Taking Notes and Drawing Maps: Trayvax, Rite in the Rain, Fisher Space Pen

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Taking Notes and Drawing Maps: Trayvax, Rite in the Rain, Fisher Space Pen This article is an interesting one that takes a look at some interesting tech that is out there.  Its not the type of tech that you might be thinking of. For many an EDC requires a pen and a pad to jot …

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Free Manuals: Military Manuals & Books About Knot-Tying

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Here are some free downloads of various books on knots and military manuals that you may find useful. You may want to consider downloading them to an older laptop and sticking it in a Faraday Bag. This will let you keep them handy, even in a worst-case scenario, without the expense of printing them.


Essential Fishing Knots

Pioneering Knots and Lashings


Knots, Splices, Attachments and Ladders

Knots, Splices and Rope Work


Free military manuals

Arctic SubArctic SurvivalB-GL-323-003-FP-001

Basic Food Preparation

Canadian Military Field Craft

Marine Land Navigation

Mountain Operations FM3976

Pressure Points Military Hand to Hand Combat Guide

TC 31 – Special Forces Caching Techniques 

Terrain Analysis

Topographic Operations

US Army fm31 70 Basic Cold Weather Manual

US Army Combatives hand to hand combat FM-325-150

US Army Field Manual FM 3-19.15, Civil Disturbance Operations 

US Army Map Reading and Land Navigation

Army stp21-1 Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Skills Level 1

US Army stp21-24 Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Skills Level-2-3-and-4

US Marine Corps Hand to Hand Combat

US Marine Corp Pistol Markmanship


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How to Use Google Earth to Make Your Home More Secure For Your Family

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how to use google earth home securityThe capabilities of Google Earth should terrify you. Input an address, any address, in this website and the location pops up in all its 3-D glory. Your vehicles may show up, your backyard with its playset, even, possibly, you in the pool or sunbathing. Without a doubt, Google’s intrusion on our privacy is just beginning. This article provides more in-depth information as to what Google Maps and Google Earth are capable of.

On a whim, I decided to turn the tables on Google Earth, just a bit, and use it for my own purposes. I pulled up our address on Google Earth, and took several screenshots — one of our entire town, a few of my general neighborhood, then a couple of my street, and 2 very close shots of my home, with the idea of using these screenshots to help with my prepping and planning.

Once I created these screenshots, I went to work to figure out how I could best secure and prep my home and our property. This turned out to be an eye-opening experience, and I highly recommend you do the same, as I explain in this article.

For the purpose of this article, I selected a general area in Glendale, Arizona, to illustrate this process as I put Google Earth to work to help with my home security and prepping plans.

SCREENSHOTS #1 and 2: Overview of town

First, grab some screenshots that provide a broad overview of your town, showing highways and other large features.

I can easily see at a glance all major highways and thoroughfares, as well as locations that tend to bring in a lot of traffic, such as churches, a college, sports arenas, a large city park, etc. Glendale, Arizona, is in a desert, so there are no lakes, rivers, dams, bridges, or other features that might have security implications.

This screenshot is valuable in the insights it provides for planning evacuations. In this next screenshot, you get an idea of how difficult, and futile, it would be to try and evacuate should a worst case scenario occur. Unless you live on the far outskirts of this massive city, you can kiss your rear end goodbye — you ain’t goin’ nowhere. If traffic on the very few highways doesn’t kill you, then the miles of surrounding desert will.

In the photo above, imagine that just 30% of the population realizes the need to evacuate. In the screenshot of your own town, take one street at a time, and mark every third house. After just 3 or 4 streets, you’ll soon realize the difficulties with any evacuation. The sheer number of people on the road, even less than 30%, will be staggering in a city the size of the greater Phoenix area.

In the second screenshot, how many routes out of town do you see? There’s I-10, heading east/west, I-17, heading north and south, the 101 loop, that kind of goes nowhere you’d want to go in a major crisis, and then the 51 that meanders through the northern part of Phoenix, again, offering no real escape route.

Take a couple of similar screenshots of your own town. What obvious routes in and out do you see? If you were a terrorist or some other really bad guy, how quickly could you block traffic both in and out of your town or neighborhood? If you aren’t surrounded by impassable deserts, what other natural features might offer challenges? Answers to these questions become more obvious when viewed from many thousands of feet above earth. Thank you, Google Earth!

SCREENSHOT #3 and 4: Zooming in to your neighborhood

This view is where Google Earth really pays off, because now I can identify more specific potential threats as well as sources of help. This neighborhood is similar to one my family lived in (same area), and I’m highlighting the house in the large red box for training purposes, as they say. Let’s review this map using the letter markings I’ve placed in a few key locations.

A: This marks the closest major highway, Loop 101. This is usually the fastest way to get out of town from this point but in a catastrophic event, the highway will shut down in less than 10 minutes. Sheer numbers of people, vehicle accidents, vehicle breakdowns — it’s just not a viable route out of town, unless I’m in front of the very first wave. A while back, I wrote this article about the importance of being in the first wave, and it would be good to review that information now.

B: In the case of this particular neighborhood, there’s a large park to the northeast. That park could become home to vagrants, but it could also become a neighborhood garden or meeting place. Unfortunately, there is no natural water source here as there would be in other parts of the country. In your own Google Earth screenshots, look for natural water features.

C: From the central point of this home, there are 2 possible directions for leaving the driveway. Pulling back a bit, you can see that leaving the neighborhood isn’t all that easy.

If this were my house, I could go to the right and quickly get on a street that would get me out of the neighboorhood. Perhaps not to safety, but at least out of the immediate area. If I turn left from this driveway, I have to take the long way around, and if the emergency is happening in real time, how many others will be pulling out of their driveaways with the same thought in mind.

Again, think about that 30% of people knowing, or being able, to evacuate. Just in this very small segment of a town, that is a LOT of people! Here is where having a few alternate forms of transportation comes in handy. Bicycles could be passed over a fence or wall, allowing for a quick exit. Motorcyles, street bikes, and even hoofing it out on foot — take all those options into consideration when looking for best evacuation routes.

By the way, this book about emergency evacuations has some of the most helpful and most specific information I’ve found on the subject.

D: I marked a cul-de-sac because these are very common features in neighborhoods. They are desirable for many reasons, but in an evacuation, you could become trapped. It’s also important to know where those cul-de-sacs are, so you don’t inadvertently make a turn into one, ending up in a dead end.

E:  This house has an apartment complex immediately behind it. I used to live in an apartment and bear no ill will toward anyone who does, but the fact that apartments are points of high density population increases the potential that criminal types of one form or another could be on the other side of this backyard fence. As well, in a food or water shortage, the obvious source of anything necessary to survival are the homes immediately surrounding the apartment complex.

One other notation I made on Screenshot #3 are red stars highlighting the homes and neighbors that I knew well and/or figured I could possibly count on in an emergency. Using another past neighborhood I lived in, the house to the left is home to a very preparedness-minded Mormon family my kids were friends with, and to the right, was a couple in their 50’s, very active in the shooting sports and also prepper-minded. Due to my keen observation skills, I happen to know that the house on the far left corner is home to a retired member of the U.S. Army — the dead giveaway being the ARMY t-shirt he wears when he mows the lawn. Across the street are 2 former policemen.

Now, there’s no way to know FOR SURE how anyone will react in a severe crisis, including myself, but by getting to know neighbors and just watching for signs of homes/individuals that have military or law-enforcement careers (past or present) as well as various tradespeople (such as the electric company lineman who lives on the next street), it’s all very helpful information to have.

Your next screenshot should be one that encompasses your own street as well as a handful of streets on all sides. Make a note of “friendlies” and, in some cases, “hostiles” — people you already know will cause problems in the aftermath of a major natural disaster or, God forbid, a longterm power outage. It’s better to be aware of this possibility than to let your guard down and become too trusting. With this screenshot, also look for entrances to your neighborhood. How many ways could someone in a vehicle or on foot, get access to your neighborhood or your street? What could you do to prevent entry to your property or, at least, slow them down?

SCREENSHOT #4: Zoom in on your own home from different points of view

In this screenshot, I’ve isolated the target home and noted windows, doors, and a couple of problem areas. To the left are massive trees and bushes that provide handy cover for intruders. In the hot Arizona sun, they also provide some shade to that side of the house, so if I lived here, I’d have to decide whether or not to trim the trees, cut them down, or enjoy the shade.

Another issue is the obvious lack of space between houses. A group of criminals could easily move from one house to the next, stealing, vandalizing, etc. Would it be possible to raise the height of these 2 block fences or take some other measure to discourage any invaders from entering the property, such as planting rose bushes or cacti?

This view is helpful when planning a home fire evacuation with the kids. Pull up this view on Google Earth and show them exactly where they should exit and where the family meeting point will be.

SCREENSHOT #5: Close shot of the house/property front

It’s easy to maneuver the Google Earth screen to focus on the front of a house or property, the back, even the sides, and I encourage you to do that in order to look for other security issues, in particular.

If this house was on a bigger piece of land, I could also look for best locations for outbuildings, a garden, fruit trees, etc.


One of the reasons I wanted to move my family from the Phoenix area is depicted in Screenshot #2 — the massive deserts surrounding the city, the high density population, obvious lack of natural water sources, and the very few roads leading out of the city.

However, none of us live in an ideal location. Our current town was devasted by floods following Hurricane Harvey in August, 2017. Although we have plenty of natural water sources now, they present their own challenges.

Your living situation is probably different — perhaps mountains with only a few roads passing through, miles of flat terrain, high-density population centers, swamps, you name it. Using Google Earth maps will show features and challenges you might not know exist.

I highly recommend using Google Earth to analyze your own prepping and security challenges. Are there any strategies I overlooked?

UPDATE: After posting this, I realized that I need to go through these same steps with my workplace location — identifying safe areas for evacuation, routes home, etc. I suggest you do the same for yourself and any loved ones who work away from home or go to school.

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Survival Without A Cellphone | episode 160

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Survival Without A Cellphone | episode 160
Photo via Andrew Mager on Flickr

Survival Without A Cellphone | episode 160


This week Mike and talk about survival without a cell phone. What do you do when your phone breaks or no longer works? 

We’ve all come to rely on smartphones for so many tasks that we often never carry backups. 

Most of us no longer remember phone numbers. Maps are rarely carried. 

Today we talk about why you should have redundancies and which ones to have. 


  • Watch
  • Date book
  • Memo
  • Map’s
  • Compass
  • Phone Numbers
  • Own a phone book
  • Physical documents
  • Calculator
  • Flashlights
  • Communication
  • Backup camera
  • Own real books
  • Entertainment




Road Atlas

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Here Are The Survival Maps You Should Be Using

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Mankind is at greater risk from both natural hazards and many manmade hazards than at any other time in history. Think about that statement for a moment. I know I do. This is why I try to write about what I am working on in my personal emergency preparedness and survival efforts, or to work on my preparedness related to topics, to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

One of my long-term projects is my own personal Modular Survival Kit which is one of the primary frameworks for my personal emergency preparedness efforts. From that framework hangs a smaller project which is called the Digital Survival Library and my personal digital map collection is part of that project.

I have been working on it and thought I’d document some bits and pieces to share with my friends who read Surviopedia. Make a list and check them one by one as you get them, you will later make good use of these survival resources!

12 Strategic Planning Maps Sources for Location Selection

I have listed some resources for the USA and a few for maps abroad, but if you live or own property outside the US, you may need to look up the equivalent entity in that country. I wouldn’t buy paper copies of the maps here unless they are in books since you only need them to plan.

1. USGS Natural Hazards Maps

This is probably most all-encompassing natural hazards map site I know of and includes tsunami, earthquake, geomagnetism, landslide, volcano, astrogeology, flood, drought and wildfire hazards. It even includes quite a bit of information for foreign nations.

2. FEMA Earthquake Hazard Maps 

This one will show you  how earthquake hazards vary across the United States.

3. FEMA Flood Map Service Centergov

They can help you understand flood insurance rate maps.

4. National Geospatial Intelligence Maps

They are good for studying all kinds of things from nuclear power plants to polar ice and climate change.

5. US Nuclear Reactors, Nuclear Power Plants & Seismic Hazard

It wouldn’t take a tsunami to cause a severe nuclear accident in the US. Note where the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors are and note 10 & 50 mile zones around plant and take prevailing winds into consideration.

6. Nuclear Target Maps

You won’t find any current nuclear target maps on-line, as any current information is going to be secret compartmented. That said, there is plenty of outdated, declassified material available in on-line archives.

One of the greatest nuclear risks today is that a single nuclear weapon or small number of them will be detonated in major cities. New York and Washington DC are major targets as are many significant and/or populous cities, but it’s largely speculation so I won’t include nuclear target maps on this topic for planning purposes, but do observe likely fallout patterns from major cities.

7. Nukemap

In case you want to simulate weapons effects in nearby cities. Helpful for creating realistic training scenarios and choosing locations of fixed sites.

8. EarthExplorer

Think of it as the USGS version of Google Earth … only you can go back in time. Some of the first generation of US satellite imagery taken between 1960 & 1972 has been declassified, so it you want imagery of areas unlikely to change since then you have a free resource now.

9. Google Earth

As every criminal casing your home and retreat knows, Google has invested crazy resources to make Google Earth a fairly-up-to-date tool for ever-increasing swaths of the planet … especially most places most folks reading this live, own property or plan to hole up. If that’s not OK with you, get your place blacked out by telling them you run a child day care, but save some images before you do for your own use.

For survival use, I recommend the Offline Installer for Google Earth. Zoom in areas of interest and snap and print what you need, mark them with the scale, indicate magnetic declination, label and print them and you have useful maps.

10. Books

There are many fine books on the subject containing a number of maps and guidelines – Rawles on Retreats by JW Rawles and Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen are a couple of good ones.

11. Threat-specific Online Searches

Search for hazard maps for threats you are concerned about, they will help you a lot.

12. Digital Survival Library

Use technology, but don’t become dependent on it. To this end, I curate a very useful collection of data that is my personal Digital Survival Library and as you probably guessed, it contains a ton of maps. I store it on pairs of volumes on ruggedized media.


The first volume is not encrypted and contains information necessary to treat me in an emergency and some selections from my library that I would like anyone who happens up on to have access to.

The other volume is encrypted and contains a vast library of books, maps, emergency communications plan, emergency plans, insurance information, medical records, photos, genealogy, music, scans of documents, software, driver and a backup of all my important data that I never want to be without. I scan and shred anything that can be, so it’s a lot of data.

It also includes all the software necessary to make any phone of computer I come across read every file type of maps and other files in the library, drivers to print, program amateur radios and everything else I could anticipate that a survivalist would need.

It is comforting to know that if my plane drops out of the sky and I find myself on some island in the Caribbean or in South America I have a map and access to my library … maybe I won’t have a map in the level of detail I would like, but chances are good that it would be useful.

13 Essential survival items are included inside this kit. Grab this offer now!

How to Make Your Own Digital Survival Library

If you make one for yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Stash portions of your DSL on an encrypted server outside the US to make sure you can hop on line an access it from anywhere … as long as the internet is still up.

Cache copies in separate sites. Info caches can be very small so it’s no big deal to stash encrypted copies in places you could find yourself stranded.

It you have need, you can stash a copy on a rugged MicroSD card concealed in a hollowed-out coin, under a band-aid or any imaginable object of sufficient dimensions.

Carry a copy on your keychain in a flash drive or adapter that can connect to both cell phones and computers.

Be careful about using cellphones. Most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, but haven’t configured it for use as a standalone computer, they are very portable and common. Sufficiently small cell phones are likely to survive EMP as a standalone tool even though they contain a lot of vulnerable circuitry because they lack the conductor length to pick up sufficient charge from an incident of typical (50kVA/m) field strength at a distance.

Their small size and low cost make it a simple matter to shield them against more intense super-EMP field strengths and to cache backup phones in Faraday cages. Make sure your phones have the all the software and drivers to get the most of out of your phone in an emergency. If you root a phone and remove all the balloon-ware and tracking software cell providers pre-load phones with, even old phones are plenty powerful to be very useful.

As with all digital maps, GPS’s make it possible to carry more maps, greater detail and more current information as long as you are willing to shell out the dough. They are great tools. Use them, but don’t become dependent on GPS’s, cellphones, PLB’s or anything else that runs on batteries.

Get proficient in orienteering with map and compass first and then add GPS’s and a DSL on top of a strong foundation of map and compass land navigation. Every year, I read about hikers dying from injuries and/or exposure when gizmo’s fail, leaving them stranded.


Keep copies of a couple small maps in your PSSRK (Pocket Survival and Self-recovery Kit) so you will always have a map on your person. Update them as you move around. Even if you know the area like the back of your hand, not everyone will and maps have a number of other uses besides finding your way.

Phone Book Maps

If you find yourself without a map in a populated area, a decent map for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (aka SERE) purpose can be had for free from any phonebook. You can often find old phonebooks in or near dumpsters or at recycling centers.

Make sure you have the social engineering skills to get your hands on one from any business or residence without putting yourself at risk stealing. Hotels and churches often print small maps on fliers and the latter have aided in prison escapes.


Tyvek is a waterproof, tear-resistant ultralight material that can aid in the construction of a shelter in a pinch … great for SERE maps. The Federal Publications Inc website in Canada prints maps of Canada on Tyvek as do US companies that change so frequently I won’t waste your time with a link … or you can DIY.


There is a storied history of blood chits and E&E maps silkscreened or traced onto fabric and sewn into the lining of jackets.

Silk is durable and fire resistant. Polyester taffeta burns thoroughly and quickly without producing hardly any smoke upon exposure to a lighter or other flame. Choose material based on need. Both fabrics pack great in pocket kits.

Light Source

Make sure you can read your maps in the dark. Less-overt colors of low brightness are more covert and preserve night vision, also tend to make ink of the same wavelength disappear, making them less-effective for use with maps that use those colors.

Because of this, I use the Petzl STRIX IR a lot which is a headlamp that can produce red, green, blue white or IR light of low intensity or more intense white light depending on the situation.

UV Light & Marker

A small UV LED can be used to read notes written with UV ink that are normally invisible to the naked eye. UV LEDs and pens can also useful for marking and signaling dead drops, for visual communications and the LEDs for finding biomatter, and scorpions.

General Direction SERE Compass

If you do manage to survive with only the contents of your pockets in unfamiliar terrain, your map won’t be effective unless you orient it.

Maps for Travel, Recreation and Emergency Preparedness

You will want paper copies of these where possible. Digital copies can often be had for free, so get those either way. Store digital copies of your paper maps for use on your cell phones and computers. Scan maps that you only have on paper.

Neighborhood Maps for Emergency Response

I keep these in an emergency-response binder.

By collecting and updating maps, I have accurate maps showing every home and who lives in it, not only my neighborhood but also in surrounding neighborhoods. This information greatly simplifies the process of Block Captains and Co-Captains should keep maps of the neighborhood to mark off which homes need assistance in the event of a disaster incident.

Each neighborhood gets checked off house by house in each block with blocks reporting to neighborhood EOC’s (Emergency Operations Centers) and Neighborhood EOC’s reporting to Area or Municipality EOC’s. You can find out more about how the program works from your local CERT Program. Find a CERT Program Near You

US Geological Survey

You can download all the maps you want for free or order printed maps at reasonable cost.

Another option with the USGS is that you can send them media and they will send you the maps you request or even a copy of the entire inventory, but you had better send a big drive since that would be several TB of data at this writing. That would take quite a while to download over most connections, so perhaps that’s why they provide the service.

  • 1:24K Topo Maps – High level of detail when on foot.
  • 1:100K Topo Maps – A little larger scale for traveling by vehicle.

USDA Forest Service Maps

They typically cost $12-$14 for printed copies.

US National Park Maps

Download for free or buy paper copies for typically $9-$12ea. Set the page to the maximum number of products per page so you don’t have to scroll through as many pages.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Map

Similar to EarthExplorer. Save digital copies and print paper ones.

Maps for Your Vehicle

City Maps

City maps are a must. I make it a point to pick them up wherever I travel, in advance when possible.

Topo Maps of the Entire State

These atlases and gazetteers by DeLorme and possibly competitive products are useful for traveling back roads and forest service roads by vehicle. This is important because you never know when an unforeseen emergency may force you to flee in an unplanned direction over back roads.

The scale isn’t large enough to be of much use on foot unless you have a lot of ground to cover, but pages or parts of pages could serve as E&E maps while traveling and is great for long drives. Invest in plastic covers and cases for these if you want them to last banging around in a vehicle.

Cost is about $15-$20 for most states and a little more for larger states or states with a lot of detail. I make sure I carry atlases for all of the states I am traveling and the adjacent states out West. Back in the Northeast where sizes of states are smaller I would make sure I had atlases for 2-4 states away from planned routes.

US Road Atlas

They are long distance backup to the above atlases.

Compact Phone Book

Maps and direction finding are more effective with a destination in mind. As soon as your cell tower, the grid or the internet go down, google and online maps will no longer work and you will find yourself reaching for something your probably don’t use much any more … a phone book … provided you are old enough to know what they are and how to use one, that is.

Custom Maps

Custom Maps Printed by University Libraries

Cheapest source of custom maps I have found. I had a university library print some color topographical maps on water-resistant paper in the same detail a the USGS topo maps. They are very large, about the size of 2 USGS topo maps high x 3 wide centered on areas of my choice.

They cost about $6 each which is an outstanding value! USGS topos would have cost me 6x as much, not come on water-resistant paper and aren’t centered where you like so you always seem to end up hiking through 2-4 maps per day, which means you have to line up the edges multiple maps.


Print maps at home. Depending on how many maps you print, what software you use and what you print them on, this can range from very inexpensive to expensive.

In addition to the USGS, there are several private websites which also offer free, printable maps online. I have printed some useful ones using Google Earth.

Custom Maps

mytopo and a few other companies have websites with easy to use interfaces that enable you to order custom maps of every sort imaginable. They have useful hunting products as they can display public vs private land, land owners and hunting areas. They are more expensive, but not ridiculously, so. Price varies by size and type.

Also check out their Backpacker Magazine Pro Maps if you are a backpacker.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

What Do You Know About Maps?

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It is not be that long that we’ve had smartphones and GPS enabled devices, but for many it’d be unbearable to live without them and getting lost would be a daily pain. Not so long ago we were completely reliant without this technology.

There are still going to be times that it wouldn’t be that bad to know how to use a map or other navigational techniques. It doesn’t even have to be in a scary situation but due to everyday circumstances. There’s the possibility you’ll need to navigate without GPS.  You might find you have no Internet access, the battery has gone out or you’re in a foreign place with no streets.


Mastering the Map

There are a large variety of maps out there that have differing uses. There are road maps for people driving through the city or other residential and country roads. They have maps for famous tourist attractions that are good for sightseeing or famous landmarks. Then there are maps for hikers and anyone out exploring the country. We’ll explore all of these maps and what works best for you.

Many people are familiar with the all-popular Google Maps, that isn’t always available though without the Internet connection.  You’ll have to learn a few things about choosing a map and picking the one that best suits your environment.

Check the map’s orientation. Most maps are drawn with north located at the top.

Sometimes this may be depicted using a compass rose. Or, it might simply be stated to be the assumption of the map. If there is no indication to the contrary, presume it is north at the top.


Mapping the Journey

All maps have key figures to take note when you’re going to be using them. All maps should have a legend. These legends are a key of symbols denoting things on the map itself. So they’ll be different if you’re traversing the wild in a car like the Jeep Renegade or heading down a bustling street in the city.

Lines can depict roads and routes from a side street to major artery of a highway. They’ll vary in size and color depending on the environment.


Natural & Artificial Topography

Forests, parks, and grassy areas will be denoted in green. The same goes for the symbolic relation between bodies of water and other natural objects. Cities are usually shown in shades of grey and black tones.  It’s always a good idea to keep a backup map in your car or offline version on some kind of device for whatever environment you may be entering into. If the place isn’t familiar then you can’t rely on just the map forever.

By driving around without GPS you can then use the technology and eventually paper or offline maps for reference.  It really comes down to knowing what type of map you need, being able to understand the symbols and finding your way around by current location and being able to check out the area around you beforehand.


Julian Mitchell is the king of gadgets, be the internet enabled or more old-school; he couldn’t live without his Swiss army knife! Julian writes about technology, apps, and all the clever-but-never-used-again gadgets certain humans seem to collect!


The post What Do You Know About Maps? appeared first on American Preppers Network.

5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

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5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

Image source: Pixabay.com

We rely on the Internet for nearly everything in life, but in the wake of a natural disaster or large-scale collapse of the power grid, it is possible that the Internet could become inaccessible.

Even a few days without it could cripple American society’s ability to manage money, practice commerce, and communicate.

Because of that, it is a good idea to reduce your dependence on the Internet by moving more of your needs offline.

Here’s five areas to get your started:

1. Banking. Out of convenience, most Americans do at least a portion of their banking online. There’s no harm in using an online account to manage some of your bill payments and financial transactions. Just don’t rely on it to maintain your records. Monthly or quarterly, download a paper statement from your bank, print it, and file it away. Additionally, make sure you have paper records for all of the accounts you hold. Do the same thing for any stocks or important records of assets; record them on paper. Better still, do most of your bank transactions in person, at a local bank; you’ll have greater security and get better customer service.

2. Maps. Relying on GPS or Google Maps to tell you how to get around your local area is foolishness. Purchase or download updated local maps and keep them where they can be easily referenced or found in case of emergency. GPS won’t be a reliable source of navigation if the power grid is compromised.

3. Reference materials. Whether you read books on a Kindle or tablet, follow websites relevant to your interests, or just get the news delivered digitally, it is important to keep a paper trail for the information you’ll need in the future.

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

You may not always be able to Google your way to an answer. Buy reference books relevant to setting up and maintaining a homestead, including home improvement encyclopedias and farming manuals. Printing information from often-referenced websites and filing it appropriately will ensure you’ll have the knowledge at your fingertips long after you can’t get it online. Best of all, develop your skills now so you will not need as many reference materials to accomplish tasks around the homestead.

5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Email. Discussing plans and making decisions by email has become commonplace. Create a personal file of email correspondence for each family member and for your business activities. When agreements are solidified by email, print the message and file it accordingly. In addition to backing up your knowledge of what was decided, the written correspondence is an important record in your family. Just as our prior generations preserved old letters, so we must preserve meaningful emails in order to tell the story of our families.

5. Contacts. Many people scarcely know their phone numbers, let alone those of their families and other close contacts. Maintain an address book containing all the contact information and locations of anyone you care about, as well as resourceful peers and acquaintances.

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Knowing where to find someone important to you is the first step to reconnecting, and you don’t want to be left high and dry by an inability to access your contacts.

Bonus – Unplug These, Too

Photos. Of course, this is a little sentimental, but there’s more to life than practicality. Don’t simply store precious family heirlooms “in the cloud.” Kids today are being raised with very few printed photos documenting their lives. What a shame if all of those digital photos were lost! Create a photo album for each member of your family, or a family album documenting your lives together. The small investment of time and money could reap rewards for the rest of your life and become an important piece of your family’s heritage.

Entertainment. Learn to amuse yourself without surfing the web, clicking through Facebook, or playing online games. Part of being resourceful is being able to find and create entertainment with ready supplies — paper and pencil, card, and dice games are a great way to connect with your family and have a great time without plugging in. Invest in a book of activities and start gathering around the table more often, and you won’t miss the Internet so much in times of outage.

What would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

The 4 OTHER Maps Your Survival Cache Needs

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The 4 OTHER Maps Your Survival Cache Needs

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Many of us own at least three detailed maps at home: local, state and regional. Whether we keep them as travel references, or store them in survival kits as preps for a disaster, there’s no question that road maps are invaluable for land navigation.

We also often rely on GPS, yet in a long-term blackout, a grid-down scenario or very poor weather, it may not always work.

Paper maps and atlases, though, always will be reliable. Besides giving us a visual image of where we’re going, they are hard, tangible copies that we can actually hold with our hands and keep inside our pockets.

While road maps are indeed imperative, there are a few other maps worth obtaining. These are detailed references to not only paved roads but also to less-travelled, ignored and possibly unused passageways you can use if you want to avoid crowds and bypass checkpoints, and move in stealth. Many of these maps are available online, for free or at reasonable prices.

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1. Topo map. Topographic maps show you the terrain of any given area. They have contour lines or squiggles that curve around hills and mountains, signifying their shape and elevation. Lines drawn closer together show steeper slopes, and those spaced far apart show gradual ones. Topo maps also identify key terrain features like peaks, valleys, ridges, cliffs, drainage areas like brooks and rivers, as well as sinkholes. You’ll find those details helpful in plotting your route when hiking, cycling or off-road driving. Most topo maps also show bodies of water, forest cover and major towns and settlements. The US Geological Survey has topo maps for free here. If you’d like specifications made according to specific scale, grid lines, shading and print size, MyTopo.com makes custom topographic maps using the military grid reference system.

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2. Google Earth map. Get a recent photo of your desired area from Google Earth, which shows satellite imagery of the terrain and its surroundings as they are, street-level, in 3D. Update every year and you’ll be able to see what changes have taken place over recent months. Perhaps a water source has dried up, a road has been closed off, or some new structures have sprung up.

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Google Earth maps also show details you won’t be able to see on any other map, like trees, power plants, layout of buildings, a windmill, etc. If the file ends up too big for printing, download it to a USB, an then take it to a local print shop and have it printed on a pen plotter.

3. Wildlife management area map. There are highly detailed Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management maps that show campgrounds, hiking and off-road vehicle trails, lakes and streams, first-aid and supply stations, and even logging and fire routes. DeLorme and Thomas Guide publishers make excellent hybrid atlases with equally detailed info on trails, campsites, fishing spots and boat ramps.

4. County map. Some counties keep detailed maps of secondary roads, including back country gravel roads. These can come in handy if hurricanes or flooding hit a nearby city, necessitating evacuation. While freeways and major roads could be jammed with traffic, back roads will remain passable. County maps also will show railroad track routes, which can provide a safer, less conspicuous alternative if you find yourself having to go on foot. Check with your county assessor or county highway department. Keep an eye out, too, for old maps at libraries, yard sales and antique shops. These might show old roads that don’t exist anymore, or ghost towns and structures that have long been forgotten. Old abandoned buildings, though untended, might still be intact and be made livable during a worst-case scenario — at least temporarily.

A Few Tips

Laminate your maps. You could use Ziploc or map/chart bags to protect your maps from moisture, dirt and general wear-and-tear, but lamination would make them a lot more durable. Plus, it’ll allow you to mark your route and underscore landmarks with highlighters or dry-erase markers.

If you’re planning to bug out, do a recon. See if what you see on your map is actually what’s there when you get your boots on the ground. Plan your routes from your home and place of work to a pre-arranged meeting place with your family or group. Make sure each member has maps and knows how to use them.

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If you need help with map reading and compass use, get in touch with your local Boy Scout troop. They might allow you to sit in during orienteering sessions, and participate during field practice. Local search-and-rescue (SAR) teams might offer similar training, as might hunter safety courses.

Get a couple of the above maps. They could save your life.

What survival advice would you add about maps? Share your survival knowledge in the section below:

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Travel Items That Will Help When SHTF

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Travel Items That Will Help When SHTF

For most beginners, let’s all admit packing for a long day’s travel is our worst nightmare because we have no idea what are the necessary items to have on hand when a certain situation happens. For the most part, it’s because we haven’t experienced worst case scenarios yet which we should all be thankful for. But let’s say (theoretically speaking) that the end of the world is about to happen, ask yourselves this – Am I prepared for it? For any of this? I mean some of us would answer truthfully – No, I’m not. That’s a good thing, but the worst part you can do is not taking any action to remedy that. So, make better of yourself and prepare for the unpredictable. The world is ever changing so it’s best to adapt along with it.

So aside from your clothes, important personal documents, cash, and phone, here are some of the ten travel items you need ready when, or if, the world is about to go rogue!


  • Your mode of transportation should be secure, in good working condition and ready to go. Logically, you want your car ready and filled with gas. Stocking up on fuel is a must! Gearing up your Toyota Vios in the Philippines is a good tactic, especially the habit of making sure that it doesn’t reach the low level of its fuel meter. This will save you from a lot of trouble in the future if you are constantly making sure to check on its fuel level.

Waterproof Container

  • This is quite necessary when you are stocking up on your rations since some foods will be inedible and rot once they are soaked wet. Storing your food in waterproof containers will make sure that it’s preserved. Air tight containers are also equipped in housing your food supplies so that ants and other insects cannot contaminate it.

Water purification tablets

  • Other than having a good supply of water for staying hydrated, make sure to also have water purification tablets because when your water supply runs out, you will need to find a water source and you will thank yourself later for having those tablets ready.

Lighter, Matches, Flint

  • You’ll need a heat and light source for when the night goes dark and cold and these three items can very much provide you with fire. In addition, teach yourself how to make fire with the use of sticks or stones like they do in survival guides.

Compass and Maps

  • These two are definitely a no-brainer since you want to know all the necessary roads to take or shortcuts when you need to leave an area in quickest way possible. Do make sure that your maps are the most updated version and take note of some of the roads that may be blocked during a disaster situation. (Editor recommends: Military Lensatic Sighting Compass w/Pouch.)

Swiss Army Knives

  • You will need some form of protection and with a swiss army knife safely secured in your pocket, traveling will be much safer. Swiss Army knives also vary in size, but with that, make sure to also have other forms of protection with you just in case.


  • Crowbar is a handy tool to have. You can use it to prop open cases and sturdy materials. You will likely use this most of the time when you are in urban or city areas.


  • Having a small axe like hatchet is useful to have when you need to make shelter. This tool can also help you out while you are hunting for food, or gathering wood and other supplies that will require you to cut through and chop down thick branches.

Rechargeable Flashlight

  • There are flashlights that can be recharged and powered manually or through sunlight, which can be especially useful when the electrical outlets shuts down. You will need to have at least two of these so that traveling at night will not be a hassle. (Editor Recommends: Eton Scorpion II)


  • To keep yourself updated through the current events of the world, you will need a working radio. Make sure to pack batteries for this as well. You can opt for an alternative and find a self-powered radio instead so you wouldn’t have to constantly rely on batteries to keep it charged. (Editor Recommends: Eton Scorpion II)


There you have it, all the must-have ten items for when the world has changed to ‘The Walking Dead’ setting.

Author Bio

Randolph Hoover and his family were originally from San Diego California but he is currently studying Business Administration in Umea University in Sweden. Aside from being a student, He also helps his parents with their home maintenance business in their home in Umea. He is also one of the marketing guys for Toyota.


The post Travel Items That Will Help When SHTF appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Disasters: 5 Items That May Save Your Life

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Disasters: 5 Items That May Save Your Life

Things can change drastically in a minute and with times changing, it is expected of us to be vigilant as well as prepared when disasters have called on you to do so. Today, it’s not enough to know  basic precautions; we need to be ready with items that will also help us stay alive.

One  thing we can easily do ahead of time to prep for the unexpected is have a supply kit on hand. Here are some of the tools that you need to prioritize in acquiring to be better equipped for an impending disaster.


  1. Self-powered Flashlights
  • Have enough self-powered flashlights with you. In any disasters that may happen, this tool will prove itself to be very useful especially when all electrical outlets are down and batteries are running low. You will need these flashlights to help you get across any dark spaces. You wouldn’t need batteries to be able to use them, some of these flashlights are powered by sunlight, and some are charged manually which are called mechanically powered flashlight which you can then charge by muscle power.
  1. Updated Set of Maps
  • Even though you’ve been living in an area for God know how long, it would be safe to pack a set of maps other than your area. This will be essentially helpful if you have to evacuate your current area and it is easier to take note of all the routes and detours you need to take in case of emergencies.
  1. First Aid Kit
  • First Aid Kits are a must for many types of disasters and don’t you forget it! In dire situations, this will be the most necessary tool kit to have with you. Having this is a matter of life and death and who know the outcome if you do not have one of these with you when a disaster strikes. This kit will improve your chances in survival and staying alive.Your first aid kit should have the following items: Gauze pads, cleaning agent or antiseptic, at least three (3) pairs of gloves, Towelettes, sterile dressings and bandages, Pain relievers, ointment for burns, Tweezers and Scissors, Medical Tape, Hydrogen Peroxide (this is quite useful and it is also effective in carpet cleaning), Prescription Medications and over the counter medications.


  1. Self-powered Radio
  • Assuming that you all have your phones charged to the fullest capacity, another advantage to have with you is a self-powered radio. This is something that you will need to have since it can give you information on the current events happening during the disaster and an emergency event. Most times, your phones will fail especially in a storm since it requires communication lines depending on your location. Radios are a good tool to have at home to relay information as it will act as an emergency communication services. Usually in a calamity or disastrous event, most people rely on their radios instead of their phone for updates and news.
  1. Multi-tool
  • Your multi-tool has the same importance as your first aid kit and most multi-tool kits include a folding knife, matches and lighters, small saw and wood saw, hole punch, Philips and flat head screwdriver, pliers, wire cutter, sturdy scissors, and duct tape.


  • Batteries? Check.
  • Phones charged and ready? Check.
  • Clothes? Check.
  • Whistle? Check.
  • Copies of your personal documents and enough cash? Check.

Aside from the extra set of non-perishable food and a gallon of water stored as rations, these five things will also be very helpful in preparation for a disaster.


Author Bio

Randolph Hoover and his family were originally from San Diego California but he is currently studying Business Administration in Umea University in Sweden. Aside from being a student, He also helps his parents with their home maintenance business in their home in Umea. He is also one of the marketing guys for Electrodry.


This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

The post Disasters: 5 Items That May Save Your Life appeared first on American Preppers Network.