How to Financially Prepare for Economic Calamity

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We have another guest post. This time from Brittany at Cyberactive Consulting about Financial Preparation. Enjoy! How to Financially Prepare for Economic Calamity Survivalists must prepare for all sorts of situations. One of the most Read More …

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10 Best Survival Skills for Natural Calamities

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

4 reasons you’re better prepared when you know archery

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Editor’s note: Please welcome Dave from the archery site Targetcrazy.com. Dave has generously contributed an article on why skill with archery and bows should be a part of your preps! James has kindly let me guest post on his site because I’d like to get you to think about archery. I love the sport and […]

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Quick Tips to Survive these 4 Emergencies

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Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike. Keep in mind that, although […]

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3 Ways To Bug Out When SHTF

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Imagine a situation where the world is going into chaos for whatever reason – natural disaster, financial collapse, whatever.  Bugging in is just not an option because your dwelling is in immediate peril.  It’s time to bug out!  But you have to act fast. What do you do? Bugging out is going to be the beginning

7 Important Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

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

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10 Must-Have Survival Items for Your RV or Camper

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

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Pallet Projects For Suburban Homesteaders

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I recently bought a brand-new house in the suburbs of Boise, Idaho. One of the best things about the suburbs is easy access to places with pallets, which you can get for free or for just a few dollars. Here’s a great guide for how to pick a suitable pallet and to tell whether they are

Tactical Gear for Preppers – What You Wish You Had

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Prepping is the act of staying well prepared in the event of war or an emergency.  That being said, preppers are a fickle bunch.  We run the gambit from veggie growing gardeners who want to provide for their family to full-out “I’m ready to fight during the end of days” warriors. Tactical gear is important

How to Fight Off the Elements While Bugging Out

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Editor’s note: Please welcome “Dan Sullivan” from Survivalsullivan.com to the site. Dan is a prepper from Romania, and brings us some advice and knowledge he has gained from prepping in Europe. Please welcome him to the site! If, by some unfortunate turn of events, you determine that your home is not safe and needs to be […]

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How to Build a Natural Deer Hunting Blind

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Quick Navigation Before You Start Choose Your Location Choose Your ToolsBuilding a Deer Blind Ground Deer Hunting Blind Elevated Deer Hunting BlindWrapping It Up Before You Start First of all, let’s begin by defining what a deer hunting blind is.It’s a camouflaged shelter that gives you a good vantage point, and a sniping position.A hunting …

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Build Your Own DIY Fishing Kit

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

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Castle Doctrine: Keep Yourself Out Of Jail

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One of the major concerns facing the prepper and homesteader community is self-defense.  Prepper and homesteader sites have acticles on how to properly shoot or various survival knife brands. However, many blogs (my blog Living Dead Prepper is guilty as well) tend to neglect the legal aspects of self-defense.  This negligence is a mistake though as

Hiking Boots For A Survivalist

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

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7 Manual Kitchen Tools That Work with No Power

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

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Top 10 Ways to Use A Knife For Survival – Guest Post

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

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Off Grid and Free – A homesteader’s story

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Editor’s Note: Please welcome Ron Melchiore to Plan and Prepared. Ron has lived “Off-grid” and self-reliant for over 30 years. He has a wealth of information on this subject. Here is his story! A chilly hello from the Canadian wilderness! A plethora of websites on the Internet cater to the prepping/off-grid/homesteading communities and it can […]

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10 Hidden Weapon Storage Ideas

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

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How to Choose the Best Gun for Home Defense

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Quick Navigation What’s the Right Home Defense Gun For Me? Research the LawHandguns vs. Long GunsChoosing a HandgunSelecting the CaliberWhat Size Handgun Should You Choose?Pistols vs. RevolversChoosing a Long GunShotgunsRifles Takeaways What’s the Right Home Defense Gun For Me?We are fortunate enough to live in a world where the police take care of our safety. …

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What You Need For A Secure Storage Room

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

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How to Whittle – Guest Post

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In an effort to continually bring you great information not just from myself, I am pleased to have Nathan Dobson from Best Wood Carving Tools bring us a guest post. Check him out on Twitter as well @MasterCarving — How To Whittle There are several styles of wood carving; the most popular is whittling. This … Continue reading

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Bartering After SHTF: A Beginner’s Guide

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I love bartering. I’ve been bartering since lunch period in elementary school where I would often trade a chocolate milk for a Lunchable pizza. I’ve bartered everything from CDs to subwoofers to paintball guns to high-end letterpress business cards from Lithuania. Sure, bartering has its downfalls. Situations like… Louis needs a cow and has chickens

Homemade Survival Gear for Long Term Treks

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

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Squirrel Hunting with a Slingshot: 5 Tips to Make You a Pro

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How to Become a Master Squirrel Hunter Whether you’re 8 or 60, you’ve probably had the urge to hunt squirrels. It’s easy to kill the little rodents with a .22 or a BB gun, but it takes pure skill to nail a squirrel with a slingshot. (This one is perfect for your bug out bag)Add …

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7 Ways You Can Survive And Thrive In A Tiny House

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Editor’s Note: Please welcome James Burnette from SurvivalPunk.com. In his guest post, James talks about surviving in a “Tiny House”, and why is a good idea. After reading this article, be sure to view the video tour of his tiny house at the bottom of the page! I’m here to prove to you that you can both […]

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The Importance of Paying Off Debt and Building An Emergency Fund

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Every ounce of critical financial planning can go to waste if you don’t have an emergency fund to back it up, which can really be a lifesaver when unforeseen expenses crop up. There are emergencies that need immediate attention, such as a daily-use home appliance breaking down or car repairs demanding early intervention. Since these

Emergency Fund: Your Strongest Financial Asset

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Every ounce of critical financial planning can go to waste if you don’t have an emergency fund to back it up.  Emergency funds are a lifesaver when unforeseen expenses crop up. There are emergencies that need immediate attention such as a daily-use home appliance breaking down or car repairs demanding early intervention. Because these emergencies

5 Common Bug Out Bag Mistakes: Don’t Let These Kill You!

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A bug out bag is arguably one of the most important items during a SHTF event simply because it’s responsible for supplying the daily necessities that you will need during the bug out period (before reaching your bug out location). Because it’s so important, you really don’t want to be missing out on anything while you …

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J5 Tactical V1 Pro Flashlight Review

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J5 Tactical V1 Pro Features While it doesn’t have all the fancy features that some flashlights have, it has the ones that count Ease of Use Click to turn it on, click to turn it off, repeat to cycle through modes. Pretty simple Price It’s less than $15 and works like a flashlight 3 times …

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Gimme Shelter! 7 Bug Out Shelters You Must Know How to Build

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7 Easy to Build Shelters that can come Handy in a Bug Out Situation You never know when you will be in a situation that demands you to take measures to ensure your survival. Whether you are lost during a hiking trip or the government declares a national emergency, throwing the entire country into chaos and …

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The Ultimate Zombie Survival Plan

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Today I bring to you a guest post from Marc White. Marc’s main focus is zombies but you can easily apply these suggestions to all forms of preparedness. Please read Marc’s “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Plan” and check him out on the web at: zombiegeardude.com —– All hell has broken loose. Society has crumbled. Your … Continue reading

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6 Quick Tips for Managing Student Loan Debt

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Statistics show that about 33% of all Americans age 25 and older have college degrees and those numbers are rising  over time.  Unfortunately, many Americans use loans to finance this higher education.  Nothing welcomes your adulthood like getting the first student loan bill in the mail.  These bills can control your life if you’re careful.  And, while we don’t recommend taking loans in the first place, following these six steps will help you steer clear of trouble and manage your debt in a responsible manner:

1. Don’t Ignore Your Student Loan

Most of us would agree that student loans are no fun to pay back.  Completely ignoring them, however, will lead to serious consequences in both your credit rating and financial future. Make sure you start paying them off right after finishing college.  

Editor’s Note: College loans typically give you a six month grace period from graduation before you have to start paying them off.

2. Set Up A Budget

Your lifestyle completely changes after college.  You’ll need to start paying attention more to your financial surroundings and managing the flow of money through your accounts.  Part of managing your income and expenses will involve tackling your student loans.

Monitor all your incomes (pay checks mostly) and expenses (rent, food, utilities, student loan payments, etc.) and create a budget off this information.  It will help you determine your repayment strategy and show you where you can and cannot spend money.

There are apps and programs that can help. Third Party phone applications like You Need A Budget (YNAB), Mvelopes, and Mint as well as software programs like Zilchworks and Quicken can help you get on track.

3. Set An Affordable Monthly Payment

There is no one solution for everyone. Once you’ve set up your budget you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of what you’re capable of committing to pay each month – no less than the minimum of course so you don’t default.  If you can’t handle the minimum for whatever reason, it is best to talk to the loan manager as they are usually willing to work with you.  It is much better to set up smaller monthly payments over a longer time than default on your loan.

You will get rid of your loan sooner (and pay less interest) if you pay a higher amount than the monthly minimum.  This approach should be a goal, however.  Minimum payments should be considered mandatory for the reasons we’ve listed above.  Side note – if you have a lot of debt, consider looking into the debt snowball payment method as a way of getting out of debt faster.  It won’t be easier, but it works..

The recently created Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE) also aims to make paying off student loans more manageable.  

Editor’s Note: I have no experience with this plan so please check with consultants to see if your loan and circumstances qualify you for the program.

4. Research Forgiveness Options

There are some lawful ways to have your student loans dismissed.  There are also certain criteria you must meet to qualify for a student loan forgiveness program. Research available student loan forgiveness programs at the state and federal levels to see if there is a student loan forgiveness program that suits your situation.  In the meantime, make sure you’re keeping up with your minimum payments.

5. Set Up Automatic Payment Options

One of the best solutions for student loan repayment is to opt for an automatic payment option.  These programs will automatically deduct a preset amount each month from your account to pay off the loan.  You will not have to worry about writing a check each month as it will be deducted automatically on a certain date.

Typically, you have the option of picking which day of the month you pay the loan.  This option allows you to do helpful things like schedule your payment for the day after your paycheck is credited to your account.

This approach takes the responsibility of remembering to write a check and mail it (or even just log-in and process payment) each month out of your hands and keeps your credit and status in good standing.

6. Make Extra Payments Whenever Possible

We touched on this item in Step 2, but the best tip for managing your student loans (after not taking them) is to pay them off as early as possible.  You can do this by making extra payments whenever you have a few dollars in your pocket.

When making extra payments, make sure it is explicitly clear that the extra money in your payment is to be put against the principle of the loan and not against the next future payment.  Also, if you have multiple student loans, always apply any extra payments to the loan with the highest interest level first.  This approach will reduce the amount of interest you pay and reduce the total cost of your loan over time.

Conclusion

Student loans are beastly things that are best avoided.  That being said, if you have them, it’s best to service them as much as possible.  We recommend following these six steps and also consulting with the most experienced, informed and active student debt consultants you can find in order to resolve your debt the most beneficial way possible to your current situation. Student loans can be trying but they are survivable.

manage your student loan

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Staying Clean in the Wild: The Natural Way

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10 Natural Hacks for Camping Hygiene So you’ve decided you want to live like our ancestors who used to chase down wild deer, swim deep to catch fish, and sleep in caves or in a tent built out of trees far out in the wilderness. This type of lifestyle is definitely not for everybody. We …

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Introduction To Backyard Aquaponics

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The ability to grow plants and raise fish organically without the use of pesticides or fertilizers is accomplished through a method called aquaponics. This system of growing plants and raising fish without the use of soil was discovered by researchers from the University of Virgin Islands while looking for ways through which you can grow plants organically.  And, with just a little sweat equity and a few dollars, you too can have a backyard aquaponics system working for you!

How Does It Work?

Basically, aquaponics works in a win-win situation. What happens is that it combines the traditional aquaculture with hydroponics. In aquaponics, plants feed on the effluents released by aquatic animals.  Those plants, in turn, purify water to keep the fish more comfortable.

Backyard Aquaponics

Between 2006 and 2007, this technique was widely adapted and is now commercially used on many farms to grow plants organically. According to some farmers, aquaponics grows plants 50%-100% faster as compared to inorganic farming. With just a small amount of space, you’re able to deliver ten times more as compared to older methods.

What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is essentially the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants). This process takes advantage of the aquatic affluent (fish waste) deposited in water to provide essential nutrients to your plants. When the water is affluent rich, it becomes toxic to the aquatic animals. During this stage, plants absorb and use the nutrients eliminating the high water toxicity for your fish to survive.

Backyard AquaponicsThere are so many benefits you’ll enjoy when you make a backyard aquaponic system. Unlike a fish pond where you’ll have to exchange water every now and then, an aquaponic system relies on the relationship between plants and aquatic animals. Freshwater fish release ammonia which is converted to nitrite by a nitrifying bacterium called nitrosomonas. Another nitrifying bacterium called nitrobacter converts the nitrite to nitrate which is used by the plants to freshen the water for the fish. This process of converting ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate is referred to as “the nitrogen cycle.”

Types of Aquaponic Systems

There are three major types of Aquaponic systems:

Media Filled Beds

This method is the simplest and is commonly used in most backyard aquaponics systems. It involves filling containers with medium and small clay pebbles then planting seedlings directly into the media.

Fish tank water is then pumped over the media to allow the plants to feed on the excess nutrients. The medium clay pebbles act as biological filters where they help to eliminate toxins giving your fish fresh and clean water in the long run.

There are two major ways which this Aquaponics system can be operated:  continuous water flow method and the flood and drain (also known as ebb and flow) method.

Nutrient Film Technique

This method involves pumping nutrient rich fish water through PVC pipes. Plants are grown inside cups with small holes at the bottom to allow the roots to reach the water in the PVC gutters.

It’s important to understand that this method is only suitable for leafy green plants with small root systems and not larger plants with bigger, invasive roots.

Deep Water Culture

This method is commonly used in both commercial and backyard aquaponics systems because it’s relatively cheaper to setup and operate. This method uses a foam “raft” which floats on top of water. Plants are held in holes made in the raft in a way that the roots dangle into the water. For perfect results, fish water can either be pumped on the floating racks or the racks can be placed directly on fish water.

Benefits of a Backyard Aquaponics System

Setting up a backyard aquaponics system in your garden comes with lots of benefits such as environmental improvement, better health and higher quality nutrition. This section will review some of the most essential benefits which farmers can expect to enjoy.

Saves Space

Unlike other gardening methods, aquaponics system allows you to plant your seedlings close together thus saving on space. Since this method involves submerging plant roots in nutrient rich water, there is less overcrowding which helps you save on space as compared to other gardening techniques.

No Weeding

Another benefit of backyard aquaponics system is that you don’t have to weed anymore. This method doesn’t encourage the growth of weeds since there is no soil involved. Farmers are able to enjoy the freedom of growing plants at home without weeding.

No Soil Pests

Since Aquaponics doesn’t rely on soil, farmers are relieved the burden of using pesticides to eliminate soil pests. Pesticides destroy the plant slowly over time due to toxins absorbed by the plant.

Plants Grow Faster

Backyard aquaponics system allows plants to access nutrients for 24 hours each day making them grow faster. According to research, vegetables such as lettuce have been proven to grow twice as fast as compared to when planted normally on soil.

Making Your Own Backyard Aquaponics System

Backyard Aquaponics

There are many ways through which you can make your own backyard aquaponics system. Regardless of the method you choose, always ensure that your system is able to grow plants in a way that confers most of the environmental benefits such as low environmental impacts and water efficiency.

Without wasting time, we will go through a step by step program on how to make a Flood and Drain system.

Flood and drain system

Necessary Equipment and Material

Build Process

  1. Place your fish tank on a flat surface away from direct sun to reduce algae growth.
  2. Place the pump and feed pipe in the fish tank.
  3. Place the grow bed near the fish tank. Fill it with gravel and make sure it’s close to the fill pipe.  Also make sure the drain pipe from the grow bed feeds directly into the fish tank.
  4. Install the timer on the pump and set it to cycle for 15min on, 45 min off.
  5. Join the pipes and the pump together to connect the fish tank with the grow bed. Also remember to connect the overflow drain in the grow bed to remove water.
  6. Plant your seedlings into the grow bed and place your fish inside the fist tank.
  7. Test your fish water to determine the level of Ammonium, nitrite and nitrate. If you notice that the pH level is high or low, you can adjust it accordingly to keep the water neutral.
  8. Turn on the pump to start the cycling process. This involves circulating nutrient rich water from the fish tank to the grow bed then back to the tank again. After a few days, you’ll notice that your seedlings are growing; a milestone which reveals that your aquaponics system was successfully established.

Conclusion

In summary, there are tons of benefits which farmers enjoy once they set up a backyard aquaponics system. The system is cost efficient and makes backyard gardening more productive and economical. According to research, aquaponic systems use about 1/10th the amount of water used when farming on the ground. This technique helps you produce a tremendous amount of fish and vegetables within a short time in a small area.

backyard aquaponics

 

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How To Convince Non-Preppers

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You will undoubtedly come across people who find the very idea of prepping insane and absurd during your journey down the preparedness path. You may even have conversations where these non-preppers tell you how foolish you’re being and how you’re wasting your time. The idea of something disastrous happening is rather make-believe to these people – it’s just something that only happens in the movies.

Non-preppers can be, at best, annoying to talk to but you shouldn’t completely ignore them. Remember, they’ll be the ones asking for help should a disaster happen. It’s better if you can get them involved in a prepping mindset before that so they’re not trying to piggyback on your preparedness and supplies. So, here’s some tips on how to talk to non-preppers and help them understand why we do what we do.

Tip #1: Don’t Lose Your Cool

If you are reading this article, you are probably calmer than the average person. That is because, as a prepper, we work on keeping our cool in trying situations. When you’re talking to non-preppers, the first and foremost rule to keep them interested is to make them feel you understand and that it is perfectly fine to feel the way they feel. Keep your cool and maintain a pleasant demeanor.

That being said, don’t be afraid to point out facts. Give them real life examples of extreme natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes or floods that have recently occurred. These events have shocked people around the world and it’s easier to persuade people through examples of such catastrophic events. In a calm manner, ask them what they would do if something like that happened to them and help couldn’t get to them.

Take it a step further and give non-preppers examples of people who survived because they had stocked essential supplies. There are cases of people now alive and healthy because of their initial 100 hour survival supply. Ask them if they think having anything in that supply kit on hand makes sense.

It is natural that you’ll want to expand quickly on this information but restrain from overwhelming them with too much background information. Non-preppers, much like anyone who disagrees with you, need to be gently persuaded in the right direction and not “attacked” like at a used car lot.

You want the end result to be the non-preppers coming to their own conclusion and not be beaten over the head with your thoughts and ideas.

Tip #2: Ask Questions and Present Facts

The chances of winning an argument with someone increases if they are provided with facts rather than just words. With that thought in mind, try using some of these tactics in your next discussion with non-preppers:

  • What’s your plan if we have an extended power outage? Do you have extra batteries or a generator on hand to help get you through this downtime? Will you be able to get radio transmission during this time?
  • If some kind of natural disaster kept you from getting to the store, how long could you survive on the food in your house?
  • If the water became polluted, do you have a way of filtering it so your family can drink? Do you have any stored in reserve?
  • Do you have ways of communicating with people that aren’t cellphone or computer related? What would you do if the cell networks and/or internet were down?
  • If some kind of natural disaster occurs, people will flock to the stores and buy them out quickly. It might be some time before supplies can arrive. How long would you be able to feed your family?
  • Do you have a planned place to go if your home is inhabitable – maybe from a fire or some kind of localized disaster (gas main break, chemical spill, etc.)? Does everyone in your family know where to go?
  • If times get tough and supplies are limited, people will stop being friendly and start stealing (or worse). Are you capable of defending yourself and your family?

In The End, Non-Preppers Are Human

Despite giving them all the facts and figures, there still would be tough cookies who always look for chances to mock the very idea of survival. For such hardcore believers (or non-believers as it may be), there is not much you can do because the only thing that can convince them is the occurrence of such a devastating situation.

For people like these a good rule of thumb is to let them live as they want to live without any worries because they’ll dig in to their beliefs the more you try to change them. It’s best to let non-preppers learn the value of preparation on their own Rather than hitting your head against a wall.

How To Convince Non-Preppers


Affiliate Disclosure: I very much enjoy providing quality free content to you. The links in these posts are mostly (not all) affiliate links which allow me to receive a referral commission when and if you purchase an item. Your support of Suburban Steader through these links enables the content to keep coming and allows the site to grow. Thanks!

Growing Fruits in Your Garden All Year Round

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How to Grow Fruit Year Round Self sustainability is important to preppers. Not having to rely on others means whether supply is low, prices are high, or the seller is just a jerk, you’re still fine. If you’re just starting out prepping, or even if you’re a seasoned homesteader, we’ve got some tips to make …

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Are You Prepared? 11 Essential Items You Probably Don’t Have Prepped

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It happened. That worst case scenario you’ve been preparing for all these months and years. Luckily you have your emergency supplies, survival food, and clothes. But do you really have everything for the end of the world? You sure? Think now! This isn’t like forgetting your car keys in your other coat. We’re talking life …

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Preppers: How To Keep Your Food Rations Safe

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When you’re prepping for anything to happen, then you need to make sure that you’ve thought of everything in the process. This is essential to ensure that everyone staying within the area, or the bunker is going to be safe for whatever comes your way. One of the biggest considerations is having enough food to provide for everyone that is staying with you. This can be done through the use of compact dehumidifiers that can provide you with a way to remove any moisture from the area that might spoil the food that you’ve saved.

Additional Information About Caring For Your Food

When it comes to keeping the area safe, you’re definitely worried about the items that you have down there, but what happens when the food is ruined due to the moisture that is in the area? Through the use of a basement dehumidifier, you’re able to wick away any moisture, and ensure that everything in the area, no matter how dark or damp stays fresh, dry and in the best condition possible. This only comes from having the right machines for the job and a compact dehumidifier is able to do this for you, and so much more. Keep it all dry, and be sure to have the space ready for whenever you may need it.

Enjoy all that comes from choosing a compact dehumidifier to add to your space, and make the most of the extras that you’re being provided with. You should never have to worry about anything in the process, since they have you covered from start to finish. You can have your food and eat it too, without having anything go bad or become ruined due to the moisture that is built up in the area. You can be the most prepared through the use of the machine.

Keeping All Items Safe When Not in Use

Keep in mind that all of the items within this area should be kept safe at all times, and not just when they’re in use. This is why a basement dehumidifier or even a compact dehumidifier would be able to do the job when the time comes. You should never have to worry about not being able to have the food, or other items that you need to stay safe since you were able to easily keep them dry and in great condition in the process. This can provide you with the essential dryness that you need, when you need it. Basement dehumidifiers provide this for you and so much more.

Never have to worry about your items becoming ruined in the process of creating your shelter for anything that may happen. Through the use of the compact dehumidifiers that you can purchase, you can make sure that everything stays dry and is able to be used, if you ever need to use it. Choosing to go with a basement dehumidifier is always a good consideration to make, and can provide you with a way to stay dry when the time comes. Enjoy the benefits when you see them at work when the time comes.

Good Foods to Stock Pile

One of the most important items that a person forgets to stockpile is water. In a time of emergency water is the first item to vanish in grocery stores and cause people to fight over. At times, water seems abundant but when needed filtered clean water can be a hard item to find. Some water companies say water has an indefinite shelf life. Because water is the universal solvent and can break down storage containers and plastic bottle, we recommend replacing water every 6 to 12 months. You don’t want your stored water to contain Bisphenol A (BPA) from plastic bottles.

Freeze-dried food, vegetable and fruits are always good to stock pile. The freeze-dried food company Mountain House guarantees their products for 12+ years in pouches and 25+ years for canned food products. But as you know with most freeze-dried foods water is need to rehydrate their products. Canned fruits, veggies and meats are also a good item to stockpile. For example a can of tuna or deviled ham can last about 3 years before going bad.

There are many food luxury times to stockpile as well. Coffee, nuts, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Jams, Popcorn and Hard Liquor that can all be stored and last for sometime. All of these items are not needed but will make surviving a little easier. Even toilet paper and soap can be stored to make life easier. Most of these items will also work well for trading and bartering purposes.

But none of these times will last if not stored properly. Be sure to keep all items in a cool dark space, little to no direct sunlight ,dry climate and little to no moisture in the air. Basements, closets, garages tend to be a good place to store items and stock pile foods. A stock pile is only food if the times stay fresh and safe from mold and other cancerous items.

Prepping and Storing Your Own Food

One way to make sure you have your own food storage is by prepping and storing your own food. Investing in a vacuum sealer and food canner can be a good idea. FoodSaver Vacuum Sealers can run you anywhere between $50 up to $500 depending on the model and how often and how big of an item you will need to vacuum seal. You can package your own meats and can your own fruits right at home. If you are looking to do a lot of vacuum sealing you may want to invest in oxygen absorbers to help keep food fresher longer. Oxygen absorbers are those little packages you find in jerky games to keep the jerky dry.

Prepping your own food gives you the peace of mind knowing that where you food came from and that it has been properly prepped and packaged. Be sure to test your vacuuming skills before packaging a large amount of food. No one is perfect on their first try.

With all these helpful tips about keeping your food rations safe you can rest assured that you will be able to survive the epidemic. Your food stockpile and rations will be the envy of the neighborhood and your family will be proud.

Homesteading And The Debt Free Lifestyle

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It’s difficult being an urban homesteader. In order to make it, you need to be independent.  Independence can mean many things, but a lot of people think of owning a good amount of land.  So what is a poor city inhabitant who longs for the country life supposed to do? Become debt free!

Going Debt Free

Homesteading and independence go hand-in-hand with being debt free. The tips below will allow to homestead anywhere.  They will also show you how to cut expenses and save cash.  The culmination of this effort can result in a debt free lifestyle.  The same kind of lifestyle that might see you own that real estate in the country.

Container Gardening

Think you need a patch of earth to grow vegetables? Reconsider. You can grow tomatoes, lettuce, squash and potatoes in simple containers.  Items such as barrels, pots or hay bundles will do.

Even better, container gardening is perfect for those new to planting. You have fewer plants to manage, less weeding and less immediate cost and time.  You can grow a significant number of crops in minimal space, even if all you have is a small balcony.  All you need is a little planning.

Zucchini and strawberries can grow in hanging wicker bins.  Similarly, tomatoes can grown in little tubs.

Gardening and growing vegetables doesn’t require large machinery or planting equipment. All you have to do is make use of the things available to you.

Make and Use a Solar Oven

One of your biggest expense can be your utilities.  Have you thought about how you can continue on the debt free path and cook for free? A Solar Oven is simple to make and can completely reduce your utility costs.

Keep Some Chickens

A friend of mine hatched chicks from prepared eggs utilizing an electric skillet set on low.  They used some water to keep the air inside the skillet soggy and a towel to pad the eggs. Five of the eggs hatched and three of the birds made it to adulthood. She now keeps these three hens in her lawn. When they are mature enough, these animals will supply her with eggs once a day.

The cost of feed will most likely be offset by the amount of money you spend on eggs.  You can take the savings and put it towards your debt free goals.

Raising chickens isn’t for everyone.  Make sure you check the rules and regulations of your city.  Also, make sure you are onboard with raising livestock.  It’s a full-time commitment.

Live Simply

A smart thought for anybody, yet key for a trying homesteader. Figure out how to curtail costs now, keeping in mind you are busy.  Dispose of the extra costs in your life. A homesteading lifestyle requires that you figure out how to deal with what you have as opposed to rushing to the store for something new.

Do you need those three TV sets? What about that vast closet of clothes? Learn to get by with what you have now.  Heading to the store when you’ve ‘made it’ might not be as easy as you think.

Conclusion

Living simply also means curtailing any extra costs that you might be incurring.  Doing things like paying off any loans that you have taken as soon as possible can lead to a debt free lifestyle. Do not to buy items on credit. The simple life may be what’s needed to get you to your debt free goals.

Homesteading & Debt Free Lifestyle

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Prepping: 7 Reasonable Things You Should Do

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Riots, EMP threats, NASA’s megadrought, clashes between religious fanatics, the U.S. debt increasing and the coming elections – all of these situations point to the same thing: the world may go down south at any time. I’m not saying they will – I hope they won’t – but are we really crazy for prepping for them?

Our minds are running in overdrive about prepping while the Government’s telling us everything is fine and we don’t need to worry. Sometimes they call us crazy… even though preppers are some of the nicest and friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

I wrote this piece to give you tips on how to prepare without appearing crazy or freaked out about what’s to come. You’ll find my prepping suggestions reasonable. Acting on them will make you feel safer and I can almost guarantee you’ll sleep sounder knowing you’re ready for what might come.

Seven Reasonable Prepping Tips

#1. Get Into Shape

Bad situations bring out the worst in people.  When push comes to shove, people will start thinking they have more of a right to something than you and you may need to fight one or more thugs one on one. You may need to jump, crawl, climb and run to save your life. You may need to pull or carry an injured loved one to safety. All of these require strength, flexibility, speed and stamina.

Fortunately, it’s easy to improve all of them. The easiest thing you can do is just walk more! I, for one, love walking and I always find excuses to leave my car in the garage and run errands on foot. Jogging, hiking and going to the gym will all improve your fitness levels and work your muscles. I suggest you focus on tactical fitness exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks and so on.  Remember, prepping is just as much about gaining skills as it is gathering gear.

#2. Get Out Of Debt

I don’t know if an economic collapse will come before the next major natural disaster or if it’s going to be the other way around. What I do know is that, in case of either one, you don’t want to be owing money to banks or to anyone else.

We’ve always said that you should start of prepping by paying off your debts right now even if that means more effort or not eating out every day. You know what they say, the more you sweat, the less you bleed…

#3. Move Out Of The City

What usually happens during riots is that the downtown area of a city turns into a battlefield. That’s the last place you want to live because you can’t get in, you can’t get out meaning you might get stuck inside for days, even weeks. Even worse, you might get yourself injured trying to get home.

Try to find cheaper housing in the suburbs. You’ll have to be careful about the location, though, to avoid high-crime neighborhoods. You want to be safe before and after a riot, not just during, when those low-income rioters who also live in the suburbs decide to take justice into their own hands. You’ll also want a quick way out of the city if need be.

Fortunately, you needn’t go further than this website to learn about life in the suburbs.

#4. Start Stockpiling

No, you don’t have to fill an entire room with toilet paper.  You should, however, have a pantry full of foods with a long shelf life such as canned veggies, jams, peanut butter and honey. All you need to do is buy a little more food than usual with each time you go to the supermarket.  Make sure you’re paying attention to nutritional content of your stored food as well.  A healthy you is a stronger you.

Buy the things you like to eat so you can easily incorporate them in your diet. Food rotation is important because you don’t want to end up with a spoiled pantry. Of course, you can get other things in bulk such as the aforementioned toilet paper, floss, soap and other hygiene products. You should never run out of any of them – catastrophe or not.

#5. Find New Hobbies and Passions

Hiking, camping, fishing, woodworking, gardening, crafts – these can all make you better prepared without anyone suspecting the real reason why you’re doing them. If you thought about finding a new hobby, maybe now’s the time.

Who says you have to start a hobby on your own? You can do many of these things with your kids (and bond with them) or with your spouse (and possibly bring back the romance into your marriage). Hobbies are great bonding opportunities. Who knows, maybe one of them will turn into a passion.

#6. Prepping Your Car

Engine oil, transmission fluid, a toolbox, a spare tire, a shovel, these are things every driver should have in an emergency. To go the extra mile, why not add water and even a few snacks in your trunk? Not just for SHTF events but also in case you get stuck in traffic for longer periods of time. Add an AM/FM radio and a few blankets, too. If you’re stuck in heavy snow for hours, you don’t want to use fuel and your car’s battery to stay warm and hear the latest news.

Last but not least, make sure you have a good first aid kit. Not the basic one that came with the car, of course. You can make your own from scratch to make sure you have everything you need.  Keep an eye open for sales on first aid equipment and you should be able to do this step on the cheap.  For example, I bought some Ibuprofen last night and they had a “buy one get one free” promotion. Now, I can keep the extra pack with the other in my bug out bag or I can add it to my car’s survival kit.

#7. Start a Medicine Cabinet

Keeping in mind that I’m not a doctor and that you should only use my advice for information purposes only, I want you to build on the previous idea of assembling a custom first aid kit. You can take it even further by buying things such as:

Note: You shouldn’t store your medicine in your bathroom. Keep them in a dark, cool place because the heat and moisture from your shower will decrease their shelf life.

Final Word

Truth be told, I could write another five articles with all the basic prepping actions you could take and not look crazy. This one should give you a great head start in tackling all sorts of scenarios, including a natural disaster, riots or an economic collapse.

7-reasonable-prepping-tips

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Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan
His dad was military. His grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But Dan doesn’t take orders from anyone. He’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s not just preparing, he’s going to friggin’ war!

Survival Foods: What Are The Top Six?

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You will not have the luxury of eating what you feel like when a catastrophe hits. In such situations, you should know what survival foods are best in terms of nourishment, vitality, energy and taste.  They should be also easy to carry around in case you need to bug out.

Here is a list of six survival foods regarded as the best by some of the top preppers:

Top Six Survival Foods

Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon

Salmon is rich in protein and sound fats like omega 3s. Many variation of Alaskan wild salmon will come canned with little to none of the contaminants that can appear in cans of other types of fish. The Inuit people (local individuals of Alaska and northern Canada) regularly eat Alaskan wild salmon.  Likewise, they are known for low rates of heart attack and stroke.  This phenomenon is credited to their regular salmon consumption. Like tuna fish, you can eat canned Alaskan wild salmon right out of the can without cooking. Leftovers must be refrigerated and will keep for 3 – 4 days.

Dried Beans

Many beans are high in calories and contain a decent amount of protein per serving.  They also contain key vitamins and minerals.  You could try these beans if you’re interested:

The main thing to remember is that most beans need to soak for a few hours before eating. Finally, dried beans have a long shelf life. Dried beans will stay great in the back of your vehicle, your office survival unit and, obviously, your survival foods home pantry.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is high in calories and also contains key vitamins and minerals. As a dry, non-perishable food item, it additionally has a long shelf life. Simply add high temperature water and let it soak for 1 – 2 hours, or until the rice extends(eat rice after it’s extended).

Bulk Nuts

Look for bulk nuts in the seed/nut area of your supermarket.  You should look particularly for unsalted and unshelled nuts. Peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and various different nuts/seeds ordinarily sold in food markets are high in fundamental vitamins, minerals, vital unsaturated fats and have a decent amount of protein. They’re also lightweight; a serving size may be as little as a 1/4 container.

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is packed with protein and crucial unsaturated fats. It also contains numerous fundamental vitamins and minerals. For the best wellbeing, pick natural brands that are well known for organic food. A few tablespoons a day of peanut butter can provide assistance with surviving during long durations of constrained food intake. Amid a debacle, one of your procedures to survive needs to incorporate an understanding that it’s an ideal opportunity to cut calories. Many people eat a greater number of calories every day than they really need to survive. Cutting calories implies your food will last longer.

Energy Bars and Chocolate Bars

There’s an energy bar for each taste these days. Search for brands with a high calorie count as well as a lot of protein. Chocolate bars can be a quick source of vitality and an awesome morale booster among children, while being liberal in calories.

Conclusion

As you can see, these six survival foods are nutrient and calorie dense foods which are easy to carry and store.  They can be acquired for relatively little money and allow you to build a quality survival food pantry relatively quickly.

photo credit: preserves on my dining room table (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11134789@N00/4181594331) via photopin (http://photopin.com) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Do you agree with our suggestions? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

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Guest Poster: James Smith on sabtwitter
Guest Poster: James Smith
James Smith is an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels. He loves to write about survival skills and techniques that can help us to survive in a teotwawki event. For more updates follow him on Twitter.

21 Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

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Being able to stay safe while involving in outdoor activities is probably the number one priority for every outdoorsmen. The best way to do so is to master some of the Basic Wilderness Survival Skills that you will definitely need them in most situations. Therefore, I would like to share with you an infographic made … Continue reading

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Tactical Gear: The Best For Every Situation

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The term tactical means “concerning to or constituting tactics.” Tactical is more a mindset than an accessory. This is also known as  tactical mindset. When you think this way, you’ll realize that your tactical gear should be centered on your tactics to save your life.

Before you plan to buy tactical gear, you need to reconsider whether it fits to your situation and whether it is something you need to win over the situation.

 Most people are focused more on finding what they think is the right equipment such as guns and gear. That’s why they lack in other departments. Weapons and ammunition are unquestionably very important.  That being said, weapons are not the only things you need.

Tactical lifestyle is about obtaining the right balance in every situation. You win battles with guns and grunts.  You win wars with logistics. Winning of a war for food, water, and safety requires you plan to the right budget.

This article is not focused on budget planning for food. It’s about saving your budget for all other equipment required to survive in all situations. Your main motivation is to survive and not just to win the fight. You have to plan your tactics accordingly.

Tactical Gear For Your Defense

 As mentioned above, your main goal is to survive and not to win. Therefore, you should carry all the necessary equipment (including weapons) to survive in the situation. Some examples of “Must Carry Equipment” are:

  • Extra ammo for reloading your weapon
  • Magazine Pouches For Modern Rifles
  • Medical Kit
  • Knife
  • Compass

In addition to the above items, you should consider your situation and decide if you need to add the following tactical gear:

Plate Carriers

Plate carriers are an alternative to the heavy, burdensome flak jackets. The small size and weight make it easy for the soldiers to operate it. Plate carriers are the best tactical gear for both police and military because of the mobility and protection they offer.

Plate carriers quickly become uncomfortable and you will soon be sweating your butt off. Plates are not the best idea for home defense as they are heavy, fragile, and expensive as well.

Load Bearing Vests

Load Bearing Vests, or LBVs, are similar to plate carriers. While similar, LBVs are indeed a better option than plate carriers if you don’t want some form of body armor. An LBV is a nylon vest with a Molle or PALs system to hold gear but it doesn’t have a spot for plates.  They do provide a similar mounting system for ammo and gear that plate carriers do. At the same time, they are more comfortable and less expensive than plate carriers.

Belts

Tactical belts, which have a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) or PAL (Pouch Attachment Ladder) System, are popular among infantrymen for carrying equipment.

The reasons the belts are widely used is due to the ease of access and the capability to carry a fair amount of payload. It becomes easy to climb in and out of vehicles or move out of buildings and tight locations. They are perfect for carrying an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) because it becomes easy to access it by simply taking off the belt.

 These belts can be stashed in a backpack and easily used whenever you need them.

Leg Rigs

Leg rigs are a more luxurious option as they are not required and don’t provide any utility that belts and LBVs or plate carriers do.  With that in mind, it is easier to draw a handgun from a leg rig. Another option can be to use a waist holster which is available at half the price of leg rig and it is bit difficult to pull a magazine for a reload from the leg rig.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a lot of tactical gear above and beyond weapons and ammunition that you should consider.  Also remember that, while tactical gear is quite important, an even approach to prepping is required to meet the demands of a SHTF scenario.

Tactical Gear

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Guest Poster: Garry Bowman
Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at 911gear.ca, the finest dealers of tactical equipment in Ontario, Canada. 911gear.ca also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Is Post-Disaster Bartering a Possibility?

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By BD

The answer to that question is a wholehearted YES. Whether you know it or not, the barter system you learned about oh so long ago is still up and running. You make use of it every single day to do a whole variety of things! The barter system (which is thought to have ended when we first used currency) is defined as an exchange of goods or services. This applies to just about any type of goods, including money.

A perfect example of this is hiring a plumber. When you hire the services of a plumber to fix the leaky faucet and the pipes in your home, you pay him money in exchange for the services he is offering. We use paper, issued by the state, to barter for services. Of course, when it comes to a world-destroying disaster, paper is going to be absolutely worthless to barter with. Government collapse would lead to a complete devaluation of money. It would be better to just buy gold to last you through the fallout.

 

No currency means goods need to be traded

Without currency backed by the state to support barter using currency, there is only one option left: to trade goods with actual value for others that you need in return. To survive, this is something that will have to be done in a survival situation. Of course, you could go all Rick Grimes on the people around you and kill them, but you would probably get arrested and sentenced when rescue came along.

A prime example of this type of situation is any natural disaster today where people are trapped for weeks without a rescue. Examples include the 2004 South Asian Tsunami and the more recent Hurricane Katrina. People stuck on the inside would trade food and clothing in exchange for other goods that they had dire need of. Remember that when it comes to a survival situation, your very life hangs in the balance. Barter carefully.

 

Essentials and material comforts

There are two categories that you need to sort everything into the second a disaster occurs and you get to your stockpile. These are the bare essentials for survival and the objects that are more materialistic, made for comfort rather than survival. The priorities are food and water. You can survive without anything else, but you will die off soon enough without a steady supply of food and water. Make getting these your highest priority.

One tip is that if you need food and water to live, so does everyone else. This can make that sheep you found wandering about after the disaster as valuable as its weight in pure gold. If you trade food items and water, you can be sure that the people you are bartering with will give you just about anything that you need.

 

Ten useful barter items

In addition to the bare essentials, there are a number of items you should try stockpiling right now, so that you can trade them when the need arises, for the right exchange of course. Here are 10 of them right now:

Lighter fluid

Lighters

Soap/Liquid Soap

Magnifying glasses(fire starting)

Toilet Paper

Matches

Water/Water Filters

Knives/Tools

Mousetraps

Flashlights/Batteries

Some of these may seem worthless right now. When the time comes for them to be used, everyone is going to want them. You are going to be the man with a plan.

 

 

 

Everyday Items You Should Have on You to Withstand an Apocalypse

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By Cherie

In the event of an apocalypse, you want to be fully equipped with tools that increase your chances of long-term survival. Prepare yourself through tactful outfitting of everyday accessories that can withstand harsh conditions. Many of the devices you use are powered by battery or electrical energy, which may not be at your disposal in an emergency situation, so make sure you own devices that are sufficient enough to sustain power and support your perseverance. Here are the top everyday items you should have on you to withstand an apocalypse:

Rugged Watch

Your watch should be equipped with information that helps you keep track of the progression of time in several ways. For example, the Casio GSHOCK GA100SD digital watch is inspired by the military and has world time, a precise stopwatch, a countdown timer, four daily alarms, a 24-hour countdown timer, a date display, 29 world time zones, daylight savings and a 24-hour format. This helps you track time no matter where you are and who you need to contact.

The watch also is built with ultra-tough shock resistance, water resistance up to 600 feet and a steadfast buckle closure, so it can last through almost anything. The battery life on the watch lasts two years, so store enough batteries in your shelter in case you need a replacement.

Durable Phone

Your phone needs to be able to withstand any unpredictable conditions. A phone like the Galaxy S5 has up to 29 hours of talk time and up to 20 days of standby time as well as GPS capabilities, plenty of memory and 4G connectivity, which helps ensure that you can contact friends and family members after a disastrous event.

Pair your smartphone with the SatSleeve for Android to enable satellite access to your phone for reliable communication in remote areas. The satellite coverage provides access to phone calls, emails, instant messages and apps within Thuraya’s network that spans across 161 countries. The high penetration alerting capability lets you stay connected and receive calls and notifications even when the satellite antenna is stowed. The SatSleeve also can make predefined emergency calls without being docked to your smartphone.

Multipurpose Tool

Carry a multi-tool in your pocket to avoid having to carry a myriad of tools. The Leatherman Wingman multi-tool includes a 420HC combo knife, spring-action regular pliers, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, three kinds of screwdrivers, scissors, file, bottle opener and can opener. It is thoughtfully designed for accessibility, as many of the tools have outside-accessible, one-hand spring action features. It has a pocket clip and measures at 3.8 inches, so it’s easy to carry around without adding any extra weight or bulk.

Pocket-Sized Kinetic Charger

In the event of an apocalypse, traditional energy sources may not be at your disposal, so it is important you have the means to create your own energy to power your devices. Harness energy from kinetic movement through the Ampy Move motion-charger battery. It is about the size of a deck of cards and the weight of a smartphone, which makes it easy to carry around in your bag or clipped to your pocket. It can charge any technological device that uses a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, including your smartphone and smartwatch. An hour of movement or exercise can produce up to one hour of smartphone battery life, five hours of smartphone standby battery life and 24 hours of smartwatch battery life. The Ampy Move is waterproof, but not submersible, and contains an 1800 mAh battery.

 

Energy Efficiency: 10 Way To Increase It & Save Money At Home

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Every single saved cent matters these days which is why you should increase your home’s energy efficiency as much as possible. You can increase your home’s energy efficiency in many other ways – from improving your bathroom eco-friendliness to redoing home insulation – even though we are in the age of the renewable energy and economical appliances. While improving the energy efficiency of your home will not aid you in a zombie attack, it will surely make it easier on your wallet.  That means you can save up for rainy days. And by “rainy days,” we mean the zombie apocalypse!

Here is a ten tier agenda for turning your home into a modern, economical place:

1. Water-Reducing Faucets

Gallons of water are sent through old-fashioned faucets on a daily basis. A home owner aware of this problem we have with drinking water on the global level will install faucet aerators. These devices reduce the amount of water coming from the faucet.  Reducing the water running through the faucet prevents water from being wasted and increases the pressure of its flow.

2. Modern Shower Heads

A quick shower saves more water than taking a bath. Keeping yourself clean can be even more efficient if you replace the old shower head with a new one. The new ones have a similar impact on water consumption that faucet aerators do. They reduce the number of gallons per minute consumed and increase the pressure; both of which improve the shower experience.

3. Bathroom Bulbs

The bathroom is one of the most well lit places in every home.  This fact is especially true during the winter season. Replace your old incandescent light bulbs and install new bulbs in your bathroom to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Both CFLs and LEDs are more efficient than the old incandescents.

4. Bathroom Window(s)

Bathrooms need to have a special air-refreshing system due to their typical use. It goes without saying that every bathroom should have a vent fan for taking away unpleasant odors.  It is also very important to replace your old bathroom windows with newer, more efficient ones.  They will reduce the amount of energy wasted through the panes.

5. Mind The Fridge

The kitchen, much like the bathroom, is a huge energy consumer. It is vital to install new, Energy Star appliances.  These appliances greatly reduce the energy wasted compared to the appliances made twenty years ago. The only in-kitchen appliance that runs all the time is the fridge.  Following the guidelines to get an Energy Star-friendly fridge will decrease your overall energy costs in the kitchen.

 6. Oven Education

Most families still use the oven on a daily basis. Modern ovens have dozens of programs and options. Educating you and your family on the oven’s operation will increase your home’s energy efficiency and waste as little energy as possible. Getting to know your oven will contribute to the enterprise of cutting your home energy bills.

7. Install Ceiling Fans

Owners of smaller homes should install ceiling fans even though air conditioners are becoming more energy efficient. These type of fans consume far less energy than any kind of air conditioning unit and have the added luxury of pushing hot air down in the winter as well as cooling down rooms in the summer.

8. Improved Insulation Increases Energy Efficiency

You can invest thousands of dollars in individual energy improvements.  One of the best investments, however that you can make in your home is to properly insulate the roof and basement. Likewise, make sure that heating and plumbing pipes are properly insulated as well.

9. Layering Walls

In order to reduce the level of dampness and humidity in a home, as well as to minimize through-wall heat leaks, every homeowner should take care of exterior wall cladding. Your home will be a sealed, warm place after this step.

10. Smart Thermostat

Everything related to homes should be tech-smart and efficient these days.  Why wouldn’t your thermostats follow the same pattern? If you want to make your heating and cooling systems even more efficient, invest in a programmable thermostat. In order to take all the advantages of this device, learn how to adjust it and use it.

Energy Efficiency Conclusions

These are only some tips and strategies for cutting your energy losses. Every home is different which is why you might want to consider hiring a professional energy auditor.  They will inspect your home and provide you with all the data necessary to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.

energy efficiency

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Five Things Larry Winget Is Doing Personally In Challenging Times

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This post orginally appeared on Larry Winget’s site – http://www.larrywinget.com/


by Larry Winget

I get a lot of questions and am interviewed on radio and television about what people should do in these troubling times.  I decided this time to tell you what I am doing instead of just telling you what you should be doing.  Maybe you will find something in what I am doing that can help you when making decisions about your own life.  These are things I am doingpersonally, in a few weeks I will give you the five things I am doing professionally.  Hope you enjoy this blog and learn something as well.   If you see something you like, please help both me and your friends by sharing this blog with others.

Five Things Larry Winget Is Doing Personally In Challenging Times

1.   I am being realistic. Things are never going to be like they were.  My business, in fact, my entire industry has changed forever.  Chances are that yours has changed forever too. Technology has changed the way we do business in every way.  I find it easier and cheaper to order toothpaste from Amazon than picking it up from the grocery store.  People would rather read a book on a computer than to hold a real book in their hands.  I watch more movies and television and listen to more music on a device the size of a pack of cigarettes than I do on my 60 inch flatscreen with stereo system attached. I never would have believed that technology would have made such a difference in the way we all think, shop, how we are entertained and educated.  Technology has changed the way I make money.  It’s not enough to stand on a stage now and talk or to write books, it takes technology for me to survive financially. Bet the same applies to you.  And technology will change our world even faster and in bigger ways in the future.  I fought this for a while and in some ways, I will continue to fight certain areas of it in my personal life.  However, I am realistic about it and know that my life and my business have to adjust to deal with the changes and the technology.

I am also realistic about the state of the union.  Yes, our country.  We are in trouble.  I mean serious, serious trouble.  I love my country and have great faith in our strength when we pull together.  However, we don’t pull together very often anymore and from what I can tell, we don’t even want to.  I am no longer as optimistic as I once was about our possibilities.  And while I am not a full-on pessimist yet, I have become a realist.

2.   I am constantly defining and redefining my priorities.  Time, energy and money always go to what is important to you.  I have said this for years and believe it completely.  Read my books for more details on my thinking regarding this idea.  The same principle applies to me. My age, my family, the turbulent economy, the amount of free time I have and want to have and many other factors cause me to look at my life differently than I did just a year ago.  Much of what used to be important to me has lost its appeal.  Spending more time with friends and family and doing/experiencing things I have missed by working too much to enjoy have become more important to me now. And while I have never much cared about what people thought, I am more that way than ever before. I live my life on my terms, making sure that my actions are in alignment with my principles, my goals, my words and my beliefs and honestly don’t give a rat’s ass whether people like it or not.

3.  I am watching my money.

Spending: I don’t know of anyone regardless of their income who is spending like they did a few years ago.  Income is harder to come by these days for everybody at every level.  So while there was a time a few years ago where I never gave what I was spending a second thought, now I give it a third and a fourth thought.  Every responsible person should do the same in these chaotic economic times.

Saving:  While I have always been a saver, I tuck away a larger percentage of my income now than I used to. Why? Because the future is more uncertain for everyone than it used to be.  Having higher reserve funds is going to be more important in the future than it has ever been before.

Cash.  I have always been a big believer in having cash on hand, but now I stash extra twenties away more than before.  I have a cigar box and a big gun safe that is well protected so it’s all very secure; but even if you don’t have those things you should be tucking away some bucks someplace. Besides, if the power goes out, that ATM machine isn’t going to do you much good and your credit cards aren’t going to be much consolation either.

Investments:   Diversification in your investments is now more important than ever.  If you have the cash to buy real estate, it hasn’t been this cheap in a long, long time.  Gold and silver still seem to look good but I wouldn’t sell everything to buy it like some are doing. However, a portion of your portfolio in precious metals makes sense.  Mostly, I am reminding myself what any smart investor knows; investments are long term.  And now, really long! Stop checking your money every day, every week or even every month and take a deep breath.  Don’t react emotionally to this chaos. Investments are for the long haul and if you are trying to time the market to make a fast buck, you are crazy, just like the market.

4.  I am preparing. I have written in my books, “Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst.”  I think most of us are great at expecting the best and do very little to prepare for the worst.  This is evidenced by people’s saving accounts!  But I think it’s time to take preparation to the next level.  Therefore, I have become a prepper.   No, I am not one of those wacko survivalist youtubers by any stretch of the imagination.  However, as I said earlier, I am a realist.  Our economic system worldwide is a disaster.  The US is so upside down on its debt, with no solution at hand to fix any of it, that I am not seeing a good way out of our mess right now.  I don’t think our entitled citizens are above revolting like we have seen in France, Greece and the UK. Natural disasters are increasing causing power outages and other issues that either force people to leave their homes or force people to stay in their homes.  A report this week by the government said that our power grids are particularly susceptible to hackers. Our borders are weak and our enemies are strong and sneaky.  There are many people and nations who simply don’t like us and wish us harm, along with many individuals right here in our own country.   We are vulnerable on many levels. Even FEMA suggests that every person have at least three days worth of food and water stored in case of emergency.  Our grocery stores do not carry enough food to last three days if they lose power.  So what happens to you and your family if your area loses power for a week, or even a day?  Or if a natural disaster hits your area?  Or if there is a revolt due to economic collapse?  Are you prepared?

If you live in a climate where there is snow, you know you should put a blanket and some sand and other supplies in your car in case you get stuck in the snow.  You probably carry a jack and a spare tire and  jumper cables in your car ‘just in case.’  Yet that is most people’s entire level of preparedness.  Most people don’t have enough food in their homes to make dinner tonight.  If every fast food restaurant in their neighborhood closed for the day they wouldn’t even be able to have dinner tonight. That’s dumb, naïve and irresponsible.   I have food and water put away to last my family for six months.  It’s easy to do and not much money.  I have a generator and plenty of gas to keep it running for months.  I can cook even if all power is gone.  I can defend my family and my property if needed.  I am prepared in every way I can think of, not out of fear but because I am smart and have taken the time, the energy and the small investment it takes to care for my family ‘just in case.’  You may think this makes me a crazy survivalist, I think it just makes me a responsible person.  And while I hope none of us ever have to be tested in these regards, I won’t be one of those guys who looks back in regret because I couldn’t be bothered with it or was afraid of how it looked or sounded to others.

5.  I am focusing on right now. The future is determined by what you do now.  That applies to your money, your health, your relationships and your career.  Work hard at your job today.  Eat healthy today.  Exercise today.  Be nice today.  Have high standards for yourself and others today.  Expect more from yourself today. Save today.  Spend wisely today.  Prepare today.   Enjoy today!   Today is all you have, give it everything you’ve got!


 


Five time WSJ/NYT Bestselling author and television personality. For video clips, interviews, products and other information go to www.larrywinget.com.  Follow me on facebook at Larry Winget Fan Page to get daily rants, opinions and more.

Easy Ways to Prepare for Riots and Migrant Invasions

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Riots and Migrant InvasionsWith all the violence, in Europe, we need to be prepared for anything. Here are some easy ways to prepare for riots and migrant invasions.

Easy Ways to Prepare for Riots and Migrant Invasions

It’s hard for me to look at what’s happening in Europe right now, around 8,000 African and Middle-Eastern migrants cross their borders every single day. The old continent will never be the same, that’s  for sure, and I feel powerless when it comes to doing something to stop this “flood”. The US also agreed to receive 10,000 of them last I heard so if you think this migrant crisis won’t affect you, think again. I’m willing to bet that number will rise pretty soon.

Considering the size of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, adding a few hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants is like pouring gasoline on fire. We need to prepare. We need to know what to do in the next wave of riots because one thing I do know is it’s going to be devastating.

#1. Move out of downtown areas

You don’t have to leave everything behind (friends, jobs) and move out of the city into the wilderness or in a small town. The suburbs will allow you and your spouse to keep your jobs and you’ll be far away from the streets and squares that are most likely to witness bloody street-fights at some point.

#2. Have a get home bag and an everyday carry kit (EDC)…

…and make sure all your family members do too. The items you have on you when you’re away from home may as well save your life if you’re trapped in a riot, if you happen to run into a gang of thugs or if someone starts following you at night. Buying stuff for your GHB and EDC is easy; the hard part is keeping them concealed so your co-workers don’t think you’re crazy for having water purifying tablets on you.

#3. Spread the word

My personal Facebook profile is full of news and footage about the migrants that’ve taken over Europe. Even though I lost a few “Facebook friends” lately, I’m confident that my efforts are raising much-needed awareness, particularly since liberal media prefers to only show on side of the story.

You need to know your facts because there are plenty of fake photos and misleading news out there that do not make our point.

#4. Do drills (preferably with your family)

They are easier than you think. During a lunch break, make it a point to get home as fast as you can (without causing an accident). Measure how long all of this takes you and try to beat your own record in subsequent drills. You can even stop along the way if you notice a vending machine to see how fast you can get to the cash in your survival bag to get water and energy bars (as you would in an emergency situation when you’d need to be hydrated and energized).

#5. Prepare for martial law

Total Martial Law means, among other things, the suspension of the Constitution and the replacement of the Government and the legislative powers with a military dictatorship. If this happens, it means things are bad. Really bad.

As long as you’re prepping, you might as well do it for a more extreme scenario such as this one because you’ll automatically be ready for anything else: riots, civil unrest or a state of emergency. Just remember what happened during Katrina when people were forced to spend several nights in the Superdome in New Orleans, along with types of people I’d rather not talk about.

#6. Don’t trust ANYONE

Good people turn into savages when put in critical situations. Just look at the migrant crisis in Europe. Many of the refugees became violent when they weren’t allowed into Hungary, not to mention some of them may be terrorists.

Speaking of which, some of the terrorists who decided to take Christian lives were also considered to be “nice guys” by the people who previously knew then and were interviewed. Heck, even some of your neighbors might get upset that you don’t join their protests (What normal prepper would, protests and having the mob mentality are completely useless.) My point is, you can’t really trust anyone during social unrest. Instruct your kids to avoid talking to strangers and learn to recognize when someone is stick to stay away from them.

#7.  Stay Connected and Read the Signs

If you bug out when it’s too late… bad news: you might not make it. The streets will be veritable battlefields so good luck with that. It’s better to bug out to early as soon as you feel things are going down the drain and make a fool of yourself than it is to make the decision when it’s too late and risk everything.

One of the most important things you can do is to constantly watch local TV stations or listen to local radio stations so you’re the first to know when something bad happens. You also need to

#8. Make Like-minded Friends

They don’t necessarily have to be preppers. A lot of folks out there are concerned with politics and the way things are going and, even if they aren’t prepping, they at least see the things the same way you do.

The more such people you know, the more likely it is they’ll help you or that you’ll help them. Who knows, maybe one of them will help you bug out in case you can’t for some reason (even if they don’t know what bugging out means right now).

#9. Become a grey man or woman

Becoming a grey man is all about not standing out from the crowd. Let’s take a closer look at those migrants trying to make their way into Germany, Austria and Sweden. Though there hasn’t been conclusive proof, many people fear that ISIS terrorists disguised themselves as refugees.

If you noticed, most of these guys were well dressed, had smartphones and money. So, if you were trying to blend in with them, would you try to look like a dirt-poor refugee? Of course not! You’d have a smartphone and good clothes too.

My point is, if you want to blend in with the people around you to avoid suspicions that you might have things of value on you, such as money, guns or gold. You need to look like them, smell like them and dress like them.

Final Word

It’s almost impossible to see how the coming nation-wide social chaos will unfold. Who would have thought modern refugees would look like the ones who are still trying, as I’m writing this, to make their way into Europe? The only certainty in the coming disaster is uncertainty so I guess my best and final advice I can give you is to always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

A guest post from Dan Sullivan – www.SurvivalSullivan.com

The post Easy Ways to Prepare for Riots and Migrant Invasions appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Fresh Made Simple

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Fresh Made Simple is a fun and vibrant book that inspires the desire to make whole foods taste delicious | PreparednessMama

A Naturally Delicious Way to Eat: Look, Cook, and Savor I’m excited to have my daughter Christina Wells provide today’s review: If you are anything like me, cooking can be such a chore. The whole process of grocery shopping, making the food, and then cleaning up afterward. I felt that there were easier things to do […]

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7 Survival and Prepping Hacks

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The prepping population knows their stuff. Knowing your stuff is sort of the name of the game when it comes to preparing for the worst. It’s necessary to be innovative, resourceful and aware in order to be in control when life as we know it changes drastically. There are many different ways that this scenario can play out and, luckily, many prepping practices cover a lot of different possibilities. We know the basics: food storage, water, protection, shelter, etc. But what about the little tips, or prepping hacks, we’ve learned without thinking about them, little things that make prepping just a little bit easier? We all have some, and here is a list of some survival and prepping hacks I’ve come across.

1. Remember The Crisco

Crisco is an amazing and versatile product. This may not seem like a necessity to have in your storage, but there are many ways that Crisco can be used. It’s great for frying food, greasing pans, and making baked goods. It’s great for for the skin in harsh conditions, scaly skin irritants, and can prevent rashes. Other uses include keeping cockroaches away, makeshift soap, making candles, getting things out of your hair, fixing squeaky hinges, preventing diaper rash, and many others. By putting a wick in a tub of Crisco you will have a candle that will reportedly burn for 45 days. There are other alternatives for Crisco including lard or coconut oil. Crisco, however, has a longer shelf life if stored properly and combines the perks and prepping hacks of these alternatives in one product.

2. Get The Seeds

Like I said before, as preppers, we know the importance of food storage. This practice will be vitally important if we are forced to live off of what we have and aren’t able to go out and grab some groceries. It’s important to understand food longevity, creative cooking methods, and the ability to hunt. Food storage, however, shouldn’t be the only way you are preparing to eat if the worst happens. The downside to food storage is that you are forced to leave a lot behind if you are forced to relocate. The solution to this problem is one of the easiest prepping hacks: buy and store a pack of seeds. This will enable you to grow your own, fresh food source and something easy to barter with. The seeds I’d recommend because of their ease to grow are:

  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Beans
  • Basil
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

3. Don’t Forget The Medicine

Storing medicine is one of the first prepping hacks you should consider.  The uses for medicine are an obvious necessity when prepping. It’s extremely important to have a stockpile of medicine that you need for your own specialized medical issues like insulin, inhalers or any other life-saving medication you need. This approach can be tricky for some types of medicine as some prescriptions are quite hard to refill before you’ve finished the amount you were prescribed. Some other types of medicine that are important to keep on hand are pain relievers, antidiarrheal medicines, orajel, amoxicillin, antacids, rubbing alcohol, and antibiotic ointment. Wound dressing is important as well so be sure to remember gauze. Infection can be an overlooked issue with prepping but can easily cause limb loss or death if not treated properly.

4. Bring The Baby Oil

Baby oil is another product that is easily overlooked but can be useful in a survival situation. In cold areas where you are outside in the elements a lot, baby oil can protect your exposed skin from dry or frostbitten skin. The risk for frostbite is highest for people who have reduced blood circulation. It is important for frostbite affected tissue to be removed immediately or gangrene and infection will take hold. Without the proper medication infection can cause death.  Baby oil will not completely eliminate the risk of frostbite, of course, but it will help delay the effects and is one of the easiest prepping hacks to follow.

5. It’s All About The Silver

There are many different types of disaster that can happen at any moment and an economic collapse is one of those possibilities. If it ends up that the dollar no longer means anything in our society we will have to revert back to a monetary system that was in place before paper money was in place as a sort of IOU for the gold and silver it was supposed to represent. Like gold, silver can be used as a hedge against inflation, deflation or currency debasement.

6. The Multi-Purpose Pad

The pad, primarily used for feminine hygiene, is an extremely versatile tool and prepping hack. Along with compiling stockpiles of food, water, and other important supplies, pick up a package of pads for your survival stash. Pads can be used for absorbing lighter fluid to be used later and is extremely light to carry. The cotton material inside the pad can be used for water filtration or creating a wick. You can use it to stop bleeding if you have a wound or to clean a wound. They can be used with string to create a mask, shoe insoles, or an ice pack.

7. Creative Uses For Condoms

Condoms are another cheap and easy to carry item that will be great in a survival situation. Aside for their intended purpose, these great prepping hacks can hold a gallon of water which can be a lot easier than toting around a water jug to do the same. However, once you fill a condom up with water they become highly susceptible to puncture even by small or blunt objects. I’d recommend keeping them around just in case, but not as your main means for keeping water. They are also great for keeping things dry like kindling or matches. The down side to using condoms for water or keeping things dry is the lubricant on the outside, but it’s a small price to pay as an easy substitution for a water jug in a pinch or a way to keep life-saving matches dry.

Survival and Prepping Hacks Wrap Up

Whether your prepping stash includes a giant storage warehouse filled with all of the necessary belongings needed in case disaster strikes or just a small tote filled with a few necessities, hopefully you discovered a few extra hacks to think about in the case of emergency. What unique prepping or survival hacks have you discovered?

prepping hacks

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Guest Poster: Chelsy Ranard on twitter
Guest Poster: Chelsy Ranard
Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She worked seasonally in Ketchikan, Alaska for five years where she learned vital survival skills, a love for fly fishing, and a newfound respect for the rain.

Testing Your Get Home Bag

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testing your get home bagYou built your get home bag. You hand selected each item. Now you need to put the same thought and care into testing your get home bag!

Testing Your Get Home Bag

So you worked on your survival bags for the past 6 months. You hand-picked the items to get the best ones for the best price. Heck, you even assembled your own first aid kit….

But have you actually tested your survival bags? Did you simulate an emergency and try to get home in record time? If you’re not doing this now, in a survival situation, you’re gonna wake up with a slew of problems you never really thought to. This is why drills are good: they uncover holes in your prepping plans you wouldn’t otherwise see.

Let’s see how you should test your get home bag and, with it, a few get home scenarios. You need to know how you’ll be getting home in case of an emergency. If you have a car that you use every day, that’s probably where you keep your GHB (short for Get Home Bag). On the other hand, if you’re using a bike, public transportation, taxis or even go on foot, then you need to do things differently.

In short, you have to test getting home in record time but there’re a few things to consider.

For example, you’re gonna need to think about getting speeding tickets or even causing an accident. While you’re buy simulating a disaster in your own head, the rest of the world won’t see that, particularly the police officers who won’t hesitate to stop you.

On the other hand, if you’re using a bike or if you’re on foot, you can rush it. People will just assume you’ve got an emergency and will even step aside to let you pass.

So how would you go about testing your GHB? The first thing you need is time. If you’re at work, you need to make sure you have time to get home and then come back from your lunch break. Doing it during the break is better because it puts extra pressure on you to get back but you can also do this in the evening, when you finish work.

One thing you need to do in advance is measure how long it typically takes you to get home, so you see how much faster you’ll be in case of an emergency. It’s always good to have a benchmark so you can break your record in subsequent drills.

Yes, doing this drill more than once is recommended. You’re gonna need to simulate taking a different route and even more complex scenarios such as getting into a car crash or running into an angry mob that stops your car and surrounds it. No, you don’t have to stop your car in the middle of the road or use pepper spray but stopping the car on the side of the road and seeing how fast you can reach your self-defense weapon is will work.

Ok, we talked about testing the self-defense items in your bag. You learned that if the bag is in your trunk, you can’t really get to them unless you get out of the car. How do you actually test the other items?

It’s easy. You just have to imagine running into various obstacles along the way and having to use the items in your bag to overcome them. For example. If you see a vending machine on the side of the road, quickly stop the car, then use the cash from your bag (not your wallet) to get some water and energy bars.

Another thing you can do is call your friends and family along the way; this will help you practice your distributive attention. I should mention you shouldn’t use the phone while driving unless you have hands free. You also don’t necessarily have to talk with them about survival as you don’t want people on the bus (if that’s what you’re taking) to panic or think you’re crazy.

Last but not least, let’s not forget that if your GHB might is too heavy or if you haven’t done a push-up since high-school, you’re either gonna need to carry less stuff or improve your fitness levels. The last thing you want is to stop every couple of minutes to catch your breath.

Final Word

If you liked what you read, that’s great. If you actually went ahead and did it, that’s amazing. Once you start taking action, you realize some of these survival drills aren’t that hard at all!

And if you’re wondering how to assemble a get home bag, there’re plenty of resources out there. You just need to keep the whole thing light (unless you keep it inside your car) and to always have quality items inside.

A guest post from our friend, Dan Sullivan – www.SurvivalSullivan.com

The post Testing Your Get Home Bag appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Tactical Gear – Care For Long Life

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Extending the life of your tactical gear is very essential, their ‘costliness’ being the main reason. Replacing them or buying new ones may not always be possible. So, it becomes important for you to take care them as well as possible.

The question arises here as how to take care of this precious gear? Have a look at these pro-active tips that can help you in maintaining the integrity of your tactical gear.

Different Types Of Tactical Gear

Boots

Allowing your tactical boots to get wet on a consistent basis will likely damage them over time. Follow the following tips to prevent your boots – arguably your most important piece of tactical gear – from losing their ‘health.’

  • When your boots get wet, take out the shoe pads immediately and allow them to dry naturally.
  • Do not wash your heavy boots ever in a washing machine as it will deteriorate the quality of your boots.  It will also bang up the washing machine from the inside – neither of which is a desirable outcome.
  • It is always judicious to hand wash your boots yourself if you do not have access to an industrial machine.

To clean the boots, wipe off any loose dust from the sides and soles of the boots using a damp sponge. Clean the inserts with a small brush. Then blot a little all-purpose leather cleaner and wipe using circular strokes. Allow the boots to air dry and then buff the leather sections with polish.  This process will make them look new almost instantly.

Firearms

Firearms are an important part of the defensive suite. Few things are built to last forever and firearms are no different. However, with a little attention, your firearms can extend the life of this tactical gear and possibly even allow it to protect your family for generations.

Firearm maintenance is all about lubricating or oiling them on a regular basis. Paying attention to the following critical parts is important:

  • The bolt should be kept healthy by applying a light coat of oil with a silicone cloth.
  • If the firearm possesses a bolt carrier, it should have a very light coat of oil and then wipe it clean. Too much oil here will snag the particles that will gum up the function of the bolt.
  • To clean the bore, pass swabs through them until they come out clean.
  • The trigger mechanisms of the firearm must be wiped clean, cleared of debris and have very little oil.
  • Apply a very light coat of oil if you have metal riding on any moving metal, and let it sit.

Knives

With time, knives lose their shine and become blunt. Cleaning helps them to stay in their original form. Sometimes, a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp knife if you fail to maintain them properly. Keeping your knife spotless and smooth-running is the best way to prevent oxidation and allow this key piece of tactical gear to stay fully functional. Let’s see how.

  • Rinse the knife blade under the running water to remove any loose dirt or hard residue. Dry it thoroughly after rinsing and then apply a small amount of oil to the blade. Gun oil, or machine oil can be used for this task.
  • To get your knife sharpened like new, consult a professional staff member at a cutlery store near you or you can try this great knife sharpening kit.

Body Armor

Body armor is defensive clothing that is designed to save your life from ballistic rounds and in some cases puncture wounds.  It can be the last line of defense in your tactical gear arsenal. To extend the life of your body armor you can:

  • Ensure that you keep them clean, dry and store them away from the direct sunlight.
  • Make sure you do not bend them, store them lying flat.
  • Keep the armor separate from other items in your trunk to ensure that nothing slides over them.

When it comes to cleaning the armor, consider these few things:

  • Never use chemical products like bleaches to clean them. Also, do not wash them in machine.
  • You must clean the removable panels of the carrier (special threat plates, armor panels). You must take them out from the carrier and wipe them down carefully. ALWAYS refer to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • After cleaning with the sponge, make sure you wipe off left-over liquid and spot-wash the carrier, and allow it to dry on a flat surface before you replace the panels.

Note: Do not dry your carrier in a machine dryer or in direct sunlight. Also, never leave it dipped in standing water for long periods of time.

Conclusion

Remember, you must always spend time to care for your tactical gear if you want them to function continuously at high levels of performance. Proper care will guarantee longevity, sturdiness, and above all, dependability.

tactical gear

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Guest Poster: Garry Bowman on twitterGuest Poster: Garry Bowman on googleGuest Poster: Garry Bowman on facebookGuest Poster: Garry Bowman on deliciousGuest Poster: Garry Bowman on blogger
Guest Poster: Garry Bowman
Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at 911gear.ca, the finest dealers of tactical equipment in Ontario, Canada. 911gear.ca also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Urban Farming: No Farm Farming

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Many people graduate from college and just sit year after year wondering what their calling is. If you are looking to make a difference in the world and find that the typical 9-to-5 isn’t making the cut, then perhaps it’s time to take a look at farming, specifically urban farming.

“What if I don’t have land?” you might ask. This article will help you bring farming techniques into fruition in areas where space is limited. Permaculture is a large concept at work here and it can run the gamut of everything from composting to water retention systems. Although you may think that your backyard is too small to enact some of the main principles, think again. All of these things can bring you one step closer to farming in your backyard.

Water Harvesting

You may not be building the water terraces of ancient China or the aqueducts of old Peru, but you can still change the dynamic landscape of your own backyard to save water. Consider where you need to water and where rain gathers. If you can divert this natural force and slow it’s descent to the sewer you’ll be better off.

First, let’s tackle the backyard. Taking excess dirt and creating a slope that funnels water to the center of the garden is the best way to take advantage of soil architecture and save rain water, as well as water from your sprinkler. 

Roof runoff is also worth saving no matter how rare rainfall is in your area. There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up a water cache system like this.

  • Water Quality: Water must be filtered and should be pollutant free. Keep in mind that zinc-aluminum roofing can be dangerous to your health.
  • Do not let your gutters become blocked with leaves. Leaf guard can be expensive, while homemade alternatives are still effective.
  • Regular maintenance is a must. You’ll want to make sure that water is sealed at appropriate times, to protect from development of mosquitoes in warmer months.

Companion Planting

Growing plants that are native to the same continent and cultures together will improve crops survivability. Because these plants have evolved in the same place for many generations, they require the same protection, and in some instances provide shade, nutrients, and ground cover.

You might find your crops being under siege from spider mites or other pests. This guide will illustrate just how to face those problems in an organic way, by using companion plants.

Composting

Composting is central to the farming experience. While we won’t delve completely into the wide world of composting here, there are a few things to remember while at home in the urban setting.

  • Make sure to seal compost bins to avoid confrontation with pets, pests, and neighborly noses.
  • Red Worms are your best friend
  • Save coffee grounds or ask for some from a local business
  • Find a local composting co-op if you don’t have room at home.

Keep in mind that your goal is to return nutrients to the soil as food for crops. You don’t want your backyard turning into a miniature dust bowl after several seasons.

Graywater

This is a topic that can take some getting used to, but with proper installation you can use the forms of water in your household that are not exposed to human waste to better hydrate the garden. I’ve seen setups where the sink was disconnected and water was free to run into a bucket for later distribution. This comes with it’s problems of course, and is not recommended. But there are designs aplenty for whatever age your home may be. Here are some of the most prominent benefits:

  • More water for use, and less strain on wells or drought stricken areas
  • Less strain on failing septic tank
  • Less energy and chemical use
  • Plants benefit foremost and after water is returned to it’s origin (groundwater) faster
  • Increased awareness of and sensitivity to natural cycles

Poultry & Eggs

Yard pending, you can find a way to install a small to medium chicken coop or convert a pre-existing shed. The chicken housing must meet several requirements, not only for city ordinance, but also for the chickens themselves to be happy and fruitful:

  • Chicken feeding is a regular job and requires a solid schedule. An automatic feeder may lessen the burden.
  • Fencing around the coop can be important if you have nosy pets or live in an area rife with predators.
  • Don’t forget the light! Chickens only lay eggs based on daylight cycles. Some lights will also affect the temperature of the coop, which is another important part of keeping chickens healthy and alive.
  • Make sure you have access to the inside so you may clean regularly.

Whether the goal you have in mind is for eggs (quite sustainable) or for poultry, you should find that the coop is an excellent addition to the home, and is one step closer to making you an actual farmer. Treat your chickens well and healthy product will come along with it.

Position of the Sun         

If you aren’t paying attention this could spell disaster for your first year, mostly because you won’t have a second year. Without proper daylight your crop will never properly flourish, and for some locations the urbanite may have to do some proper planning. Before making any cuts on the tree linings of the property, make a chart that shows where the sun line falls on your property. In some cases you’ll have full coverage, but more than likely you’ll have a tree or two in the way. Note the time of year as well, as the sun will shift depending on the season.

After trimming, consider burying the remnants of your tree trimmings to create a Hugelkultur bed. This is a form of composting that uses trees and tree parts to save moisture, contribute nutrients, and reinvigorate the soil. Gather the tree parts and bury them with a layer of nutrient dense material and cover with topsoil and my personal preference of straw.

Urban Farming For All…

This article is only the tip of the iceberg.  Use the following resources to transform your backyard into a farmer’s market contributor, and turn that day job into that of an urban farmer. If all goes well, maybe you’ll make that return back to college for an agricultural education. For now, supplement your income with fresh fruit, vegetables, and stock!

References and Resources for Further Education

Urban Farming

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Guest Poster: Ryan De La Rosa on twitter
Guest Poster: Ryan De La Rosa
Ryan De La Rosa is traveling the NorthWest looking for a place to farm, even a place to compost would do.

A Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor for the End of the World

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preppers guide to body armorMany preppers are eager to equip themselves with all kinds of weaponry, but the need for proper protection is something that few are aware of. This is exactly why they need to read up on a Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor.

A Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor for the End of the World

 

Survival means that you need to be prepared for the worst that could happen. This could mean ensuring that you have ample supplies of food and water, a well-fortified location to live in, and the skills and knowledge necessary to survive, in whatever situation the world has descended into.

All of this means preparation, from building up stocks, to ensuring you have the right equipment. Many survivalists are eager to equip themselves with all kinds of weaponry, but overlook the need for proper defensive protections.

Isn’t it ironic that being adequately prepared may turn you into a greater target; as those who did not have the foresight to prepare will covet your supplies. Despite how well-armed and well-supplied you are, if you are not protected, it is all for naught.

This is why it is crucial that you have body armor. Body armor incorporates a wide range of products; including bullet proof vests, stab proof vests, and even ballistic helmets. A bullet proof vest is the most appropriate protection for preppers and survivalists, as firearms become more and more coveted. Even before the world, as we know it, ends, firearms will be your most serious threat.

Selection

Bullet proof vests are rated by different levels, depending on the ammunition it can stop, so it is important that you consider what types of firearm will most likely be used by your potential attackers.

Armor at Level IIa can protect against 9mm, .45 and .380 rounds, whereas armor at Level IV can stop armor-piercing ammunition. These Levels refer to the US National Institute of Justice’s levels of protection (NIJ Levels) as decided on through their own rigorous testing methods. Each Level is capable of stopping all ammunition outlined at lower levels.

As time passes and the world continues to turn, covered in inhospitable weather, with roaming bands of scavengers or even shambling reanimated corpses, firearms will be lost in battle or break, become scarcer and scarcer. Your preparation will ensure you survive as long as possible, maybe even long enough that knives and spiked weapons have become a more serious threat than firearms.

Edged and spiked weapons are easily accessible and deadly weapons, and it is important that you can protect against these also. You may wonder how someone could get close enough to you to do damage with one of these weapons, but all it takes is a lucky shot, with a crossbow, from an amateur Daryl Dixon and all your preparation is wasted. Therefore, you will need edged and spiked protection.

Even where weapons are not used, your body armor can protect you. The materials, used in a bullet proof vest, are excellent at absorbing and dispersing energy, meaning that blunt force and impact trauma can be negated. Debris strikes and vehicular accidents become less deadly when wearing body armor.

Turning to the more fantastic (but not impossible), body armor can even protect you against the undead. While the ballistic materials used in bullet proof vests can protect you from brute force, the nails and teeth of these rotting horrors will simply rip and tear the fabric, much like an edged weapon does. Making sure your body armor has stab and spike protection will not only stop all types of weapons, but the layers of chainmail and/or laminate will help stop anything from penetrating through your vest.

Adding additional layers of protection will increase the size and weight of armor. This increase is negligible, and the extra protection is invaluable. The increase in size and weight is so slight that even armor offering the highest levels of protection can be worn comfortably underneath clothes. Some of these vests even use temperature-regulating technologies to help draw moisture away from the skin and keep the wearer cool. Vests worn underneath your outer lay of clothing are labeled as covert vest.

These covert vest are best when you do not wish to draw attention to your protection. You may wonder why you’d need a covert vest in a hostile and violent new world.

Those with advanced training and aim may choose to attack the unprotected areas of you body, rendering your protection useless. Many experts also hotly debate the fact that overt body armor might even make you more of a target, inviting attacks.

This can happen whether or not you are wearing covert armor, and you may wish to have additional protection for areas like the upper arms, groin, throat and neck. This will necessitate an overt vest, which is worn over clothing, yet is still lightweight, flexible and comfortable.

The presence of body armor should help deter potential attackers, who will think twice about attacking in light of your obvious preparation.

Whatever your choice of vest type, it has to reflect your preparation and be suitable for the potential threats. You can be confident that it will keep you protected while remaining comfortable.

Guest Post from SafeGuard Clothing

The post A Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor for the End of the World appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Infographic: Displacements Due to Natural Disasters – Spending and Solutions

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Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on […]

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home Invasion

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Bugging out may be the best option for most of us when disaster strikes, but we should also consider bugging in as a worthy alternative. It may be the only option in some circumstances such as a home invasion. If you decide to stay put, you need to make sure your home (house, apartment, etc) is prepared for a potential home invasion.  Even if you plan to leave home when the riots start, you’re still gonna wanna fortify your home to decrease its chances of getting ransacked while you’re gone.

I think we have enough reasons to talk about all the various things you can do to prepare your apartment for a home invasion, what do you think? Here are my top tips…

Tip #1 – Strengthen Your Door

If you live on the fifth floor, there’s little doubt that, should someone attempt a home invasion, he’s gonna do it through the front door. Luckily, there are several things you can do to make sure they don’t get through:

  • Use longer screws to secure the door
  • Use a door barricade (most doors can be knocked down by a few kicks)
  • Get a bigger door (not always possible in an apartment setting)

On top of these improvements, the most important thing you can do is never leave your door open. Around 20% of all home invasions in the United States happen because the bad guys are very tempted by open doors and windows (Source: Bureau of Justice).

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home InvasionTip #2 – Install A Pick-Resitant Door Lock

Most locks are helpless against lock bumping. I won’t go into the details of this technique here but there are a number of types of locks that are “bump resistant,” such as the Abloy Protec2 Double Cylinder Deadbolt.

Of course, if you can have at least a couple of different locks on your door, that’s even better. It will surely discourage most burglars from attempting a home invasion.

Tip #3 – Your Other Doors Or Windows

Your other doors and windows are vulnerable too. Let me ask you a question – how easy it is right now for someone to click one of your windows open? Or, how easy would it be for them to break the glass from your balcony door?

To strengthen your windows, you can use plexiglass. Also, make sure all of them are safely locked when they’re not fully open. It’s also good practice to always lock them even when you’re at home. Don’t forget that a good portion of home invasions happen while the owner is inside!

Tip#4 -Designate A Safe Room

This could be your second bathroom, for example. It doesn’t need to be big, it just has to keep you and your team/family/group safe. You’ll have to strengthen its door just like you did with your front door.

Keep in mind that you might have to spend entire days there (worst case scenario, of course), so you’re going to need food, water, weapons, light sources, and a phone to be able to call the police (if police will be available).

One key aspect to keep in mind is the number of people it can hold. There has to be enough space for all of your group members.  If there are four or five people in your household, you might have to designate another safe room.

Whatever you do, do not attempt to open the door to face your opponent during a home invasion. If you have an escape route you can use, that’s fine, but don’t ever use the main door.

Tip 5 – Know Your Escape Routes

You may have only one shot at getting out of your apartment during a home invasion. The one thing you won’t have is time to think. Since locking yourself up in your safe room should be a last resort, it would be fantastic if you could have at least one way of getting out of there (through a small window, for example).

Now, I can’t possibly know what that route is, that’s something for you to figure out on your own. Maybe you have a fire escape, maybe you live on the first floor and you can use an escape ladder to climb down the window. Escape ladders, like this one, are relatively cheap on Amazon and provide good insurance for this scenario.

In fact, if you could have an escape ladder in each room, that would be even better. You can keep them under the bed, for example, and you can even have one in your bug-out bag, you might need to climb down at some point when bugging out.

Tip #6 – Install Early Warning Systems From Home Invasion

Having an alarm system or even a common bell that jingles every time the door opens could give you those much needed seconds to escape. You can also think about having and activating motion sensors at night.  A dog is also a great option for altering you of a home invasion.

Speaking of which, dogs can be a very helpful during home invasions but they can also be easily taken down with pepper spray or other weapons if the attacker is prepared.

Tip #7 – Know Your Neighbors

It’s always good to know who you’re dealing with. They may be really nice people or, on the contrary, they may be thieves themselves and just wait for an opportunity to start planning a home invasion when police may not be readily present.

Now What?

What I covered here on preparing your apartment for a home invasion is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to know more about how to protect your home, whether you live in the city, the suburbs or in the countryside, check out my other article here.

7 Tips To Prepare Your Apartment From Home Invasion

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Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan on twitterGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on rssGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on pinterestGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on facebook
Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan
His dad was military. His grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But Dan doesn’t take orders from anyone. He’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s not just preparing, he’s going to friggin’ war!

Infographic: Natural Disasters and Hospital Safety

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Natural Disasters and Hospital Safety During times of meteorological disasters, citizens often make it a point to head to local hospitals in the hopes of finding safety from the storm. After an investigation by Consumer Reports, it has become apparent that flocking to nearby hospitals may not be the safest option, especially when so many […]

Crazy Bug-Out Vehicles

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Before we begin this somewhat unusual article, let me assure you of one thing: I haven’t lost my mind. A good ol’ diesel Ford F250 is probably the best bug-out vehicle for most of us and you probably don’t need any of these crazy bug-out vehicles. What I’m trying to do here is stimulate your imagination a little bit and give you a few unconventional ideas on what you can use to bug-out other than your feet. (You can find a full list of the best vehicles for bugging out at this link.)

Some of them may shock you, others will get you to say: Oh, I never thought if that, that’s clever!

OK, let’s get started with my list of crazy bug-out vehicles…

ATV

If fuel consumption is something you’re worried about when it comes to 4x4s, an ATV may be the right bug-out vehicle for you. Obviously, you can’t load it up with supplies (except your bug-out bag) but it should be enough for get you where you want to go… quietly and fast. It’s perfect if you have a bug-out location between 50 and 100 miles away; it could be farther away but then you have to always have extra fuel tied to the back rack.

Inflatable Boat, Kayak or Canoe

If a car or an ATV doesn’t quite fit your budget and you’re near a river, an inflatable boat could work as a bug-out vehicle. You can bug-out way faster on water than you can on foot and, if you choose a kayak over a boat, you can even carry it in your BOB (a lot of them are under 10 pounds).

You can find plenty of them on Amazon and the best part is, they can give you quite a workout as part of your survival fitness training if you decide to use them while camping.

Monster Tactical Vehicle

This crazy bug-out vehicle is definitely not for everyone. They’re big, they’re armored, they draw attention to themselves and they eat up huge amounts of fuel. Of course, the biggest drawback is the price.  It can easily go beyond half a million dollars. The Knight XV from Conquest is the perfect example: it weighs 13,000 pounds (a little below 6 tons), it has a 6.7L V8 turbo diesel engine, 300 HP and costs over $600,000.

Do you need it? Probably not, unless you’re a hardcore prepper with lots of cash on your hand and figured you could use a “mobile bunker”. See, just like a bunker, if people know you’re in it, they can keep you inside until you’re ready to come out… one way or another.

Expedition Vehicle

Just when you thought there’s nothing crazier than a tactical vehicle, there it is: the UXL 17-HD from Unicat with its 261 gallon (or 990 liters) tanks, bulletproof cab and windows and even land mine protection. It weighs 17 tons or 34,500 lbs and…I won’t go into the price of this thing.  Definitely a bug-out vehicle for the prepper who has everything (else).

Off-Road Go-Kart

There’s nothing funny about going from an expedition vehicle to a go-kart with our list…but this one may be something you will actually use as a bug-out vehicle. There’re a wide variety of go-carts out there but the ones that have 4-wheel drive are the ones you’ll want to start looking at.

Crazy Bug-Out Vehicle - The Railroad HandcarHandcar

I saved the best for last. The handcar is a rail track vehicle you’ve probably seen in two places: in movies depicting life between 1850 and 1900…and in Looney Tunes cartoons. Believe it or not, there are people out there who still make them and even sell them (like this guy, for instance).

Is a handcar something you really want to use as a bug-out vehicle? Probably not, since they’re pretty heavy and you’d need a trailer to take them to the tracks. Even if you manage to do that, there’s no telling how far it can take you. Although trains will probably not work, all it take is one abandoned locomotive in your way and you’re forced to abandon your handcar and continue bugging out on foot. (Bugging out on foot on the rail tracks, by the way, is a great idea as not many people will think of doing it.)

Final Word On Crazy Bug-Out Vehicles

When you look at this list again, you probably realize not all of these bug-out vehicles are crazy. Inflatable canoes, ATVs, dirt bikes and off-road go-karts are actually viable options and don’t cost a fortune. Whether you should get one or stick to your car or bike, that’s really depends on the number of people in your household, your budget, your bug out plans, your climate, the landmarks around where you live and, of course, your fitness levels.

Crazy Bug-Out Vehicles

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Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan on twitterGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on rssGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on pinterestGuest Poster: Dan Sullivan on facebook
Guest Poster: Dan Sullivan
His dad was military. His grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But Dan doesn’t take orders from anyone. He’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s not just preparing, he’s going to friggin’ war!

Fire Safety – Preparing for Anything

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There are over 1 million fires reported in the US every year according to the NFPA. These fires lead to about 15,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths. Given these numbers, fire safety is of utmost concern – especially in a SHTF scenario. Preparing for a fire and having the tools necessary to suppress the flames and evacuate can be essential to ensuring your survival.

Identifying Fire Risks

Steps should be taken to eliminate fire liabilities however trying to prevent the outbreak of fire is obviously preferred . Overcrowded electrical plugs, unattended candles and faulty kitchen appliances are all examples of potential fire risks. You should make sure that you and your loved ones know how to minimize these risks.  Keep in mind that, due to decorating your house, a lot of these risks are even more prevalent around the holidays.

Fires can start in all sorts of crazy ways in addition to the standard ones above. And they’re not always preventable. Some recent examples of odd fire starters include a Nutella jar next to a window, a cellphone overheating and a blender sparking flames.

While it is obviously best to practice fire prevention, it is crucial to have a plan and prepare for when a fire does break out.

Fire Safety Preparation

Preparing for fire safety involves three easy steps:

  1. Smoke Detectors
    Anyone who takes preparedness seriously must make sure they have working smoke detectors throughout their home. Smoke detectors should be placed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home including the basement. Alarms should also be placed in the living room, near the stairway to the upper level and, most importantly, in the kitchen. You should be checking your alarms once a month to make sure they’re still working According to FEMA.
  2. Fire Extinguishers
    Fires can get out of control in as little as 30 seconds. Preparing in advance by placing fire extinguishers in key areas of your home can prevent the spread of flames and possibly save your house. At the very minimum, it is best to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, the laundry room, and the garage. These three locations are considered high-risk areas for fires. The general rule is that you want to have the extinguisher in your hand within 6 seconds of becoming aware of the fire.
  3. Evacuation
    It takes fire crews, on average, 10 minutes to arrive on scene.  That means that it will be up to you to make sure you get out safely. Preparing and practicing a fire safety escape plan is a great idea and it can be life saving. One key component to any fire safety escape plan is that every room should have two safe exits even if it means using a window. First floor windows should not have bars on them that cannot be opened in an emergency. Second and third floor rooms should have a fire ladder nearby. Make sure that it is tested and safe. Finally, if the room is several stories up, there are other alternate evacuation methods which will allow you to safely descend from your window.

Wrap Up

Overall, fire safety is an important issue for suburban homesteaders – and anyone with a preparedness mindset – to think about.  Check on your plans, practice with your family and make sure you are not going to become a statistic.

Fire Safety

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Guest Poster: Joseph Schwartz on youtubeGuest Poster: Joseph Schwartz on twitterGuest Poster: Joseph Schwartz on linkedinGuest Poster: Joseph Schwartz on facebook
Guest Poster: Joseph Schwartz
Content Manager at SkySaver
Joseph Schwartz is originally from Toronto, Canada and currently works as the Content Manager at SkySaver, a high-rise rescue company. Joseph has always spent his summers at camps teaching outdoor skills and leading hikes. His background is in teaching and marketing and he is always looking to learn new survival skills and share knowledge with others.

Dreaming of a Green Holiday Season

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It pays to be prepared for Christmas. Most people have a certain set of rituals for the holidays. This usually includes buying and wrapping gifts, decorating and buying a Christmas tree. These are time honored traditions, and they’re fun, but they can also be hard on the environment. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to celebrate a “Green Christmas” — one that is both environmentally friendly and joyful. Let’s look at some of the best ways to prepare for a green holiday season.

Send Emails Rather Than Paper Cards

While Christmas cards are a tradition, they also waste quite a bit of paper between the card and envelope. Emails are not only more environmentally friendly, they save you postage. You can get creative in your emails and include nice holiday themed graphics or links to e-cards.

Gift Wrap Using Recycled Paper

You can either buy recycled gift wrapping paper or repurpose paper you already have. You can make your gift wrapping even greener by also using recycled bows, ribbons and other decorative items. Another option is to wrap gifts in decorative gift bags that can be reused.

Use a Live Christmas Tree

It may come as a surprise to some, but live Christmas trees are better for the environment than plastic ones. Plastic consumes many resources and creates quite a bit of waste and pollution. The most sustainable type of tree is a live one in a pot. You can either keep the tree in its pot or replant it after the Christmas season.

Use LED Lights on the Tree

When lighting up your Christmas tree, use LED lights, which are far more energy efficient than other kinds. LED lights can last as long as 100,000 hours, which will get you through many holiday seasons! You should also remember to turn the lights off while everyone is asleep. Christmas tree lights, even LEDs, can actually hike up your monthly energy bill in December, so this might also be a good time of year to look into whether or not you can reduce your monthly energy costs by changing service providers (see this website for more details).

Give Creative Gifts

There are many alternatives to buying gifts at the mall or ordering them online. You could make gifts for people. If you are artistic you could create paintings, sculptures or collages for people. If you are handy, you could make items out of wood, metal or other materials. If you are good at sewing or needlepoint, clothing, rugs or blankets all make great gifts. Another option is to give experiences rather than physical objects. This might include yoga classes, massages, spa treatments or gift certificates for a nice restaurant.

Buy “Green” Gifts

There are now many companies that make eco-friendly gifts, whether clothing, jewelry, toys or home decor. You can also find creative and green gifts at antique shops. Most of all, try to avoid toys and gadgets that require batteries, which are an environmental hazard when discarded.

Reduce HolidayDriving

It’s easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere during the holiday season. Between shopping, holiday parties and visits, people often consume extra fuel during this time of year. Try to minimize this by doing more carpooling. If you have friends, co-workers or family members attending the same events, arrange to go together.

Buy in Bulk

It’s typical for people to stock up on food for holiday parties and meals. When you go to the store, buy as many items in bulk as you can. This includes not only food but also paper items such as paper towels and napkins. This will save you money and cut down on the packaging used.

These are just a few of the ways that you can have a “Green Christmas” this year. When you start thinking this way, you will probably come up with more ideas of your own. It’s often more fun to have environmentally friendly holidays, as you have to think creatively rather than simply do everything the same old way.

Thanks to Beth for a great guest post.

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker