Prep Blog Review: 5 Survival Lists To Keep On Hand

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Everybody uses lists, it’s a fact. Whether we like it or not, we need them to keep things organized, or to remember and prioritize activities. You can’t skip them while prepping, so let’s make use of them here too.

I’ve gathered a few tops and lists to remember about different aspects of prepping, after stumbling upon other survival websites this week. And what do you think I’ve came up with in the end? You guessed: another list. Here it is!

3 Incredible Stories of Survival: What We Can Learn From 3 Men Who Beat All the Odds

“Hello, my friend and welcome back!  Today I have a great post for you from Chris Browning and it’s a good one.  He is the editor of Gun News Daily –  It’s longer than what I usally post,  but well worth the effort.  The best way to learn to survive is to learn from those who have had to fight to survive already. Their stories and insights provide the best training you can get.  Grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

23 Herbs and Veggies You Can Grow on Your Porch

“Urban gardening is all about making the most out of the space you’ve got. All it takes to turn your outdoor balcony or back porch into a full-on garden is a pinch of creativity and a dash of strategy.

Rather than planting one crop in one small pot, we are going to focus on planting multiple crops in one sizeable pot. This method makes the most of your space and gives you the most variety of veggies and herbs possible.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

19 Survival Uses for Plastic Bottles

“I must say that it saddens me seeing what humans have done to our planet.  Any time you find a water source, you will likely find trash scattered along the shore.

Often times this trash is going to be plastic bottles.  It seems to be the most common item to be tossed aside, especially in water.  This littler is absolutely destroying our planet.

However, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used garbage in the wild to get through survival situations.  Plastic bottles are one of the most common and most useful pieces of trash you will ever find for survival. I can assure you that we will show you enough uses for plastic bottles that you will think twice about walking past one in the wild.”

Read more on Modern Survival Online.

16 Things to Stockpile for the Next Blackout

Major blackouts are more common now than ever before. Most of us have experienced a blackout for a few hours. A blackout is a power outage that can range from a few hours to months. They might happen because of a major storm, a hurricane, a transformer blowing, or other issues. It is a good idea for everyone to stockpile things for the next blackout.

You might be new on your preparedness journey or find it strange to prepare for an entire year without power. No matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to prepare for at least a two-week period without electricity. Why? There are dozens of examples of this happening. If you live along the coast, a major hurricane can wipe out the power grid for multiple weeks. Earthquakes, major storms, and blizzards all frequently cause blackouts. Everyone is at risk.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

6 Principles of Survival – Maintain Core Body Temperature

“Shelter and Fire are ONE.  Long term survival requires the proficiency of both.  Maintaining Core Body Temperature is vital, and without shelter and fire the body is highly susceptible to hypothermia.

In this two part series we will look at the concept and application of Shelter and Fire. Maintaining a solid 98.6o will ensure your body does not become susceptible to hypothermia or hyperthermia.”

Read more on Survival School.

This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

How Many Ways Can You Use Duct Tape For Survival?

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If you’re a serious survivalist and most of all a DIY aficionado, you probably know that saying: if it doesn’t work nice and proper, bring the duct tape, Sally!

Duct tape is that kind of a “jack of all trades” piece of survival gear that can be found in any respectable prepper’s paraphernalia, along with paracord, tarp, a Toblerone candy bar (just kidding) and all that jazz.

Joking aside, duct tape can be described as the quintessential multipurpose survival-item and even if you don’t have it in your EDC survival bag (though you should) or in your bug out bag or whatever, you probably have some at home.

Now, if disaster strikes, or who knows, maybe you just like to play with duct tape, it would be nice to learn a trick or two about duct tape projects for your survival.

I mean, in the worst case scenario, having a few rolls of “duck tape” it won’t hurt you a bit and, on top of that, you’ll be that uber-fun guy (or gal) at the party who can make origami using duct tape.

Now, let me state an axiom (duct tape rules!) by asking you a simple question: is duct tape the ultimate survival tool? That was a rhetorical question, i.e. I already know the answer. But, to tell you the truth, I really can’t tell for sure if the humble duct tape deserves such a glorious definition. However, duct tape can be used in so many survival scenarios that it will make your head spin.

I can safely proclaim that if you twist my arm hard enough, I’d be able to build you a (small) pyramid using super glue and large amounts of that glorious duct tape.

Hence, even if it doesn’t necessarily qualify as the ultimate survival tool, “duck tape” is pretty close to it. To begin with, if you don’t already have a few crates of duct tape, don’t worry; you can buy it from Amazon before SHTF and the internet goes missing.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Now, let’s talk about a little bit of ancient history: duct tape, just like many other marvelous inventions (read A-Bomb) was created during WW2, as necessity is the mother of invention. The US military required some miraculous stuff in order to be able to easily perform repairs in the field of battle.

The first duct tape (a strong version) was thus created by a division of Johnson & Johnson and Permacell respectively for this purpose.

And if you were wondering about the “duck tape” thingy, well, duct tape comes from “duck tape”, which is what the GIs called the miracle tape, because it’s waterproof, just like ducks, see?

A Few Survival Uses for Duct Tape

Now, boring details aside, let’s take a look at some uses and projects involving duct tape, shall we?

Let’s suppose you’ve just arrived at the campsite and you notice a little tear in your tent. Obviously, this is hardly a problem if you have a roll of duct tape in your bag. All you have to do is to cover the hole using a patch of duct tape and to make it extra-safe, mirror the patch on the inside. Weather and pesky insects will be secluded outside, where they belong in the first place.

You can make a rope using duct tape, did you know that? And if you wonder how, well, you’ll just have to twist one or more lengths of “duck tape” into a rope/cord of sorts. The same procedure can be utilized for DIY-ing an emergency clothesline from twisting a long piece of duct tape.

As per its initial moniker, “duck tape” is excellent for waterproofing your gear in a survival situation, hence pretty much anything (food, money, survival gear) can be waterproofed using duct tape, including leaving a (waterproofed) note for rescue teams/family members in the aftermath of a disaster.

In a very harsh winter survival scenario, you can use duct tape to cold-proof your boots. By applying duct tape on the insoles of your boots (silver side up) you’ll basically perform an insulating job, as the duct tape will reflect the body-heat from your feet into your boots (it really works!).

It is not uncommon for people to lose their minds in a crisis situation and here duct tape restraints come into play. You can always use duct tape for immobilizing the threat of that odd person in your group who is either incredibly stupid or openly hostile. To prevent the rogue element from endangering the safety of everyone around, just duct tape (yes, it’s a verb) his/her hands around a strong pole or tree and let nature take its calming course.

Are there any other uses for duct tape? Of course there are:

  • Duct tape can be used for keeping the feathers inside a punctured sleeping bag by patching the hole, and voila—no more feather loss, no more body-heat loss.
  • You can reseal partially opened food containers (yes, it works for cans too) with duct tape.
  • If you have a tent with a damaged zipper, its door will flap in the wind, making you cold and miserable. But with duct tape, you can stick the door shut in a jiffy, keeping the cold and the bugs out.
  • Duct tape is excellent for sealing leaks, as in stopping leakage from a pierced container, like a cracked bottle or a hydration ladder. To do the sealing job nice and proper, you’ll have to make sure that the surface of the bottle/bag/whatever is completely dry before applying the patch.
  • You can also stabilize a broken limb using duct tape. When the going gets tough, you’ll have to improvise utilizing very basic available stuff, so using duct tape and padding, together with splint material, you can DIY a rope or a holder for keeping your broken arm into place until the cavalry arrives.
  • You can use it for repairing a broken fishing pole or tent pole with a little bit of duct tape.
  • You can use duct tape for catching pesky insects (while fishing for example) by hanging a couple of foot-long strips of “duck tape” from a branch. Of course, the same trick works inside of your tent or cabin or whatever.
  • You can improvise a medium-range weapon from a tent pole (or something similar) and a knife by strapping the latter to the former using—guess what!
  • Shelter can also be improvised with a little help from your trustworthy duct tape and a couple of trash bags. Putting the two together, (duct tape + trash bags) you’ll end up with a wind-break, a survival shelter-roof or a sleeping bag cover; the possibilities are endless.

DIY Projects to Try

If you’re bored at home and want to give purpose to your life, you can always try to build a kayak using wood glue, cedar strips and the always awesome “duck tape”. I’ve also heard stories about boats built entirely out of duck tape and cardboard. And that’s because duct tape makes for an awesome waterproofing material (applied over cardboard that is).

During rainy days, you can always wear duct-tape pants, especially if you’re out of rain gear. Here’s a video about how to make a duct tape suit.

Video first seen on umthuggee.

Also, you can DIY duct tape pouches, which are fairly easy to manufacture and, most importantly, they’re also waterproof. You’ll not have to worry about your gear getting wet. Here’s how to DIY a knife-sheath with duct tape.

And here’s a survival belt pouch made from you-know-what.

Video first seen on JJR SURVIVAL.

Obviously, you can make a duct tape wallet too.

Video first seen on MonkeySee.

Speaking of improving one’s life, duct tape is excellent for building hammocks. If you think I’m kidding, well, click here and you’ll learn how to make your own hammock for camping trips and what not. Shoes made using duct tape are every bum’s dream, but joking aside, having proper footwear in a survival scenario may save your life some day. Click  here and see how it’s done using just cardboard and “duck tape”.

And since we’re in the survival racket, you can DIY a duct tape fish net, just like Jesus said: give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish using a duct tape fish net … you know the rest; just click here.

Duct tape also works great for bandaging wounds or to affix bandages and even for blister care. The blistered area should be covered with some cotton glaze, then duct-taped.


Video first seen on Survival Common Sense.

For homestead use, you can improvise a temporary roof shingle by wrapping plywood (cut to size) in duct tape. It’s nothing fancy, but it will close the gap and keep you dry until you can properly fix your roof. Also, you can duct-tape a broken window (crisscross the broken pane) before removing all the broken glass, thus making sure shards will stay into place.

If you wrap “duck tape” around your broken (eye) glasses, you’ll definitely look like a nerd and a weirdo. But in an outdoors survival situation, being able to repair your damaged glasses so that you can see properly is more important than fashion issues, isn’t it?

This concludes today’s crash course into duct-tape uses. Now, take a moment and think: are you ready to use this knowledge for survival?

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

PrepperCon 2017: Preparedness Solutions For A Changing Market

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The survival market is changing. It has come a long way since the days that it could barely support a couple of magazines and the occasional book.

Now it seems like TV series every time I turn around, which is remarkable to many of us who have been survivalists for twenty, thirty, forty years or more, because aspects of survival are being accepted as mainstream for the first time in our lives.

This is what the last PrepperCon show was about, it was an opportunity to show off solutions for a changing market.

For a couple of days, survival experts and gear providers gathered in Utah, for one of the main preparedness and survival expos in US. I’ve been there, and now I’m sharing with you the highlights.

Preparedness is Going Mainstream

This year, I was interviewed by a major media outlet from NYC and the NY Times is writing an article about PrepperFash, the fashion portion of the expo.

I certainly never thought I would see the day either of those events would happen, but the survival market seem to attract more moderates concerned with the inevitability of climate change. You don’t have to be conservative or liberal to understand that as our world grows more complicated, it also grows more fragile or to understand that being prepared for emergencies is a responsible precaution.

This level of growth in the survival has made it possible for many more of us to make a living in the field we are passionate about, brought about survival expositions like PrepperCon and has made possible much more specific, detailed and well thought out survival solutions than existed in years past.

Here are a few highlights to help your prepping.

Survival Medical

The owner of the company is a supply chain logistics genius who supplies hospitals with medical supplies. This enables Survival Medical to sell hospital quality supplies packaged for long-term storage cheaper than you can buy the individual components.

  • Long Term Storage: Survival Medical engineered special layers for their Mylar packaging so cotton won’t yellow and turn brittle, adhesives won’t stop sticking and ointments won’t dry out. This is huge for survivalists storing or caching medical supplies. They have kits packaged in 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seals lids that store neatly with food storage. 5 gallon buckets are tremendously useful tools in a long-term survival situation or infrastructure breakdown. They are extremely useful for hygiene and water treatment, lots of them. Survival uses for both forms of packaging are only limited by the imagination.
  • Price: Prepping is expensive and time consuming and saving both enables you to reach your preparedness goals sooner. Being able to buy long-term packed kits for less than you could buy the components saves time and money.
  • Survival-Specific Solutions: They have created a vast array of mission and threat-specific solutions for survivalists. If you are a boater, they have a kit for you. Whether that boat is a kayak or a blue water sailboat, they have a kit for you. Going to store it at a fixed site or transport it in a vehicle? Need a kit for a pack? Ride a horse? Having a baby? It just goes on and on.
  • Modular: I pioneered the Modular Survival Kit so it is exciting for me to see someone else applying modularity to survival kits and specifically to the first aid aspect of them. You can use a module without cracking the seal another and then just replace what you used. This is a huge deal.

FithOps 209 Shotgun Primer Perimeter Trip Alarm

You may have noticed a perimeter trip alarm in my article about booby traps that you can slide the base of any number of 12-gauge shotgun shells into. That type of contraption is not without its uses, but it is heavy and shells or even just shell bases are bulky.

The upside is the ability to fire flares, blanks or less-lethal munitions such as OC (Pepper Gas) cartridges and FithOps has a model of that type of perimeter trip alarm coming soon.

What the owner of FithOps has done is that he has dramatically reduced size and weight of the device by creating a trip alarm that fires only the 209 shotgun primer as opposed to an entire shotgun shell base. That’s all I use most of the time, so I was glad to find this product.

What this means is that the device takes up very little space and weight in your pack, enabling you to do the same job with a lot less equipment or carry more of them and deploy a lot more alarms. The body is only about .5″ diameter and just under 3″ in length making it a little fatter than a .410 shotgun shell and since it is machined from aluminum, it is very light and the 209 shotgun shell primers it fires are tiny but are plenty loud.

You could create a perimeter with just two of the devices, but I recommend J-hooking your trails in and out of camp and setting up a couple more or maybe even mix in model or two that uses shotgun shell bases to add flexibility, but that would depend on what you are trying to accomplish.

At just $25 each, they are a great value and I know from personal experience that this type of alarm is very effective. I have set up many a trip trap for students and buddies over the years and have yet to ever have anybody find one before tripping it. Just make sure they don’t have a heart condition, because they can really get the old ticker thumping on excitable types. And yes, the owner claims they work on bears and tweakers alike.

Deluxe Camping

Anyone who has been into emergency preparedness for a long time knows that you need pretty much the same stuff to survive a great variety of threats. A simple solution for many of our basic needs is vehicle-portable camping gear.

Deluxe Camping has taken functionality and efficiency of many basic needs of camping to the next level. The owner was a primitive skills student of Larry Dean Olsen so he understands the fundamentals of camping at a level which most folks do not and this enabled him to innovate some

Rocket Stoven Combo

  • Very efficient multi-tier rocket stove/oven that can cook an entire meal at once with very little wood.
  • Burns wood completely creating very little smoke.

Deluxe Tent Shower

  • Pressurized hot shower that can be used inside or outside a tent.
  • Captures water and drains it outside.

Deluxe Filtration Camp Sink

  • Hands Free: Foot pump means you can wash your hands and pump water at the same time.
  • Self-contained: Captures gray water so no puddle on the ground.

Deluxe Off-grid Laundry

  • Large 28-gallon capacity the same as a home washing machine.
  • Rust Free
  • Smooth circular motion. No repetitive up and down or back and forth motion.
  • Can re-capture and reuse water
  • Ringer attachment for complete off-grid laundry solution

Education on Laws Governing the Use of Public Land and Natural Resources

The Celebrity Panel gave attendees the incredible opportunity to ask questions to Dave Wescott, David Holladay, Dr. Nicole Apelian and Alan Kay regarding the relevance of primitive survival skills in our modern world.

One of the topics that came up was the laws governing use of our public lands and resources and how we can practice primitive without running afoul of the law. For instance, Alan Kay pointed out that in many states it is illegal to harvest road kill.

The answers boiled down to the fact that life is an act of consumption.

Dave Wescott shared:

You can’t preserve it, you can conserve it. Leave no trace is a physical impossibility, we need to consume to be alive.

Everything comes from somewhere, but unfortunately “leave no trace” is the guiding ethic determining how most of our public lands are used.

The primitive skills veteran advocated “technique over tech” and that “camping badly in any mode is bad.”

David Holladay said that he loves the story of Robin Hood where the king owned all the deer but the people fed themselves anyway.

He said:

There is going to be a day when it is illegal to eat or be a human being.

He and explained how one of our neighbors to the South sprayed defoliants on people’s gardens because they were worried that they might contain an insect that could damage the monocultured crops of giant corporate farms and how Mexico passed a law declaring it illegal to be Yaqui.

Members of the Native American tribe were forced to abandon their religion and their culture or move to Arizona. He said: “Live long enough to apologize to the judge, in a survival situation.”

Dr. Nicole Apelian noted that in some states it even is illegal to catch rainwater or highly regulated.

The sick irony is that it is often illegal to feed yourself or to shelter yourself without using products made from fossil fuels that came from some land somewhere and will end as trash somewhere else.

The food in backpacking meals and bags they are packed in come from somewhere and so do the bags many areas require you to use to haul out your urine and feces.

Do they really think food comes from the grocery store? Is it OK to leave a carbon footprint as long as it is in someone else’s country? Because that is exactly what we are doing. We are essentially trying to preserve our own lands in glass showcases while we exhaust resources of other nations or land we call farmland.

Everyone would probably agree that we need rules for high traffic areas, but our current laws serve to separate man from nature. This is an unnatural practice. Humans have been part of most land-based ecosystems a lot longer than we have had laws. Rights and property predated law. Law was created to protect them but is now used to legally plunder the very rights and property it was created to protect.

Our forefathers followed this path and survived for centuries. Learn from their knowledge to find your own way to survive!

This article was written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

7 Survival Uses For Cattails

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Cattail can be best described as the swamp supermarket of preppers, and I am being very serious about my statement. Actually, the legend says that the US was on the verge of winning War World 2 with a little help from the humble cattail.

And if you’re wondering what on God’s green’s earth I am talking about, let me give you one flabbergasting fact: cattail produces more edible starch than almost any green plant (starch per acre that is). From this point of view, cattail is more nutritious than rice, potatoes, yams, or taros.

And speaking of War World 2, the US gummint’ was on the verge of feeding GI Joes with starch originated from the cattail plant right before the war ended.

The only plant that’s capable of beating cattails in terms of carbs (starch is the essential carbohydrate) per acre is lichen, but that’s not a green plant. However, an acre of cattails will produce, on average, 6.5K pounds of flour annually.

Are you starting to get the picture? Cattails, food, survival, the end.

Well, that’s just one small step in our journey aimed at discovering the survival uses of cattail. Truth be told, there’s so much to know about this miraculous plant that I could write a book.

Survival Uses for Cattails

To begin with, there are 2 species of cattail to be found in North America: Typhalatifolia and Typhaangustifolia. However, the cattail got its name from its mature brown cylindrical flower spike.

The dried spikes make for excellent torches while the end-of-season fluffy cattails are the ideal tinder. American Indian folk used cattails for building mattresses, for insulation, and for absorption.

Cattails are so great from a prepper’s point of view that if you’re  lost out there in the wild and you managed to get some “tail”, you’ve basically covered four out of five essential survival items: food, water, shelter and fuel for making a fire (the dried stalks are a great source of heating fuel).

It’s important to point out that cattails grow near the water, and regardless where the water flows, you’ll find civilization downstream everywhere in the world.

There’s an old survivalist motto that goes something like this: You name your problem and we’ll improvise a solution from cattails.

As I already told you in the preamble, cattails are very close to a prepper’s seven eleven, the store that never closes out there in the wild.

The fresh (they look like cob) tips of cattail are edible and the same story goes for the white bottom of the stalk, the rootlets off the main roots (they look like spaghetti) and the spurs off the roots. These parts are also rich in vitamin A, B and C, together with essential minerals like phosphorus and magnesium.

The pollen from cattails was used as flour for thousands of years. Eastern Indians were known for their heavy use of cattails, not only for their nutritional value (which is great), but for stuffing and hemp. The fluff was very useful for menstruation and for making diapers.

Discover the survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Survival Food

Cattails are excellent for their starch content. Here’s a video depicting how to get the starch out of a cattail root. And if you’re wondering why, well, once you got the starch out, it would make for the essential ingredient in your survival kitchen, just like any other flour.

Video first seen on The Apocalyptic Cookbook

However, remember not to eat the fiber, you’ll end up with stomach ache.

Here’s a video about how to cook and eat cattails.

Video first seen on David’s Passage

You can even make pickled cattails! Here  is how.

Video first seen on The Northwest Forager

So, with the food part taken care of, let’s move on to other uses for cattails, shall we?

Let’s enumerate some other survival uses right now: cattail can be used for making pillows, tinder, torches , fire, insulation, for fire transportation. arrow shafts, hand drills, hats, mats, cordage, baskets, bedding, shelters, syrup, bandages for wounds, burns, stings, cuts, bruises, and for mitigating toothaches.

Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it?

Fire Starting

Now, let’s see about the cigar-shaped  cattail seed head, which contains myriads of seeds. When ripe, you can use these seeds as tinder, as they’re dried and highly combustible.

Video first seen on usframe

I bet you did not know that if you soak it up right in fat or animal oil, a cattail will burn for up to 6 hours (this is fire transportation by any metric).

Video first seen on bushcraftbartons

Here is how to start a fire with cattail using hand drill fire.

Video first seen on gundog5


The same seed hairs are incredibly fluffy and soft and if the force is strong in you i.e. if you can gather enough seeds, you can stuff them in pillows. Obviously, if you’re incredibly industrious, you may end up with a mattress made out of cattail seed hairs.

The fluffy cattail seeds make for excellent insulation which can be used to line the inside of clothing or your DIY shoes (think moccasins).

Early civilizations used the seeds for diapers, headgear, bedding, and cushions for cradleboards.

Here’s a tutorial about how to insulate mittens using cattails.

Video first seen on Gregory Logajan

Making Arrow Shafts

Considering their length and the fact that they’re  pretty straight, the cattail stalks are excellent for making arrow shafts. Seeing is believing, so check out this tutorial.

Video first seen on baref00tbushcraft

All you have to do is to remove excess leaves and allow the stalks to dry out thoroughly in the sun. When they turn brown, that means they’re sturdy enough and they can be transformed into a veritable plethora of arrows.

Making Survival Rope

The leaves can be used for making cordage, due to their broadness/thickness; i.e. you’ll never run out of survival rope (and arrows because cattails are abundant). Check out how to make cattail cordage by clicking here.

Video first seen on Bushland Living

Making Baskets

Obviously, you can also use cattail leaves for making baskets if you’re skilled and patient enough. Check out the tutorial.

Video first seen on jodajean1


Making Shelter

You can build yourself a shelter from cattails – a teepee-like structure built from freshly uprooted plants. Here’s the video, check it out.

Video first seen on Shawn Woods

And you can even heat it with hot stones!

Video first seen on Shawn Woods

Medicinal Uses

When it comes to medicinal uses, you’ll have to burn cattails and treat abrasions and wounds with the ashes, which have antiseptic properties. The lower part of the stems is rich in amber, a honey-like syrup which is great for treating toothaches and small wounds.

Insect bites, burns and scratches  can be mitigated with a poultice made from the mashed core of the root, while cattail’s young flowers treat diarrhea when eaten.

That concludes today’s epic journey into cattail universe. But there are many other survival secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times.

Click the banner below to uncover them!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

12 Ways Activated Carbon Will Help Your Resilience

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Not so long ago, activated carbon was a common cure for many different ailment as well as a common household staple. Old habits and remedies should be revived: they are based on natural solutions much safer for our health than anything nowadays industries are offering us.

If you know how to use activated carbon, you might revert serious health problems now as well as prevent some of the worst ones that can occur anytime in your life.

If you want a good “multi-use” item in your medicine kit, activated carbon is the one to carry.

From removing ingested poison from stomach to air and water filtration, keep reading to find out the top 12 uses for activated charcoal.

Remove Ingested Poison from Stomach

No matter how hard you try, there are going to be times when you consume something that will present a danger to your health. By the same token, if you have livestock or other animals living with you, there is also a chance they will ingest some kind of poison that needs to be absorbed by a media such as activated carbon.

Fortunately, making and using activated carbon for this purpose uses the same basic process as you would use for most other purposes.  You may also want to purchase pre-manufactured activated carbon at a local pharmacy that is made for this purpose.

Discover the survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Reduce Gas Reflux and Stomach Bloating

Given the number of toxins and dangerous additives in modern foods, it should come as no surprise that acid reflux and stomach bloating are on the rise. When you factor in side effects from various drugs, this situation gets even worse.

During a major social collapse or other crisis, you may wind up consuming other foods that irritate your stomach simply because you have no choice. These and many other situations may be made even worse because you may not have any remedies on hand to deal with the situation. Activated carbon capsules can help reduce both stomach bloat and acid.

Aquarium Filtration

If you are going to grow your own food, aquariums and fish ponds are likely to be part of your plans. Even if you choose not to eat the fish, you will still need waste from them for hydroponics and other forms of fertilizer.

Large numbers of fish are hard to keep in a smaller area without the use of activated carbon.

Here are some ways activated carbon makes it easier to start and maintain a healthy aquarium or fish pond:

  • Activated carbon helps remove gas based fish waste from the water.
  • When aquarium and pond water is cleaner, there is a less chance of toxic algae buildup.
  • Water that is full of toxins increases the risk of fish disease. Given that some fish carry TB and other illnesses, you will not want to take this kind of chance, especially if you are planning to eat the fish or use the water to fertilize plants.
  • When aquarium water is full of fish waste or other toxins, the fish will be less likely to breed and produce healthy offspring. While this may not be of much concern while you can still buy fish, it will most certainly be a problem when you must replace them in a crisis situation.
  • Aquarium and pond water are notorious for pulling toxins from the air. As a result, if the area is polluted, you can rest assured that the water in the aquarium is also in bad condition.  Activated carbon will pull these toxins from the water and help ensure your fish remain as healthy as possible.

To use activated carbon for this purpose, just break bigger pieces down to about the size of a pea and add them to the air filter.

I have used bubble filters for decades in my aquariums and have never needed to buy pre-fabricated cartridges for them.

If you plan to use bigger or stronger power filters, then you may need to find some way to refill the cartridge once the activated carbon needs replacing. Some aquarists say it is possible to reuse the carbon after heating it up and letting it dry out. I have never gotten this or other variations to work properly.

Keep Your Teeth Clean

Many people are surprised to learn that activated carbon can remove all kinds of stains and hidden debris from teeth. No matter whether you want to whiten your teeth or keep them clean without using toothpaste, activated carbon will be very useful.

All you need to do is grind the activated carbon down to a powder and mix it with some water.  Let the black paste sit on your teeth for a minute or so, brush, and then rinse off as you would any other toothpaste. Since activated carbon doesn’t have a good taste or texture, you may want to follow up with a peppermint wash or something else that helps you feel more comfortable.

You can use baking soda as toothpaste and then follow up with activated carbon now as well as during a major disaster.

Modern toothpaste is filled with carcinogens and other dangerous toxins. As with the air and water, more than a few of the chronic illnesses you are dealing with right now may be made worse by toothpaste.

Give activated carbon a try and see how you feel both from a dental and physical perspective. Remember, cavities and other dental diseases don’t just come from bad dental hygiene. They also come from making bad food choices and ingesting chemicals that do harm to the enamel on your teeth.

Ask your dentist about the benefits of using activated carbon as a toothpaste replacer, as well as what you can do to make your own toothpaste so that you can avoid all the toxins in modern formulas.

If your dentist says that modern toothpaste is an absolute necessity for dental health, bring with you a list of all the ingredients in the toothpaste, and the studies that prove one or more is carcinogenic. As strange as it may sound, if you wind up needing to get a second opinion, this may be better than going on with a growing health problem that you weren’t aware of.

Video first seen on Silke Dewulf.

Remove Pesticides from Soil

If you thought air and water pollution were bad, you may not realize that soil pollution is just as bad. Runoff from commercial farms and factories as well as pollution falling from the air all lead to soil based problems miles away from the initial site of contaminant release.

Once activated carbon touches something, it will begin leaching various chemicals from it. In this case, if you mix activated carbon into the soil, it will pull out pesticides and other dangerous toxins.

Personally, I would recommend using blocks or sheets of carbon for this purpose. You can try them a the surface level, or bury them in layers in order to give the chemicals a chance to leach through to the carbon layers.

Later on, you will need to remove the carbon so that the plants don’t break it down and release the pesticides right back into the soil.

Remember, activated carbon doesn’t break chemicals down, it is simply a very porous medium that acts as a storage container. You will still have to remove the carbon from the soil to completely get rid of the pesticide and other toxins.

Air Filtration

Do you ever notice that when you travel to certain areas, the air smells really bad? Do you also notice that this sensation seems to fade after a few days? The air around you is so dirty it is probably making you and your family members very sick even though your nose had adapted to it.

From higher volumes of cars passing to garbage dumps and industrial smokestacks, there are actually very few places left where there is safe, clean air to breathe. Here are just a few contaminants that trigger everything from asthma to increased risk of panic attacks, heart problems, and other diseases:

  • Aside from carbon monoxide, automobiles also release other dangerous chemicals into the air, and some of them are known to trigger asthma and other breathing disorders.
  • Medical waste and rubbish dumps release dangerous chemicals into the air. If you smell something bad in the air when downwind of a dump, then this is the natural gas released by the piles of garbage. The dump may also be releasing all kinds of chemicals created when trash mixes together and new substances begin to form. You can’t tell just how many of these substances cause cancer or other health problems simply because you inhaled the disgusting odor of rotting trash.
  • Factories and power plants also release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals into the air. You may be able to smell some of them, while others are odorless.

If you spend the money and time to build an air quality sensor capable of detecting specific chemicals, you’ll be amazed at how dangerous the air around you really is. It will get much worse after a crisis because of increased numbers of fires and a lack of tools, labor, and resources required to manage dangerous chemicals.

Activated carbon can be used to remove most volatile organic compounds, and many other chemical based contaminants from the air. In fact, if you suffer from chronic medical problems, you might need a pre-fabricated carbon filter attached to a fan or some other source of air flow. Aside from cleaner smelling air, it will ease your health problems.

If you are concerned about gas attacks or other social collapse related scenarios – these kinds of filters will be essential if you plan to stay in your home. While there is much more to prepping for an air quality related disaster, activated carbon filters are a good place to start.

There are a number of furnace filters available that have activated carbon in them. In most cases, these are little more than a liquid solution of activated carbon added to the filter media.

You can try experimenting with your own versions to see if you can get a filter that effectively removes odors (and therefore their cause) from the air.

DIY Respirators and Gas Masks

Even if you could seal off your home entirely from the outside world, it would not be a feasible option. Gases and bio weapons will easily seep through even the tiniest crack and can be devastating, and there will also be times when you have to leave your location. And if you are away from your bug out location, you’ll need to protect your lungs as much as possible.

These are reasons why making and wearing a viable gas mask or respirator is very important. As with air filters, activated carbon offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.

Considering the rising rate of smog and other air pollutants, activated carbon masks are also very important for improving and maintaining a reasonable level of health. For example, in many Asian countries, people don’t go outdoors or exercise without wearing an activated carbon mask.

While this is a fairly rare sight in the United States, those who know the truth are doing the exact same thing. If you have asthma or other chronic breathing problems, even a surgical style mask with activated carbon in it can make a big difference.

I have personally noticed a 50% reduction in noxious odors from insecticides, smog, and other fumes when wearing this kind of mask. Others that have tried them notice a 70% or better reduction. While I have not tried the wrap-around designs more common in Asian countries, I suspect they would be more effective because they would seal off the areas where I tend to get the most air leaks.

A surgical style activated carbon mask is better than nothing, however you will need a more robust respirator design for gas attacks and other dangerous situations.

Just remember to practice breathing with these masks, and they can and do restrict air flow. Also make sure you keep the mask clean and change the cartridges on a regular basis. As good as activated carbon is at filtering out many kinds of chemicals, the pores in it still fill up quickly, hence the need to replace the cartridges often.

You can and should try taking used cartridges apart to see if you can find a way to refill the activated carbon part. Even if you cannot obtain or make the other filter media, at least you may be able to keep this vital part of the mask working for a longer period of time.

Filter Water

As a prepper, you may already be giving a lot more thought to water quality than air quality, but activated carbon isn’t only useful for removing the bad taste from water after it has been boiled. That bad taste is an indicator that the water isn’t as clean as you think it is.

Boiling water will kill off bacteria, however it will actually cause an increase in the concentration of heavy metals, pesticides, and even dangerous drugs that have leached into just about every potable water supply at the surface level. While activated carbon will not remove all heavy metals, it is excellent for removing most other dangerous chemicals and drugs.

Typically, filtering water with activated carbon is a lot easier than filtering air. At the simplest, just add some activated carbon to a clean sock and pour the water through it. You can also make your own cartridges and add a pump for larger volumes of water.

When designing your own system, don’t forget to make it easy to change the cartridge as well as detect when it needs to be changed. Since many water quality issues reflect in changes in pH, you may want to try building a pH sensor into your system so that you know when to change the filter.

Video first seen on MakerBoat

Preserve Papers

If you have books, paper based maps, or other important documents in your stockpile, it is very important to keep them free of air based chemicals that will do damage to them.

While a ziploc bag can be very useful, adding some activated carbon to the bag will also ensure the paper does not break down as quickly.

Remove Odor From Fabrics

Today, many people still use moth balls and other camphor based products to store clothes away for long periods of time. Aside from making your clothes very smelly, many of these products can also be very dangerous to your health.

If you want to keep clothes in your stockpile odor free, activated carbon may be of some help. If you routinely have bad smelling clothes, adding some activated carbon to the wash will also get rid of the problem.

You can make activated carbon sachets from nylon stockings (or very thin socks) and aquarium carbon, or buy them pre-made at the pet store.

Scent Block for Hunting

More than a few hunters have lost a chance to capture dinner because the target animal got a whiff of the hunter when the breeze changed.  Since most animals are afraid of human scent, even a slight breeze can cause problems.

Today, a number of hunting supply stores sell activated carbon solutions that will absorb body odors before they can be carried to the animal. You can also grind activated carbon into a powder and mix it with water.

Next, just dip your clothes in the solution and let them dry. Even though there is some controversy over whether this actually works, there is no harm in giving it a try, especially if you know or suspect that scent related issues are interfering with the hunt.

More than a few hunters also store their clothes in activated carbon in order to prevent other odors from getting into the clothes.

Tip: if you have been using the same clothes for years, and took a lot of time making sure they absorbed the scent of the woods, this can help prevent that from being disrupted.  All you need to do is add a few sachets of activated carbon to the bag or box and store away until needed for the next season.

Video first seen on Cabela’s Hunting

Manage Stings and Insect Bites

Bee stings and insect bites can become infected as well as cause a lot of pain and irritation. While activated carbon will not stop an infection, it can pull out the venom from stings and small bites.  Just apply the activated carbon to the skin and let it absorb the venom.

If you are allergic to bees or other insects, it is still very important to use an Epi-pen or other neutralizers that have a known track record for reliably managing this problem.

Activated carbon will not work for snake bites. Insect bites have much smaller amounts of venom than a snakebite. You can try a moist chewing tobacco bandage for snakebite and a constriction band above the site of a snakebite. You will still need the proper anti-venom to treat this condition.

Now that you know how to use activated charcoal, discover more valuable survival secrets from our forefathers.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Easy Guide To Make Activated Carbon At Home

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When the air smells bad, and the water tastes awkward, you know something is wrong with them, and most probably they are polluted.

While many people have traded the safety and cleansing power of activated charcoal for all kinds of poisonous air sprays and dangerous municipal water supplies, activated carbon can save your life now as well as in the future.

You can make activated carbon at home, if you have proper tools and materials. This substance has a lot of uses, and air and water filtration is on top of them as it offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.

Read the following article and learn how to deal with it!

How to Make Activated Carbon

Even though activated carbon is not especially difficult to make, you will still need the right tools and materials. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1 – You will need wood or some other dense plant fiber to burn. Hardwood, coconuts, or just about anything else that is porous and will burn well can be used for this purpose. Make sure the material is as dry as possible before burning it.

Step 2 – Put the material in a pot and cover it. The pot should have some ventilation holes in it, however the flow of oxygen should remain limited.  If you know how to make tinder cloth, then you can use a similar process for making charcoal.

Step 3 – If you have a campfire going, set the pot on the fire. The temperature will have to be hot enough to cause the material within the pot to burn. Your goal is to burn off everything but the carbon. It may take several hours for this process to complete. During that time, you should see smoke and gas escaping from the pot.

Step 4 – Let the charcoal cool, and then rinse it to remove any ash or other debris.

Step 5 – Grind the charcoal into a powder. As you get better at making activated carbon, you can try leaving it in small chunks.  Remember that later on, the charcoal will need to be saturated with a chemical that will increase pore size.

If the chunks are too large, you may not achieve this goal, and the resulting activated carbon will not be as efficient or as effective. Make sure the charcoal from Step 5 (this step)  is completely dry before mixing it with anything else.

Step 6 – Next, you will either need bleach, calcium chloride, or lemon juice to turn the charcoal into activated carbon. Of the three materials, calcium chloride can be made from natural resources as long as you observe some basic safety precautions.

To make calcium chloride, work outdoors or in some other well ventilated area, and wear goggles, safety gloves that are resistant to acids and other chemicals, and other protective gear. Start off with hydrochloric acid (you can obtain this from the stomach of any animal you have hunted and refine it from there) and limestone (your main source of calcium carbonate).

Put the hydrochloric into a glass beaker, but don’t fill more than ¼ of the vessel (some people go as high as half. It is best to start with small amounts until you are more sure of how the chemicals will react to each other). 

Carefully pour calcium carbonate powder into the hydrochloric acid until the solution stops bubbling. Once the reaction is complete, pour the solution through a strainer so that any lumps are removed. Next, you can heat the solution to remove any excess water.  The powder left behind is calcium chloride.

Step 7 – Next, mix the material you choose from step 5, and combine it with 75% water.

Step 8 – Pour enough of the mix from Step 7 into the charcoal so that the charcoal is completely covered.

Step 9 – Let the charcoal sit for 24 hours.

Step 10 – Drain all liquid from the carbon and rinse it to remove any stray chemical left behind.

Step 11 – Remove as much water as possible. The charcoal should be wet without being completely saturated.

Step 12 – Place the charcoal back in the metal pot and let it cook for about 3 hours. If the fire is hot enough to boil water, it will be just the right temperature to finish converting charcoal into activated carbon.

Contaminated water after an emergency can put your family at risk. Protect them now!

How to Use Carbon for Filtration

Air Filtration

Do you ever notice that when you travel to certain areas, the air smells really bad? Do you also notice that this sensation seems to fade after a few days? The air around you is so dirty it is probably making you and your family members very sick even though your nose had adapted to it.

From higher volumes of cars passing to garbage dumps and industrial smokestacks, there are actually very few places left where there is safe, clean air to breathe. Here are just a few contaminants that trigger everything from asthma to increased risk of panic attacks, heart problems, and other diseases:

  • Aside from carbon monoxide, automobiles also release other dangerous chemicals into the air, and some of them are known to trigger asthma and other breathing disorders.
  • Medical waste and rubbish dumps release dangerous chemicals into the air. If you smell something bad in the air when downwind of a dump, then this is the natural gas released by the piles of garbage. The dump may also be releasing all kinds of chemicals created when trash mixes together and new substances begin to form. You can’t tell just how many of these substances cause cancer or other health problems simply because you inhaled the disgusting odor of rotting trash.
  • Factories and power plants also release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals into the air. You may be able to smell some of them, while others are odorless.

If you spend the money and time to build an air quality sensor capable of detecting specific chemicals, you’ll be amazed at how dangerous the air around you really is. It will get much worse after a crisis because of increased numbers of fires and a lack of tools, labor, and resources required to manage dangerous chemicals.

Activated carbon can be used to remove most volatile organic compounds, and many other chemical based contaminants from the air. In fact, if you suffer from chronic medical problems, you might need a pre-fabricated carbon filter attached to a fan or some other source of air flow. Aside from cleaner smelling air, it will ease your health problems.

If you are concerned about gas attacks or other social collapse related scenarios – these kinds of filters will be essential if you plan to stay in your home. While there is much more to prepping for an air quality related disaster, activated carbon filters are a good place to start.

There are a number of furnace filters available that have activated carbon in them. In most cases, these are little more than a liquid solution of activated carbon added to the filter media. You can try experimenting with your own versions to see if you can get a filter that effectively removes odors (and therefore their cause) from the air.

Make Respirators and Gas Masks Using Activated Carbon

Even if you could seal off your home entirely from the outside world, it would not be a feasible option. Gases and bio weapons will easily seep through even the tiniest crack and can be devastating, and there will also be times when you have to leave your location. And if you are away from your bug out location, you’ll need to protect your lungs as much as possible.

These are reasons why making and wearing a viable gas mask or respirator is very important. As with air filters, activated carbon offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.  Considering the rising rate of smog and other air pollutants, activated carbon masks are also very important for improving and maintaining a reasonable level of health. In fact, in many Asian countries, people don’t go outdoors or exercise without wearing an activated carbon mask.

While this is a fairly rare sight in the United States, those who know the truth are doing the exact same thing. If you have asthma or other chronic breathing problems, even a surgical style mask with activated carbon in it can make a big difference.

I have personally noticed a 50% reduction in noxious odors from insecticides, smog, and other fumes when wearing this kind of mask. Others that have tried them notice a 70% or better reduction. While I have not tried the wrap-around designs more common in Asian countries, I suspect they would be more effective because they would seal off the areas where I tend to get the most air leaks.

A surgical style activated carbon mask is better than nothing, however you will need a more robust respirator design for gas attacks and other dangerous situations. You can try making them from soda bottles or purchase one made for this purpose, as you see in the video below.

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

Just remember to practice breathing with these masks, and they can and do restrict air flow. Also make sure you keep the mask clean and change the cartridges on a regular basis. As good as activated carbon is at filtering out many kinds of chemicals, the pores in it still fill up quickly, hence the need to replace the cartridges often.

You can and should try taking used cartridges apart to see if you can find a way to refill the activated carbon part. Even if you cannot obtain or make the other filter media, at least you may be able to keep this vital part of the mask working for a longer period of time.

Using Activated Carbon for Water Filtration

As a prepper, you may already be giving a lot more thought to water quality than air quality, but activated carbon isn’t only useful for removing the bad taste from water after it has been boiled. That bad taste is an indicator that the water isn’t as clean as you think it is.

Boiling water will kill off bacteria, however it will actually cause an increase in the concentration of heavy metals, pesticides, and even dangerous drugs that have leached into just about every potable water supply at the surface level. While activated carbon will not remove all heavy metals, it is excellent for removing most other dangerous chemicals and drugs.

Typically, filtering water with activated carbon is a lot easier than filtering air. At the simplest, just add some activated carbon to a clean sock and pour the water through it. You can also make your own cartridges and add a pump for larger volumes of water.

Video first seen on MakerBoat.

When designing your own system, don’t forget to make it easy to change the cartridge as well as detect when it needs to be changed. Since many water quality issues reflect in changes in pH, you may want to try building a pH sensor into your system so that you know when to change the filter.

As you can see, making activated carbon isn’t especially difficult.  No matter whether you are concerned about improving your health and lifestyle now, or want to do as well as possible during and after a social collapse, activated carbon should be a household staple.

Even if you get started by simply buying products with activated carbon, it will give you a chance to see how useful it is before you delve into making your own activated carbon exclusively from natural resources. Once you acquire this skill, you will be well on your way to managing a number of emergencies that may not be as high on your priority list as others.

Nevertheless, when the situation demands, at least you will have something on hand to deal with it.

Never worry about having safe water again.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

14 Survival Uses For Lip Balm

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I already know what you’re thinking: what does lip balm and survival have in common?

Also known as chapstick, this inconspicuous piece of gear which is to be found in almost every woman’s purse has quite a lot of survival uses.

Ideally speaking, when it comes to DIY EDC kits, survival kits and bug out bags, the best thing would be to pack those with items which have multiple uses, for space saving reasons obviously. And lip balm definitely qualifies.

Lip balm is not just for protecting one’s lips, though this was its initial purpose. It can also be used as a survival tool. Just as many preppers never leave the house without duct tape, after finishing reading this article you’ll probably carry lip balm on your EDC from now on.

Another great feature of lip balm is that it’s available pretty much everywhere. You can find the stuff in gas stations and drugstores, on the Internet, in big box stores and so on and so forth.

Also, there are many brands and different varieties of lip balm, which are all making wild claims about their magical properties and what not, including the level of awesomeness they’ll deliver.

Regardless of the marketing, you should always go for the tube lip balm, this is the best option as it has multiple survival uses.

Discover what survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Start a Fire

Lip balm can be lit up and used for starting a fire! Yeah, you got that right. Lip balm is a petroleum based product and that makes it flammable, hence if you’re out there in the wild and you need to start a fire real quick, just smear a small quantity of lip balm on any flammable object, like a cotton ball, cloth, lint, dry bark, gauze or whatever (they all work well) and they’ll ignite very quickly.

Lip balm is awesome for igniting tinder without wasting precious fuel or matches.

Make a Candle

Here’s a neat trick for maximizing your chances of survival in the dark: if you stuff a matchstick vertically down into the lip balm tube, a half inch or maybe more, thus creating a balm-coating, you’ll end up with an improvised/emergency candle that burns slowly and also makes for a pretty good fire starter.

You can also melt the lip balm and insert a wick in the container, hence ending up with an emergency candle.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Treat Small Cuts

Lip balm can be used for a variety of medical emergencies. To begin with, you can protect abrasions with the stuff, treat small cuts (thus preventing them from infecting), ameliorate scrapes from grime or dirt just by smearing some lip balm on the affected area.

Keep in mind that you’ll only require a light coating.

Stop Minor Bleeding

Lip balm also stops minor bleeding. If you’re going to hike long distances, you can prevent your heels and other areas on your feet from getting blisters by rubbing a little lip balm on them.

Protect Your Skin

Lip balm will provide you with some sort of lubrication and thus it will prevent you from getting blisters.

Another thing to remember: if you’re outdoors in extreme weather conditions, you can use lip balm to protect the skin on your exposed body parts from cracking and drying, think fingertips or your nose.

Also, you can reduce glare from extremely bright places (like in the desert or snowfields) by making a mixture from lip balm and ash, which must be rubbed under one’s eyes.

You can use lip balm as sunscreen in an emergency, as most of them include a sun protection factor of 15 to keep your lips from getting burned by the sun.

Camouflage Your Face

Another cool thing about lip balm: if you mix it with a little bit of dirt, you can use it for camouflage.

Video first seen on Erkin

Reduce Irritations

A soothe and irritated nose can be a pest, especially in a survival situation. However, you can get fast relief from that irritated skin around or inside your nose by applying some lip balm with your finger over the respective areas.

Protect Pet’s Paws

Lip balm is great for protecting a pet’s paws from ice in wintry conditions. You’ll have to coat the paw pads with lip balm before walking on snow or ice, as the lip balm will work as a barrier to protect sensitive paws.

Lubricate Your Gear

Lip balm is great in emergencies for its lubrication properties. For example, you can use it for unlocking a zipper, to prevent nails from splitting wood (you’ll have to rub some over the hardware before hammering in nails) or to rust proof gear. You can also use lip balm for sealing up a leaky seam in your jacket or your tent, or to wax a bowstring.

Keep Blades from Rusting

Lips balm also makes for a great blade protector for your survival knife. Keeping your knife well oiled when you’re not using it will prevent it from rusting.

Protect Leather Gear

Speaking of protection, lip balm is an excellent leather conditioner, whether we’re talking about your skin or the leather on your shoes and boots or the sheath of your survival knife.

Remove Stuck Rings

Lip balm is great for removing stuck rings pr other items. For example, if your ring gets stuck on your fat finger, whether we’re talking about a wrong fit or from swelling, a little lip balm will save the day.

Defog Glasses

If you’re wearing glasses, you can use lip balm as a defogger. Just rub some lip balm on the lenses then polish them thoroughly with a clean cloth. In this way, you’ll leave an invisible film of lip balm on your lenses that will prevent them from fogging (works with goggles and binoculars too).

Hide Small Survival Items

Even the empty container can be used for storage purposes. Once you’ve used all your lip balm, the plastic tube will make for the ideal place to store things like basic survival gear, i.e. matches, a fishing hook and fishing line etc.

Next time you’re cruising your local convenient store, don’t forget to grab some tubes of  lip balm. Is dirt cheap, easy to carry and an essential item to have in your EDC/BOB or survival kit.

Now that you know how to use lip balm in an emergency situation, discover more valuable survival secrets from our forefathers.

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If you have questions or additional ideas, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been writen by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

The 7 Rules Of How Not To Become A Target

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There’s a military axiom which says,“The best defense is a good offense.” I have my own, modified version of this. It goes, “The best defense is not becoming a target.” What I mean by that is that if nobody has a reason for attacking you, you won’t have to worry about being attacked.

You’ve got to realize that in the aftermath of any crisis, people are going to be on the prowl. You’ve seen it on the news reports; people looting, stealing, breaking into homes, even rooting around in garbage dumpsters for the things that they need to survive.

You’re going to see it again; only this time, you’ll see it much more up close and personal. That’s why you need to learn how not to become a target.

While there are no accurate figures as to how many preppers there are in the United States, estimates put it at somewhere between two and three million people. The rest of the people out there are expecting FEMA to come to the rescue, riding on a white horse and with federal government funds (otherwise known as your tax dollars) in their hands to solve all their problems.

Since most people only have less than three days’ worth of food in their homes, it won’t take long for all those millions of people out there to get desperate. Then they’ll start hunting. They’re first stop will be the stores, which will be cleaned out of anything useful. Then, they’ll start preying on each other.

There will only be two basic ways to prevent being attacked. The first is to look so strong to the attacker that they decide to leave you alone and find somebody else to pick on. Not only is that rather expensive to accomplish, it’s just about like putting up a billboard on the roof of your home that says, “Preppers Live Here!”.

The other way is to fool people into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking you. Poor people generally don’t think of stealing from other poor people, unless they see that the other poor person has something that they want.

The general assumption is,“They’re as poor as I am, it’s not worth attacking them.” Instead, they go looking for somebody who’s going to have something worth stealing. That somebody else is you, unless of course, they don’t realize that you have anything worth grabbing. Therein lies the secret; making it look like you’re not worth bothering with.

You’re home defense problems are going to be greatly lessened if they don’t come to attack you. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t know who you are, what you have, or that you are living any better than they are.

If you’re living like everything is hunky-dory, that will be like putting up that billboard again. Many of the things that you are doing to prepare for a disaster can very easily make you and your home stand out, making you into the target that you don’t want to be.

Even while you’re enjoying your stockpile of food and drinking from your well, using the light produced by your solar panels, you don’t want others to know.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

How Does OPSEC Help You?

All this is called Operational Security, or OPSEC. In the military, it’s the idea of denying the enemy information about who you are, what you’re doing, what your capabilities are and what your plans are. That’s really no different than what you need to do with your prepping. You need to deny the same information to all the people around you who might want what you have.

Light Discipline

One of the easiest giveaways that you are in better shape than your neighbors is having lights shining out of your windows, when everyone else’s power is out. Most preppers have alternate sources to provide their home with power in the case of an emergency.

Even so, if people see that light shining through the windows, they’re going to be wondering where it is coming from, and why you are the only one who has electricity. To stay safe, use low wattage electric lights, that won’t be so obvious.

If you have a battery backup system, you can run wires through your house to run 12 volt automotive lights. These may not be as bright as what you’re used to, but they will provide enough light for most activities.

The best thing to do is to install blackout curtains. These are dark, heavy curtains, which are designed to prevent light from escaping through the windows. They need to be made of heavy fabric and be larger than the window, so that they cover the window and can seal the space around it.

Don’t forget about flashlights either. While there will be other people with flashlights, the longer the disaster lasts, the less batteries there will be available for them. If you have to use a flashlight, use it sparingly, and do whatever you can to hood the light and keep it from being obvious.

In the military, they use a red lens on flashlights, with a light blocker behind it. The light blocker is a solid plate, with just a pinhole in the middle. Between the two, very little light escapes, keeping it from being seen from far away.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.


Unless you’re one of those fortunate people who has a propane stove or a cast-iron one, you’re probably going to be doing your cooking outdoors, which means cooking on your grille or in a fire pit. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good alternative for when your kitchen is out of order, but there is a very high risk that your neighbors are going to know exactly what you’re cooking. If that’s a pot of beans and rice, it won’t be such a big deal, but if you’re cooking steaks every night, everybody will know about this.

The longer you go without power, the greater a problem that’s going to be. The first couple of days after the power goes out, you’re probably going to smell a lot of steaks on the grille, as people try to use up what they’ve got in the freezer before it can go bad.

But once that first few days are over, there won’t be too many people with steaks to grill.

This is one of those cases that you can cover up with a bit of subterfuge. Hopefully, you’ve got a good enough relationship with your neighbors, that you’ll be helping each other out in a crisis.

So, if you go hunting and get a deer, it would seem normal that you would pass on some meat to your neighbors. Hopefully, the next week one of them will go hunting and share with you as well. If everyone in the neighborhood is grilling meat outdoors once a week, it won’t seem all that strange. The rest of your meat can be turned into jerky, and used in soups and stew that way.

Spices are another thing that can give away your abundance of food. When people are eating the most basic of foods, their sense of smell for well-seasoned food can actually be increased. If they smell well-seasoned food coming from your back yard, that will serve as another indicator that you have food.

I firmly believe in stocking spices, and I like well-seasoned foods. However, if my spice rack is going to cause me trouble, I’ll put a padlock on it and throw away the key. My family’s survival is more important to me than having gourmet meals.


Simple things can give everything away, especially to people who are looking for them. If you have a bunch of trash piling up at the curb and somebody is going to take a look in it and find a bunch of empty food packages, they’re instantly going to know that you have food while everyone else is starving.

The easiest way to solve the problem is to burn your trash. You’ve got to be careful about that, though, as burning trash could be a give away in and of itself. However, if you’re cooking outside over a fire, there’s nothing to say that you can’t use your trash to start the fire and burn some more of it as fuel. That will serve two purposes for you; get rid of the trash, and save your stock of fuel.

The same can be done if you’re using a fireplace to heat your home. Since you’ll be burning wood in it anyway, throwing some packages in there as well won’t be a problem. Once again, this can serve to dispose of the trash, while helping provide heat to your home.

If there’s no other possibility, then hide your trash in your basement or backyard, being sure to separate edible garbage from trash. The edible garbage can go into a compost heap, eliminating it, which will also help cut down on the stench from storing so much trash.

Appearance of Your Home

If you are in an area that was hit by a hurricane, there will be a lot of damage to homes and other buildings. While there might be a few which avoid any major damage, they will be few and far between. If your home is the only one in the area which doesn’t look like it sustained any damage, then it might look suspicious to people passing by. Likewise, if you manage to get it repaired faster than anyone else.

An easy thing that you can do to make your home look more damaged and increase your physical security in other ways, at the same time, is to put plywood over your windows. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas have pre-cut pieces which they can install whenever needed. If you have these, or can make some out of plywood, it will help make your home appear abandoned.

At the same time, those pieces of plywood will prevent anyone from seeing what’s going on inside and help keep any light from your lamps indoors. Should anyone decide to attack your home, plywood is fairly hard to break, making it harder for them to come through your windows.

Any gardening for fresh vegetables or livestock you have needs to be hidden in the back yard, preferably behind a privacy fence. If people don’t see it, hopefully they won’t think it’s there.

Noise Discipline

Noise can be another dead giveaway. The average person doesn’t realize how much noise they create, just doing everyday chores. That noise will show that your home is occupied. If you want to appear like an abandoned home, you’ve got to control the noise.

Even besides that, if you’re not trying to present the image of being an abandoned home, you still want to watch your noise levels, especially any sounds made by electronic devices.

If you have music playing in your home or your kids are watching a movie on the TV, it can probably be heard from outside your home. People hearing it will wonder how it is that you have electric power, when they don’t.

It’s not too much of a leap of imagination from there to wondering what else you might have that they can use.

Kids can be a real problem when it comes to noise discipline. If you have children, especially small ones, you’ll need to watch them constantly to keep them quiet. The best way to do this is to keep them busy with tasks that don’t make a lot of noise. Get them to help you and your wife around the house as well, making them a part, rather than just leaving them to play.


You’re going to be more physically active in the aftermath of a disaster, than you are today. Just trying to survive is going to keep you and your whole family busy.

Pretty much everything you do will have to be done manually,without the benefit of modern conveniences. That’s going to be a lot of hard physical work.

Trying to hide all this activity will be virtually impossible. Even so, there are a few things that you can do to camouflage your actions. More than anything, you can try and make your actions look like those around you. They’ll be busy trying to survive as well, so your actions to look like you are trying to survive shouldn’t look all that different.

Many things, like going to collect water from a nearby stream or lake will be the same as your neighbors are doing. Here again, you have a great opportunity for cooperation. If you can work together to collect and haul water, then you’ll just be part of the group.

You’ll also make the job easier for both of you, as you can help each other out. Of course, you’ll be the one with the water filtration system, so maybe you can help them out with that, in exchange for them helping you out in other ways.

Keep as much of your survival activity in your house or backyard as you possibly can. That will limit the number of people who can see what you’re doing to your immediate family and your immediate neighbors.

Here again you can co-opt them in your plans, by helping them. If they see you working in the backyard, growing vegetables, offer to help them get their garden started too; possibly in exchange for some labor.

Personal Appearance

With food shortages all around you, there’s a good chance that people are going to be losing weight. If you’re not, this could be another sign that you’re in much better shape, supply-wise than anyone else. In a town full of malnutrition, a chubby person is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course, if you’re already thin, you’re not going to have a problem with this. It’s only those who are currently a bit on the heavy side that are going to end up looking a bit strange to others. They might want to go on that diet that they were talking about for years, as part of their OPSEC routine.

In addition to weight, there are other considerations about your appearance that you should keep in mind. Clean clothing, shoes that are in good condition, shaving, haircuts, and nail polish are all things that will stand out like a sore thumb, if nobody else around you has them.

Once again, this is one of those things that’s going to get worse with time. At the beginning, everyone will look fairly normal. But as the lack of soap and water make an impact, people will wear their clothes longer, even though they’re dirty, wash their hair less frequently, and let their beards grow.

To some extent, you can get away with not looking like everyone else in this case, as long as it is easily explainable to the people around you. If they see you hauling more water than anyone else, they won’t have a problem with you wearing clean clothes.

If they see your wife cut your hair, they won’t think much of it. As long as there’s an explanation, they won’t worry about it.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

10 Survival Uses For Epsom Salt

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I think that as preppers and homesteaders, we can all agree that three of the top things we look for in an item that we consider worthy of stockpiling is cost, versatility and utilitarianism. In other words, how many different things can we use it for, and how often will  we reach for it?

Well, using those criteria, Epsom salt goes somewhere near the top of the preparedness list, along with vinegar and duct tape. But why?

Epsom salt, sea salt, table salt, kosher salt … they’re all the same, right? Just different textures? Nope. Actually, it’s not a salt at all. Sea salt, kosher salt and table salt are at least 97.5% sodium chloride. Of course, kosher salt is, well, kosher, and sea salt also has minerals, but Epsom salt is a completely different beast – it’s actually magnesium sulfate. And it has a ton of survival and household uses.

Another big difference between Epsom salt and other salts is that it doesn’t really have culinary value – it’s bitter. It’s used more as  a chemical than a seasoning. So, don’t pull out your box of Epsom salts when you run out of kosher salt – you won’t be happy with the results!

Draw out Toxins and Impurities

This was actually the first use of Epsom salt. In the early seventeenth  century, people that would bathe or soak in the waters produced by springs in the town of Epsom, England because of the curative effects that it purportedly had. The wealthy began to travel there just to soak. A doctor began extracting the salt and the rest is history.

Though studies are contentious about the actual curative effects of soaking, there’s no denying the fact that it’s been used for that purpose to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue, arthritis, and skin conditions ever since. It’s likely due to the magnesium.

Epsom salt dissolves well in warm water but not so well in oils or lotions, so there’s no need to complicate things. Just dissolve a cup and a half or so in a half-gallon of hot water and add it to your bath water. If you’d rather just soak a particular body part – say, your feet – just add a cup to very warm water and soak away.

Because it does have magnesium and sulfate in it, you shouldn’t soak in the tub for more than 15 minutes a day, or in a small container for more than 30 minutes. Follow the directions on the container.

Discover the health and healing secrets that helped our forefathers survive harsh times! 

Boost Magnesium in Soil

Whether you want greener, thicker grass, tastier tomatoes and peppers, or prettier flowers, Epsom salt is a good option because magnesium helps plants produce chlorophyll and allows your plants soak in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and some plants need more of that that others. Many soils lack enough magnesium to do this. If you just want to green things up so that your yard looks great to both your neighbors and your livestock, add 2 tbsp./1 gallon of water and spray on your lawn with a garden sprayer.

To give a monthly magnesium boost to your plants, mix 1-2 tsp/gallon of water and saturate the soil around the plants so that it goes to the roots. If you’re using a mister, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. This recipe also works well when you’re germinating because seeds need both magnesium and sulfur. Just water your seeds with it as soon as you plant them.

To add magnesium to your soil when you plant, sprinkle 1 tbsp. around each transplant.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY

Tan Hides

The first step to tanning a raw hide is to remove the flesh from it. Some remove the hair as well, but some would rather leave it on. With magnesium tanning, the Epsom salt is added after the flesh is removed and is used in as a “swelling agent” to soften the hide, increase durability, and decrease shrinkage. It may affect the color of the hide or leave stains on it.

Be careful using Epsom salts because magnesium can, in combination with the right chemicals, become explosive.

Deter Raccoons and Slugs

Raccoons love your garden, your garbage, and your hen house, but you’re probably no so in love with them. Good news – they hate the smell of Epsom salts. Sprinkle it around those areas and your coon problem will go away. Remember to reapply after it rains.

Of course, that won’t keep them from dropping down off a fence or finding another way in, so it’s best to use Epsom salt in conjunction with other practices such as keeping your garbage is tight-sealing containers.

To deter slugs from your garden or your planters, just sprinkle it around the perimeter. Remember that it will dissolve, so you’ll need to reapply after rain.

Splinters, Insect Bites, and Poison Ivy

I’ve used Epsom salt for splinters, bug bites and skin irritations many times! The problem with any of these conditions is that if they get infected, and they quickly can, then you can be in big trouble in a survival situation.

One such situation that could lead to this is a splinter that you leave in. Soak in Epsom salts as I described above and it’ll help draw it out.

If you have bug bites or poison ivy, you can make a paste with Epsom salt and apply it to the area and it will help draw out the itch and discomfort. Some sources say to bathe in Epsom salts for poison ivy, sumac, or oak, but that seems counter-intuitive, because hot water makes you itch more, and it’s possible that the bath may spread the rash.

There are opinions on both side of the fence on that, but when it comes to the possibility of spreading the misery, especially to tender spots, I’d rather not take a chance. Of course, that’s up to you.

To find natural anesthetics that may also help in these situations, check here.

Relieve Constipation

You need to be careful taking Epsom salt internally because of the magnesium and sulfur content. That being said, it’s long been used as a natural treatment to relieve constipation. Dissolve 2 tsp of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water and drink it. If you don’t have a bowel movement within 4 hours, try a second dose, but don’t do it more than twice in a 24-hour period.

Reduce Inflammation

If you have swollen or sore muscles, you can either soak as I described above or you can make a compress by dissolving 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water, then let it get cold. Soak a towel with it, then wrap it loosely around the area and leave it there for 15 minutes.

Recharge Your Battery

This one is controversial because it can be extremely dangerous and it may not work. You’re dealing with battery acid and magnesium; a lot of bad things can happen. That being said, in an emergency survival situation, you’re left to your own devices and you can decide for yourself whether to do it or not.

Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water to make a paste, then add a bit to each battery cell. This probably won’t help if the plates inside are worn out or if the contacts between the cells are in bad shape.

Always wear eye protection and sturdy clothes and shoes that the battery acid won’t eat through before you can get it off, just in case. This isn’t something you should try if you don’t have experience. And remember – being prepared by having  a properly maintained car is always better than trying to fix it when you need it the most.

Video first seen on Mentorcase

Scrubbing Tiles and Cookware

I’m not sure if Epsom salt works well to remove shower grunge and baked on foods because of the chemicals in them (it’s a debate), or if it’s because of the abrasive quality, but making a paste with water and dabbing it onto your shower tiles, then scrubbing will remove grunge, and for pots and pans, soak it in Epsom and hot water, or just sprinkle the salt straight in and scrub.

Great Skin

OK, this one isn’t really for survival, but even if SHTF, cosmetics are going to be important for physical and emotional reasons. Having toothpaste and a clean face can make all the difference in the world when you’re searching for a dab of normalcy. Epsom salt has been a common ingredient in beauty solutions for practically forever, or at least since the 1800s.

You can add essential oils and herbs to them to make bath salts, mix it with coconut oil or water to make an exfoliant (oils are good here, too), and some say that rinsing your face in Epsom salt water will help heal conjunctivitis and sties.

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you in a survival situation.

Click the banner below to uncover more survival secrets that helped our grandfathers survive!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Make A 5 Gallon Bucket Survival Kit

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If you love buckets and survival, you’ve landed in the right place, as today’s article is about 5-gallon buckets and survival, or how to use an already-legendary item in the prepper community for building a survival kit.

And yes, I am talking about the famous 5-gallon bucket, which seems to be at the top of the list when it comes to survival and sustainable development.

Besides gardening, building pyramids, and putting a man on the moon, this inconspicuous item can be used for improvising an emergency/survival kit as it’s large enough to hold quite a few items of survival gear, it’s tough and water resistant, and it’s pretty easy to carry around depending on what’s in it.

These DIY emergency kits are easy and cheap to made, and in a crisis situation they’ll prove to be highly valuable.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The idea is to have as many as possible placed in strategic places, i.e. one in your car, one in your basement, one in your vacation home, one in your office – you know what I’m talking about.

To begin with, let’s concentrate a bit on the bucket itself. Not all buckets are created equal; you need to get a good one that hasn’t been used to store toxic chemicals.

How to Choose a High-quality Bucket

Here are a few places where you can get a high-quality (as in solid) 5-gallon bucket for free:

  • Wendy’s
  • Tim Hortons
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Sam’s Club
  • Chick Fill A.

You can also try Mc Donald’s, Walmart and Subway but these guys are so environmentally conscious that they usually recycle their plastic buckets. It’s worth a try anyway.

Also, you should go for food grade buckets at all times, because you never know what you’ll be storing inside after all, besides your emergency survival kit, alright?

Another important factor to consider is that your bucket is strong enough to withstand pressure and comes with a plastic lid – that’s quite important.

If cruising the multinational corporations proves to be unsuccessful in terms of acquiring free 5-gallon buckets, you can always go for the unthinkable option and buy some from Home Depot, Foodland, McHappy’s, Lowes or FireHouse Subs. A brand new bucket from these guys will cost you anywhere from 2 to 5 bucks, lid included (the lid may cost extra).

These are just a few ideas, so don’t start throwing rocks; I’m only a messenger. If you’re not happy with my tips and tricks, just use your imagination.

If you end up with free but stinky plastic buckets (the ones which were used for storing pickles are the smelliest) don’t worry, they can be cleansed in a jiffy with a solution made of 1 gallon of hot water and 1/3 cup of bleach. The same stuff can be used for cleaning your bathroom by the way, but don’t tell anybody.

Another interesting factoid to consider: the best food-grade buckets are marked with a 2 on the bottom. The number represents the type of plastic used in its construction and 2 is the least toxic variety. However, if you put Mylar bags inside, you can forget about the food grade status of your bucket.

If you’re definitely never going to store food inside the bucket, it doesn’t really matter what you use.

With the “how to choose the ideal-5 gallon bucket for my prepping endeavor”  science taken care of, let’s move on to the most important part of the story.

What to Put in Your 5 Gallon Bucket Survival Kit?

Well, there are various schools of taught about the actual content of a proper emergency kit, but let’s play it safe and follow the golden rule of survival, or the holy trinity.

The trinity of survival goes something like this: regardless of what you’re thinking about, whether it’s an alien invasion or a natural disaster, you’ll have to take care of 3 main things if you want to stay alive and tell the story to your kids, friends, or favorite pets: food, water and shelter, that about sums it up.

With all these simple things considered, your survival emergency kit must be able to provide you with the necessary items/gear/stuff or whatchamacallits for allowing you to eat, drink and stay safe for at least 3 days (the more the better).

Video first seen on Robert Martin

With water being a crucial survival item, you should pack 3-4 water bottles in your survival bucket, along with a quality water filter. The problem with water is that it’s voluminous and heavy to carry around, so you’ll have to figure that out for yourself (I am talking about how many bottles of water to store in your emergency kit depending on your geo-location).

Freeze dried meals are also must-have items in a survival emergency kit, together with a few protein bars, chocolate, and other long shelve life, easy to carry, light, compact, and high-calories foods. A rip stop tarp is essential, as it can be used for a number of purposes, including as a makeshift shelter (a 6×8 would be enough, and grommet holes are a must).

Tip: disguise your 5-gallon bucket survival kit into an Ottoman and hide it in plain view (think along the lines of easy to grab if SHTF).

Video first seen on Emma Catherine

These are the most basic items to store inside your 5 gallon bucket survival kit, i.e. food, water and shelter. But there’s plenty of room left, so let’s go a little bit more high tech: a gun would be nice, also a quality survival knife, which is essentially a multi-tool. Being able to protect yourself and your family, especially in a crisis, is crucial. A few extra rounds of ammo wouldn’t hurt either. 

A fire starter kit/BIC lighters, some weatherproof matches, duct tape, a mini multi tool (I’d go for a Leatherman), a whistle, and some wet wipes would be nice to have in any emergency situation I can think of, so keep those in mind too. A compass, an LED lighter with some spare batteries, a couple of N 95 dust masks and a small sliding saw would be also advisable to add to your survival stash.

A shortwave radio is essential in a catastrophe as it gives you the possibility to gather essential intel from local authorities, so throw one in just in case – the smaller the better.

Paracord! Need I say more? Check out my articles about paracord if you have any doubts. 25’x2 would do.

A cool addition for your survival kit would be several 30-gallon trash bags, as they can be used for various purposes, including as a makeshift rain poncho.

A first aid kit is a must, together with some over the counter/prescribed medicine, depending on one’s health condition.

A couple of Mylar thermal blankets would be nice as they’ re awesome if you have to camp outdoors and they take up so little room it really doesn’t matter.

If you still have room left, you can consider split leather gloves, extra batteries (for your radio/flashlight, remember?), glow sticks, safety goggles, a can opener, a sewing kit, a bar of soap and even some toothpaste/toothbrushes.

Another handy item to have in your emergency survival kit provided you have enough room for it would be a solar charger for your cellphone (I’d go for an old-school feature phone with long-lasting battery and all that). You can find those on the Internet (Amazon etc).

A 5 gallon bucket survival kit is a life saving equipment to grab in a crisis situation when panic is the greatest killer.

How long will you survive in a SHTF situation?

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

This Is How To Make And Recycle Rubber

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You need a fully functional tire (as opposed to a donut) in the trunk of your vehicle, and you may have gone through the extra expense to get it. Many other people haven’t even thought that far ahead, even this problem alone would lead to endless traffic jams and other problems in times of distress.

And there’s more bad news: even if you take good care of your tires and have a viable spare, there will come a time when all of your existing tires will have to be discarded.

Modern tires actually need to make contact with roads on a regular basis or they will begin to crack and rot. That’s why having the skill of making or refurbishing tires would worth a lot during crisis or after a major collapse.

Rubber is Older than You Think

While Europeans are credited with spreading the use of rubber throughout the world, it was first used by the Maya. They used latex from Hevea trees to coat balls that were used in a game similar to basketball.The latex was mixed with sap from the Ipomoea alba vine to make it less sticky and more durable.

In the 1700’s, French and English explorers discovered that rubber could be used for many other things. “Vulcanization”, which also makes rubber less sticky and more durable was not invented until the 1800’s by Charles Goodyear.

Since latex bearing trees only grew in South America, a great deal of effort went into protecting this monopoly, and it didn’t change until thousands of seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in 1876 by Henry Wickam. The plants that grew from these seeds were eventually used to build enormous rubber plantations in India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa.

As automobiles became more popular, it became harder to keep up with the demand for rubber. Eventually, scientists found a way to synthesize rubber from petroleum. During WWII, this became a vital source of rubber that was used to keep the war effort moving forward.

Today, most, if not all rubber used in automobile tires is made from petroleum sources. As different nations become more unstable, there is an increased interest in finding plant based sources of rubber.

Russian Dandelions (T. kok-sanghyz) produce a latex that makes rubber almost as good a what you would get from a rubber tree. Milk thistle, or Prickly Lettuce, also produces enough latex to be used in making rubber.

There are also several other plants in the United States and around the world that may be suitable for this purpose, however much work needs to be done to find out which ones work best and how to get the most out of them.

Where to Get the Rubber From

Many preppers feel that it is very important to store away essential building materials such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, and cardboard. How many of them did ever think about storing away rubber, which is also a very important material to have on hand?

If you are building a stockpile of materials, you may find it a bit difficult to find rubber at a place other than Grainger. Rubber that hasn’t been made into some kind of product isn’t available to consumers. Make your own research in the following places, and you may come across limited supplies as they become available:

  • Repurposed materials
  • Public Surplus – if you are interested in used tires, this site may be a good place to start. Check if your local community has abandoned properties or other places where tire dumping is a problem. If you can get ahold of these tires, then you could do something with the rubber from them.
  • Salvex
  • Skycraft Parts and Surplus
  • Surplus Record – If you are part of a large enough prepper community and have plenty of land to work with, then think about building a small rubber factory. This site will give you information about equipment used to make synthetic rubber from petroleum. If you also have land that can be drilled for petroleum, it may be worth your while to think about turning some of it into rubber.

Even if you do not need to make rubber immediately after a major crisis, it could be an important commodity as society rebuilds and regains its capacity to bring people together to achieve goals. If you can produce petroleum and rubber, you and your group will prosper as different groups of people seek to regain the technologies and conveniences that may have been lost due to social collapse.

Never forget that future generations of your family will have to compete, and that will entail having marketable skills and products. As expensive as this equipment may be, it may be a wise investment that will set you and your family further ahead than you realize.

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Basic Guide for Making Plant Based Rubber

If the Maya could make perfectly good rubber centuries ago, then it may also be possible for preppers to do the same. Making rubber from petroleum will more than likely be a lost skill after a major social collapse occurs.

As long as you have a source of plant based latex, then you should be able to make small as well as large batches of rubber to meet a range of needs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1

Start off by harvesting latex. While Hevea Trees have to be “tapped” with V shaped slits in the trunk, the process is a bit different for plants.

For example, if you are going to use Milk Thistle, you will need to break open the plant stems to get at the latex, which is a milky white colored substance. If you decide to use dandelions (ideally Russian dandelions), you can get latex from the roots as well as the stems.

Step 2

Once you have collected enough latex, add some water and an acid to the sap. You can use vinegar or other weak acids. The ratios of sap, water, and acid will depend on the amount of latex in the sap as well as the strength of the acid.

For example, if you are using regular or Russian dandelions, you would use 1 part sap to 8 parts water and then enough vinegar to make the latex and water stick to whatever you are using to stir the mixture.

Step 3

Even though rubber made from dandelion will finish to “cure” or dry out on its own, you may still need to add sulfur and heat it to produce a more durable form of rubber. You may also want to try using Ipomoea alba sap to vulcanize the rubber.

Remember, different applications will require different levels of flexibility and durability. You will need to study the different characteristics of each type of rubber you plan to work with, and see what will work best to make them.

Video first seen on DSCDocumentries

When making plant based rubber, remember to start off with small batches and see how the resulting compound holds up over time and across different temperature conditions. Among other things, you will need to assess if the rubber will crack, and how well it will bounce back to its original shape after heavy weights are applied.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore this fascinating topic. Since there is still a great deal of trial and error involved in making rubber from dandelions and other more common plants, it is best to see what others are doing in this field even as you develop your own recipes and methods.

How to Recycle Rubber

Overall, there is a point where you can recycle rubber easily enough, and a level where it is well beyond the technical skills and assets available to most preppers. The complexity associated with fully recycling rubber lies in the process of vulcanization.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake that requires using eggs, flour, and some sugar. Let’s say you sift together the flour and sugar. Even though the sugar and flour are well mixed together, you can still separate them using various means. Once you crack open the eggs, in theory you can still put them back into the shell. To some extent, you can also still retrieve the eggs, sugar, and flour after they are all mixed together. Up until the cake is baked (the heat from baking drives off water and also causes different molecules in the batter to break apart and from bonds with other molecules), it is actually possible to separate out all the ingredients used in it.

In a similar fashion, once latex is treated with sulfur and heat, the molecular structure changes to a point where it cannot be reversed – or at least not reversed with ease.

Over the years, a great deal of effort has been made to see if there is a way to take rubber and turn it back to the latex stage. There is one patent, held by The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, on a process that uses high pressure and 2-butanol to reverse vulcanization.

This process is not something that can be done easily enough at the consumer level. Therefore, if you are interested in recycling tires or other rubber materials, you will need to take the existing rubber and use it for some purpose other than simply remaking tires.

3 Tips to Know Which Tires can be Salvaged

Consider a situation where a major catastrophe has made tires unavailable. While you are searching for replacements, you find a landfill and hundreds of tires stacked up. It may take a lot of work to find salvageable tires with a little bit of patience and effort, but you can do it if you keep in mind the following:

  • Tires with cracks in the sidewall and tread area more than likely have dry rot. The tread and sidewalls cannot be restored or reused for making new tires. If the tire is of a size that you need, you could take it apart and use the belts in combination with new rubber that you make from a plant based source. As long as the tire doesn’t show signs of having more than two patches, there is a chance that the inner anatomy of the tire is still intact. Even if you have to recoat the inner structures with more rubber, at least you will have some belts to work with.
  • Avoid tires that were punctured or slashed in the sidewall. If the tire is punctured deep enough, than it might have been discarded because it would not hold air. There are some methods you can use to repair a sidewall, but the tire may fail at a critical moment and cause a very bad accident.
  • Be wary of tires that are patched, even if the patches are less than ¼ inch in diameter and located far enough away from the sidewall.

Video first seen on Tank0923.

There are several different ways to repair punctures in tires. Depending on the size and age of the tire, you may find one that is worth patching even though the former owner chose to discard it. Remember, many people throw away good tires or repairable tires because their vehicle must be inspected and they don’t want to risk it failing. On the other hand, if you really need tires, then you could get some mileage out of them so long as you repair them correctly and drive carefully.

6 Ways to Use Tires for Your Homestead

  • The rubber part of tires can be ground up into a smaller bits that can be added to paving materials.
  • Rubber from tires can be cut into pieces and shaped into everything from shoe soles to waterproofing for containers.
  • When treated with acid, rubber softens and can be shaped into different objects.
  • Rubber products such as tires can also be burned to generate heat. From campfires to operating a steam turbine, you can easily use rubber tires and other products for this purpose, but keep in mind that it might have some health impact.
  • The rubber from tires can also be separated from the steel belt; which can be used to make new tires or for other purposes.
  • Rubber tires can also be used as raised bed planters. This may be especially useful if you plan to grow a garden in an area where water supplies and good soil are limited. In fact, if you want a cheap, easy way to make a multi-level potato planter, just stack up tires as the plants grow, and then harvest in the fall when it is time. Needless to say, if you are looking to hide your plants in open sight, a stack of tires may just look so unappealing no one will bother to look there for edible plants.

Video first seen on Just productions

Anatomy of an Automobile Tire

Today, there are many different kinds of tires that can be used for the same vehicle. For example, “all weather tires” are different from snow tires, mudders, and ones used for racing. Regardless of the tire type, they all have the same basic parts, however these parts may be designed a bit differently to accommodate different driving conditions.

Even though each layer of a tire also has many parts, here are the most basic ones you need to know about:

  • Treads – this is the outermost layer of the tire. It is the part that grips the road and wears out from friction with the road. The treads may also have sipes, or smaller grooves that increase traction when the tires are moving over ice, water, sand, and snow.
  • Grooves – these are also found in the outermost layer of the tire. Grooves are the long, deep channels cut into the tire. They help the tire to shed water and moisture so that it doesn’t clog up the treads.
  • Sidewall – this is the side of the tire that covers the other inner parts. It serves to protect and keep them clean and dry.
  • Belts – even though rubber bounces back to its original shape, it is not very strong. Without belts of nylon, steel, and even fiberglass, the tire would not maintain its shape very well. Depending on the tire, it may have several belts organized into layers just under the treads. When reclaiming rubber for other purposes, you will also be separating out these belts so that they can be used to make more tires, or for some other purpose.
  • Inner liner – separates the belt layer from the plies. It is also meant to act as a barrier to air so that it cannot escape into the belts, sidewall, and treads.
  • Plies – this part is what gives the tire most of its strength, and also the layer that holds air in. Typically, this layer is made up of materials that are organized so that the fiber runs across the tire instead of around it (the plies are perpendicular to the treads).
  • Bead – this is a metal cable coated in rubber that runs all the way around the inner rim of the tire. It is meant to keep the tire from slipping once it is mounted on a rim.

Why to Make Your Own Tires from Scratch

If you look at a modern tire factory, you may feel like it is impossible to make tires on your own. The task is going to be a bit difficult, but do not give up on researching and looking into automobile history to see how tires were made before robots and large factory machines were used.

Even if the tires you make aren’t as good, or don’t last as long as ones made in a modern factory, they may still be of use for short trips or keeping a tractor up and running.

Once you know how to make rubber and feel confident in your skills, the next step will be to see if you can recognize which tires can be retreated, and then figure out how to design your own tires and build them from scratch.

Retreading Tires

Not so long ago, retreading tires was seen as something dangerous and to be avoided at all cost. In many countries, including the United States, retreads are seen as a way to keep tires out of the landfill, and also as a means of cutting costs associated with vehicle maintenance.

As a prepper, you won’t have a modern retread factory or some of the more complex tools to work with. Nevertheless, if you look at retread factories in other places in the world, you can get some ideas about substitute tools, and then also figure out how to make the safest and most durable retreads possible.

Regardless of the factory type or situation, retreading requires the following basic steps:

  • Start off by inspecting the tire to check for signs of dry rot, punctures, slashes, and anything else that might have damaged the internal structures of the tire or its sidewalls.
  • If the tire is basically sound, strip off the treads. You will still need to leave some rubber behind for new material to adhere to.
  • Make sure the new surface is perfectly clean and ready to accept new rubber. If you see signs of belts showing through, or other damage, repair these issues first.
  • Apply rubber to the ground down surface of the tire. You may need to do this in several layers.
  • Next, apply the treads. These should be pre-made from rubber. If you know how to make rubber, then you can also use basic casting methods to produce strips of rubber treads that can be used for retreading.
  • Use heat and pressure to finish binding all the tire parts together.
  • Check the tire again for signs of holes, damage, or other problems.
  • Finally, apply a coat of paint or some other sealant to complete the tire.
  • Once the tire is dry, it should be ready to use. Make sure that you test the tire out in a safe area after mounting it to the rim. Do not forget to balance the tires and make sure that they are inflated properly.

As you can see, there is more to making rubber and using it for tires than you may have realized.

At the same time, tires and many other rubber products are integrated into almost every area of life. Since it is not always possible to replace rubber items with plastic ones, knowing how to make rubber and use it for a variety of purposes will help you a lot.

From fixing your own tires to bartering these services, you will always have something of value no matter what is going on in the human world around you.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 


How To Recover Gold And Silver From Scrap

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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a gold bug, or maybe a gold digger. Either way, you probably don’t know that in 100,000 cellphones there’s about 2.4 kilos of gold to be collected (as in recuperated) by a competent gold digger.

Yes, I know – 100,000 cellphones is quite a lot of old hardware. Besides gold, you’ll also find 25 kilos of silver and more than 900 kilos of copper (that’s almost a metric ton).

Considering the fluctuation in market prices, all that stuff combined makes for a cool quarter million dollars, give or take. The problem is, where on Earth can you get 100,000 cellphones and how can you get the gold out of those darn circuits?

How to Recover Gold from Electronics

Recycling electronics can be a lucrative business provided it’s done on an industrial scale. For regular folk, this kind of enterprise is quite difficult and time consuming, especially if not done nice and proper. Now, if you want to make your own personal scrap fortune, today’s your lucky day, so keep reading, I’m giving pearls here folks!

Besides cellphones, gold and other precious metals can be found in almost all types of electronic circuits, ranging from computer main-boards to processors and what not.

The idea is that instead of throwing your old gear in the garbage, considering that there’s a small amount of gold in all types of circuits, how about putting that gold in your pocket instead of making some scrap metal company rich?

Phones, laptops, cameras and the like are packed full of gold-plated circuit boards, due to the precious metal’s excellent conductibility. Even scanners and printers have silver, gold, copper, and sometimes platinum inside their guts.

Besides being pretty expensive, as in precious, gold is a highly conductive and pliable metal which was used for thousands of years by humans as a highly valuable commodity, as it retains its value better than almost any other commodity.

Until Nixon nixed (pun intended) the Bretton Woods system in 1971, even the US dollar was backed by gold. Since then, the dollar lost a lot of its value, i.e. $1 in 1971 had the same purchasing power as $7 today (official figures), but take a load of this: back then an ounce of gold was $35, now it’s like what, $1200 (it was almost $1900 at some point)?

So, you do the math and ask yourself if scrapping gold from old electronic gear is worth your time and effort. I am digressing – of course it is!

Let’s recap: due to its excellent properties, gold is the material of choice for manufacturing various electronic parts in computers, cellphones and what not.

Removing the gold from scrap parts requires access to various equipment and it’s a pretty complicated process. However, if you’re well-armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can extract, refine, and maybe sell scrap gold, provided you have enough raw materials to extract it from.

As a general rule of thumb, considering that you’ll have to deal with highly corrosive acids, you should perform all these operations outside and always use protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and even a respirator.

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Here’s a short list for starting a gold recovery enterprise:

  • rubber gloves
  • goggles
  • a rubber apron
  • hydrogen peroxide 3% from your local pharmacy
  • muriatic acid 31% (it’s available at hardware stores)
  • methyl hydrate (this is basically 99% methyl alcohol) available at automotive supply stores or hardware stores (it’s used for fuel line antifreeze)
  • a couple of large glass-made containers (a coffee pot would do the trick.
  • a funnel filter (a drip-coffee filter)
  • a stir stick made of plastic or glass
  • a blow torch powerful enough to hard solder
  • an accurate weigh scale (at least to one tenth of a gram)
  • borax
  • clay bowls or anything that has a melting point above gold
  • a measuring cup
  • and of course, a lot of scrap electronics.

The general rule is that you should collect any type of electronic scraps which are prone to contain gold inside, including computer processors, jewellery, gold tooth crowns, and old telephone wiring with an emphasis on outdated electronics, which may contain parts with a higher level of gold than modern ones.

Video first seen on indeedItdoes

In the first step, you must sort the gold into gold-plated parts: circuits which require cleaning, gold fingers, gold plated pins and so forth and so on.

Before working with chemicals, don’t forget to put on your safety gear.

In the second step, you must put the clean circuit boards and the gold fingers  inside the coffee pot. Using a different container, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with  2 parts muriatic acid and add the mixture to the coffee pot until it just covers the gold-containing stuff inside (gold fingers for example).

You’ll have to wait for about a week for the process to complete and don’t forget to stir your concoction on a daily basis.

After 7 days have passed, it’s now time to collect your gold. You’ll see that the acid has darkened and there are flakes of gold floating around inside the coffee pot. If you pour the acid through the coffee filter, the gold flakes will be captured by the filter.

Save the acid though, don’t dump it. The remaining circuit boards/gold fingers must be checked out, the clean parts thrown away, and the uncleaned parts saved for re-dipping.

Now, pour some water through the filter and then flush using methyl hydrate to clean it.

In the next step, you’ll have to add borax to your “mined” gold. Borax works by reducing the melting point of gold from its regular 1063 Celsius. By adding some borax to your cleaned gold flakes, you’ll be able to melt your gold out of the heavy mineral concentrate to salvage it.

Next you’ll have to heat the clay bowl (don’t worry if it splits or cracks) and add borax. When the borax melts, put the gold flakes in too and add more borax, then heat it continuously until you end up with a nice bead of gold. Let it cool and weigh it. There you have it, your own gold from scrap electronics.

That’s one method, the simplest actually.

Here’s an interesting tutorial about the top 10 most valuable computer processors, as in the ones with the most gold inside for recovery by weight counted down.

Video first seen on eWaste Ben

Here’s a detailed hard drive tear-down video tutorial, teaching you how to look for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and aluminum) inside your old hard drives.

Video first seen on Rob The Plumber

Good luck and scrap hard!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

How To Make Lye At Home

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Making Lye At Home

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Lye Used For?

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

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

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

Handling Lye

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

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

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

Ingredients Needed to Make Lye

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

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

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

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

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

Lye Making Methods

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

There are three basic ways to make lye at home:

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

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

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

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

The Ash Bucket Method

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Eddie Borges.

The Barrel Method

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

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

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

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

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

The Cooking Method

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Find out more on how to improve your defense techniques to survive disaster! 

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Preparing For What 2017 May Bring

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Preparing for 2017

Happy New Year!

I want to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, safe and prepared new year!

2017 brings a lot of challenges and unknown events. We never know what the future brings so the best solution is to prepare for the unexpected. I hope you’ve already set your prepping-related resolutions for the new year.

Here are 5 articles I’ve stumbled upon this week that will help you stay safe in a lot of SHTF situation 2017 may bring.

1. Prepare For the Worst and Hope For the Best


“When it comes to preparing for any sort of SHTF event it really is a guessing game. All we can (and should) do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There is no way to know exactly what might happen, but we can stack the deck in our favor by learning new skills, maintaining our health and preparing for these disasters while we still have the opportunity.

Next week we are going to expand on this a little bit and go over how people will be the X factor that could change the dynamics of a disaster. The way certain people react could make a disaster more tolerable, or make it even worse.”

Read more on Survivalist Prepper.

2. Natural Disaster Emergency Preparedness

Video first seen on sab7sam7

“Emergency, like natural calamities such as flood, typhoon or hurricane, and earthquakes are a dangerous situation, requiring an immediate and fast response to avoid unwanted results ̶ injuries or death. Being able to make sure that you are safe before, during, and after any disaster is needed to counteract or respond effectively. What is needed is preparedness.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S., it means a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective actions in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response. Emergency Preparedness can save your lie or your loved ones lives.

Now, that sounds really intimidating. But we cannot just depend on all, everything, every time to the government agencies for security and emergency, or a non-profit charity organization such as Red Cross. We too must take our part, be on a mission to help ourselves during these times.”

Read more on American Prepper’s Network

3. How to Prep For a Quarantine


“All too often, the world is shaken by a new flu bug or the resurgence of an old one. This article caught my eye, as it’s about a mutated version of avian flu H7N2 that was transmitted from a cat to a human, quite a rare occurrence. I also have a long enough memory to recall the Ebola panic just a couple of years ago and shaking my head at the incompetence and poor decision making by those in authority, including the CDC.

The history of Ebola, as detailed in this book, is helpful to know and understand how a deadly virus originates, mutates, and spreads.

With an eye on the future and knowing a little about how quickly certain viruses can spread, I have put into place a number of preps that would see my family through the duration of a widespread outbreak, similar to the ones described in Steve Konkoly’s The Jakarta Pandemic. I know Steve personally and the massive research he put into this book, although a novel, is spot on. Read it to learn even more strategies to keep your family safe.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

4. How to Survive a Mass Shooting


“With the terror of the Orlando shooting, people all over the country are reevaluating survival tactics for mass shootings. The general consensus is that the decisions you make in that first few minutes will largely determine whether you live or die. It is easy to mourn the dead and tell yourself that victims were trapped and had no choices. While your choices are limited, you do still have them.

In this article I want to dispel some myths about survival. As an advocate of the 2nd amendment, it is easy to say that fewer people would have died if more of them were armed. That is not always the case. Even with a gun, fighting back should be a last resort. The order of actions for any mass shooting should be to flee, gain security, and fight back if absolutely needed.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

5. 7 Steps to Protecting Your Livestock From Deadly Disease

goat-1914084_640“Twenty-first century homesteaders have the advantage of being able to pick and choose between ancient practices and modern technology, selecting the one that works best in every situation. At my place, I love old-fashioned methods, but not when it comes to biosecurity.

I get some startled looks when I say the word “biosecurity” out loud to farm visitors. It sounds a little scary, like a scene from a sci-fi movie with people running around in crisp white hazmat suits. While biosecurity may or may not look a little like that on huge corporate agriculture farms, that is not how it is on my small sustainable farm. However, it is every bit as important here.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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17 Ways A Prepper Can Reuse Motor Oil

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Motor oil is commonly considered a waste material, but it may become something of value to people trying to put their lives back together in a post-crisis world. People will try to scavenge whatever may be of use, and it’s understandable since it will take some time for mechanization to re-emerge with new products.

You’ll also have to deal with what you have, so learn to speak multipurpose, and don’t skip motor oil from this equation. So here’s how to reuse motor oil regardless of whether there is a major crisis to deal with or not.

Where to Find Used Motor Oil

Right now, used motor oil is more of a nuisance than something else you might consider valuable in the post crisis world.

For the most part, mechanic shops and recycling facilities will be the first places to go for used motor oil, but you should also consider:

  • Abandoned cars – any car that has been abandoned may still have motor oil in the bottom pan. While you are scavenging, don’t forget to look for other things that may be of value such as wire, springs, and anything else that can be reused.
  • Abandoned home garages – even though many people take their car to a shop for basic maintenance, just about everyone has a quart or two of used motor oil hanging around in the garage.
  • Junk yards – no matter whether the junk yard caters to cars or other kinds of abandoned equipment, you are likely to find motor oil in many different places.  As with any other abandoned car, you are sure to find any number of useful items once you start looking around.
  • Trash piles, back yards, or rubbish storage sites – aside from looking for used motor oil stored in containers, be on the lookout for oil filters that appear to be intact.  If the filter does not have a hole punched through the top of the dome, there is a good chance that some motor oil can be found inside the filter.  To release, the oil, simply punch a hole in the top of the filter, and let the oil escape from the bottom into a clean container.

Read This BEFORE Reusing Motor Oil

While used motor oil is a common part of daily life, that does not mean it can be handled without precautions, and here are a few of them.

  • At a minimum, wear latex or rubber gloves. Aside from tiny bits of metal, reused motor oil also contains all kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea, or other ailments if they get absorbed by your skin.  It is best to use oil resistant gloves, or ones that are rated for use with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
  • Oil resistant garments – any kind of spill can allow oil to get through your clothing and into contact with your skin. It does not matter if this contact occurs on your face, neck, hands, or other body parts. The toxins from the oil can still get past your skin and wreak havoc.
  • Oil resistant shoes or boots – make sure that the soles are also oil resistant.
  • If you don’t handle motor oil very often, it may not make much sense to wear a mask. On the other hand, if you are going to repurpose motor oil, then the amount of exposure might be enough to irritate or harm your lungs. Therefore, get a breathing mask or respirator that will filter out any harmful agents that might be found in the motor oil.

17 Uses to Keep in Mind

And finally, here’s how to use the motor oil instead of throwing it away.

1. Mix with Creosote to Weatherize Wood

Even though many people have used plain motor oil to preserve wood over the years, it is best to mix it with some creosote in order to avoid dry rot. You will also find that used motor oil can make a very slick surface.

While this may be ok for fence posts, it can pose problems for floors or other areas where you need some traction.

Video first seen on Anlex Garden Centre

2. Protect Wood From Insects and Animals

When people think about protecting wood from the elements, they are usually most concerned with water and dampness. Insects and animals can also wreak havoc on wood and cause it to be destroyed very quickly.

In particular, if you have a homestead or farm with horses or other large animals, they might want to chew on wooden posts or other objects.  Motor oil mixed into creosote will create a taste these animals do not like; and thus deter them from chewing on the wood.

3. Mix With Diesel to Make Penetrating Oil

If you are plagued by corroded or stuck bolts, screws, or other fasteners, then you may be well accustomed to using penetrating oil to try and loosen them up. While you may already have a few cans of good quality oil in your stockpile, the need for penetrating oil will never end as long as there are metal fasteners to contend with.

If you have some diesel and used motor oil, you can mix them together to make penetrating oil. Give this a try now to see how it works when compared to other formulas. Knowing when and how to use this replacement can help reduce the need to draw from your stockpile as well as enable you to innovate during an actual crisis.

4. Burn as Fuel

When you have nothing else for fuel, used motor oil can be burned to provide heat.

But used motor oil has many contaminants in it that can be toxic when burned and then released in the air. You will be better served by burning used motor oil outdoors.

Aside from reducing the smell of burning fumes in your home, tent, or other enclosure, you will also avoid deposits of toxins on the walls and ceilings.

5. Make a Torch

As plentiful as flashlights and batteries might be right now, that can all change faster than you realize. If you find yourself in a situation where you only have motor oil, some rags, and a wooden stick on hand, you can still make a torch that will produce light and heat.

Just remember to use the torch in a well ventilated area so that the fumes from it do not make you sick.

Video first seen on Jennies Garage

6. Prevent Attackers from Scaling a Wall

There is no question that many people wind up thinking about high tech or “modern” solutions when it comes to protecting their home from invaders. On the other hand, sometimes the simplest and cheapest answers may be found in items such as used motor oil.

For example, if you want to keep attackers from scaling a fence, or even climbing up to the roof of your home, just pour used motor oil on the walls.

If you are fortunate enough to have stone walls far enough away from your home, you can also set the oil on fire and make the invaders even more uncomfortable.

7. Fireballs for a Siege Engine

It is fair to say if you have a few acres of land, eventually you will become a target for roaming gangs of thugs and others that will want to take what you have. When it comes to military grade fortifications or weapons to strike attackers, you may find it difficult or impossible to get useful systems for your property.

Siege engines, on the other hand, have been used successfully for centuries as attack and perimeter defense devices. You can do some research on siege engines construction plans and make your own with relatively few problems.

If you need to stave off attackers, you can simply lob fireballs fueled by used motor oil at the attackers and have a reasonable chance of stopping them in their tracks.

Dead Simple Trick Brings Any Battery Back To Life (Never Buy Batteries Again)

8. Kill Mange, Mites, and Fleas

If you have pets, then you have probably also encountered flea infestations. Chances are, you have also felt quite helpless when your pets developed allergies to modern flea medications, or worse yet, got very sick from them.  Surprisingly enough, motor oil can be used to get rid of fleas, mites, and mange.

Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly and use with caution.  Motor oil can be used both in a crisis and in these times if you have no other remedy available for these problems.

9. Keep Hand Tools Clean and Rust Free

Hand saws, drills, and many other hand tools require cleaning and oiling in order to keep them in the best possible condition. No matter how much lubricating oil you keep on hand, chances are your stock pile will run out long before your hand tools need to be discarded.

You can always try used motor oil to keep your tools free of dirt and rust.

10. Filter and Reuse as a Lubricant

Once motor oil is too dirty for use in an auto engine, there is no point to trying to filter it and reuse it for that purpose. There are still many other devices that build up less heat or have less stringent tolerances between parts that may still benefit from used motor oil as a lubricant.

Just be sure to filter out the oil so that you remove as much debris as possible.

When using discarded motor oil as a lubricant, it is also important to bear in mind that the oil itself may have broken down a good bit from heat generated by the engine.

Even if you filter the oil, it will not alleviate this problem.

You may need to change the oil more often, or pay more attention to device operation in order to avoid the kinds of damage that would normally be avoided by using oil as a lubricant.

11. Mix With Gas to Run Tractors

Unlike motor vehicles, older style tractors can run on a surprising number of different fuels without being damaged.  In this case, you can stretch fuel reserves for your tractor by adding some motor oil. You may be well served by filtering out the oil so that stray bits of metal or other contaminants do not damage the tractor engine.

Since every tractor is a bit different, you should start off with small amounts of oil and then see how the engine performs.  The last thing you will want to do is add too much oil and wind up with a seized engine.

12. Start a  Fire

Rainy weather, damp wood, and other conditions require something a bit more than a match to ignite.  A little bit of used motor oil can help you start and maintain a fire in just about any situation.

Video first seen on sixtyfiveford

13. Kill Mosquitoes in Stagnant Water

The vast majority of preppers already suspect that insects such as mosquitoes will multiply beyond belief when a social collapse occurs. While these insects do play a role in nature, they still spread enormous amounts of disease and wreak havoc among humans.

You can use discarded motor oil to seal off stagnant water and kill off mosquito eggs before they have a chance to hatch. When using motor oil for this purpose, remember that even small amounts can contaminate large amounts of water and the ground that the water seeps into.

If you must use motor oil on stagnant water, make sure that the water is fully contained and cannot get into the ground or some other source of water.

Do not be surprised if you find that it is easier to simply dump out or drain stagnant pools of water as opposed to trying to treat them with used motor oil.

14. Use With Steel Wool to Remove Rust

If you are scavenging for all kinds of metal items, you’re also very likely to find that possible replacements for needed items have a good bit of rust on them.

Rather than discard these items on sight, you can use motor oil and steel wool to clean the items up a bit. Needless to say, if you have items in your stockpile with rust on them, you can also use this method to remove the rust and restore them to good order.

15. Soften or Clean Leather Boots

Unless you have a stockpile full of shoes and boots made from synthetic materials, it is likely that you will need to use leather conditioners to keep footwear in good condition. You will also wind up making shoes from leather that must also be kept clean and soft.

Using discarded motor oil for this purpose will work well enough now as well as in a crisis situation.

16. Temper Steel

It is fair to say that the art and science of forging metals into knives and other useful items can be very complex. If you study metallurgy carefully, however you will find that the tools and materials required are not especially difficult to build and maintain.

In this case, if you want to temper or harden steel, you can dip the item in used motor oil to cool or “quench” it from the red hot stage down to black.

17. Attract Wild Hogs

Individuals that believe they can live off the land after a social collapse occurs are apt to find they need to expand their list of edible plants and animals. In this case, you can draw wild hogs to you by leaving some used motor oil around. As may be expected, you should be well prepared to kill the hogs and remain safe while you are attempting to take them for food.

Used motor oil is one of those materials that you may believe is useless now, and probably serves no purpose in a crisis situation. If you look at the basic properties of used motor oil, you will soon realize that it can be effectively used for heat, home defense, and even keeping tools in good condition.

Rather than throw away this valuable resource, go ahead and store some away for future use, or make a list of places where you can obtain used motor oil in time of need. And keep these tips in mind, they might save you one day!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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New Year Prep Blog Review: 5 Resolutions For Preppers

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Here we are at the end of 2016, a year full of changes. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and you are properly preparing for New Year’s Eve.

This is the time of the year when I usually make a list of prepping resolutions for the year to come in order to improve my life and increase my chances of survival in case SHTF. I don’t know if this works for everyone, but for me it certainly does.

So, what about you? Do you use to make a list of prepping resolutions at the beginning of the year?

A new year provides opportunities to learn new skills.

For this special Prep blog Review I’ve gathered 5 articles to help you set your prepping resolutions for 2017. Make this year the best, improve your family’s life and increase your chances of survival.

1. Learn New Skills With Your Family


“When we hear the word “survival”, it seems most of us think of things like starting fires, building shelters, hunting, fishing, searching for water and other basic survival skills.

Although those things are essential to our survival, there are other areas that we need to take into consideration that are just as important.

For years I walked around with my head down and just went with the flow. I didn’t take notice to the people around me or my situation. It would have been very easy for anyone to walk up behind me and take my purse, or worst case scenario, attack one of my children or myself. Times changed though and so did I.”

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

2. Upgrade Your Stockpile


“Let’s say that disaster hits tomorrow, do you have the basics like food and water covered? Stockpiling food and water shouldn’t be a prepping trend and every sane person should do it. We live in a world where natural and man-made disasters are no longer far-fetched scenarios and people have no excuse for being unprepared.

The following survival foods are available to anyone and they have an indefinite shelf life, so make sure you have them in your pantry.

I keep looking at what Venezuela is going through and although the media seems to have forgotten about it, the situation is still critical out there. People are stealing pets to eat them as a last resort and there are families protecting their gardens 24/7 as they no longer trust their neighbors.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

3. Use More Natural Remedies

headache_human_normal_remedies“Headaches are a part of being human. Some people get them regularly, and others get headaches only rarely. Severity varies from person to person, as does the cause of the headache. Even when only mildly annoying, a headache can affect your ability to function fully and alertly.

If you’re in a situation where Tylenol, aspirin, or prescription pain medication isn’t an option, nor is doing nothing because you have to be focused on taking care of yourself and others, you need to know how to keep a headache at bay.”

Read more on Survival Cache.

  1. Cook New Survival Recipes


“There is a bit of a romantic fantasy about what it must have been like for the pioneers who traveled out west more than a hundred years ago.

The idea of land that stretches on for miles without a single building or road was both exciting and frightening to them. However, they had the skills they needed to fend for themselves without the conveniences of big cities. If a major collapse happens, it will be the people with those kind of skills who make it.

If we ever find ourselves in a world that resembles the pioneer days (no electricity, no running water, etc.), people will have to learn how to cook all over again. Cooking over a fire is a lot different than cooking in the microwave or on an electric stove. Certain meals and recipes are going to require a little tweaking.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Learn New Self Defense


“Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and you can’t help but separate from your family, and get pulled into the fray. You’re a prepper, and like most preppers, you’re carrying a small firearm, in this case a small pistol.  Do you use it?

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation. “

Read more on The Prepper Journal.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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11 Reasons To Stockpile Castor Oil For Survival

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Castor Oil For survival

Old timers used castor oil for everything from colds to parasitical worms, but recent generations have pretty much forgotten about it. That’s a shame because, if our elders are to be believed, it’s one of those multi-purpose items that deserve a place in your stockpile.

Read the following article, and you will see why our ancestors were so right about this natural cure!

Castor oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds of the castor plant and is composed mostly of the fatty acid ricinoleic acid. That’s the ingredient that is responsible for the healing, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties associated with the oil.

Though most of us don’t keep it at home any more, it’s still a common ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, massage oils and even textiles.

I’ve done some research and, though there isn’t a ton of formal research available to support its effectiveness as a home remedy, there’s usually something to be said for centuries of use by entire civilizations.

As you probably know, in order to garner our attention, an item has to do more than treat constipation or hydrate dry skin in order to make our list. We need products that can be used for everything from treating sunburn to sharpening scissors, and castor oil fits the bill.

Note: The treatments outlined here can also be used on your pets.

1. Skin Care

We’ll start with this one because, in addition to keeping your skin soft and youthful, it’s also used to ease the pain of severely dried and cracked skin and lips. In a survival situation, this is a condition that can quickly lead to gangrene, so it’s a big deal.

Castor oil is also a good base ingredient for soaps, lotions, and cosmetics because of its hydrating properties. It has omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, both of which are often used to promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. Some claim that it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help get rid dandruff and possibly athlete’s foot.

It has been shown to have analgesic properties, so it’s good to treat sunburn, rashes, bug bites and other minor skin conditions. It’ also used to treat ringworm. Just rub it directly on the skin.

Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties are great for treating cystic acne. The best thing is that it works fairly quickly. Swab it onto your clean face at night and you should notice improvement by morning.

2. Digestive Issues and Parasites

This is one of the most commonly-known uses for castor oil. It helps your bowels move. Be careful that you don’t use too much because it works remarkably well for this condition. You don’t want to become dehydrated, so start with a tablespoon and give it a few hours. Take more if needed.

If you want to just “take your medicine” and get it over with, just swallow it straight. If not, you can mix it with juice or a food. Apple juice would be good, because it also helps relieve constipation.

Castor oil is also a common home remedy for intestinal parasites.

3. Arthritis, Muscle, and Joint Pain

This is another common reason that it was used by our elders because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some say to make a poultice with other herbs and rub it into aching joints for relief. You can also take a tablespoon internally. If you have diarrhea, you may want to try the rub.

Video first seen on Ancient Current

4. Gets Rid of Corns, Moles, and Warts

The fatty acids in the oil are purported to dissolve these conditions. For corns, simply dip a cotton ball in castor oil and tape it over the blemish. Change it out once a day, but in a week, the corn will be gone. For moles and warts, add a bit of baking soda to the cotton ball, too. It may take a couple of weeks for this method to work. You can also try just dabbing it on regularly.

5. Get Rid of Yard Pests

Apparently, moles and other yard pests find the smell of castor oil as repugnant as people do because if you mix 1/2 cup of castor oil with a couple of gallons of water and sprinkle it around your garden or yard. It won’t kill them, but it definitely encourages them to find a better place to live.

The upside to this is that ferns and other greenery respond well to castor oil. It helps them look greener and lusher.

6. Hemorrhoids

Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil is often used to treat external hemorrhoids. Dip a cotton ball in the oil and apply it over your hemorrhoids. Leave it on for 15 or 20 minutes a few times a day if possible. If not, just applying daily will provide relief.

7. Lubricate Just About Anything

Because of its viscosity, castor oil doesn’t freeze, so it’s great to use to lubricate hinges, scissors, meat grinders, motor parts, and anything else that gets sticky.

8. Boosts Immunity

Because of the fatty acids in it, castor oil has been shown to boost your immune system by increasing white blood cell production. The odd part about this, though, is that it does it when you apply it topically. That’s right – just rub it on your skin and, according to the study, your white blood cells may increase by as much as 20 percent.

9. Treat Infected Cuts or Rashes

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful in healing a mild infection. Just dab it on with a cotton swab or dribble it directly onto the wound a few times daily until the infection heals. There are also many herbs that you can add to it to help even more.

Along the same lines, you can use it to help treat vaginal infections.

10. Treat Aching Feet

This is a treatment that waitresses have been using since, well, since before they were called waitresses. Just warm a bit between your hands and rub directly into your feet. You can also help lessen the pain throughout the day by rubbing some on your feet before you go to work, then wear cotton socks.

If you have extreme pain, you may want to try generously applying castor oil then wrapping the effected body part in plastic wrap before you go to sleep.

11. Pilonidal Cysts

I’ve read several testaments where people swear that a gauze coated in castor oil works to get rid of the pain and inflammation of pilonidal cysts. It may also help draw out the infection so that the cyst opens, drains, and can heal. Lay the gauze over the cysts, then place a heating pad over it and keep it there for an hour. People reported tremendous improvement just after the first treatment or two.

There are many uses for castor oil – these are just a few of the big ones. I’ve combined several of them under the skin care and digestive issues section because there are so many different uses for it for those particular areas.

Click the banner below to discover more natural survival remedies that helped our forefathers survive harsh times!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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8 Bentonite Clay Uses For Survival

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Bentonite clay has been used for centuries for everything from treating constipation to making toothpaste. There are so many practical uses for this versatile material that it’s a must-have for any prepper or homesteader.

Let’s talk about why this wonderfully useful clay should have a place in your survival planning or homesteading daily life.

Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite, is composed largely of volcanic ash. It should be light grey or cream colored and should feel silky. If the clay that you get is white, it’s unlikely that it’s pure Bentonite. It’s also odorless and won’t stain your clothes, which is one reason why it’s used in so many different personal hygiene items.

There are two main types of Bentonite clay: Sodium Bentonite and Calcium Bentonite.

The primary difference is that Sodium Bentonite swells up to six times its size and has the most electromagnetic properties. It’s the one that you want to use for your face masks and external detoxifying.

Calcium Bentonite has smaller particles that don’t particularly swell like Sodium Bentonite particles do. This makes it better for ingestion because the smaller particles can pass through the colon and into the bloodstream. There, it does pretty much what Sodium Bentonite does; it attaches to the toxins in your body and leaves minerals behind.

1. Removing Impurities

Bentonite clay is named such because of the primary, huge deposit of the clay is located at Fort Benton, Wyoming. It’s unique in that it develops an electrical charge, a negative electric charge to be specific, when it’s wet.

This is important because toxins, heavy metals have a positive charge, so Bentonite clay can bond to them and carry them out of your body.

How? Bentonite swells and opens like a sponge when it comes into contact with water. The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of heavy metals and other toxins and the toxin is absorbed into the clay and carried out of the body.

During this process, the minerals in the clay are also released into the body, so it’s taking the bad parts and leaving good.

2. Deodorant

First, bentonite clay can be used as an ingredient in your personal hygiene items. It may make your toothpaste or deodorant look a little more like mud than what you’re used to seeing, but because of its absorbent properties, it’s great to use as an antiperspirant.

Commercial deodorants are packed with chemicals that stop odor and prevent your pores from perspiring. These include aluminum, phthalates, talc, parabens, diethyl alcohol, and others.

To make deodorant, simply mix bentonite clay with equal parts baking soda (neutralizes odor), arrowroot or cornstarch (absorbs moisture), and a few drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil.

Once you combine the powdered ingredients, add enough coconut oil to make it a smooth, thick paste, then add your food-grade essential oils. Remember that coconut oil liquefies at 74 degrees, so depending upon the temperature in your house, it may be the consistency of butter or it may be liquid. If you keep it in the fridge, it will be closer to the consistency of lard.

Video first seen on Steven Parente

3. Face Masks

Many people also like to use it because of its ability to draw toxins out of the skin. This is one of the main reasons that it’s used in face masks. In addition to drawing toxins out with its negatively charged ions, the texture of the clay makes for a gentle exfoliant. This, along with the antibacterial properties of the clay, helps keep your skin free of blemishes.

Video first seen on Healthy Living on a Budget

4. Wounds, Bites, Skin Ulcers, Eczema

A study conducted by Arizona State University shows that minerals in Bentonite clay have the potential to kill many antibiotic-resistant bacteria including MRSA, e.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and others.

It’s already been shown to effectively treat Buruli ulcers, and the only other treatment option is remove the lesion surgically and hope for the best. That’s saying something, even if it did take months of treatment with the clay to completely heal the wound.

To use it, for wound dressing or treatment of other conditions, make a poultice and apply it directly to the wound, changing it out when it dries. Remove the sting and itch of bites, burns, cuts, and scrapes by applying Bentonite clay and letting it dry.

Treat eczema in the same way daily. There are many different remedies for skin conditions that would meld well with bentonite clay.

For centuries, our ancestors survived using natural remedies to heal their wounds and other health problems. Click the banner below to discover more survival remedies for our forefathers!


5. Baby Powder

You’ve likely read about the link between talc and cancer. If not, check in to it, because it’s a big deal. Bentonite clay is a great option because it’s absorbent and has healing properties that may help prevent infections that love warm, moist environments.

6. Toothpaste

Bentonite clay is a great additive for your toothpowder because it may help brighten and re-mineralize your teeth. Some people also like to mix it up in water and use it as a mouthwash to kill oral bacteria than can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Simply add the clay to your standard tooth powder or toothpaste recipe.

Video first seen on Live Healthy and Blessed

7. Morning Sickness and Nausea

Pregnant women who have tried taking 1/2 tsp. of Bentonite clay in a small glass of water to treat morning sickness have reported success in reducing nausea. Most doctors and midwives say this is fine, but check with you doctor before starting it, just in case.

People suffering from other digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and even parasites report positive results from simply drinking a 1/2 to 1 tsp. of Bentonite clay to water or juice daily.

Don’t use more than that, and drink a glass of plain water after you ingest the clay in order to keep the clay from settling in your stomach or digestive tract. Taking too much can also cause constipation.

8. Digestive Cleanses

Toxin buildups cause many symptoms including fatigue, allergies, headaches, skin conditions, and other conditions that apparently have no cause. Add a teaspoon of clay to your water, juice, or smoothie.

Though I couldn’t find any research supporting it (that’s pretty common with natural remedies because Big Pharma doesn’t want cheap, natural remedies to cut into their profits), it seems to me that if Bentonite clay removes heavy metals, it may be at least partially effective in removing radioactive substances. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

The most important things to remember about taking Bentonite clay are that need to follow it with plenty of fresh water so that it flushes through your system without settling, and that you shouldn’t take more than a teaspoonful a day.

Personally, I’m more interested in the external healing effects of the clay, but there are many who firmly believe in the benefits of taking it internally as well.

That decision is, of course, up to you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.


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Christmas Prep Blog Review: 5 Last Minute Gifts

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Christmas Gifts

Wow, it’s already Christmas Eve!

I thought I was done with all my Christmas prepping until I realized I forgot to buy presents for a prepper friend of mine who is coming to dinner tomorrow.

I am sure he will be delighted by my delicious traditional Christmas turkey, but I want to offer him something special because this day is about offering, is about joy, peace and wonderful moments with friends and family.

As I am in a rush and there is no time to start searching for the perfect present, I am going to try one of the projects I will share with you below.

So, if you have unexpected guests or you forgot to buy a present, here are some great and unique ides of stocking stuffer you can make from scratch right know.

Or you could buy this pack of cards containing  52 encapsulated survival tips, covering everything from water purification to OPSEC.

1. How to Make a Paracord Belt

paracord belt

“These paracord belt instructions and easy to follow instructions show you how to make a DIY paracord rescue belt, my favorite of all the paracord belts I tried.

Paracord bracelets can come in handy but only have 8-12 feet of rope, while a paracord belt can have up to 50 feet or more of 550 paracord. In extreme survival situations, 50 feet of rope would be a lot more use for you than 8-12 feet.

However, this paracord belt gives you at least 50 feet of paracord rope that is quickly accessible, and depending on your waist size, up to 100 ft of 550 cord.

This belt is a quick deploy survival rescue belt that uses Slatt’s rescue weave. You can unravel, or deploy, the paracord in a matter of seconds.”

Read more on DIY Projects.

2. How to Make an Arm Knit Blanket

arm kit blanket

“One of my most favourite projects and the one that been the most popular on my blog this year is my arm knit blanket from January. I made this fringed arm knit blanket in a couple of hours. Let me show you how easy it is to make a soft & squishy blanket like this! For this project, you’ll need an extra bulky yarn. Five skeins made my lap-sized blanket with a fringe. I love the way this yarn gets thicker and thinner in parts to give this blanket even more texture.

I did a test swatch, and the gauge of this yarn was 0.5 stitches per inch. If using a different yarn, you’ll need to make your own test swatch to see what your guage is and determine how many stitches you’ll need to make your blanket. For a lap-size blanket (about 36″ wide by 40″ high), I made my blanket 18 stitches wide by 20 stitches long.

To begin, measure out about 18 arm lengths of yarn for your tail, and then create a slipknot.”

Read more on The DIY Mommy.

3. How to Make Flannel and Felt Last-Minute Handwarmers


“Flannel and Felt Last-Minute Handwarmers… a quick gift that you can mass-produce and have by the door, ready to share with someone who needs their heart warmed as much as their hands. Ever needed a last-minute gift to reciprocate or just to show some love and appreciation?

These felt and flannel hand warmers are a quick gift that you can mass-produce and have by the door, ready to share with someone who needs their heart warmed as much as their hands. The felt heart embellishment adds an easy, personal touch.

I’m personally smitten with all of the cute black, red, and gray flannel plaids available this year. I used a bunch for a quilt and decided to use some of the scraps for these cute, quick hand warmers.”

Read more on IHeartNapTime.

homemade-rosemary-mint-goat-milk-soap-recipe4. How to Make Homemade Rosemary – Mint Goat Milk Soap

“Oh my goodness you guys! This rosemary-mint goat milk soap smells divine, and that creamy milk-based soap just can’t be beat! I have a whole list of our favorite essential oil blends for soap making, and this particular blend isn’t on the list – because this is the first time I’ve ever tried it. I love all of those blends, but to be honest, at least 50% of the soap I make, I’m always trying new things. That’s what makes life interesting!

Another thing that was a first for me with this batch, is that I used canned goat milk that I bought from our local grocery store. much to my surprise, canned goat milk is brown! Always before, I’ve used either fresh, or frozen goat milk either from our own goats, or my sister-in-law’s goats, and of course, it’s the brightest shade of white. Even better, if you get it icy before you add it to the lye for making soap, it stays a beautiful creamy white.”

Read more on Frugal Farm Wife.

5. How to Make Bath Bombs (video tutorial)bath-bombs

“If you guys have followed my blog for a while or watch my Snapchat’s, then you know I’m a little obsessed with bath bombs. There are few things I like more than soaking in a hot bath with a bath bomb.

The essential oils help nourish and moisturize my skin, especially during the winter months. Today I want to share a bath bomb video tutorial to show you exactly how I make my bath bombs. I receive a lot of questions on my bath bombs tutorials and figured this would help answer a lot of them.

I’d also like to answer some frequently asked questions and share my new bath bomb recipe.”

Read more on A Pumpkin And A Princess.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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11 Gifts Under $25 For Preppers

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Preppers gifts

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about what to get a few of my friends and family members for Christmas makes me crazy.

They either already have everything, or I just can’t think of something that they’d like. I’m just not good at it. Plus, who thinks of prepping gifts for Christmas? It’s just not at the top of most people’s minds.

We’re here to save the day and, thanks to Amazon Prime, if you’re subscribed there’s still plenty of time to get these gifts and have them wrapped so that the prepper in your life can shake it and wonder about it for a bit before it’s time to unwrap it!

These gifts are also great for birthdays or just because you want to be nice.

1. Emergency Mylar Blanket

blanketWhen it comes down to surviving, a Mylar blanket is useful for many other things than just keeping warm, though it does trap up to 90% of your body heat.

They’re 52”x82”, so you only need 1 to cover you unless you’re really tall.

It’s waterproof and can be used as an emergency windbreaker, blanket, or raincoat.

It can also be used to catch water and form the top, sides, and bottom of a shelter.

The best part is that they take up less space than your wallet. As a matter of fact, you could get 3 in the space that your wallet would take up.

We chose the Titan brand 5-pack because they’re an American company owned by veterans, and all of their products have a lifetime guarantee. You can buy the cheaper ones sold in China, but why would you do that?

2. Ferro or Magnesium Fire-starting Rod

Without fire, you won’t last long in the wilderness, and your prepper knows it.

The problem is that matches get wet, tinder and kindling get rained on,ferro and lighters run out of fluid.

Starting a fire doesn’t have to be hard, though. Magnesium and Ferrocerium are two minerals that create extremely hot sparks that give you a leg up when you need to start a fire.

This one is our top pick because it comes with everything you need to start a fire quickly: wood chips, hand-cut fatwood sticks, jute string dipped in wax that catches fire easily from the sparks that are created by the ferro stick and striker.

The stick will light thousands of fires. It’s all packaged in a tin can that fits in a shirt pocket, and it’s extremely affordable.

This one doesn’t come with the tinder, but it IS attached to a paracord lanyard that can be used for many different things in the wilderness.

3. Water Filter

bottleYou can only survive for three days without water, but it’s not safe to just drink any water that you find. Water filters are a must-have in a survival kit, and there are a wide variety of them out there.

The thing to remember is that it’s not necessarily the thing that you can see in the water that you have to worry so much about; it’s the chemicals and pathogens in the water.

This bottle is BPA-free and converts crude water to potable water by filtering out 33 contaminants, 99.99% of microbial pathogens, and undissolved impurities from the water. It also reduces chlorine and trihalomethanes. That may sound technical, but your prepper will appreciate it!

4. Dutch Oven

Preppers, homesteaders, and just people who love to cook love cast iron, and a Dutch oven is a classic. These wonders are so great for camp cooking dutch oven that pioneers reserved precious space and weight in their wagons to carry them across the country.

The thing about cast iron is that it can literally last for hundreds of years. I have an iron skillet that’s more than 150 years old and it’s still an integral part of my cookware.

Dutch ovens such as this one serve triple duty because it can be used as a pot on the stovetop or in the oven, and the lid serves as a skillet, too.

Put the two together and you can bury them in coals in a campfire and cook anything that you want, including cakes, breads, and biscuits. Even though this one is $35, it’s still list-worthy because the lid is a full-sized skillet. This one falls within the $25 price guideline and is good, too.

5. Multi-tool

multi-toolBecause a person can only carry so much, multi-purpose items take top priority for a prepper.

There are many types of multi-tools that range in price from just a few bucks to nearly $100.

This one is a flat one that also comes with a flint fire starter, an emergency whistle, and pocket cover.

The tool itself has 25 uses including a knife, bottle opener, ruler, smartphone stand, saw and butterfly wrenches.

You can also go for traditional ones that offer hand tools, like this one. It’s attractive and the tools in it are actually useful instead of repetitive even if a person wants to carry it around as an every-day pocket knife. It comes with a bonus keychain mini-mulitool.

6. Prepping Books

One of the things that any good prepper will tell you that they know for sure is that they don’t know everything! It’s impossible to remember everything about survival, especially if you’re not doing it every day.

Since most of us aren’t living in the woods on a daily basis, or trying to exist without power, a guide is always a good thing.

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is good because it’s not easy to remember how to make a trap or memorize every tip for gathering and cooking outdoors in an emergency. Another skill that’s important to preppers is using everyday items in many different ways.

This book provides some useful uses for common household items.

Finally, this book is great for comprehensive information that touches on a bit of everything. Consider it an all-around guide to survival.

7. Paracord Jewelry

550 paracord is an integral part of any prepper’s kit because it has so many uses that you really can’t even count them all.paracord

Paracord jewelry is the best of both worlds because it has an earthy,  stylish look but is extremely functional; one bracelet has around twelve feet of paracord. That may not sound like a lot, but it really is!

This one has a fire starter and compass on it, or if you’d like to design your own unique piece for your favorite prepper, or even his dog, check out this site!

8. Gun Cleaning Kit

gun-cleaning-kitWhen it comes to weapons, cleanliness is next to godliness, because a dirty gun can quite literally be the death of you in a few different ways.

If your prepper is a gun owner, he or she will most certainly enjoy a gun cleaning kit.

This one is nice because it’s universal. You don’t need to know what kind of weapon your prepper has because this one works for any kind, handgun, shotgun, or rifle.

If you’d like, you can also buy some bore cleaner and lubricating oil to make it a total package.

9. Camping Mess Kit

camping-messOne of the biggest decisions that face a prepper is deciding what to pack in the bug-out bag. There are many things that a person will need, but one person can only carry so much.

This camp mess kit has everything needed to cook and eat a meal in the wilderness, and is lightweight anodized non-stick aluminum.

It even has a wooden spatula that can be used for many different things. It’s all nicely packaged in a carrying bag.

The way that it’s made, a person could even pack some fire-starters or any other smaller items inside of it, making even better use of the space. It goes over our $25 limit by a dollar, but it’s a dollar well-spent.

10. Tactical Vest

tactical-vestWhether your favorite prepper enjoys shooting or just needs space and pockets to put other survival items in, a tactical vest is always a good investment.

The weight is carried in the front, leaving the carrier’s back open for a backpack.

There are many different types out there, but this one is economical and functional. For additional surprises, fill the pockets with goodies such as a fire-stick or ammo!

11. Biomass Camp Stove

This biomass stove is a bit bigger than the original SoLo stove, but it can hold a pan instead of just a can. It’s lightweight but sturdy and allows your stoveprepper to build a fire without the need for oil, charcoal, or gas.

Its lightweight design makes it a viable addition to any survival kit.

We’ve tried to include diverse products with a range of prices, but if you’re still having problems thinking of a great gift for your prepper friend, head to your local Outdoor World, Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela’s. Better yet, hit the local Army surplus store.

Chances are good that you’ll not only find a gift for your friend, but will find something cool for yourself, too.

This pack of cards contains 52 encapsulated survival tips, covering everything from water purification to OPSEC.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Urban Survival: 9 Tips For Living Small In The City

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Living Small In The City

When you live in the country, it’s easy to live small. But what does living small really mean?

The concept is pretty fluid and has different meanings for different people, but the general idea is that you cut the fat and learn to live simply. That’s all.

Unclutter your life, physically and figuratively, so that you can open up other, better possibilities for yourself. It’s about freedom.

Here are the steps to take for living small in a big city. Read the article and look for more: a collection of survival tips can be yours easily!

We’ve surrounded ourselves with so much stuff that we don’t know what to do without it. We don’t know where our food comes from, and most of the people don’t care. We buy things, then throw them away when they break and buy new. We do the same thing with relationships.

We order huge portions of food, then throw half of it away. We buy cars we can’t afford and clothes we won’t wear. Our lives are based upon consumption and waste.

Well what would happen if all of those sources of consumption were no longer there? What if you had to grow your own food, or fix your shoe instead of throwing it away?

What if you had to get to know your neighbors, and work with them to survive? What if you were forced to give up your large living and live small?

It’s not such a horrible concept, and it’s completely possible, even if you live in an urban area that’s built entirely on the precept of living big.

As a matter of fact, learning to live small will teach you to appreciate the truly big things in life.

How to Start Living Small

Living small is a process. You can’t just go from being $50k in debt to living small. Your journey to living small will begin with tiny, fettered baby steps, but can end in long, free strides.

1. Make a List

The first thing you have to do to heal the wound is stop the bleeding. Sit down and make a list of ways that you’re living above your means. Next, figure out what steps you can take right now to live smaller.

Nobody needs a new pair of shoes once a week. Seriously, find out where you’re spending frivolously and decide if having all of those shoes is really worth being tethered to a credit card payment. If it is, then living small isn’t for you. Stop reading.

Now, make a plan to get rid of the debt. Can you really afford your apartment or would you be better off with a smaller place that costs less?

Don’t sacrifice your safety by moving into a bad neighborhood, but don’t put yourself in the poorhouse paying $2k/month in rent when you only make $3k. The big stuff will take a while to pare down. The important thing right now is to NOT make it worse.

Make a list of 5 things that you’re going to change today to live cheaper, because adaptability is one of the key attributes of a survivor. All of the things that we’re going to talk about from here on out are all about adapting a new, simpler lifestyle.

Living small isn’t about giving things up. It’s about living life on your own terms, in pursuit of your own happiness.

2. Fix Things!

Oh no – your jeans have a tear or the leg on your chair is loose? Well grab what you need and fix it! Don’t know how? Well thankfully you have the internet at your fingertips. What happens if you find out that you enjoy sewing?

You may just end up with a new hobby. Even if you don’t you’ll end up with a new skill. And you won’t be in debt any deeper. You just took your first step toward living small.

3. Learn Something

There’s something to be said for the power of learning to do things for yourself. Pick three skills that you’re interested in learning, then learn them.

Be open-minded and flexible. Try something that you may not have thought about doing up until now.

Having skills if SHTF will put you head-and-shoulders above 99 percent of your neighbors. Besides, this country was built by people who knew how to do things for themselves.

You can learn something new anywhere, anytime, even when playing cards with your loved ones.

However, if you want to take it to the next level, we also recommend these Urban Survival Playing Cards, featuring 52 more life-saving lessons, you can learn through play, that also act as a quick-reference ‘cheat sheet’ in times of emergency.


4. Learn How to Barter

There are flea markets and thrift shops in every city – it’s just a matter of finding them. Learn how to barter, or at least how to haggle. It’s a trait that will serve you well, and you may just find some great stuff that you can use instead of allowing it to go to a landfill.

5. Downsize Your Life

This is, after all, about living small. Go through your closets, drawers, and cabinets and if it isn’t something you’ve used in the last year, get rid of it. I’m not talking about your wedding video, but do you really need those shorts that are two sizes too small or that ugly shirt that your great aunt Sally got you for Christmas?

Don’t throw it away – have a yard sale or give it to charity. Better yet, do you know somebody that could use it? If so, give them first pickings before you take it to charity. This is all about learning to live. Nothing feels better than to do something good for somebody else.

6. Start a garden

So what if you live in a tiny apartment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food. There are all kinds of ways that you can garden indoors.

You can live in a city and grow plenty of things. You just have to be creative. Terrariums are great and vertical gardening is good, too.

Indoor Herbs

7. Teach your kids to live small

The path to a better world starts with our kids. Teach your children how to garden, and how to fix things. Raise them with the “living small to be happy” mentality.

Life isn’t about stuff, and now is the perfect time to teach them that life is about embracing what they have and what they can do, not about collecting material things and drowning in debt to get it.

8. Slow down

Take time to smell the roses. Literally. Don’t get so trapped in the rat race that life passes you by. Look at the clouds.

Take time to go for a walk or take a bike ride. Eat lunch in the park. Take the kids with you, but sometimes go by yourself. You only get one go-round so make it worth it. Make memories, not worries.

9. Learn about your resources before disaster strikes

You’re going to need to know where to find water and food if things go on beyond what you prep for, so learn about your local co-ops and resources. Network and find like-minded people. Holing up and making it through on your own may sound like the thing to do, but it’s not.

Build relationships. Since you’re living in an urban environment, it’s going to be next to impossible to live independently because you won’t have the resources to do so.

Know how to get out of the city if you need to. Know what’s around the city, including water sources and escape routes and maybe even hiding spots, just in case.

Living small isn’t about living less. It’s about living life in a way that makes you happy and safe. Nobody is happy living in debt and struggling just to make it from payday to payday.

Also, you won’t be safe and able to survive since you rely and depend totally on the wealth around you. Start practicing your survival skills by turning to living small!

Get more 52 survival secrets to help you thrive after disasters and breakdowns in urban areas!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: DIY Christmas Gifts For Preppers

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DIY Christmas Gifts

Christmas time is almost here and I can’t stop thinking about the delightful experiences I am going to offer to my loved ones, both in terms of delicious meals and, of course, GIFTS! There is nothing I love more than making them happy.

I am sure you are looking for Christmas gifts so in this week’s Prep Blog Review I am sharing with you some awesome DIY gifts ideas your prepper friends or family members will love when they will find them in their stockings on Christmas morning. Plus – there are some fun projects you can try with your little ones so involve them in this activity and make sure they won’t get bored during their winter holiday.

If you have other ideas, please share them with us.

1. 30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas


“There are a lot of reasons that sensible people want to step off of the materialistic rocket ride that is the standard North American Christmas and have a frugal Christmas that focuses on traditions instead. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’ve written with my 16-year-old daughter.

They may be tired of spending the entire following year working overtime because they are deep in debt for having produced a spectacular Christmas morning that was the stuff of storybooks.

Maybe they don’t want to create children who are never satisfied and always want more, who always yearn for that next edition of the iGadget of the year.

Perhaps they have suffered their own personal economic collapse and just can’t afford it this year.  They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.

They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.”

Read more on The Organic Prepper.

2. 15 DIY Gifts in a Jar

Jar gifts

“I love making DIY gifts, especially around the holidays. Many times we want to show someone they are special to us without spending a lot of money, and so a homemade gift works perfectly.

These gifts in a jar are adorable and are really inexpensive to make. You can make a themed jar based on something the person who you are gifting to likes – like the baking jar or flower garden listed below. We also have a really fun list of cookies in a jar!”

Read more on Kids Activities Blog.

3. M&M Mason Jar Cookie Recipe: A Perfect holiday Gift Idea

M&M Cookie Jar

“Need a gift for the cookie lover on your list? Here’s a fix of M&M mason jar cookie recipe to serve up lots of smiles this yuletide season. Make gift giving more personalized with this.

All you need to make mason jar cookie recipes are your basic cookie ingredients, a mason jar, and a little bit of time. By taking a few extra minutes to divide and layer your cookie ingredients, rather than mixing them, and then putting all in a pretty jar, you have an adorable, quick and delicious gift idea.”

Read more on Pioneer Settler.

4. 58 DIY Christmas Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Love

DIY Christmas Gifts

“Spread holiday cheer with these sweet and simple handmade gifts.

Pinecone Fire Starters:

The only problem with making these pinecone fire starters? You’ll end up wanting to keep these beautiful favors for yourself!”

Read more on Country Living.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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8 Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

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Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

You’ve probably battled with your fair share of plastic wrap while trying to cover a bowl of leftovers, but that stickiness is one of its biggest assets when it comes to using it for survival.

That’s right – you can use plastic wrap for many different things if SHTF, so keep several rolls of it in your stockpile!

When I say plastic wrap, you can use the kitchen plastic wrap in a pinch, but you can also buy an entire roll of clear or green translucent plastic wrap at the hardware store that they use to wrap pallets. This type is much more durable than the plastic wrap meant for use in the kitchen. It’s dirt cheap, too.

1. Staying Warm and Dry

Possibly the best thing about plastic wrap is that it’s pretty much impermeable. That means that air and water can’t pass through it, so if you’re stuck in a storm or have to venture out in the cold, plastic wrap can be one of your best friends.

Not only does it keep air and moisture out, it keeps body heat in, so if you wrap your torso, limbs, and feet in it, you  can preserve a ton of body heat and stay dry at the same time, which will also help you stay warm.

The only thing to remember when you’re using it this way is that your skin needs to breathe. That means that as soon as you get someplace warm and dry, you need to take it off.

2. Collecting Rain Water

There are a couple of different  ways that you can use plastic wrap to collect water. The first way is the obvious way –hang a sheet of it so that it’s horizontal to the ground and let it collect either rainwater or dew.

If you have a bucket or container, even better – set the bucket underneath the plastic and use a stone to tilt it to one side, so that the water pours off of the plastic into the bucket.

If you just set the bucket out when it rains, you’ll only catch the water that directly drops into the bucket, but the plastic wrap will give you a larger area for the rain to hit, thus collecting much more water.

3. Create a Solar Still

The second way that you can use plastic to collect water is to build a solar still. This sounds a lot fancier than it actually is.

Dig a hole in soil that is in direct sunlight – this is important because you’re using the sun to dehydrate the moisture from the damp soil.

Solar Still

As the soil dehydrates, the water evaporates and rises, creating condensation on the plastic. Here’s how to do it:

  • Dig a hole in direct sunlight, preferably early in the morning. Make the hole a foot or two deep – the more damp soil you have exposed, the more water you’ll get.
  • Place a mug, bowl, or some other vessel to collect the water in the center of the hole.
  • Fill around the cup with any damp vegetation that you can find. The more moisture, the better.
  • Cover the hole completely with plastic wrap.
  • Place sand, dirt, and rocks around the outside perimeter of the hole to seal the plastic wrap to the ground.
  • Place a small stone or some dirt on the plastic directly over the center of the cup so that it forms a V into the cup. The plastic can’t touch the cup, though.
  • Leave the still there as long as possible – either until the dirt dries up or the sun goes down, whichever comes first.
  • If the hole dries up, either dig it deeper to reach more damp soil, or dig another hole and start over.
  • Enjoy the water. You won’t collect much this way, but in a survival situation, some is better than none!

You can also use plastic wrap to make a solar still to distill dirty water or salt water into drinking water. For a better visual for this purpose, check out this video.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

4. Build a Shelter or a Greenhouse

Yup, you read that right. You can build a shelter using plastic wrap. As a matter of fact, we just built one to use as a make-shift paint booth. We used the skeleton from a picnic tarp for the frame, but trees would do just as well.

Simply wrap the plastic wrap around the trees, or poles that you cut, then cover the top of it, too. We used a piece of cardboard to fashion a door, but you could just as easily cut a small, 3-sided entrance in the hole then wrap a stick around the vertical side and stick it in the ground to “close” the door.

Seal it up from the inside with another piece of plastic. You’re creative – I’m sure you can figure out an entrance.

It also collected dew on the top, so your plastic wrap house serves double duty as a water collector. This will make a wind-proof, waterproof shelter that is actually fairly durable and will hold heat inside.

This trait would also make it excellent material for building a greenhouse.

5. Start a Fire

You can use plastic wrap to start a fire. I didn’t really believe this was possible until I found a video that proved it. The idea is that water in a piece of plastic wrap acts as a magnifying glass.

Video first seen on The Outdoor Adventure.

The paper actually caught fire fairly quickly – within a couple of minutes, so it’s not something that I would discount.

Actually, starting the fire with the plastic and water seemed easier than using a bow, so if those were my only two options, I’d probably try the plastic wrap and water first. We have other great ideas for staring fires.

6. Waterproofing Your Gear

There’s nothing worse than trekking through a downpour and stopping for the night only to find that everything in your pack is soaked, too.

Maybe you’ve dropped it in a stream that you were crossing, or had to swim at some point. In any of these scenarios, plastic wrap would have kept your gear dry.

It’s not a total waterproofer, but I have used it when I’m out on a long distance ride – I don’t have saddlebags – to keep my pack dry. I just have a piece folded up in the bottom of my bag and when I need it, I unfold it and wrap my bag in it.

It probably wouldn’t do a lot of good if my bag was submerged, but it would give me a few extra seconds to catch it if I dropped it in the lake. You could also use it to cover things such as your firewood in camp to protect it from a downpour.

7. Rope or Lashing Material

Yes, rope is always good to have on hand. There’s no doubt about it. Plastic wrap used for shrink wrap is extremely strong and if you twist a piece into a rope (you have to twist it), it will stretch to about three times its original length then hold there. We tested it and it held 115 pounds without threatening to give.

That’s pretty solid for some plastic, especially when you consider that you can untwist it and use it for other things.

8. First Aid

There are several ways you can use plastic wrap for first aid.

First, a sucking chest would needs to be covered with plastic. You could also use it as a non-stick covering to keep water and debris out of a wound. It would work as a sling, or you could wrap it around as a binding. Throw some in your first aid kit.

In a survival situation think of what you can do with what you have. This is what our ancestors used to do.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Diatomaceous Earth? Here’s How To Use It For Your Homestead

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Diatomaceous Earth Uses

Diatomaceous earth, aka DE, is a completely natural product derived from fossilized diatoms, which are hard-shelled algae from bodies of water. You’ll usually buy it in the form of a light-colored powder, and it’s not expensive. It does meet one of our biggest needs as preppers – it’s multi-purpose.

However, you should learn how to use it right. We’ll help you solve this problem starting from the questions one of our readers asked.

“Are there any potential health risks when using diatomaceous earth? I heard it could cause some problems despite the uses it has… By the way, can I use it to treat my animals?”

Diane K., Missouri.

Is DE Harmful?

Let’s start with a couple of words of caution: there are different types of DE and you want to make sure that you buy food grade so that it doesn’t have any chemicals in it.

If your skin is exposed to DE for too long, it could dry more than usual, so take care how long you keep it on you, then gently wash it with warm water.

Basically, if inhaled, DE it’s not more harmful than the dust in your home, but even the dust can cause problems if you are asthmatic. DE it’s fine as it sticks to surfaces, so if you don’t want to breathe it or get it into your eyes, use a simple mask to prevent it.

As for the internal risks, eating too much DE can cause constipation, so lower the DE intake and grow your water consumption to prevent it from happening. You will need to drink more water anyway when using DE internally, as it also could cause bloating if you body lacks a proper level of fluids.

Also, there were rumors that DE can cause cancer, but there is not study yet to expose a link between the exposure to food grade DE and cancer. Still, you need to be careful about prolonged interaction with pool grade and industrial DE, as it has been proven as being risky to your health.


Leaving apart the precautions, DE still has a lot of uses that no prepper should ignore. Let’s see a few of them!

1. Detoxifying

Many people take DE because it may remove toxins such as mercury, endotoxins, pesticides and drug residues, and E. coli. It may be a natural colon cleanser and detoxifier, which can have a massive positive effect on your health.

The reason that it works like this is because it retains its traits even when suspended in liquid for long amounts of time. It breaks down into a colloidal form, which means it has a negative charge.

This attracts free radicals, then they bond to the DE and are carried out of the body. This slows oxidative damage, which causes many different diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer as well as the physical signs of aging.

2. Deodorizing

Just like baking soda, diatomaceous earth absorbs odors. It’s great to put a satchel or container of it in your fridge, freezer, or coolers and it’s also a good ingredient to add to your homemade deodorant.

Sprinkle some in your garbage cans, too. It serves double duty by absorbing both moisture and odor in all of these instances.

3.Purifying Water

Many water filters contain DE, though not the food-grade kind. Its shown to filter out fine particles that pass through other types of filters. It’s often used to purify the water in fish tanks and for making wine, beer, syrups, and sugar without altering flavor, taste, color or nutritional value.

A study published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that it helps kill viruses in drinking water.


4. Use for Packing Wounds

Since DE is so absorbent, it’s great to use to use as a base for a poultice because it can help draw out infection and toxins.

Not only does diatomaceous earth have numerous uses around the house and farm, it also has healing properties because its ions have a negative charge. It’s also affordable and easy to use, as long as you’re careful not to breathe it.

5. Reduce Cholesterol

As bad as Big Pharma hates to admit it, this claim has actually been backed up by scientific study. Taking just 250 mg per day lowered cholesterol levels and they stayed low, even six weeks after the subjects quit taking it.

The weight is tough to translate into teaspoons but most people take ‘2 teaspoons per day. You can always weigh it when you buy it.

6. Whitening Teeth

In a survival situation, or even if you just don’t want to use store-bought toothpaste, you can add DE to your homemade toothpaste as a whitening agent. Don’t use it every day though because it can damage your enamel. Baking soda is also an option for this, or combine them!

Video first seen on mylittlehomestead

7. Hair, Nail and Skin Care

Just as DE may draw toxins out of your body, it can also draw them out of your skin, plus it acts as a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and clearing pores. Since it doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals, it’s less likely to irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction, though the possibility is always there.

It also supports collagen production, which is great for your nails, skin and hair. Add a teaspoon or two to your morning juice or smoothie to reap the health benefits. Just make sure that it’s food grade!

8. Healthy Scalp

Adding DE into your daily shampoo can help strengthen your hair and promote growth. It also kills and prevents lice.

9. Healthy Bones, Joints, and Tendons

Dietary silicon is good for bone and connective tissue and it can also help prevent the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. If SHTF, this is going to be a big deal because there won’t be medication around to treat arthritis or osteoporosis.

Though the connection is solid, those in the know aren’t exactly sure exactly how DE helps with this, but it’s suspected that it has something to do with the fact that silicon helps your body make collagen and also helps mineralize your bones. This helps keep your bones and joints healthy.

10. Deworming

To those who use it, they’ll swear that DE is better at deworming and preventing worm infestation in pets than commercial chemical dewormers. Just sprinkle a quarter teaspoon on Fido’s food daily.

11. Kills Pests, Including Fleas, Roaches and Bedbugs

Individual diatomaceous earth grains are ragged and crack the exoskeletons of these pests, dehydrating and eventually killing them. Since it’s non-toxic, you can put it on your carpets, furniture, and even directly on your pets, with no fear of illness.

To kill fleas, sprinkle DE in your carpet – it doesn’t need to be much, a light sprinkling will do – then leave it in overnight and vacuum it up. Repeat every couple of days for a month. The lifecycle of a flea from egg to adulthood is 12-22 days, so this should kill all of them.

You can give your pets so quick relief by rubbing the DE right into their fur. As a matter of fact, they’ll probably enjoy it. Just rub it in well so that it reaches the skin.  You don’t need to do this daily. Every few days would work, or after a bath.

To get rid of bedbugs, sprinkle on your mattress, making sure to get in the seams of any stitching and around the edge because that’s where they like to hide. Repeat every couple of days for three weeks.

Video first seen on ZappBug.

It takes two weeks for the eggs to hatch, so three weeks should be enough to kill them all. It may not hurt to repeat again in a few weeks because bedbugs can live up to a year even without food (blood), though their typical lifespan is four to six months.

To keep your house free of ants, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders and other creepy-crawlies, sprinkle DE around the outside of your house and in dark, tucked-away spots where they’re likely to hide.

To keep your garden free of slugs, snails, and beetles, sprinkle in the dirt around your plants and the perimeter of the garden.

12. Help Your Livestock Produce More and Be Happy

Many farmers have found that a daily dose of DE helps keep their farm animals healthy and can increase production.

For instance, your cows may produce more milk and have glossier coats. Your chickens will lay stronger, better eggs. DE is also good to put in your chicken coop so that they can roll in it. They love to do that, and the DE will help keep the mites and other bugs off of their skin.

There are also studies that show that hens that were fed DE had significantly lower incidents of parasite infection. In the same study, hens in the DE group laid eggs that had bigger yolks, which means they had more nutrients.

13. Food Storage

You know those little packets that come in many products to keep the moisture out? Well those are packets of silica, which is in DE. You can wrap little satchels of DE and put it in your food, especially your dried foods, to absorb moisture and thus help keep your food dry so that it won’t mold.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 


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10 Problems That Kill Your Rural Survival

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Rural Survival

If you are a rural town dweller, or live on a farm or off-grid, you already have an expanded set of survival skills. Your isolation along with these skills are the keys to your survival, but you still must expect the unexpected.

Here are ten problems that you may not even give much thought but they still can cause a lot of troubles in turbulent times.

1. Lack of Key Supplements for Livestock

Modern farming methods can feed their livestock any number of things that might have been out of the question in the past. For example, today, many farmers think that it is safe to feed alfalfa to cattle because they also include a supplement in the feed.

Without this supplement, cattle and other sensitive animals will suffer from stomach bloat and die. You have a big pile of these supplements for now, but you will run out of them.

Therefore, be aware of the natural nutritional needs of all livestock in your care, and know exactly why you are giving various supplements to livestock.

Make it a point to see if you can replace these supplements with something you can make on your own or find out how to eliminate them altogether.

Adjust farming methods so that you no longer need antibiotics or other chemicals that won’t be available after a crisis hits.

Your animals will be healthier, and your body won’t be absorbing all those chemicals and toxins through animal based meat, milk, and eggs.

2. Insufficient Genetic Material for Plant and Animal Based Sources of Food

If you do some research, you will find that many animal based industries are already having problems with lack of sufficient genetic variation. For example pedigree dogs and thoroughbred horses are rapidly becoming a point of scandal and derision because of the serious genetic defects that lead to disease and early death.

Now consider a situation where you have just one bull and 5 or 6 milk cows, and that the cows are from all different blood lines. Even though the bull may be different from them, within just a few generations the animals produced will be sicker and weaker.

No matter whether you are raising chickens, cattle, goats, sheep, cats, dogs, horses, or other animals, make sure that you have enough genetic variation in both the males and females.

While one gender may not be as valuable as the other in terms of producing meat or eggs, the genetic variance is truly far more important than the inconvenience of keeping a few extra animals for the sake of genetic diversity.

This is also very important to consider when growing plants for food. Always use heirloom seeds, and try to get them from as many different places as possible. As long as the species and strain are the same, you can keep the plants strong and genetically viable from one generation to the next.

The last thing you will want to do is be ten, or even twenty years into a survival scenario only to realize that major staple plants are less robust or becoming weaker despite proper care of the water and soil. Needless to say, you should also store away triple, or even quadruple the number of seeds that you plan to use during an active crisis scenario.

At the very least, if genetic viability proves to be a problem, you will still have some to start over with, and then look for resources in other locations. This may include studying wild plants in the local area and cultivating them on a larger scale if needed.

3, Inadvertent Hybridization of Key Food and Medicine Bearing Organisms

If you currently use hybrid seeds because they offer more disease resistant plants or other benefits, you may not be thinking about the long term consequences of hybridization.

A hybrid is defined as a cross between two species that are close enough to produce viable offspring, however the offspring usually cannot produce a viable next generation.

For example, if you have two fields of heirloom corn or plant two strains close together, hybridization will occur. From there, the next year’s crop may grow, however, the seeds for the third year may not even sprout let alone produce a mature plant.

When growing plants, be very careful about where you plant different strains as well as which pollinators can create hybrids without your knowing. This includes bees which can carry pollen for miles as well as the wind itself which can transmit pollen from one field to another.

If at all possible, only grow one strain of a plant per year. It is also very important to be aware of:

  • wild plants from a related species that might provide pollen
  • plants grown by other survivors in the area that may be of a different, but related strain

4. Loss of Soil Fertility

Together with soil erosion, loss of soil fertility is a huge problem and apt to get worse in a survival situation.

Many farmers today rely on a range of fertilizers to enhance the soil. While this may produce edible plants, the lack of micronutrients is showing up in poor health and increased risk for disease for consumers.

Since you will be using the same soil over and over again to grow foods, this problem may cause serious health problems sooner than expected.

Take the time now to know how the soil on you farm differs from undisturbed land nearby. Make sure that you know how it differs in key nutrients that you expect to absorb from the foods.

If you find lacking nutrients, then look for ways to naturally recondition the soil in order to restore those nutrients. Some options may include:

  • expand the types of plants used on composting to include wild plants and leaves from surrounding areas
  • find ways to add animal bones and other parts in order to create a natural fertilizer. For example, eggshells are an excellent soil conditioner that you can get from chickens being raised on the farm
  • research safe ways to compost human excrement. It should be noted that there is a good bit of controversy on this matter as human feces and urine carry diseases that have left your body. While animal excrement can also be very dangerous to your health, at least the pathogens are not already established and accustomed to the human immune system, and therefore readily able to evade it.


5. Loss of Key Species Due to Overhunting or Overfishing

Many people think that as long as they live in a country setting, all they will have to do is go out into the woods and shoot a deer or some other animal for food. Aside from the fact that larger populations of people will easily cause animal depletion, there are some other problems with this idea:

  • Overhunting and over fishing can also occur when injured animals get away. Not only is the meat from them lost, the hunter will more than likely go out and shoot at one or more animals until they catch one.

If the person in question is not a very good hunter, this means dozens of animals may be knocked out of the gene pool and also made unavailable to people that need the food from these animals. As the gene pool of target species becomes less diverse, illness and fewer offspring will result.

Just take a look at the changes in deer spot patterns and white deer that signal pending collapse of a herd.

  • Unknown stresses from social collapse may impact vital species. Consider a situation where you are in a rural area that is surrounded by mines or factories. Even though they may appear far enough away to prevent damage to the land in your area, they can still pose a hazard during a collapse.

In particular, waste from factories and mines can be carried for hundreds of miles down a river, or seep into the air and soil via other means. Once these toxins get into the deer, rabbits, and other animals of interest, these animals will die off and leave you with very few, if any to hunt.

In order to mitigate these problems, you must always be aware of how many animals are being taken from the land for food as well as make sure you know how many got away and were never found.

It is very important to keep security patrols going through hunt areas so that you can stop strangers and prevent them from interfering with the wild herds you depend on.

You should also have longer ranging scouts take periodic trips to factories, rivers, and other water features that may impact your local area.

At the very least, if you know that a mine or factory has released a dangerous toxin, you may just have enough time to drive animal herds to another area where they can continue to live and reproduce.

6. Loss of Key Habitats

Wood No matter whether you chop down trees to provide wood for fires or use a nearby pond for potable water and irrigating crops, your activities will change the land around you. This, in turn, can lead to the loss of forests and other key habitats that you depend on for raw survival materials.

As rural families expand or more people find their way out of the cities, this problem will get even worse. You have only to look at the mess of an inner city to see what becomes of areas that were once as filled with trees and other natural landmarks.

As with protecting wild animals used for food, you must also protect the trees and other natural resources that you rely on. Do your best to patrol areas where loggers or scavengers may be looking to cut trees and take them away. Make sure that you know who is coming into the local area and how to keep them away from valuable land so that it is not destroyed.

While you may be inclined to share some of your resources, remember that you can never truly own a tree or the land it grows on. Be careful with these resources so that they will be available to future generations.

Since clearing land is unavoidable, you must replace what was taken. For example, if you cleared some land for farming, look for abandoned areas nearby that no longer have trees or other plants. You can always take tree seeds or even hand started seedlings and plant them in these areas.

If the soil in these areas is toxic or has many contaminants, you can try growing carrots, certain mushrooms, and conifers to clean the soil as quickly as possible. Once the soil is cleared of heavy metals and other contaminants, then you can plant maple trees or other forest bearing trees that will be of use to you.

7. Inadequate Sewage and Sanitation Systems

If you currently have a septic tank and leach field, then you may not realize just how easily your sewage system can become useless in a crisis situation. Among other things, if you don’t have a pump system to clean out the tank, then backing up toilets, sinks, and tubs, can easily force you out of your home. Some things you can do to avoid these problems include:

  • keep a good supply of sludge destroying organisms on hand. These can eat way materials that do not go out into the leach lines and buy you at least a few years before the next cleaning is required.
  • Have an outhouse and other outdoor plumbing ready for use.
  • Know how to make slit trenches and other short term sanitation options.
  • Do some research on composting toilets and how best to use the materials from it.

8. Lack of Common Vaccines

As with people trying to survive in a city setting, you will also be faced with a lack of vital vaccines. This includes those used to fight off tetanus and diphtheria. Many people today are misinformed about vaccines and believe that all of them are bad.

While many vaccines use Thimerisol as a preservative (which contains Mercury), that does not mean every single person that gets the shots will be poisoned or rendered permanently disabled.

In fact, thousands of people (including members of the military) take dozens of vaccines at a time without many long term problems. On the other hand, if you contract tetanus, it will kill you despite access to the best modern medicine.

It is very important to make sure that tetanus, diphtheria and other critical vaccinations are kept up to date. Aside from that, if you are part of a survival community, or have a survival doctor as a friend, ask them to store away these vital vaccines for long term needs.

Even though these vaccines supplies will run out one day, they can still be very important. You can also do some research on how Jonas Salk and other early vaccine developers created their products.

Some of those methods may be within reach of local doctors that may be able to use them in a time of need.

9. Lack of Fuel for Farm Equipment or Other Vehicles

As a prepper, you are sure to be very aware of the problems associated with loss of gasoline and diesel supplies. On the other hand, if you have been putting off converting your farm equipment to run on natural gas or biodiesel, then you may not be as ready as you though you were.

It is also very important to note that biodiesel and natural gas options aren’t completely free of problems. This includes creating long lasting and viable storage solutions as well as making sure that you have enough plant matter to make fuel.

If you have been following the ethanol saga, then you may already know that the loss of arable farm land for the sake of making fuel can be a huge problem.

Aside from expanding the range of fuels that your farm equipment can use, it is very important to have alternative farm equipment on hand. This includes plows and other equipment that you can pull on your own or use a horse, donkey, or oxen to pull them.

Even if you never use these tools, they may still be of use to future generations that may not be able to produce farm equipment to replace machines that wear out or break down.

Here are some other things you can do to manage the lack of fuel problem as well as some others that are likely to come up over time:

  • Consider building either a hydroponics or aeroponics farming system. You can usually grow a good bit of food in a very small space without the need for complex farm equipment. Since water and air based growing systems require very little soil, you can also have peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to worry about soil depletion. If you choose to use fish as the source of nutrition in the hydroponics system, then you can also use them for food once they become large enough to eat.

Video first seen on WeLikeShootingVideos.

  • Look for ways to reduce plantings only to plants that will be needed for making new seeds. Instead of allowing so many plants to reach full size, you can get a good bit of benefit from consuming micro plants. Not only will this make it easier to grow food indoors, you will also have access to more nutrients in a limited space.

10. Lack of a Bug Out Plan

Today, the vast majority of preppers tend to see forests, farms, and small towns as the ultimate bug out location. If you are already in this type of setting, then you may also feel that there is no place else to go.

If you do not have a viable bug out plan, then you may be at a bigger disadvantage than expected. No matter whether you need to navigate to another rural area, or to a smaller city that has little damage from a large scale crisis, you will have a lot of problems without a well designed bug out plan.

Here are some things that you should at least have on hand in case you need to leave your bug in location:

  • A bug out bag that includes a complete navigation kit.
  • Maps and other materials that can help you get from one place to another as quickly and safely as possible.
  • Some means of transport other than a motor vehicle and a cart for carrying your bug out supplies.
  • A radio and means of communication so that you can always know what is going on in the area you are about to enter. From military patrols to roving bands of thieves, you are best served by knowing where the highest risks are so that you can skirt around these areas instead of going through them.

Before a crisis hits, it is very important to have reliable sources of information. This goes well beyond how to carry out certain tasks or manage any given project. Rather, you will need real-time information from people in areas you intend to enter.

This includes information on the nature of the crisis in the area, how badly it is damaged, and what the biggest threats are. If you need to build a weapon or change your travel plans, it is best to have up to date information that will help you make the best decisions.

Invariably, there is nothing like trusted contacts in the location to tell you what is really going on.

There is no question that many people see a return to nature or homestead farming as the ultimate form of prepping.

On the other hand, a nuclear bomb in the right place, a hurricane, tornado, or even an earthquake can make all your hard work go to waste.

These are just a few reasons why you need to consider more than basic survival when planning for rural area bugging in.

At the very least, if you consider the ten points listed in this article, you will have a chance to avoid them, and also use them as a basis for looking into other parts of your bug in plan that might need some additional work.

To survive you need to learn the lost ways and skills that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times. Click the banner below and learn how to live without our modern days technologies and gadgets.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: 30+ Survival Items You Should Have

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Survival Items

Every prepper is different and has different needs until an unforeseen even strikes and everyone’s concern becomes surviving. Properly preparing for a survival situation also means storing multipurpose items that you can use when disaster strikes.

You sure have your stockpile list and you’ve already checked a lot of the items on it, but every once in a while it would be good to check the list and complete it with other  survival items you consider useful for different situations you are preparing for.

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five useful articles on this topic. Enjoy!

  1. 11 Unusual and Uncommon First Aid Items

First aid items

“Everyone, survivalist or not, should have a first aid kit in their home and one in their car. Most people can probably name most of the more common items in a first aid kit, such as Band-Aids, gauze pads, bandaging, scissors, tweezers, ice pack, antiseptic wipes, and non-latex gloves.

However, there might be situations in which you don’t have your first aid kit handy at a time when you really need it. In times like these, it is good to know some unusual and uncommon items that are very useful when first aid is required, items that would also be great to include in your regular first aid kit. Here is a list of some great unusual and uncommon first aid items.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

  1. 10 Important Items to Pack in Your Nuclear Fallout Kit

Nuclear Items

“Wars and rumors of wars is what we’ve been told there will be in the end days. Thanks to television and the government’s well-oiled propaganda machine we are constantly hearing threats from the U.S. and Russia. Whether or not these threats are legit or hype designed to keep people in fear and fresh recruits for the military is yet to be determined.

Either way we should probably take these threats seriously if we live in potential nuclear attack targets with a nuclear fallout kit.

Now I’ve said on multiple occasions that if you live in the vicinity of a possible nuclear attack then you should strongly consider strategy relocating, especially if you live less than a 100 miles away from the locations.

Possible targets include strategic military bases, communication hubs and economic centers. Nuclear silos and even power plants could be potential targets. You can find a map of potential nuclear targets below.”

Read more on Smart Prepper Gear.

  1. How to Build a 16 Item Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit

Winter Kit“If you’ve yet to build a winter emergency vehicle kit, now’s the time.

With fall currently in full swing, those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains are seeing the first signs that winter is near.

Soon, the mountain peaks will be capped white with snow and roadway conditions will change for the worst at the drop of a hat.

Icy roads and deep snow are extremely dangerous for travel and a leading cause of stranded vehicles.”

Read more on SkilledSurvival.

  1. 23 Reasons Why You Should Store Zip Ties for Survival

“I have 23 reasons why you should store Zip ties for survival. I recently visited a local hardware store right here in St. George, Utah. The store has just Zip Tiesabout everything a handy person might want. I was looking for an emergency orange cone and some Zip-ties. While waiting in line to pay for my Zip-ties, I asked the clerk to tell me “what can you do with Zip-ties”?

He started telling me a few ways to use Zip-ties, and before I knew it the guy behind me added a few more ideas. Of course, then I started laughing because the guy behind me quickly added, “you need some longer ones to tackle someone to Zip-tie their hands in case of a break-in”.

Oh goodness, I was thinking of using some for emergency issues, but quickly realized I really did need some longer ones.”

Read more on FoodStorageMoms.

  1. A Lifesaving Stockpile Item That Most Preppers Forget


“As preppers, we have all sorts of lists to help us remain organized and better prepared.

We have lists of food supplies, lists of off-grid supplies, lists of non-food supplies, lists of medical supplies, and lists of books. We have first aid lists, water purifications lists, and personal hygiene lists.

But there’s one prep that hardly ever makes it on any lists, and my friend, medical professional Lizzie Bennett of the website Underground Medic is going to explain why this humble item is one of the most important things you’ll ever stockpile.”

Read more on The Organic Prepper.

Click the banner below to discover our ancestors’ secret items that helped them survive the dark times.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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5 Great Survival Uses For Whiskey, Beside Bartering

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Let’s begin today’s article by agreeing that having the perfect tools and/or supplies at your disposal in a SHTF situation is a pretty rare occurrence.

The idea is that you’ll have to deal with an emergency using what’s available at that particular time and place.

That’s why, from a prepper’s point of view, stocking multi-purpose items is the way to go. That brings us to today’s topic: whiskey.

I know what you’re thinking – Wait a minute, whiskey and survival? What do they have in common? The answer is – much more than you think, my young Padawan.

With these questions in mind, let’s take a look at the answers.

To begin with a little bit of history, alcohol has been well known for its health benefits for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. Whiskey is a beverage with a high alcohol content that can be used in a multitude of ways during or in the aftermath of a SHTF event.

Regardless of whether you’re a big fan of Prohibition or a whiskey aficionado, the fact remains that many folks will always need their whiskey in a survival situation for various things, including drinking it or using it for trade, fuel, or medicinal purposes.


Are you ready to head to the liquor store? When the going gets tough, whiskey may be one of your best friends, because it’s a true multipurpose tool which may very well save your life someday. If you’re not stocking whiskey yet, keep reading.

Since humanity’s earliest days of trading, people literally risked their lives in the pursuit of happiness, which often included whiskey, wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverage. If disaster strikes and society breaks down, whiskey will be useful for lots of things, including bartering, for that very reason.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though society is infinitely more complex than it was 300 years ago, whiskey will still likely become a form of currency during a crisis situation. It’s just the kind of “stuff” some people must procure for themselves at any cost.

But there’s more to whiskey than a valuable commodity in times of peril, though just that would make it a must-have item in your survival stockpile.

Use Whiskey as Combustible

Besides trading it, you can make fuel with it. It’s great to help start a fire when your combustible is damp. Whiskey is great as a fire starter provided its alcohol content is over 40% or 80 proof, so keep that in mind when shopping for your survival whiskey. Also, you can use it as a fuel for your lamp, or as a fire accelerant.

If you’re stocking a higher-proof whiskey, something like 100 proof or more, you can always use it as emergency combustible for certain types of engines. And yes, that will increase its value significantly as a barter-item in a survival situation.

Keep in mind that powering a traditional engine with high-proof whiskey is not a child’s play, as it requires significant tweaking to the ignition timing, the idle circuit, etc., but it’s possible if you know what you’re doing.

You can use it even as a last-resort, self-defense tool,  in a Molotov cocktail. And if the going gets really tough, you can always break the bottle and use the shards as a cutting tool or even as a weapon.

Whiskey Works as a Solvent

For the engineers out there, alcohol is a great solvent.

That means whiskey can be used successfully for cleaning your guns, an engine, electronic components and even for rust prevention.

Whiskey Kills Bacteria and Odors

Another cool thing about whiskey is that if mixed with water, it kills harmful bacteria, hence you can always use it to disinfect water procured from dubious sources (after filtering it). Also, if you add some whiskey into your water supply, it will last much longer without spoiling (and it will taste better for sure).

You can use whiskey in an emergency for its hygienic properties, as it efficiently kills odors and bacteria. You can use it as a deodorant, as a perfume (seriously), or as a toner/facial astringent (think aftershave). You can always refresh clothing with whiskey if there’s nothing else available or you can use it to repel/kill bugs.

Whiskey Helps You Staying Healthy

Whiskey can be used to treat/prevent swimmer’s ear due to its excellent antiseptic and drying properties (you can even disinfect medical instruments with the stuff) and it’s great to use as a medicinal mouth wash, especially when confronted with a tooth ache. Just don’t try it before a job interview, all right?

Since we’ve already started, let’s talk about whiskey’s health benefits from a scientific point of view. All types of whiskey decrease the risk of blood clots, help prevent stroke and dementia, and promote healthy cholesterol.

According to various studies, if you drink it in moderation, whiskey not only alleviates boredom but it will decrease your risk of diabetes. It actually destroys cancerous cells. This is especially true for bourbon, which is  required by law to be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years. During the aging process, anti-oxidants such as tannins and vanillins found inside the wood are passed into the bourbon.

Are you sold just yet? If not, let’s take a look at other medicinal uses for your precious whiskey reserve.

Whiskey can be used as an antiseptic agent, but topically only. You should avoid using it for treating deep cuts, though if nothing else is available, whiskey will do.

Also, whiskey is a pain reliever when ingested in small amounts for sore/aching muscles. If you mix whiskey with honey, it will help alleviate a sore throat, and a tiny quantity works miracles as a sinus cleanser. Just try it once; it will clear you right up.

Whiskey Makes You Happy and Warm

There’s also an even better reason for drinking it that you think; that warm and fuzzy feeling is more than just an imaginary experience; alcohol is a well-known anxyolitic, which means that it reduces anxiety.

It’s also a vasodilator, so it actually makes you feel warm, and it’s an antimicrobial. Because of these chemical reactions, it gets you warm, gives you hope when you’re under stress, and kills bacteria and viruses. More on that in a jiffy, right after the break.

The bottom line is this; stockpiling whiskey for the end of the world is not a bad idea after all, as it comes with numerous benefits, not to mention the fun-factor included in the deal.

Just remember to stock up on cheap whiskey with a high alcohol content – 80 proof or higher – as this guarantees it will ignite, and disinfect, better. For your personal drinking pleasure, feel free to stock some of the good stuff; there will certainly be plenty of people willing to trade with you if you find you have extra!

To store it long-term, always purchase your whiskey in glass bottles instead of plastic. That way, your whiskey will store indefinitely as long as you keep it in a cool, dark place with the bottles upright, like in the old days.


I hope this article helped, folks. If you have other ideas or suggestions for using whiskey in a survival situation, feel free to tell us about it in the comments section below!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Blackout: 12 Survival Alternatives To Candles

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Survival Candles Alternatives

The electric is out and you’re digging frantically through the drawer trying to find the candles. Or maybe you’ve already used all of your candles and still need alternative light.

Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options and most of these are readily available in most homes.

Before we talk about makeshift candles, we need to talk about wicks and containers for a minute.

If you don’t have any candle wicks at home, you can make one using:

  • A shoestring with the plastic end cut off (which, by the way, is called an aglet!)
  • A strip of cotton cloth from a shirt, towel, sock, etc.
  • A piece of rope from a mop
  • Para cord
  • Candle wicks, which can be bought online individually or by the roll or at craft store.

Unless you’re using actual candle wicks that aren’t coated in wax, prime the wick by dipping it into whatever you’re using as a candle. Good containers include:

  • Mason jars
  • Sturdy used food jars
  • Tin vegetable/fruit cans
  • Sea shells
  • Empty tuna cans
  • Altoids tins
  • Teacups/coffee cups
  • Metal lids
  • Aluminum foil shaped into a cup/bowl
  • Beer/soda cans
  • Birch bark


Crayons: those magical wax sticks that allow your 4-year-old to express his artistic side on your wall. Well guess what? They’re flammable and can serve as a candle in a pinch. Granted, you won’t get much light from a single crayon, but it’s better than nothing and one crayon will burn up to 30 minutes.

Before you light the tip, heat the bottom a little bit, then stick it to a solid surface. Put it on something that you don’t mind getting wax on. Then all you need to do is light the tip.

You can also create a longer-burning candle by taping 3 crayons together around a wick, then lighting a wick, or go big and make a pillar candle in the same manner using as many crayons as you want, along with a couple extra wicks.

Video first seen on DaveHax.


A single can of Crisco can light your nights for a month. That’s right – just one can will burn for 8 hours a day for a month. Just stick a wick down the center of it, push the Crisco back around it, and light it.

If you’d like more light, put more than one wick in it. If you want to spread the light around into different rooms, put some Crisco and a wick in a few smaller containers such as jars or cans.

Bacon Grease

Do you keep a cup of bacon grease in the fridge? I still do! If the lights go out and you don’t have candles, stick a wick down the center of your bacon grease just like you would with Crisco. If you don’t have bacon grease, don’t worry!

If you have bacon in the fridge, you need to use it before it goes bad anyway. Pull off the fatty pieces and wrap it around a wick, put it in a container, and you have a candle. Plus … it smells like bacon!

Canned Fish

Cans of tuna, salmon and sardines, which we’ve already suggested that you stockpile, are some of the canned foods that are packed in oil. Now remember: some are packed in water, which is what many people prefer, so this idea won’t work – the meat has to be packed in oil.

Either drain the oil out of the meat into another container, or just poke a hole in the top of the can, push the wick in, and burn off the oil. Don’t forget to prime the wick. The meat is still edible after you burn the oil out of it. With sardines that you eat right out of the can, you can just eat them and then put a wick in the oil.

Cooking Oil

Just about any cooking oil – vegetable, corn, olive, coconut – will work as fuel for a candle. Pour it into a jar or can (a jar works better because you can put a lid on it and poke a hole in it for the wick. If you use a can, just hold the wick up with a clothes pin or something. It’s doubly important that you prime the wick.


Yup, you heard it. Cut a wedge of butter in half, stand it on end on a plate, and stick a wick in it. You’ll get about an hour per tablespoon, which means 8 hours per stick. If you’ve canned butter as we’ve discussed here, you have an instant candle just by adding a wick.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.


Lard was actually what was originally used to make lamp oil and candles, so it’s tried and tested. The reason that I mention it separately from Crisco is because this is something that you can make at home. If you’ve already canned it, just pop the top, stick a wick in it, and you have a candle. You can also divide it into smaller containers to divide between rooms.

Cheese Wax

If you’ve turned some of your extra milk into stored cheese, or bought waxed-cheese, then use the wax off your cheese – or any extra wax that you have stored back – to make a candle. Shape the wax around the wick and you have an instant candle. The more wax you use, the bigger the candle.

Petroleum Jelly

We all know that cotton swabs dipped in petroleum jelly make great fire starters. It makes an excellent candle replacement, too. It’s not a good idea to use the plastic container that it comes in, so dip it out into another container, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle.

You can also dip a cotton ball into the Vaseline, then fold it up into foil. Cut a small x in the foil, pull a bit of the cotton swab through, and light it. It will burn for about 30 minutes.

Old Candles

Chances are good that you have candles that you’ve burned down, but didn’t use all the wax. Get that out of the jars by warming up the jar or gently using a butter knife to crack it into pieces to get it out of the old containers.

Melt the wax together. Place a wick with a weight on it, either the little piece of metal if it came with it, or even a little rock so that it stays in the bottom, then carefully pour the wax in. Let it set and you’ve got a brand new candle.

Lip Balm

These are nearly always made from either petroleum or from natural oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, all of which are flammable. Especially if you buy the little tins of lip balm, you’ve already got your own little candle, just add wick. If it’s in a plastic tube, just roll it clear up and squish it into a container that you can burn it in and add a wick.

Bonus Cooking Candles

This is a great way to warm up a can of soup or even cook something. It’s like a home-made Sterno, sort of. Use a tuna can, a sardine can, or some other short metal container. Cut a strip of cardboard that is as wide as the can is high. Wrap or fold it so that it fits tightly into the container. Pour wax or enough oil to saturate the cardboard over the cardboard and light it. You have a mini-stove!

Make a Candle Out of an Orange

You don’t even need a wick for this one! Cut the orange in half and clean out the pulp, leaving the center pith. Fill the peel with wax or oil and you have a candle!

So what’s the lesson of the day? Be creative and keep multipurpose items in your stockpile! Can you think of anything else that will work as a makeshift candle? If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

And be prepared to survive an EMP! Click the banner bellow and prepare yourself for this disaster scenario before it happens.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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10 Ways Preppers Can Easily Reuse Glass Bottles

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glass bottles

Even though plastic bottles are far more common that glass ones, being able to reuse the latter is also an important skill to learn. Even if plastic bottles become rare quickly in the post crisis world, the permanent and more durable nature of glass bottles means you may have better access to them.

No matter whether you dig around in a smaller junk pile or turn up glass bottles while plowing a field, these bottles can still be cleaned and reused for  many purposes.

By contrast, a plastic bottle in the same condition may not be of use at all.  As you learn more about the ways glass bottles can be reused, consider adding them to your stockpile, and using them now for your prepping needs.

Here are a few tools to have on hand when working with glass bottles:

  • Heavy work gloves – when scoring and breaking glass, heavy work gloves are extremely important.  Even one shard of glass can cut deep enough to sever smaller nerves in your fingers or leave an open wound that will get infected easily. Never forget that cutting glass can be both fun and productive, however it can also be very dangerous if you don’t use the proper safety precautions.
  • Goggles – if you though the risk to your fingers and hands was high, the damage to your eyes can be much worse.  As with a number of materials that you might need to work with as a prepper, glass is valuable but it can also cause many injuries that you weren’t planning or thinking about.
  • Glass bottle cutter – you can purchase a stationary cutter that will keep the bottle in place as it is being scored, or you can make one on your own.  If you decide to make one, be sure to choose a good quality cutter so that you can avoid replacing it as much as possible.
  • Handheld glass cutter – as you become better at cutting glass, there may be different shapes that you will want to cut into the glass.  A hand held glass cutter does take some practice to master, however it is well worth the effort.
  • Sanding blocks – glass is always going to have sharp, uneven edges along the scoring track.  Use a sanding block to smooth out these rough areas and other dangerous edges. Do not use sandpaper without a good sturdy block behind it because glass can splinter easily and find its way through the paper backing.
  • Wood for making scoring guides – even if you are an experienced glass cutter, a wooden guide can help  keep the score marks on a precise track and enable you to work faster.
  • Ruler ,paper, compass, protractor
  • Lightweight oil – in order to get the most out of the cutting wheels, use a little bit of oil on the glass so that the cutter does not wear as quickly.
  • A clean, perfectly smooth work surface – this is absolutely essential while you are cutting. Even a small bump or bit of debris can cause the glass to crack. Remember that glass is extremely brittle, and the scoring process will increase that problem.

Skills You Need to Master 

Creating Score Lines

Good score lines aren’t necessarily deep, but they must be consistent. You should hear a crackling sound as the glass cutter moves over the glass. If you see white dust building up along the sides of the cut, then you are putting too much pressure on the cutter.

Snapping the Glass

Breaking glass after creating the score line is truly a fine art. If you don’t it with just the right amount of pressure on both sides of the cut, then the glass may break in places other than on the score lines.

You can try tapping the glass along the score more mark prior to snapping the glass, however that will not make up for poor snapping technique. In some cases, if you tap too hard in order to get a break through the the thickness of the glass, it will go off track worse than if you just snapped the glass without trying to create even breaks along the score line.

When snapping glass, do not forget  to wear heavy gloves and goggles. As someone that has been cutting glass for many years, I can tell you that even the best will wind up with glass that breaks at or near the fingers or have shards fly into the air.

Video first seen on Shake the Future.

How to Reuse Glass Bottles

Here are a few ides for reusing glass bottles in the easiest way:

Fermentation Vessels

Not all reuses involving glass bottles involve cutting the bottle. In this case, you can ferment new wine easily enough in old wine bottles (gallon bottles work well). Just wash out the bottle, let it air dry, and then fill it up with the liquid when you are ready to separate it from the mash.

When you cap the bottle, leave it a bit loose so that air can escape. As the wine continues to ferment, white debris from the yeast will accumulate in the bottom of the bottle. This “debris” is Cream of Tartar, which is used as a leavening agent. It is especially useful in recipes that use eggs as a leavening agent because it stabilizes them better than flour (in cheesecakes, etc).

Video first seen on The One Minute Brewer.

Food Storage

Wide and narrow mouth glass bottles can be used for storing foods. You can store away dried herbs, soups, or just about anything else that can be poured out of the vessel. As with fermentation, you do not need to cut bottles in order to use them for food storage.

If the cap/lid is worn or does not seal well, just add a plastic bag over the mouth of the bottle and then put the cap on.

Smaller bottles can also be used as herb, salt, and pepper shakers. You can drill holes in the cap, and then use the bottle like any other shaker. Remember that if you are not going to use the herbs for some time, either replace the cap with holes with one that is solid, or place some plastic between the cap of the mouth of the bottle.

Plant Cutting Starters

There are several ways to use bottles as plant cutting starters. If the plant will  root in water, simply clean the bottle thoroughly and let it air dry. Next, just put some water in the bottle and place the cutting so that the cut end sits in the water.

Depending on the species of plant, the cuttings may start showing roots in a matter of days, or it can take a few weeks. Just make sure that you put the plants in soil before the root system gets too big to pull from the bottle without causing breakage.

Remember that when it comes to plant root systems, it is the fine hairs at the end of the roots that are vital for pulling water and nutrients into the plant. If you damage those or cause breakages up the line, it will increase the risk of root rot, transplant shock, and poor growth.

Soap Dispensers

Depending on the size and shape of the bottle, you may not need to cut it down in order to use it as a soap dispenser. All you need is a soap pump that has a tube long enough to reach to the bottom of the bottle.

You can cut a hole in the cap to fit the pump in, or make one from some other material. If you have to cut the bottle down in order to create a large enough open area for the pump, then you will need material other than the cap to make a platform.

Video first seen on Craft Innovations.

Candle Holders

If the bottle mouth is small enough, it can be used as is for tapers. For other candles, such as votives, tea lights, and pillars, you may need to cut the neck off the bottle so that there is enough room to place the candle in the bottom of the bottle.  If you are very good at cutting glass, you may also want to cut designs into the sides of the glass to create beautiful lighting effects.

Chimney style candle holders can also be constructed by cutting the bottom off the bottle. Put a fireproof tray under the candle, and then set the “chimney” over the tray and the candle.  Unfortunately, if soot develops on the sides of the “chimney” you may wind up disposing of the bottle if you are unable to remove these deposits.

Video first seen on Saeid Momtahan.

Lamp Bases

To use a glass bottle as an electric lamp base, you will need to cut a hole on the wall of the bottle near the bottom so that the wire can go through. Since incandescent lamp sockets can get quite hot, it is best to build a platform from wood that will cover the mouth of the bottle, and then use a metal riser to accommodate the wire.

The riser will add some space between the socket and the body of the lamp, which will help reduce problems with excess heat.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Alcohol and Oil Lamps

Many glass bottles can be used “as is” for alcohol and oil burning lamps. Cut the cap of the bottle so that the wick fits through it (but will not fall down into the bottle), and make sure there is enough wick to reach the bottom of the bottle. You can also add an alcohol or oil burner top to he lamp so that you have an easier time adjusting the wick.

Video first seen on jiujitsu2000.

Upside Down Planters

One of the most productive forms of gardening involves hanging plants upside down to grow. In particular, strawberries, tomatoes and vine plants can be grown in much smaller spaces if you use hanging baskets, or upside down planters. Narrow mouth glass bottles are perfect because they are sturdy enough to take the weight of the soil in the bottle and they will not deform in the way thin plastic bottles would.

To use glass bottles as upside down planters, it is best to cut the bottom off the bottle so that you can water the plants easily from the larger opening. I do not recommend drilling holes in the glass for hanging hooks. Instead, you can use anything form yarn to wire to create a suitable harness.

Make sure that the harness will not stretch or corrode/weaken  enough to allow the bottle to slip through as time goes by. When choosing a place to hang up these planters, remember that the water will drain through the mouth of the bottle. Keep a tray under the planter, but far enough away from the leaves so that you do not wind up with spilled water all over the place.

Bird Feeder

No matter whether you are feeding young chicks or want to attract other birds to your homestead, it can be very hard to prevent the seed from being wasted. There are several versions of the glass bottle bird feeder. You can choose from models that invert the bottle, or ones where you simply cut some holes near the bottom of the bottle for the food to escape through.

If you choose the latter versions, it will take some effort to get the knack of cutting holes in the bottle. You are better served by making DIY versions of a platform that will fit over the mouth of the bottle and then use the bottle in its upside down orientation.

Video first seen on UpcycledStuff.


When using glass bottles as greenhouses, you will use one bottle per plant.  Basically, all you need to do is cut the bottom of the bottle, and then place the bottle over the plant. These mini greenhouses are perfect for plants that require a bit of extra humidity.

In particular, glass bottle greenhouses are useful for rooting cuttings from woody stem plants that must be placed in soil. The glass bottle covering gives you an easy way to control moisture and temperature. As the cuttings begin to generate new leaves, you can slowly allow more air in through the top of the bottle, and then allow more air in through the bottom.

Glass bottles offer many advantages to preppers that want a versatile vessel that will remain durable for years on end. Unlike plastic, if a glass bottle becomes contaminated, you can easily disinfect it by boiling or adding other cleaners that would destroy plastic. Plastic is best used for short term, disposable applications, but glass bottles are the ones that will withstand the test of time.

Adding a few glass bottles to your stockpile is as easy as buying different foods stored in glass, and then making sure that you don’t throw the bottles out. While glass bottles may need a little extra care when being transported from one place to another, they are well worth the effort.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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7 Uses For Clay Pots That Every Prepper Should Know

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You’re walking down the aisle at your local superstore and you see the clay pots. Those are just used for planting flowers, right? Oh how wrong you are!

We’re preppers and homesteaders, right? We find unusual uses for everyday items. The same goes for clay pots. They’re not just for planting, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today!

1. Potting Plants

I had to say it! Clay pots are, of course, used for plants – haha, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get creative!

2. Clay Pot Refrigerator

Clay pot refrigerators such as the one shown here can reduce the internal temperature by 30 degrees or more. That makes it cool enough in most cases to store perishables; at least fruits and veggies in order to slow spoilage.

Strangely enough, it works on the same theory as a standard refrigerator. It pulls moisture from the inside of the pot, thus cooling the inside of the pot. Click on the picture below to read our article and see how we built it!


3. Clay Pot Smoker

I’ve seen several versions of this, and I’m dying to try it for myself, except I don’t want to use an electric hot plate that all of the plans call for. I’m going to try simply using an old metal bowl with charcoal in it.

The concept is that you place the heat source (usually the hot plate, but I’m going with the bowl) in the bottom of a large clay pot, then light the charcoal and set a barbeque grate on the inside rim of the pot. You light the charcoal, let it burn to white as usual, then place the grate on.

Put the food on the grate and turn another clay pot the same size as the other (with a hole in the bottom) upside down on top of the other one. The food smokes and cooks inside.

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work this way. If anybody has tried it, please let me know in the comments section below. Otherwise, I’ll just give it a shot and see what happens.

4. Clay Pot Candle Heater

This is a pretty cool trick for cooking without power or an open flame. We’ve made a detailed plan to make one in this article. It’s good for camping, cooking at home when the power is out, or for any other time that you need to cook without electricity or a large open flame.

You can’t cook a lot over it but it will certainly do for heating soup or coffee.

5. Make a Clay Pot Oven

One of the foods that go the furthest is biscuits and bread, which make them great survival foods. You can use a clay pot oven to bake them and anything else that you’d like to bake. The directions are actually pretty simple, and so is using it. This clay pot oven works exactly the way a brick pizza oven works.

You’ll need a 24”x24” concrete paver, a large, thick-walled terra cotta pot, at least 16” in diameter, with a hole in the bottom, and a saber saw with a tile blade. You’ll also need a couple of 2”x4”x18” pieces of wood.

Draw an opening for the door on the rim of the pot. Make it 8” or so tall and about the same wide so that you can get a loaf of bread in, but not so big that you’ll lose heat. Cut it out with the saber saw SLOWLY so that you don’t break the pot.

To use it, set the tile on the wood, then pile 50 or so charcoal briquettes or wood on the tile and light it. Let it burn until there are no flames, then put the pot over the charcoal. Put an oven thermometer in the top hole and let it reach at least 375 degrees.

You have to get the hang of controlling the draft by using a small ceramic tile over the opening and controlling the hole on top. When it’s ready to use, slide the charcoal to the edges of the oven and slide your bread in!

6. Line the Bottoms of Planters

Broken clay pots can be used as filtering material in the bottom of your planters in place of rocks to keep your soil from washing out the bottom. Broken clay is much lighter than rocks, so this makes your planter lighter as well as repurpose a broken item.

Or you can use broken pieces as mulch. Planters and window boxes are great places to grow vegetables and herbs, but weeding them isn’t so fun. Use broken pieces of clay pots as mulch to keep the moisture in our plants and to prevent pesky weeds from growing.

7. Use Clay Pots to Make Fermented Foods

How do you think sauerkraut is made? It’s cabbage, vinegar, and some spices combined in a clay pot and kept in the dark. The same concept applies to kimchi, wine, and any other item that needs fermented. Use a clay pot with a lid to make any of these foods.

Make sure that it’s glazed and food-safe though. If it’s not glazed, it’s highly possible (probable even) that the liquid will leach through the pot.

Can you think of any other uses for clay pots? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways For Preppers To Use Old Newspapers

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Survivopedia newspapers

Even though you may not rely on newspapers as much as before, they are still an excellent material to store away and use during a crisis scenario.

No matter whether you store away regular daily newspapers, sales flyers, or even magazines, all of them can be converted into valuable survival aides.

Today, some preppers think of newspapers as obsolete and may even feel that plastic is a better material because it is stronger and lighter.

While there are some places where plastic and old newspapers overlap, there are also some key areas where plastic would do more harm than good.

Unlike plastic or Styrofoam, which does not breathe well, newspaper is porous enough to be used in more applications that expected.

Here are just a few ways to use newspapers now and during a major crisis scenario.

The Best Newspapers to Use Are…

First, a few tips for choosing the best newspapers.

As you may be aware, there are many different kinds of paper available in stores, as well as many different kinds of inks. In general, newspaper with only black ink on it can be used for  all projects listed in this article.

If you have regular newspaper with color ink, do not use it for applications involving food, potable water, or weed control.  Color inks can leave behind a number of toxins that you would not want in your food or in the soil used to grow plants for food.

Glossy magazine or flyer paper with colored ink has very limited uses. At most, use it for drawer liners, work area coverings, and anyplace else where you do not have to worry about toxins from the ink getting into food, soil, or the air.

The inks in these papers also make them largely unsuitable for burnable logs because of the heavy metals and other toxins found in the ink. If you must use them in a pinch, do so; but make sure you are in a well ventilated area, or better yet, outdoors and far away from soil and water that may be used for growing food and obtaining potable water.

10 Ideas on Repuporsing Newspapres

Let’s see a few projects that you can develop using newspapers.

Burnable Logs

There are several ways to make burnable logs.  The easiest way to make them is to simply roll them up, tie them with some twine, and throw them into the fire. Rolls of newspaper will take longer to burn and produce more heat.

If you want to get the most heat from newspaper, you need to compress it as much as possible.  Since newspaper turns softens and compacts well in water, you can make burnable logs or bricks using little more than bucket of water and a strainer. Here is a Survivopedia article about making paper logs if you want to know more about this project.

Burnable logs can be stored away for some time, or they can be used immediately.  When storing away these logs, make sure they remain in a cool dry place in order to prevent moisture from creating mold and mildew on them.

Depending on the form  you choose, it is possible to make different sized logs. While smaller logs will not last as long, they may form an excellent starter material that will help with drying out fire wood or starting a coal fire.

Video first seen on David The Good.


As porous as newspaper may be, it also offers a viable barrier to drafts and cold temperatures.  Here are just a few ways you can use newspaper as insulation:

  • to stay warm in cold temperatures, line your clothes with newspaper.  Your body temperature will not rise as fast when using newspaper, and you will also reduce the risk of excess sweat buildup.
  • If you are out in the elements and cannot build a shelter in time, line your sleeping bag or blankets with newspapers.
  • You can also tape newspapers to the walls of your home and around window casings to reduce drafts coming in from these areas.  When folding newspaper to use as an insulator, remember that the open end should always face where the draft is coming from.  You can think of the paper as being like a cup that catches the draft and does not let it through.
  • Drafts from doors can also be reduced by simply folding up some newspaper and placing it between the door and its frame.

Accelerate Food Ripening

Tomatoes, bananas, apples, and many other foods release gasses that accelerate the ripening process. Needless to say, if you are growing food outdoors in a time of disaster, more than a few people will be looking to steal from you as soon as the foods are ripe enough to consume.  You can harvest several days early if you know how to ripen foods without the benefit of the plant doing the job for you.

To ripen foods, wrap them up in newspaper and let them sit for a day or two.  The newspaper covering allows ripening gases to build up without causing it to rot. Once the foods are ripe enough to consume, you can place them in a refrigerator or consume them.

Paper Mache

If you enjoy arts and crafts, then you may already know about paper mache and how much fun it can be to work with.  As a prepper, you may also need an inexpensive and easy way to make several important items:

  • Decoys or other objects used to lure prey, scare away predators, or for staging purposes.
  • Making casts for broken limbs
  • Paper mache can also be used much like plaster for many other applications. You can turn it into a clay like substance or simply use it as layers of sheets.  Even though paper mache may not be as strong as plaster, it is much lighter in weight and can be made easily enough at a moment’s notice.
  • Paper mache is also perfect for making bowls, cups, and other containers. For example, if you need to run water through a number of filtration media, you can use a paper mache container sealed with pine pitch instead of a plastic bottle.  Since paper mache techniques can also be applied to dry leaves, you will have a natural, and steady source of cups, bowls, and other containers once the newspapers are no longer available.

Instead of buying conventional paper mache material, you can cut newspaper into strips and use it instead.   To get the most from paper mache:

  • Use wire, plastic, or cardboard frames that will allow you to build up layers of newspaper
  • Use diluted white glue, pine pitch, or anything sticky enough to glue the pieces of newspaper to the object you are creating. If you are going to use paper mache as a body casting material, make sure that the glue will dissolve easily in water.
  • If you happen to make areas that are too thick or need to reduce the shape for some other reason, you can cut the area down with a knife, or sand it for a smoother surface.
  • Once the object is dry, you can paint it, stick feathers on it, or do whatever else you need to add texture, color, or anything else required for your purposes. This includes using waterproof sealants so that the finished object can be immersed in water.

Video first seen on Howcast.

Weed Barriers

As a prepper, you may be giving a lot of though to how you will disguise edible plants on your property, in the woods, or at some other location. Inevitably, keeping your secret gardens safe will entail avoiding visiting those locations as much as possible.  But a few heavy rains, sunny days, and good growing temperatures can cause unwanted plants to grow faster than those you seek to use for food or medicine.

Since much of the battle between plants occurs below the soil, it is in your best interest to include weed barriers around plants of interest to you.  Newspapers unfolded and arranged on the ground around important plants will prevent other plants from invading the space that your plants need for good growth.

As an added bonus, since the newspapers will be located below the surface, it is one gardening trick you can use easily enough without others realizing what they are looking at.

Video first seen on AnOregonCottage.

Drawer and Cabinet Lining

There is no such thing as a drawer or cabinet that stays perfectly clean.  As time goes by, grease, debris from various objects, spills, and many other things can make shelves and drawer bottoms look like a mess.  Lining shelves and drawers with newspaper will ensure they stay clean.

Even if you do not change the newspapers very often, don’t forget to take note of drawer or cabinet areas that may be damp or prone to moisture buildup.  Newspaper is an ideal growth medium for mold and mildew.  If you do not change the newspapers in time, these organisms will go on to attack wood or anything else they can grow on.

Wrapping Fragile Objects

At first glance, wrapping fragile objects in newspaper may seem very easy.  That being said, if you wrap too tightly or do not take proper precautions with certain areas, then the object will still break apart. Here are some basic things to keep in mind:

  • if you are wrapping something that is hollow, start off by balling up newspaper and lightly packing the hollow area.
  • Next, if the object has handles or other outcroppings, very loosely ball up some more newspaper and place them on both sides of the handle until it no longer looks like an outcropping.
  • Take another sheet of paper and cover over the entire object.
  • Add more layers of paper as needed to form a soft, but firm cushion.
  • Never wrap more than one object in the same piece of newspaper or fold the items over on themselves as you roll the paper around the object.
  • Never wrap the object too tightly.  Remember, the paper is there to absorb shock.  If the paper is too tight, it cannot achieve that goal.
  • Use tape as needed to hold the newspaper in place.

Work Area Coverings and Cleaning

As long as you aren’t working with anything flammable, you can use newspaper to cover a work area.

While you cannot use newspaper alone to protect surfaces from paint, water, or other liquid spills, it can be used to help with cleaning them up.  Newspaper may not be as absorbent as paper towels or old rags, however, it still works well in a pinch and will reduce the need to use other supplies that may be put to better use elsewhere.

Shoe Deodorant

Stinky, damp shoes may seem like more of an inconvenience than a serious problem in the pre-crisis world. What happens when you don’t have powders to dry them out, or the luxury of a second pair of shoes to help with conquering dampness in your shoes?

No matter how strong and active you may be, shoes that are damp and stinky will inevitably lead to infections that can be hard to treat in a crisis situation.  You can help alleviate this problem by putting newspaper in the bottom of your shoes.  The paper will absorb the moisture, which will keep the shoes drier overall.  Simply remove the paper, and replace it with fresh, dry sheets.

Protect Plants from Frost

If you don’t have plastic or other more permanent coverings, you can use newspapers to protect plants from frost.  Take a few sheets of paper and form a “hat” for each plant so that it is insulated as much as possible.  You can also create  support system and drape the newspapers over that in order to cover multiple plants.  Here are some basic tips for making sure you get the most out of using newspapers to cover plants:

  • if you know that frost is expected, cover plants from the afternoon beforehand. Your goal is to trap in as much warmth as possible so that the temperature in side the paper tent remains warmer through the night hours.
  • Use more layers of paper if the temperature is expected to get colder. This is not for the sake of keeping frost off the plants (which can be done with just one or two sheets), but to try and insulate the plants as much as possible.
  • Remove the paper covering in the morning as soon as the frost is gone. The plants still need sun and airflow in order to grow, and avoid diseases.

Newspapers are still readily available, and may still be coming to your mailbox for free on a regular basis. Why not use them as part of your prepping supplies?  From improving gardens to keeping valuable work area surfaces safe, there are many ways to use newspapers in the pre and post crisis world.

Storing away a few pounds of them in your stockpile can be a lifesaver, especially if you need to bridge gaps between supplies on hand and items that you may have to make from other materials.

Do you know other uses of newspapers for your homestead? Share them in the comment section below!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways You Can Recycle Plastic Food Bottles

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Survivopedia plastic bottles

Have you ever noticed that you seem to buy, and then throw out endless numbers of plastic food and beverage bottles?

From ketchup and mayonnaise to soda and water, plastic bottles are truly one of the most common sources of rubbish. Did you know the plastic bottle are also some of the most versatile things you can have for managing all kinds of prepping needs?

Have a look at just a few simple things you can do with plastic bottles to make your life easier now and navigate through a major crisis. You’ll start stockpiling plastic bottles when you’ll see these projects, so that you have a large reserve of them in time of need.

Tools to Have On Hand

Even though plastic bottles are exceptionally easy to work with, a few basic tools are very important to have onhand.

  • Scissors
  • Pointed objects such as knitting needles, awls, nails, etc
  • Knife
  • Paper punch
  • Stapler
  • Ruler, Paper, Compass, Protractor – for designing items that you will be making from the bottles.  A paper pattern is especially useful because you can always use it to make new items as old ones wear out.
  • Candle – for some projects, you will need to melt the plastic in order to create a perfect fit or to make a new form altogether.   When used with care, a candle can provide enough heat to soften or melt the plastic.
  • Non-flammable work surface –  molten, and even very soft plastic can stick to all kinds of surfaces and be difficult to remove.  Aluminum foil or other non-flammable materials can help you reduce the risk of starting an unwanted fire and also make clean up much easier.  Don’t forget that plastic can also generate sparks that can easily land on curtains or other flammable material.  Work in an area where you do not have to worry about sparks starting fires hours or even days after you completed your task.
  • Source of readily available water or fire extinguisher – if you are planning to heat plastic for any reason, keep water or a fire extinguisher on hand in case the fire gets out of control.

And here are the DIY projects to develop using plastic bottles:

1. Sieve/Strainer

Removing debris from water, cooking, and even watering houseplants all require some kind of sieve or strainer. Despite that, when your life turns upside down because of a short term or long term disaster, sieves and strainers may be the last things on your mind. Fortunately, you can make a good strainer by poking a few holes in a plastic bottle.

To make strainers with the most precise patterns and holes, start off by adding water to the bottle and letting it freeze. Do not put the cap back on the bottle or overfill it as this can cause the bottle to split from the expansion that occurs as water converts to ice.

Once you have a solidly frozen bottle to work with, use clamps or a vice to secure the bottle to your work table.  Now all you have to do is punch holes in the bottle with a nail or awl and then let the ice melt. After you empty the water out, you will have a perfectly good strainer for food, water, and anything else that will not interact with the plastic.

2. Water Purification and Filtration

There are at least three ways you can use plastic drinking bottles for water purification:

  • First, if you have a clear bottle, simply fill it with water and set it in the sun for a few hours. The UV rays from the sun will go right through the plastic and kill off any bacteria in the water. Just make sure that you do not let the water get too hot because this will cause the water to take on a plastic taste.  In addition, if the water gets hot enough to make steam, it can cause the bottle to burst.
  • Second – you can cut the bottle open and use it to layer various kinds of filtration medium. Charcoal, sand, and just about anything else can be layered in the bottle. Be sure to have a clean cup or some container ready and in position to catch the water after it drains through the filtration media.
  • Third – if you plan on using hydroponics for growing food and raising fish, it is very important to keep the water well filtered. You can make an aquarium filter of just about any size using old plastic drinking bottles. Even if you use simple media like charcoal and fiber floss, your aquaponics system will work better than if you have no form of filtration and aeration.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

3. Bug Catcher

Have you ever noticed that mosquitoes, horse flies and other noxious flying insects seem to show up when you have the least amount of time or energy to deal with them? If so, then you probably already know that these insects will probably appear in droves during a crisis situation.

To make matters even worse, the Zika virus and many other dangerous diseases can be transmitted by these insects. In times when sanitation and waste removal systems will be either overtaxed or unavailable, it is more important than ever to know how to get rid of flying insects using non-chemical means.

You can use plastic bottles to make inexpensive, easy to maintain bug catchers that will work no matter where you put them. In fact, if you have a problem with insects right now, you can use these bug catchers to solve your problems. Click on the picture below to read our article on how to build this bug catcher!


4. Build Shelters

Surprisingly enough, there are dozens, if not more ways to use plastic bottles to build shelters.  You can fill them with sand or other materials that would normally be of little use, and then make a mud cement to form walls.

Some people also fill the bottles with water or other materials that make it easier to use passive heating or cooling methods. You can also use plastic bottles filled with water and bleach to create a basic light that will brighten up an interior room.

Plastic bottles can also be cut apart for roof materials and siding, or you can melt the plastic down and form it into more suitable tiles.

Video first seen on Florence Naluyimba.

5. Leak Sealant

If you think insects are going to be a nuisance in the post crisis world, then you may be caught off guard by how many problems can be caused by leaks. When it comes to overlooked areas of prepping, you may not even be thinking about storing away extra PVC pipe or other items that may spring a leak at just the wrong moment.

As long as the pipes in question will not reach high temperatures, then you can fix these leaks easily enough with plastic bottles.  All you need to do is:

  • Cut a large enough patch from the plastic bottle to cover the area that is leaking.
  • Use a candle to presoften the patch as much as possible.
  • Wear heat protecting while you fit the plastic patch to the area that is leaking.
  • Carefully use the candle to heat the plastic patch until it fully adheres to the item that needs to be patched.  Be careful not to melt or burn the item that is being patched.
  • If you have any kind of crazy glue or other sealant that will bond the plastic to the leaking object, you can use that instead of heating up the plastic.

6. Container Garden Planters

As with building a shelter, there are endless ways to use plastic bottles for growing plants.  Here are just a few that every prepper should know about:

  • Vertical garden planters – use bottles in combination with walls and ladders to create gardens in just about any area.
  • Vertical garden wall planters – if you are already building a shelter out of plastic bottles, then you might just want to incorporate these solutions for creating a garden and also disguising your home. Who would think that a house lurks beneath a mess of wild grape vines, raspberry stickers, or even poison ivy?  Even better, you can combine these vertical plant walls with an internal layer of sand bags to make your carefully hidden home bullet proof.
  • Vertical Garden Towers – one of the best ways to grow herbs, onions, and garlic revolves around having many plants arranged in layers.  This is easy to achieve when you make some large holes in a soda bottle to that the plants can grow from holes at different levels in the container. If you have very limited space for growing indoors, a vertical garden tower may be the best way to go.
  • Self – Watering Planters – for carefree gardens indoors and outdoors.
  • Plastic Bottle Greenhouse – If you are more interested in conventional growing methods and need a greenhouse, you can use this design.  For improved temperature control, seal some of the  bottle pairs with heat from a candle so that the bottles will hold water.  Since water absorbs more heat than air, and lets it go more slowly, you can extend the growing season quite a bit using this design.

7. Drawer and Counter Organizers

Since plastic bottles come in all shapes and sizes, it is very easy to cut them down and use them as drawer and counter organizers.  If you want something a bit fancier, you can also make vertical storage trays for lightweight items.

For example, the tray system featured in the link below is perfect for storing paper clips, thumb tacks, and a number of other desktop items. This includes sticky notes and other reminders that need to be in a prominent place without taking covering up other important things.

If you need to store heavier items in each tray, it may help to use heavier washers at the bottom of each bottle.  For improved durability, it may also help to use cement in the base to reduce the risk of the stand tipping over.

Or, better yet, you can turn the base into something of a coin bank and let the weight of the coins act as an anchor for the stand.

Video first seen on MORENA DIY.

8. Life Jacket

Life jackets and other important swimming gear are the kinds of “leisure” items that you may also forget during a crisis. Since plastic bottles float well, they also make excellent life vests.  Just make sure that you leave the caps on and do not poke holes in them.

There are many ways to join the bottles together to make a suitable vest.  In general, the more bottles you can join together, the more weight they will be able to float.  If you do not have rope available, you can use vines or anything else that will not fall apart in the water.

Video first seen on Joshua Guinto.

9. Boats and Rafts

Unless you have a large homestead with a private pond large enough for boating, chances are you do not have access to a boat that can be launched easily.

No matter whether you pay for docking at a local marina, or you must transport the boat on a trailer, it will be very difficult to manage all of this during a major disaster. Nevertheless, if you must travel across water, you won’t get very far without a boat or raft. You can build a boat or raft with plastic bottles and glue.

There are also many other materials you can incorporate into the frame in order to take advantage of the best of the materials you have on hand.

When making a boat or raft, you should be very careful about the kind of glue that you use. While many waterproof glues and epoxies will work fine in freshwater, they may not work well at all in marine or brackish water. It will also be to your advantage to use a rope or net system as part of the boat’s form so that the bottles have a better chance of staying together even if the glue fails.

Video first seen on Gabriel Dubois.


Video first seen on Ezequiel Oliveira.

This fascinating version can even be driven with a motor and oars!

Video first seen on eroneus1.

10. Air Blowers and Vacuum Cleaners

In a world where electricity will be at a premium, you may still need air blowers or suction to accomplish some basic tasks. While you can still sweep the floor and get rid of cobwebs with a broom, there may still be times when a vacuum cleaner or air blower will be of immense benefit.

Here are some simple guides for making vacuum cleaners. The amount of suction produced will depend largely on the strength of the motor.

Video first seen on Yuri Ostr.

Video first seen on GOODTECH – Creativity and Science.

Or build a 90 psi air tank:

Video first seen on johnnyq90.

And here’s an air blower

Video first seen on Navin Khambhala # crazyNK.

Before you throw out an empty beverage or food plastic bottle, take a look at your survival goals and the kinds of things you would like toe have onhand. From boats and vacuum cleaners to organizing tools, you can do far more than expected with plastic bottles.

Never underestimate the power of these simple “rubbish” items in situations where your life, and the lives of your loved ones depend on successfully innovating with whatever items you may have onhand. Give some of these ideas a try and you are sure to find plenty of cost efficient, effective ways to pursue prepping goals and perhaps even make your life in the pre-crisis world a bit easier.

And if you want more DIY ideas, here’s something that will boost your creativity. Click on the banner below to find out more!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways Preppers Can Reuse Plastic Shopping Bags

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44975318 - disposable plastic bags

Do you already reuse plastic shopping bags as trash liners?  If you don’t use them for much else, than chances are  you have hundreds of these bags laying around and relatively few ideas about how to use them for prepping.

As with many other forms of packaging that we “throw away” in our society, plastic bags have many purposes that make them very useful in an emergency. 

When caught in a riot, a major natural disaster, or some other scenario, plastic bags can make surviving a bit easier. Instead of throwing all those bags away, or trying to give them away to friends and neighbors, start using plastic shopping bags in other ways.

Tools/Materials to Have On Hand

  • Scissors
  • Source of Heat – a steady, controllable source of heat can be used to shrink the plastic or make it easier to form fit over just about any surface.  Hairdryers set on high, candles, and irons each have a purpose when reusing plastic bags.  Ideally, you should have at least one of each onhand.
  • Needle and Thread –  use primarily if you decide to build up plastic bags into thicker layers, or you don’t have glue or duct tape onhand.  A needle and thread are also some of the most versatile multi-purpose tools you can find.
  • Duct Tape
  • Crazy Glue – some glues that adhere to plastic may not work with plastic shopping bags. Be sure to test the glue out before using it in a project.
  • Permanent Marker
  • Ruler

How to Reuse Plastic Bags


Even though you may know that rope is a staple survival tool, there may be times when you don’t have enough on hand. If you do not have access to vines or plants with suitable fibers, you can make rope from plastic bags. Aside  from being durable, plastic bag rope is also waterproof.

When making plastic bag rope, make sure that you know how to join the bags together, and also how to braid for the maximum amount of strength. As with other kinds of rope, remember that it friction will cause it to wear each time you use it. These ropes can also break unexpectedly because the plastic itself will wear and become weaker with each usage.

Video first seen on Kate Guray.

Braided Mats for Shelters

There are at least four ways to bake braided mats from plastic bags that can be turned into shelters.

  • Take plastic bags and weave them into a flat surface much as you would a wide friendship bracelet
  • Braid the plastic bags into rope, and then glue, tape, or use heat to hold the rope in a mat form.
  • Use basic weaving techniques to create a mat.  For added strength, you can also braid the plastic bags into rope, and the weave with the ropes.

Video first seen on Thomas Dambo.

  • Use a crochet hook or knitting needles much as you would for regular yarn. You will need fairly thick knitting needles, or a crochet hook with a large enough hook on the end.  Bone, wood, and other natural materials can be used for these tools,or you can try to buy jumbo sized tools at a craft store.

Video first seen on David Jones.

Waterproofing Important Items

Have you ever had to carry paperwork around, only to find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm? Chances are, you used a plastic bag to cover your papers and prevent them from being ruined.  Plastic bags can be used as all kinds of liners from trash pails, to drawers, to just about any other place where you need to keep moisture out or prevent it from escaping.

When heat is applied to plastic bags, it will soften the plastic and also cause some shrinkage. Consider a situation where you make a wooden rack, but do not have polyurethane or other sealants to protect the wood from moisture. As long as the wood will not be near a source of heat, you can use plastic bags to make a watertight sealant. Just lay the bags flat over the surface of the wood and use a hair dryer to melt the plastic.

If you do not have airtight and water tight containers for emergency supplies, you can also use this method to seal them in. Even though the plastic wrapping will be ruined when you open the supplies, it will still prevent moisture related damage before the items are opened.

To get the most out of using plastic bags this way, try to seal items in such a way that you only seal up enough in each packet for one time use.

Body and Building Insulation

It takes very little in the way of effort to use plastic bags for insulation.  If you are stuck in a blizzard or freezing weather, you can just ball up the bags and place them between your body and an outer jacket.  Plastic bags also work well a shoe liners if the shoes have holes in the soles or you are in especially cold weather. In the latter scenario, do not forget to let your feet breathe from time to time in order to get rid of the moisture buildup.

You can also insulate tents, building walls, and other shelters with plastic bags.  When using plastic bags for insulation, always remember to allow adequate ventilation.   Moisture can build up faster than you realize because the plastic will cut off all airflow.

Condensation from all that water can easily rot wood or collect in other places where it can cause all kinds of problems.  For example, if you decide to insulate the walls of your house with plastic bags, they will do a fine job of reducing the effects of hot and cold temperatures. On the other hand, as condensation builds up in the walls, it can easily build up on electric cables and cause them to corrode.

Make Plastic “Fabric”

There are bound to be many times and places in the pre and post crisis world where you will find plastic “fabric” very useful. While plastic bags can make a good temporary covering, plastic fabric can go much further because the the layers create a thicker material that will be more durable.  In addition, when you make plastic “fabric” you will no longer be limited by the size of an individual bag.

Here are a few things you can do with plastic fabric:

  • If you build up enough layers, you will have a material thick enough to use in the formation of a frame for a gas mask. Even though most people use plastic bottles, you can still use bags and create a perfect fitting mask. Custom masks can make it easier to use DIY masks with different cartridge types, and also make it much easier to create a custom fit for children or others that are difficult to get good quality gas masks for.
  • Plastic fabric can be used for blankets and tents.
  • If you are planning to start a new garden, use thicker plastic fabric to choke out weeds before turning the soil over.
  • You can also use plastic fabric for making clothes, but bear in mind that moisture from sweat will build up and cause problems unless you account for ventilation.

Video first seen on Needlepointers.

Plastic Bricks

Many people that have homes now may suddenly find them burned to the ground or rendered unlivable  for some other reason. At the same time, getting wood from other parts of the country, or preparing it for building a new home will either be impossible or take a lot of time.

If you have plenty of plastic bags around and some sand, you can melt the plastic and make durable bricks. These bricks can also be used to create all kinds of platforms, walkways, or other structures.

Video first seen on New China TV.

Plastic can also be melted down and poured into molds for many other purposes. Basically, you would cast with plastic in much the same way that you would cast metal. For example, you can create a wax model for the object you wish to make, and then place it in wet sand. Next, simply pour the hot plastic into the sand.

As the wax melts and burns off, the plastic will fill in the cavity left behind.  The wet sand will keep the form left by the model until the plastic dries.  You can also use plaster molds for more intricate pieces.

Packing Material

From mason jars to eggs, plastic bags make excellent packing material.  You can use them to absorb shock and also use them to prevent objects from rattling around in a box.

Aside from simply crumpling up plastic bags for packing material, you can also cut off the handles, blow some air into them, and then use duct tape to seal the bag so no air will escape. This is an ideal way to take up a good bit of space and still get the most protection from the bags.


You can make a greenhouse of just about any shape or size using plastic bags.  The simplest way to use plastic bags for this purpose is to start off by making plastic fabric.  Once you have enough fabric on hand, create a frame and then affix the fabric to the frame.  Do not forget to leave areas of clear plastic so that plenty of light gets into to the greenhouse.

Smaller, table sized “greenhouses” are also ideal for indoor settings where you need to provide extra humidity for specific plant types.  Unlike glass or plastic bottle greenhouses, you can make the greenhouse as large as you need and house multiple plants together.

If you are planting in the early spring,  late fall, or started other crops too late, plastic bags can also be used as temporary covers to prevent frost from getting onto the plants.

Bag Planters

When you have to bug out, there is a chance that you may wind up leaving a good bit of  your stockpile behind. In these instances, containers suitable for plants and seedlings can easily be left behind in favor of food stores or other supplies.

If you have even one plastic bag on hand, you can still plant in it and start a “bag garden”.  No matter whether you are in the woods, or even an inner city apartment building, just get some soil, put it in the bag, plant the seeds, and water as needed.

It should be noted that some plants will respond better to bag planters than others.  In particular, plants that require good drainage may not do as well because water will tend to build up in the bag and drown the roots.  If you have the bag planters in an outdoor setting, then go ahead and poke holes in the bottom of the bag to allow for good drainage.  This can eliminate the need to turn over soil for a garden and cut back on the amount of time and effort required for pulling weeds and tending to other gardening matters.

Water Gathering Aide

No matter where you are or what is going on, plastic bags can be used to gather water.  The easiest method entails simply digging a hole in the soil and putting a cup or other vessel in the hole.  Place the plastic bag over the hole and put a rock or some other heavy object in the center of the plastic so that the bag bows down in the center.  This water gathering aide will collect condensation as the temperature of the soil changes and releases water particles.

To get more water during daylight hours, take green leaves (from edible plant or tree sources) and add them to the hole.  As the leaves wither, they will also release water which will then be trapped by the plastic.

If you happen to be in a rainstorm, plastic bags can be used directly to capture water.  You can also unfold plastic fabric and suspend it high enough off the ground so that you can fit a larger container under the center.

Similar to collecting condensation from the ground, make sure that the center of the plastic is caved in.  Add a few holes near the very center so that water can drain into the container.  In this instance, the plastic fabric will act as a funnel and gather up any water that hits the area covered by it.

The next time you become annoyed because you have so many plastic shopping bags laying around, think about how useful they are for prepping and long term survival goals.

Start from now to learn how to fashion these bags into different tools and materials and you will be one cheap, and very useful step closer to being ready to survive just about any crisis scenario.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: Knives, Guns and Camouflage

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PBR 6 aug

Food, water and shelter are not the only things we need for survival. Today I want to discuss what’s important for our self-defense.

First on the agenda is a popular multipurpose survival tool – the knife. Do you know how to choose a good one? Next, do you believe in these gun myths?

Plus, more about camouflage and other self-defense tips in our weekly prep blog review.


1. Everyday Carry: Your Guide To Choose The Best EDC Knife

PBR weapons

“Carrying a folding pocket knife everyday has many advantages. From opening boxes and clam shell packaging to preparing food, they are extremely useful. Several professions such as hunters, fisherman, trail guides, butchers, emergency personnel, or military service members often carry knives every day. I would like to discuss folding knives for your everyday carry.

In this article I will review several criteria for choosing the best EDC knife. I consider several basic criteria. They are reasons to carry, local laws, weight, blade length, blade shape, blade treatment/finish, edge grind type, steel type, handle materials and design, cost, opening mechanism, retention (blade and pocket), lock type, fit & finish, and finally…appeal. Before we get to those criteria though, let’s look at pocket knife anatomy. It is my hope that by the time you finish reading this article, you will have a solid basic understanding of EDC knives. I will also provide a short list of quality knives I own and use.”

Read more on Knife Planet.

2. 5 Gun Myths Dispelled 

“If you are like me, you love watching exciting “Action” movies. Who doesn’t love a good movie scene with an exciting car chase and lots of explosions? Unfortunately, many times what we see in the movies is NOT what happens in real life. Firearms are no exception. In fact, many times Hollywood (and the public in general) gets firearms and how they really function completely WRONG.

So I thought I would take a look at 5 myths or beliefs on firearms that are either erroneous, or at the least very misleading.”

Read more on Plan And Prepared.

3. Camouflage and Concealment: The Art of Staying Hidden

PBR weapons

“It makes me laugh when I see a lot of SWAT Teams and PSD guys wearing Tactical Black and other colors that look cool but do nothing but make them stand out. In reality black is one of the worst colors to wear. Ask yourself, what is black in nature? Look around you and what in your surrounding’s are black? I expect very little… In urban areas most walls are white, gray or cream… Light colors! The colors you wear should blend in with your background whether its day or night.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

4. 6 Self-Defense Tips For Urban Survivalists

PBR weapons

“Finding yourself unarmed while facing an attacker is a nightmare scenario. If they have a weapon and you don’t, then no matter what their weapon is, the odds are severely stacked against you. Even if they aren’t armed, fending off an attacker without a weapon is an intimidating prospect. Fortunately, there are ways to tilt the odds back in your favor. In case you ever find yourself staring down one or more attackers and you have nothing but your bare hands with which to defend yourself, consider these self-defense tips and tactics.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

5. 13 Homemade Survival Weapons: Prepare, Adapt, And Overcome

PBR weapons

“The following 13 homemade survival weapons are an ideal way to help you prepare, adapt, and overcome. We preach the art of preparation like it’s our business because it is. We are here to instruct, inform and discuss how to prepare for all survival situations. And preparation is the key to survival. That’s why we build our bug out bags and assemble our survival medical kits. It’s why we stash weapons, bury survival caches, collect tools, stay in shape and stock up on food.”

Read more on Skilled Survival.


This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia

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10 Ways For Preppers To Use Egg Crates

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egg crates agains mosquitoes

Do you think of egg crates as useless junk that only a hoarder would save?  Surprisingly enough, both Styrofoam and cardboard versions can be of immense value to preppers.

While you may not need to store away thousands of egg crates, they should definitely be part of your stockpile. You can also use them now as you test out different parts of your survival plans rather than buy more expensive items that are usually marketed for certain purposes.

Why Sterilizing Egg Crates?

Before you set egg crates away in your stockpile, make sure that you only keep ones that are already as clean as possible. Do not  use crates that show signs of dirt, fluid from cracked eggs, or moisture that leaves a ring around the bottom of the carton. Each of these issues can spell an increased risk for coming into contact with salmonella and several other dangerous bacteria.

Once you have a set of what appear to be clean egg crates, your next step should be to sterilize them. Since commercial eggs in the United States are notorious for carrying salmonella and other diseases, you need to sterilize the crates before using them.

Here are some methods you can try:

  • quickly dip the tray (use this for cardboard only, NOT Styrofoam)  into bleach and then hang it up to dry.   When the smell of bleach is gone, then you know it is no longer active.   For Styrofoam, use a weak solution of bleach and wipe down the trays with a very small amount, then let them air dry.  Never use full strength bleach or other solvents directly on Styrofoam, or it can result in melting, or worse.
  • Try using hot (near boiling) water and soap to clean styrofoam egg crates.
  • In small amounts,  can also burn cardboard egg crates and then  add the ashes to the compost pile.
  • It should be noted that, unlike water (which offers no place for germs to hide), egg crates cannot be sterilized by placing them in the sunlight.   This includes Styrofoam crates, since they will more than likely melt in the temperatures required to kill off bacteria commonly found in egg crates.

1. Seed Starting

seedlingsStyrofoam and cardboard egg crates can both be used as seed starting trays, just make sure that they are clean and dry before planting.

To prepare each cell in the egg crate, punch one or two holes in the bottom so that water can escape.

Since Styrofoam tends to insulate better than cardboard, it may work better during colder months.

Usually, you will add just one seed to each cell. If the seeds tend to be poor germinators or the species is known to produce poor seedlings, then you may want to plant as  many as 4 seeds to each tray.

Just remember that you will have to thin the seedlings to one per cup in order to avoid overcrowding. Alternatively, you can use thin cardboard strips or hard plastic to make a four mini-cells  that will make separating the plants a bit easier later on.

When soil, time, and/or seeds are at a premium, this solution requires some extra work, but may still be well worth exploring.

Egg crates make even better seed starting trays when you add an egg shell to each cell. Without the egg shell, you would have to pull the cardboard or Styrofoam away from the soil before planting.  When you use eggshells, all you need to do is crack the shell a bit and set it and the seedling into the ground. As the roots grow, they will get extra calcium from the shell, and also some protection from burrowing insects that will get cut apart by the sharp edges of the shells.

2. Mini-buoys

If you plan to fish, monitor pond or river water levels, or keep track of nets and fish traps, then you will always need buoys to help mark locations.  Styrofoam egg crates offer a perfect way to make inexpensive buoys that can be used for this and other purposes.  To use the egg crates as mini-buoys:

  • Start by cutting each cell away from the others.   In a dozen egg crate, you should have 12 cells when you are done.  If you happen to have two Styrofoam egg crates, then you can also use the tops for larger buoys.
  • Poke one hole in the bottom of each cell.  The hole should only be large enough to allow the string or rope to pass through.  (if you are planning to make larger buoys, you can poke holes in the sides of lid if those orientations will work better for your needs.
  • Run the string  or other material through the two cells so that the open end of each cell faces the other cell.  (For making larger buoys with the cover of the egg crates, the open ends would still be facing each other.)
  • Position the two cells so that they will be where you want them on the string or net.
  • Use pine pitch or some other glue to seal the two halves together, and then make sure that the area around the strings is also sealed.  This should keep the buoy in the desired location and also prevent it from becoming water logged.

3. Compost

Since cardboard egg crates come from trees, they are the perfect organic material addition to the compost pile. To use them for this purpose, tear them up into small pieces and mix them in with other contents of the pile. Try not to put inked outer casings into the compost pile as these dyes can be toxic.

Most people do not sterilize egg cartons before adding them to the compost pile. Even though you will not be using these egg crates directly for food or raising food, it is my contention they should still be sterilized so that you do not risk contaminating your compost pile with dangerous bacteria.

Remember that bacteria arriving on the crates from commercial farms have already been exposed to many kinds of antibiotics. As such, they may well survive in places where you would not expect them to, such as in your compost pile and garden. This is especially important if you are planning to grow raw edibles such as spinach, lettuce, or anything else that will not be well cooked before consumption.

4. Nesting and Shelter for Edible Insects

In many parts of the world edible insects are considered as much a delicacy as they are staple food filled with important nutrients. When you are stuck in one room, or you must rely on prolific, compact food sources, edible insects may wind up on  your survival menu.

Unfortunately, if you were thinking about hunting for edible insects on an “as needed” basis, you could wind up getting very sick because of all the pesticides and toxins that may be found in them.  Even if you are in the woods or other natural settings, normally edible insects may be contaminated with poisons. Growing your own insects for survival is practical, and can also help you improve your health while lowering your food bills well before a major food shortage occurs.

Crickets and many other edible insects can be housed in cardboard egg crates, or used as food for them.  For example, even one egg crate can sustain several hundred crickets, and offer plenty of nutrient rich food.  Since you will be consuming the insects, remember to avoid using the dyed or inked parts of the crates.  These chemicals can easily build up in an insect’s body just as easily as pesticides and other toxins.

5. Fire Starters

You can pack just about anything into cardboard egg creates to make fire starters that will work in most situations.  In general, you should choose materials that will act as tinder and last long enough to dry out secondary tinder materials before igniting them.

Video first seen on Loon Island Outdoors.

After separating the cells, consider the following packing materials:

  • cotton balls soaked in Vaseline
  • a tea light surrounded by appropriate tinder material (remove the tea light from the metal shell)
  • tinder cloth that will be ignited using a mirror or other means
  • drier lint soaked in wax (for this one, leave the carton intact until you have filled each cell.)
  • sawdust saturated in wax
  • instead of using wax, you can also try using vegetable shortening or animal fat.

6. Candle Molds

If you decide to use egg crates as candle molds, you will produce a candle that is about twice the size of a regular tea light. It is best to use Styrofoam egg crates for this purpose because there is less chance of the wax absorbing into the pores of the mold. Since Styrofoam may be melted by hot wax, you should position the wick, and then repeatedly fill and pour out the wax until the mold is filled.

As with other DIY candle molds, you should also put a hole in the bottom of each egg crate cell and then allow the “bottom” of the cell to be the top of the candle. This method also gives you a narrower top and wider base, which reduces the risk of the candle tipping over as it burns.


7. Sort and Store Small Objects

There are literally hundreds of ways to use egg crates to sort and store small objects.  You can arrange the trays in platforms and label each cell, or simply spread them out to suit your needs.  Depending on the size of the items, you may be able to simply close the lid and store the box away until you need the items in it. If the items inside are very small, you will have to seal off each cell so that they do not got jumbled up again when the box is shaken or moved.  To seal off the cells, attach clear plastic to the edges of each cell using tape or glue.

8. Ice Cube Trays

Styrofoam trays make good sized ice cubes that can be used for many purposes other than adding to drinks.  For example, if you do not have a freezer, simply add some ice to the salt in a chest and then bury anything that needs to be remain frozen in the mixture.  Make sure that all items placed in the chest are double wrapped so there is no risk of contamination.

9. Packing Material

You can use egg crates in the bottom and sides of boxes to take up extra space, or cut up the cells to create more shock absorbers within the box. Remember that even though you may not be packing away food supplies or other sensitive items, it is still best to sterilize the crates before use. You could also seal the objects in airtight plastic so that you can avoid bacterial contamination as much as possible.

10. Yarn Organizers

When it comes to durable, stylish, comfortable clothing, garments made from yarn are some of the best you can find. In a similar way, rugs, wall hangings that act as insulators, blankets, and many other staples are best made from yarn. No matter whether you are in a crisis situation or not, there is always a desire to create patterns using multi-colored yarns or multiple strands to produce different textures and patterns.

As someone that has spent many hours weaving, knitting, crocheting, and braiding, I can tell you that keeping yarn organized can be a difficult task.  Egg crates are ideal for this purpose because you can easily keep up to twelve strands of yarn sorted out using just one carton.

All you need to do is poke holes in the bottom of each cell in the egg crate. Do not separate the cells.  Next, position the ball or skein of yarn so that the yarn feeds into the cup part of each cell.  Use one strand of yarn per cell.  Now all you have to do is start working on your project. The egg crate will keep the strands sorted out so that they do not get knotted up.

More than a few people feel that egg crates can only be used for disposable craft products or other projects that have little tangible survival. Others only see egg crates as a disease vector that should be discarded as quickly as possible.

Even if you do not want to use egg crates for prepping at this time, keep the suggestions listed in this article in mind. You will know a little bit about how to reduce the risk of having problems with them, and how best to use them.

Do you know other uses for egg crates? Share them into comment section below!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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So Many Ways For Preppers To Use Old Medicine Bottles

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pill bottleMedicine bottles seem to be another one of those things that you have around, have no secondary use for, and always need to get rid of. When you throw away these bottles, you may just be throwing away one of the most valuable prepping materials in your home.

Unlike many other materials, you need very little in the way of tools because medicine bottles can be reused exactly as they are. Just wash them out, let them dry, and they are ready to be used!

Have a look at these simple ways to reuse medicine bottles and see how you can use them to make reaching your preparedness goals cheaper and easier than ever.

Ensuring Medicine Bottles Will Work for Your Needs

Many applications for used medicine bottles require them to be air tight and water tight. Unfortunately, most medicine bottles will take on water and ruin anything inside. You will need to seal them up in Ziploc bags or some other water and air proof container.

Here are some other things to be aware of:

  • Not all medicine bottles will work well for prepper needs. Some bottles will crack in cold weather while others will have problems in hotter temperatures.
  • Some bottles are also very fragile and can be crushed easily.
  • Using the “child proof” side of medicine bottle caps will not improve their ability to keep out water and air.

Bug Out Bag Organizers

I don’t know about you, but as a prepper, I go through some definite stages. There are times when I focus more on larger, stationary items that would be very difficult to move to another location. At other times, I despair because there never seem to be enough “mini” kits or multi-purpose “mini” tools to fit into my pockets.  When it comes to bug out bags and mini kits, medicine bottles have an endless number of advantages.

If you use medicine as bug out bag organizers, you can make it very easy to find small items and keep them clean and relatively safe.  Medicine bottles also make the perfect place to store away all those “mini” kits that you might want to put in an EDC bag.  Here are just a few mini medicine bottle kits that you can build with stuff from around the house:

  • first aid kit – band aids, pain killers, alcohol swabs, and many other items can be stored in a medicine bottle and kept onhand at all times.  Make a kit for your backpack, car ,and even your pockets.
  • sewing kit – a needle, some thread, and good quality pair of foldable scissors will go a long way for repairing clothes or even assembling fishing gear.
  • fishing kit – be sure to include monofilament line, paper clips (for hooks), and a small knife in this kit.)
  • seed kit – store away seeds for the most important herbs and crops that you might need at a new location.  Even if you only store away 5 – 10 seeds from each plant, you can easily have enough room for several dozen species of plants in a single bottle.  Just put each variety of seed in mini  zipper bags (you can usually find them in the craft department) and label them so that you know what is in each bag.
  • screwdriver, hex, socket, and star wrench bits)
  • religious needs kit (you might store away special jewelry, holy water, or other small symbols associated with  your faith.)
  • electronics parts kit  (this would include basics such as resistors, transistors, diodes, and wire).
  • Field electronics kit (this would include items such as graphite, metal foil, wax paper, magnets, and a razor blade).
  • Alkaline,  acid tablets, chlorine, and iodine tablets that are safe to store in medicine bottles.
  • water purification kit
  • fire starter kit (you can store matches inside the bottle, and then tape a strike board on the outside.  To keep this kit waterproof, it is best to encase a smaller bottle in a larger one so that the strike board remains dry.)
  • Batteries – use one bottle for each battery size that you intend to have onhand.   The medicine bottle will keep the terminals from coming into contact with each other.
  • Custom all purpose kit – this kit should be small enough to fit into your pocket and take anywhere.  My personal favorites include: a very small mirror (you can get square and round shaped ones at the craft store), paper clips, monofilament line, small knife, razor blades, foldable scissors, thread, needles, aluminum foil, wax paper, graphite, 3 fold top plastic sandwich bags,  matches, a few pre-1970 pennies, a quarter,  a sterling silver medallion, small magnets, alcohol swabs, aspirin, and screwdriver bits.

Video first seen on kipkay.

Fire Starters

Smaller sized plastic medicine bottles also make perfect fire starters.  All you need to do is pack them with cotton balls soaked in Vaseline.

If you are dealing with rainy weather, or damp conditions, just start the fire right in the  medicine bottle. The plastic will fuel a hotter fire that will be better able to burn through wet or damp materials.

Seed Savers

Chances are, you already know that heirloom seeds and the ability to store seeds is a must for all preppers. If you are looking for cheap, compact seed savers, medicine bottles will suit your needs.  All you need to do is put seeds in a clean medicine bottle and then label the bottle with the seed type and date you stored them away.

Medicine bottles are also perfect for storing wild seeds that you happen to know will be of use. For example, during the spring months, you can always pick up dandelion and other seeds and keep them ready.

When gathering seeds, make sure that the area has not been treated with insecticide or GMO based herbicides. Even though the GMO agents are not supposed to cross over to other plant species, you never really know what scientists overlook in their quest to make money with little consideration for the long term consequences.

Needless to say, if you find a patch of several plants with seeds, you may want to harvest from a few of the healthiest plants so that you have added genetic diversity.

Essential Oil Storage

If you are serious about being healthy and living well in the post crisis world, there is a chance that you will wind up making and using essential oils. It is best to use glass medicine bottles with tight lids on them. You can also use these bottles to store away infusions that are already at therapeutic strength. While some oils may be safe to store in plastic bottles, others may corrode the plastic. When in doubt, use glass.

Candle Molds

Candles are going to be a mainstay early on in a disaster scenario and well into the future.  While tea light molds can easily be refilled, they also only give you four hours of light or heat. If you have medicine bottles, you can make taller and wider candles that will last a bit longer. When using medicine bottles as candle molds, use only enough heat to melt the wax.

Depending on the plastic used to construct the medicine bottle, it may still melt before the candle cools completely. Instead of pouring all the wax in at once and leaving it in place, pour the wax back out.  Continue to do this until a series of shells builds up, and then fill in the center of the candle.

You will also need to drill a small hole at the bottom of the medicine bottle so the wick will fit through it. Remember, since wax always shrinks, you actually need to cast candles upside down so that the wick has a suitable placement.

Once the candle is cool, it should fall right out of the mold when you tap it. If the candle does not come out, set it in ice or a refrigerator so that the wax will shrink faster and pull away from the sides and bottom of the medicine bottle.

Child Proofing

As much as you may hate tamper resistant caps on medicine bottles, they are necessary if you have children in the survival group.  Bottles that contain sharp objects, medications, fire starters, or chemicals should all be sealed with childproof caps.

Never forget that hundreds of children die each year because they get into chemicals or drugs that should have had childproof caps on them.

In a survival situation, you are already going to be focusing on many things that may take your attention away from what children are doing.  This is truly the perfect time for them to get into things that would normally be left alone.  At the very least, if child proof caps are in the way, it will give you time to find out what is going on and put a stop to it before something worse happens.

Sharp Items Disposal

Bits of sharp glass, diabetes testing lancets, and many other sharp objects can wreak havoc at the worst possible moment. An empty medicine bottle can be used to store these items until you can dispose of them properly.  Consider a situation where you are faced with the need to walk out of a major city and escape to a more rural area.

Now let’s also say that you must check your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. If you are concerned that someone may be following you, the last thing you will want to do is provide a “trash trail”.

In this case, you can keep the lancets in the medicine bottle until you reach a safe enough location.  Why get your fingers stuck when digging around in your bug out bag when placing them in a medicine bottle will prevent the problem?

Parts for Outdoor Projects

Video first seen on RealtreeOutdoors.

Ink and Dye Dauber

In the early days of a disaster and during the recovery period, you may have some unexpected need for ink and dyes.  For example, you may need to alter some of your garments so that they are harder to spot in a woods or other setting.

If you know how to make green, brown, and black dyes from local materials, then you can also use them to create crude camo prints.  To get a more precise pattern to match your area, make an ink or dye dauber from a medicine bottle.

Later on, if you decide to make your own clothes, you can also use these daubers to mark fabrics with brighter or more interesting colors.

Desk and Drawer Organizers

If you thought medicine bottles were useful for organizing your bug out bag, then you won’t be surprised to see what they can do for organizing your desk and drawers.   This includes organizing materials used for desk type weapons such as pen guns, clothespin guns, and other small weapons. BB,  tooth picks, mini darts, and several other objects will fit perfectly in medicine bottles and be easy to reach at all times.

As you go through different junk drawers and assorted catchers, you are bound to find many items that can be grouped together for survival purposes. If you think you can use these items as customized mini kits, then go ahead and label those bottles and keep them in a separate container.  No matter whether you store this kit in your car, or in a backpack, it will be right there when you need it.

During a crisis, it is entirely normal to remember that you have some item or other, but forget where you put it.  If these objects happen to be very small, the medicine bottle organizer system can be a true lifesaver.

Plastic Patch Material

Leaks in PVC pipe or other plastic containers can truly spell disaster, especially when you cannot get a hold of replacements.  In these situations, you will need to be able to patch the container and continue using it.  Some medicine bottles are  made of softer plastic and can easily be cut into useful shapes.

These softer plastics can also be melted with heat from a candle or hairdryer. To use the plastic as a patch, just set it in place and then use heat to melt the plastic and form a seal.  You can also try melting the plastic in a separate container and apply it to the container that needs fixing.  If you happen to have glue on hand, then you can also use that as a bonding agent.

When some preppers hear that medicine bottles are not airtight and water tight, they tend to overlook all the other ways these bottles can be used. If you are looking for inexpensive organizers, patch material, or ways to house mini-kits, medicine bottles are cheap, easy to obtain, and durable.

For situations where you want something a bit heavier or with other features, you can always buy dedicated containers that match some of your other concerns. At the very least, you can get started with assembling kits and move on with your prepping goals instead of putting “lack of containers” on your list of reasons to delay in certain prepping areas.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways Preppers Can Reuse Old Light Bulbs

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Survivopedia repurpose light bulbs

Even though many countries are looking to end production of incandescent light bulbs, they are very useful to preppers. They act as ideal sources of heat, light, and can even function as resistors in an electronic circuit.

If you have light bulbs in your stockpile, or still use them around the house, you may be wondering if they are of any value when they burn out. Here are easy ways to repurpose light bulbs and advance your prepping goals at the same time.

Preparing the Light Bulb for Reuse

Most of the things you can make with light bulbs require getting into the bulb itself and pulling out the parts that used to glow. If you have frosted or white light bulbs, you will also have to remove the coating in order to get the most from some of these ideas.

In order to take out the insides of a light bulb, follow these steps. Be sure to wear heavy work gloves and goggles. Cover your work area with newspaper or something else that can be easily discarded once you are done.

Never forget that light bulbs are made of thin glass, and as such can be very fragile. The last thing you will need now or in a survival situation is to wind up with slivers of glass in your hands, or worse yet your eyes. While these steps are very easy to follow, never underestimate the need for safety precautions.

  • Use a pair of pliers to twist the solder contact in the bottom center of the bulb. Once the contact is loose enough, pull it out of the bulb. While you are pulling and twisting on the contacts, do not put pressure on the glass parts of the bulb. You can grip the metal part of the bulb, or better yet, put it in a vice. Just don’t clamp the vice too hard or you might break the glass part of the bulb that seals to them metal.
  • Use a screwdriver to break the glass insulator and other parts inside the bulb. You will have to remove them in small pieces. Everything should come out of the bulb, including the tungsten element.
  • Fill the bulb with water and empty it several times in order to remove any white powder from inside the bulb.
  • Either let the inside of the bulb air dry, or use a screwdriver covered with a paper towel to dry it out.


Light Diffuser

Aside from housing gas that keeps the tungsten element from burning up, light bulbs are also designed to diffuse light so that larger areas can be illuminated. You can use old, hollowed out light bulbs as light diffusers in chandeliers, or even as a means to increase illumination from LED arrays.

No matter how you arrange the light bulbs, they will provide a steady glow that works better than just the original light source by itself. For example, you can take one bulb that actually works, and then surround it with five or six bulbs that are burned out and cleaned.

You can also use the light diffuser properties of burned out bulbs to increase illumination from candles, oil lamps, and many other sources. Just make sure that when you join the light bulbs together, you do not use flammable materials. Stick to metal wire or anything else that will not start an unwanted fire.

Candles, oil lamps, and any other flame will always carry with it the risk of making sparks. It is not worth the risk to use rope or other more “visually attractive” accents for the diffuser.

Build an Electroscope

An electroscope is used to detect static electricity, and can also be used to detect the presence of nuclear, or ionized radiation. Even though the most optimized Kearny Fallout Meters are made from other simple materials, you can still use a light bulb in an emergency.

There are two ways to construct the inner part of the electroscope:

  • You can use the traditional design which calls for two gold foil (or aluminum) attached to an electrical conductor. The insulative properties of the glass will help maintain the static charge, which serves to keep the thin metal leaves separated. (If ionizing radiation is present, the leaves will droop or come closer together.) Since UV light can also act as ionizing radiation, you may want to keep the meter in a dark place, or put a black coating on the bulb. Just make sure you leave a peek hole so that you can see in and observe the metal leaves.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

  • A spinning electroscope tends to be more sensitive than a metal leaf design. This type of electroscope may not need charging as often, and it may also detect more subtle levels of radiation.

When operating a nuclear fallout electroscope, remember that you will have to “charge up” the device periodically with static electricity. This does not necessarily mean that ionizing radiation is, or was present. That being said, if you charge the device up and the leaves droop very quickly in a darkened room, then you may tentatively conclude that high levels of ionic radiation are present

Spice Dispensers

Salt, pepper, sugar, flour, and other spice shakers may seem to last forever. On the other hand if you are bugging out, must evacuate, or these dispensers get broken, you may have a harder time than expected replacing them. Simply make a new cap with holes in it for the light bulb, and you will have an ideal spice shaker. If you want the shaker to stand upright, just put it on a platform or suspend from a wire hanger system.

You can also use light bulbs to store herbs on a longer term basis. They can also be easily assembled to sit on spice racks or even on counter stands. If you do decide to use light bulbs to store herbs, remember that they will not be completely air tight, and that you should always make sure the spices are stored in a cool, dry location for optimal shelf life.

Video first seen on HomesGuides.

Housing for Edible Insects

If you are successful in surviving a major crisis, there is every chance that one of your primary food sources will wind up being edible insects. You may also wind up in in a situation where you have to evacuate quickly, and there will neither be time nor room to move larger insect farms.

Rather than lose all of your hard work, you can keep a miniature bug farm for each insect stocked with enough reproducing insects so that you can start over again in a new location. Light bulbs are ideal because they are easy to keep clean and you can put several of them in a small box for transport.

Molds for Cement

Light bulbs that fit in a conventional lamp tend to be very easy to grip and hold onto. As such, the bulb itself makes an excellent mold for cement and other materials that can be used to make a number of useful objects. This includes:

  • Nail and screw type wall hooks. While the cement is wet, just leave some of the sharp end of the nail or screw sticking out of the cement. Once the cement is dry, you can leave the glass in place or break it away from the cement. These hooks can be used as clothes pegs, hanging container gardens, and many other purposes. Just make sure that they are nailed or screwed into wall studs so that there is enough support for the hook and anything you may decide to suspend from it.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

  • Doorknobs and other items can also be made from cement or other materials that can be poured into molds. Just make sure that you add the appropriate hardware before the item dries out.
  • Try filling two empty light bulbs with cement, and then stick the ends of rope or chain into the cement while it is still wet. You can create everything from hobbles to weapons using this construction method.
  • For simple, lightweight anchors, you can use one or many cement filled bulbs to anchor rope or other items into the water or into the ground.


When it comes to hunting gear, there are more than a few places where decoys can be used to draw a predatory animal to a desired location, or even encourage it to move into a waiting trap. There may also be times when you want to ensure that an animal will avoid a predator and move into your territory instead.

Even though it may take some work to add feathers and other materials to light bulbs, they cans still act as excellent decoys. If you look into crafty ways to decorate light bulbs, you are sure to find many useful ideas.

Fishing Flotation Devices

If you do not have plastic bobs or other flotation devices, a sealed up light bulb may suit your needs. You can use light bulbs on individual fishing lines, fish nets, and any other area where buoyance is needed. Just remember that a glass bulb is not as sturdy as a plastic bottle, so try to limit the weight load as much as possible.

Infusora Hatchery

Well prepared survivors will more than likely look to cultivate animal, plant, and fish resources. No matter whether you grow your own fish in an aquaponics system or start with pairs captured in the wild, it is very important to make sure that you can raise successive generations of fish. In most cases, egg laying fish will eat their own eggs after fertilization, or they will do nothing whatsoever to take care of the fry after they hatch.

Typically, newly hatched fry feed on infusora (tiny micro organisms that grow on rotting organic matter suspended in water). A light bulb can be used in an emergency to house infusorans and also get them to propagate. If you must use a larger container to get them started, the smaller light bulb can still be used as an emergency vessel that can be transported from one location to another.

Video first seen on Kailey Francis.

Fish Egg Hatchery

Contrary to popular belief, a light bulb will never meet the water quality and space needs of a fish. Even if you have to transport fish during a bug out or evacuation proceeding, use some other container that has a wide mouth and will also allow for the operation of an air stone.

Remember that when fish are stressed, they will release huge amounts of ammonia. Even a single fish will be dead in a matter of hours if you try to house or transport it in a clean, hollowed out light bulb.

Light bulbs can, however, can be used as temporary nurseries for newly fertilize fish eggs. If you happen to be dealing with a species of fish that consume the eggs after spawning, simply remove the eggs and let them hatch in a light bulb nursery. Just remember that the fry will need to stay in the nursery for at least 2 or 3 days while they consume the yolk sack after hatching. Once they are ready to eat infusora, you can move them into a bigger container and start feeding them.

A light bulb makes in ideal hatching container because it is much easier to keep track of the eggs and watch them hatch. If you are not sure if the fry are alive, do not tap the bulb or make loud noises. Even newly hatched fry will respond to light from a flashlight and will move around immediately if they can.

Vases and Micro Planters

light planterDuring the process of expanding on your survival skills, it is likely that you will develop an interest in wild herbs and their cultivation.

Empty light bulbs can be used for cutting vases, and also as covers that will increase humidity for small plants.

This is especially important if you need to root cuttings in soil, and need to preserve a good bit of moisture so that the plant can take it in through the leaves.

Light bulbs offer a perfect reusable solution that will last for years on end.

If you have very limited amounts of space to work with, light bulb vases can easily be suspended from wire tree frames, from walls, and even overhead ceiling hangers.

While you can also use simple stands to keep the bulbs from tipping over, the hanging options can help you take advantage of window lighting with ease.

Many people view burned out light bulbs as completely useless. It should come as no surprise that they make up a significant portion of landfill waste, and are often viewed as useless even in those industries. On the other hand, as a prepper, there are many ways that you can use burned out light bulbs to your advantage in an emergency situation.

Learn how to hollow them out, clean them, and work with them safely. No doubt, once you start using burned out light bulbs in prepper applications, you will come up with all kinds of useful and creative options.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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13 Multi-Use Survival Items You Can Find At The Dollar Store

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Survivopedia 13 from the dollar store The question here isn’t so much what you CAN buy at the Dollar Store for survival, but what you CAN’T buy. They have everything from bleach to charcoal and everything in between.

So, instead of talking about individual survival items that you can buy at the Dollar Store, I’m going to give you the top 13 multi-purpose items that you should stock up on, along with several ways that they can be used.

To make it interesting, I’m going to pick unlikely items that you may not even think about, or provide you with new ways to use the ones that are obvious. I’m also going to pick some of the ones that are the best deals so that you can REALLY get some bang for your buck.

1. Maxi Pads

You probably already know that maxi pads are great for stopping bleeding, packing wounds, providing insulation, and of course their intended use but they have many other uses as well. Did you think of using them to make hot or cold compresses? Since they retain water, they’re great for this. On the flip side, they’re great fire starters.

They’re also good to use to hold a poultice in place because the pad will absorb part of the poultice material and also absorb and leakage of blood.

Finally – are you ready? – maxi pads are good for starting seeds. They hold moisture extremely well and keep the seeds just moist enough to sprout.

2. Vinegar

Yes, it’s great for cooking and cleaning windows, but did you know that ACV has several medicinal properties? It’s a great antiseptic and also works to cure acid reflux. You see, the reason for acid reflux is often not TOO MUCH acid as many people think, but of too little acid. Reflux occurs when your stomach is churning to digest the food with what little acid it has.

Antacids reduce the amount of acid even more, which makes the problem worse. Try taking a couple tablespoons of ACV instead of an antacid and see how you feel.

Other uses of ACV? Use it to curdle cream and make cottage cheese, kill weeds in the garden, deodorize just about anything, and treat such conditions as warts, sore throats, and skin irritations. Finally, ACV may give you a bit of an energy boost and help prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which leads to muscle fatigue. You can also make apple cider vinegar at home.

3. Chapstick

You can get this stuff for crazy cheap at the dollar store. Packs of 3-5 are only a buck, and if you have a really good dollar store, you can get even more. The base of chapstick is petroleum jelly, but it’s in a handy little container that’s useful, too.

Here are  just a few good ways to use chapstick for survival:

  • Lubricate knives, zippers, strings, tools
  • Prevent rust on saws, knives, or other metals
  • Sunscreen – it doesn’t work as well as actual sunscreen but it will do in a
  • Use it as a candle – dip one end of a cotton swab in it, then stick the other end of the swab into the tube. Light the top and you’ve got a candle that’ll last long enough to get a good fire going and then some.
  • Use it along with a cotton swab or ball to make a fire starter
  • Rub it in some ash and smear it under your eyes to prevent snow blindness.
  • Stop small cuts from bleeding
  • Lubricate your skin to prevent blisters
  • Protect skin from the elements to prevent windburn or frostbite
  • Use the tube to hold small items such as matches, bills, cotton swabs, or wire

4. Steel  Wool

Sure it’s great to scrub your pots and pans, but steel wool is flammable and is great to use to strike sparks into in order to get your fire started.

Video first seen on wildernessoutfitters.

You can also sharpen knives with it, and hold a stripped screw in place.

5. WD40

We all love it and it can be 4 dollars a can or more at other stores, so WD40 definitely makes our list. Of course it’s good for lubricating things; that’s what it’s promoted as. There are literally hundreds of other uses for WD40 though.

  • Removes sap and other goo from your hands or skin that could cause irritation
  • Keep your fishing equipment, knives, and other metals from rusting
  • Most fishermen swear that WD40 helps them catch fish, though the company denies these claims. Still, where there’s smoke…
  • Waterproof shoes, boots, and clothing.
  • Spray snow shovel with WD40 and the snow won’t stick to it as easily.
  • Helps keep your axe or knife from sticking in the log when you’re splitting it
  • Spray on kindling for a quick fire starter
  • Clean your gun with WD40

6. Aspirin

Of course it’s good for a headache, but aspirin is also good for heart health, namely reducing blood pressure, because it thins the blood. That could be good in a survival situation for people with heart problems and strokes. It also:

  • Works as a mild pesticide directly on your plants and as a fungicide in the soil
  • Gargle with aspirin to help soothe a sore throat
  • Crush it and rub it directly on your gums to get rid of a toothache
  • Crush it and make a paste with water or honey to treat warts and pimple

7. Pantyhose

Of course they make your legs look tan, but pantyhose have many different survival uses. Here are some of them, but you should also read our article to see why they deserve a place in your survival kit:

  • Strains particulates out of water
  • Acts as a fish net
  • Adds a layer of insulation
  • Prevents skin from rubbing together and chafing
  • Holds gauze bandages on
  • Acts as a sling
  • Can be used to lash things together
  • Can be used to carry light items
  • Can be used as mosquito netting

8. Can of Coffee

This is probably the one survival product that you’ll save the most on at the dollar store. Coffee has the obvious benefit of mental alertness but it has several other uses, too. Buy the type that’s in a metal can. Use the coffee for:

  • Energy
  • Antioxidants
  • Relieving depression
  • Barter
  • Grounds are good to add to your compost pile
  • Sprinkle it around plants to deter pests such as ants and snails
  • Mix it into mulch, grass clippings, etc. and add it to acid loving plants
  • Clean your pots and pans with them
  • Use it as a cloth dye

You can also use the can for:

  • A hobo stove
  • Storage
  • When cut, it’s extremely sharp and can be used in a pinch to cut just about anything, and the shards can be used as a makeshift weapon

9. Mouthwash

Again, a huge money saver with numerous survival uses. Go for the unflavored kind if you can.

  • Mouthwash is an antiseptic. That’s why it freshens your breath; it kills the bacteria in your mouth. Use it to clean wounds in a pinch
  • Sanitize your pots and pans with it
  • Put it on a blister – it numbs it and kills any bacteria that may cause infection
  • Apply it to a tick that’s burrowed into your skin. The tick will back out and your skin will also receive a dose of the antiseptic
  • Use as an antifungal for such ailments as athlete’s foot
  • Relieves the itch from insect bites, bee stings, and poison ivy

10. Zip Ties

These are fairly cheap – around $3 or $4 – just about anywhere, but you’ll likely only pay a buck for them at the dollar store. If you buy 5 packs, you’ve saved at least $10. Not bad, and there are about a kazillion survival uses for zip ties.

  • Use them for make-shift handcuffs – as a matter of fact, many police forces use them for that now
  • Tie up a tarp for a tent for shelter
  • Tie a tarp or garbage bag in a tree for water collection
  • Strap gear to your bug out bag or backpack
  • Mark trails with it so that you don’t get lost or go in circles
  • Compress your equipment and clothes so that you can carry more
  • Close off the bottom of your pant legs so that bugs and snakes can’t get in them
  • Hold a splint together
  • Lash together logs to make a raft or shelter

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

11. Clay Pots

Yes, you can put plants in them, but clay pots have several survival uses.

12. Bungee Cords

They’re stretchy but strong and you’ve probably used bungee cords for a myriad of tasks during your life. They’re extremely versatile and you can buy them in packs of several at the dollar store for practically nothing.

  • Strap your bug out bag to a tree so that animals can’t get in it
  • Strap other items to your bug out bag or your body
  • Use to hold a pressure bandage in place
  • Hang up a tarp for water collection or shelter
  • Use it as a belt
  • Bundle your items together with them
  • Use as fishing line in a pinch
  • Replace broken magazine straps on your tactical vest

13. Crayons with Sharpener

I bought a big box of crayons for my nieces the other day and they were almost $10! I should have gone to the dollar store, but didn’t feel like going that far out of my way. I did notice, though, that the sharpener would come in handy and that the box of crayons with the sharpener would be going in my stockpile, along with a few other toys.

  • Crayons are flammable and make great fire starters
  • If you light the tip of a crayon and put it upright, it will burn for up to 30 minutes as a small candle
  • You can use a crayon to mark trees so that you don’t get lost
  • Wax is a great water-proofer in a pinch.
  • The sharpener can be used to make either wax or wood shavings to start a fire with.

There are thousands of items at the dollar store that you can stockpile for survival and these are just a few that I found that were both multi-purpose, and could save you significant cash over buying them somewhere else.

Surely, you can think of other awesome survival items available at the dollar store, so please share them with us in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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This Is How To Use Aluminum Cans For Survival

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survivopedia tin cansFrom hurricanes and flash floods to major disasters, chances are you will have at least a few tin or aluminum cans of food set aside for a time of need. Are you wondering if they can be put to good use?

Here are 10 ways that every prepper can use aluminum and tin cans for direct survival needs. From simple, “bare bones” essential vital devices to more decorative options, you can truly use aluminum cans in more ways than expected.

Basic Tools

If you expect to use aluminum and tin cans to their fullest potential, you need a few simple tools on-hand, and some of them are mandatory to get the job done. Without these tools and the skill to use them, you will either fail to finish your project, or you can get hurt if you don’t know how to handle and dispose of sharp metal edges and can remains.

  • Metal cutting scissors
  • Hand drill and drill bits capable of cutting through metal.
  • Sand paper, files, or sanding blocks suitable for metal working
  • Heavy, fireproof gloves – no matter whether you cut into a a large food can or a “thin” soda can, the edges  of the metal are more than sharp enough to cut into your skin. Always wear heavy gloves when working with metal. No matter how hard you try to avoid all those sharp edges, it only takes one cut to create a wound that can take a long time to heal or become easily infected.
  • Tarp or other coverings to cover the work surface and work area – working with metal cans is one of those things that makes more little snips of stuff than you might expect. Unlike paper or fabric, these little bits of metal splinters  can get embedded in your feet or hands and wreak havoc. Keeping the work area and floor covered makes it easier to simply pick up the whole mess and discard it.
  • A magnet – if you are working with metals that are drawn to magnets, you can use the magnet to retrieve shavings or other sharp bits of metal that are hard to find.
  • Goggles – when you are cutting metal, there is always a chance that pieces will snap off, fly into the air, and land right in your eyes. If you decide to use power tools for drilling holes, the risk of flying debris will be even higher. Even in the best of times, eye injuries are some of the most tedious and difficult to deal with.
  • Permanent markers – for drawing out patterns and creating cutting guides
  • Rulers, compasses, paper, and cardboard – there are few things sloppier and more wasteful than going into a building project without a solid plan and patterns for each part of the object being built. Always start your designs on paper using rulers, compasses ,and protractors so that you get precise parts and sizing.   You will also always be well served by building cardboard models so that you can recheck measurements and make sure that most, if not all the parts are accounted for.
  • Vices and clamps – No matter whether you are using power tools or hand tools to cut or drill into metal, keeping the work piece stationary makes it much easier to make precise cuts and also reduces the risk of injury and damage to the item you are working on.
  • Brazing torch – a torch that can fuse metals together is very important. Choose brazing equipment that runs on propane as opposed to one that runs on electricity. Try to get at least one pen sized torch and also a nozzle/valve system that will fit on a propane cylinder. If you know that you are going to have to work with metal in the post crisis world, now is truly the best time to learn how to solder and braze. Even if you do not have access to a welder or do not know how to weld, brazing is still a valuable survival skill that you can use for your own needs or barter in exchange for other goods and services.

Skills to Master

Along with the proper tools, you must also know how to use them. Here are some things you should practice so that you have a better chance of completing your tasks with minimal problems:

  • how to cut metal accurately into straight lines and curves without warping the metal or creating sharp, rough points where each snip ends
  • how to use files and sanding blocks to remove imperfections created while cutting and drilling
  • how to use sand paper to build up sharp edges for blades and other needs
  • how to bend metal for fan blades or other uses that require a bow shaped object.

DIY Projects to Recycle Your Aluminium Cans

Solar Heater

A solar can heater is the easiest and most inexpensive way to heat individual rooms now and in a crisis situation.

Video first seen on RICH ALLEN.

The basic solar heater design will not heat up water, however you can amend it by simply running copper or other metal pipes through the core area for each can. Aside from giving you a medium that holds heat longer, it is much easier to pump water through radiators located in other rooms.

You will also find it more efficient to pump water in through a pipe than trying to vent hot air into a window.

Video first seen on Nik The Cat’s Travels.

For a final innovation, make your solar heater cells portable or build smaller units that take advantage of sunlight from different areas during the day.

Video first seen on tensleep.

Tin Can Rocket Stove

If you have two tin cans, you can make a stove that will burn paper, small bits of wood, and just about anything else. You can also modify the basic design to burn rubbing alcohol or other liquid flammable materials.

Video first seen on LDSPrepper.

Before a crisis hits, you would be well served to make a few stoves of different sizes.  Since the cans will fit easily enough into each other, you can carry four or even five stoves if you need to evacuate or bug out to another area.  At the very least, you should have one rocket stove for wood and solid materials, and one for liquid flammables in your bug out bag at all times.

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict.

Candle Holder

In a world without electricity, you can rest assured that candles will be primary source of light. Tin and aluminum soda cans can both be cut to size for most candles.

You can also get creative with these cans and make different slit designs for the light to go through, as well as bend the metal to make legs,  or for purely decorative purposes.

Video first seen on fixitsamo.

Metal Forge

When there are few sources of flat metal available, you will need a source of heat so that you can flatten available metals into blades and other important items. A tin can forge is easy to make and can be used to flatten out everything from  iron to drill bits.

While you will still need some other tools to repurpose different metals into other shapes, having a metal forge is still an excellent start.

Video first seen on clkindred.


As wonderful as light bulbs are, they still require a fire proof enclosure for safe operation. Tin and aluminum are prefect for creating lamp cases and light socket holders.

You can also make shields for the light bulb in case you are going to use the lamp as a utility light.  For an added bit of innovation, bend some metal into a hook so that you can suspend the lamp from beams, nails, or anything else that suits your needs and safety concerns.

Fan Blades

Video first seen on Indian LifeHacker : Science, Art & Magic.

If you love camping, hiking, and hunting, you may be led to believe that there is very little use for fan blades in a pure survival scenario. On the other hand, if you need to generate power, dry off damp areas, cool down electrical equipment, or even repair the fan blade attached to an automobile radiator, being able to make fan blades from tin cans is a very important skill.

Here’s an example on how you can reuse aluminium cans and turn them into fan blades for a water pump:

Video first seen on Milan Vitéz.

Even though you may be able to use lighter weight, plastic fan blades for some applications, remember that you will still need to use metal for high heat areas or others where a plastic blade simply isn’t good enough.


Even in these “relatively safe” times, there is increasing interest in figuring out how to survive a live shooting situation. This includes scenarios where bullets from a surrounding area may find their way into your home.

On the other side of the equation, the average citizen that truly needs bulletproofing  is denied access to the best in terms of quality and efficiency. You can still make bullet proof armor from tin cans. The secret to your success will not be so much in the cans themselves, but what you put in the cans.

For example, if you want to bullet proof your home, six inches of sand will stop most bullets. If you cannot afford to build a fortification all at once, then just start with a few cans at a time. You can even choose to build eight inch fortification walls or more and enjoy the insulative properties of the fortified wall at the same time.

Automobile Repairs

When the warranty runs out on your vehicle, most car dealers figure that you will buy a new car rather than try to deal with all the expenses associated with repairing an older vehicle.

To add insult to injury, if you are a dedicated prepper, then you may already know that the older vehicles are sturdier, easier to fix, and better for survival situations because there is no way for computers to shut down your vehicle from a remote location.

But what happens when a radiator blows or something else springs a leak?  If you have a few tin cans, you can cut the metal to cover the leaking area, and then braze the tin to cover the leak. Even though some parts may not hold up very long after being patched this way, others may remain in good working order for years on end.

Video first seen on Richard Lloyd.

Fire Starters

There are at least two ways to use tin and aluminum cans as fire starters:

  • Take the shiniest portion of the can and use it to concentrate sunlight onto dry tinder. This process is helped immensely with tinder cloth as well as other materials that catch fire easily. If you do not have a shiny or smooth enough surface, you can also try fitting tin foil over the can to make it shinier.
  • When combined with suitable tinder such as pine cones, dry grass, or tinder cloth, candles always make an excellent fuel.  If you out in the rain, or all the materials around you are very damp, you can use a tin can as the foundation for a fire starter.  The can will build up heat faster and it will also give an easy way to hold tinder in place if the breezes are too strong.

Video first seen on ROBwithaB.


Container gardens are very nice and useful for prepping, however the cost of commercial planters can be prohibitive when you survive on a budget.

Also, most planters that you buy aren’t suited for vertical gardening or other situations where space and water may both be at a premium. By contrast, metal cans can be used to grow plants on just about any surface. Just be sure to paint the cans on the outside to make sure they do not rust. When choosing the paint color, you can also make the planters more suitable for different temperatures:

  • For hot weather and cooler weather loving plants, paint the planters white so that they reflect heat outward.  This will keep the roots cooler and also help reduce moisture evaporation. If you are concerned about white being easy to see by other people, try using very pale greens, blues, or even tans. There are many pastel shades that can still mimic dried grass or other natural materials if you paint them as camouflage patterns.
  • If you are planting in the fall or cooler weather, paint the cans black so that they absorb more heat from the sun.  You may get several weeks of additional growing time for outdoor vertical gardens simply by changing the paint color and also covering the plants with plastic.   Since can based vertical planters are much smaller than a whole garden, you can use anything from clear freezer bags to clear vinyl scraps to cover each planter.

Aside from acting as a valuable storage vessel for emergency and daily use foods, metal cans can also be used for many other things. If you are serious about being ready for as many disaster situation types as possible, master the use of tin cans and make sure that you can build and operate some basic equipment made from metal cans.

While some of these ideas may seem redundant to other equipment that you may have on-hand, remember that physical possessions can be lost, stolen, or ruined at any moment. When all you have is are a few tin cans and other used materials, knowing how to turn crap into something useful is one skill no one can ever take from you.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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This Is How To Use Styrofoam For Survival

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Survivopedia styrofoam

When confronted with a survival situation, you will have to make the most of what’s available for getting through the day. Styrofoam is one of these items.

Today’s article is about Styrofoam, which may come handy in a variety of scenarios, being a versatile and useful material especially when you’re strapped for resources.

To start with the basics, let’s define our terms: Styrofoam is basically a commercial term/a trademark brand for expanded polystyrene, which is often used for building food containers and all sorts of housing insulation.

Styrofoam is also common as cushioning material in packaging, for making disposable dishes/coffee cups, for building coolers and things of that nature, due to its excellent insulating properties. Styrofoam is very lightweight and buoyant, as it’s made from 98 percent air.

Styrofoam for Starting Fire

Considering the holy trinity of survival in any imaginable scenario, i.e. water, food and shelter, let’s see how/where Styrofoam comes into play. Starting with shelter, one of the most important things related to outdoors survival is the ability of making fire. Fire keeps you warm and keeps predators away and that’s kind of important in my book.

Fire is also essential when it comes to purifying water and for cooking your food, thus being able to make a fire in a SHTF situation is crucial in this writer’s opinion.

Check out the following video that will make you think twice before throwing Styrofoam in the garbage bin instead of transforming it into something resembling home-made napalm.

Video first seen on MarcelsWorkshop.

The general idea is that mixing gasoline with Styrofoam you’ll get a sticky substance that burns slowly which makes for an awesome fire starter. Just imagine you’ll have to make a fire in an outdoors emergency situation and all you have for combustible is damp wood/cardboard, it’s windy and you’re cold and tired, you got the picture.

The Styrofoam fire starter is a must-have item for your bug out bag or your survival kit as it’s dirt cheap and highly efficient. This home-made napalm will transform you into a modern Prometheus in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Styrofoam for Insulation

Now, if you remember that Styrofoam makes for an awesome insulating material, how about using it for protecting you from extreme cold weather?

To upgrade your clothes with Styrofoam for surviving in harsh climates is relatively easy and it doesn’t require mad sawing skills or special tools. All you have to do is to gather a few pieces of Styrofoam, a sharp tool (a knife will do), very large shirts/pants, Velcro strips and a can of urethane glue.

The idea is to use the Styrofoam for filling your mittens, lining your parka etc. by trim fitting your clothes/shoes with pieces of Styrofoam. This procedure is simple and highly effective, but remember: for best results, the Styrofoam must be worn next to your skin.

You can also make knee pads/bun pads from Styrofoam in case you want to sit/kneel on snow or ice for extended periods of time.

Basically, using Styrofoam you can live comfortably when confronted with extremely low temperatures and even if you’ll look fat, at least you’ll be warm and you’ll live to fight another day. And that’s the name of the game when it comes to survival, doesn’t it?

Also, speaking of insulation, you can build yourself an improvised shelter in a very cold environment, something like a cardboard shelter to preserve your body heat. A tight and well insulated shelter will use your body heat for warming it up and for best results, you should use Styrofoam due to its excellent insulating properties.

For example, you can take a big cardboard box, like a refrigerator box or a big screen TV box or whatever is available for improvising an outside shelter, wrapped in plastic sheet on the outside to keep the moisture away and insulated on the inside with Styrofoam. You can use duct tape or glue for fixing the Styrofoam plates on the cardboard.

Styrofoam for Boiling Water

I bet you never thought about boiling water using a Styrofoam cup, did you? Well, it’s doable. Check out the video below and you’ll see how.

Video first seen on Zack Of All Trades.

Even if most people can’t believe you can achieve that, the trick is to let your fire burn down into a nice bed of coals. The next step is to put your water-filled Styrofoam cup on the coal bed, not on the open flame, that’s all there is to it.

Boiling water is the best thing to do if you want to get rid of bacteria and microbes, hence here goes another survival use of Styrofoam.

Styrofoam for Lifesaving Jackets

Styrofoam pellets can be transformed into improvised life jackets (you just fill a bag with the stuff and hang on to it) or you can even build a life raft from Styrofoam planks, as it’s highly buoyant. Here’s a video about DIYing a cool Styrofoam life jacket for emergencies using basic/readily available materials and tools, like wrapping film, stockings and blocks of Styrofoam.

Video first seen on waqashassanansari.

And here’s another video about homemade rafts using Styrofoam, with the frames welded together and the Styrofoam taped onto the respective frames, making for an excellent survival raft which holds the water impeccably.

Video first seen on RedneckInnovation.

Styrofoam for Casting Metal

Another interesting and potentially survival-related feature of Styrofoam is to use it for casting purposes. Check out this video and learn how to use Styrofoam for casting metal in an emergency. The possibilities are endless.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

This technique is called lost foam casting and it can be used for building any number of basic tools or even (stabbing) weapons, provided you have the ingredients, i.e. aluminum, sand and enough Styrofoam.

Now, let’s see about a couple of not-so-dramatic uses for Styrofoam.

For example, you can use a small piece of the respective stuff to hold small nails into place instead of using your fingers for that, thus avoiding bashing your thumb/forefinger.

If you’re in a SHTF situation, hands are very important and you’ll have to remain functional 100%, right? So, use a small piece of Styrofoam for steadying the nail against the wall instead of your fingers and live to fight another day!

Also, you may use Styrofoam peanuts for buffering sharp objects like awls inside your tool box, thus avoiding injury and staying healthy in an emergency situation.


I hope the article helped. If you have any other ideas or questions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.


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10 Foods To Solve Your Medical Crisis

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You are what you eat, the ancestors used to say. When it comes to survival, what you eat can save you more than you imagine.

Food is one of those things that you desperately need for survival (remember the rule of three?), but it also helps you healing wounds, literally, and solve unexpected medical crisis.

We found 10 foods that work best as medicine in medical emergencies, put them together and built the cool infographic that you see below.

10 foods for medical crisis

Share this knowledge with you friends!

NewSMDCover3This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

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DIY Projects: How To Re-purpose Old CDs 

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Survivopedia Re-purpose Old CSs

Today’s article is about an almost extinct technology, the dinosaur of today’s modern digital media. Yes indeed, the good ole compact disc is near the end of its life cycle because it’s been almost completely replaced by USB drives, flash sticks and things of that higher-tech nature.

But what can we do with the zillions of CDs already in existence? Throw them away in the garbage can?

That’s not what a super-prepper would do; au contraire, waste is not cool in my book, as I’m all about recycling when it makes sense and repurpose as much as possible. Hence, today’s piece will present you with a few ideas about how to re-purpose your old CD collection.


Are you ready? Let’s start with…

1. How to make a solar panel (using your old Metallica CD collection, boot legs included)!

It sounds relatively implausible, I know. I mean, how on earth can you build a solar panel using shiny old plastic disks? Well, this is not a “real” solar panel, but it makes good use of the CD’s reflective surface for creating a solar heating panel. It’s a very simple and efficient project that even your kids could finish in a couple of hours.

Materials required for the CD solar panel:

  • super glue,
  • cardboard,
  • measuring tape,
  • a couple of dozen CDs (depending on the size of your window),
  • a utility knife,
  • a pencil,
  • a clear plastic drop cloth,
  • a few S hooks,
  • scissors,
  • an awl,
  • black spray paint,
  • masking tape.

You probably already have the gear, so let’s move it along.

Directions: The first step is to measure the width and the length of your window. Use your utility knife to cut a piece of cardboard using those measurements and adding four inches to the previous window measurements – add8 inches extra for the width and 8 inches extra for the length. For example, a 20 inch by 30 inch window will require a cardboard piece of 2 inches by 38 inches.

Next, use the black spray paint on the cardboard piece, and paint one side completely black (black is excellent for its heat retention capability). Let the paint dry completely and if necessary, add one more paint coating for best results.

In the next step, you’ll have to form a box from the cardboard piece, by cutting a four inch square from each of its corners, then bending the sides of the cardboard in such a way that the corners meet i.e. making for a box with the black painted side inside. Now you must use the masking tape for taping up the corners.

The CDs are now ready to be put inside the box in rows with the shiny metal side out. Make sure the rows are as even as humanly possible. You’ll have some wiggle room left, but that’s not a problem. Just make sure that the bottom row of CDs touches the bottom side of the cardboard box, and the same story goes for the top row – it should touch the top of the cardboard box.

Next, use a pencil for tracing the center holes of the CD rows (both top and bottom), then remove them and using your utility knife, cut the holes out. Next, you’ll glue the CDs with super glue over the holes. After that, you’ll glue down the rest of the CDs, but remember to leave a tiny space below the top and above the bottom row. Also, allow for some space below and above the center row.

It’s time to cut 4 rectangles out of the left-over cardboard, four inches wide and 3 quarters of your box’s width. Glue the rectangles into your box like maze walls, on the edge. The first rectangle will be placed above the bottom CD row/against the left side of the cardboard box, the second below the center row/against the right side, the 3rd above the center row/against the left side and the 4th below the top row/against the right side. After you’ve finished, allow the glue to dry for a few hours.

The final step is to cut a piece of plastic drop cloth, three inches longer/wider than your cardboard box then stretch it over the top, gluing it well over the sides,  making it as airtight as you can. Let the glue dry overnight, then make 2 holes in the upper corners of your cardboard box and introduce S hooks in each hole.

Now you can hang the solar thermal panel on your window, preferably on a south-facing one for best results, and benefit from free heat.

2.  Tesla CD powered-turbine

Using plain old recycled CDs, you can actually build a working turbine.

The Tesla turbine is very different from regular ones, as it uses just disks, working on the boundary layer effect principle. For this DIY project, you’ll require

  • CD spindle,
  • CDs,
  • glue pipe fittings.

Obviously, this is a beginner project and functions on garden-hose pressure. However, the same idea/design can be used with an air compressor. It’s extremely versatile and useful.

The CD turbine project comes with a unique design which doesn’t require bearings, seals, or a moving shaft; it’s almost frictionless. This particular design can run on either air or water pressure, mainly for fun purposes.

The materials required are half a dozen hot glue sticks, methylene chloride for welding the CDs to each other, ABS to PVC cement, PVC pipe primer, ¾ inch PVC plastic pipe, garden hose shut off valve, 1-1/2 inch plastic tube or straw, CD spindle with cover, Orbit WaterMaster Extension Nozzle Model 91129 and of course, CDs.

The tools needed for the job are a utility knife, a glue gun, sand paper and a dremel tool if you have one (optional). Here’s a video tutorial or read this Survivopedia article for detailed instructions for this project.

Video first seen on MrfixitRick.

3. Secret Safe

Too much high tech for today? Let’s see about how to build a secret safe using old CDs, and keep it simple folks!

Check out this cool video tutorial. I find it very interesting – I mean a stash of old CDs transformed into a secret safe for your money and valuables? Pretty smart, don’t you think?

Video first seen on Shake the Future.

4. Old CDs for Pest Control

The next project is even easier and more fun, as it involves using CDs for pest control, and I don’t mean playing your favorite CD from a boom box to scare the crows out of the field (though that might work, too).

The idea is to hang old CDs from a fishing lane around the perimeter you want to secure from pests, and as the wind blows, they move. Their random movement, together with the prism effect, will (hopefully) scare the garden-gobbling birds away from your property.

Video first seen on eHow.

5. DIY Lamp from Old CDs

Now, let’s see about how to make a lamp from recycled CDs in just 2 minutes with absolutely no tools required. If you still own stacks and stacks of unused CDs lying around your room (like your truly, I just can’t let them go), why not put them to good use?

The easiest and smartest way for DIYing a lamp using old CDs is to slide a source of light down the middle of the CD stack. Pure genius, right?

The problem is that you’ll have a hard time finding a fluorescent tube thin enough to fit that tiny hole, so you’ll have to buy under cabinet LED lights, as they come in thin strips that will perfectly fit the core of the CD stack.

Also LED lighting doesn’t produce much heat like regular bulbs or fluorescent ones, hence you’re in no danger of setting your house on fire. Here’s a video tutorial, enjoy.

Video first seen on HACKADAY.

The CD repurposing adventure stops here, with an interesting video that depicts even more uses for old CDs, such as turning them into USB-powered fans or even a clock.

Video first seen on MultiPenat.

I hope the article helped and you’ll have tons of fun tinkering around with your old CD collection.

If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. And if you are in the mood for DIYing something bigger, click on the banner below to find out how to build the ultimate survival shelter on a budget! Good luck, have fun folks!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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22 Ways To Use Baking Soda For Your Homestead

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SVP baking soda

We all have at least one box of baking soda in the house. You probably use if for such tasks as deodorizing your refrigerator and making biscuits.

If that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing out! Baking soda is one of the best multi-purpose products that you can have.

Today we’re going to discuss some other uses of baking soda for survival.

Baking soda is something that you should be stockpiling in large amounts. You’ll need it for cooking and for many other uses. Since it’s so versatile, it will be one of the first things to disappear off the shelves if supply lines are disrupted to stores. Best to stock it now.

1. Toothpaste

You’ve probably noticed that many commercial whitening types of toothpaste contain baking soda. The main reason is because of the mildly abrasive quality but it also eliminates bacteria that cause bad breath.

In an emergency, you can use straight baking soda, or you can find some good recipes using more palatable recipes in this article.

2. Deodorant

The best things about using baking soda for deodorant are that it’s effective and odorless. Just pat a little on under your arms and you’re good to go. You can also get fancy and use base products such as coconut oil and essential oils if scents aren’t an issue.

If you’d like a couple basic recipes, check out this article. You’ll also learn how to make soap and laundry detergent.

3. Make soap

There’s obviously not enough room in your bug-out bag for all of your cosmetic products, so baking soda is the way to go. Just make a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water, rub it onto your body, then rinse.

Just as with deodorant and toothpaste, you can get fancy with it, but in a survival situation, this will do just fine.

4. Take the itch out of bug bites

Just make a paste with a bit of water and rub it onto the bug bite. The itching will be relieved within a couple minutes.

5. Get rid of heartburn or upset stomach

Baking soda is great for getting rid of occasional heartburn or sour stomach but it’s not recommended for regular use because it can actually cause conditions such as acid reflux to worsen because it messes with your acid production.

6. Remove the oil from your hair

Baking soda absorbs both moisture and odor. In a survival situation when you don’t have access to abundant water (or just a day when you don’t feel like washing your hair!), sprinkle some baking soda at your roots, work it onto your scalp and through your hair, then brush it out.

7. Fungal infections

Baking soda has been shown to kill fungal infections but I personally have had better success when mixing it with equal parts apple cider vinegar. ACV is another of those items that you should be stockpiling, or you can learn how to make it here. If you don’t have vinegar, make a paste with water and baking soda and rub on the fungus.

Some examples of fungal infections that you may have to worry about are yeast infections (men and babies can get these, too!), athlete’s foot, and jock itch. Baking soda will soothe it, too.

8. Sooth burns

Baking soda is wonderful for soothing minor burns, windburn and sunburns. Just make a paste and rub it on. Again, apple cider vinegar is great for this, too.

9. Soothe irritated or rough skin

Baking soda is great for helping with diaper rash or irritated skin so toss a couple of tablespoons into baby’s bath or a 1/4 cup into yours. It also softens skin.

10. Rehydrate

Dehydration is a huge concern in a survival situation. Usually water will do the trick but if you’ve been sweating excessively, you need to replace that salt and other electrolytes or else you can get extremely sick, or even die.

Baking soda consists of sodium and bicarbonate, so it’s helpful with hydration. Use 2 quarts water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda and on tsp salt substitute. You can throw some sugar or fruit juice in for flavor and glucose if you want, too.

Salt substitute is another great product to stockpile because it’s actually potassium chloride, and your body needs potassium to properly use salt.

11. General cleaning

If you decide to bug in, or just want a cheap, natural, effective cleaning product, baking soda will do the trick. Because it’s abrasive, it’s great for cleaning grout, tiles, sinks, ovens, stoves, and tubs. Just be sure to rinse it well.baking soda info

12. Keep your latrine or septic tank working well

Baking soda helps balance the pH in your SHTF latrine or your septic tank, which helps the bacteria to break down the waste more effectively. It does, of course, also have a bit of deodorizing effect but not much in this situation.

13. Freshen bedding and carpets

Unless you’re an unusual prepper who doesn’t think about losing power, you probably aren’t stockpiling any of those powdered, scented carpet products. Here’s some news for you – most of those aren’t nearly as effective as plain old baking soda, and if you look, most of them CONTAIN baking soda.

Baking soda absorbs odors out of carpets, and it’s also great for freshening your bedding (camp or household). Just sprinkle it on your carpet or bedding, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum or sweep it away.

14. Keep your coolers from smelly funky

You know that weird musty smell that hits you in the face when you open a cooler that’s been closed for a while? Baking soda will help with that. Either pop a box in it when you store it, or sprinkle some in it 24 hours before you use it, then rinse it out.

15. Help your laundry detergent work better

Whether you’re using homemade detergent or a commercial product, adding some baking soda to the wash helps balance the pH. It makes your soap more effective.

In a SHTF scenario, you can actually use just baking soda to clean your clothes. Make a paste and rub it onto dirty or greasy spots, then use a bit more (a quarter cup or so) in your wash basin to clean and deodorize the rest of your clothes.

16. Make great coffee

Even if (or especially if) you’re in the woods in a survival situation, coffee is likely on your list of “really, really want to haves”. Sprinkling a little baking soda or a small pinch of salt over your grounds will remove that bitter taste. No need to wait til SHTF though – try it tomorrow morning!

17. Making baked goods

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any baking powder, you can mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar.

18. Put out a fire

Unintentional fires are never good, survival situation or not. Keep a box of baking soda next to your stove or campfire to put out fires. Just sprinkle it on. It’s natural and unlike some products, it works on regular fires, grease fires and electrical fires.

19. Clean your iron skillets

It’s taken you forever to get your skillets seasoned and the last thing that you want to do is use harsh detergents or scrubbers to get food off of them. Baking soda is your friend here! Just empty your pan as well as you can and sprinkle some baking soda into it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it out and rinse if you have access to water.

If the food is really stuck on, you can make a paste.

20. Repel rabbits and other garden pests

I’ve never tried this but I have friends who swear that sprinkling baking soda around their beds repels rabbits that want to munch on their veggies. They also swear that it sweetens their tomatoes, too.

21. Repel roaches and ants

Keeping some baking soda under your counters and in your cabinets can help keep these pests away.

22. Make a fun clay for the kids

Toys may be at a premium if SHTF and you’re going to want to keep the little ones occupied. Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part corn starch then add enough water to make it a bit runny. Cook until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes, let it cool, and you’ve got entertainment for hours or until the clay dries. T

his also hardens when it’s molded and is great for making those keepsake handprint plates.


There are, of course, a hundred more uses of baking soda in everyday life but I wanted to target survival purposes. I’m sure, as versatile as it is, that I’ve missed many good uses, so if you know of any, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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10 Multipurpose Landscaping Elements That Boost Security

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10 Multipurpose Landscaping Elements That Boost Security Use your landscaping elements to boost security. I never really thought about this side of prepping before. I am so glad I stumbled upon this article because I will be implementing some of these this year. Spring’s is here! While you prepare for another round of gardening and …

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What You Need To Know About Using Wool For Survival

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big wool

Cashmere sweaters, fleece socks and woolen blazers; wool has held a place in our lives for eons, and for good reason. This wonderful textile has many qualities including elasticity, fire-resistance, durability and resilience that make it an excellent medium for a wide array of purposes.

Wool absorbs moisture more effectively than cotton, wicks it away from your skin, and dries faster than any other fiber.

The survival uses of wool are probably way more than you can imagine, just off the top of your head. Before we get into the actual uses, let’s discuss these qualities; it’s elastic, fire-resistant, and resilient.

Now, let’s talk about the survival uses of wool maybe you’ll get some ideas that we haven’t thought of yet!

Where Does Wool Come From?

The answer here seems obvious, right? Wool comes from sheep. That’s right, but it’s not a complete answer. Wool can come from a wide variety of animals; sheep, yaks, rabbits, alpacas, llamas, oxen, camels, and even goats. Each of these animals provides wool that is great for a variety of uses, though sheep wool is probably the most versatile because there are so many different breeds of sheep.

Though nearly every sheep has wool, some of it is fine and suited to clothing, while other sheep produce wool that is too course; it’s best used for stuffing or for carpeting. You’ve likely heard of wool made from rabbits, though you may not realize it; that beautifully soft angora sweater that you love to wear is made from rabbit fur.

The wonderful thing about wool is that, regardless of what animal it comes from, the animal isn’t harmed during the process. As a matter of fact, removing the wool (called shearing) actually makes the animal more comfortable.

There are different grades of wool, which is determined by the diameter of the fiber and the crimp. The crimp is exactly what it sounds like; the amount of wave in the hair. Generally, the more crimp wool has, the finer it is.

Some of the finest wool is Merino, which comes from the Merino sheep. This is excellent for clothing. Wool with less crimp is coarser and better suited for use as carpets, batting or insulation inside jackets.

Historically, wool was used by just about everybody because of its ability to hold in heat and wick away moisture from the skin but a particular wool was used by sailors for sweaters. Usually wool is cleaned of its natural lanolin and treated before it’s spun into wool, but sailors’ wives left the lanolin in the wool for extra waterproofing.

The wives also wove patterns into sweaters with different meanings. For instance, some patterns may represent safe sailing while others may convey plentiful fishing. Irish women also made sweaters for men who they were interested in as a way to show off her knitting skills, thus showing her readiness to be a good wife.

Who knew sweaters had such an interesting history? Anyway, back to wool and its many uses for survival.

7 Types of Wool

These are just a few types of wool, but it will give you a good idea of where to start. These are the most commonly used types of wool, but you can use what you have in a pinch. On the flip side, you may also choose to select some of your survival animals based on this information.

  • Alpaca: Fine, silky, and warmer than sheep’s wool. It’s great for just about any type of clothing, though it may not have the durability of coarser wools if you need something tough.
  • Angora: Has excellent heat retention and is great for thermal underclothes. It’s soft and lightweight, which makes it extremely comfortable.
  • Camel Hair: Comes from the underbelly of a camel and is extremely fine and soft. It’s the best insulating of all wools, which makes it great for lining coats and winter boots. Beware though because it’s not very durable.
  • Merino: This is a more traditional type of wool that comes from the Merino sheep. It’s softer than other sheep fleece and has excellent moisture wicking properties, while the outside of the wool will repel water. Great for clothing of any sort that you want to be comfortable and dry in. Makes a good blanket, too.
  • Mohair: We’ve all heard of Mohair suits thanks to a popular seventies song but you probably don’t know that it comes from a goat. It’s fine and lustrous but works as well as Merino at wicking moisture and insulating. Its sheen makes it more attractive but don’t let the good looks fool you; it’s as durable (if not more so) as sheep wool.
  • Cashmere: Ahh, the luxury. A cashmere sweater is known for its softness and warmth and also comes from a goat: the Kashmir goat to be exact. It’s a fine wool, and not quite as durable as other types.
  • Llama: This fiber has a lustrous appearance much like alpaca hair but it’s weaker and coarser. If you need something warm and light, and durability isn’t an issue, this is a great fiber.

There are, of course, many different types of wools from sheep because there are numerous breeds but that’s an entirely different article. To learn more about different sheep breeds and which ones are best for wool, check out my other article here.


This is the obvious use of wool. We’ve already touched on a few reasons why wool is good for clothing, but now we need to touch on which types of wool are best. You want to use wool that is fine with a higher crimp. Wool from Merino sheep, Angora rabbits, alpacas, camels and goats all produce fine wool that is excellent for clothing.

If you’re making your own yarn, you’ll have to scour it to get the debris out of it, then carded, combed and spun into yarn. Then, of course, the yarn is knitted into sweaters, socks, mittens, scarves, coats, or basically any garment that you need.

The exact method is outside of the scope of this article, but it’s quite the process, but perfectly doable if you have fleece-producing animals and the proper equipment. The process will differ a bit if you opt to leave the lanolin in the wool.

types of wool

Household Items

Wool can be used to make many different household items, too. Tablecloths, curtains, rugs, and blankets made from wool are not only beautiful; they’re functional and long-lasting, too.

And remember, since wool is relatively fire-resistant, that makes it a good fiber for any of these uses because they’ll slow the spread of fire if, heaven forbid, you ever have to face that. Their insulating properties help keep heat inside the house, too.

Many carpets are still made from wool, though it’s admittedly often more expensive than synthetic fibers. Wools used for making household products are typically courser than clothing-grade wool. Though they’re not as soft, they are much more durable. Felted wool is also used as carpet padding.

Batting and Stuffing

Because of its insulating properties, wool is often used as batting for quilts, stuffing for coats, and insulation in home-made potholder mittens.

You could also use raw wool to stuff your pillows or to add the stuffing to homemade stuffed animals.

Barn Uses

Saddle blankets, horse blankets, padding underneath saddle pads and shining brushes are all good ways to use wool in the barn.

Yarn is used for the saddle blankets and horse blankets (used to keep horses warm at night or in cold weather) while wool fluff is used to pad the inside of the saddle pad as well as the back of the pad that touches the horse so that he doesn’t get sores from the saddle. Wads of wool are awesome to shine your horse’s coat or buff your car.

Protecting Fragile or Valuable Items

Fleece, wool straight off the animal and just cleaned, can be used as a liner in clothes and gloves or as padding to tuck away fragile items. Wool can also be felted, which is a process that’s used to pound it together into flat, woven pieces that can be used to line boxes, gun racks, or any other container in which you’d like to store items that you don’t want scratched, or that you’d like to keep insulated.

This felt can also be used to clean your weapons or to pad them in their boxes. You can also line your rifle strap with it, or with fleece. Speaking of lining things with fleece, you can line your purse straps, backpack straps, or even your blankets with the soft, fluffy comfort of this gift from your animals; after all, they use it to keep warm, so why shouldn’t you?

As you can see, there are many uses for wool in its various states, and I’m sure that there are many more that I haven’t even touched on that many. Truly, the survival uses of wool are limited only by your imagination! If you can think of other uses for wool, please tell us about your ideas in the comments section below.

Survivopedia The Lost Ways

This article has been written byt Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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10 Secrets To Choose Your Tools For Homesteading

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ToolsWhen you are on a tight budget, it is very tempting to buy the cheapest tools you can find. For example, if you need handsaw, you may be inclined to pick one up in a dollar store and then hope that it will get you through a few projects.

While these, and other tools may get you through a small project, they can also be very dangerous and of little or no use in a crisis situation.

The tools you have on hand may well need to last for decades or even be passed along for generations before suitable replacements can be made and distributed at an affordable price. That’s why, when choosing tools for your homestead, or other bug in needs, you should keep the following ten points in mind.

1. How Versatile Is the Tool?

If you live in an apartment or a tiny home, then you are always going to be worried about how much room to allocate for tools.

In some cases, you will be best served by looking for tools that can accomplish a wide range of jobs without being ruined.  At other times, you may need a tool that can be used for some applications, and then have a second tool that will do something similar.

Unless you need a particular tool for a specialized job, aim for the most durable multi-purpose tools you can find. Here are the factors to consider, especially when buying drill bits and cutting blades:

  • A drill bit or cutting blade listed for use on wood or plastic will most likely be ruined if you try to use it on metal.
  • Simply choosing the cheapest metal working bits isn’t much better than buying bits and blades for wood. For example, a drill bit designed to go through corrugated aluminum may not even go through a tin can.
  • When choosing bits and blades, you are best served by getting the best possible metal working bits and blades. These will cut and drill through just about anything, and also last far longer than other types.

While you’re assessing tool versatility, think about the range of applications and how well it will perform each task.

In some case, a few less specialized tools will actually be of more use. For example, you might think that a large toothed, large saw blade is the best option for all your woodworking or metal cutting needs. On the other hand, if you need to cut curves or work with a smaller, more delicate piece of material, then a coping saw will be of more use.

And there are always going to be times when you need socket wrenches to get into places where you cannot use a monkey wrench. There is a newer wrench on the market that basically uses a set of bearings to create an adjustable socket wrench. Keep one of these onhand for survival needs since it can be adjusted to both large and small socket sizes.

There is simply no telling how quickly this particular wrench type will wear out or how much strain it can take. If you want to keep one of these onhand, then work with it and put it through as much testing as possible, and then keep a brand new one aside for survival needs.

You should also keep good quality conventional metric and standard socket sets on hand just in case the multiple socket wrench fails.

2. How Long Is it Guaranteed to Last?

Do you remember the days when vehicle engines, transmissions, and drive trains were guaranteed to last well over 100,000 miles? If so, then you may also remember that a four year old car was considered relatively new instead of at the end of its best years.

As with cars, the warranties on many tools made today is much less. While you can still get good quality tools that will last a long time, nothing says trust in quality like a manufacturer that will guarantee the tools for life. Even though the manufacturer may be driven out of business by a major social collapse, neither you nor they will know when that will happen. Therefore, lifetime warranties can be used as one of the indicators of tool quality.

If you have a choice between a cheaper tool with a limited warranty and one with a lifetime warranty, go for the latter even if is a bit more expensive. Remember, you might use this tool for decades on end or even pass it along to the next generation. No matter whether the tool in question is a screwdriver bit set, pliers, or other hand tools, buying the best will pay off in the long run.

3. Are There Older Versions of the Tool that Might Be Cheaper and More Durable?

As with cars and just about everything else in stores these days, you will find that things just aren’t as durable as they used to be. From that perspective, you may actually be able to save some money and get good quality tools by visiting the local flea markets.

In some cases, older, well maintained tools may actually be more durable and work better than newer ones. Just stay away from ones that are excessively worn or show signs of deep rusting. Here are some tools that you can consider purchasing second hand in the vintage section:

  • Hand power drills. These devices can truly last for decades and beyond even if they show some signs of wear. Make sure that you can get drill bits into it, and that they will not slip when you apply pressure from the crank or other hand levers.
  • Coping saw frames and hacksaw frames.  As with other tools, make sure these are free of rust and that they are solid across the entire frame.  Try to fit a new blade into them and make sure that the handle and blade holding areas will not give way under a work load.
  • Any hand tool that has screws or other tightening apparatus that can be adjusted. Check that the adjusters have not been sheared off, are rusty, or stuck in place. In some cases you may be able to revive these tools, however it may be best to look for something in better condition.

4. What Kind of Maintenance Does It Need?

Even the best quality tools may require oiling, cleaning, and other kinds of maintenance, so you’ll need to store away appropriate cleaners and lubricants. Other details may also be overlooked:

  • Some types of steel blade need to be stored away from humidity. While they may work fine on a daily basis, storing them in a pre-crisis situation can be a bit difficult. For example, if you don’t oil them once a month or use them on a regular basis, they may rust and be nothing but reddish dust when you open your survival bin. Even if you feel that your tools will resist rust and corrosion, examine them on a monthly basis even if you aren’t using them.
  • Blades, drill bits, and other tools are apt to wear down and need replacing. Depending on the blade type, you may be able to sharpen it several times before having to discard it. Have a good quality sharpener onhand, and use it as often as needed.

5. Does the Tool Require Replacement Parts?

If you visit a hardware store, you are sure to be amazed at the growing number of variations on common tools. For example, where you may have once bought a simple set of Philips and flathead screwdrivers, now you may be faced with an array of bits, ratcheting handles, power screwdrivers, reversible drill screwdrivers, and cordless screwdrivers.

When it comes to your survival toolkit, don’t put all your reliance on power tools. Aside from problems with EMPs, battery operated tools will never be as strong as those with a power cord. Power tools are truly wonderful to use and very convenient, but they will be worse than useless if you do not have electricity to power them.

Oddly enough, even the most simple hand tools these days may require replacement parts. For example, even though you can buy screwdriver bit sets with dozens of bits in them, they tend to be less durable than full bodied screwdrivers.

When it comes to bit sets, even high quality ones will shear or wear down very quickly. You can, and should keep a high quality set onhand plus a ratcheting handle, but do not overlook full bodied screwdrivers. At the very least, you should have a few of the most popular sizes plus the short shank counterparts for tight areas.

Saws, drills, and other key tools also require replacement parts from time to time. If there is anything that you should stockpile, these items will be more important than anything else. Without a spare blade to replace one that is worn or broken, it will be impossible to complete a number of tasks. When it comes to bugging in, this is truly one place were storing more is better than storing away less.

6. What Kind of Activities Will Ruin It?

Have you ever used a screwdriver to open a can of paint, or the back of a glass cutter to rap on a stubborn jar lid? If so, then you know that some tools are only limited by your imagination.

On the other hand, there are many woodworking tools that cannot be used on metal or plastic. There are also many metal working tools that cannot be used on solid metals or denser metals than they were designed for.

Always read manufacturer specs carefully so that you know what the limits of each tool is. In addition, before adding a tool to your survival stores, be sure to test it out. Try a number of different materials and see how much wear accumulates on the bits or blades.

Pay careful attention to the cutting surfaces. Do they appear darker as if they have been exposed to heat? Did the surface of the blade become even or appear worn?  If any given tool cannot pass these basic tests, then return it to the store immediately and go up to the next highest priced tool. There is absolutely no sense in storing away tools that will wear out after one or two uses when you can replace them now and have confidence in their durability later on.

7. How Best to Use the Tool?

One of the worst things you can do is buy a tool and then figure you will know how to use it when the time comes. For example, even as you read this, you may have hammers, pliers, wrenches, and all kinds of other tools laying around the house. Even though a hammer may seem very simple to use, that does not mean you know how to get the most from it.

Among other things, you may be the type that has to whack a nail several dozen times just to get it through the wood. On the other hand, professional carpenters may be able to drive those nails with a single blow.

Take the time now to learn how to use tools efficiently. Not only will you save wear and tear on the tools, you will find it much easier to complete tasks.

8. How Skilled Are You With the Tool in Question?

Simply reading about how best to use a tool is not the same as actually knowing how to do the job. Consider a situation where you feel that you know how to use a handsaw. Here are just a few things that you may overlook in a time of need. Aside from producing low quality, crooked cuts, some of these problems may actually lead to serious injury.

  • Forgetting to wear goggles when using tools. No matter whether you are cutting, drilling, or shaping wood, metal, plastic, or some other substance, bits of the material will go all over the place. While much of the material may fall as dust at your feet, other bits can very easily get lodged in your eyes. You may at first feel that a bit of sawdust in the eye is a minor inconvenience, but it can scratch the cornea of the eye and leave you with permanent scars that reduce the clarity of your eyesight. If that scratch becomes infected, it can also lead to blindness. Tiny bits of metal can also scratch and do serious damage. If the pieces of metal are big enough, they may also be able to cut blood vessels on the outer portion of the eyeball or in the eyelid.
  • Forgetting to wear a dust mask. If you thought the damage from sawdust or metal bits was bad for your eyes, then you may not realize that it is just as bad on your lungs. Remember that the working parts of your lungs are very fragile, tiny little sacks that allow the exchange of air between the lung tissue and blood vessels. Dust of any kind can ruin them and leave you with steadily decreasing breathing capacity. Though you may not feel it right away, constantly breathing in saw dust or any other type of dust is a true danger to your health.
  • Failure to apply blades and cutting edges in the right direction or angle. Many people feel that as long as the blade is cutting, they are doing things right. On the other hand, adjusting the angle will actually make the work go a lot faster and also prevent damage to the blade itself.
  • Failure to use proper grips and fasteners. Have you ever tried to cut a stick or dowel by bracing it on your leg or the floor? If so, then you may already know that you are wasting a lot of motion and energy trying to keep the material from moving. Always take the time to secure items you are working with using a good quality vice or other fasteners as needed. This is also good practice if you decide to use power tools. Needless to say, if you slip with a hand saw or other hand tool, it can do some serious injury to your hands, arms, or any other body part that gets in the way. If you have the same kind of accident with a power tool, it may well amputate that appendage. In a crisis situation, either type of injury can also  lead to a life threatening infection.


9. Can You Safely Use the Tool Now as Well as if You Are Injured or Disabled?

As time goes by, an aging body often loses the ability to do many things. For example, arthritis or other joint problems may make it harder to turn a screw driver, use a saw, or hammer nails.

Choose tools that will age with you and still be usable if you become disabled or injured. In this case, you should look for aftermarket grips or other accessories that will make the tool easier and safer to work with. Just make sure that you are as comfortable using these grips as you are a tool without these additional parts.

10. Can You Think of Projects and Ways to Use the Tool Now?

One of the best things you can do when assessing tools for survival needs is to use them now as much as possible. Choose a wide range of projects so that you can get plenty of practice as well as find out how durable the tool is. Here are some projects to use on the tools you plan to keep for survival needs:

  • Build wooden toys with many moving parts. This will help you establish a good level of precision with everything from saws and chisels to screwdrivers and nails.
  • Build cabinets, and then shelves that will need to accommodate fairly large amounts of weight.
  • Build toys or other small items from metal. You can start off by building toys from tin cans. This will help you practice bending and cutting metal as well as learn how to gauge the strength of metals. When working with metal, always take extra care to wear gloves in order to protect your hands from sharp, thin bits that are bound to occur.
  • Build a small shed or some other structure where you must assemble an inner frame and then add a roof, floor, and sides.  From there, you can also try building decks and ramps.
  • Take apart an old lawnmower engine and rebuild it to working order. This will help you learn how to clean grimy parts and recognize those that are worn. You will also learn some important things about dissembling and re-assembling basic engines.
  • Take apart an old motorcycle engine and put it back together. This will be an excellent place to learn how to make replacement parts if needed as well as repair and clean basic engine components.
  • Try taking apart and re-assembling a car from bumper to bumper.  While this may take a few years for the weekend hobbyist, it will truly be worth your effort.

As you can see, choosing tools is about far more than having a nice shiny set of sockets and saws hanging on the back wall of your work room. It is about having a small set of tools that you can rely on to help you get any job done and in any situation.

Take the time now to buy good quality tools and then practice with them as much as possible so that you will have both confidence and skill in a time of need.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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How To Use Pine Trees For Survival

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Pine treeIf you find yourself in a survival situation in the middle of a pine forest, you actually have a lot of resources available in your natural surroundings. Most parts of the pine tree have some sort of survival use including the bark, sticky resin, and wood which is a good fire starter.

Resin is a liquid which is stored in the outer cells of pine tree’s branches and trunk. When a tree is cut or when a branch is cut off, resin oozes out and clogs the broken area similar to the way blood clots in wounds. Resin is normally red and clear. It starts off in a highly viscous state, and then as the damaged area heals, the resin gets harder.

How to Identify Pine Trees and Growth Habits

There are many different species of pine trees. They generally prefer open and sunny terrain for optimal growth. They are found abundantly throughout North America, Central America, Europe, parts of North Africa, in the Caribbean region, and in Asia.

Pine trees grow in an inverted cone-shaped, and can be referred to as evergreen coniferous resinous trees. They rarely grow as shrubs, and grow between nine and a half feet on the smaller side to about 260 feet on the tall side.

They can also be recognized by their bundles of needle like leaves which grow in clusters, as opposed to having single needles emerging from the branch. If the needles emerged singly from a branch, the tree is more likely to be a spruce or a fir instead of a pine.

Pine bark is usually reddish brown in color and grows in a rectangular scale like pattern around the trunk of the tree. The bark of most pine trees is thick with square scales. Some species have flaky bark that you can easily pick off with your fingers.

Most pine branches are produced in a very tight spiral appearance like a ring of branches arising from the same point. The new spring shoots are sometimes called candles, because they are covered in the brown or whitish bud scales and point upward at first, then later on turn green and spread outward.

Pine trees are long-lived, typically reaching ages of 100 years old to over a thousand years old. For example, one of the oldest living trees, now cut down, was dated at over 4900 years old. The age of the tree, which was located in the White Mountains of California, was obtained by counting the tree rings.

Pines have four types of leaves.

  • Seed leaves: Are located on seedlings.
  • Juvenile leaves: Which follow immediately on seedlings and young plants. They are green or blue green in color, and arrange spirally on the shoot. These are produced for the first 6 months to 5 years.
  • Scale leaves: Similar to bud scales, small brown, and arrange spirally like the juvenile leaves.
  • Needles: These are the adult leaves which are green, bundled, and clusters. The needles persist from one and a half – 40 years, depending on the species. If one shoot is damaged, the needle fascicles just below the damaged area will generate a bud which can then replace the lost pine needles.

Most pine trees have both male and female cones on the same tree. The male cones are usually smaller than the female cones and are only present for a short period, usually in the spring to the autumn, and fall as soon as they have shed their pollen.

The female cones take 1.5-3 years to mature after pollination, with actual fertilization delayed by 1 year. At maturity the female cones are from 3 to 12 inches long depending upon variety. Each cone has numerous spirally arranged scales with two seeds on each fertile scale. The scales at the base and the tip of the cones are small and sterile, with no seeds.

Pin tree seeds are usually small, winged, and dispensed by the wind. Others are larger and have only a vestigial wing. These are usually dispersed by birds. At maturity, the female cones usually open to release the seeds. In some other species, they are only released when birds break open the cones. In others, the seeds are stored in closed cones for many years until the environmental cue triggers the cones to open then releasing the seeds.

The most common way that pine cone seeds are spread is by forest fires. The cone is is kept closed by a coating of resin. When there is a forest fire the heat melts the resin off the cones and the seeds are scattered by the hot winds of the forest fire.

Pine trees grow well in acid soils, but most require good soil drainage, preferring sandy soils. Some pine trees will tolerate poorly drained wet soils. A few species of pines are able to sprout after forest fires, and actually need the help of fire to regenerate their populations.

These species slowly decline under fire suppression regimes. Some species have adapted to extreme conditions imposed by elevation and latitude. While other pines are particularly well adapted to growth in hot, dry, and semi desert climates.

The many uses of pine trees

Pines are valued worldwide for their timber and wood pulp. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that grow in relatively dense stands where their acidic, decaying needles inhibit sprouting of competing hardwoods.

Commercial pines are grown in plantations for timber that is denser, more resinous, and therefore more durable than spruce. Pine wood is widely used in high valued carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing.

The resin of some species is an important source of turpentine. Many pine species make attractive ornamental plantings for parks and larger gardens with a variety of dwarf pines being suitable for smaller spaces.

Pines are also commercially grown and harvested for Christmas trees. Pine cones, the largest and the most durable of all conifer cones, are craft favorites. Pine needles are also used for making decorative articles like baskets, trays, and pots. Pine needle handicrafts are made in the US, Canada, Mexico Nicaragua, and India.

Because Pines have no insect or decay resistant qualities after logging, they are generally recommended for construction as indoor use only. This wood, when left outside can be expected to last no more than 12 to 18 months depending on the local climate.

For food – some species have large seeds called pine nuts that are harvested and sold for cooking and baking. The soft, moist, white inner bark found clinging to the woody outer bark is edible and very high in vitamins A & C. It can be eaten raw and slices as a snack or dried and ground up into a powder to be used as a thickener in stews, soups, and other foods such as a bark bread.

Survival Uses of Pine Resin

An important use of pine tree resin in a survival setting is to make a torch. The following are the instructions on how to make a pine tree resin torch.

  • Choose a thick green branch pole for the base of the torch.
  • Cut the branch to create a torch head that is several inches wide.
  • Use your knife or saw to remove the branches from the torch pole.
  • To create a receptacle for the resin split the head of the torch pole. Create at least two deep cuts in a crossed configuration.
  • To make the split, use a saw, a hatchet, or an improvised wedge with one sharp-edged rock and another rock as a hammer to pound it in.
  • To hold the splits open, place a small rock at the bottom of the splits. This will form a natural holder for the resin.
  • To locate pine resin on pine trees, look for knots and gouges on the outer bark.
  • To collect resin, scrape it off the tree with a stick.
  • Press resin in the gaps of the slits on the torch head. Continue to fill the space in the splits with resin until the torch head is full.
  • Collect extra resin and place it on a flat rock or tin can if one is available. This can be used to refill your torch for future use.
  • Light the torch when you need it.

If you are going to use the torch in a fixed location, you will have to dig a whole about 1 foot deep and stack rocks around it to keep the torch in place. You must clear the area of all debris before lighting the torch.

If you have a tin can to be used for the pine tree resin holder, this is a lot safer then using a torch pole with splits at the top to hold the resin. If you are using a torch with splits on the top, there is a chance of flaming pieces resin to falling out of the torch and starting a ground fire. If you are using a tin can mounted to the top of the torch, you will not have this problem, or dripping flaming resin falling to the ground and starting unwanted fires.

Heat and light: Pine resin can be used to make a Lamp. Look for a stone with a depression. Next you will need a can, a clam shell or anything else that can be filled with resin. For a wick, use some twisted cloth or a piece of string. Fill the depression with the resin, lay the wick on top, and ignite the wick. The wick material will ignite the resin which will burn like a candle. Add more resin to maintain the flame.

To use pine resin as a heat source, get a metal container, like a drinking can, and punch holes in its side. Place this metal container over the ignited resin. The metal will absorb the heat and conduct it to the surrounding area. This will not heat a large area, but you can get enough heat to warm your hands and your feet.

Pine tree resin is very flammable and can be used as a fire starter. The pine tree knot can be used as a fire starter because of the high quantity of resin in it. If you are using green or wet wood. The tree knot will burn with a high heat and flame to help dry out the wood and help the green wood to burn better.

Another way you can use pine resin to start a fire in damp conditions is to look for some hardened pine resin and some pine sticks. You will see the streaks of resin when you split the pine sticks. Lay some dried pine needles on the resin. Use magnesium shavings and a flint bar to make sparks to ignite the resin. Another way is to use a Ferro rod to ignite the resin and dry pine needles. When you ignite the resin, it will burn long enough to dry the pine needles. Next, you can add small pieces of the pine sticks, which will burn even if somewhat damp because of the resin. Once you have a sizable flame going, you can start drying out other wood.

Pine tree infographic

How to Use Them for First Aid

Pine resin can either be chewed on or made into a beverage by mixing with water. It was known to be very effective in treating stomach ulcers and rheumatoid arthritis. Another medical use of the pine tree is to boil the pine needles to make a tea. This tea has 5 times more vitamin A and C than oranges.

Some also claim that pine resin has healing and antibacterial properties. Use the resin to treat burns, abscesses, and blisters. Like so many “old world”, non-pharmaceutical cures, modern medical experts have refused to verify the medical benefits of pine resin.

When you’re outdoors camping or in a survival situation, cuts and other wounds are bound to happen. Pine resin can be applied directly over the wound to stem the blood flow almost at once. The resin will also inhibit the growth and spread of bacteria because of its sticky nature, which will deny bacteria the moisture it needs to survive. Leave the resin in place until it dries out and then peel it off. The resin will close up the wound the same way stitching it up would. You may reapply resin as needed.

How to make pine pitch glue

  • Collect the resin from the pine tree. (Refer to the section on how to obtain the resin from a tree).
  • Melt the resin. If it ignites, blow out the flame, and move the container so the heat is lessened. Try not to overheat the resin, as the compounds are destroyed the longer they are subjected to heat.
  • Add one part hardwood charcoal powder. This helps temper the resin and reduces its stickiness.
  • Add one part filler material. This can be ground plant material crushed to a fine powder or animal scat or droppings dried and ground up. In a pinch you may also substitute sawdust, bone dust, or animal hair. The filling material help strengthen the glue compound.
  • If you wish to make the glue more flexible so it can be easily worked, add one part fat, tallow, or beeswax to the mixture.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • To help apply the liquid pitch, find a short green stick and repeatedly strike one end of the green stick on a hard surface to create bristles in the wood. This will make a nice, but crude paint brush to apply the liquid pitch. Another way to make a brush is simply chew on one end of the green stick.
  • After the glue dries it will resemble hardened glass unless you choose to add beeswax or fat in which case it will be more elastic.

How to save the extra pine pitch glue

  • Dried pine pitch glue can be reheated to converted back to its liquid state.
  • Dip a stick into the mixture and remove, allowing the glob of glue to harden on the stick.
  • Re-dip the stick to add additional layers of glue.
  • As the resin glue cools you may wish to roll it between your hands to compress and shape it.
  •  The finished pine pitch glue can then be carried with you and reheated when needed.

Pine pitch glue has thousands of uses in survival situations. Here are just a few that you should keep in mind:

With the pitch glue, it is possible to make or repair the following items:

  • Form fish hooks
  • Repair holes in water containers and food containers.
  • Repair the soles of your shoes
  • Apply feathers to a homemade arrows
  • Harden the end of hunting spears to keep them from splintering.
  • Apply to the material you want to make waterproof such as the lower half of your hiking boots.
  •  In boats to prevent leaks.
  • When using pitch to repair holes in canvas or heavy nylon, lay the material flat where the rip or the seam is exposed. Once the pitch is heated to a liquid form, apply using your homemade paint brush.

How to Collect Tree Resin

When you’re collecting your pine tree resin be conservation minded. First, look for damaged and fallen limbs before you purposely cut into a pine tree to harvest the resin. If you have to damage the tree do it in a small area on one side of the tree only. Only take as much as you need, because you must allow some resin to remain on the tree so it can protect the cut and to prevent boring insects from destroying the tree.

To begin with and to get the best results, find a mature, live, good size, and tightly barked pine tree for collecting the pine resin. Pine trees are evergreens, thus resin will run faster in the early spring, early fall, and in the warm weather.

  • Using a machete, or similar tool, hack away the bark from the wood about three feet from the ground to create a 10 inch wide by 6 inch high cleared area. It is in this area that you will score the tree to reach the resin. Do not cut all the way around the tree.
  • Place a bucket flat against the bottom of the cleared area and tie it tightly against the tree so it remains in place. The bucket will need to fit tightly against the tree to collect resin as it is oozing from the tree.
  • If the bucket is not flexible enough to conform to the shape of the tree, use a piece of metal flashing to form a funnel leading into the bucket.
  • Next hack”V”-shaped notches into the cleared area above the bucket.
  • The bottom of the scored “V” should point towards the bucket.
  • Leave the bucket attached to the tree to collect the resin as it drains from the tree wound. It may take days for the resin to ooze and collect in the bucket.
  • If the resin flow decreases cut additional fresh “V” notches in the tree.
  •  When you occasionally check the bucket, remove any debris that may have fallen into the container.
  • Now that you have enough resin collected, it is time to use it for your survival needs.
  • When done correctly, trees can be tapped for well over 20 years and are then used for other purposes including timber since the wood is not damaged during the tapping process.

Pine trees most suitable for tapping include:

  • Southern Yellow Pine
  • Black Pine
  • Loblolly Pine
  • Improved Slash Pine

In conclusion pine trees are very useful and valuable in a survival scenario. All of the parts of pine trees  can be used from the bark, branches and the tree trunk, knots, needles, and mostly important the resin. Pine trees can be found throughout the world. If you find yourself lost or in dire circumstances the pine tree will be there to help you survive.


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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How To Use Feathers For Your Homestead

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Multipurpose feathersDuring certain times of the year, your barnyard is likely FULL of feathers. It seems a shame to waste them, but what on Earth could you possibly do with all of them? Well, just like with anything else in life, you just need to get a little creative! Today we’re going to give you some thoughts for how to use feathers for your homestead.

Fletch Your Arrows

feathers arrowsA bow and arrow is a weapon that you should become adept with, if for no other reason than that it’s a fairly easy weapon to craft from items you’ll have available if SHTF. We’ve written articles about this from how to make them to what wood is best to use for them, but what about the arrows? Feathers are perfect for making the fletch for arrows.

Fletch is what makes your arrow fly true by balancing the shaft. Turkey feather work wonderfully but you could use other feathers as well. Just match up the right and left wing or tail feathers.

Fishing lures

There are as many ways to tie a fly as there are people who tie them. Chicken feathers, duck feathers, turkey feathers and even goose feathers are great for making fishing lures. I don’t claim to be a professional in this area, but I watched my grandfather tie them all the time. He always used smaller ones, and seemed prone to using small ones that were shiny and colorful.


Dried feathers are great to use to start a fire. Just like hair, when they dry, they’re extremely flammable. If you want to throw a bag of feathers into your survival bag, they’re lightweight, won’t take up hardly any space, and they’ll help you get a fire going in a hurry when you need one.


You’ve surely had a feather pillow, and it was comfortable, fluffy and lasted for much longer than a pillow made from that fuzzy quilt batting stuff. Usually, goose feathers are what are used to make pillows but there’s no reason that you can’t use the little feathers from any bird, including ducks and chickens.

To wash the feathers to get them ready to stuff into a pillow, just tie them up in a pillow case and run them through the wash. I dry mine, my grandmother doesn’t. She swears they last longer if you don’t dry them and I swear they get fluffier when I dry them. It seems to be a matter of opinion!

You may have to collect for quite a while before you have enough of those little down feathers to make a pillow, but it’ll be well worth it. Have you priced a feather pillow in a store lately? Besides that, stores may not be available if SHTF.


Down comforters are tremendously expensive but boy are they warm and comfy! If you have a significant number of barnyard birds or ask your neighbors to collect feathers for you, you can save up enough to make a comforter.

One thing about this, though. Every good down comforter that I’ve ever owned had pockets sewn into them, kind of like a quilt, so that the feathers were contained to small areas throughout the comforter instead of falling to the bottom.

Hair clips

I’ve seen some incredibly intricate hair clips decorated with feathers. You can buy the clips for practically nothing, then either glue or tie the feathers to the clip.

Since this is an art project, you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want and you can use any combination of colors that you have in your barnyard. Not only will you save the feathers from waste, you’ll also have some beautiful clips to wear, to give away as gifts, or to trade for other goods.

Picture frames

This sounds weird, but I’ve actually seen some beautiful picture frames made from duck feathers. They were the blue-green ones, but I would imagine that chicken feathers, goose feathers or turkey feathers would work, too. Different color and texture combinations could be really beautiful.

Writing Quills

OK, this may be stretching it a bit but feathers were used as writing quills for eons until the modern pen was invented. Typically, long feathers such as turkey feathers work best. Just dip them in your ink and use it like a pen.

Compost them

Feathers are organic matter. As long as your birds are clean and don’t have lice or other parasites, they’ll be perfectly fine in your compost pile. For that matter, this goes for hair, too.

Christmas Ornaments

Holiday Ornaments

Tree angels, Easter eggs, Thanksgiving decorations and even Halloween costumes are all better with a few feathers! Use them to add wings to your angel ornaments or decorations, or to paint your Easter eggs. Of course, at Halloween, a feather boa or headband dresses a costume up nicely and Thanksgiving is ALL about turkeys!


I saw this idea on a book bag and thought that it would transfer well to T-shirts or even walls. The lady told me that she had poured some paint into a shallow bowl, then dipped her duck feather into the paint, smeared off the extra on the edge of the bowl, and then pressed the feather to the canvas of the bag.

I tried it and it worked fairly well but I went through several feathers. It gives a pretty cool look though!

Make Bows with Them

Feathers are beautiful; they’re fluffy and exotic-looking and are a great way to dress up a gift in lieu of a big bow. Or, for that matter, use it along with a bow to make the gift look super fancy!

Feathers come in all shapes, sizes, textures and colors, which makes them amazing for craft projects. Since they’re flammable, you can use them for tinder, and your arrows will fly straighter when you use feathers to make the fletches. When I searched for crafts using feathers, literally hundreds of ideas popped up, some better than others.

The important thing is that we, as homesteaders and preppers, hate to waste anything. Feathers certainly apply and with so many cool ways to use them, you won’t run out of projects!

If you can think of any other ways to use feathers for your homestead or for survival, please share them with us in the comments section below.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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12 Survival & Homesteading Uses For Coffee

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Coffee usesCoffee, that dark, heady brew that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going throughout the day! Though it’s most certainly delicious to drink, coffee has many different uses.

Pour yourself a cup of Joe, pull up a chair, and find out how else coffee may help around the homestead of even save your bacon someday. Oh, and don’t throw away the grounds quite yet – after you read this, you’ll understand why.

1. Compost

Coffee grounds add acidity to your compost pile and may also attract worms and repel pests. Remember that you want to keep the ratio of green matter and brown matter equal and coffee counts as green matter.

Coffee is rich in nitrogen, which your compost needs in order to cure properly. If you’re worried about not having enough phosphorus or potassium in your compost, throw some banana peels on your pile, too.

2. Fertilizer

Coffee grounds have two of the three major components of fertilizer:  nitrogen and potassium. It also adds a nice magnesium boost, which your plants need to grow and thrive. Since you also need phosphorus and calcium, you’ll need to add some lime or wood ash to your mix.

3. Staying Awake

coffee bug outSure, coffee is a great eye-opener, but it’s great to help you KEEP your eyes open, too. If you’re in a survival situation and it’s your watch, you’re not going to want to doze off on your post.

Also, if you have to travel a long distance, the extra energy will help you keep pushing on. An interesting fact for you here: certain tribes in coffee-growing countries used to wrap a coffee bean in fat to carry with them as a source of energy.

This would probably be great to do with Pemmican, too. You’d have fat, protein, carbs and energy. For that matter, coffee is a great source of antioxidants and other goodies that will help you out along the trail.

4. Headaches

One of the primary ingredients in many headache or migraine medications is caffeine. Also, if you’re used to drinking coffee on a daily basis, especially a LOT of coffee, you will likely go through withdrawals from the caffeine addiction.

The primary symptom is a headache. So, whether you’re suffering from a migraine or headache caused by something else, or from caffeine deprivation, drink a cup of coffee to get rid of it.

5. Grow Worms

If you live near water and are going to be depending on fish and a compost pile for food/gardening, worms are your friend. They need gritty substances such as coffee to aid in their digestion so a planter full of dirt and coffee grounds would be heaven for worms.

6. Barter

You know how much you love your coffee. Well, you’re not the only one, but you may be the only one who thought ahead enough to stockpile it! Coffee is going to be a great barter item if SHTF even for a little while.

7. Get Rid of Odors

Whether it’s in your refrigerator or freezer or on your hands, coffee grounds are great for getting rid of gross smells. If you’re wanting to keep your fridge or freezer smelling fresh, put a couple of cups of coffee grounds in an open container and set it inside for a couple of weeks or until you have some stored up that you’re not composting.

If the odor is on your hands after you peel onions or work with garlic, you can get rid of it by rubbing some coffee grounds in your hands like sand, then wet them a bit and keep rubbing.

8. Scrub Dishes, Pots and Pans

Coffee grounds are abrasive and if you’re out of scouring pads or are on the run but don’t have access to your standard cleaners, coffee grounds are abrasive without being scratchy and are great to use to scrub grease and grime off of your dishes. This is also just a great way to re-use the grounds and avoid using chemicals on your dishes.

9. Grow and Rescue Your Carrots

growing carrotsIf you rub your seeds in coffee grounds and add some grounds to your soil when you plant the seeds, you’ll be accomplishing two things at once.

First, you’ll help your carrots grow – they love coffee grounds and it will help you grow bigger, better ones.

Also, underground critters that may want to gnaw on them before you’re ready to often don’t care much for coffee so they’ll leave your carrots alone!

10. Save your plants

Sprinkling some coffee grounds around your plants will keep pests such as harmful insects away. Ants and slugs are particularly averse to coffee grounds.

Just be careful doing this around plants that prefer a more alkaline soil because when it rains, that coffee is going to filter down through your soil and when you weed, the grounds will likely get mixed in with the soil. This is great for those acid-loving plants.

11. Make Rejuvenating Soap

Would you like to really get rejuvenated during your shower or when you’re washing your face? Coffee grounds added to your homemade soap serves two purposes: they act to exfoliate dead skin cells and the caffeine in the coffee can actually be absorbed through your skin to help give you a little boost. It also helps with those bags under your eyes.

12. Boost Morale

When everything in your life seems turned upside down, a bit of normalcy goes a long way. A cup of coffee in the morning helps anchor you and boost your morale by giving you that sense of normalcy. Even the smell of it brewing will give you a comforting boost.

Storing Coffee for Long-Term Stockpiling

coffee powderThere’s quite a debate about whether coffee is best stored ground or in bean form. Just like everything, it will probably taste better longer if you store beans, but are you absolutely positive that you’re going to have a way to grind them?

Also, if you have to run, you’re probably not going to be able to grind your own beans on the trail. For that reason, I’m stepping over the debate line onto the side of “ground”.

The National Coffee Association says that the commercial containers that your coffee comes in aren’t ideal for long term storage but they don’t say why.

They do say that coffee should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Seriously, that leads me to think that the containers that your coffee comes in would be fine for long-term storage, especially if you’re buying the vacuum-packed bricks.

Be careful with where you store your coffee; in a cabinet by the stove is definitely too warm as is a cabinet that gets direct sunlight. Your best bet would be in a pantry, basement or storage closet.

Coffee has numerous purposes besides just drinking! Throughout our history, it’s been a staple product for people who travel light. Pioneers heading west carried it and many who lived mainly off of it may have survived the trip because the water had to be boiled to make it. That killed the bacteria that was in the water along the way. Many pioneers died of cholera, which boiling water would have prevented.

Our military have always had packs of coffee in their meal packs for both energy and morale purposes. There’s just something about coffee that’s made it as American as apple pie and it deserves a cherished place in your stockpile.

If you have any other good uses for coffee or coffee grounds, please share them in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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