easier if you don’t travel on horseback.

6. Smoke, Flammable Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It is easy to plan for the spectacular but improbable (based on history) threats and neglect threats that cause a lot of death and suffering. Make sure you have detectors throughout your home and in your bedroom.

Action

Situational Awareness Is Key Gear Can't Help You If You Are Asleep

So, you are now awake at bedside with your headlamp and footwear, have identified a threat or possible threat and it’s time to act. For most threats, you will sound an alarm (if necessary, to alert other members of the household) strap on your home defense waist pack and make for your safe room.

7. Home Defense Pouch

A standard preparation that I recommend is to seek professional self-defense, firearms and legal training and then put together His & Hers’ home defense waist packs as-long-as it is legal for you and your spouse to carry concealed weapons in your home.

If you carry openly, a belt can serve the same purpose. The idea behind this approach is that you can grab a single piece of gear, buckle it on and have the basic tools of self-defense at your disposal. I recommend keeping this in a hidden and locked safe that can be accessed quickly and in the dark.

I am not alone amongst firearms instructors in recommending this approach. Should you come out on top in defending your life, a second battle begins, one that will determine your liberty.

Consider your jurisdiction, the laws and how officers, prosecutors and judges may apply them. Depending on their dispositions, you may have a better chance of not going prison if you use ordinary-looking equipment and firearms than if you sleep with full battle rattle at the side of your bed.

Self Defense Pouch Contents & Training Gear for Drill with Hand to Hand

The main purpose of the home defense pouch is to give you the tools you need to fight your way to the cover of a safe room.

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

8. Home Defense Waist Pack

  • Centerfire Pistol with tritium sights – You need to be able to see your sights. You can keep a sidearm in the waist pack or place your sidearm in the waist pack when you take it off at the end of the day.
  • Spare Magazine or Speed Loader
  • Tactical Flashlight – You need to clearly identify intent, ability and opportunity and see what is behind your attacker.
  • Knife – Will never experience a stoppage and won’t run out of ammunition until you stop swinging.
  • Less-lethal Option – Lethal force is not always the best solution.
  • Compact GSW Kit – Any time you strap on a firearm you should also strap on a trauma kit.
  • Cell Phone – You are not going to want to have to go looking for a cell phone if you need to use this waist pack.

9. Turnout Bag

You may have seen firefighters using turnout bags to get ready quickly without forgetting anything. Under the stress of a life and death emergency, we are more likely than normal to forget things.

Checklists and turnout bags help mitigate this risk. It is important for survivalists to include checklists in turnout bags because we need to include ID, passports and other items that we can often only have one copy of. I keep these items in an EDC valet and check them off as I turnout.

The turnout bag concept lends itself handily to the Modular Survival Kit Model as turnout bags and specific ensembles can be layered on top of turnout gear as needed based on threat, mission, environment, climate, mode of transport and other relevant factors. You can read more about turnout bags and checklists here.

Common Types of Turnout Bags and Ensembles

  • Covert (Everyday) TOB – Normal “gray” concealed carry clothing in earth tones.
  • Overt TOB – Minuteman bag with overt camouflage.
  • First Responder – If you work or volunteer as a first responder (or plan to) you will need a dedicated turnout bag for that.
  • CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Ensemble – These threats require specific personal protective equipment and training.
  • Extreme Cold Weather Ensemble, Covert
  • Extreme Cold Weather, Overt

Safe Room

A safe room provides a protected area to shelter in place or to get ready out of your turnout bag before grabbing your bug out bag and proceeding to an assembly area in the event that your home becomes unsafe.

Many families decide to locate safe rooms in master bedroom closets or adjacent to them. Locating it at ground level or above gives heavier-than-air gases someplace else to go, but requires more shielding to protect against radiation if it is planned to also serve as a fallout shelter.

Safe Room Features

  • Turnout Bags
  • Hard Cover – Protection against small arms. If you lack the funds, you can measure between studs and pour steel-reinforced concrete panels to install between them.
  • Structural Reinforcement – Protection against earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes.
  • Reinforced Locking Steel Door – To slow down aggressors.
  • Alarm Panel
  • Monitor – For cameras so you can monitor the situation outside. Lacking money for this for my first safe room, I installed a framed one-way mirror which worked well and didn’t require power.
  • Long Guns with Lights – Don’t forget spare ammunition and a PC way to carry. Carrying it in a satchel instead of a plate carrier may avoid the appearance that you were hoping to need it.
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Escape & Utility Shutoff Tools – The rubble you escape from may not resemble the home you live in today. Windows and doors may jamb or be blocked.
  • First Aid & Trauma Kit – Include gear based on your family medical needs and risks such as Epi-pens, inhalers, insulin or Naloxone which can save lives.
  • Concealed Emergency Exit
  • Water & Food
  • Blankets & Pillows
  • Portable Toilet
  • Bug Out Bags
  • Materials to Flag Your Home – Flagging your own home can save time and may keep Search and Rescue personnel from breaking into your home to search it if you decide to evacuate. I will write an article describing how to do this.

Training

Independent of what preparations you decide to implement, training will help iron out the kinks.

Start the drill in bed, dressed as you normally sleep. Don’t cheat and think you have it down because small details matter here and differentiate your precise situation, equipment and body from everyone else’s.

Note the time and kill the lights. Choose a few different emergency scenarios based on the types of emergencies you believe to be most probable. Run through the most probable. Note the time when you finish.

Debrief afterwards nothing what worked smoothly and effectively and was less effective than you would like and make changes. Running the most probable scenarios in sets of three times each will give the best return on your skill training.

When you are comfortable with the drill, work it in as the first step in a timed bug out drill. There is no substitute for experience, but stressed, timed training is about as close as you can get without responding to real emergencies.

spec_ops_shooting_cover

 

This article was written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.weather.gov/subscribe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_Rockwell

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3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle – Review

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How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle by Tammy Trayer I would first like to thank Tammy for her willingness to share this information with the public and for allowing me to review her work. I Read More …

The post Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle – Review appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

I can remember as a kid, my dad would get soap on a rope as a gift and it never made much sense to me. I thought, hmm, what a weird thing to do to soap. That’s life as a modern kid in a civilized world.

Soap on a rope was a novelty item, and now it’s practically unheard of. So, what was its purpose, and why do you need it as a survival item?

Originally, soap on a rope was invented by the English Leather Company in 1969 to keep their soap from getting soggy and dissolving. Yep, tricked me, too; I would have guessed that it’s much older than that, but apparently not. Still, I’d be amazed if at least one enterprising pioneer didn’t think to make this novelty, because it’s truly ingenious if you think about it.

Since soap can be made mostly with ingredients that you already have around the house, let’s make some soap on a rope.

Why would you want your soap on a rope?

Think about it. Many good soaps take months to cure properly, so wasting even one bar is foolish in a survival scenario because good hygiene is going to be what saves you from disease. Since it’s also going to be a huge trade commodity, you’ve literally lost what will equate to money if you lose a bar or soap or let it sit in a puddle and dissolve.

Enter soap on a rope. You can take it to the river with you and hang it around your neck or your wrist – a wrist rope seems more functional to me – so that you don’t lose it in the stream or drop it in the dirt. You can also hang it up to dry so that it’s not sitting in dirt or a puddle of water that will cause it to dissolve.

Soap on a rope is one of the most simply frugal ideas I can think of.

But, how do you make it?

The short answer: just like you make any other soap, except you put a rope in it.

The long answer? Well, OK. Let’s have a quick soap-making tutorial.

Can I make soap without lye?

In order to make a solid soap, you’re going to need wood ash, because of the lye (sodium hydroxide) in it. Of course, right now you can just buy lye, or buy melt-and-pour soap that’s already been saponified (the process that lye instigates that causes the liquids and fats to mix and gives soap it’s cleansing properties), but that won’t be the case if SHTF, so it’s good to know how to make it yourself. You’ll be surprised how simple the process is.

And think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available ingredients.

These survival lessons from our ancestors will teach you how to take care of your hygiene when there isn’t anything to buy. 

The number one thing that you need to know about soap making is that you need to follow the number one rule in chemistry class – use safety equipment and precautions. Lye is extremely caustic, but if that worries you, just remember that fire is lethal too, but that doesn’t stop you from cooking and camping. Just be careful.

And no. You can’t make soap without lye. If you try to, you’ll just have a bucket full of fat and water. The lye causes the saponification process that allows them to mix and gives soap its cleansing properties.

If made correctly, there is not unreacted lye in the soap, but it’s important to use the right ratio of lye to water in order to make sure that this is the case. There are many soap calculators that you can find to help you with this process until you have it down.

A couple of safety tricks to remember – always add the lye to the water, not the water to the lye. As soon as you add the lye, the chemical reaction will start and the mixture will heat up ad steam for 30 seconds or so. Keep a bottle of white vinegar on hand to neutralize the lye if it splashes on something. It will eat a hole in cloth or burn your skin.

Stir immediately so that the lye doesn’t settle in the bottom and possibly cause an explosion (don’t be a baby – you can do this. Granny Clampett did and look how long she lived). Seriously, though, don’t worry about it overly much; just be careful and do it right and you’ll be fine.

Making the Soap

The only ingredients you actually NEED to make soap are water, lye, and fat. That’s it. Of course, smell-good agents, essential oils, and colors make it smell nice, add therapeutic properties, and make it look pretty, but they’re not necessary to make soap that will get you clean.

Now, to make soap on a rope, you obviously need the soap to be solid, so if you’re making your own lye, use wood ash from hardwoods. Otherwise, your soap will be soft.

There are a variety of fats that you can use, including tallow, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or any of the “butters” – cocoa, shea, or mango butter. You’ll want to use a combination of fats and oils in order to have the right consistency.

There are two ways to make soap: hot processing and cold processing. As the names suggest, one method requires heat and the other doesn’t.

The main difference is that the heat in hot pressing speeds up the saponification process so that your soap is ready in days instead of weeks, like it would be with cold-processing.

Here’s a cold processing recipe from DIYNatural.com. She’s been a soap maker for many years, and actually teaches university classes on the subject.

Ingredients

The notes after the ingredients are hers, not mine, and I’m paraphrasing her directions. I’ve also added in the rope, and the rope instructions.

Soap on a rope ingredients

Process

First is the chemical reaction, so use gloves and goggles if you so choose. Measure out the water into a quart-sized canning jar and slowly add in the exact amount of lye, stirring as you add it. Stand back a bit so that you’re not breathing the fumes caused by the chemical reaction. Stir until the water starts to clear, then move to the next step.

In a smaller container, combine the oils. You should have almost exactly a pint. Heat them up for just a minute either in the microwave or by placing them in a glass jar and placing them in hot water. You want the temperature of the oils to be about 120 degrees.

By now, the lye mixture should have cooled to about the same temperature. Let the oils and the lye cool until they’re between 95 and 105 degrees F. This is an important stage because if it cools too much it’ll combine quickly but it’ll be crumbly.

When they’re both at the right temperature, pour the oils into a glass mixing bowl and slowly stir in the lye until it’s all mixed, and keep stirring for 5 minutes. The soap mixture will thicken and become lighter in color. Keep stirring either with by hand or with an immersion blender until it looks like vanilla pudding. When it does, add your colors, oils, or herbs.

Pour your soap into 4 molds, or one loaf pan or cardboard box lined with parchment paper that will make 1 solid piece that you can cut into smaller bars. Pour the soap into the molds or pan. Double the rope over into a loop and press the ends down into what will be the center of each bar of soap that will extend from one end of the bar to the other.

Wrap the mold in plastic wrap and then in a towel so that the saponification process can start.

Check it after 24 hours and if it’s still warm or soft, let it sit for an addition 12-24 hours. When it’s finally cold and firm, turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper.

If you made one solid piece, cut it into bars now, making sure to cut it so that the rope runs down the center of each bar.

Since this was a cold process, the soap will need to cure for 4 weeks or so. Turn it every week or so to expose all sides to air. You can also cure it on a rack and won’t have to turn it. Once your soap is completely dry, wrap it in wax paper or store in an airtight container because homemade soap makes its own glycerin, which attracts water.

Now you know how to make quick and easy soap on a rope!

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months?

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

http://soapcalc.net/calc/soapcalcwp.asp

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How To Make Your Own Aspirin For Survival

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How To Make Aspirin

Knowing how to make a natural pain reliever if you’re stuck in the wild can be a life-saver. Because aspirin is a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, and fever reducer, it has many uses. Fortunately, most of the United States hosts a tree or three that has salicylic acid – the active ingredient in aspirin. We’re going to tell you how to make your own, sort of!

First, remember the rule – “natural” doesn’t equal “safe.” Arsenic is natural but you wouldn’t eat it. Well, you might, but the results would be less than desirable! Anyway, now that you’ve been warned, apply the rule to aspirin.

Some people are allergic, so it’s important, especially in a survival situation, to know whether or not you can safely take it.

Side Effects of Aspirin

Aside from the results of being allergic, there are some common side effects that you may experience even if you can take it. These include:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • drop in blood pressure
  • excess bleeding from wounds
  • kidney irritation
  • respiratory depression.

Consuming too much can be fatal, so take only what you need to do the trick.

Plants that Contain Salicylic Acid

Willow barkThough willow tree bark is by far the most common source of salicylic acid because it’s so rich in it, there are several other plants that contain the acid, or its base, salicin.

For instance, birch trees and poplar trees contain salicylic acid in their barks, and berries are a decent source of it, too.

Medicinal use of willow bark dates back to the days of Hippocrates, when it was used to reduce fever and treat inflammation.

It’s been used throughout the centuries across the world, and is still used today, to treat pain (particularly back pain and arthritis pain), menstrual cramps, headaches, stroke prevention, high blood pressure, and inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis and bursitis.

Topically, white willow bark tincture or birch bark tincture is good for treating skin conditions such as acne, warts, psoriasis, or eczema. Though all willow trees contain salicin, the bark of the white willow has the most.

Other good sources are the purple willow, black or pussy willow, and the crack willow. You should research your area so that you know which, of any, of these trees are local to you.

If you don’t live in an area that has willow trees, birch trees, particularly white and yellow birch trees, contain methyl salicylate, the forerunner to synthetic aspirin. The white birch is also called canoe birch, sweet birch, silver birch, or lady of the woods.

Cottonwoods, poplars, meadowsweet, and black haw also contain salicosides. In all of these trees, the inner bark is the medicinal part. That’s the papery part of the bark that you find when you peel the bark away from the tree.

If you don’t have any of those trees around (which would be rare in the US), many fruits and vegetables, including blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, dates, kiwis, guavas, apricots, olives, green peppers, radishes, tomatoes, chicory and mushrooms, also contain significant amounts of salicin.

For today, we’re going to focus on how to make aspirin from willow bark and birch bark. Both white birch and willow trees grow in zones 2-9, which includes almost the entire US except for the southernmost part of Florida, and maybe a few southern parts of California, Texas, and Arizona.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

Both trees like moisture and are typically found growing wild in forests and around a water source. Look up your area, determine which types of trees you have around you, then scout them out. For that matter, it won’t hurt to have some willow or birch bark on hand at all times if you prefer natural treatments.

How to Make Aspirin from Willow Bark or Birch Bark

Remember that dosage is important because willow bark, in too high a dose, can make you really sick. Same thing with birch or any other source. If you’re new to the game, it’s probably best to start with a smaller dose and take a bit more if you don’t see results in 45 minutes or so.

A white willow has a rough, furrowed, grayish bark, smaller branches that are golden brown, slender, and flexible, and long, slender, finely serrated leaves. The tops of the leaves are shiny and green, and the undersides are silky and white. They alternate instead of being opposite each other on the branch.

To find physical descriptions of other willows, check your local guides. A good test, though, is to look at the leaves. Willow tree leaves share the same characteristics regardless of species.

After you’ve found the tree, it’s time to harvest the bark. This is easy – just peel away a piece of the bark, making sure to get the papery part between the hard bark and the meat of the tree. It’s much easier to peel the bark from smaller branches than from the trunk of the tree.

At this point, the bark can actually be chewed to achieve local anesthetic benefits as well as systemic ones, especially if you have a toothache. You can also make a tea, tincture, or powder from it.

Video first seen on Howcast.

Willow Bark or Birch Bark Tea

To make the tea, let the bark dry for a few hours if you can. You don’t have to, but it’s recommended for best results.

Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil, if you have that much to spare. If not, use what you have. Put the bark in and continue to simmer. This serves two purposes – you’re making the tea and purifying the water at the same time.

If you’re using heat to purify the water, make sure to boil it for at least 10 minutes, with or without the bark. Use about 1 tablespoon of bark for each cup of water. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the fire.

After removing your tea from the fire, let it steep for 10-20 minutes. By that time, it will have cooled enough to drink. Drink a cup of the tea every few hours. Watch out for side effects and adjust the dose accordingly.

You can also make a decoction by boiling for a bit longer – 15-20 min – and letting it steep as directed for the tea.

Making Willow Bark or Birch Bark Powder

Without a doubt, the powder form of willow bark is the easiest to carry with you. If you have it on hand, you can quickly make a tea. To dry the willow or birch bark, simply separate out the paper parts and allow them to dry completely. Grind. Add a teaspoon to a cup of boiling water and make your tea as described above. Store excess in a dry, airtight container.

Make Willow Bark or Birch Bark Tincture

As we’ve described in another article, tinctures are great for long-term storage, or for use with plants that don’t have a high degree of solubility. It’s easy to make a tincture from willow bark or birch bark as long as you have some alcohol. Vodka will do nicely as long as it’s at least 80 proof. Simply add 1 tablespoon of bark per cup of vodka, cover, shake, and let it steep for at least 2-4 days. Take 1 tsp of tincture 2-3 times daily.

Now you know how to make aspirin tea from a willow tree or a birch tree. The upside to these treatments is that you know exactly what’s in it, but make sure that you know what you’re doing and remember that it’s better to start with too little that too much.

The dosage amounts that I’ve listed here are for adults. You can also use aspirin for kids and pets, but the dosage needs to be adjusted accordingly. Just as with all natural remedies, don’t use them if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you’ve ever made your own aspirin or used willow bark or birch bark for natural pain relief or to reduce a fever, please tell us about your experience in the comments section below. And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around you.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

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

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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6 Self-Defense Tactics For Weak And Small

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Self Defense

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

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

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

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

1. Take a Martial Arts Class

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

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

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

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

2. Learn to Use Your Brain as a Weapon

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

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

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

Click Here to Get Your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

3. Bring as Little Attention to Your Place as Possible

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

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

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

4. Take a Weapons Course or Join a Shooting Club

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

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

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

5. Plan Your Defense in Advance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Consider Buying Non-Traditional Weapons

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

Just about anything can be used as a weapon. Canned food, keys, a pen, lamps, rocks; really whatever you can get your hands on will be better than nothing but again, make your first move count by aiming for the throat, nose, head, groin or eyes if possible.

Carry your standard weapon, too. Pepper spray or your gun won’t do you any good if they’re in the upstairs drawer. It’s time to survive so be ready at all times.

There are many ways to learn how to defend yourself if you are weak and small, but the most important thing to remember is that you need to stick to the plan of attack (or escape) once you’ve committed to it.

This decorated former Green Beret shares a lot of lifesaving advice from his 25 years of service in this book. Click the banner below to grab your guide to gun mastery.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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Wilderness Survival: 5 Self Feeding Campfires

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Self feeding fire

If you’re an outdoors aficionado and you go camping often, today’s article will tick you in all the right places, as I will present you, dear readers, with 5 ways to start a self feeding campfire.

Making a campfire is arguably one of the most fun and interesting parts of camping, as it keeps you warm and safe on cool nights, not to mention that it gives you the opportunity to make the best barbecue you’ve ever had in your life.

You know, food cooked outdoors on wood-fires tastes best. However, there’s a downside to this kind of activity. I am talking about the boring job of keeping the fire alive and kicking.

We’ve all been in this situation – sitting and chilling by the fire, trying to relax and all that, when once again, we’re forced to get up and tend the fire. That’s pretty unpleasant when your belly is full of your latest barbecue, not to mention during the night when you’re sleeping like a baby, yet you awake frostbitten and what not.

However, there’s an answer to these problems with regard to camping, and I am talking about a self feeding fire. Think about our forefathers, they were the experts of this basic skill as for them, a self feeding fire lasting all nigh long meant they could take a nap after a harsh journey.

This may sound nothing short of miraculous to you, but I’ll present you with some videos and you’ll see that I am dead serious, as usual.

So, considering that you can’t really enjoy the warm glow from your campfire if you’re forced to constantly feed it with fresh logs, let’s see about some self feeding ideas which will keep your fire going forever and ever.

1. 15+ Hours Self Feeding Fire

The next idea is about a 15 hours-plus self feeding fire, which sounds pretty awesome providing that it really works; i.e. a fire that will burn for more than half a day all by itself, requiring zero maintenance. That almost beats central heating, don’t you think?

The self feeding fire was invented by the pioneers that had to travel for months. We still have a lot to learn about their skills, as they are depicted in Claude Davis’s book “The Lost Ways”, who unearths the long forgotten ways and lifestyles of the ancestors of ancient times.

Discover the ancient secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild!

This type of fire will work if you’re doing it right and proper. The idea is that you’ll have to work a little bit in order for it to function, but it will be worth it. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to build two ramps opposing each other and load them with big logs.

The logs will self-load as the ones in the middle get consumed by the fire, but check out the video tutorial about this method depicted in “The Lost Ways” book, and see the concept in action for yourself.

Video first seen on Know More.

As you have noticed, the ramps are constructed in a very easy-to-understand way; there’s nothing fancy involved here.

In order to get the fire started, you’ll have to remember to leave a gap in-between the two logs at the bottom by putting a couple of pieces of dead wood in there to keep them open. In this way, you’ll be able to start the fire, and that’s kind of important.

You’ll also have to cut pretty big (and flat-that’s crucial) logs and the trick is to start the fire from below and make sure the logs burn completely all the way down to succeed.

2. The Upside-down Fire

The second self feeding campfire idea is called the upside down fire. The general idea is that you put the biggest stuff at the bottom, like the big logs, in layers, in a crisscrossed pattern, and as you build the logs up, the woods will get smaller, ending up with the tender pile of the top.

This is a very efficient way of building a self feeding campfire and here’s a comprehensive video tutorial.

Video first seen on NorthSouthSurvival.

The idea works and it’s pretty easy to DIY, ending up with an almost maintenance-free fire which consumes itself from the top down. This method is also known as the fall-down fire.

3. Self Feeding Fire Cigarettes

The third idea is called self-feeding fire cigarettes, just another moniker for a self feeding, long-lasting campfire. The goal of this project is to build a small scale fire as opposed to the previous idea which involves big logs for creating a heavy duty campfire.

So, what we’ll be dealing with here is a minimal campfire, ideal for cooking and lighting your cigars and, you know, keeping the lights on, so to speak.

The concept is to make a hole in the ground and stick 4-5 fire cigarettes (wooden sticks basically) inside, light them up from the bottom and as they burn slowly, the burnt parts collapse under their own weight. This is elegant, very easy to put into practice, and it really works. You must remember to dig out the ventilation tunnels required for keeping the fire alive.

Video first seen on Redfuel Bushcraft

4. 18+ Hours Self Feeding Campfire

Next on our program is how to make a long-lasting, self-feeding campfire that will stay alive by itself for approximately 18 hours, give or take (depending on the size of the logs).

First things first: you’ll have to find 2 big logs. The thicker they are, the longer your fire is going to last.

The general idea is that you’ll put these 2 thick logs on top of each other and set a fire in between them using dead/dry debris or something similar. You’ll have to use 4 stakes, 2 on each side of the logs, for keeping the logs from rolling out; something like a safety precaution. It’s best to use green wood stakes, as these don’t burn so well.

It’s important how you set up the fire; i.e. it works especially well if you set up in the direction where the wind blows, as it will fan the fire for you.

Video first seen on coydog outdoors.

5. Finnish Rakovalkea Fire

Lastly, let me present you with a clever system to build a self feeding campfire which is very popular in Northern Europe, in Finland and Sweden respectively, where it’s known as rakovalkea and/or nying.

This self feeding system uses for two notched-out short logs for its base that keep the fire lifted up off the ground for better ventilation, or more oxygen if you like.

The rest of the job is pretty similar to the previous project; i.e. you’ll have two logs on top of each other with the fire being set in the middle. Both the log on the bottom and the one on the top have a flattened edge as they’ll be facing each other, and in between you’ll have to put the combustible materials required for starting the fire.

Two poles are used to keep the logs firmly in place (via nails). But take a look at this video tutorial and you’ll see what’s up.

Video first seen on Far North Bushcraft And Survival.

Click the banner below to discover more long-forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive the long journeys in the wilderness!

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Survival Food: 5 Hearty Soup In A Jar Recipes

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Soup in a jar

We’ve already discussed how to preserve many foods, and even entire meals, by canning them using either pressure canning or water bath canning. Canning entire meals in a jar provides both convenience and nutrition; both of which will be to your advantage in a survival situation.

The difference between the two types of canning is that any food that is low acid, which is most vegetables and all meats, needs to be pressure canned in order for the food in the jars to reach a temperature that will kill all microorganisms such as botulism that will make you sick.

The general rule of thumb is that you process pint jars for 60 minutes and quart jars for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for vegetable soups, and 75 minutes for pints/90 minutes for quarts for meats. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars.

If you’re canning something with dried beans, put them in a pan and cover them with a couple inches of water. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let them soak in the hot water for at least an hour. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat, drain, and add to the soup.

The general rule for canning soups is that you have half small cubed solids and half liquid. This may sound like a lot of liquid, but by the time the other ingredients absorb the water and swell, it will be nice and hearty.

You want that much liquid in the beginning so that heat can circulate evenly, but when it’s finished, you’ll find that it’s about 3/4 solids to 1/2 liquid. Just enough to soak some bread in!

Don’t Overcook

The main thing to remember when canning soups is that you don’t want to cook it until it’s mush. You lose both flavor and nutrients at that point. This means that you’ll likely pack everything into the jars nearly raw. You can make soup and then can it, but if you do that, just know that many of your veggies will be pretty soft, and some will cook away altogether.

Bring everything to a rolling boil for 5 minutes or so, just long enough to get everything good and hot, then pack it into your jars and process. Let it cook in the jars.

With the long cooking times, you may find that rice (not instant) is better in your recipes than pasta, which cooks to goo.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills you need for survival cooking! 

Sterilize and Clean Everything

This is the key to successful canning. Your jars need to be sterilized before you put food in them.

Do this by washing them in hot, soapy water. The same thing goes for all of the equipment that you use, including lids, rings, spatulas and anything else that will come into contact with the inside of the jar, or the food.

Video first seen on Marjorie Vangenewitt

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipes!

And remember – you can adapt any of your favorite recipes so that you may can them and have your favorite meals anytime that you want.

Canning isn’t just about planning for the apocalypse. In fact, that’s just an added bonus. Canning is a means to preserve healthy food that you’ve grown yourself, so that you know what you’re putting in your body. If you have some left over, then even better!

5 Delicious Soups in a Jar

1. Italian Rustica

  • 2 gallons tomato juice
  • 3 cups cubed carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • 2 pint canned tomatoes, rough chopped, not drained
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped or dried oregano
  • 2 cups dried rice

Combine all ingredients except the rice in a soup pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then add the rice. Pack into jars and process. Yields about 12 quarts.

2. Ham and Bean Soup

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 cups dried northern or cannelloni beans
  • 4 cups chopped ham
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Soak your dried beans as discussed above. Bring them to a boil, along with the salt, pepper and ham. Pack in jars and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

3. Beef Stew

  • 4 pounds beef tips
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 gallons beef stock

Braise beef tips with the onions and celery in a skillet just until rare but browned on all sides. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 16 quarts.

4. Cabbage Stew

  • 4 pounds ground meat, your choice
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 gallons water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Brown your meat in a skillet and drain. Add it along with all other ingredients to your stockpot and bring to a boil. Process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

5. Southwest Stew

  • 3 cups white rice, not instant
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 pounds chicken breast, chopped
  • 3 cups corn
  • 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 2 packs taco seasoning
  • 1 small can green chilis, diced
  • 2 gallon chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

All of these soups are both delicious and healthy, and fairly easy to prepare.

Do you wonder what where the cooking secrets that helped our grandfathers survive the Great Depression? Click the banner below to uncover them!

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If you have any recipes that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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6 Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarter Kits

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Survivopedia ^ Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarte kits

To begin with, I’d take it as an axiom that any respectable prepper should know how to start a fire in an emergency. Also, I am a firm believer in the theory that any bug out bag or survival kit should pack a fire starter, together with a couple of Bic lighters, just in case.

If you’re wondering why, well, you should contemplate the fact that fire is maybe the most important invention in the history of mankind.

For starters, fire keeps you warm and that’s quite important during the winter season, especially when confronted with a survival situation, i.e. you get lost out in the big bad wood or whatever.

I am aware of the fact that we live in a day and age when people don’t go out much, especially in the woods/in the wilderness. Getting lost is a pretty rare occurrence as we’re surrounded by high-tech GPS capable gadgets, Google Maps at our fingertips, mobile internet, offline maps and whatnot.

However, nasty things can happen at any given moment. The likes of earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks or good-old power outages may render your central heating system useless in no time.

There are also still folks out there, in flyover country, so to speak, who still go out hiking and hunting (in my time it was called having fun), even in the winter, so you may face a situation where having a fire starting kit will save your life.

So, ranting aside, besides keeping you warm and preventing frostbite from incapacitating you in an emergency, fire will allow you to cook your food, purify water for medical treatment or drinking, keep wild animals away, and signal your presence during the night or during the day via smoke signals.

Survival isn’t all that fire is about though; it’s also needed for complex things that made civilization possible, like metallurgy or pottery.

Yes indeed folks, fire is pretty important in almost all aspects of our modern life, yet we seem to take it for granted, as we got lazy due to our high-tech dominated and lavish lifestyle.

Start a fire anywhere using concealed fire-starting tools worn right on your shoes. Click here to grab these amazing fire laces!

Getting back to our story, let’s talk about a few ideas with regard to DIY-ing emergency fire starters.

To begin with, I bet you’ve already watched a dozen movies where Crocodile Dundee or that weird dude which has the improbable name of Bear Grylls is rubbing 2 sticks together and somehow a fire magically appears. Believe me folks, that’s next to impossible if you’re a regular guy who never tried that before (like 200 times).

Here, the fire starter kit comes into play because, after all, we’re living in the 21st century and we’re supposedly smarter than your average troglodyte in the Amazonian jungle (I am not sure all of those guys discovered fire yet).

An emergency fire starter kit is aimed at making your survival story more pleasant and interesting to tell to your friends, and also more probable, as in “Staying Alive”, if you know that Bee Gees song.

What I am trying to tell you is that even if lighters or matches, are the easiest way to start a fire, having an emergency survival kit is pretty cool and it will make you stand out in the prepper crowd.

Joking aside, the main purpose of a fire starter kit is to help you with making a fire in adverse weather conditions (read rain, wind, snow or any combination of 2), when a simple lighter will not suffice.

1. Mini Fire Starter Kit

The first DIY project is the Micro Fire Starter Kit and it’s my personal favorite because it involves a Bic lighter, obviously.

The genius of this DIY fire starter kit is its simplicity. All you need is an old empty Bic lighter which is cut in half with a saw/knife or whatever. This creates a very small fire starter.

The striker still works obviously, and you’ll also use the storage chamber underneath (where the lighter fluid used to be) for your fishing hook.

You’ll also use cotton and the phosphorus paper, all of which are the must-have ingredients for an old school fire starter, sealed and waterproofed with hot glue for using in survival situations. I know what you’re thinking: you’d prefer a  brand new/working Bic lighter instead of that DIY fire starter kit, but life is not always easy folks.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

2. Micro Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Here’s another idea for DIY-ing an emergency fire starting kit using another Bic lighter for creating an ultra-light and uber-tiny keychain survival tool.

This project involves some tinkering with the lighter, but you’ll end up with a very small emergency fire kit which uses the same principle, i.e. the working striker of a Bic lighter combined with cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly as combustibles, that are stored inside the cut-down lighter’s innards.

Video first seen on MeZillch.

3. Pocket Size Fire Starter Kit

For another idea, take a look at this pocket-sized fire starter kit which is made from an old pain reliever tube and nothing much else. By nothing much else I mean old wax, a Ferro rod and a striker. But just watch the video and you’ll discover a very clever way for making a fire starter from scratch, and most importantly, one that really works well (I tried it myself).

Video first seen on supergokue1

4. Self Igniting Fire Starters

Here’s a (clumsy) compilation of some of the best DIY self-igniting fire starters and combinations – a kit of sorts – which contains cool stuff like:

  • a self-igniting pine pitch fire stick fire starter
  • self-igniting dust fire starters
  • pine pitch fireball fire starters
  • pine pitch fire bomb fire starters
  • fire crackle fire starters, fatwood fire stick fire starters

This also includes char rope, char cloth, and a fire light candle. The idea is that you can buy all these gizmos from eBay and see how they’re made, then try to reverse engineer them if you think they’re worth the stretch.

Video first seen on The Tera Farley Channel

5. Chemical Based Fire Starters

Now with the old-school fire starter kits taken care of, let’s see how a chemist would make a fire in the absence of lighters, matches, Ferro rods, sticks and stones, etc.

Truth be told, this is something resembling a chemistry class, as the video tutorial will show you some pretty cool chemical reactions – four oxidation processes respectively –  which will all result into an open flame, provided you have the materials at the ready.

Basically, you’ll learn how to make a fire without matches if you get lost in your chemistry lab or something along these lines. The idea is that you’ll require sulfuric acid, potassium permanganate (these are hard to get over the counter), potassium chlorate, zinc powder, glycerol, acetone, ammonium nitrate and several other chemicals. It’s never a bad idea to know how to make fires this way because you don’t know what situation you may find yourself in.

However, as far as chemistry experiments go, these ideas are among the best out there, being nothing short of spectacular. Just don’t let your kids see the video, okay?

Video first seen on Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

6. How to Make Fire With a Lemon

I saved the best for last, as you can imagine. Now, sit down, take a deep breath and learn how to make a fire with a lemon.

Yes, folks, you can make a fire with a lemon if you’re from Sweden and you have a thick accent. Okay, and you have lemons, obviously.

This is not a joke, as the principle behind the lemon fire starter is pretty straightforward: the lemon is an acidic fruit, the juice inside is the electrolyte, and sticking a few copper/zinc pins (think electrodes) into the lemon will make for a primitive circuit which provides you with electricity when closed. You see where this is going, right?

The battery will be used for creating basically a short circuit via a thin wire, which will go incandescent in the process, meaning that you’ll be able to use it for lighting up dry tinder, thus making for a good fire starter by any measure.

Take a look at the video and see for yourself. It’s massive fun. As far as out-of-the-box workable ideas go, this one is the best in the world. I mean, if life gives you lemons, make a fire with them.

Video first seen on NorthSurvival

And yes, it works, I’ve tried it.

If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to express them in the dedicated section below.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Army Tricks To Learn For Survival

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Army Tricks Survival

Army teaches you unique survival skills and habits, useful not only in extreme situations, but also in your everyday life.

The first and the most important thing people in the military are forced to learn is to survive. They learn to think fast, to function under stress, to pay attention to details and to survive in extreme environments. There is no other option. You either adapt or you are out or you… die.

Not serving in the army doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn something from those who do.

From keeping a low profile to self-defense, here are the top military tips and skills to introduce into your survival strategy.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is a simple concept, it’s just being aware of your surroundings and understanding the reality of the threats that you may face in any given situation. It’s just constantly being aware of what’s going on around you.

To some, situational awareness is just a theory, but there is much more than that, and once you learn it you understand why it stands for the basis of survival.

How Do You Recognize a Suspicious Activity or Person

If you know what normal looks like, you should be able to pick out the things that stand out as being abnormal in any situation, and those suspicious things are going to stand out. Don’t be afraid to act by calling the authorities when you see it, better sorry than dead! It might be a false alarm, or your call could lead to the capture, kill, or arrest of a terrorist cell or network.

Detecting Criminal Surveillance

Criminal surveillance is watching something or someone to determine if you’re the target that they’re looking for. Once you are identified as the target, most probably they’re going to hit by robbing you, kidnapping you or your family or even worse.

Survivopedia_escapeHow to Lose a Tail

First, you have to be aware that you have a tail, then act to lose it.

If you’re on foot, start walking erratically, meaning instead of going straight from point A to point B, take some weird turns. Look for shiny or reflective surfaces (a mirror or a store window) to see if that person is still following you.

How to Keep a Low Profile

Keeping a low profile doesn’t mean to drive the most expensive car in the country and talking too much about what you do and why you do it.

The goal is to stay unnoticed so the danger wouldn’t meet you round the corner. It starts with the way you dress and the way you move when you are in a public place, and has to do with the way you act and react in order to not drawing attention.

How to Cope with Danger

The first thing you want to do is put as much distance between yourself and the threat as possible, then you want to make sure that you alert the authorities to what’s going on in case communication means are available. Give them all the information that you can to make their job as easy as possible.

Now it’s not always the case that you can get away. Sometimes you may find yourself in an active shooter type scenario where escape is not an option. You may have to do things that you are not trained to do and that you have never done before.

Just calm down, stay calm and think before you do. Think about each move that you’re going to make before you make it, and try and protect yourself and others, as Brian M. Morris says in his “Spec Ops Shooting” guide to combat shooting mastery and active shooting defense. This decorated former Green Beret shares a lot of lifesaving advice from his 25 years of service in this book.

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

Combat Tips to Use for Self-Defense

1. You should be armed. In most states it’s now legal to get a concealed carry permit, which allows you to carry a handgun concealed on your person. Thirty-seven of the states are now “will issue” states, which means that as long as you meet the requirements for a concealed carry permit and do not have a record of criminal activity or mental incompetence, the state is required to give you a permit, upon application.

Okay, so being aware and having a weapon on your person takes away a lot of the assailant’s advantage, but not all of it. They still have two major advantages over you; the first is that they choose the time and place and the second is their willingness to inflict harm on you.

2. When an attack comes, you need to react quickly and violently. Violently doesn’t necessarily mean that you kill them or even that you shoot them, it means that you react in such a way that they are convinced you are going to shoot them. That alone might be enough to get them to break off the attack and run away.

3. As part of that initial reaction, you want to move out of their line of fire. Most criminals are poor shots and not much more skilled with a knife. They’re depending on their ability to intimidate you. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous or that they can’t shoot you; just that they are likely to miss. Moving, whether dropping to one knee or moving to the side, reduces their chances of hitting you.

4. There’s a saying that anything that’s worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Police departments train their officers this way, teaching them to shoot “double taps”. Those double taps increase the chances that your shots are going to do enough harm to the assailant that you will be able to stop them. If your shots don’t stop them, keep shooting. Your goal isn’t to kill them, just to stop them. As long as they are facing you and holding a weapon, they’re a threat.

5. Once you start moving, keep moving. You should practice shooting while moving, so that you are prepared to do it. It is infinitely harder to shoot accurately while moving, than it is while standing still. Practice, so that you can do it when you need to. Your movement makes you a hard target to hit.

6. Events might transpire in such a way that you can’t draw your gun and return fire immediately. There are times that an assailant might get the upper hand, even if you are aware of your surroundings. Your first indication that anything is wrong might be seeing a gun or knife stuck in your face. If that’s the case and you can’t draw your weapon, play for time.

They’re keyed up to attack at first, but the longer they have to wait, the less ready they are. In such a situation, you want to try and wait until they are either momentarily distracted or let down their guard for a moment. That then becomes your moment to act.

Being able to master army skills is what makes you a warrior and helps you survive and protect other at the same time. It takes practice and time to build this mindset, but once you got it you ease your steps to survival.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: 8+ Food Crops To Grow In Your Survival Garden

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Growing your own food makes you more independent, helps you save a lot of money and allows you to enjoy fresh ingredients any time of the year.

It may be challenging to start growing your own food, but you will thank yourself later, in a survival situation, when all the shelves will be empty and you will have fresh crops to feed the bellies of your loved ones.

Starting your own survival gardening is on your resolutions list for this year? For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic.

If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Eight Efficient Food Crops To Grow

Eight-Efficient-Food-Crops-to-grow

“Becoming self-sufficient is one of the many good reasons to want to grow your own vegetables. Nothing beats home grown food and for many people, there’s a great appeal to grow efficient food crops. The food you grow is cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you get from the supermarket.

Starting your own garden may be challenging and most people give up after the first try. To boost your confidence, you should start by growing efficient food crops. After you acquire the proper experience, you can try growing more challenging crops.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Edible-Flowers

“The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

  1. Indoor Gardening Ideas

3437003584_015070dee9_b-225x300“There are certain times of the year where, no matter your climate, you’ll have a hard time getting vegetables to grow in your outdoor garden.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go without fresh, home-grown veggies, or buy them from the grocery story.

Instead, you can grow some vegetables indoors, wherever you have space. Here’s how.”

Read more on Be Self Sufficient.

  1. Container Gardening: Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot

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“Tight on garden space? Maybe you live in an apartment with only a balcony for growing food. Maybe you have a rental place and you can’t dig up the back yard. Or just maybe you have a postage stamp yard with no room for a garden. Fig trees grown in containers may be ideal for your limited space or limited opportunity situation.”

Read more on Attainable-Sustainable.

  1. 3 Great Ways to Stop Weeds This Year Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Weeds1

“Weeds can ruin more than the just the look of your property. By robbing the soil of vital nutrients, they also wreak havoc on yields in the garden, and can keep flowerbeds from staying healthy and vibrant.

But before all hope is lost, there are actually some great ways to reduce or even eliminate your weed woes completely. Even better, none  require the use of harsh, man-made, synthetic chemicals. Here are 3 of our favorites.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To DIY A Paracord Survival Grenade

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DIY Paracord Grenade

If you’re an outdoor aficionado, you’re probably checking constantly for survival tips and tricks and, as you may already know, paracord is one of those special items you should have on your person when SHTF. In other words, always have it within reach.

When it comes to survival gear, there are 4 basic things you should be capable of doing with it: shelter-building, filtering water, gathering food, and starting a fire. In an ideal world, your survival kit must be able to resolve all these issues without problems.

If you’re able to achieve this goal, you’ll be able to survive for a few days until help arrives, or possibly even indefinitely, in case the cavalry is busy somewhere else. You know what I am talking about – if you can procure water, food, shelter, and make a fire in a survival situation, you’re pretty much guaranteed for winning the prepper academy award.

This brings us to today’s topic, how to DIY a paracord survival grenade. Truth be told, a well-made (as in smart) paracord survival grenade can be described as the mother of all survival gear.

That’s because a properly made paracord grenade will provide you with all the basics of survival, i.e. you’ll be able to hunt and fish, start a fire, build yourself a shelter and, why not, even boil water.

The devil is in the details. That’s an old saying which is truer than ever when it comes to paracord survival grenades.

The thing is, you can buy a pre-made one. In case you’re wondering why, well, paracord survival grenades have already achieved legendary status among the prepper community, which is growing exponentially year after year. Because of that, this pre-made item sells quite well indeed.

13 Essential survival items are included inside this Paracord Survival Kit. Grab this offer now!

In a nutshell (pun intended), a paracord survival grenade has a core which contains essential survival items, all wrapped with paracord, which in itself is another crucial survival piece of gear, ending up in a nicely-wrapped, portable, space-saving packet of survival goodies.

Now, talking about commercially available items, some of them are wrapped together using a cobra knot with the paracord. This style knot makes the grenade look great, but looks won’t help you survive if it’s not functional.

The problem with the cobra knot is that despite its cool appearance, when the rubber hits the road and you need to use it, it is pretty hard to deploy. It’s not as quick as you may need it to be at the critical moment when your life depends on it.

Now, the problem with using other types of knots is that you may end up with an ugly looking paracord grenade, but in my book, usability trumps beauty, so fair warning.

As per future reference, I would suggest DYI-ing your paracord grenade using the quick-deploy type of the cobra knot, which is the solomon bar.

This type of knot requires some practice and patience, but it’s fairly easy to do after you get the hang of it, and it’s lightning fast to deploy if so desired. Here is an example, take a piece of paracord and start practicing.

Video first seen on TyingItAllTogether

Moving along with our story, nowadays almost everyone has heard about paracord bracelets, which actually became more like fashion pieces rather than survival items for the urban prepper. A survival paracord grenade has more than just plain rope, but what’s inside is what matters the most. It’s here that you must pay extra attention.

A basic survival paracord grenade holds about twenty feet of paracord. Ideally, you should go for mil-spec paracord, but any type of high-quality paracord, rated to at least 500 pounds, will do the job if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness and all that jazz.

Obviously, you can create a bigger or a smaller one, depending on your needs and personal preference, but as a general rule of thumb, 20 feet, or roughly 6 meters, of paracord are marking the sweet spot, dimensions-wise. The idea is to strike the perfect balance (as in portability/convenience) with your survival grenade, else you can choose to carry some rope and a bunch of survival tools in a bag if you’d rather.

As I already told you, one of the key issues with DIY paracord grenades is to be able to take them apart easily. For example, consider that you’re out there in the cold (it’s winter after all) and your hands are frozen stiff. Struggling to untie the knots of your paracord grenade for deploying your survival gear in order to make a fire is not the best idea in a survival situation, right?

Video first seen on MOD

5 Essential Steps to DIY the Perfect Paracord Survival Grenade

So, if you want to build the perfect paracord grenade, you must follow a few simple steps, together with knowing perfectly well what survival tools to include inside.

1. Built it around a carabiner

A paracord survival grenade is built around a carabiner. That’s what makes it look like an actual grenade. Aesthetics aside, a carabiner is a staple item in any respectable survival kit.

2. Put some fishing and trapping gear inside

Next, considering that one must eat in order to live to fight another day, you must put some fishing and trapping gear inside your survival grenade. Items such as snare wire, small game trapping items and a small fishing kit would be perfect.

3. Add a small LED flashlight

A small LED flashlight would come handy when in need, i.e. starting a fire is not possible and you can’t find your way in the darkness. After all, the sun has a tendency to disappear for hours, especially during the winter, and if you’re afraid of the dark … I’m kidding of course, but an LED flashlight is an excellent item to have in your survival kit in any situation.

4. Include a small blade and a Ferro rod

Another item to consider is a small blade and a Ferro rod, as an additional fire-starter item. Ideally, one should carry a survival knife at all times, but having a backup is always smart, hence the small blade recommendation.

These are the bare minimum survival items to consider, but use your imagination and don’t be afraid to improvise (a small lighter or match sticks, striking sheet, etc).

5. Wrap the survival items in tin foil

Last but not least, once you have decided what to put inside the core of your survival paracord grenade, don’t forget to wrap ’em all up using a tin foil. Besides keeping your survival gear inside dry, the tin foil sheet can be used as a water container and you also can boil the water in it, thus destroying the bacteria.

Remember – all items must directly contribute to base survival in one way or another.

Video first seen on LittleMtnOutdoors

This particular paracord grenade hides essential survival tools inside:

  • 6 feet of fishing line
  • a razor blade
  • 2 small hooks
  • 2 split shot sinkers
  • a small strip of sandpaper
  • 6 strike-anywhere matches,
  • 2 band aids
  • 1 foot of jute twine for tinder and aluminum foil
  • the paracord itself.

Click the banner below to grab your Paracord Survival Kit! 

paracord-grenade

 

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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23 Ways To Compromise A Backpacking Trip

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Backpacking Trip

Backpacking can be great fun or a death march. It is up to you to control the ratio of fun to suffering.

I have crisscrossed the globe since I was a child and have been in plenty of situations I would rather others learned about through observation rather than experience, patching bullet wounds in people and vehicles, exploring ice caves in the Eiger in the Swiss Alps without any socks (don’t ask), being robbed by a gang of Gypsies in Portugal and battling prehistoric mosquitoes in Brazil, to name a few.

If you are new to backpacking, please take a moment to review a few too common mistakes in order to maximize the recreational aspects of backpacking and dial down the Suck-O-Meter.

We started with only seven mistakes, that you might know already if you read our previous article on backpacking. But there’s more to it, so here is what you need to know!

1. Thinking you can put everything you need in your backpack.

  1. First off, the most important things one can bring into the outdoors are outdoor survival skills, judgment, vision and adaptability. If an individual is gravely deficient in one or more of these areas, there is nothing they can put in a pack that will save their lives. If this is you or someone you know, be sure you or they are accompanied by someone you trust who can teach and guide.
  2. Second, core survival/self-recovery equipment should be carried in your pockets, not your pack. That way, when any of untold numbers of unpredictable scenarios where you can be separated from your pack occur, (you are ejected from a vehicle, pinned in wreckage, set your pack down to rest, lose your pack in an avalanche, you are compelled to ditch your pack in order to swim, etc.) you will not lose your core survival equipment along with your pack.
  3. Third, don’t be too much of a gear critic. The other day, I heard someone trashing a great pack because a strap broke on theirs. By definition, survival is the most DIY (Do It Yourself) of disciplines. All equipment is a compromise between light weight and durability. If you use your gear, you will break it and must be able to repair it in the field. You should be able and equipped to repair gear or to improvise.

Repair Kit 4. Fourth, strive to become less gear-dependent. There is a balance to strike between gear and knowledge. The more you know, the less you need. I’m not saying not to bring any gear and backpack barefoot and naked, but that there is a balance between gear and knowledge, and most folks tend toward the equipment-dependent side of that balance. If you strike a balance, your back will thank you as knowledge is lighter by far than gear.

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Trying to fill your backpack.

There is a tendency to see a backpack as a container to be filled. “You have space, so you can fit one more piece of gear in there.” Make a list of everything you need and nothing you don’t. Pack that.

If you don’t fill your pack, tighten down the compression straps or move your gear to a smaller pack, but it’s better to have a little extra room in case someone gets injured and you need to pack out some of their equipment on top of your own.

3. Lack of research.

You need information to plan effectively.

Some examples would be: distance you will hike, change in elevation, terrain, climate, possible extreme weather events, altitude, creepy crawlies and other environmental dangers, which water sources are year-round or seasonal and their condition, road condition, distance from services, permits or licenses needed, cell coverage area, local radio frequencies and repeaters.

You should also check if there is a waiting list or mandatory check-in with a ranger station, local laws, local customs, if you will be hiking in hunting season or other events that mean more pressure on the area, ecological concerns specific to the area and endangered species, presence of historical or archaeological sites and so on.

4. Don’t use a checklist.

This is a great way to forget important equipment and the tendency is exacerbated by stress so be sure to include checklists, contents lists and instructions with all layers and modules of survival and emergency gear. Someone else may be using it to save you and they won’t know what you packed.

5. Don’t empty your pack before you pack it.

Having a pack ready to grab on your way out the door is a great thing … for emergencies. If you have the time, use it by emptying out your pack, doing a gear inventory and repacking it. It is decidedly less effective to haul some heavy piece of gear you don’t need along on a punishing trip because you forgot it was hiding in your pack.

6. Don’t pack the items you will need first where you can easily access them.

If you are going to stop along your trek to filter water, you don’t want to have dig the gear you need to do it out of the bottom of your pack. Thinking modular terms will save you time and money and help you to not forget important gear.

7. Don’t bring a notebook and pen.

Keep an adventure journal or pertinent information such as position, date, time, temperature, humidity, weather, altitude, injuries, incidents and so forth on your trips. Note what works and what doesn’t and what you wished you had brought with you. Eliminate non-emergency-related gear that you don’t use regularly.

Notebook

8. Packing heavy items low in your pack.

Pack heavy items like water high in your pack and close to your back.

9. Adjust your pack so that weight rests on the shoulders.

This will tire you out and make you sore. A backpack should have a well-padded waist belt and a sternum strap. If yours doesn’t, add them or get a new pack. Adjust your pack so most of the weight rests on your hips.

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable!

10. Forget to trim your toenails.

Foot Care Or round them off instead of cutting them straight across before your trip. This causes your toenails to be driven back into your toes on long downhill stretches causing pain and discomfort.

11. Don’t layer

Or don’t use layering properly. Pack and wear clothing so you can add and remove loose-fitting layers of clean, dry clothing as needed to control your temperature and provide ventilation.

It is better to be a little bit colder than is comfortable as you backpack than to let sweat and moisture accumulate inside your clothing. Your clothing is your first line of protection against exposure.

12. Dress for daytime temperature.

Instead of nighttime temperatures on day hikes. Any time you head out, you may end up spending the night due to unforeseen circumstances.

13. Don’t know how to use a map and compass or don’t bother to bring them.

Even if you know every inch of the terrain your are in, you may still end up needing a map to convince a lost group of their true position or to call in coordinates for a rescue.

Map and Compass

14. Pack a filter that uses micro-tubule tech on a trip where it may freeze during the night.

I have seen rashes of five star reviews extolling the virtues of new water filters using hollow fiber technology claiming to filter 100,000 gallons of water. They must not camp in cold weather. If you allow even a single microscopic ice crystal forms in this type of filter, the only way you will know is when you double over vomiting with a terrible case of diarrhea.

“No problem, just keep it in your jacket and your sleeping bag.” says the guy who can’t manage to wash his hands before meals on the trail. But he will remember to move his wet water filter inside his jacket, not gripe when it dribbles and gets his base layer wet and then transfer it to his sleeping bag after he forecasts that the temperature will dip below freezing … sure he will.

15. Eliminate essential safety gear because you haven’t used it on the last 10 trips.

The thing about emergency gear like trauma kits and signal gear is that unless you are incompetent, you won’t need it often, but when you do, you will REALLY need it. While you are at it, don’t be the ultralight guy who brags about how little weight he carried and then turns around and borrows half a dozen pieces of gear from his buddies and eats their food either.

16. Wear brand new boots.

Break in new boots before you take them on the trail to avoid blisters.

17. Fail to plan as a group.

Boy could a lot of survivalists stand to learn from this.  A well-run scout troop is organized into patrols. Each scout carries his personal gear and then his share of the patrol gear. They understand that if each guy brings every conceivable piece of gear that he could possibly need, you end up carrying a lot of unnecessary weight.

A group of 6 people doesn’t need 6 axes, 6 files, six sharpening pucks, 6 rain flies, 6 frying pans and so on. If you are traveling as a family, plan as a family. It is also nice to have access to a variety of tools instead of everyone carrying exactly the same equipment.

18. Poor planning exacerbates poor hygiene.

Maintaining proper hygiene takes planning and extra effort in a survival setting or while backpacking. Folks who have lived their whole lives with hot running water tend to back-burner hygiene if it means a cold bath in the creek, but you will be more comfortable and suffer less if leave your comfort zone and

  • Don’t pack gear to wash your hands before eating. Much is made of treating water to kill parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, but water is only one way to become infected. You are just as likely to be infected with giardia by failing to wash your hands before eating as not treating water, yet even graduates of some of the best survival schools on the planet either don’t understand this or regularly fail to put it into practice.
  • Plan to eat meals inside your tents and cook near where you bed down instead of in a separate spot. For every person dragged out of a tent by a bear, there are 100’s who have had holes chewed in packs and tents by rodents, raccoons or skunks looking for a meal. With a more sensitive sniffer than a bloodhound, if you eat inside your tent even once, you should not use that tent in bear country ever again. You don’t want to become a soft taco for a bear, but you don’t have to be camping in bear country for eating inside your tent to be a bad idea, and it does not take a bear to chew holes in your gear in search of food.
  • Don’t bring gear to wash up properly after meals. I once left a camp full of scouts on the beach of lake in the Sonoran Desert to help drain a boat and change its plug in the middle of the night since the boat was taking on water. Upon our return to camp, I swept the shore with the spotlight to find a troop of skunks in the camp with one standing atop a sleeping scout lapping the remnants of the young man’s supper right off his face.

19. Make your pack weight conform to some arbitrary number that likely has nothing to do with you and your abilities.

Despite what “professional” backpackers (I never imagined I’d see the day where backpacking would be a profession) may write, there is no magic number for how much weight to carry.

Learn your limitations, know them and abide by them. You may be able to safely carry 2-4x recommended weights based on your bodyweight, sex and physical condition or you might need to carry a fraction of it.

20. Don’t bring a hiking stick or trekking poles.

They can prevent ankle sprains, dunks in cold rivers and disastrous spills in addition to acting as shelter poles, fending off snakes, preventing you from needing knee surgery one day, reaching someone who has fallen through ice and saving you pain two dozen other ways.

21. Don’t stop when you start to feel a hot spot.

Giant blisters start out as hot spots. If you feel a hot spot, don’t be shy about it. Stop and take care of it before it turns into something worse.

22. Head out on an expedition with untested companions.

If your friends are going to give you grief over stopping to take care of your feet, educate them or get some new friends before you need to count on them in a real emergency. You shouldn’t head out on the trail or a hunt with people you can’t count on. Try some afternoon outings with them until you feel you could count on them on a serious expedition.

23. Bet your life on battery powered equipment.

There is a false perception that the moment you press the SOS button on your PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) you are saved, a Blackhawk will immediately swoop down and pluck you from the jaws of death in the middle of a blizzard. In reality, electronics break, batteries die, everything that uses radio waves to communicate is capable of experiencing interference and human error can cause Murphy to rear his head at any of a number of points between you pressing that button and when you are safely home.

Do bring a PLB, cell phone, radio or other communications equipment, but don’t bet your life on it. You may be out longer than planned, so be sure to bring extra batteries.

Consider the following:

  • Who would respond to your call for rescue? Know who would get the call and what their capabilities are. This will help you to plan realistically.
  • How will they get there and when? Not all SAR teams have access to air assets and even if they are available, the weather has to be good enough for them to be able to fly, and they have to have the visibility to search for you. Many SAR teams are county volunteers. It may take 8-12 hours for them to muster and they will probably need daylight. Bad weather may delay a search so be prepared to survive another day or two and signal once they are in the general area
  • Who will foot the bill for the rescue?

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

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

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Prep Blog Review: Let’s Talk About Survival Food

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Survival Food

As I remember, survival food was one of the top resolutions for preppers in 2017. From planning your stockpile, to cooking the best survival recipes, food should be a priority for every prepper. And, no matter how many times I’ve talked about food, there is always something interesting to share with you.

So, let’s talk about survival food!

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles on this topic.

1. One Plan Is Not Enough: 7 Tips to Create a Successful Food Plan

Farmer“Every prepper has his/her own food plan for acquisition or storage of food for a crises scenario. Many might be homesteaders who rely heavily on their gardens and animal husbandry skills. Many of us store food either by canning, dehydrating, or stocking up on freeze-dried goods and MREs. Most of us include emergency rations in our bug out bags. Others plan to rely heavily on their ability to fish, hunt, trap, and forage for food.

The various preferences and vast differences in food prep styles are often largely based on what exactly the individual is preparing for. Whether you are planning to be snowed in and without power for the worst winter storm of the century, extensive layoffs, or putting together a militia for an imminent invasion, everyone can agree on one thing: Food must be accounted for. So where do we start? What are the most important things to consider? In this article I cover some of the requirements of creating your master food plan.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

2. 3 ‘Survival Crops’ That Store Naturally More Than 1 Year

“If you’re growing or foraging your own food for winter storage, there are plenty of options for keeping your family fed in the early days of winter. Many root crops, fruits and greens can keep for a field-852242_640few months cool and out of direct sun, even without a proper root cellar.

As the winter presses on, though, options start to dwindle and there are fewer and fewer choices in dependable home-raised crops that will take you all the way through the hunger gap into the first productive days of late spring and early summer. Nonetheless, humans survived millennia without refrigeration and long-term food shipments, so there’s plenty to get your family by.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

3. A Beginners Guide to Sausage Making

Food, meat. Delicious sausages on the table“My grandfather was a large influence on my passion for homesteading. He was an avid gardener, hunter, made his own wine and sausage; and was always generous about sharing.

He made use of the plethora of meat he would get from hunting or deals he found at the grocery store. Once he was loaded up on meat, he would get his meat grinder out and carefully cut his meat for grinding and make some of the best sausage you could ever have. I grew up on his homemade sausage and could never get enough. I am a big believer in sharing family recipes and did so in my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, so I had to share some of my favorite sausage recipes too.

Sausage making is a great way to use up an abundance of meats in the home freezer. I use an assortment of cheap meats. My grandfather’s secret was using equal amounts of brisket and pork butt.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

4. 5 Recipes to Make Your Own Survival Protein Bars

“Survival protein bars are becoming more and more popular among preppers and survivalist, but you can also find a few of them in any type of survival kit you can think of. These small snacks are5-Recipes-to-make-your-own-survival-protein-bars ideal for emergency kits because they help you control hunger, they provide proteins and fats, but they also keep your calorie intake in control.

These survival protein bars contain the right amount of protein and fats to keep you energized after intense activity even in the harshest of environments. There are many brands you can chose from and the flavors vary from chocolate to berries.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

5. Kitchen DIY: How to Nixtimalize Corn

Recipe-Hominy-300x200“This project looks deceptively simple, but it is one that I had to try a couple times to get right. I only stuck with it because Nixtamalization is a vital process for people that use corn as a staple food.

This is because the nutrient niacin is unavailable in unprocessed corn, and by cooking dried corn with a strong alkali (nixtamaling it), Niacin becomes available thereby preventing nutrient deficiency diseases like pellagra.”

Read more on Dave’s Homestead.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Healthy Ways To Lose Weight After Christmas

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Lose Weight

Now that the Christmas season is over, you’re probably scared to even step on the scale. After a month and a half of cookies, candy, stuffing, gravy, and eggnog, you’re probably sucking in your breath to button your jeans.

Well what if I told you that you didn’t have to give up the good stuff to do get back into your skinny jeans?

Read on to learn how to lose weight and get back into peak shape so you’re prepared for any emergency that may come your way.

The Low Fat Myth

Back in the 50s, President Eisenhower had a heart attack and top nutritionists and other government agencies decided it was time to find out what was causing such an increase in heart disease and obesity.

They did some quick research and decided that dietary fat was the problem. After all, being fat was the problem, right? So, the idea to follow a low-fat diet as a means to become healthy was born.

The only problem with this conclusion is that they didn’t consider how the body works, nor did they factor in other behaviors and conditions that we now know are bad such as smoking, eating too much sugar, and not exercising.

We all know that if you eat a tomato your skin doesn’t turn red, right? Or if you eat an apple, you don’t become apple-shaped. Well, saying that you’re going to get fat if you eat fat is sort of along the same line of thinking.

Now before you start thinking I’m off my rocker, hear me out. I’m not saying that you should start gobbling down fat willy-nilly. I’m just saying that fat has been unjustly demonized. It’s true that our bodies take longer to burn fat, and that it burns it as a last resort, but what most “educated” nutritionists don’t realize is that the solution lies in that statement.

Our bodies take a long time to burn fat, which means that fat is a steady source of energy, once our bodies burn up all the carbs to get to it.

Think of your body like a camp fire. You light kindling and small bits of dried wood to get it going, and they flare and then quickly burn out. While they’re flaring, you put on a nice log that burns steadily for a long time, then add another log when that one’s about out.

Well, carbs are the kindling that burns hot and fast, and fat is the log that burns long and steady. That’s why they call it a “sugar rush”; you get a lot of energy quickly, then you bottom out. Carbs, even those from fruits and veggies, are not a viable source of consistent energy. Unfortunately, since fat has become a swear word in the nutritional world, the solution is to eat more carbs more often. Well guess what your body does with extra carbs? That’s right – it converts them to fat.

Your body has three sources of energy – carbs, fat, and protein – and it burns them in that order. You don’t want to get to the point of burning protein because at that point, you’re damaging your kidneys and losing muscle mass.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, you’ll struggle to find a consistent plane of energy by consuming carbs alone. That leaves healthy fats which, gram for gram, provide twice the energy potential as carbohydrates.

Why Big Business and Big Pharma Push Carbs

Ahh … as with most things, big business and big pharma don’t want you to lose weight. There’s no money in it for them because they make billions every year from pushing junk food, processed food, diet pills, and a host of medications that treat obesity-related conditions. Now that the money train’s rolling, they don’t want it to stop.

Just think how much money the general population throws to Big Pharma. High blood pressure medications, cancer medications, diabetes medications, Alzheimer’s and dementia meds, arthritis meds, sleeping pills, pain pills and the list goes on and on.

They don’t care about our health because they’re making a fat living off of our illnesses, pun intended.

The truth is that processed foods are killing you, and Big Business and Big Pharma are getting rich while you get fat and die.

This Simple “Bible” Trick Can Help You Instantly Burn Unwelcome Weight!  

Junk In, Junk Out

It’s true that you are what you eat. When you eat garbage, your body rots. There are a whole host of conditions related to eating improperly (translation: too many processed carbs and bad fats), including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Acne
  • Early Aging
  • Joint Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Inflammation
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Brain Fog
  • Insomnia
  • High Cholesterol
  • Cancer

This is just the short list, and it’s now backed up by scientific fact.

Did you know that your brain is comprised of at least 60% fat and can’t function properly without it? Or that Alzheimer’s has been dubbed Type 3 diabetes because it’s now been linked to insulin resistance and deficiency in the brain? Well, now you do. Imagine the bucks that Big Pharma is going to make selling more Alzheimer’s meds to treat THAT.

Your brain can’t function properly without fat, and once people add healthy fat back into their diets and decrease carb consumption, one of the first two improvements that they note is increased cognitive function and weight loss.

Your brain isn’t the only organ that needs fat, either. Your gallbladder needs it to function, fat protects your liver from alcohol and other toxins and actually makes it dump its own fat cells, you can’t make critical hormones without fat, and your bones need it to adequately absorb calcium.  Oh, and they help you control the stress hormone that causes you to retain belly fat, the most unhealthy (and unappealing) kind there is.

And those are just a few ways your body uses fat. The complete list of whats and whys would be the length of a thesis, not an article.

Oh, and a steady supply of fat boosts your metabolism, even when you’re sitting still. Yes, I just said you can lose weight while you’re watching TV. And you can eat fat while you’re doing it.

Though modern science has proven over and over again that our bodies NEED healthy fats, even saturated fats, it’s been vilified for so long that the mindset is tough to change on a country-wide basis. Other countries who consume significant amounts of healthy fats, such as those in the Mediterranean, are twice as healthy as the average American. They’re significantly skinnier, too.

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Now, that I’ve blathered on about how you need fat to get skinny, let’s talk about what kinds of fats. Specifically, you want to consume unsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and seeds and fatty fish, and healthy saturated fats such as those found in coconut oil, olive oil (which has both), butter, and, yes, even some red meat (gasp).

Good Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are the real hidden gems in many good fats. They do everything from help you lose weight to preventing Alzheimer’s and are found in olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados and a host of other foods. They’re the gold standard of fats.

You know what fats you shouldn’t eat? Fake fats, aka, trans fats. This is man-made fat created by hydrogenating vegetable oil so that it stays solid at room temperature. They’re terrible for you. They really do lead to obesity, increased bad cholesterol and other diseases that most fats are blamed for. Like I said, it’s all about the good fats. Put down the margarine and butter your veggies instead.

Oh, and grow your own in compost that you’ve made because commercial ones are grown in nutrient-poor soil and aren’t nearly as high in nutrients as they used to be. You’ll notice that most of these low-carb foods I’ve listed can be easily canned or stored in other ways so that you can stockpile it. That will keep you healthy even if SHTF.

Now, we’ve given you a head start on how to lose those Christmas pounds, but how do you put them to use? Well, you know what you need to know to get started, but we’ve found a system that lays it all out for you. With it, there’s no calorie counting, no starvation, and no energy roller coasters.

The girl who created the system actually found it when she was reading the Bible looking for ways to help her husband, who had been diagnosed with ALS. She compared the way the bible instructed people to eat with modern scientific studies and came up with a plan that works.

It’s called the Shepherd’s Diet, and outlines exactly what you need to eat (or more accurately, what you won’t have to give up) as well as providing you with detailed shopping lists that help you buy the foods that you need in order to get lean and healthy.

Anyone can do follow her plan – remember, she came up with it while looking for a treatment for ALS – and it comes with some great free gifts, including a great guide to help you reduce stress with food.

It really is worth checking out. If not, do your own research and put together a plan that incorporates the right balance of good fats, protein, and healthy carbs. The upside to the system is that she’s already done the work for you, but if you’re willing to invest enough hours, you can do it yourself if you insist.

Regardless, we wish you a lean, healthy New Year!

shepdiet_620_1

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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6 Basics To Follow When Building Your Weapons

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Basics To Building Weapons

From self-defense to fighting terrorists, the question of how to build newer and better weapons will always be a challenge. Where to start from? What weapon is the most effective one? What features to have in mind? A lot of questions are to be asked, and finding the answers isn’t the easiest task.

The basics are always where you will return to solve problems as well as where you will go to explore new innovations and ideas.

So let’s start with the basics!

When it comes to the arena of personal defense, a good quality weapon must have at least six basic features. We’ll take them one by one in the following article.

Be Effective Within the Limited Scope of Self-defense

Consider a situation where you believe that a nuclear bomb is the most powerful weapon on the planet, and a ballpoint pen the weakest. Do you really need a nuclear bomb (as they exist in known modern technology) to take out a thug trying to get into your home?

While you may be enraged enough to lob a nuke, that doesn’t mean it is an effective weapon for your situation. Oddly enough, the ballpoint pen will actually make a better weapon against a single attacker. A modified ballpoint pen that can deliver poison or a dart will work even better.

Video first seen on ValvexFTW – ” How-to’s Weapons Inventions “

Put the Element of Surprise Back on Your Side

There is no question that an AK-47 or an AR-15 can be used to deter one person or several from harming you and your loved ones, but the size of these weapons makes them a bit hard to hide.

If you are out in public, carrying these weapons can alert more determined attackers to the fact that you are ready and able to defend yourself. This, in turn, takes away any element of surprise that might have bought you both leverage and a second or two of time.

Because there are limits to legal weapon ownership, but no limit to what criminals can obtain, this can put you at a serious disadvantage.

Perhaps we can even say never bring an “assault rifle” to a machine gun fight. In this situation, you might be better off carrying a concealed handgun because it won’t be noticed unless there is a need to use it. At that point, your attacker will have already underestimated you and followed through with an opening action that you have a better chance of defeating.

Even if you have a .45 caliber handgun, you may be overpowered after taking out just one adversary. This is just one area where being able to innovate and design better weapons will serve you well as a prepper. Being able to pack the power of a machine gun with the selectivity of a conventional rifle into something the size of a handgun would put you well ahead of any attacker.

Be Focused in Target Acquisition 

As far as small, effective weapons go, grenades are certainly easy to conceal and add plenty of surprise to a situation. Now let us look at a situation where someone pulls a gun on you, either in your own home or while you are in public. Let us also say that a family member, or even other innocent people are in the area.

No matter how carefully you aim the grenade, there is a chance that innocent bystanders will be hurt by the shrapnel. Unless you have a well-staged fire zone to throw the grenade into, and an ability to limit damage to bystanders, it won’t make for a good personal defense weapon.

In a world where terrorists are running rampant, it can be said that a weapon with too limited an impact has just as harmful an impact on bystanders as one that is too far reaching. For this scenario, let’s say you are out in public and a terrorist wearing a suicide bomb vest pulls a gun on you.

Even though a grenade won’t work in this scenario, a knife or a ballpoint pen won’t do much good either.

A rifle, on the other hand might be more suited to stopping this tragedy because it will be possible to shoot the terrorists while he/she is still further away from large numbers of people. This is yet another area where innovation in consumer level self-defense weapons might do far more good than you realize.

Be Free of Interference by Others

This includes free of the cost of ammunition, repair, and legal oversight.

Many people look to guns as classic self-defense weapons because they are effective, reliable, and efficient.

As effective as guns, tasers, and other projectile based systems may be, they also come with a number of prohibitive costs that include:

  • The actual cost of the weapon. A good quality handgun from a reputable manufacturer can cost several hundred dollars even before you add on better sights and suitable hand grips.
  • The cost of basic training and practice. If you weren’t raised in a community where gun ownership is part of the society, then it can be quite expensive to learn how to shoot, store, and manage a gun. In a similar way, if you live in a city or other restrictive area, honing and keeping your skills up can be quite expensive. Aside from paying for time at an indoor range, you may also have to pay for ammunition provided by the facility.
  • The cost of advanced courses and situation awareness training. The legal definition of a crime includes having making a specific, knowing decision to commit that act. As such, it should come as no surprise that someone intent on committing a crime will also be as well prepared as possible to carry it out.

If you are interested in self-defense, then you must also be prepared with as many skills and strategies as possible. Unless you are in law enforcement or in the military, the cost of that kind of training is very expensive.

Click here to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s Free Report about the fundamentals of self-defense weaponry.

No matter whether you choose knives, bows and arrows, guns, tasers, or swords, the cost associated with advanced training and practice may well be beyond your budget.

  • Weapons, like any other machine, require maintenance and repairs. Contrary to popular belief, guns aren’t the only weapons on the market that come with a high repair and maintenance costs. Bows, knives, and swords can also cost several hundred dollars to repair or maintain over time.
  • The cost and availability of ammunition. If you remember the scandal surrounding the cost and lack of availability of .22LR ammo? No matter how you look at it, the cost of weapons that launch projectiles can be very expensive. To add insult to injury, ammo scarcity can act as a control point that may make it difficult, if not impossible to use the weapon you bought for self-defense.
  • The cost of permits and licenses. While terrorists and criminals who get away with murder and mayhem on a routine basis never worry about these costs, the average prepper has to deal with them along with every other expense on this list.

In these times, you might not always feel comfortable with learning how to make your own weapons and ammunition. At the very least, the basics may come in handy if a social collapse occurs and you wind up having to develop designs that go beyond a crudely fashioned spear made from a sapling and knapped stones.

Even something as simple as understanding what kind of blade shape will be most effective can make the difference between life and death.

Expand Your Strategy Options, Not Limit Them

In the arena of self-defense, it is very easy to have too many weapons that don’t work well at close range, or ones that don’t do enough damage to the target regardless of the distance. Avoiding both traps will require a good bit of trial and error. Before you even begin designing a new weapon, take time to study existing weapons and try them out.

While you are studying different weapons, pay careful attention to the basic parts and how they work. Think about how the weapon would work in a building, in a crowded area, or in very close quarters.

By the time you complete your study, you should have a list of weapons that will work well within arm’s length, some that will work several feet away, and others that will work up to or beyond 100 yards away.

No matter which one you plan to build, think about how existing devices limited defensive and offensive strategies, and think about how you can change the fundamental parts of the weapon to better suit your needs.

The Best Weapon is One You Have

Over the years, considerable controversy has emerged over the “Top 5” guns, knives, tasers, crossbows, swords, and other weapons. People in the military, law enforcement, or other walks of life are always more than happy to share their experiences with any given weapon.

For every testimonial shared, you are sure to find dozens that had a similar experience, and just as many others that had differing outcomes.

If you actually go out and try these different weapons, you will more than likely find yourself agreeing with some people, but not all of them. From that perspective, the best self-defense weapon isn’t one that you heard about, and should aim to acquire. Rather, it will have the following features:

  • It should be a weapon that you are comfortable using. Just because a .45 caliber semi-automatic has plenty of stopping power, that doesn’t mean you should give up a lower caliber revolver that you feel comfortable with. In a similar fashion, if you feel more comfortable wielding a knife at close ranges, it doesn’t make much sense to draw a gun just because you have it on hand.
  • Your personal defense weapons should fit your needs, budget, and comfort levels. In a stressful, life threatening encounter with a criminal or terrorist, a weapon that you are uncomfortable with can cause you to freeze up, miss the target, or lose complete control of the weapon and the situation.

A personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Remember, even a ballpoint pen can kill at close range in numerous ways. Never underestimate the simplicity of a device just because it looks harmless, or others don’t see it for what it is.

Within some limits, a weapon that you design yourself can truly be more effective and more efficient than anything you might buy based on the beliefs of others.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Gardening: How To Plan Your Low Water Garden

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Low Water Gardening Droughts are becoming more common. The impact of droughts on food production is very real. After all, plants need water to grow. But, you don’t always need a ton of water to grow food. That’s where low-water crops come in. They can produce food for your family to eat without taking nearly as much water.

If you don’t have a large water stockpile, or you are concerned about a coming drought, it might be time for you to switch to a low-water garden.

Low-water gardens are designed to receive significantly less water than a traditional one. The soil, coverings, and seeds are all meant to work together to minimize your water needs.

Also known as dry farming, this method is a return to the roots of agriculture for many locations. Before dams and irrigation innovations, farmers didn’t have the access to water. They planted, gave an initial soaking, and then let the plants tend to fetching water for themselves.

Winter is a great time to plan your low-water garden. But, no matter the season, here are some essentials to consider when working on this type of garden.

The Soil Is Essential

The quality of soil in your garden will help stretch the length of time between watering sessions. You’ll want plenty of compost and organic material in your soil.

This will help absorb water and slowly release it. You’ll also want some coarse sand in your soil. Sand helps draw in any moisture that does fall, so you’ll maximize the benefit of rain.

Clay is another component of low-water garden soil. The clay will hold the water, and slowly give it to the plants’ root systems.

You’ll want to thoroughly mix your soil, incorporating all the elements evenly. That way all your plants will grow well. Loose soil is recommended for this type of gardening, so tilling your soil to a depth of four to six inches will help.

Unfortunately, making the exact soil combination that you need for your climate will take time. There isn’t one perfect formula that’ll work everywhere.

Set up highly nutritious soil for your plants! Get your A to Z guide on survival gardening!

You Can’t Skip the Mulch

In a low-water garden, mulch isn’t just a suggestion. It’s essential. You need this soil covering to ensure the water stays where it belongs.

Without mulch, you’ll lose precious water to run-off. Evaporation will also be a problem.

A good layer of organic mulch prevents both of those from occurring. It’ll keep the water around the plants longer, and allow it to soak deeply into the soil.

Mulch

What Plants to Choose

When picking plants, be sure to check out the hardiness zone recommendations so you don’t plant something that won’t grow well in your area. There are a variety of crops to pick from that don’t take as much water.

You can also have a long-term vision when creating a low-water garden. If you have plenty of water now, you can plant some perennials that will take water initially. Once those plants are established, their water needs drop substantially.

For both long and short term planning, here are some crops to consider:

Grains

If a drought happens, you won’t be able to depend on large grain producers to keep on growing. Even if you don’t regularly plant grains, you’ll want to have some low-water seeds stored on hand. That way you have them when you need them.

A bonus with these grains is they’re easier to harvest than wheat. Many take minimal processing before being ready to eat. These grains would be a good addition to your low-water garden crops:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Field Corn

Vegetables

Vegetables are a great way to add variety and nutrients to your diet. Here are some excellent options for a low-water garden.

  • Jerusalem artichoke (this takes more water the first year, but once it’s established it needs very little.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus (another long-term crop)
  • Drought tolerant zucchini

Fruits

To add some natural sweetness to your diet, be sure to include some fruits in your low-water garden. Here are some plants that grow well with little water.

  • Watermelon
  • Figs
  • Pomegranates
  • Most pit fruit trees (once established)
  • Rhubarb (once established)

Legumes

Many legumes don’t require much water. Consider adding these to your garden:

  • Black eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Tepary beans

Think Native

If you head to a natural area nearby, what plants are you going to see thriving? Chances are many of those are wild edibles. Take time to learn about plants native to your region.

Some of the plants considered weeds by many will be the perfect purposeful addition to your low-water garden. After all, no one is out in the woods irrigating the weeds. They just grow.

If you can’t find any seeds for these plants, try to dig up some established ones and transplant them. That way you’ll get a variety that grows well in your area.

You might even have a separate area where you encourage these plants to grow. That way they don’t take over your dedicated garden space. That will also help spread out your gardening efforts and minimize your risk of losing everything from theft. Hidden food sources are wonderful!

  • Burdock
  • Dandelions
  • Lamb’s quarter
  • Stinging nettles
  • Plantain

Shopping for Seeds

When selecting varieties, you’ll want to go with heirloom seeds. Many modern versions of these plants have been altered and turned into very needy seeds. This is especially true with corn.

Back in the day, irrigation options were very limited. Plants often didn’t get much water unless it rained. You want plants that survived then—not the needy variations humans have turned those plants into.

The one exception would be plants that have been selectively bred for dry-land planting. You can often find drought-resistant varieties of many of your favorites.

Another tip is to plant mini-varieties of the plants you most want to grow. For instance, it takes much less water to grow a cherry tomato than it does a beefsteak. Planting a few of your favorite water-loving plants in the mini-form will help you keep from feeling deprived with your garden.

Save Your Seeds

By saving your own seeds each year, you’ll be selecting varieties that did the best in your soil. Over time, your seeds will be essential to increasing your yield. They are locally adapted plants that thrive in your garden.

Get your step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your garden!

Companion Planting

The Native Americans knew much about growing food. One method they used is known as the three sisters. This method of companion planting grouped plants together to maximize their yield.

Corn, beans, and squash were the original three sisters. These crops work together in harmony. The beans give nitrogen to the soil, which the corn and squash need. The beans grow up on the tall corn stalks, reducing the need for additional scaffolding.

Finally, the low-lying squash leaves protect the soil from the sun’s rays and help ensure water doesn’t run-off.

Planting companion crops will also help you plant more in a smaller space. This is essential if you’re just getting your low-water garden established and don’t have much soil built up.

Companion planting

 

Give Plants Space

Because your dry land plants will need to establish a deep root system, you can’t plant individual plants or companion groupings as closely together as you do in a traditional garden. That means your yield won’t be the same.

When to Plant

Your soil needs to accumulate the winter moisture. This built-in reserve is what will get your plants through until harvest.

If you wait too long to plant, your soil will be too dry. Conversely, if you plant too early you risk a killing frost freezing your garden.

When you plant your seeds, you want the soil to be nice and moist. Keep an eye on both the weather and the soil. You’ll want to plant after the last killing frost, but before the daytime temperatures get so high that they dry up your soil.

Once planted, you need to seal in the moisture in the ground by applying a good layer of mulch. Have your mulch on hand and ready to go before you plant.

Caring for Your Low-Water Garden

Low-water gardens are easy to care for once they’re planted.  You don’t want to water most of them, because you’ll risk cracking the dry soil. Cracked soil loses moisture much faster than soil that isn’t cracked.

Any watering that you do for your long-term plants that are just getting established needs to be done gently. You can’t turn a hose on full-blast. Rather, gently water the soil around the plant instead of the plant itself.

You don’t want to overwater any of the low-water varieties you are planting. Plants that don’t get watered will grow a deeper root system than ones that are frequently watered. You want to start your plants off trying to seek water from the ground.

Besides doing less watering, low-moisture gardens bring a couple of other benefits. They take much less time than a traditional garden.

For instance, you’ll notice that you won’t get as many weeds in a low-water situation once your plants are up. There just won’t be enough water for them to grow.

But, you’ll want to pluck out any weeds that do creep in. You’ll also want to be diligent about weeding as your plants are just sprouting. That way weeds aren’t competing with your plants for resources.

Many garden pests thrive in moist environments. They’ll often leave your dry land crops alone. So you’ll have fewer to deal with.

You might notice your plants starting to shrivel up before harvest. The leaves may turn brown and you might see spots. These are typical signs in a low-water garden, and they don’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose your harvest.

Are you a dry farmer?

What tips can you add to help others get started in this style of gardening? It’s a different approach to growing food, and everyone can benefit from you sharing your knowledge.

Start growing your survival garden that will keep you and your family fed for life!  

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Preparing For What 2017 May Bring

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Preparing for 2017

Happy New Year!

I want to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, safe and prepared new year!

2017 brings a lot of challenges and unknown events. We never know what the future brings so the best solution is to prepare for the unexpected. I hope you’ve already set your prepping-related resolutions for the new year.

Here are 5 articles I’ve stumbled upon this week that will help you stay safe in a lot of SHTF situation 2017 may bring.

1. Prepare For the Worst and Hope For the Best

prepare-for-the-worst-and-hope-for-the-best

“When it comes to preparing for any sort of SHTF event it really is a guessing game. All we can (and should) do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There is no way to know exactly what might happen, but we can stack the deck in our favor by learning new skills, maintaining our health and preparing for these disasters while we still have the opportunity.

Next week we are going to expand on this a little bit and go over how people will be the X factor that could change the dynamics of a disaster. The way certain people react could make a disaster more tolerable, or make it even worse.”

Read more on Survivalist Prepper.

2. Natural Disaster Emergency Preparedness

Video first seen on sab7sam7

“Emergency, like natural calamities such as flood, typhoon or hurricane, and earthquakes are a dangerous situation, requiring an immediate and fast response to avoid unwanted results ̶ injuries or death. Being able to make sure that you are safe before, during, and after any disaster is needed to counteract or respond effectively. What is needed is preparedness.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S., it means a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective actions in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response. Emergency Preparedness can save your lie or your loved ones lives.

Now, that sounds really intimidating. But we cannot just depend on all, everything, every time to the government agencies for security and emergency, or a non-profit charity organization such as Red Cross. We too must take our part, be on a mission to help ourselves during these times.”

Read more on American Prepper’s Network

3. How to Prep For a Quarantine

prep-for-quarantine

“All too often, the world is shaken by a new flu bug or the resurgence of an old one. This article caught my eye, as it’s about a mutated version of avian flu H7N2 that was transmitted from a cat to a human, quite a rare occurrence. I also have a long enough memory to recall the Ebola panic just a couple of years ago and shaking my head at the incompetence and poor decision making by those in authority, including the CDC.

The history of Ebola, as detailed in this book, is helpful to know and understand how a deadly virus originates, mutates, and spreads.

With an eye on the future and knowing a little about how quickly certain viruses can spread, I have put into place a number of preps that would see my family through the duration of a widespread outbreak, similar to the ones described in Steve Konkoly’s The Jakarta Pandemic. I know Steve personally and the massive research he put into this book, although a novel, is spot on. Read it to learn even more strategies to keep your family safe.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

4. How to Survive a Mass Shooting

mass-shooting-logo

“With the terror of the Orlando shooting, people all over the country are reevaluating survival tactics for mass shootings. The general consensus is that the decisions you make in that first few minutes will largely determine whether you live or die. It is easy to mourn the dead and tell yourself that victims were trapped and had no choices. While your choices are limited, you do still have them.

In this article I want to dispel some myths about survival. As an advocate of the 2nd amendment, it is easy to say that fewer people would have died if more of them were armed. That is not always the case. Even with a gun, fighting back should be a last resort. The order of actions for any mass shooting should be to flee, gain security, and fight back if absolutely needed.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

5. 7 Steps to Protecting Your Livestock From Deadly Disease

goat-1914084_640“Twenty-first century homesteaders have the advantage of being able to pick and choose between ancient practices and modern technology, selecting the one that works best in every situation. At my place, I love old-fashioned methods, but not when it comes to biosecurity.

I get some startled looks when I say the word “biosecurity” out loud to farm visitors. It sounds a little scary, like a scene from a sci-fi movie with people running around in crisp white hazmat suits. While biosecurity may or may not look a little like that on huge corporate agriculture farms, that is not how it is on my small sustainable farm. However, it is every bit as important here.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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17 Ways A Prepper Can Reuse Motor Oil

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Motor oil is commonly considered a waste material, but it may become something of value to people trying to put their lives back together in a post-crisis world. People will try to scavenge whatever may be of use, and it’s understandable since it will take some time for mechanization to re-emerge with new products.

You’ll also have to deal with what you have, so learn to speak multipurpose, and don’t skip motor oil from this equation. So here’s how to reuse motor oil regardless of whether there is a major crisis to deal with or not.

Where to Find Used Motor Oil

Right now, used motor oil is more of a nuisance than something else you might consider valuable in the post crisis world.

For the most part, mechanic shops and recycling facilities will be the first places to go for used motor oil, but you should also consider:

  • Abandoned cars – any car that has been abandoned may still have motor oil in the bottom pan. While you are scavenging, don’t forget to look for other things that may be of value such as wire, springs, and anything else that can be reused.
  • Abandoned home garages – even though many people take their car to a shop for basic maintenance, just about everyone has a quart or two of used motor oil hanging around in the garage.
  • Junk yards – no matter whether the junk yard caters to cars or other kinds of abandoned equipment, you are likely to find motor oil in many different places.  As with any other abandoned car, you are sure to find any number of useful items once you start looking around.
  • Trash piles, back yards, or rubbish storage sites – aside from looking for used motor oil stored in containers, be on the lookout for oil filters that appear to be intact.  If the filter does not have a hole punched through the top of the dome, there is a good chance that some motor oil can be found inside the filter.  To release, the oil, simply punch a hole in the top of the filter, and let the oil escape from the bottom into a clean container.

Read This BEFORE Reusing Motor Oil

While used motor oil is a common part of daily life, that does not mean it can be handled without precautions, and here are a few of them.

  • At a minimum, wear latex or rubber gloves. Aside from tiny bits of metal, reused motor oil also contains all kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea, or other ailments if they get absorbed by your skin.  It is best to use oil resistant gloves, or ones that are rated for use with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
  • Oil resistant garments – any kind of spill can allow oil to get through your clothing and into contact with your skin. It does not matter if this contact occurs on your face, neck, hands, or other body parts. The toxins from the oil can still get past your skin and wreak havoc.
  • Oil resistant shoes or boots – make sure that the soles are also oil resistant.
  • If you don’t handle motor oil very often, it may not make much sense to wear a mask. On the other hand, if you are going to repurpose motor oil, then the amount of exposure might be enough to irritate or harm your lungs. Therefore, get a breathing mask or respirator that will filter out any harmful agents that might be found in the motor oil.

17 Uses to Keep in Mind

And finally, here’s how to use the motor oil instead of throwing it away.

1. Mix with Creosote to Weatherize Wood

Even though many people have used plain motor oil to preserve wood over the years, it is best to mix it with some creosote in order to avoid dry rot. You will also find that used motor oil can make a very slick surface.

While this may be ok for fence posts, it can pose problems for floors or other areas where you need some traction.

Video first seen on Anlex Garden Centre

2. Protect Wood From Insects and Animals

When people think about protecting wood from the elements, they are usually most concerned with water and dampness. Insects and animals can also wreak havoc on wood and cause it to be destroyed very quickly.

In particular, if you have a homestead or farm with horses or other large animals, they might want to chew on wooden posts or other objects.  Motor oil mixed into creosote will create a taste these animals do not like; and thus deter them from chewing on the wood.

3. Mix With Diesel to Make Penetrating Oil

If you are plagued by corroded or stuck bolts, screws, or other fasteners, then you may be well accustomed to using penetrating oil to try and loosen them up. While you may already have a few cans of good quality oil in your stockpile, the need for penetrating oil will never end as long as there are metal fasteners to contend with.

If you have some diesel and used motor oil, you can mix them together to make penetrating oil. Give this a try now to see how it works when compared to other formulas. Knowing when and how to use this replacement can help reduce the need to draw from your stockpile as well as enable you to innovate during an actual crisis.

4. Burn as Fuel

When you have nothing else for fuel, used motor oil can be burned to provide heat.

But used motor oil has many contaminants in it that can be toxic when burned and then released in the air. You will be better served by burning used motor oil outdoors.

Aside from reducing the smell of burning fumes in your home, tent, or other enclosure, you will also avoid deposits of toxins on the walls and ceilings.

5. Make a Torch

As plentiful as flashlights and batteries might be right now, that can all change faster than you realize. If you find yourself in a situation where you only have motor oil, some rags, and a wooden stick on hand, you can still make a torch that will produce light and heat.

Just remember to use the torch in a well ventilated area so that the fumes from it do not make you sick.

Video first seen on Jennies Garage

6. Prevent Attackers from Scaling a Wall

There is no question that many people wind up thinking about high tech or “modern” solutions when it comes to protecting their home from invaders. On the other hand, sometimes the simplest and cheapest answers may be found in items such as used motor oil.

For example, if you want to keep attackers from scaling a fence, or even climbing up to the roof of your home, just pour used motor oil on the walls.

If you are fortunate enough to have stone walls far enough away from your home, you can also set the oil on fire and make the invaders even more uncomfortable.

7. Fireballs for a Siege Engine

It is fair to say if you have a few acres of land, eventually you will become a target for roaming gangs of thugs and others that will want to take what you have. When it comes to military grade fortifications or weapons to strike attackers, you may find it difficult or impossible to get useful systems for your property.

Siege engines, on the other hand, have been used successfully for centuries as attack and perimeter defense devices. You can do some research on siege engines construction plans and make your own with relatively few problems.

If you need to stave off attackers, you can simply lob fireballs fueled by used motor oil at the attackers and have a reasonable chance of stopping them in their tracks.

Dead Simple Trick Brings Any Battery Back To Life (Never Buy Batteries Again)

8. Kill Mange, Mites, and Fleas

If you have pets, then you have probably also encountered flea infestations. Chances are, you have also felt quite helpless when your pets developed allergies to modern flea medications, or worse yet, got very sick from them.  Surprisingly enough, motor oil can be used to get rid of fleas, mites, and mange.

Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly and use with caution.  Motor oil can be used both in a crisis and in these times if you have no other remedy available for these problems.

9. Keep Hand Tools Clean and Rust Free

Hand saws, drills, and many other hand tools require cleaning and oiling in order to keep them in the best possible condition. No matter how much lubricating oil you keep on hand, chances are your stock pile will run out long before your hand tools need to be discarded.

You can always try used motor oil to keep your tools free of dirt and rust.

10. Filter and Reuse as a Lubricant

Once motor oil is too dirty for use in an auto engine, there is no point to trying to filter it and reuse it for that purpose. There are still many other devices that build up less heat or have less stringent tolerances between parts that may still benefit from used motor oil as a lubricant.

Just be sure to filter out the oil so that you remove as much debris as possible.

When using discarded motor oil as a lubricant, it is also important to bear in mind that the oil itself may have broken down a good bit from heat generated by the engine.

Even if you filter the oil, it will not alleviate this problem.

You may need to change the oil more often, or pay more attention to device operation in order to avoid the kinds of damage that would normally be avoided by using oil as a lubricant.

11. Mix With Gas to Run Tractors

Unlike motor vehicles, older style tractors can run on a surprising number of different fuels without being damaged.  In this case, you can stretch fuel reserves for your tractor by adding some motor oil. You may be well served by filtering out the oil so that stray bits of metal or other contaminants do not damage the tractor engine.

Since every tractor is a bit different, you should start off with small amounts of oil and then see how the engine performs.  The last thing you will want to do is add too much oil and wind up with a seized engine.

12. Start a  Fire

Rainy weather, damp wood, and other conditions require something a bit more than a match to ignite.  A little bit of used motor oil can help you start and maintain a fire in just about any situation.

Video first seen on sixtyfiveford

13. Kill Mosquitoes in Stagnant Water

The vast majority of preppers already suspect that insects such as mosquitoes will multiply beyond belief when a social collapse occurs. While these insects do play a role in nature, they still spread enormous amounts of disease and wreak havoc among humans.

You can use discarded motor oil to seal off stagnant water and kill off mosquito eggs before they have a chance to hatch. When using motor oil for this purpose, remember that even small amounts can contaminate large amounts of water and the ground that the water seeps into.

If you must use motor oil on stagnant water, make sure that the water is fully contained and cannot get into the ground or some other source of water.

Do not be surprised if you find that it is easier to simply dump out or drain stagnant pools of water as opposed to trying to treat them with used motor oil.

14. Use With Steel Wool to Remove Rust

If you are scavenging for all kinds of metal items, you’re also very likely to find that possible replacements for needed items have a good bit of rust on them.

Rather than discard these items on sight, you can use motor oil and steel wool to clean the items up a bit. Needless to say, if you have items in your stockpile with rust on them, you can also use this method to remove the rust and restore them to good order.

15. Soften or Clean Leather Boots

Unless you have a stockpile full of shoes and boots made from synthetic materials, it is likely that you will need to use leather conditioners to keep footwear in good condition. You will also wind up making shoes from leather that must also be kept clean and soft.

Using discarded motor oil for this purpose will work well enough now as well as in a crisis situation.

16. Temper Steel

It is fair to say that the art and science of forging metals into knives and other useful items can be very complex. If you study metallurgy carefully, however you will find that the tools and materials required are not especially difficult to build and maintain.

In this case, if you want to temper or harden steel, you can dip the item in used motor oil to cool or “quench” it from the red hot stage down to black.

17. Attract Wild Hogs

Individuals that believe they can live off the land after a social collapse occurs are apt to find they need to expand their list of edible plants and animals. In this case, you can draw wild hogs to you by leaving some used motor oil around. As may be expected, you should be well prepared to kill the hogs and remain safe while you are attempting to take them for food.

Used motor oil is one of those materials that you may believe is useless now, and probably serves no purpose in a crisis situation. If you look at the basic properties of used motor oil, you will soon realize that it can be effectively used for heat, home defense, and even keeping tools in good condition.

Rather than throw away this valuable resource, go ahead and store some away for future use, or make a list of places where you can obtain used motor oil in time of need. And keep these tips in mind, they might save you one day!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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New Year Prep Blog Review: 5 Resolutions For Preppers

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Here we are at the end of 2016, a year full of changes. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and you are properly preparing for New Year’s Eve.

This is the time of the year when I usually make a list of prepping resolutions for the year to come in order to improve my life and increase my chances of survival in case SHTF. I don’t know if this works for everyone, but for me it certainly does.

So, what about you? Do you use to make a list of prepping resolutions at the beginning of the year?

A new year provides opportunities to learn new skills.

For this special Prep blog Review I’ve gathered 5 articles to help you set your prepping resolutions for 2017. Make this year the best, improve your family’s life and increase your chances of survival.

1. Learn New Skills With Your Family

woman-preparedness

“When we hear the word “survival”, it seems most of us think of things like starting fires, building shelters, hunting, fishing, searching for water and other basic survival skills.

Although those things are essential to our survival, there are other areas that we need to take into consideration that are just as important.

For years I walked around with my head down and just went with the flow. I didn’t take notice to the people around me or my situation. It would have been very easy for anyone to walk up behind me and take my purse, or worst case scenario, attack one of my children or myself. Times changed though and so did I.”

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

2. Upgrade Your Stockpile

13-survival-foods-that-will-outlast-you

“Let’s say that disaster hits tomorrow, do you have the basics like food and water covered? Stockpiling food and water shouldn’t be a prepping trend and every sane person should do it. We live in a world where natural and man-made disasters are no longer far-fetched scenarios and people have no excuse for being unprepared.

The following survival foods are available to anyone and they have an indefinite shelf life, so make sure you have them in your pantry.

I keep looking at what Venezuela is going through and although the media seems to have forgotten about it, the situation is still critical out there. People are stealing pets to eat them as a last resort and there are families protecting their gardens 24/7 as they no longer trust their neighbors.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

3. Use More Natural Remedies

headache_human_normal_remedies“Headaches are a part of being human. Some people get them regularly, and others get headaches only rarely. Severity varies from person to person, as does the cause of the headache. Even when only mildly annoying, a headache can affect your ability to function fully and alertly.

If you’re in a situation where Tylenol, aspirin, or prescription pain medication isn’t an option, nor is doing nothing because you have to be focused on taking care of yourself and others, you need to know how to keep a headache at bay.”

Read more on Survival Cache.

  1. Cook New Survival Recipes

7-pioneer-recipes-every-prepper-should-learn-wide-1

“There is a bit of a romantic fantasy about what it must have been like for the pioneers who traveled out west more than a hundred years ago.

The idea of land that stretches on for miles without a single building or road was both exciting and frightening to them. However, they had the skills they needed to fend for themselves without the conveniences of big cities. If a major collapse happens, it will be the people with those kind of skills who make it.

If we ever find ourselves in a world that resembles the pioneer days (no electricity, no running water, etc.), people will have to learn how to cook all over again. Cooking over a fire is a lot different than cooking in the microwave or on an electric stove. Certain meals and recipes are going to require a little tweaking.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Learn New Self Defense

selfdefense

“Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and you can’t help but separate from your family, and get pulled into the fray. You’re a prepper, and like most preppers, you’re carrying a small firearm, in this case a small pistol.  Do you use it?

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation. “

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Small Spaces Survival: Growing Food Upside Down

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One of the most basic supplies that you’ll need in the event that SHTF is food, but living in an apartment or small area can make it tough to grow your own.

You can build a standard vertical garden, and you can do a terrarium, but it may seem that you don’t have many options.

That is, unless you’re willing to think outside the box and turn traditional gardening upside down! Literally!

What is an Upside Down Garden?

I’m sure you never saw your granny growing her tomatoes upside down while lettuce was growing above it, but that’s just because she never thought of it. Upside down gardening is exactly what it sounds like – you grow your plants out of the bottom of the planter instead of the top. Think of it as doubling your vertical gardening space.

Maybe you’ve seen the kits for these at your local superstore or garden center, but those are almost exclusively for tomatoes.

This space-saving food solution lasts for years with just 10 minutes of work per day.

There are several other fruits, veggies, and herbs that grow great in this manner, which means that you can nearly double your growing space without taking up any extra square feet!

Video first seen Yewtoobnube’s channel

In addition to practically doubling your growing opportunities without eating up more space, growing plants upside down had a couple of other advantages. First, the plants aren’t touching the ground so you don’t have to worry so much about mold, rot, or insect infestation.

Upside down plants also grow more vigorously, they’re easier to water, and you don’t have to break your back weeding them or tilling a garden. Finally, the fruits, veggies, and herbs are easier to access. Just pluck them off the plant. No bending, twisting, or kneeling. All in all, they have all of the same benefits of standard container gardening and then some.

Upside down garden

What Plants Grow Well Upside Down?

Though it seems weird to think of any plant growing upside down, just about any plant that has a sturdy root system and a decent-sized stem will do well. Here are some of the best:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries (ever-bearing plants are great!)
  • Eggplants
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Pole Beans
  • Bush Beans
  • Herbs with a Sturdy Stalk (Basil, Parsley, Lemon Verbena, etc.)
  • Parsley
  • Creeping Herbs (Oregano, Thyme, etc.)

Blueberries can also be grown upside down, but they have some specific growing requirements, so make sure your zone meets these, or make arrangements to artificially emulate their needs.

The only thing that you need to consider is weight of the produce. Larger varieties of eggplants and peppers may need to be picked when they’re still a bit small to keep them from breaking off the plant. Other than that, you’ll be surprised at how well most plants do upside down.

Compatible Plants for the Top

Since the name of the game is maximizing growing space, don’t waste all that real estate up top. You can grow lettuce, peppers, herbs, onions, garlic and any other plant that isn’t going to grow far enough over the sides that they become entangled with their upside down planter mates. This is something that you may just want to play with.

Oh, and if you aren’t desperate for edible plant space, you can always grow flowers such as petunias in the top to make the entire display even more beautiful.

How do I Grow an Upside Down Garden?

Excellent question. There are many different designs that you can choose from but most of them are extremely simple. You can even do an internet search and make your own from burlap bags, hanging baskets, terra cotta pots, or even plastic buckets in a size suitable to the plant. The only requirement is that container is large enough and strong enough to support the weight of the dirt and the full-grown plant.

Now, you may be thinking, “How in the world do I start a plant upside down?” Another great question. You can’t use seeds – you have to use seedlings of small plants.

To get started, you need to drill a hole or holes in the bottom of your container. Depending on the size of the plant or the container, you may be able to plant more than on plant per container. Just keep in mind the size of the roots and of the mature plant.

To grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and other large plants in a 3 or 5 gallon bucket, drill a two inch hole in the middle of the bucket. For smaller plants such as strawberries, you can put smaller holes (1 1/2 inches in diameter or so) every few inches around the bottom of the bucket. If you’re using long planters, you can plant tomatoes et al. every 12 inches or so. When you’re drilling your holes, keep in mind the size of your seedlings or young plants.

You really want to choose plants that will fit safely through a hole no bigger than 2 inches because there’s this thing called gravity that will pull your roots and soil through the hole. You can combat this fairly easily, but only if you keep the hole small.

To do that, you’ll need something that will fit across the hole to keep your plant secure until its roots are large enough to do the job. Whatever you use will also help keep the dirt from washing out through the hole when you water it.

I chose to use scraps of denim from a pair of jeans that I was going to throw away, but you can also use landscaping fabric, newspaper, a coffee filter, or whatever else you have handy. Just make sure that it’s something you’d be safe drinking water through.

I lined the entire bottom of my bucket with it, but you don’t need it to be that big; just 6 inches or so in diameter so that there’s enough extra fabric for the dirt to hold in place. Cut a 2-inch (max) slit in the fabric and slip your plant through it so that it divides the plant from the roots. Keep the slit as small as possible for maximum performance.

Next, gently push your plant through the hole in the bucket and adjust it so that the roots are completely confined within the bucket. Push your fabric down against the bottom of the bucket, then fill the container to within a couple of inches of the top with soil and compost.

Video first seen on subtac

What to Grow in the Top of your Planter

If your goal is to maximize your growing space, this is the most important part of all because you still have all of that dirt real estate at the top of the bucket or planter. There are only two things that you need to consider here when you’re deciding what to plant on top: watering needs and root size. Oh, and compatibility.

Most plants grow well together, but there are a few that just won’t play nice. For example, garlic onions (all varieties, including shallots) stunt the growth of all types of beans and peas. Onions and mint shouldn’t be grown with asparagus. Cucumbers are mean to fresh herbs. Pole beans and mustard don’t work well with beets. Cabbage of all varieties inhibits strawberries. This isn’t an inclusive list, but it’s a start.

Research before you plant so that you know if your plants are compatible and if they share similar watering and lighting needs. Also, make sure that they don’t have such long roots that they get root-bound. You can avoid that by using the right size container and leaving plenty of space for the roots to spread from both top and bottom.

Growing food upside down is a great solution for the problem of growing food in small spaces. It’s also great for people who have difficulty bending, squatting, or performing other physical activities required by traditional gardens. All you really need to do is water and occasionally fertilize if necessary. Voila!

One of the benefits that I enjoy the most is that if you hang these around your porch, they provide natural, beautiful shade and privacy.

Grow your own food, save space, and you don’t even need a yard!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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11 Reasons To Stockpile Castor Oil For Survival

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Castor Oil For survival

Old timers used castor oil for everything from colds to parasitical worms, but recent generations have pretty much forgotten about it. That’s a shame because, if our elders are to be believed, it’s one of those multi-purpose items that deserve a place in your stockpile.

Read the following article, and you will see why our ancestors were so right about this natural cure!

Castor oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds of the castor plant and is composed mostly of the fatty acid ricinoleic acid. That’s the ingredient that is responsible for the healing, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties associated with the oil.

Though most of us don’t keep it at home any more, it’s still a common ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, massage oils and even textiles.

I’ve done some research and, though there isn’t a ton of formal research available to support its effectiveness as a home remedy, there’s usually something to be said for centuries of use by entire civilizations.

As you probably know, in order to garner our attention, an item has to do more than treat constipation or hydrate dry skin in order to make our list. We need products that can be used for everything from treating sunburn to sharpening scissors, and castor oil fits the bill.

Note: The treatments outlined here can also be used on your pets.

1. Skin Care

We’ll start with this one because, in addition to keeping your skin soft and youthful, it’s also used to ease the pain of severely dried and cracked skin and lips. In a survival situation, this is a condition that can quickly lead to gangrene, so it’s a big deal.

Castor oil is also a good base ingredient for soaps, lotions, and cosmetics because of its hydrating properties. It has omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, both of which are often used to promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. Some claim that it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help get rid dandruff and possibly athlete’s foot.

It has been shown to have analgesic properties, so it’s good to treat sunburn, rashes, bug bites and other minor skin conditions. It’ also used to treat ringworm. Just rub it directly on the skin.

Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties are great for treating cystic acne. The best thing is that it works fairly quickly. Swab it onto your clean face at night and you should notice improvement by morning.

2. Digestive Issues and Parasites

This is one of the most commonly-known uses for castor oil. It helps your bowels move. Be careful that you don’t use too much because it works remarkably well for this condition. You don’t want to become dehydrated, so start with a tablespoon and give it a few hours. Take more if needed.

If you want to just “take your medicine” and get it over with, just swallow it straight. If not, you can mix it with juice or a food. Apple juice would be good, because it also helps relieve constipation.

Castor oil is also a common home remedy for intestinal parasites.

3. Arthritis, Muscle, and Joint Pain

This is another common reason that it was used by our elders because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some say to make a poultice with other herbs and rub it into aching joints for relief. You can also take a tablespoon internally. If you have diarrhea, you may want to try the rub.

Video first seen on Ancient Current

4. Gets Rid of Corns, Moles, and Warts

The fatty acids in the oil are purported to dissolve these conditions. For corns, simply dip a cotton ball in castor oil and tape it over the blemish. Change it out once a day, but in a week, the corn will be gone. For moles and warts, add a bit of baking soda to the cotton ball, too. It may take a couple of weeks for this method to work. You can also try just dabbing it on regularly.

5. Get Rid of Yard Pests

Apparently, moles and other yard pests find the smell of castor oil as repugnant as people do because if you mix 1/2 cup of castor oil with a couple of gallons of water and sprinkle it around your garden or yard. It won’t kill them, but it definitely encourages them to find a better place to live.

The upside to this is that ferns and other greenery respond well to castor oil. It helps them look greener and lusher.

6. Hemorrhoids

Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil is often used to treat external hemorrhoids. Dip a cotton ball in the oil and apply it over your hemorrhoids. Leave it on for 15 or 20 minutes a few times a day if possible. If not, just applying daily will provide relief.

7. Lubricate Just About Anything

Because of its viscosity, castor oil doesn’t freeze, so it’s great to use to lubricate hinges, scissors, meat grinders, motor parts, and anything else that gets sticky.

8. Boosts Immunity

Because of the fatty acids in it, castor oil has been shown to boost your immune system by increasing white blood cell production. The odd part about this, though, is that it does it when you apply it topically. That’s right – just rub it on your skin and, according to the study, your white blood cells may increase by as much as 20 percent.

9. Treat Infected Cuts or Rashes

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful in healing a mild infection. Just dab it on with a cotton swab or dribble it directly onto the wound a few times daily until the infection heals. There are also many herbs that you can add to it to help even more.

Along the same lines, you can use it to help treat vaginal infections.

10. Treat Aching Feet

This is a treatment that waitresses have been using since, well, since before they were called waitresses. Just warm a bit between your hands and rub directly into your feet. You can also help lessen the pain throughout the day by rubbing some on your feet before you go to work, then wear cotton socks.

If you have extreme pain, you may want to try generously applying castor oil then wrapping the effected body part in plastic wrap before you go to sleep.

11. Pilonidal Cysts

I’ve read several testaments where people swear that a gauze coated in castor oil works to get rid of the pain and inflammation of pilonidal cysts. It may also help draw out the infection so that the cyst opens, drains, and can heal. Lay the gauze over the cysts, then place a heating pad over it and keep it there for an hour. People reported tremendous improvement just after the first treatment or two.

There are many uses for castor oil – these are just a few of the big ones. I’ve combined several of them under the skin care and digestive issues section because there are so many different uses for it for those particular areas.

Click the banner below to discover more natural survival remedies that helped our forefathers survive harsh times!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Packing Your Backpack

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backpacking

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

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

Let’s see what to avoid!

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of the Backpack

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

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

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

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

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

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Too Much Weight

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

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

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

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

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

weight

3. Wrong Choices about Items to Carry

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

And remember: more skills means less to carry.

bob

4. Not Having a Balanced Pack

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

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

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

5. Not Packing Properly

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

camping

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

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

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

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

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable.

7. Putting Your Pack On in a Wrong Way

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

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

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

8. Not Adjusting the Fit of Your Backpack

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

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

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

Does it feel better or what?

9. Not Being Physically Fit, but Still Backpaking

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

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

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

7. Not Caring for Your Backpack Properly

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

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

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

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

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

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Winter Survival: How To Start A Fire In The Snow

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With winter here and global warming a thing of the past (now it’s climate change or something), knowing how to start a fire in the snow may save your life someday. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but in my neck of the woods it’s been snowing for days.

If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so be prepared for any situation.

Winter time is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.

And if you’re out there, stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere and waiting impatiently for help from above, knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.

As night falls, the temperature will plummet, making you feel like you’re in an icebox. If you can’t make a fire, you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation if there ever was one. In addition to keeping you from freezing to death, fire keeps wild animals away and it allows you to cook (or defrost) your food, and even make water by melting snow or ice.

Fire is your best friend when it comes to wilderness survival, as it takes care of all that’s important for a prepper: food, water, and shelter (warmth).

For most modern folk, especially youngsters who live their lives pecking at their smartphones, starting a fire in any type of outdoor scenario is a rare occurrence, let alone making fire in extreme weather conditions (snow, wind).

On the other hand, if you never leave your house or the city, you may think bad things will never come to you. That works for hobbits, yes indeed, but then again, there are plenty of scenarios when your bubble can burst in a matter of hours.

For example, what will you do as you get trapped in the snow during your vacation in the Rocky Mountains or wherever, with a blizzard coming out of nowhere, blocking the roads and/or your car somewhere in the middle of…well, you see where this is going, right?

How to Start a Fire in the Snow

Getting back to our “story”, starting a fire in the snow is the second hardest thing after trying to do it during a rainstorm.

Starting a fire in the snow will present you with two basic problems.

First things first – snow will definitely melt at some point and the water may quench your hard work, together with the flames.

Another thing to contemplate about fires, snow, and winter is that cold comes into play, i.e. you’ll have to raise the temperature of your combustible materials farther than in the summertime in order to ignite them. That means that making a fire during the winter is more difficult than in the summertime, as it starts slower than “normal”, provided you know what normal is.

Video first seen on The Outside Files

Choose the Right Spot

Everything in life is location, and the same principle applies to starting a fire in the snow, obviously. Selecting a proper site is the first thing to consider and is exceptionally important for your success (survival). The location should ideally be protected from wind, water, and snow.

Folks traveling outdoors during the winter prefer to make a fire under a tree most of the time, but be aware of trees carrying a lot of snow on their branches, as the snow may fall into your fire as it melts and put it out. And then you’ll be in a world of pain.

If you’re going to start your fire under a tree, make sure you knock the snow off the branches first. That eliminates the aforementioned risk and also, it will make sure you don’t have to clear your spot twice.

Start with a Clean Spot

This brings us to the next step: clearing the snow from your desired fire location. You can’t actually make a fire directly on snow, maybe on ice though, provided you can build a platform from rocks/logs.

You can clear the snow by brushing it away or you may walk on it in order to tamp it down. If you’re going for the tamping, you must realize that the snow will melt at some point, so make sure the water resulting from melted snow can drain away from your fire.

Also remember to clear the snow off the ground on a place near the fire for storing your extra wood, and, if possible, try to use rocks for raising your wood storage spot above the ground. If you don’t have enough rocks, you can use sticks laid cross-ways or make a platform using branches (the same can be used for the fireplace itself in case you can’t find rocks).

Both ways are good for keeping the wood from coming in contact with the ground, thus offering it the chance to get as dry as possible before using it.

When it comes to starting a fire in the snow, or in rainy weather for that matter, it would be ideal to use a large, flat stone as the fire-floor.

Video first seen on ExploringWithGeorge.

Prepare Your Tools

Raising the combustible materials just 1’’ or 2’’ above the ground will make all the difference in the world by offering the water the required drainage channels to run off through.

Another thing to consider and that is hugely important is the heat reflector because, after all, starting a fire in the snow is all about keeping you warm, and a good heat-reflector is aimed at accomplishing exactly that.

A cliff face makes for a good heat reflector, also a big tree or a large rock. You can always improvise one from a blanket, the silver survival types, using the silver side which will provide you with the best reflection.

Read more about these 52 ways to save your life while laughing!

Starting the Fire

Now, with the “preamble” taken care of, let’s talk a little bit about the actual fire-starting procedure. Lesson learned the hard way: along with a first aid kit, always carry something that can be used as a fire starter. A packet of waterproof matches and a couple of BIC butane lighters are a must-have item in any survival kit.

Ideally, you should also carry a dedicated fire-starter kit, which consists of a block of paraffin and sawdust mix, available just about anywhere. You can DIY a good fire starter using cotton balls soaked with Vaseline (petroleum jelly), carried inside a film canister.

The idea is to use a fire starter that doesn’t die out fast whilst providing a lot of heat at the same time.

If you don’t have a dedicated fire starter, you can always use small pieces of dry wood, which may be a problem, but these fellas are usually easy to spot near the trunk of trees. Avoid wood that was in contact with the snow, as it definitely has a high moisture content.

If you can’t find small dry pieces of wood, get your knife, find the driest dead  branch possible, and whittle down until you hit dry wood. If you don’t even have a knife, I don’t know what you’re doing outdoors, really. You’ll have to get creative.

Tips to Remember

  • Always collect enough fuel to keep the fire burning for a long time. You don’t want to stop in the middle of the “show” to get more wood, as the fire may die out while you’re hunting for combustibles and you’ll have to start again from the beginning.
  • Always remember to gather large pieces of wood if possible, along with tinder kindling and smaller pieces for the initial fire.
  • The big chunks of wood are excellent for keeping the fire burning overnight, thus keeping you warm and allowing you to go to sleep without worrying about your fire dying and all that.
  • To get the most out of your fire, you’ll have to make sure that the fire and your shelter (if any) are as close together as possible.
  • Try to build your fire right at the shelter’s entrance and to use rescue blankets on the roof and at the back of the shelter for keeping the heat inside, thus keeping you warmer.
  • Don’t set it close enough that it’s going to catch your tent or shelter on fire, though.
  • Always travel with several rescue blankets in your survival kit; they’re hugely important and you’ll always want one of them between you and the ground, right?

You can also heat rocks into the fire and use them for warming your bed before going to sleep, or wrap a heated rock using a sweater or something like that and use it as a heater (yes, sleeping with a rock, a true love story). If it gets cold enough, you’ll see what I mean.

One thing to remember: coals generate the most heat in a fire, so make sure you keep adding enough wood to your fire so it can burn and turn to charcoal.

If you have any ideas or comments, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. Stay safe, stay warm.

If you want more tips, click the banner below and discover the survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive harsh winters!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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8 Bentonite Clay Uses For Survival

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Bentonite clay has been used for centuries for everything from treating constipation to making toothpaste. There are so many practical uses for this versatile material that it’s a must-have for any prepper or homesteader.

Let’s talk about why this wonderfully useful clay should have a place in your survival planning or homesteading daily life.

Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite, is composed largely of volcanic ash. It should be light grey or cream colored and should feel silky. If the clay that you get is white, it’s unlikely that it’s pure Bentonite. It’s also odorless and won’t stain your clothes, which is one reason why it’s used in so many different personal hygiene items.

There are two main types of Bentonite clay: Sodium Bentonite and Calcium Bentonite.

The primary difference is that Sodium Bentonite swells up to six times its size and has the most electromagnetic properties. It’s the one that you want to use for your face masks and external detoxifying.

Calcium Bentonite has smaller particles that don’t particularly swell like Sodium Bentonite particles do. This makes it better for ingestion because the smaller particles can pass through the colon and into the bloodstream. There, it does pretty much what Sodium Bentonite does; it attaches to the toxins in your body and leaves minerals behind.

1. Removing Impurities

Bentonite clay is named such because of the primary, huge deposit of the clay is located at Fort Benton, Wyoming. It’s unique in that it develops an electrical charge, a negative electric charge to be specific, when it’s wet.

This is important because toxins, heavy metals have a positive charge, so Bentonite clay can bond to them and carry them out of your body.

How? Bentonite swells and opens like a sponge when it comes into contact with water. The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of heavy metals and other toxins and the toxin is absorbed into the clay and carried out of the body.

During this process, the minerals in the clay are also released into the body, so it’s taking the bad parts and leaving good.

2. Deodorant

First, bentonite clay can be used as an ingredient in your personal hygiene items. It may make your toothpaste or deodorant look a little more like mud than what you’re used to seeing, but because of its absorbent properties, it’s great to use as an antiperspirant.

Commercial deodorants are packed with chemicals that stop odor and prevent your pores from perspiring. These include aluminum, phthalates, talc, parabens, diethyl alcohol, and others.

To make deodorant, simply mix bentonite clay with equal parts baking soda (neutralizes odor), arrowroot or cornstarch (absorbs moisture), and a few drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil.

Once you combine the powdered ingredients, add enough coconut oil to make it a smooth, thick paste, then add your food-grade essential oils. Remember that coconut oil liquefies at 74 degrees, so depending upon the temperature in your house, it may be the consistency of butter or it may be liquid. If you keep it in the fridge, it will be closer to the consistency of lard.

Video first seen on Steven Parente

3. Face Masks

Many people also like to use it because of its ability to draw toxins out of the skin. This is one of the main reasons that it’s used in face masks. In addition to drawing toxins out with its negatively charged ions, the texture of the clay makes for a gentle exfoliant. This, along with the antibacterial properties of the clay, helps keep your skin free of blemishes.

Video first seen on Healthy Living on a Budget

4. Wounds, Bites, Skin Ulcers, Eczema

A study conducted by Arizona State University shows that minerals in Bentonite clay have the potential to kill many antibiotic-resistant bacteria including MRSA, e.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and others.

It’s already been shown to effectively treat Buruli ulcers, and the only other treatment option is remove the lesion surgically and hope for the best. That’s saying something, even if it did take months of treatment with the clay to completely heal the wound.

To use it, for wound dressing or treatment of other conditions, make a poultice and apply it directly to the wound, changing it out when it dries. Remove the sting and itch of bites, burns, cuts, and scrapes by applying Bentonite clay and letting it dry.

Treat eczema in the same way daily. There are many different remedies for skin conditions that would meld well with bentonite clay.

For centuries, our ancestors survived using natural remedies to heal their wounds and other health problems. Click the banner below to discover more survival remedies for our forefathers!

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5. Baby Powder

You’ve likely read about the link between talc and cancer. If not, check in to it, because it’s a big deal. Bentonite clay is a great option because it’s absorbent and has healing properties that may help prevent infections that love warm, moist environments.

6. Toothpaste

Bentonite clay is a great additive for your toothpowder because it may help brighten and re-mineralize your teeth. Some people also like to mix it up in water and use it as a mouthwash to kill oral bacteria than can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Simply add the clay to your standard tooth powder or toothpaste recipe.

Video first seen on Live Healthy and Blessed

7. Morning Sickness and Nausea

Pregnant women who have tried taking 1/2 tsp. of Bentonite clay in a small glass of water to treat morning sickness have reported success in reducing nausea. Most doctors and midwives say this is fine, but check with you doctor before starting it, just in case.

People suffering from other digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and even parasites report positive results from simply drinking a 1/2 to 1 tsp. of Bentonite clay to water or juice daily.

Don’t use more than that, and drink a glass of plain water after you ingest the clay in order to keep the clay from settling in your stomach or digestive tract. Taking too much can also cause constipation.

8. Digestive Cleanses

Toxin buildups cause many symptoms including fatigue, allergies, headaches, skin conditions, and other conditions that apparently have no cause. Add a teaspoon of clay to your water, juice, or smoothie.

Though I couldn’t find any research supporting it (that’s pretty common with natural remedies because Big Pharma doesn’t want cheap, natural remedies to cut into their profits), it seems to me that if Bentonite clay removes heavy metals, it may be at least partially effective in removing radioactive substances. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

The most important things to remember about taking Bentonite clay are that need to follow it with plenty of fresh water so that it flushes through your system without settling, and that you shouldn’t take more than a teaspoonful a day.

Personally, I’m more interested in the external healing effects of the clay, but there are many who firmly believe in the benefits of taking it internally as well.

That decision is, of course, up to you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2413170/

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Christmas Prep Blog Review: 5 Last Minute Gifts

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Christmas Gifts

Wow, it’s already Christmas Eve!

I thought I was done with all my Christmas prepping until I realized I forgot to buy presents for a prepper friend of mine who is coming to dinner tomorrow.

I am sure he will be delighted by my delicious traditional Christmas turkey, but I want to offer him something special because this day is about offering, is about joy, peace and wonderful moments with friends and family.

As I am in a rush and there is no time to start searching for the perfect present, I am going to try one of the projects I will share with you below.

So, if you have unexpected guests or you forgot to buy a present, here are some great and unique ides of stocking stuffer you can make from scratch right know.

Or you could buy this pack of cards containing  52 encapsulated survival tips, covering everything from water purification to OPSEC.

1. How to Make a Paracord Belt

paracord belt

“These paracord belt instructions and easy to follow instructions show you how to make a DIY paracord rescue belt, my favorite of all the paracord belts I tried.

Paracord bracelets can come in handy but only have 8-12 feet of rope, while a paracord belt can have up to 50 feet or more of 550 paracord. In extreme survival situations, 50 feet of rope would be a lot more use for you than 8-12 feet.

However, this paracord belt gives you at least 50 feet of paracord rope that is quickly accessible, and depending on your waist size, up to 100 ft of 550 cord.

This belt is a quick deploy survival rescue belt that uses Slatt’s rescue weave. You can unravel, or deploy, the paracord in a matter of seconds.”

Read more on DIY Projects.

2. How to Make an Arm Knit Blanket

arm kit blanket

“One of my most favourite projects and the one that been the most popular on my blog this year is my arm knit blanket from January. I made this fringed arm knit blanket in a couple of hours. Let me show you how easy it is to make a soft & squishy blanket like this! For this project, you’ll need an extra bulky yarn. Five skeins made my lap-sized blanket with a fringe. I love the way this yarn gets thicker and thinner in parts to give this blanket even more texture.

I did a test swatch, and the gauge of this yarn was 0.5 stitches per inch. If using a different yarn, you’ll need to make your own test swatch to see what your guage is and determine how many stitches you’ll need to make your blanket. For a lap-size blanket (about 36″ wide by 40″ high), I made my blanket 18 stitches wide by 20 stitches long.

To begin, measure out about 18 arm lengths of yarn for your tail, and then create a slipknot.”

Read more on The DIY Mommy.

3. How to Make Flannel and Felt Last-Minute Handwarmers

Hanwarmers

“Flannel and Felt Last-Minute Handwarmers… a quick gift that you can mass-produce and have by the door, ready to share with someone who needs their heart warmed as much as their hands. Ever needed a last-minute gift to reciprocate or just to show some love and appreciation?

These felt and flannel hand warmers are a quick gift that you can mass-produce and have by the door, ready to share with someone who needs their heart warmed as much as their hands. The felt heart embellishment adds an easy, personal touch.

I’m personally smitten with all of the cute black, red, and gray flannel plaids available this year. I used a bunch for a quilt and decided to use some of the scraps for these cute, quick hand warmers.”

Read more on IHeartNapTime.

homemade-rosemary-mint-goat-milk-soap-recipe4. How to Make Homemade Rosemary – Mint Goat Milk Soap

“Oh my goodness you guys! This rosemary-mint goat milk soap smells divine, and that creamy milk-based soap just can’t be beat! I have a whole list of our favorite essential oil blends for soap making, and this particular blend isn’t on the list – because this is the first time I’ve ever tried it. I love all of those blends, but to be honest, at least 50% of the soap I make, I’m always trying new things. That’s what makes life interesting!

Another thing that was a first for me with this batch, is that I used canned goat milk that I bought from our local grocery store. much to my surprise, canned goat milk is brown! Always before, I’ve used either fresh, or frozen goat milk either from our own goats, or my sister-in-law’s goats, and of course, it’s the brightest shade of white. Even better, if you get it icy before you add it to the lye for making soap, it stays a beautiful creamy white.”

Read more on Frugal Farm Wife.

5. How to Make Bath Bombs (video tutorial)bath-bombs

“If you guys have followed my blog for a while or watch my Snapchat’s, then you know I’m a little obsessed with bath bombs. There are few things I like more than soaking in a hot bath with a bath bomb.

The essential oils help nourish and moisturize my skin, especially during the winter months. Today I want to share a bath bomb video tutorial to show you exactly how I make my bath bombs. I receive a lot of questions on my bath bombs tutorials and figured this would help answer a lot of them.

I’d also like to answer some frequently asked questions and share my new bath bomb recipe.”

Read more on A Pumpkin And A Princess.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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11 Gifts Under $25 For Preppers

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Preppers gifts

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about what to get a few of my friends and family members for Christmas makes me crazy.

They either already have everything, or I just can’t think of something that they’d like. I’m just not good at it. Plus, who thinks of prepping gifts for Christmas? It’s just not at the top of most people’s minds.

We’re here to save the day and, thanks to Amazon Prime, if you’re subscribed there’s still plenty of time to get these gifts and have them wrapped so that the prepper in your life can shake it and wonder about it for a bit before it’s time to unwrap it!

These gifts are also great for birthdays or just because you want to be nice.

1. Emergency Mylar Blanket

blanketWhen it comes down to surviving, a Mylar blanket is useful for many other things than just keeping warm, though it does trap up to 90% of your body heat.

They’re 52”x82”, so you only need 1 to cover you unless you’re really tall.

It’s waterproof and can be used as an emergency windbreaker, blanket, or raincoat.

It can also be used to catch water and form the top, sides, and bottom of a shelter.

The best part is that they take up less space than your wallet. As a matter of fact, you could get 3 in the space that your wallet would take up.

We chose the Titan brand 5-pack because they’re an American company owned by veterans, and all of their products have a lifetime guarantee. You can buy the cheaper ones sold in China, but why would you do that?

2. Ferro or Magnesium Fire-starting Rod

Without fire, you won’t last long in the wilderness, and your prepper knows it.

The problem is that matches get wet, tinder and kindling get rained on,ferro and lighters run out of fluid.

Starting a fire doesn’t have to be hard, though. Magnesium and Ferrocerium are two minerals that create extremely hot sparks that give you a leg up when you need to start a fire.

This one is our top pick because it comes with everything you need to start a fire quickly: wood chips, hand-cut fatwood sticks, jute string dipped in wax that catches fire easily from the sparks that are created by the ferro stick and striker.

The stick will light thousands of fires. It’s all packaged in a tin can that fits in a shirt pocket, and it’s extremely affordable.

This one doesn’t come with the tinder, but it IS attached to a paracord lanyard that can be used for many different things in the wilderness.

3. Water Filter

bottleYou can only survive for three days without water, but it’s not safe to just drink any water that you find. Water filters are a must-have in a survival kit, and there are a wide variety of them out there.

The thing to remember is that it’s not necessarily the thing that you can see in the water that you have to worry so much about; it’s the chemicals and pathogens in the water.

This bottle is BPA-free and converts crude water to potable water by filtering out 33 contaminants, 99.99% of microbial pathogens, and undissolved impurities from the water. It also reduces chlorine and trihalomethanes. That may sound technical, but your prepper will appreciate it!

4. Dutch Oven

Preppers, homesteaders, and just people who love to cook love cast iron, and a Dutch oven is a classic. These wonders are so great for camp cooking dutch oven that pioneers reserved precious space and weight in their wagons to carry them across the country.

The thing about cast iron is that it can literally last for hundreds of years. I have an iron skillet that’s more than 150 years old and it’s still an integral part of my cookware.

Dutch ovens such as this one serve triple duty because it can be used as a pot on the stovetop or in the oven, and the lid serves as a skillet, too.

Put the two together and you can bury them in coals in a campfire and cook anything that you want, including cakes, breads, and biscuits. Even though this one is $35, it’s still list-worthy because the lid is a full-sized skillet. This one falls within the $25 price guideline and is good, too.

5. Multi-tool

multi-toolBecause a person can only carry so much, multi-purpose items take top priority for a prepper.

There are many types of multi-tools that range in price from just a few bucks to nearly $100.

This one is a flat one that also comes with a flint fire starter, an emergency whistle, and pocket cover.

The tool itself has 25 uses including a knife, bottle opener, ruler, smartphone stand, saw and butterfly wrenches.

You can also go for traditional ones that offer hand tools, like this one. It’s attractive and the tools in it are actually useful instead of repetitive even if a person wants to carry it around as an every-day pocket knife. It comes with a bonus keychain mini-mulitool.

6. Prepping Books

One of the things that any good prepper will tell you that they know for sure is that they don’t know everything! It’s impossible to remember everything about survival, especially if you’re not doing it every day.

Since most of us aren’t living in the woods on a daily basis, or trying to exist without power, a guide is always a good thing.

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is good because it’s not easy to remember how to make a trap or memorize every tip for gathering and cooking outdoors in an emergency. Another skill that’s important to preppers is using everyday items in many different ways.

This book provides some useful uses for common household items.

Finally, this book is great for comprehensive information that touches on a bit of everything. Consider it an all-around guide to survival.

7. Paracord Jewelry

550 paracord is an integral part of any prepper’s kit because it has so many uses that you really can’t even count them all.paracord

Paracord jewelry is the best of both worlds because it has an earthy,  stylish look but is extremely functional; one bracelet has around twelve feet of paracord. That may not sound like a lot, but it really is!

This one has a fire starter and compass on it, or if you’d like to design your own unique piece for your favorite prepper, or even his dog, check out this site!

8. Gun Cleaning Kit

gun-cleaning-kitWhen it comes to weapons, cleanliness is next to godliness, because a dirty gun can quite literally be the death of you in a few different ways.

If your prepper is a gun owner, he or she will most certainly enjoy a gun cleaning kit.

This one is nice because it’s universal. You don’t need to know what kind of weapon your prepper has because this one works for any kind, handgun, shotgun, or rifle.

If you’d like, you can also buy some bore cleaner and lubricating oil to make it a total package.

9. Camping Mess Kit

camping-messOne of the biggest decisions that face a prepper is deciding what to pack in the bug-out bag. There are many things that a person will need, but one person can only carry so much.

This camp mess kit has everything needed to cook and eat a meal in the wilderness, and is lightweight anodized non-stick aluminum.

It even has a wooden spatula that can be used for many different things. It’s all nicely packaged in a carrying bag.

The way that it’s made, a person could even pack some fire-starters or any other smaller items inside of it, making even better use of the space. It goes over our $25 limit by a dollar, but it’s a dollar well-spent.

10. Tactical Vest

tactical-vestWhether your favorite prepper enjoys shooting or just needs space and pockets to put other survival items in, a tactical vest is always a good investment.

The weight is carried in the front, leaving the carrier’s back open for a backpack.

There are many different types out there, but this one is economical and functional. For additional surprises, fill the pockets with goodies such as a fire-stick or ammo!

11. Biomass Camp Stove

This biomass stove is a bit bigger than the original SoLo stove, but it can hold a pan instead of just a can. It’s lightweight but sturdy and allows your stoveprepper to build a fire without the need for oil, charcoal, or gas.

Its lightweight design makes it a viable addition to any survival kit.

We’ve tried to include diverse products with a range of prices, but if you’re still having problems thinking of a great gift for your prepper friend, head to your local Outdoor World, Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela’s. Better yet, hit the local Army surplus store.

Chances are good that you’ll not only find a gift for your friend, but will find something cool for yourself, too.

This pack of cards contains 52 encapsulated survival tips, covering everything from water purification to OPSEC.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

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Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Survival Cooking: How To Use A Dutch Oven

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How To Use A Dutch Oven

Pioneers no doubt had to make some rough choices about what to take and what to leave behind when they made the voyage west. One thing that they didn’t even consider leaving behind, though, was their Dutch oven.

This marvelous piece of cookware is so versatile that it warranted a spot in the precious little space inside a covered wagon.

When you think about camping, you probably don’t think about making bread, biscuits, or cookies – other than s’mores of course! That’s because you’re not familiar with how a Dutch oven works.

In short, it’s magic.

A Dutch oven actually consists of two pieces: a pot and a lid. The lid seals over the pot when needs must, and serves as a skillet, too. You can use a Dutch oven on a stove or in an oven just like you’d use any other pan or skillet, but it’s so much more useful than that.

First, cast iron cookware in general is just fabulous to cook on. Other cookware, such as those made from aluminum or coated in Teflon, can be toxic to us over time. Teflon starts to flake off into your food after a few months or maybe a year. Then you run the risk of getting cancer. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cast iron, on the other hand, has been associated with family treasures that are passed down from generation to generation.

Cookware made from cast iron can quite literally last hundreds of years – I have a skillet that’s nearly 150 years old and it’s seriously the best skillet I own. I have a square one that I bought 25 years ago, and I won’t make cornbread in anything else. I use it at home on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. I take it camping and use it over an open fire.

So, I’m not just preaching it from the handbook, I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid. Cast iron rules.

Now that you know how I feel about the material, I want to get on to the exact piece of cast iron cookware that we’re discussing today: the Dutch oven.

Simply surviving isn’t good enough if you’re to stay happy and healthy in the long run. You need good food, companionship, and hope. A Dutch oven can’t do much about who you eat with, but it can be used to cook luxury foods that keep morale up. Cornbread, biscuits, cake, hot rolls, and desserts such as cobbler are all possible as long as you have the ingredients, a fire, and a Dutch oven.

Video first seen on Cooking With Cast Iron.

You don’t need electricity or gas, nor do you need an actual oven because a Dutch oven IS an oven. If you know the basics of cooking with one and have the ingredients, you can make anything that you want.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about how to cook with a Dutch oven.

Aluminum or Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I know, I’ve just expounded on the benefits of using cast iron, and even knocked aluminum cookware a bit. I personally don’t like to cook in it because studies have shown that the aluminum does leach into food, especially if the food is extremely basic (baking powder), or extremely acidic (tomato juice, vinegar, or fruit juices).

Studies show that anodized aluminum doesn’t pose this risk, so if you opt to go with an aluminum Dutch oven, make sure that it’s anodized. There are some benefits to cooking with an aluminum Dutch oven, primarily the weight. A cast-iron Dutch oven weighs about 7 pounds as opposed to the 18 pounds or so that you’ll be toting if you’re carrying a cast iron one.

Aluminum also doesn’t require seasoning like cast iron does, nor will it rust if you don’t care for it after you wash it. Many even come with a non-stick surface, but cast iron will become non-stick if you season it correctly.

Aluminum heats faster, but that’s not necessarily a good thing because the heat fluctuates in it, and aluminum will melt if it gets hot enough. Still, aluminum may be better for baking bread or making sauces and gravies than cast iron.

Cast iron holds heat evenly and for longer periods of time. It will actually keep cooking your foods for quite a while even if your coals cool down so you don’t need as much fuel to cook with it. The lid is heavy enough that it seals and steams your food so that it doesn’t dry out. This is why I said above that aluminum may be better for baking bread.

So, there are the differences. If you have to carry it, aluminum may be worth the downfalls to you. If you don’t, I’d say that cast iron wins hands down. I’m sure that there are those that disagree.

Types of Dutch Ovens

If you’re standing in the pot aisle at the store trying to figure out what the heck you need, or researching online before you go buy one, it can be confusing.

First, know that a camp oven and an outdoor oven are the same thing. These will usually have feet and a handle that you can use to hang the pot over the fire. The lid will also be flat and have a lip that seals the oven so that coals can’t get into it. You can use the lid as a skillet, too.

Kitchen pots and bean pots are also two names for the same sort of pot. They won’t have feet. Bean pots aren’t just for beans so don’t let the name fool you. It’s actually a cooking method that was common back in colonial days. These pots will have a flat bottom and a domed lid that may have spikes for basting inside of it. The steam rises, then drips off the spikes down onto the food.

Don’t be afraid to buy a used Dutch oven. As a matter of fact, I got mine from a yard sale for $5. Just be aware of what you’re buying.

  • First, don’t buy it if it has riveted tabs. You want the oven to be cast together, not riveted.
  • Look for inconsistencies in the thickness. That will lead to inconsistent heating and cooking
  • Don’t be scared away by a little rust. As long as it’s just surface rust, it will clean right up with steel wool.
  • Make sure that the bottom is level. It shouldn’t rock.
  • Make sure the lid fits well – not too loose, and not too tight, and it doesn’t rock.
  • Check for chips and cracks as well as imperfections in the casting.
  • If you’re buying a camp oven, make sure that the wire handle is sturdy.

Seasoning your Dutch Oven

Cast iron takes a bit of time to reach that non-stick state. This is called seasoning. Basically, the iron needs to absorb fat so that it develops a patina that keeps the iron from absorbing your food, causing it to stick. Seasoning also prevents the iron from rusting and makes cleanup much easier.

New ovens (or any cast iron) come with a protective coating from the manufacturer. The same is true with aluminum but all you need to do in that case is wash the aluminum with hot soap and water to remove the coating.

Cast iron takes a bit more work on the front end, but it will be well worth it in the end because you’ll have a piece that will be good for the rest of your life, and your children’s lives for that matter.

Before you season your skillet, wash it well. Some people use soap, others don’t. I use soap when I get a new one, or a used one that isn’t seasoned or has rust. I’m not like most people though, who only use hot water and steel wool.

Once you have your Dutch oven clean, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You may want to turn off the smoke alarm, just in case.

  • Put the Dutch oven and the lid in the oven long enough that it’s so hot that it’s almost too hot to handle, then remove them.
  • Dribble a bit of olive oil, solid shortening, or vegetable oil. Don’t use butter, margarine, or cooking spray.
  • Use a paper towel to smear the oil over the entire surface of the pot and lid, inside and out.
  • Put the pot and lid back in the oven bake them for an hour. You should probably put a cookie sheet on the rack under them in case they drip. No need to burn the house down while you’re doing this.
  • Turn off the oven and let the pot and lid cool completely, then repeat the process.
  • Wipe down, and you’re done!

Video first seen on JRKFamilyOutdoors

Of course, the more you use your oven, the more seasoned it will become. Every time you use it, you need to clean it, then heat it to get the water out of it and wipe it down with a thin layer of oil again; just a tiny amount on a paper towel while the pan is cooling.

Avoid cooking super acidic or high-sugar foods the first few times you use your oven because these will break down your seasoning before it has time to harden.

Using a Dutch Oven in Coals

You may not know it, but the ashes under the fire are actually usually hotter than the fire itself. The ashes are compact and hold in heat. This makes for an excellent cooking environment. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens in your oven at home, right?

Maybe you’ve cooked ears of corn or potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals of your fire, but it’s pretty tough to bake a piece of apple pie like that? Well that’s where your Dutch oven comes in. Different foods cook better depending upon how the Dutch oven is situated in the coals, and you can cook entire meals in it, too. Casseroles, desserts, stews: they’re all within your reach.

First, you need to decide if you’re cooking IN the Dutch oven, or WITH it. You can either cook your food directly in the oven or you can put the food in another container, such as a pie plate, and cook in on a trivet or rack inside of the oven. This is usually done to keep the food from burning, or to make cleaning your oven easier.

If you’re cooking a dessert and your oven is still relatively new, you may want to use this method so that the sugar and acids in the fruit don’t eat away your seasoning.

If you’re using your oven for frying, or boiling, all of the heat should come from the bottom. In other words, place the oven on top of the coals or a grill rack (or hang it over the fire).

If you’re stewing or simmering, the majority of the heat should come from the bottom. Place the pot in the ashes with most of it buried, but put some of the coals on top, about 4:1 bottom to top.

If you’re roasting food, heat should come from the top and bottom equally. Place coals under and on top.

If you’re baking, most of the heat should come from the top. The ratio should be 1 part on bottom and 3 parts on top.

If you’re wondering about specific foods, typically soups and stews should be cooked with most of the heat on the bottom (2/3 or so on the bottom, and 1/3 of the coals on top. Meats, veggies, and cobblers should have equal heat distribution, and cakes, biscuits, bread and cookies should have 2/3 of the coals on top and 1/3 on the bottom.

Dutch Oven Temperature

Bread and biscuits help you get a lot more mileage out of a meal and are comfort foods. They’re also the trail version of fast foods. You can cook extra and if you get hungry along the trail, you can pull out a roll or a biscuit and eat it on the run. Neither of these would be possible in large quantity without a Dutch oven.

You can make biscuits inside of the oven, or right on the lid – just butter or oil both sides so that they brown equally.

Bread or rolls are best if you let the final proof take place inside the oven, then bake them immediately. Some old recipes call for coating the inside of the oven with flour before you put your bread in to rise/cook. The flour will burn but your bread will be fine.

If you’d rather not use the flour, just oil the inside of the oven and the top of the lid, then let your bread proof. Put your oven in the coals, with 2/3 of them on top. When there are 5 or 6 minutes left for the bread to cook, take of the lid and butter the top of the bread. Put the lid back on and let it finish cooking. Bread is done when you peck on the top and it sounds hollow.

There are different ways to cook with your Dutch oven, but these are the basics. You can pick up a good Dutch oven for as little as $35 or so, and that’s for a Lodge, which is American-made and arguably the best brand of cast iron skillets out there.

There are, of course, gourmet chefs coming out with their own lines of cast iron cookware too, and some of them are even pre-seasoned, but you’re likely going to pay quite a bit more for them. It’s up to you, though. There are definite advantages to buying a pre-seasoned piece, but I’m old-school and take a certain pleasure in doing things for myself.

Learn how to make your own food based on survival ancient recipes from our forefathers. Click the banner below and uncover more survival secrets, and stay close for a great offer that will boost your survival cooking!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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15 Skills For Surviving A Collapsed City

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Urban Survival

Will you survive a disaster in a city without having resources such as water, food, and safe shelter at your immediate disposal? You’re going to be facing hard times and the adversity from your fellow urbanites who aren’t survival-savvy.

Whether it’s a financial collapse or a natural disaster, you need to know how to survive. You can prepare building a food and water stockpile. But the most important thing to stockpile is knowledge.

That’s going to be the difference between you and 99% of your neighbors. Knowing what to do to survive is three quarters of the battle.

You still have time to learn and develop your skills by grabbing the amazing offer we have for you. Read the whole article to find it!

1. Adaptability

First and foremost, you need to know how to adapt. To do this, you’re going to have to be flexible and think outside of the box. It may reach a point where paper money has no value; instead, commodities like food, hygiene products, and useful skills will become the new dollar. This is where stockpiling, prior skill acquisition, and living simply will come in handy.

2. Find Water Reserves and Sources

Do you know where the city water pipes are? What about the main source of drinkable water? Do you know where dairy and produce farms are in the immediate areas surrounding your city?

Clean water and access to purification methods will be critical to survival, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for personal hygiene and disease prevention.

Water filtration

3. Scavenging

Gleaning, dumpster diving, freecycling, or upcycling: regardless of what you call it, scavenging is a great way to find perfectly useful products and edible food. Though we live in a society that places a huge stigma on going through somebody else’s trash, we’ve also taken wasting to all new levels.

Probably half of what goes into a landfill isn’t actually garbage: it’s just something that somebody didn’t want any more or didn’t bother to fix. We encourage such behavior by making new items so affordable and accessible that it’s easier, and often cheaper, just to throw something away.

Scavenging now can save you a ton of money and decrease the amount of waste, if even by a bit. Imagine if everybody did it!

In an urban survival situation, scavenging may just save your life. After all, there may not be any stores open to buy parts to fix your generator, replace lost clothing, or buy fresh produce; these are all items that will be readily available in the dumpsters nearest you if you’re just willing to look.

This is all part of living simply and switching to a more frugal, less wasteful frame of mind.

4. Bartering

The art of getting a good deal for what you buy and trade is a valuable skill now but will be absolutely critical to surviving an urban collapse. Know what your possessions are worth, and have a stockpile of items that you know will be valuable in that situation.

Hygiene items, food and useful skills are going to be at the top of the list when it comes to barter. Weapons and ammo may be up there, too, but that may be something that you want to keep for yourself depending upon your situation.

The take-away here is that you need to know how to barter in such a manner that both you and the person you’re bartering with feel like a good trade was made.

5. Escape from Debris

If an event such as earthquake or engineering failure, you may very well find yourself trapped in a sea of debris. Knowing how to escape without causing further cave-ins or getting lost will be a valuable skill.

It will be similar to escaping a thick jungle full of hazards that can kill you if you’re not extremely careful. For that matter, it may kill you, or trap you, through no fault of your own.

You’re going to deal with not only keeping yourself safe and treating your own injuries, but also helping others out.

Learning how to escape debris requires adaptability, medical skills, a bit of structural and physics knowledge, tracking and woodcraft skills to prevent going in circles, and psychological skills. Being physically fit will also work to your advantage.

6. Living Small

This is a skill that you should learn now, and it goes along with many of the other skills that we’ve discussed: bartering, scavenging, adapting. Living small simply means decluttering your life and learning to make do with what you need, not want you want right at any given moment.

Your goal is to eliminate everything that isn’t directly integral to your survival or happiness.

Fixing things instead of throwing them away, being willing to upcycle products instead of always buying new, growing as much of your own food as possible, and leaving a small carbon footprint in general are all parts of living simply.

The less you depend upon other resources for your survival, the harder it will be for you to adapt to a survival situation.

7. Cooking on a Car Engine

Did you know that you can cook an entire meal on a car engine? All you need is some aluminum foil. First, warm up your car and feel for the hottest parts, and parts that get too hot to touch, but not so hot that they’ll catch things on fire. Most of these spots will be directly around the engine.

Many of those spots have nooks and crannies where you can tuck your food to cook while you travel. You don’t necessarily have to go anywhere – you can cook as long as the car is running – but it’s a waste of fuel.

Remember that potatoes and corn will cook much faster than a roast, so make sure that you put those on after you put the roast on to cook. You may also want to cook meat for the first half-hour or so in the hottest spots, then move them to places that aren’t quite so hot so that they cook all the way through.

Video first seen on Howcast

8. Stopping Bleeding

The first goal of urban survival is surviving! You can’t do that if you or the people that you care about bleed to death before you escape the building that’s fallen on you or whatever other disaster you find yourself in.

There are several different herbs that can help stop bleeding. You also need to know how to apply a tourniquet and how to pack a wound. Also, none of these skills will do you any good if you can’t keep your cool and adapt to the situation as you need to.

9. Start a Fire from Scrap

You likely won’t have access to trees and forest debris to start fires, but you will have access to broken doors, window sills, clothing, cotton swabs, and other extremely flammable items. Just about anything will burn, but it’s important that you learn what materials are toxic and which ones are safe to burn. Also, you want to burn items that don’t produce much smoke.

Again, just being able to adapt and think outside of the box will serve you well.

10. Cooking Under the Radar

Without a doubt, there are going to be a ton of starving people if things get bad enough. After all, we know that we, as preppers, are the small minority of society. If you want to survive, it’s going to be important to learn how to cook and eat without being noticed.

If you live in an apartment, developing a joint apartment communications team can help avoid this problem. They watch out for you and you watch out for them. This is something that you need to do before SHTF, and it’s still a good idea to play your hand close to the vest and not reveal exactly how much or what you have stockpiled.

Help avoid problems by hiding your stockpile, and don’t tell anybody that you’re even building one now. Even the nicest, most honest people will turn on you when they’re hungry and desperate.

Finding ways to cook without people smelling it will be one of your biggest problems.

The Urban Survival Playing Cards offer tips and hacks that will help you survive an urban crisis, and the best part is that you can carry them with you so that you can flip through them in an emergency.

urban_survival_cards_optin_620x350

11. Building Small Traps for Defense

Booby traps are quite easy to make but you need to be careful about how you set them. You don’t want your kids or old Mrs. Cunningham in 204 to get caught in them. Booby traps should blend into the environment. Cover holes in the stairs with old carpet, for example.

If you have an area that’s particularly difficult to defend, it may be best to seta a trap that causes a local, yet heavy, cave-in. You want it to be so dense that they can’t get through, but you don’t want to run the risk of weakening the structure of the rest of the building.

The idea is to make it difficult enough to get through that they leave in search of easier pickings.

12. Underground Navigation

Knowing how to get from one point to another unobtrusively is a valuable skill to have. Most cities sit atop a network of sewers, maintenance tunnels, and subways that make for excellent discreet navigational avenues.

Even if there is somebody else there, it’s easy to slip into the shadows and wait for them to pass. Most of these blueprints are available at city hall if you just know where to go.

This is part of gathering info and knowing what your resources are.

You can actually escape the city if you understand the underground tunnel system well enough to navigate them, even if part of them become blocked by cave-ins or are being observed by opposing forces.

13. Losing a Tail

If anybody so much as suspects that you have a supply stash, there’s a good chance that somebody will try to follow you home. This may also be the case if you’ve been out surveilling and the enemy catches on. In both these cases, you need to know how to lose a tail.

How you do this will, of course, depend upon your situation. If you can get lost in a crowd, losing a tail will be easier. Remember to walk at the pace, and in the direction of, the crowd.

Change your appearance as you go. Take off a hat or jacket because that’s what your tail will look for first – identifying clothing. Sneak in the front of a place and out the back.

14. Building a Shelter from Scrap

You’re going to need a place to stay if your apartment or house is breached or rendered uninhabitable. You can build shelter from debris such as cardboard, old doors, washer and dryer lids, garbage bags, and other items that you scavenge.

Knowing where to build a shelter is critical, too. Knowing the tunnel systems and the source of fresh, clean water will both play roles in helping you find a safe place to stay.

15. Staying Unnoticed by Keeping a Low Profile

If you’re prepared, you don’t want people to know it. You want to blend in. This means eating away from everybody, acting as if you’re in the same situation as everybody else, and behaving in as nondescript a fashion as possible. In essence, you want to be invisible by being just like everybody else around you.

However, you don’t want to change so much that you make other people suspicious of you, either. If you’re normally helpful and friendly, keep those traits even if you have to tone them down a bit. That probably won’t be hard because it’s who you are at your core.

The truly hard part is going to be resisting the urge to offer too much help. While it’s true that there is safety in numbers, the bottom line may be that you have limited resources that you can’t afford to share if you want your own family to eat. Decisions may be difficult.

One More Tip for Your Survival

Without a doubt, surviving a collapsed city will present more, or at least different, challenges than surviving an emergency on a well-stocked homestead that’s already partially off the grid. Still, it’s going to be the reality for many of us, and it’s a situation that you can survive if you’re adaptable, knowledgeable, and prepared.

Need a way of “trying the waters” with extended family and friends? Give them a pack of these playing cards or break them out the next time you get together to play poker. You’ll be able to tell by their reaction, whether they are interested. Who knows, you might even plant a seed in their minds, converting them to your point of view.

This is a great idea, especially as a way of introducing survival to people who are not yet preppers. It can be used as a tool for teaching children and adults alike. Either way, it could turn into a great Christmas gift.

Discover more than 52 survival tips that will help you thrive after disasters and breakdowns in urban areas. 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: How to Survive Winter In The City

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Winter survival

Winter holidays are just around the corner and I am sure you are dreaming about unforgettable moments with your loved ones. But don’t lose focus from your prepping and be ready to overcome any survival situation, even though you live in the city.

For today’s prep blog review I’ve gather five articles with useful tips for winter survival in urban areas.

1. 5 Strategies To Survive In The City When SHTF

Survive in the city

“When we think of survival and disaster preparedness the images most people conjure up are basically rural. Preparedness is all about being ready to harvest the essentials from the land, and there’s a distinct echo of pioneer families about it all. But is this realistic? The latest figures, from 2015, show that 82% of Americans now live in urban areas. If you’re one of them, being ready for the worst brings a whole new set of challenges with it.

In rural America space equals time. People are more spread out, and that buys time in all sorts of ways. Civil disorder will take longer to spread, giving you time to prepare. You probably stockpile essentials anyway, rather than buying them a few times a week from the convenience store, so you have at least some reserves to fall back on. In a city it’s different. You’re in close proximity with thousands or millions of other people, and things are a lot more precariously balanced. If the SHTF in a city it’s going to do it fast, and you need to be able to react fast to stay ahead of events.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

2. 7 Greatest Dangers for Preppers in the City

Dangers for urban preppers

Although I think it’s possible to survive most types of disasters while living in the city, that doesn’t mean the city isn’t more dangerous than the countryside. By choosing to remain in the city, you are facing several potential dangers, and it’s important that you be aware of those dangers. In this article I’ll cover the 7 greatest dangers for preppers in the city.

Scarcity

“One of the biggest drawbacks to hunkering down in a city is the lack of resources and space. Big cities are not typically self-sustainable, and instead have many lifelines of food and supplies shipped in from a multitude of locations.

Food is a vital resource that will quickly become scarce. Foraging is a short-term plan at best, since grocery store shelves don’t restock themselves and your average downtown area isn’t exactly teeming with herds of game.

The natural way to combat a food shortage is to already have a stockpile available. If you have the space to do so, stock up on several months of an emergency. And if you don’t have the space, then make space. You should also have an escape route planned and a bug out location to go to.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

3. Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

Snow Storm

“Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher.

Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

4. DIY Heater for Emergencies

DIY Heater

“Each year, as the weather gets colder, I receive emails from readers who lose power in their homes or apartment.  They are worried about heating their space when the power is out.

I have written about keeping your apartment warm in the winter without power.   The following article provides some good instructions on making a homemade heater with items that are easy to obtain.  Please note this DIY heater is not meant to replace a heating system.  The flower pot heater is a backup so you can heat up a room in the event that power is out.”

Read more on Apartment Prepper.

5. Prepping for a Blizzard

Prepping For A Blizzard

“Few can deny the common sense behind preparing for something that is definitely going to happen, yet every year, an impending winter storm sends people rushing out to the store at the last minute, prepping for a blizzard that is due to hit in mere hours.

Every winter, if you live in certain climates, blizzards are going to occur. Usually, at least one storm will hit that will cause you to be snowed in.

Often, those storms mean you will also lose power. There is the inevitable rush to the store for milk and bread, during which people battle it out for the last supplies left on the shelves.”

Read more on The Organic Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Projects For The Urban Survivor: DIY Tripwire Alarm

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DIY Tripwire Alarm

Tripwire alarms are among the simplest yet most effective ways for setting up a home security system.

If you don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on sophisticated pieces of equipment, today’s article is aimed at helping you to design and build a tripwire alarm for your home, dirt cheap and crazy simple – as in budget-friendly and easy to install.

As far as DIY jobs go, making your own home security system is among my top ten best ever. It’s fun, instructive and, most importantly, embraces the essence of prepping: “be prepared, son, be prepared.”

What Is a Trip Wire Alarm

Let’s begin with the basics: what’s a trip wire alarm? Well, as the name suggests, you just run a “wire” across a pathway you want to protect: in most instances, a door entrance, or a gate on your property, or whatever.

Then, if an intruder walks through and trips over the wire, an alarm is activated. Keep in mind that what I’ve described above is the most basic type of a tripwire alarm, as it refers to an actual wire and all that. Obviously, as we live in 2016, there’s always room for improvement.

Now, speaking of “traditional” tripwires, they’re incredibly simple, very intuitive and fairly easy to set up. But in our modern day and age, when wireless technologies and electronic components are dirt cheap and readily available at any Radio Shack or hardware store, we can go a step further and go a little bit more high-tech.

Regular tripwire alarms – the classic variety, so to speak – come with a built-in inconvenience, i.e. you’ll have to actually run a physical wire or line from the tripwire to the alarm itself.

If you want to protect a far-away location or a room or door inside of a building, you’re going to need a lot of wire, making it pretty difficult to set up.

However, you can get around this logistics nightmare fairly easy via high-tech (dirt cheap, don’t worry) gear, by using a small radio transmitter that will activate the alarm without requiring 5 miles of wire and what not.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

The conventional tripwire alarm, the one I’ve told you about in the beginning, consists of a line stretched across a path. Once an intruder trips over the respective line, the alarm is triggered.

Wired tripwire alarms are the most commonly used setups when it comes to homeowners installing them themselves, because they’re cheap and easy to install basically anywhere.

And learning how to DIY a tripwire alarm is very easy and fun.

If you want to learn more survival hacks, we recommend these Urban Survival Playing Cards that every prepper should have. Relax, have fun and learn more than 52 life-saving tips.

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Types of tripwire alarms

  • Classic direct-tripwire alarm, i.e. the line stretched across a path, directly connected to the alarm using a wire/string/cord;
  • Laser/infrared tripwire alarm, which, instead of a wire/cord stretched across the path, uses an invisible laser/infrared beam;
  • Radio frequency tripwire alarm, when the tripwire assembly is connected with the alarm wirelessly via a radio transmitter.

The good news is that you can DIY at home basically any of these three using dirt cheap gear and basic tools.

Let’s begin with a classic in that field: the BANG tripwire alarm. The BANG particle refers to the actual alarm, which consists of ring caps.

So, for this low-tech and highly effective DIY project, you’ll require the following materials:

  • a mouse trap
  • fishing line
  • tent pegs
  • ring caps
  • screws
  • nails
  • rubber bands.

This type of tripwire alarm is the ideal solution for securing outdoors objectives, such as the perimeter of your home or a camp site. Needless to say, this project is very cheap, fairly easy to DIY and it works awesomely (the BANG part will scare most intruders away in a jiffy).

The basic idea behind this DIY project is that once the intruder trips over the wire, the mouse trap is activated and as it triggers, it detonates a ring cap, making a loud BANG. Pretty smart, huh?

Video first seen on kipkay

However, there’s even a simpler design for a classic tripwire alarm. First, you must select a location to set up the actual tripwire. Again, this is mostly an outdoor project that can alert you to the approach of a wild animal or various intruders. You must choose wisely, i.e. a place where you’ll have to actually walk to get into.

As the intruder passes by, his feet will catch the trip wire and trip an alarm. Obviously, the tripwire must be inconspicuous at a casual glance, or else your alarm will fail miserably. You’ll have to attach the trip line to a fixed location, between two trees for example, or between two rocks, roots or whatever. The idea is that the assembly must be stable enough to pull on the alarm itself when somebody trips over your wire.

Now, as per the alarm, you can use anything, including your imagination. Here are some suggestions: a string of noisy tin cans or an actual siren or whatever, provided it’s loud enough to warn you about an incoming danger. For example, you can use a string of tin cans stretched in a network-fashion hung between trees or something similar.

However, in our day and age, tin cans are kind of obsolete, so instead, you can use a cheap electronic siren. Here’s an even cheaper version of this type of trip wire alarm, which uses a battery and a clothes pin for creating a short circuit upon triggering, i.e. no sound, but a flame. This one works best during the night, obviously, provided is someone watching.

Video first seen on southernprepper1.

Here’s a project about DIY-ing a remote tripwire alarm, which requires building a small radio transmitter to activate the alarm via radio-waves.

Video first seen on Make.

Last but not least, this is the uber-high tech laser tripwire alarm, a fairly easy DIY project for your home security that will require a couple of mirrors, a cheap laser-pointing device and 10 dollars’ worth of electronic parts available at any Radio Shack or on Amazon. Using the laser tripwire alarm, you’ll be able to secure your entire house via an array of light beams which, unlike in B rated movies, are totally invisible and impossible to avoid.

Video first seen on Make

I know there are a myriad of designs and solutions with regard to tripwire alarms, but I’ve tried to select the easiest to build and to install. Try the project that suits you the best and start practicing your urban survival skills.

Get more than 52 survival secrets to survive any urban disaster or breakdown. 

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Urban Survival: 9 Tips For Living Small In The City

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Living Small In The City

When you live in the country, it’s easy to live small. But what does living small really mean?

The concept is pretty fluid and has different meanings for different people, but the general idea is that you cut the fat and learn to live simply. That’s all.

Unclutter your life, physically and figuratively, so that you can open up other, better possibilities for yourself. It’s about freedom.

Here are the steps to take for living small in a big city. Read the article and look for more: a collection of survival tips can be yours easily!

We’ve surrounded ourselves with so much stuff that we don’t know what to do without it. We don’t know where our food comes from, and most of the people don’t care. We buy things, then throw them away when they break and buy new. We do the same thing with relationships.

We order huge portions of food, then throw half of it away. We buy cars we can’t afford and clothes we won’t wear. Our lives are based upon consumption and waste.

Well what would happen if all of those sources of consumption were no longer there? What if you had to grow your own food, or fix your shoe instead of throwing it away?

What if you had to get to know your neighbors, and work with them to survive? What if you were forced to give up your large living and live small?

It’s not such a horrible concept, and it’s completely possible, even if you live in an urban area that’s built entirely on the precept of living big.

As a matter of fact, learning to live small will teach you to appreciate the truly big things in life.

How to Start Living Small

Living small is a process. You can’t just go from being $50k in debt to living small. Your journey to living small will begin with tiny, fettered baby steps, but can end in long, free strides.

1. Make a List

The first thing you have to do to heal the wound is stop the bleeding. Sit down and make a list of ways that you’re living above your means. Next, figure out what steps you can take right now to live smaller.

Nobody needs a new pair of shoes once a week. Seriously, find out where you’re spending frivolously and decide if having all of those shoes is really worth being tethered to a credit card payment. If it is, then living small isn’t for you. Stop reading.

Now, make a plan to get rid of the debt. Can you really afford your apartment or would you be better off with a smaller place that costs less?

Don’t sacrifice your safety by moving into a bad neighborhood, but don’t put yourself in the poorhouse paying $2k/month in rent when you only make $3k. The big stuff will take a while to pare down. The important thing right now is to NOT make it worse.

Make a list of 5 things that you’re going to change today to live cheaper, because adaptability is one of the key attributes of a survivor. All of the things that we’re going to talk about from here on out are all about adapting a new, simpler lifestyle.

Living small isn’t about giving things up. It’s about living life on your own terms, in pursuit of your own happiness.

2. Fix Things!

Oh no – your jeans have a tear or the leg on your chair is loose? Well grab what you need and fix it! Don’t know how? Well thankfully you have the internet at your fingertips. What happens if you find out that you enjoy sewing?

You may just end up with a new hobby. Even if you don’t you’ll end up with a new skill. And you won’t be in debt any deeper. You just took your first step toward living small.

3. Learn Something

There’s something to be said for the power of learning to do things for yourself. Pick three skills that you’re interested in learning, then learn them.

Be open-minded and flexible. Try something that you may not have thought about doing up until now.

Having skills if SHTF will put you head-and-shoulders above 99 percent of your neighbors. Besides, this country was built by people who knew how to do things for themselves.

You can learn something new anywhere, anytime, even when playing cards with your loved ones.

However, if you want to take it to the next level, we also recommend these Urban Survival Playing Cards, featuring 52 more life-saving lessons, you can learn through play, that also act as a quick-reference ‘cheat sheet’ in times of emergency.

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4. Learn How to Barter

There are flea markets and thrift shops in every city – it’s just a matter of finding them. Learn how to barter, or at least how to haggle. It’s a trait that will serve you well, and you may just find some great stuff that you can use instead of allowing it to go to a landfill.

5. Downsize Your Life

This is, after all, about living small. Go through your closets, drawers, and cabinets and if it isn’t something you’ve used in the last year, get rid of it. I’m not talking about your wedding video, but do you really need those shorts that are two sizes too small or that ugly shirt that your great aunt Sally got you for Christmas?

Don’t throw it away – have a yard sale or give it to charity. Better yet, do you know somebody that could use it? If so, give them first pickings before you take it to charity. This is all about learning to live. Nothing feels better than to do something good for somebody else.

6. Start a garden

So what if you live in a tiny apartment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food. There are all kinds of ways that you can garden indoors.

You can live in a city and grow plenty of things. You just have to be creative. Terrariums are great and vertical gardening is good, too.

Indoor Herbs

7. Teach your kids to live small

The path to a better world starts with our kids. Teach your children how to garden, and how to fix things. Raise them with the “living small to be happy” mentality.

Life isn’t about stuff, and now is the perfect time to teach them that life is about embracing what they have and what they can do, not about collecting material things and drowning in debt to get it.

8. Slow down

Take time to smell the roses. Literally. Don’t get so trapped in the rat race that life passes you by. Look at the clouds.

Take time to go for a walk or take a bike ride. Eat lunch in the park. Take the kids with you, but sometimes go by yourself. You only get one go-round so make it worth it. Make memories, not worries.

9. Learn about your resources before disaster strikes

You’re going to need to know where to find water and food if things go on beyond what you prep for, so learn about your local co-ops and resources. Network and find like-minded people. Holing up and making it through on your own may sound like the thing to do, but it’s not.

Build relationships. Since you’re living in an urban environment, it’s going to be next to impossible to live independently because you won’t have the resources to do so.

Know how to get out of the city if you need to. Know what’s around the city, including water sources and escape routes and maybe even hiding spots, just in case.

Living small isn’t about living less. It’s about living life in a way that makes you happy and safe. Nobody is happy living in debt and struggling just to make it from payday to payday.

Also, you won’t be safe and able to survive since you rely and depend totally on the wealth around you. Start practicing your survival skills by turning to living small!

Get more 52 survival secrets to help you thrive after disasters and breakdowns in urban areas!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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10 TO DOs In Winter For Your Survival Garden

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Winter Gardening Dos

You’ve worked hard to improve your soil, pick your seeds, and plant your survival garden. But now temperatures are dropping. Winter is here.

You don’t want all of your gardening efforts to be wasted during this harsh season. There are steps you can take to maintain and protect your survival garden this winter.

Taking care of your garden and orchard in the winter takes a little work, but it’ll be worth it in the spring when your overwintered plants are still alive.

You’ll have a head start on next spring’s planting, and you will be able to provide more food for your family.

Keep a close eye on the temperature during the winter months—the lower the temperatures, the more work you’ll have to do.

1. Care for Perennial Plants

If you’ve planted perennials like asparagus or rhubarb in your garden, you’ll be overwintering some plants. These will need protection from the freezing weather.

Once the ground has gotten cold, ensure that you’ve cut back these plants. Then cover them with four or five inches of a natural mulch. You can use:

  • Straw
  • Hay
  • Leaves
  • Wood that’s been chipped
  • Shredded pine needles

The mulch will protect your plants from the temperatures that can change rapidly in winter. You don’t want your plants to constantly freeze and thaw throughout the winter. Mulch helps keep their temperature more constant.

It also provides warmth for the roots. By protecting the roots of your plants from freezing, you’ll give them a much better chance of winter survival.

In addition to protecting your plants, the mulch will also provide nutrients to your soil. Just be sure to uncover your plants when spring comes. Then, you’ll want the mulch to be around the plants instead of on-top of them.

You’ll also need to continue watering your plants if you aren’t getting precipitation regularly. While plants don’t need as much water in the cooler temperatures, they do need some. Plan on a deep watering session at least once a week if the ground has begun to thaw and you don’t have a snowpack.

2. Start Your Seedlings

If your growing season is short, you’ll want to maximize it by starting your plants indoors this winter.  Before planting, you’ll want to ensure you have containers that drain well and good soil.

You’ll want to time this step right so your seedlings can be transported directly to your garden when they’re the right size. If you have gardening neighbors, ask them for advice on when to start plants. Otherwise you can check with your county extension agencies or online resources.

Start Your Survival Garden And Never Worry About Food Again – Read More! 

3. Keep Pests Away

Winter’s freeze doesn’t eliminate the threat of pests to your garden. Some insects, such as the tomato hornworm and squash vine borer, burrow underground for the cold season. If you had a pest problem before winter, you might find yourself with an even bigger one come spring.

One strategy to eliminate these underground pests is to till your garden before the hard freeze, but after small freezes. Turning over your soil will expose the pests to the cold and decrease their survival odds.

Bugs aren’t the only pests you’ll encounter in the winter. Hungry deer and rabbits will be searching for anything they can find when the snow is covering what they normally eat. Make sure your garden fence is solid to protect your overwintered plants.

If you have an orchard, you’ll also want to have wire around the base of the trees. This will keep animals from gnawing on the trunk. This video shows an easy way to keep animals away from your trees with stakes and wire:

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

4. Know Your Plants’ Hardiness Level

Not all plants can withstand the same levels of cold. Be sure you know the hardiness for your plants and trees. If the weather in your area drops lower than it typically does, you may need to take additional action.

When planting with overwintering in mind, always select hardy plants for your zone. You should know when your typical first frost occurs, and how low the average temperatures are when selecting seeds.

If colder than usual weather is predicted, ensure your plants have a thick layer of mulch. New plants and trees will need more protection than established ones.

Hardiness zone map

5. Protect Your Orchard

Trees can be vulnerable to freezing temperatures, especially if they’re not very hardy. Water that’s in the tree can freeze, causing limbs to break off and other damage. Here are some ways to keep your orchard trees from freezing this winter:

  • String some of the big, old-fashioned, non-LED Christmas lights through the branches. Though they let just a tiny bit of heat, it’s enough to protect from a light freeze.
  • Place a blanket around your tree. This obviously works best for small trees.
  • Don’t fertilize in the winter. This extra food boost will encourage your trees to grow, which is not what you want happening in the winter. Those new shoots will be extremely susceptible to damage.
  • Apply a frost cloth to your trees.
  • Mound the soil up high against the base of the tree.
  • Light a fire on the ground nearby to help warm it up and provide heat to the branches. You can save what you trim each spring to burn over the winter.

If you wrap or bank the trunk of your trees, be on the lookout for insect infestation. The bugs like a warm place to live as well.

A buildup of snow can also cause problems with trees. If you notice that the branches are bowing under the weight of the snow, help them out by knocking the snow off. This will keep your branches from breaking off.

6. Bring Plants Indoors

Some plants that don’t respond well to freezing temperatures can be dug up and potted for the winter. Just bring the pots inside, and care for them by providing water.

Here are some plants you can bring indoors for the winter:

  • Banana plants
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender

You can also dig up starts from other plants, and bring the shoots indoors. But, you’ll want to do that before the deep freeze occurs to help avoid transplant shock.

Winter is also a great time to start a small garden indoors. You can grow a variety of food indoors, which will help lower your winter grocery bill and provide fresh, local produce to enjoy. Just remember to keep an eye on your indoor garden and keep it in a room of your house that isn’t going to freeze.

7. Inspect & Organize

Since you won’t be using your gardening tools as often this winter, take time now to inspect them all. Your goal is to make your life easier once you jump into the gardening season again.

Sharpen your pruners, hoes, and any other tools you use with blades. Repair or replace any handles that have cracked.

Also, take time to walk your fence and make any repairs that are needed. If deer were a problem, consider adding another layer to increase the height of your fence.

Organize your garden supplies and make note of anything you’re running low on. Now is a good time to reorder supplies so you have them on hand when spring comes along.

8. Keep Your Compost Going

You’ll want compost in the spring to help get your garden growing again. If your compost pile is exposed to the elements, you can use a tarp to cover it. This will help keep the center warm and encourage the organisms to continue working.

The cover will also keep your compost from getting too wet. Too much moisture isn’t good for your pile.

You can save your food scraps throughout the winter to ensure your pile continues to grow. If you’re letting your compost pile go dormant for the winter, you might consider starting a small secondary pile. Just remember to keep adding carbon.

Video first seen on Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable

9. Plan for Next Year

Winter is the perfect time for planning your next year’s garden. Take time to sketch out your current garden’s layout so you can remember where each crop was planted. This will help you more efficiently plan crop rotation.

You can use the cold months to study new gardening techniques, research the best varieties for your area, and reflect on last year’s harvest. There’s always something to learn when it comes to gardening, so pick up some reading material at the library, and enjoy planning your garden.

10. Harvest Edibles

If you’re overwintering carrots, onions, cabbage, or other plants that will continue to produce in your climate, be sure to harvest the edibles. There’s nothing like farm fresh produce in the middle of winter.

For plants that grow underground, the freeze will eventually kill off the tops. This makes your edibles less visible. Be sure to mark where these plants are located so you don’t forget when your garden is covered with snow.

If you typically enjoy milder winters, the number of edibles you can grow significantly increases. You can also extend your growing season with cold frames or greenhouses. Remember to water the plants you have in there, and keep weeds at bay.

This way  you can have your own survival garden no matter the season. Click the banner below and learn how to grow an endless supply of nutritious food in your backyard with no effort and in extreme conditions.

Venezuela is in shambles. People were unprepared. How will you feed your family? 

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Winter Survival: 5 Tips To Boost Your Dairy Cows

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Dairy Cows

Winter, in most parts of the US, is never a good time for animals. It’s cold and often wet, the days are short, and fresh grass is non-existent. It’s no wonder that milk production may slow down a bit.

For example, cows get stressed when it’s cold, and they don’t produce as much milk as cows that are comfortable. Routines change, it’s colder, the food is different, there are many factors that stress your cow, but the number one stressor is cold.

We talked about how to get more eggs. This time, let’s see what to do to boost your dairy cows and keep the milk coming in the freezing winter days!

1. Have Your Cows in Good Condition

cowBefore winter sets in, it’s important that your cow is in good physical condition.

She needs to be at a good weight, and she needs time to acclimate to the cold so that she can grow her winter coat.

If she’s going to be outside for winter, leave her outside as the days grow shorter and the weather drops.

If she’s used to being in a barn during the summer, she’ll need to stay in it during the winter, too.

Assess your cows a couple of months before winter. Body fat is going to be one of the top two factors that help her stay warm. If you only have one or two cows, this obviously isn’t as difficult as if you have a herd.

Still, if your girls are a little on the thin side, increase their feed so that they’re carrying the right amount of weight heading into winter. This will keep them from stressing so much from the cold.

If they’re thin, they’ll use what fat stores they have to keep warm instead of giving milk. Thin cows may also produce weak calves, have problems producing colostrum, and take longer to come back into heat.

How your cow should look depends upon her breed and age – two year olds are the toughest if they’re breeding because she’s giving milk, growing, and eating to feed a baby, too. She may need A LOT of feed. Know your cows and know what they need.

On the other end of the spectrum, if your cow is obese, she’s not going to winter as well either. Just like people, obesity in an animal does not contribute to good health. Adjust feed as necessary.

In addition to keeping her milk production up, being at a good weight will also help her give birth easier if she’s pregnant, and will help her regain her weight and come into heat earlier after she gives birth.

2. Feed them Enough of the Right Feed

Throughout winter, your cows are going to need more food that they do during the summer. It’s also important that they have access to plenty of water and a salt lick as well.

Roughage – hay – is what helps a cow produce the energy she needs to stay warm and happy. If she doesn’t have enough hay, the weight will fall off of her.

This is because the fermentation and breakdown of the cellulose in the hay creates energy. High quality alfalfa may provide plenty of nutrients, but alone, it won’t provide enough roughage for your cows to stay warm.

You may not know it, (if you don’t, you should) but cows shiver. If they get that cold, they’re burning calories like mad. You need to avoid that. Give them plenty of hay.

Just so you know, a cow’s energy needs increase by anywhere from 17-50 percent after giving birth, so there’s a starting point for you.

Next, consider the temperature. A cow in good physical condition that has acclimated to winter by growing a good coat is good to go on regular winter rations until she reaches her critical temperature.

That temperature is around 20-30 degrees F. At that point, she’s burning fat to keep warm and you need to increase her feed in order to keep getting milk. A rough rule of thumb is to increase her rations by 1 percent for each 2 degrees below critical temperature.

Once the temperature drops below zero, she may be eating up to a third more than she would at 50 degrees just to maintain her body heat.

Don’t forget to factor in wind chill, length of the cold snap, and whether or not she’s wet. Even the best winter coat doesn’t trap body heat if it’s wet – imagine going outside in wet clothing.

3. Give them a Morning Boost

This goes along with feed, but I thought that it merited its own section because it’s just that important. If you’re counting on pasture to provide part of your rations, you may need to give your ladies a little push in the mornings with some hay to get them warm.

Even though there’s pasture available, if they’re cold, they’ll stand huddled to preserve body heat instead of going out to graze. Give them some hay in the morning to get their bodies producing heat and then they’ll go out and graze.

4. Build a Shelter

You know that even if it’s 40 or 50 degrees, if there’s a good wind blowing, you’re going to pull up your collar and huddle into your coat. If it’s raining, it’s even worse. It feels a lot colder than it actually is. Your cows feel the same way.

It’s important that your cows have shelter. If you don’t have to worry about much snow or wet, then a windbreak may do, but if it’s raining or snowing much, they need a at least a lean-to to shelter in. A barn is preferable. Whichever route you go, your cows need to have a warm, dry place to get in out of the weather if it’s cold.

If you keep them in a barn, make sure that it’s well-ventilated. Damp and moisture lead to respiratory conditions in cows.

If you’re getting a blizzard, you can partially close some of the vents to keep the snow from blowing in, but you want at least a half inch of open ventilation for each 10 feet of building width, no matter what.

Provide Adequate Bedding

If you have free stalls or lean-tos where your cows sleep, provide adequate bedding in them. This means that it should be dry and there should be enough to provide some warmth.

5. Protect Her Teats

Just like our delicate lips, faces, and hands get chapped in the cold, so do a cow’s teats.

It’s extremely important that you make sure that her teats are dry when she leaves the milking stall or feed area, and you should also provide windbreaks around the barn, too.

Bag balm is called that for a reason. It helps sooth bags and teats that may be moderately irritated.

Dip teats before milking and after milking. Though it adds a few seconds to the process, it’s worth it because it really does help reduce mastitis both directly by killing bacteria and because chapped, cracked teats inhibit the milk from dropping, which leads to infection.

Video first seen on MonkeySee

Use germicidal dips that also contain 5-12 percent skin conditioners. Don’t wash them because that washes off the natural protective oils, and make sure that the teats are dry before they leave the milk shed.

Warm, well-cared-for cows are happy, healthy cows who give lots of milk. If she’s stressed so much by being cold, or is so cold that she uses  all her energy staying warm, or if her teats are chapped and sore, she’s not going to give good milk.

Your goals should be keeping her warm and healthy, and these are all steps toward that outcome.

Are you prepared for a coming food crisis? Click the banner below and discover how you can feed your family with healthy foods during any collapse!

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This article has been wrriten by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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3 Ways To Add A Rooster To Your Flock

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Rooster Flock

Roosters. These beautiful birds often earn a bad reputation. But, when carefully selected and introduced, a rooster can be a blessing to your hens, not a curse.

I’ll jump into the how-to part of adding the rooster a little later in this post. Keep reading to find out more!

But first, let’s talk about some basics behind adding a male bird (or birds) to your flock.

How Many Roosters?

If you have too many roosters, they’ll spend more time fighting than doing their job. A good way to calculate how many roosters you need is to count your hens. You want one rooster for every six-ten hens.

That way every rooster can have his own little flock of hens to care for and breed with. Your hens will be happy because there won’t be three roosters trying to mate with each one. It’s a good ratio to try and maintain.

When deciding upon the number of roosters, take into account the following factors:

Space

Are your chickens confined to a pen and a run? If so, you’ll need significantly more space per bird if you plan to keep multiple roosters in there. Each one needs plenty of space for his flock.

If your chickens free-range, you’ll be able to get away with less space in the coop. But, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go below the minimum recommended space of four square feet per bird.

Having multiple, small coops available also helps minimize rooster squabbles. Or maybe you’ll have some of your birds roost on the barn roof at night like mine do.

No matter where they are, make sure each rooster has roosting space to enjoy at night with his hens. They will enjoy being together night and day.

Rooster

Feeders and Waterers

Many rooster fights originate over a battle for resources. If you have multiple roosters, you may need multiple feeders and waterers too. You definitely want to keep an eye on your flock, and if there are meal time problems add some additional options.

You’ll want them to have plenty of food and water for their ladies. Roosters will eat whatever your hens are eating, so you won’t need to worry about separating food.

Chicken feeding tips

Noise

Roosters are roosters. And they make noise. Contrary to popular belief and many movies, roosters don’t just crow when the sun comes up.

They crow pretty much all day, or at least mine do. When a hen lays an egg? They crow. When they sense danger? They crow.

Roosters are loud. So if you have a backyard flock in the city, be sure to check out your town’s ordinances before introducing a male. They aren’t as easy to hide behind a privacy fence as hens are.

How to Pick a Rooster

There are so many breeds of chickens available, so you’ll have plenty of choices for your rooster. While there are breeds that are known for being more docile, each rooster will have a temperament all his own.

That means you can pick a docile breed and still end up with a mean rooster. Likewise, you can raise a rooster from an aggressive breed, and wind up with a sweet, docile boy.

So basically, there are no guarantees when buying a rooster when you buy one as a baby.

I’ve had the best luck with banty roosters. My Ameraucanas, Australorps, and Blue Andalusians were all aggressive. While Ameraucanas are typically aggressive, Australorps are supposed be more docile.

The banty roosters have been fine. So have all of our new cockerels since the initial banty, that are half banty.

There’s been a little fighting, typically when a new batch matures in the summer, and they establish a new pecking order. Thankfully, there’s been no aggression towards myself or my children with these smaller roos.

Since breed isn’t a reliable indicator of a rooster’s personality, here are some characteristics to watch for when buying a rooster that’s full-grown. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to see him in action at his current residence before purchasing.

  • What do the backs of the hens this rooster is with look like? (You don’t want a rooster that tears up the backs of his ladies.)
  • Has the current owner noticed any aggression?
  • Is this rooster the dominant one at the top of flock, or a beta male?
  • Does the rooster share food with the hens, or does he keep it for himself?
  • How old is the rooster? (Young roosters who are just figuring out the mating thing are typically the roughest on hens.)
  • Is the rooster healthy?

Be careful buying roosters sight unseen unless you’re prepared for your new rooster to end up in the stew pot. Many people who get rid of their roosters are getting culling a problem bird. It’s not always the case, but is common enough that you should always be aware of it.

3 Ways to Introduce a Rooster to Your Flock

Over the years, I’ve introduced roosters to my flock in three different ways. They were all successful, but each had their pros and cons.

1. Buying a Rooster Initially with Baby Hens

The easiest way to introduce a rooster to your flock is to do it before your flock is established. When you’re buying baby chicks for the first time, just add roosters to your order to maintain the proper hen to rooster ratio.

This is how I started off. I ordered my chicks, added a couple of cockerels to the order and raised them all together. They established their pecking order from the time they were small, and I didn’t have a problem with fighting.

The chickens and roosters knew each other. I didn’t have to worry about isolating new birds, or introducing illness. It was simple.

But, you really don’t know the temperament of roosters until they are bigger. The roosters I ordered as cockerels turned mean. They were a risk to the children, and those roosters are no longer on the farm.

2. Adding a Full-Grown Rooster to Your Hens

About the time I got rid of my other roosters, a friend of the family had given my mom a small flock of banty chickens that included two roosters.

At first, she kept her flock in her coop across the road, though the long-term goal was always for them to move over here to join my flock.

Isolation: It Takes Time

The new birds were kept them in their coop for three weeks. This isolation time allowed for illnesses to be displayed. The birds were healthy.

Whenever you introduce a new bird, it’s important to not just stick them into your flock and hope everything goes well. A quarantine period allows you to check for mites and disease. That way you don’t inadvertently expose all your chickens.

If you don’t have a separate coop, you can create a smaller coop inside your existing one with chicken wire. Or you can use a shed or barn on your property. It won’t be forever, so as long as the space is predator proof it’ll work.

For introducing a single rooster, you can also use a large dog crate. I did this when introducing a batch of chicks, and it worked well for the birds to get to know each other.

Just be sure to keep an eye on food and water in the isolation unit, and make sure you don’t let the birds get too cramped.

Rooster ans chickens Start with Face to Face meetings in Large Spaces

Once you know your new rooster is healthy, you still don’t want to just add him directly to your flock. Give them time to get to know each other in a less territorial space.

My chickens and the new chickens free ranged together at my house. They had plenty of space, and at first both flocks stayed separate. They each foraged over a different section of land, and all went to their known coops at night.

After a few days of this distant meetings, the birds began to mingle. This mingling was repeated every day, and became more frequent.

Let the Rooster in at Night

Now that all the birds knew each other, it was time for the next phase of the assimilation. One evening after all the birds were roosting, I began to move the new ones. Since they were roosting, they were calm and easy to move.

I walked each bird across the street and into my coop. In the coop, I placed them on an extra roosting pole. That way they weren’t directly touching any of my existing flock.

By introducing the birds to sleeping together at night, the birds will be more likely to accept the new member. Then you can just let them all out in the morning.

Don’t Let Your Chickens Be Bored

Many problems with roosters arise when they’re bored. To solve this problem, provide your chickens with some activities they can do together.

Provide a spot for them to take dust baths. Toss out some grains and let them scratch. Give them your food scraps.

These things are simple, but will keep your chickens engaged and busy. They’ll be less likely to fight.

Know a Pecking Order Will Be Established

Even when you take precautions to introduce your new rooster, there will be changes in your flock. Each rooster will want his own girls, and there will be a new pecking order established.

There might be some squabbles while this occurs, but they should be minor. If you notice severe fighting, or injury, the rooster might not be a good fit for your flock. Slow down and go back to isolation at night.

Once my flock had its new pecking order figured out, one rooster took his hens to the barn to sleep at night.

Since they could get up high on the rafters, they were impossible for me to get back down and bring into the coop. So they still sleep there at night.

You might notice your chickens and roosters sleeping a little differently as well.

3. Letting Hens Hatch New Roosters

The final way that I’ve introduced new roosters into the flock is to have my hens do it for me. One benefit of having a rooster around is the fertile eggs. If you have a hen that will brood, you can have a self-sufficient flock.

When the chicks hatch, the mother hen will take care of flock introductions. By the time the hen leaves her chicks, they are grown enough to know their spot in the flock.

But, there will be a new pecking order established. I’ve seen the most problem as the new roosters begin to become interested in mating. They will always try to claim hens for himself.

In that process, he will almost always step on the toes of an established rooster. There’s a bit of squabbling, but the older roosters help the young ones learn their place.

The downside of this method is you can end up with too many roosters. So be prepared to cull some for the stew pot to keep there from being many problems. Then you’ll get both meat and eggs from your flock!

Adding a new rooster can take time. But, having one around can bring plenty of benefits to your flock.

A chicken flock is  as crucial for your homestead nowadays as it was for our grandparents in the past. Discover the secrets that helped them survive during harsh times.

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: DIY Christmas Gifts For Preppers

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DIY Christmas Gifts

Christmas time is almost here and I can’t stop thinking about the delightful experiences I am going to offer to my loved ones, both in terms of delicious meals and, of course, GIFTS! There is nothing I love more than making them happy.

I am sure you are looking for Christmas gifts so in this week’s Prep Blog Review I am sharing with you some awesome DIY gifts ideas your prepper friends or family members will love when they will find them in their stockings on Christmas morning. Plus – there are some fun projects you can try with your little ones so involve them in this activity and make sure they won’t get bored during their winter holiday.

If you have other ideas, please share them with us.

1. 30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

Christmas

“There are a lot of reasons that sensible people want to step off of the materialistic rocket ride that is the standard North American Christmas and have a frugal Christmas that focuses on traditions instead. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’ve written with my 16-year-old daughter.

They may be tired of spending the entire following year working overtime because they are deep in debt for having produced a spectacular Christmas morning that was the stuff of storybooks.

Maybe they don’t want to create children who are never satisfied and always want more, who always yearn for that next edition of the iGadget of the year.

Perhaps they have suffered their own personal economic collapse and just can’t afford it this year.  They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.

They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.”

Read more on The Organic Prepper.

2. 15 DIY Gifts in a Jar

Jar gifts

“I love making DIY gifts, especially around the holidays. Many times we want to show someone they are special to us without spending a lot of money, and so a homemade gift works perfectly.

These gifts in a jar are adorable and are really inexpensive to make. You can make a themed jar based on something the person who you are gifting to likes – like the baking jar or flower garden listed below. We also have a really fun list of cookies in a jar!”

Read more on Kids Activities Blog.

3. M&M Mason Jar Cookie Recipe: A Perfect holiday Gift Idea

M&M Cookie Jar

“Need a gift for the cookie lover on your list? Here’s a fix of M&M mason jar cookie recipe to serve up lots of smiles this yuletide season. Make gift giving more personalized with this.

All you need to make mason jar cookie recipes are your basic cookie ingredients, a mason jar, and a little bit of time. By taking a few extra minutes to divide and layer your cookie ingredients, rather than mixing them, and then putting all in a pretty jar, you have an adorable, quick and delicious gift idea.”

Read more on Pioneer Settler.

4. 58 DIY Christmas Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Love

DIY Christmas Gifts

“Spread holiday cheer with these sweet and simple handmade gifts.

Pinecone Fire Starters:

The only problem with making these pinecone fire starters? You’ll end up wanting to keep these beautiful favors for yourself!”

Read more on Country Living.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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How To Identify A Presumptive Shooter

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Shooter

Actual shooting scenarios are nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies.

In most cases, the shooter will be known to you, or perhaps know you better than you realize. Burglars, stalkers, and even serial killers may be in the background for months on end before they strike.

Many times, there will be warning signs weeks, or even months before the shooting. If someone would read them signs, innocent lives would be saved. Think about the mass shootings where one or more people dedicate themselves to killing and destruction!

Every second counts, and if you want to survive, you need to identify the killer before the shooting happens. Read this article to know how to do it!

How Do I Know It’s a Shooter?

Contrary to popular belief and erroneous stereotypes, clothing style, gun ownership, ethnic background, age, or religious affiliation are not necessarily good indicators that someone will become an active shooter.

If you can always bear in mind that almost every criminal or terror based shooting is pre-planned, then it becomes much easier to spot the following signs (PAINS – Pre-Attack IndicatorS) in people around you, in different stages of their acting.

Fantasy Stage

Many shooters start off with a violent fantasy based in revenge or something else that evokes strong feelings. These individuals may use violent computer games, novels (example school shooters that got their start reading gun grabber Stephen King’s novel “Rage”), or even apps with subliminal messages that encourage more robust or increasingly graphic fantasies.

There is a subtle, but discernible difference between someone that keeps these thoughts in the realm of pure fantasy and someone that develops a sincere wish to be at the center of such horrific acts.

In general, if you talk to people in this stage of progression, you may feel very uncomfortable when they talk about violent movies, or you may even find that they have made drawings or created lists of actions to enable them to become an active shooter.

Even though you may still believe the person is harmless, they are beginning on a slippery slope and may need psychiatric care.

The Decision and Active Planning

At some point, the prospective active shooter will make a decision to move from fantasy to tangible reality.

This stage may involve more serious planning such as figuring out which weapons to use, obtaining plans for building bombs, or finding ways to train for their “big day”.

Individuals in the planning stage may also begin talking more actively about their beliefs, and perhaps even seek to draw others into their increasingly sick and chaotic world.

They will also seek out “heroic” figures that match some aspect of their ideology.

Acquiring Weapons

The next stage is an escalation and outgrowth of the previous stage. During this phase, the potential shooter will actively begin to acquire weapons, build bombs, and increase training intensity.

They may no longer be interested in activities that would pull their attention away from preparing to become an active shooter.

It is thought that this stage is the easiest to spot because the person is actively amassing weapons and building things needed for the main event.

That being said, any one of these prospective shooters is just a movie or subliminal app away from adding ways to hide weapons caches or even indoctrinate others so that the element of surprise is preserved.

It should also be noted that gun control is like the emperor with no clothes because those who intend to do harm will simply look for other weapons or seek other means.

Countdown

At some point, the individual will decide that they are done preparing, and that there is nothing left but to carry out their plans.

This stage may also include leaving behind a will, putting up public warnings about their intentions, giving away valued possessions, and otherwise preparing for death.

No matter whether they drive to the location, walk, or ride a bike, it will be up to random observers to notice unusual activity and report it to the police.

From there, it is truly anybody’s guess as to whether or not the event will be halted or go through as planned.

Active Shooting

Once the individual reaches his/her chosen location, the shooting sequence will go forward pretty much as planned until someone with a gun stops them.

Despite what gun grabbers try to say, it is only armed citizens at the scene that can stop an active shooter before one or more lives is taken.

Without armed citizens at the scene, the active shooter will simply kill as many people as possible until the police get there.

A well-organized shooter working with others may even move to blockade roads, use drones, or take other steps to prevent police, or even the military from responding.

Active shooting

Other Symptoms to Look For

  • Threat of harm to self or others. This may also include a history of violence or insensitivity to humans or animals. There may also be an increased interest in watching violence, an interest in violent actions, and looking to violent role models. In later stages, the person may indicate that they feel they will not survive their agenda.
  • A sudden interest in firearms, bombs, or other items that may be used as part of killing others. Gun grabbers focus almost exclusively on gun ownership as a “warning sign” even though millions of gun owners have never gone on a shooting spree let alone attempted a suicide bombing.

The key here is that the vast majority of people that make up the US gun culture are honest, law abiding people that come from all walks of life.

These people take great pride in their weapons and seek to defend themselves and others against a range of risks. By all accounts, if an “interest in guns” was a true litmus test for increased risk, the number of active shooting scenarios would be much higher than it is.

As the records stands, the vast majority of shootings in the United States are either self-inflicted suicide or shooting at a criminal.

That being said, if someone shows a sudden interest in learning how to make bombs or other explosive devices, it might be a reliable indicator of risk because this behavior is not normal and is not part of any legitimate culture.

  • Decline in work or academic performance, and also decreased social interactions with friends and family. In place of usual contacts, the individual may focus more on radical ideas that encourage violence.
  • Beginning or increasing use of drugs.
  • Personality, mood, hygiene, and social changes.

What Should We Do?

Most resources will say that you should report these signs immediately to the police, work supervisors, or others that may be able to redirect the person or help them choose a different path.

While this is good advice, do not forget we are living in a society where supervisors may not agree with your assessment and the police may not be able to get involved for one reason or another, or might arrive too late to stop the shooting.

At the same time, you may be living in a community or forced to work in a location where you cannot carry a gun. But you still need to defend yourself, so you could find an alternate mean of protection. There are a lot of article on our website about self-defense, but the answer depends pretty much on your ability to act and the skills you have trained for survival.

Click the banner below and get your own self-defense tactical flashlight you can carry no matter where you go!

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References: 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28300-how-to-spot-the-warning-signs-and-prevent-mass-shootings/

http://www.campussecurityreport.com/m-article-detail/educate-members-of-the-public-about-how-to-spot-report-potentially-dangerous-individuals.aspx

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DIY Basic Project: How To Build A Ladder

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DIY Ladder

Who doesn’t need a ladder?

In this article, we’ll explore a few ideas about how to build a ladder for your homestead. This project is fun and it has its purposes, but the main thing is that you can save a few dollars in the process while learning new things, especially basic carpentry, and that’s always fun and useful for a true prepper/homesteader.

If you take a look on Amazon for example, you’ll find cheap Chinese-made ladders starting from $30-$40 apiece; ladders that look pretty frail and fragile; truth be told, I wouldn’t bet my life and limb on their sturdiness if I’d ever have to use’em.

Not to mention that you can’t use one of those for decorative purposes, which is the case with an authentic wooden ladder.

Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but you understand what I am talking about. Now, if you want to buy a rustic-looking, genuine solid-wood ladder, you can get one of those bad boys from specialty stores, too, but the price tag will skyrocket.

The idea is that, provided you have the willpower, some minor carpentry skills, and a few tools, you can DIY your own wooden ladder for a fraction of the price and you’ll also have some fun in the process.

Building a ladder is a super easy endeavor and, considering that the price tag of an authentic wood-ladder starts from $249 and goes up to $400 and even more, you’ll understand what’s up with today’s article.

How to Make a Rustic Ladder for $20 or Less

Let’s begin with the supply list. I would advise you to get cedar boards instead of pine ones as cedar has a rough side, which works wonders in terms of the rustic look and feel.

Here’s what you’re going to buy for DIY-ing a 6-foot-tall and 18-inches-wide wood ladder with 4 rungs. Obviously, if you want a bigger or a smaller ladder, you can always adjust the amount/dimensions of the lumber required in order to fit your desired size.

Supply list:

  • 2 pieces of 1x2x8 cedar boards (or pine or whatever wood fits your bill)
  • 1 piece of 1x4x8 cedar board
  • 20 wood screws
  • a saw
  • a drill
  • a level
  • any type of black paint
  • wood-colored stain
  • gray stain
  • 3 paint brushes (go for the cheapest ones, it doesn’t really matter).

With the supply list taken care of, in the first part of the DIY job, you’ll have to cut the lumber to your desired size. In our case, the 2 pieces of 1x2x8 must be cut to 72’’ long (each), as they’ll be the sides of your ladder.

The 1x4x8 cedar board will make for the rungs, i.e. you’ll have to cut it in 18’’ long pieces.

Next, you’ll have to assemble the pieces and build the actual ladder, so put the two  1x2x8 cedar boards side by side at sixteen inches apart and make sure they’re parallel, i..e the tops and bottoms line up.

Keep in mind that if using the cedar boards I’ve recommended, you’ll need to turn them with the rough side up before proceeding to assembling them.

Now, you must measure and mark the location of each of the rungs, then attach the rungs one by one to each side of the cedar board using 2 wood screws each. When you’re attaching the rungs, you should permit room for each to hang over the side boards by one inch on each side, thus making for an 18’’ wide wooden ladder.

Video first seen on Home Hardware

Be very careful that they’re level from one side to another, or else you’ll end up with a wobbly ladder and that’s a no-no procedure.

As an alternative building/assembly method for your rustic-looking ladder, instead of using wood screws you can cut out notches for the rungs and put wood-glue inside the notches for securing the rungs firmly into place.

You’ll have to make sure that the rungs go all the way in and that the notches are centered and even, whilst the two 1x2x8 cedar boards are perfectly parallel after all the rungs are in. This design is more complicated to build but it’s sturdier. You can use the ladder for practical purposes anytime you want with much more confidence.

After you’ve assembled your rustic cedar ladder (don’t worry if you didn’t get your rungs spaced out evenly, it will add to the rustic flavor), it’s time to give it its final finish.

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Here’s where the paint and stain come into play. You can use whatever paint you want, especially if you’re going to be using leftover stuff.

For the sake of argument, let’s say you’ll use black paint. Be careful to apply it strategically via the dry brush method, i.e. you’ll dip the top of the brush into the paint then use a rag/cloth/whatever to wipe most of the paint off.

Try to begin with the minimum amount of paint on the brush, as you can always add more if required. The other way around is more complicated, as you can easily imagine.

Using the dry brush method for painting your ladder is a strategic trick for making it look old, like it was sitting for a hundred years in your barn accumulating dust and dirt. Obviously, if you’re not into the old-looking/vintage school of thought, you can paint your ladder using the classic method. Just make sure you paint it, as paint protects the wood from rotting and pests.

After the paint job is complete, allow it to dry and then, provided you enjoy the look of vintage ladders, apply the gray stain using the same dry brush technique. Once it dries, apply the wood-colored stain. The end result will be a brand new cedar ladder that looks old and as vintage as it gets.

The advantage of a vintage-looking wooden ladder is that it can be used outdoors as well as indoors for decorative purposes. For example, you can use it for hanging your blankets or towels; there’s nothing like a unique, hand-made piece of furniture for storing your things.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a very simple lean-to wood ladder using common tools and pressure-treated 2 by 4s. Unlike the previous “vintage” job, which is more on the decorative side, this baby is everything about functionality; it’s like art vs engineering.

Have you ever tried to build your own ladder for your homestead? If you have any comments or ideas, feel free to contribute in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How To Wax Food For Long-Term Storage

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How To Wax Food For Long Term Storage

You’ve probably noticed how shiny your cucumbers, apples, or other smooth produce looks when you buy it. That’s because it’s coated in a wax.

Though they pretty appearance is one of the benefits of waxing food, the main reason for waxing food is for preservation. Wax is also used for jellies and cheese.

Using Wax to Preserve Fresh Produce

The wax that commercial producers use may contain fungicides, bactericides, growth regulators, anti-sprouting agents, or other preservatives so that the food stays good as long as possible. The wax itself helps hold in moisture and slows oxygen penetration that causes ripening.

Another reason that wax is used on produce is to reduce the use of disposable, non-biodegradable packaging such as sleeves and plastic wrap.

Though waxing fruits and vegetables slows down the ripening process, it doesn’t extend it for long enough to be considered a viable long-term preservation method. There are better ways to preserve your produce long-term.

Using Wax to Preserve Jams and Jellies

For many years, paraffin wax was also used to seal the top of jams and jellies. This was meant to be more of a temporary preservation method of a food that didn’t spoil quickly anyway.

Consider it the precursor to Tupperware – it just formed a physical seal that prevented mold from growing for a couple of months until it was eaten.

The technique for this was fairly simple. You sterilized your jars and lids, and made your jellies just like you do now.

Instead of adding the lid and water-bathing it, though, you would have poured a quarter-inch or so of melted paraffin wax over the hot jelly, then stirred it just a bit to completely cover the top.

The wax is lighter so it stays on top, and as the wax and jelly cools, the wax forms a seal. Then you add your lid.

Since the advent of canning, waxing jelly has pretty much gone by the wayside because canning preserves your spreads for years instead of months.

The acid and sugar in preserves are pretty decent preservatives, anyway – the wax just extended that by keeping water from settling in dips and wells on the surface. That’s what promotes mold growth.

Using Wax to Preserve Cheese

Now, another food that’s still preserved with wax is cheese. You’ve likely bought those little individual bites of cheese that are covered in red wax. You just peel the strip back and the wax opens up like a lid, revealing the cheese inside.

If SHTF, cheese will be a luxury item, so learning to make it and preserve it now is the way to go. Even if you just buy cheese from the store and wax it, it’ll keep in a cool dry place nearly indefinitely.

We all know that everything’s better with cheese on it, and if you have a stockpile of it, you’re going to have a delicious way to keep food interesting. You’ll also have a valuable trade item.

Now, you should know from the outset that the government warns against eating any type of dairy product that hasn’t been refrigerated because of the risk of botulism.

They actually spend millions of dollars a year fighting the bacteria that afflicts 160 or so people a year. Don’t get me wrong – botulism is nasty business. It’s just that I couldn’t find a single case of real cheese-induced botulism.

Wax is great for preserving cheese because it keeps the moisture in and the bacteria and molds out that cause spoilage.

I like the thought of waxing for a couple of reasons – it allows the cheese to age and develop flavor, and it preserves one of my favorite foods in a manner that doesn’t require refrigeration.

What Cheese Can I Wax?

Great question. Because of the high moisture content, soft cheeses aren’t good candidates for waxing. Harder cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, Colby and Gruyere are all good for waxing. If you start checking deeper into the USDA thing, many extensions say that it’s OK to store hard cheeses without refrigeration.

Choose cheeses that have a 40 percent or less moisture content. After all, moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and you don’t want your cheese to spoil inside the wax.

Remember that your cheese will continue to age after you age it. I think that’s a good thing, because I like those sharp flavors.

Video first seen on Linda’s Pantry

What Kind of Wax to Use?

Before you pull out your chunk of paraffin, you need to know that you can’t use it for cheese. It’s not pliable enough and it doesn’t get hot enough to kill bacteria. You need to buy cheese wax specifically. This is easy to find online by running an internet search for cheese wax or cheese making supplies.

Word of caution: wax explodes at high temperatures, so once you heat it to 180 degrees F (the temperature that kills bacteria), turn the heat off. It’s a good idea to use a double broiler, too.

Another benefit of using cheese wax is that you can strain it through cheesecloth to get the cheese off of it and re-use it. Finally, it dries faster than paraffin, which cuts down on your processing time and gives bacteria less time to reach the cheese.

Oh, and don’t forget about gravity – your cheese is likely going to be sitting on a rack so that moisture can’t pool under it, so it’s going to sink a bit. Cheese wax will shift with it, but paraffin won’t.

What do I Need to Wax Cheese?

In order to wax your cheese, you’re going to need three things, at minimum: cheese wax, a cheese wax brush, and a can to melt the wax in. A metal coffee can is great because you can just put the lid on when you’re done and store the wax right in it until you want to wax your next batch of cheese.

Waxing Cheese

The reason that you need a special cheese brush is that regular nylon brushes will melt when you dip it into the wax. That’s never a good thing. So, buy a good brush.

Methods to Wax Cheese

Ahh. Now the rubber’s going to hit the road. There are two different methods that you can use to wax your cheese. You can dip it or you can paint it on. Either way, remember that two thin layers is better than one thick layer, so plan on going over your cheese twice, regardless.

1. Dipping

Dipping your cheese in the wax is a much prettier way to wax your cheese but it has one major downfall: you can only dip cheese chunks as big as your container, and as deep as your wax.

Still, if you’re waxing store-bought cheese in the small bricks, dipping will work just fine. So, let’s get started.

Before you wax your cheese, it’s best to let it rest at cool room temperature for a few days and get a bit of a harder rind on the outside. That also helps it dry out a bit more.

Now that you’re ready to dip, heat your wax up in your can or container until it’s 180 degrees and remove from heat. Have parchment paper ready to put your cheese on after you dip it.

Now, using tongs  or your fingers (use tongs!), dip your cheese in the wax as far up as the tongs or your fingers, then pull it out and le