How To Almost Completely Erase Your Digital Footprint

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Although its almost impossible to completely wipe out your entire digital footprint as if you’ve never had access to the internet, but you can get close. If you’d like to make an attempt to completely remove yourself from the internet, we’ve got a few tips and tricks that could help you along the way. 

To go the full off-the-grid route, “it’s cash, barters,” Bradley Shear, a lawyer specializing in social media told The Washington Post. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”  Which leads us to the first item to consider.

The first thing you want to do is the hardest for some, but its the most obvious. You need to quit appearing online.  Stop posting on Facebook or Twitter and no longer use search engines.  All of those will track your location and Internet usage leaving behind your digital footprint. Of course, just not using the internet isn’t quite enough if you’d like yourself completely gone in full-off-the-grid fashion.

The next step would be deleting your online accounts. Every single one of them. Having a social media account is, more or less, ensuring your active participation in letting the Internet learn more about you. Facebook, in particular, knows a lot about you and is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the Web, even when you’re not actively using it. If you need help deleting your accounts, consider JustDelete.Me, which provides tips and links to remove accounts.  But you can’t just remove your accounts and expect that it’s done and over with. You will also need to remove any and all information and content that is posted about you by others.  This can get a little trickier, but you could consider trying Abine’s DeleteMe, which for a fee can assist in removing your personal contact information and your photos and will provide you with a regular report and updates.

Next, you want to search for yourself on the Internet.  This will help you discover if there are any old accounts (does anyone even remember MySpace?) that you may have forgotten you had just lingering around. If you happen to come across an account you cannot delete, just start falsifying the information.  Change the name on the account to whatever you want it to be, that’s different than yours, obviously. Change the city and state and leave the gender “unselected” if possible.  The less information you put in, the less you have to falsify.

You are also going to want to unsubscribe from all of those mailing lists you’ve accidentally signed up for during your Internet travels. That’s usually pretty easy to do.  Go into your junk folder and open up the advertisements.  Scroll to the bottom of the email and click the tiny word “unsubscribe.”  When it directs you to, make sure you choose to no longer receive ANY email that you’d consider “junk.”  Afterall, that’s why it was in that folder, to begin with anyway, right?

If you still need the Internet for work, you may have to stop here.  Having removed social media and cleaning up your email will go a long way in minimizing your online trail.  But for those who wish to continue on and “go dark,” your next step would be deleting search engine results. Google has a URL removal tool that could help. The next step would be contacting webmasters of websites you have no control over.  Be kind, and let them know you’d like your information and comments removed.  Be prepared to be told by some that all public information should remain public, in which case, you may be out of luck.  You’ll also need patience.  Not every single webmaster will get back to you in a timely manner.

Once you’ve completed everything listed above, you should consider removing your information from data clearinghouses.  Many companies track your online behavior and sell that data to others.  Intelius, Spokeo, and People Finders are a few examples of such data clearinghouses. In order to remove your information from these, however, will take up a lot of your time.  You’ll need to make a lot of phone calls and fill out tons of paperwork.  A paid service called DeleteMe could be considered if you’ve got some extra cash laying around.  For all others, you will need time and patience and determination to get through this step.

Once you feel you’ve gotten yourself removed from data clearinghouses, you should contact the phone company and be sure to make your phone number unlisted.

The last step would be to delete your email. “Every time you access it, they have your IP address,” Shear said.  This is last simply because, during the completion of the previous steps, an email address is likely going to be required at some point.

If you’ve decided you cannot completely “go dark” as far an internet use is concerned, consider protecting your data and information by using an encrypted email service such as ProtonMail. And if you want your activity not to be tracked across the Web, you would have to essentially use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the Internet unless you exclusively access the Internet from public machines (such as those at a public library). For searching online, you can use sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Yahoo, or any other search engine that tracks you. Also, consider Signal, a text and phone-call encryption app that comes with a recommendation from Edward Snowden himself.

Although it seems it may be futile to attempt to “go dark,” you just might be successful. Best of luck to those who have the desire to disappear from the Internet, because you’ll need it, and all the patience you can muster.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Fire for Survival Part One: Materials and Ignition

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This article is the first in a three-part series detailing fire in a survival situation. Don’t worry, I’m not going to attempt to teach you the tedious and tiresome fire bow and drill method. A simple Google search will probably net you 25 million results on learning how to start a fire from two pieces of wood. While the technique is interesting and can prove useful, the theory behind it and the execution of it are the two most important parts of that technique. If you understand what fire is, how it works, and how to be resourceful while in a survival situation, then that information alone will be enough to help you find ways to start fires. If you put more emphasis on planning, preparation, and understanding, you won’t have to waste 15 to 20 minutes trying to start a fire with a fireball and drill, not to mention the time it takes to fashion those articles from the wilderness around you.

It’s much more efficient to simply tuck a one dollar Bic lighter into your pocket or your survival kit. If you were to ask the most hardened survivalists the items that they would never be found without, likely you would receive the answers a Bic lighter and a good knife 95+ percent of the time. There’s a good reason for that: these two items offer more versatility than any other single item in a survival situation.

It’s not necessary to have a lighter to survive, but that one dollar investment and the mentality that comes along with remembering to pack it everywhere you go can be an essential part to the survival scenario.

Because of the goal of this article (to comprehensively cover the idea of fire starting in a survival situation), the various techniques will be covered pretty much across the board, including some fringe, “cute,” and utterly ridiculous methods.

The point is to give you options and knowledge and to help you understand the reasons why something can start a fire, so you can be able to determine the best method if you find yourself in a survival situation, regardless of the resources.

Some parts of this article will seem like fire starting 101. However, there is a lot to be learned from the basics. And perhaps not a high-ranking Boy Scout or successful participant from their program exists, that doesn’t understand quite a bit about utility, resourcefulness, and survival.

There are three parts to a successful fire:

  • Materials
  • Engineering
  • Monitoring

Materials are your fuel source and your ignition source: what will burn and how.

Engineering is the design work involved in making inefficient and stable fire.

Monitoring are the safety considerations put in place to avoid additional concerns.

When you use all three of these segments in the process, you can almost ensure a successful fire (yes, this sentence is stating the obvious, but there’s more to fire than just lighting some fuel).

Materials for fire starting in the wilderness usually include a fire source, some tinder, some kindling, and then some larger fuel sources. Tinder and kindling will need to be as dry and combustible as possible, or contain a fuel source which is unaffected by moisture or other fire deterrents (like high winds, etc.).

Some excellent fire starters:

  • char cloth (especially when used in conjunction with the fire piston)

Notes: it takes some time to make char cloth correctly, though it will help with your understanding of how fire works, to actually go through the process.

  • cotton balls covered in Vaseline

Notes: either completely saturate the cotton ball with Vaseline or cover with a shell of wax before you put it into your carrying case.

  • dry shredded wood

Notes: sappy, termite-eaten, rotted, or otherwise “used” wood would make the best tinder. You’ll want to look for stringy or easily broken pieces.

  • completely dry leaves or pine needles

Notes: opt for firm and “crackly” pieces.

  • “deconstructed” cattail

Notes: a large quantity of this material can also prove valuable as insulation between a shirt and a jacket as another “layer of loft”.

  • alcohol, oil, or other accelerants

Note: if using to help along a fire, try to give it a couple seconds to begin to dissipate, but not too long so as to lose all the volatility of the accelerant.

  • dryer lint

Notes: usually there are some detergents and synthetic fabrics in the mix, which can complicate things, and keep you from getting a reliable ignition.

  • pine sap

Notes: combine with dry natural fibers/wood strands, etc. to create a better starter.

  • Magnesium

Notes: can pop and crackle a lot, and you should definitely get to know the characteristics before you try anything too “survival-y” with it.

  • crushed up corn chips, especially the greasier brands like Fritos.

It’s pretty rare that you will find yourself in a position to use this item, but it does work, and that old bag of chips in your vehicle may help you start a fire for warmth if you crash into a snow bank (though if you do it right, the vehicle can also be kept warm).  Don’t be afraid to use other vehicle items as makeshift fire starters as well (like your battery or gasoline, or fibers from various upholstery areas).

  • steel wool

Notes: Probably the least likely item to find in your bag outside of corn chips (in this list at least), so from a practicality standpoint, it doesn’t make sense.  Suffice it to say: it works for a variety of fire starting methods.

  • Wetfire; Tinderquik; FirePaste; Fire Gel (and other branded or commercial product sold as volatile fire starters/survival fuel

Buy them because they are nearly guaranteed to work, and they aren’t overly expensive, stash them in places you will need them, including your vehicle. In the case of non liquids, put them in your pack/pocket/survival kit.

Remember, the goal of using tinder is to easily start (with good reliability)the items you are using as kindling.

Ignition sources:

  • The trusty Bic lighter (or other continuous flame lighters)

Pros: an hour’s worth of flame; a quick and easy start to fire; low-cost and widespread availability.

Cons: harder to light at higher altitudes; potentially a false security blanket.

  • Fire piston:

Pros: guaranteed fire with char cloth; simple and relatively easy to use once you learn the technique; waterproof.

Cons: can be bulky; hard to use unless you understand the technique; relatively large investment compared to other fire starters.

  • Swedish fire steel:

Pros: extreme simplicity; high-volume of sparks, waterproof.

Cons: somewhat bulky.

  • flint and steel:

Pros: low cost; simple to use; long tradition; waterproof.

Cons: can be difficult to start fires without extensive practice and excellent tinder.

  • matches:

Pros: easy to use, instant flame; attached fuel source.

Cons: generally not waterproof; flame produced is not very long-term; has a shelf life.

  • the sun:

Pros: cheap; more readily available than most other options (except at night and during bad weather).

Cons: requires other items; requires steady hands; not usable at evening/night or during adverse weather.

  • batteries:

Pros: long life; widespread availability.

Cons: requires other items (like steel wool), bulky, not waterproof.

  • chemical reactions:

Pros: guaranteed results

Cons: can be dangerous; requires good technical knowledge and skill; difficult to obtain/transport/use at times.

Three things are necessary for a fire to be sustainable: fuel, ignition, and oxygen. You’ll want to increase the amount of airspace within the tinder and the airflow to the base of the fire area.

Ideally you want the tinder to be as volatile and dry as possible, without going overboard (i.e. you don’t want to put a bottle full of gasoline in direct contact with a flame and be anywhere near it; but a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball that is dry should provide an excellent source of fuel for your ignition spark.)

Redundancy is always important when it comes to emergency/survival fire starting; you always want to have multiple layers of protection so you can guarantee the ability to start a fire. An excellent backup companion might be a fire steel or a fire piston, as these are relatively hearty, lightweight, easy to use and substantially more waterproof than chemical, or even traditional modern fire starting methods.

Additional unconventional methods of fire starting:

  • signal mirror
  • shaped, clear ice
  • magnifying glass/glasses
  • a clear heavy-duty bag filled with water
  • highly polished metal with a parabolic shape (the bottom of the Coke can)
  • ammunition
  • steel wool with your cell phone battery

Signal mirror: can be used to focus solar energy into a batch of tinder.

Shaped, clear ice; magnifying glass/glasses; a clear heavy-duty bag filled with water: can be used like a signal mirror to magnify solar rays into a very focused point which eventually can cause enough heat to start properly prepared tinder on fire.

A highly polished parabolic curve on a piece of metal will also focus solar energy into a fire starting beam, given enough time.

A cartridge with the projectile removed can have its primer punctured to create an ignition capable of starting most tinder on fire. Exercise extreme caution and use as a last resort if necessary.

Steel wool contacting both the positive and negative ends of a battery will create a short, causing heat and eventually igniting the steel’s protective oil and then the steel itself.

These methods do in fact work, but they are cumbersome at best, especially if you can use one of the other above mentioned methods.  If you find yourself in the backcountry and find a tin can and some sand you might be able to polish the can well enough to start a fire, but it could take you hours, and you will need strong sunlight.

The cartridge will be a last resort, and unlikely to ever work for you, as the bullet will be seated so tightly that it will be nearly impossible to remove the cartridge safely without tools, so again, exercise extreme caution and use a heavy dose of reality when determining your strategies.

The water and ice tricks work, but they are clumsy and you need a lot of patience.

About the only “foolproof” method listed in these ancillary methods is the signal mirror, and despite being relatively foolproof, it takes patience and muscle control, or luck in finding something to position the mirror correctly without having to hold it.  It also requires sunlight.

Don’t worry—the cell phone battery + steel wool method wasn’t forgotten, but again exercise some reality. If you’re in a survival situation with a cell phone, why wouldn’t you attempt to make a phone call to help get you out or move to an area which will get a cell signal so you can do the same? Furthermore, isn’t it a lot easier just to carry some matches, a lighter or another easier, more hearty method of fire starting? In the end however: the cell phone battery trick does work.

Some additional tips:

  • While a candle may not be an easy fuel source to start with a sparking tool, it may be easier to start than some other tinder. To use the candle as a more stable and longer lasting flame source, a tea light candle or a birthday cake relighting candle may be a good companion.
  • After adding the Vaseline to the cotton balls, dip them in candle wax to make them completely waterproof (within reason), slice them in half when needed. This isn’t necessary if you completely coat the cotton ball in Vaseline.
  • Make some char cloth by heating thick natural fiber cloth (muslin, jersey knit cotton, rope, kerosene lamp wick, etc.) until it catches on fire and burns thoroughly, but not completely, you want it to resemble charcoal, but in cloth form.  Extinguish the flame a second or so after the entire cloth is black and burnt, but not before it begins to disintegrate. These cloths take well to sparks, and can start other natural tinder on fire easily.
  • Try some dynamite/cannon fuse (remarkably easy to find, considering) or a trick birthday candle as a longer term fire starting source, but they are harder to light than some others.
  • Practice makes perfect: if you aren’t practicing these techniques you can’t reasonably be assured to be able to carry them out in the field.

Hopefully this was a comprehensive look at fire starting fuels and ignition options. The next two articles will highlight fire building architecture and engineering, and fire safety and usage for survival situations.

It’s important to understand your limits as an individual, especially when in stressful situations. Planning, preparation, and practice will always go a long way to ensuring success in the “field.”

©2018 Off the Grid News

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Flat-lander or Climber?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: As Preppers one of the things we should all be prepared for is the reality, though still a subject of debate among journalists, junk-scientists and outright morons (by the clinical definition) that the world is indeed, not flat. In a situation where getting out of Dodge is a must we have to be prepared for where the trail leads us and sometimes that is up, and up in places that might make one dizzy well, looking up at…so when Chris Richardson offered this article I happily said yes. There are people who do this for the challenge, both physical and mental, as well as the exhilaration of conquering something that looks daunting from many angles. The “because it was there” mentality, which I think we all understand, and if it is in our path as we try and bug-out well, this applies as well.

I for one can claim to have climbed Half-Dome in Yosemite National Park. In reality I came up the back-path which has a steel cable line up that you can tether or steady yourself with. I did not climb the sheer face, which has been conquered by blind climbers and handicapped climbers of all stripes. I still felt a sense of accomplishment, along with the many others around me, and seeing a thunderhead rolling in while I had nothing to hold onto near the top of that granite peak other than a grounded-STEEL cable was a bonus thrill I will never forget. Since I am here writing you already know my decent was faster than the storms approach. So Chris, thanks and a tip of the hat…

Packing for a mountain climbing trip is always exciting. The trip is soon coming, and our patience quickly fades away. On the other hand, we, mountain climbers must preserve that quality and leverage it throughout our trips.

Safety comes first, no matter what. When you start packing, you should be extremely careful not to miss anything important, anything that may prove to be beneficial in unpredictably and dangerous circumstances.

Well, in today’s post, we’re listing the 10 most important things you must procure and pack before leaving for the exciting trip that’s ahead of you.

 

1.    First Aid Kit

Again, first things first. Every mountain climber should wear a first aid kit that contains plasters, tape, bandages, gauze, and other supplies. You have no excuse for not carrying one. Skip the first aid kit and your life may be in great danger. And just as important is knowing every item in that kit and what to do with it and what NOT to do with it. Remember also to include any meds you normally require and instructions on their administration, in case others have to take care of you. You would not want them mistaking YOUR blood thinner for some generic pain med they give out to someone with a muscle strain.

2.    Quality Clothes

You’ll need the standard climbing clothes, obviously, although you shouldn’t neglect the warm socks, a warm hat, and the gloves. Mittens, compared to gloves, provide less dexterity but they are a bit warmer. Depending on your trip’s necessities, choose the ones that fit you best. Also, ensure that all the clothes you buy are the highest quality you can find. Don’t be afraid to invest in your hobby! And always make the first climb in these togs at least their second wearing. Do some basic movement with them on before to make sure they don’t bind or limit movement. Better to find this out in your local woods or trails than on a 55 degree pitch.

3.    Supplies

You need a lot of water to hydrate, and you’ll need to ensure that you’re never lacking it. When you’re out of water, that’s bad because your body’s less strong and more susceptible to illnesses. Water, at 8 lbs. a gallon is a considerable weight to budget for but perhaps the most important one.

Healthy food, even though most of it is dispersible, could significantly improve the quality of your trip. When you eat right, you think, feel, and act right.

4.    Map

half dome, 3/25/05, 12:53 PM, 8C, 8368×12000 (380+0), 150%, Repro 1.8 v2, 1/30 s, R85.7, G77.8, B103.2

Every mountain climber should carry a map. You never start a journey before you know where you’re heading to. Find the destination and count all your decisions and movements until you get there. Also, if bad weather is coming, you will feel safe knowing that you know where the safety points are placed. Otherwise, good luck dealing with the storm during a windy night! While electronics (GPS transponders, cell phones), and all are GREAT, a physical map does not lose its signal, does not need to be recharged and does not go out of date generally.

5.    Torch (Flashlight on this side of the Pond)

This is the essential tool you need to take to enable your vision during the night. Don’t forget about adding it to your essential bag! With spare batteries.

6.    Compass

Understand the compass and leverage it together with the map. Without knowing where North, West, South, and East is, you won’t know where to head even if you have the map! Every prepper should have basic compass skills and have taken a class in map reading and have a real compass as opposed to a compass app.

7.    Pen Knife

It will be very difficult to go on a mountain trip without a penknife. This particular object has numerous uses and will save your life from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. You knife choice is personal but this is one tool to not “go cheap” on as it has so many uses.

8.    Waterproof Matches/Lighter

Never run out of light! To make a fire or burn a torch, you’ll always need to have a windproof lighter and some waterproof matches. Up there, there are minimum chances of meeting another climber and asking for some in case you run out.

9.    Whistle

Unpredictable things happen, we make mistakes, and emergencies arise. In these cases, we must draw the attention and ask for help in the best possible ways. Up there, you can’t rely on your phone because there might be no signal. Therefore, you should always carry a loud whistle in your survival kit for all the unwanted situations. Like a good knife, this should be a part of your EDC that you take along when climbing.

Takeaways

Number one rule: don’t neglect the essentials. Every time you’re going to climb, prepare your trip ahead with much care. There’s no point in going if you’re not taking the necessary precautions to come back. Never neglect the basics that you must carry and your journeys shall stay safe.

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Keeping Survival Strategies Simple

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Keeping your emergency plans simple could be the single most important thing you do.

I’ve been a survivalist for a long time. Things were different when I started, back in the 1970s. More than anything, there wasn’t the survival industry that we have today. Those of us who thought in those terms had to figure out how to do things ourselves or how to adapt existing tools and equipment (mostly camping equipment) for survival.

There have been many changes since then. Much of that has been due to people coming up with new equipment and new ideas. It is much easier to find the gear to build a survival kit or bug out bag today than it was 40 years ago. There’s also a much more comprehensive range of equipment to choose from, much of it excellent and some of it noticeably superficial.

But one thing has happened in all this which works against our survival. In the desire to keep coming up with new gear and techniques, not everyone has thought through the practicality of their ideas in an actual survival setting. More than anything, this has been manifested in the complexity of some of these survival gadgets. While I have nothing against a sophisticated piece of equipment, I have a lot against it being complicated to use.

As a former engineer, I am fully aware that the more complex a piece of equipment is, the more chance there is of something going wrong with it, especially when you really need it.. Take a look at cars for example.. There are thousands of parts that have to work correctly for a vehicle to run. Then there are several hundred more that have to run for all the accessories and conveniences to run as well.This fact makes the chances of that car running flawlessly for 100 miles considerably slim.

Keeping Fire Starting Simple

For that matter, I have some major issues in using techniques that are difficult to employ. These concerns are especially valid when there are easier things that will do the job. Take fire starting as a case in point. Survival instructors seem to collect fire starting techniques, each trying to outdo the next in the variety and complexity of the methods they know. I suppose that some of the more esoteric and difficult practices of fire starting might be useful in a real emergency where one doesn’t have a survival kit. Nevertheless, I think it makes much more sense to ensure that you have a survival kit with a simple, reliable fire starter in it.

Today, the fire starter that seems to be the most widely promoted is the Ferro Rod. You can find many giveaways where someone is trying to send you one of these. You’ll also see them included as an “extra” with survival knives, survival shovels and just about any other piece of survival gear you can think of.

As far as I’m concerned,the only thing worse than a Ferro Rod for starting a fire is using friction (bow drills, fire plow, pump fire drill, etc.). The Ferro Rod is nothing more than a commercialized version of a flint and steel. While you can start a fire with it, you’d better have some extremely dry, really flammable tinder and you’d better not be suffering from hypothermia, or in a real crisis you could lose your life.

If you need a fire in a survival situation, you usually need one instantly and not in half an hour. That’s why I believe in fire starters that are fast, easy and reliable. Forget about “secondary fire starters” unless they truly fit that description. Make sure you have enough adequate primary fire starters to take care of your needs.

What do I mean by that? I mean fire starters that will work no matter what. Storm proof matches are one of the best fire starters on the market, for that very reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the midst of a hurricane and the storm has soaked the matches in water. They work.

Another fire starter as good as Storm proof matches is a Storm proof lighter. This product combines a butane lighter with a piezoelectric igniter. As long as the gas valve is depressed, the piezoelectric igniter is operating. So, even if the wind blows it out, it will reignite immediately. If you’ve ever tried starting a fire in the wind with a disposable butane lighter, you’ll quickly see the value of this lighter.
Keeping Emergency Shelter Simple

Setting up camp consists typically of building a shelter and starting a fire. However, I hear more people talking about building a debris shelter than I hear talking about how to make sure you have a shelter that you can set up in ten minutes or less. The last time I built a debris shelter, it took me a whole lot longer than 10 minutes.

On the other hand, if you have alight weight tarp and some paracord, you can set up roughly the same size and shape shelter in less than 10 minutes, especially if you have some tent stakes to use with it. But even if you don’t, cutting tent stakes from sticks is easy. If you need insulation, you can still pile leaves on the sides of the tarp, just like you would on the framework you make for the debris hut.

If you want to go even more accessible than this, then make a backpacking tent part of your bug out bag. Good backpacking tents weigh less than a lot of other things that we include in our kits, but for some reason,we don’t carry them along. If we want to keep things simple, this only makes sense.
Bottom Line:

Keeping your emergency plans simple could very well be the single most important thing you do.

I could keep going on with example after example. The point is that we should take a look at everything we’re doing for survival with the idea of ensuring that it is the most effortless possible way of doing things. When an actual survival situation presents itself, you’re going to have enough to do without making things harder. The time you save on these routine tasks could be the time you need to accomplish some other critical survival task.

Even more important than the time you save is the ease of accomplishing the task. I wasn’t being facetious before when I was talking about someone with hypothermia dying while trying to start a fire. If you ever get to that point, you won’t be able to accomplish complex tasks; you’ll have to keep things as simple as you possibly can. Your mind won’t be clear, and your agility could very well be out the window.

That’s why I believe in making the “KISS” principle a central part of my own survival strategy. If you’ve never heard that acronym before, it stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid.” No, I’m not insulting you. When you’re cold, and you need to survive, I can guarantee that you’ll feel stupid. So, you’ll need to keep things as simple as possible.

1 Way Poor People Can Buy Land With No Money

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There are thousands of people who dream of moving off the grid and starting a homestead, but they assume it will always be nothing more than a dream because they simply don’t have enough money to buy land. The truth is, buying land might not be as expensive as you think. People with very tight …

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EMP’s, CME’s and Nuclear Meltdown With Matthew Stein Part 2

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Last week’s Survivalist Prepper Podcast was part 1 with Matthew Stein talking about EMP’s, CME’s, and Nuclear Meltdowns. This week we finish up our 2 part series right where we left off. We ended last week’s show talking about the severe effects a nuclear meltdown would have on Americans. As I mentioned in last weeks […]

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EMP’s, CME’s and Nuclear Meltdown With Matthew Stein

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An EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) or CME (Coronal Mass Ejections) have the potential to be one of the most disaster scenarios we can think of, yet it’s a disaster scenario that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This may be because there isn’t an easy answer to preparing for an EMP or CME, or because it’s […]

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Points That Will Leave You Questioning Your Bug-Out-Bag Efficiency

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Written by Cody on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest submission from Cody Jarrett to The Prepper Journal. Nothings says love on Valentines Day like making sure your significant other(s) have every edge. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award like Cody, as well as being entered into the Prepper Writing Contest AND have a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!

Are you going camping or bugging out? Does it involve hiking and sleeping out in the woods?  Well, it does include considering a bag that will be convenient enough for you during your escapades. One of the mistakes you can do is traveling with a stressful backpack. For this reason, it is beneficial for you to consider the different bug-out bags available for your journey.

A bug-out can be an asset as well as a liability if not carefully selected. Below are some pointers to help you pick out the right bag for you.

Comfortability

A bug-out bag needs to be comfortable. Depending on what the bag is for, comfort is one aspect of it you can’t compromise. The bag needs to be something that you can easily carry without hurting your shoulders.  Why bug-out with a bag that is any more of a burden than it has to be during an emergency evacuation when a disaster strikes?

The padding and straps are a great way to confirm if the bag is comfortable or not. The belt that is close to your hip is the most important piece since it is the one that allows the bag weight to rest on the hips. It should be much stronger than the one designed for the shoulders. The straps of the bag should contain the right measurements for your body weight.

You need a bag that does not have any rigid frames. Also, find a bag that has no metal frames near the head. You risk hurting your head especially if you slip and fall with your back.

Size

One of the crucial aspects of a bag is the size. What is the bug-out bag for?  If the primary purpose of it is for carrying more items, then you should consider a more significant option. However, if it is mainly for moving lightweight stuff like the FAST-ACT Decon Mitt which contains a containment system when you are in a position where there are chemical spills, then you don’t need a large bag.

Sometimes, you may need the bag to carry out a few first aid necessities, therefore, when shopping for a bag, consider the number of items you intend to carry. Note: avoid carrying excess things because they make your bag heavy, minimizing your mobility.

Bag Color

Choosing the right color for your bag matters a lot. In cases where you need to blend in with the surrounding, get camouflage colors. If the bag is for hiking purposes, choose a neutral color that will blend in with the environment like brown, green and so on. The reason for such neutral colors is to avoid unnecessary attention. You don’t want to attract animals or unwanted visitors with your bag’s colors. I use the can of Coke analogy. That bright red color is what attracts bees close enough to get the sugar scent that makes them stop by for a drink. Put a can of open Coke on one end of a picnic table and a second open Coke, but in a dull colored koozi on the other and see for yourself.

The Framing

Whether you need to buy a bag with a frame or not depends solely on you but, it’s highly recommended to purchase a framed bag. The reason? This helps in balancing the bag against your body weight. On average, filled, it should not weigh more than 20% of your body. This translates to about up to 40 lbs.

A bag that has frames will help in weight distribution which in turn reduces pressure on your shoulders.

Bags that have an external frame are designed to hold heavier items. They also give you a chance to carry sleeping bags when you have decided to go hiking with your friends up the mountains or, well, bug out!

Internally framed bags are also helpful because they make the bag more stable and lighter.  This, in turn, helps in mobility for those who are looking for such a bag. A frameless bag will in the long run cause back pains which could result in a long-term problem.

Of course the final weight of the bag will depend on how much supplies you are carrying as well as the number of people who you intend to support with them.

Durability

Cheap is for now, but expensive is forever. Do you want a cheap bag or one that will serve you for the longest time? The choice is yours though the trick is investing in a bag that will last almost a lifetime. Consider a bag that will withstand intense conditions regardless of the environment.

Purchase a bag equipped with quality material. To find a bag that has higher chances of lasting long, you can check on reviews of the specific bag and see what other people think about it. Additionally, find one designed for survival.

Accessibility

A secret towards successfully purchasing a bug-out bag is one that has compartments. How stressful is it to keep searching for items that are all packed in one place? This can also become time-consuming. The bag should have a significant compartment for carrying larger items while other smaller compartments of different sizes for varied items.  These little items could include the FAST-ACT Microfiber Towel Pack which contains the FAST-ACT Powder Bottle Pack for decontamination purposes.

Compartments are a great way of organizing your bag to trace items easily, especially during extreme emergencies. If possible, find one with compartments that can be closed to avoid dropping out some things.

Air Flow Feature

Find a bug-out bag that will keep you aerated.  Walking miles and miles will eventually cause excessive sweating.  Get a bag that has enough space which is designed to allow adequate air to flow. This because the sweating creates a lot of discomforts hence the need for such a bag. Most bags will come with a rain cover in cases of rain. They will ensure that your items are safe and there are no chances of soaking in the rain.

Gender-Based Features

There are bags designed for males and females. If you prefer one that is of a specific gender, then consider the strap size as well as the shape of the bag which is the most crucial. However, you may want to go with a bag that is universally designed with no gender in mind. Whatever you decide, make your choice worthwhile.

Put into consideration that the bag you choose will affect you long term.  The bug-out bag is a great move towards your disaster preparedness journey. The wide selection of bags is there for you to decide what you are comfortable with. Put into consideration the above points for successfully picking out a bag that will increase your chances of bugging out during emergencies.

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What About BOB?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from SignalSergeant to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today! 

Let’s start with the basics!
Congratulations! You made it this far, and you have decided to take the first step towards disaster preparation and, perhaps, a little peace of mind. No matter how far you decide to ultimately take your disaster preparedness, the one piece of gear that you will always keep close at hand will be your 72-hour pack, commonly known as a “Bug-Out Bag” (BOB).

Important: Each family member should have their own bag! This includes pets. Your Chihuahua or Pomeranian obviously won’t be able to carry their own pack, but you don’t want to have their kibble mixed in with your powdered eggs, so make a separate bag for your fur babies.

Build or Buy?


The first BOBs that my wife and I put together were completely DIY. We scrounged around the house and garage, looking for any serviceable backpack, and then we put together our own checklist of items. We compiled the checklist from multiple sources, using common sense as a filter. We purchased all the items at Walmart and local dollar stores. The backpacks themselves were leftovers from when our kids were in school. If a pack is tough enough to survive a few semesters with a teenager while loaded with books, it will probably survive almost anything. We still have those packs, several years later (although we check the contents and replace the food items on a regular basis). Look for backpacks made from sturdy Cordura nylon, with heavy stitching and reinforced seams. If you don’t have any backpacks lying around, and you can’t afford new high-quality packs, then look at what you do have. Most households have small travel bags or perhaps hard-sided carry-on luggage (the kind with wheels and the telescoping handle). While not ideal, anything is better than no BOB at all.

 

Recently, we purchased a couple ready-made 72-hour packs from an online retailer. We were disappointed in the materials used in the backpacks, and many of the “survival” items were of such poor quality that they would never survive the first use. While I’m certain that good quality, ready-made BOB’s are out there, buyer beware! If you go the ready-made route, look for reviews and do your homework. Remember, if you need this BOB in an emergency, your life and the lives of your loved ones may literally depend on it. Also, no matter how good a ready-made solution is, you still must flesh it out with your own personal items such as medications, specific first-aid items, socks, undergarments, etc.
Key takeaway: If you are willing to put some time and effort into it, you can build your own bag/kit with better quality items, and have it tailored to your own specific needs.
You have a pack, now what do you put in it?

I mentioned customizing your pack with items specific to you, your climate, and your medical needs. With that said, there are a few broad categories of items that are universal.

Food
I will cover food in detail in another post, but for now, look for food that has a long shelf life, sturdy packaging, won’t attract vermin or breed bacteria, and is easy to prepare. You can find suitable food items in the camping section of most stores. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are good, although they are heavy and take up a lot of space. Remember, you’re looking for emergency fuel for your body, not gourmet meals.

Sanitation


Don’t become ill from ingesting microbes carried on your hands. Make sure your BOB contains a small amount of toilet paper, travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer, and baby wipes. Include some basic hygiene items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. I have spent a few weeks at a time in the field with the military, and sometimes being able to brush my teeth made me feel almost as good as a hot shower. Cleanliness is not just a good idea from a health standpoint, it can also boost your spirits. Note: A change of socks and underwear is also recommended.

Survival Items
These are the basics: Water, fire, shelter, first aid, and knives. Yes, I said “knives”, plural. Knives are incredibly versatile and useful, and they are also easily lost, sometimes broken, and often stolen by the unscrupulous. Water is first on the list for a reason: You can survive for 3 weeks without food (granted, 3 MISERABLE weeks), but only about 3 DAYS without water (depending on climate). Also, have multiple sources for starting a fire. Waterproof matches, butane lighters, or those magnesium fire-starters are all excellent choices. Shelter, at a minimum, should consist of a metallized emergency blanket. A basic first aid kit is a good starting point, but look at augmenting it with additional bandages and antibiotic ointment. Include a good quality first aid manual along with your medical supplies. Another key item is a “survival radio”. These emergency radios are powered with a hand crank and do not require batteries. A quick look on Amazon yielded several in the $20 price range. Just look at the reviews, and pick one that is both compact and durable.

Personal Protection
Your bag should include one or more self-defense items WITH WHICH YOU ARE COMFORTABLE. Pack a loaded firearm if you are: 1. Proficient in its use, 2. Know how to maintain it, and 3. Know how to keep it safe. I do not advise anyone to purchase a firearm if they are not willing to master all three of the above skills. I will go into selection of a personal defense weapon in detail in another post. If a firearm is not an option, then consider pepper spray, a machete, or whatever you are comfortable with, but don’t spend a lot as someone who has mastered all three will be taking them from you, along with anything else of yours they might want. Also, communication is an important form of security. Pack a spare cell phone, charger, solar-powered recharger and a backup copy of emergency contact numbers if possible. And a radio, a ham radio, and know how to use it.

Entertainment
We used to joke that war consists of long periods of soul-crushing boredom punctuated by brief moments of abject terror. The same could be said for survival situations. Boredom can be an even bigger issue if you have kids. It’s important to have some form of distraction for mental health purposes. Items that are easy to pack include: A deck of cards, small notebooks and pencils, a paperback book, iPod and ear buds, and a handful of Sharpie markers.

Conclusion
Consider the above to be the bare minimum. However, this is a great start! You will gain confidence and peace of mind by having supplies and a solid plan in place. Finally, there is safety in numbers! Include your friends and family in your plans, and help them with a little preparedness of their own. We all have health insurance, car insurance, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to have a little disaster insurance?

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Medical Survival In The Wild: How To Make Mud Cast

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You might be a healthy person and not prone to accidents, but a survival situation can change that. Travelling through unknown areas, coping with fatigue and stress, or running for your life will put your body at risk, so you can wind up with a broken bone or some other injury.

If you can’t get to a doctor, then you’ll have at least immobilize the injured area of your body until you can get help. Making a mud cast might get you out of trouble, so you make sure you know how to make one if nothing else is available.

Why to know how to make a mud cast? Whether you are camping, need to take refuge in a natural setting, or are somewhere where there’s no doctor around, mud casts may be your only option for immobilizing a broken bone.

This Timeless Collection of Forgotten Wisdom Will Help You Survive!

If you don’t feel like lugging around several pounds of plaster of paris, then you’ll need to know how to make a mud cast. Since you can use a mud cast in any situation where you would use a plaster cast to immobilize a broken bone, it is a valuable skill to learn with no monetary cost for special tools or supplies.

Why to Use Mud Cast

Aside from being the only material you might have on hand, there are some other advantages to immobilizing broken bones with a mud cast:

  • It offers solid support for broken limbs. Even if you break a leg or an ankle, the mud cast will be more than strong enough to support the broken parts of the bone and keep them from moving. Depending on the type of fracture, broken bone parts rubbing together can be very painful at best. At worst, these fractured ends can rub together and break off, which will only make repairing them more difficult.
  • Mud casts are much easier to work with compared to trying to immobilize broken bones with other natural materials. Unlike vines, branches flattened into splints, or or even leaf wrappings, you only have to apply the mud in layers to get the most benefit from it. If you are in pain or afraid of disrupting the bones, the relative lack of tugging, pulling, and other potentially disruptive actions makes mud cast application much better than other methods.
  • You can change the cast as often as needed since the materials for mud casts are fairly easy to locate. You can take the cast apart as often as you need to let air get at the covered areas. When done correctly, you can reduce the risk of skin infections and other problems that commonly occur when you cannot remove the cast as often as necessary for good skin health.

What to Beware of When Using Mud Cast

No matter how much you may need to immobilize a broken bone, you must also pay careful attention to the drawback associated with using a mud cast:

  • Mud cannot be formed without water, but water, in turn, is absolutely necessary for the growth of bacteria and other germs. No matter where you get the mud from, there is every chance that it will contain any number of disease bearing organisms. While most experts don’t recommend boiling the mud before using it, I would not rule it out as a vital safety precaution. This is especially important to consider if your skin is prone to breaking down, or if you have cuts and other skin openings that may come into contact with the mud in the area to be immobilized. Even if you don’t see or smell signs of mold, moss, or fungal organisms, that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the mud and capable of wreaking havoc once they get past the barrier of your skin.
  • If you thought plaster of paris casts were heavy, be prepared for mud casts to be much worse. Even though the cast will be about the same thickness as a mud cast, you can expect it to weight a lot more.
  • Be prepared to wait for the cast to dry. Remember, even if you find relatively heavy or drier mud, it can take several hours to dry out enough to support broken bones.
  • Depending on the mud type, it may have very little strength even if it is built up in layers. If you have ever removed caked dry mud from the bottom of a bowl or even your shoes, then you know just how easily it can break apart. Since mud deposits can vary drastically even from one mud puddle to the next, it will take some experience to figure out which ones will make the best cast, and how best to make use of the others.

How to Take Care of Wounds in Conjunction With a Mud Cast

Even with a plaster of paris cast, the lack of air flow around wounded sites can cause all kinds of problems. If you have open cuts in the area to be covered by the mud cast, try to lay down some kind of barrier that will prevent the mud from getting into the wound.

If you have antibacterial ointment available, you can also do that to reduce the risk of infection. Unfortunately, even if the open wounds are scabbed over, the increased moisture from sweat building up under the cast will still create a breeding ground for germs to multiply.

Use sticks and wraps to create tunnels for air to flow or other openings as long as they do not interfere with the ability of the cast to support the broken bones. In most, if not all cases, you will probably need to use a sling or some other additional support device to prevent the bones from moving or rubbing together.

What You Need to Have On Hand

If you have all the essentials in your bug out bag, then you should already have most of what you need to make a mud cast. Here is a basic list so that you can include these items in your bug out bag if they aren’t already present:

  • popsickle sticks or other materials that can be used to form splints
  • surgical gauze and tape
  • antibacterial ointment
  • bandages
  • towels or other padding material
  • material that can be used for a sling or other restraining device for arms or other areas that need to be secured close to the body in order to avoid further injury.
  • straps or other material that can be used to manipulate bones back into position if needed. Just make sure that you take a good quality first aid course and know how to pull and manipulate bones to bring them back into alignment before trying it in a crisis situation. When in doubt, you will be better served by simply immobilizing the bone and letting a doctor take care of it as soon as you find one.
  • A quart or more container to hold the mud that you gather from an appropriate source

Substitutes for Casting Materials in Nature

Let’s look at a situation where you ran from your home in such a hurry, you didn’t bring your bug out bag. Alternatively, your bug out bag is missing one or more essential elements that are needed to make a viable mud cast.

Here are some items in nature that you can use to substitute for things you will need:

  • Use tree branches and small limbs for making splints. Start off by selecting the straightest limbs you can find. Cut them down to a size that will enable you to immobilize the entire joint. It will also help to split the branches or limbs so that the affected area rests on a flat surface. If you cannot find branches or limbs that are wide enough for your need, lay thinner sticks together to form a flat surface. You can also tie them together to make a more solid foundation.
  • In place of gauze, you can use wide, long leaves from grass or other plants. Narrow, long leaves can also be used as long as you can wrap them around the affected are and the splint at least once or twice. When you get into using the leaves for holding the mud in place, see if you can shred the leaf a bit so that the mud has an easier chance of seeping through as it would with gauze.
  • Try using honey or other natural herbs in the area that have anti bacterial properties.
  • Leaves that have antibacterial properties can be used as bandages or coverings for areas that need to be protected from dirt and debris. Hold them in place with vines or other materials that will prevent them from slipping and sliding out of position.
  • Moss, leaves, and other soft materials can be used to pad around the splint as well as provide some relief from the weight of the cast. Make sure that the materials you choose are clean and free of insects.
  • In place of straps, longer, thicker vines can be used for pulling bones back into place and for other purposes.
  • Large leaves, depressions in rocks, and even a hole dug into the ground can be used as a place to hold mud that you retrieved from another location. Since you may wind up looking in several locations to find suitable mud, it is best to have a way to transport it to your campsite before trying to assemble the cast.

Where to Find the Mud

When it comes to finding the best mud for a cast, you will find that the term “mud” is something of a misnomer. Typically, you will be looking for material that is much closer to clay in terms of its plasticity and ability to be worked. As such, the mud you select will have a higher degree of organic matter in it, and will feel different from regular mud.

During the process of looking for suitable mud, take some of the material and let it dry out just enough so that it leaves very little residue on your hands. If you have ever worked with clay to make pinch pots or other objects, then you know that clay at this stage can still be bent and manipulated without creating cracks or other problems. By contrast, regular mud will crack easily at this stage and be completely useless insofar as forming it into usable objects.

The best places to find mud for making a cast are at the bottom of ponds or other areas where organic matter collects and easily mixes with soil over long periods of time. It should be noted that clay can take centuries to form to a point where it can be used for pottery making. You can still use “younger” or less well developed clays for making a mud cast. If you cannot find a clay like mud for the cast, you can still use regular mud, but it will be more difficult to manage and less likely to provide viable support for the areas that need to be immobilized.

How to Make a Basic Mud Cast

When all is said and done, making a mud cast is no more difficult than making a plaster cast. Here are the basic steps:

  • start off by making sure you have addressed any open wounds and set any bone fragments that you were able to take care of.
  • Use padding and a splint to provide support for the bones so that they have an additional layer of support. Worst comes to worst, even if the mud portion of the cast falls apart or fails for some other reason, the splint may be enough to keep the affected area immobilized and free from further injury.
  • Next, begin using thin layers of mud and leaves to hold it in place. If the day is breezy, then it will take less time for the layers to dry out. Do not let them dry completely, but do make sure that the water is wicking out properly from each layer of the cast. This may be a bit difficult if you are using leaves and forgot to make suitable holes in them because they will block the wicking action through the mud.
  • Once the cast is dry, finish off the process by using towels, vines, or anything else that can be fashioned into a harness that will hold the affected area as close as possible to your body. For example, if you broke an arm, you would make a sling that prevents your arm and cast from hanging downward or moving around freely at an uninjured area.

How to Remove a Mud Cast

Removing a mud cast is not so different from removing a plaster cast. You will still need to cut into the cast and then separate the parts to set the injured area free. If you used leaves and thin layers of mud, it may also be possible to simply grab a hold of some leaf material and then pull it away from the rest of the cast.

As the leaf puts pressure on the underside of the mud layer, it should break away easily. You may or may not be able to achieve the same results if you used gauze wrapping. If the fibers of the gauze became deeply enmeshed in the mud, the gauze is not likely to separate it into neat layers.

Alternatives You Can Make From Natural Materials

No matter if you are in the woods or a desert, or some other natural setting, there are few things that are similar to mud or plaster of paris that can be easily gathered and turned into a cast.

On the other hand, if you are in the woods, you can take advantage of pine sap to make pitch. This pitch, in turn, can be used to bind together layers of gauze. Try to keep the pine pitch as thin as possible, as you will find it can be difficult to remove.

Once you establish in a wooded setting, there are things you can make ahead of time to deal with broken bones. Aside from making pine pitch, experiment with maple syrup and turn it into a moldable material that will harden in place. If you already know how to make hard maple candy, then you will have a good start for figuring out how to make a cast from the same material.

Finally, do not forget about using other kinds of sap to make variants of latex, rubber, and other pliable materials. As long as you can find a way to apply a the material while it is soft, and then produce a hard shell, you will have the basis of a cast for broken bones.

In some cases, the ability of the material to stretch may also be of use, especially if you need to bind together splint material, or you need to prevent layers inside the cast from moving around too much.

During the course of trying to escape from a disaster, you may fall, or do something else that results in broken bones. No matter whether the bones are in an appendage, your ribs, hips, or shoulders, it is very important to find a way to immobilize the bones until you can get medical attention.

Mud casts have a number of drawbacks, they can still provide key support and relief when nothing else is available. This is an important skill to learn, as well as how to manage pitfalls so that you can make the most of this emergency medicine method.

When you don’t have access to hospitals and doctors, the only thing you can do to survive is relying on what nature provides you in order to stay alive!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Make Your Survival Shelter Invisible With These 10 Tips

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We are living in times when people believe that a growing economy and an increase in job opportunities equates to some strange kind of mayhem, destruction, and chaos. Also foreign adversaries are just as eager to cause problems no matter what we do to advance ourselves and our allies.

Combined with all the natural disasters that are increasing in rate and severity, prepping and complex survival scenario planning become more important than ever. Having a survival shelter helps you survive, and so is ensuring that others cannot find it.

Keep reading to find out how to keep your survival shelter our of sight!

1. Build the Shelter Underground

One of the easiest ways to make a survival shelter invisible is to build it underground. People that are looking for food, supplies, or other resources will usually look for buildings that may house what they are looking for.

If you build your shelter underground, there are some other advantages when it comes to keeping its location as secret as possible.

How To Build a Small Bunker in Your Backyard with $400

Underground shelters are some of the best when it comes to noise dampening, which is especially important if operating machinery underground, or having children living with you in the shelter. Remember, even one stray sound, no matter how faint, can reveal the presence of a shelter and people taking refuge in it. Minimizing this risk with an underground shelter will be an advantage.

Once you start tunneling underground, you can build the shelter a good distance away from the entry point, giving you plenty of room and options for making it harder to locate the shelter from above ground.

For example, you can use decoys as well as other methods to make people think they found your hiding place, even though you are still in a safe place with all of your supplies. Unfortunately, if you have only a small amount of land, creating decoys and distractions can be very difficult for above-ground shelters.

2. Choose Materials for Avoiding Radar and Other Sensors

Not so long ago, metal detectors and other devices were fairly expensive. Also, various kinds of radar devices and thermal heat signature detecting devices were either extremely expensive or unavailable to the public.

But today it isn’t impossible to build or get a hold of this equipment on your own, which means that protecting your shelter from electronic detection means may be more complicated than expected.

One of the most important things to do is make sure that thermal signatures such as bodies, heating systems, and other heat generating devices remain undetected while in operation. Also make sure that metals and other signatures are not easy to pick up in shapes that might interest those looking for supplies or anything else that can be used.

Underground shelters can shield from a lot of different devices, but there are others that can pick up cavities, metal signatures, and many other things that may reveal the location of your shelter or any decoys connected to it.

So if you decide on an underground shelter, make sure that you know how to break up the appearance of key signatures or find other ways to hide them, using paints that block or absorb certain frequencies, or other materials used to make the entire area look like an old debris field.

3. Choose Unusual Shapes

If you are building a shelter from scratch, unusual shapes that fit the landscape will offer the best insofar as invisibility. For example:

  • Terrain with a lot of boulders or outcroppings would be a good place to build something that looks like a natural cave. You can use stones from the local area for more of an effect. Just remember to avoid setting the rocks into an unnatural building pattern. It is also important to avoid squares, rectangles, circles, or anything else that doesn’t look like a random pile of rocks.
  • In a forest, build your shelter to look tall and narrow. If you are cutting down trees to clear a small area, you can build the house in a tall, cylinder shape, and then put bark around the outside of the shelter for a more realistic effect. Put vines along the outside of the structure or other plants that will grow and cover what should look like a dead tree trunk. This may be a fairly small shelter, and you can also build more than one to hide caches of good and supplies.
  • Underground shelters on grasslands will be best if they are as even as possible with the ground. Unless you enter and exit the shelter too much near the cavity, it should remain well hidden once the grass grows over it. Ground penetrating radars can still be a problem, so try building the shelter in odd shapes that look like an underground cave or something else that would be of no interest to people looking for you or your stockpile.
  • If you live near a waterfall or other area with running water, explore the possibility of building a shelter behind the waterfall, and research on underground mining and tunneling carried out by Cornish miners. When it comes to building an invisible shelter, very few people will even think to look under a pond or some other area deep below the surface of the running water.

4. Make the Shelter Amenable to Different Coverings

In any environment, brush, dust, and many other things will build up around items where people don’t clean up or move things around. When it comes to keeping your shelter invisible, making it look like no one is there is very important.

If you are using a conventional wood or brick structure for your shelter, make the walls, roof, and other surfaces amenable to different coverings, using vines, dust, and even garbage that may blow into your yard from time to time.

If you think of shelter coverings as being like a ghillie suit for buildings and shelters, then it may give you some good ideas about how best to hide your shelter from prying eyes. You want the shelter to blend into the landscape so that people don’t see it or recognize it for what it is.

Even breaking up the impression of straight lines in a shadow can make the difference. No matter how you look at it, coverings that break up light and shadows are bound to be as important as they are when you need to hide your physical presence in various settings.

5. Pros and Cons of Making the Shelter Look Abandoned and Unliveable

Making your shelter look derelict on the outside can have advantages and disadvantages.

On the positive side, people looking for expensive things to steal, food, weapons, or other valuables will more than likely look for buildings that are in better repair. If your home looks rich and expensive, then there must also be something worth stealing inside, so better looking buildings and their occupants will be looted and invaded first during a riot.

On the other side, in the later stages of a major crisis, most rioters and others will be homeless and looking for any place to stay. So homeless and desperate people will look for shelters that are the most run down to inhabit.

If they think the building is abandoned, the homeless will crawl into just about anything and build a fire or do something else to make the shelter more comfortable. Under these circumstances, homeless people passing through your area even now may decide to try and inhabit your survival shelter.

6. Disguise it To Look Like Something Else

Unless those searching for you have advanced radar or other detection systems, appearances can be your best weapon for making a shelter invisible. Aside from terrain specific shapes, there are some other ways to disguise the shelter to look like something else:

  • Never allow the outer walls of the structure to look like man-made formations. This means the shelter should have an irregular appearance with crooked outcroppings or plenty of areas that look like they will fall down at any moment.
  • Large enough cement sculptures or ones made from other materials can be used for very small external panic rooms or other shelters. They can also make a good place to hide trap doors to underground shelters. You can even use plastic bottles filled with sand, or many other materials that will simply look like a garden ornament or something else that isn’t related to a survival shelter. Even if you only build something that is 10’ x 10’, it may be enough to hide a trap door or a cache that you can live on for several days.
  • Building a shelter that looks like something else may be as simple as getting an old car frame from the junk yard. You can take this exterior and make it look like an ornate flower planter, or an unusual sculpture. While this “artwork” may be in plain view, people may not realize that the entire inside has been hollowed out and that there is enough space for you to sleep, cook, and even store away some supplies underground.
  • When it comes to disguising your shelter, creativity must also be balanced by effectiveness of the design. Depending on the neighborhood and the area, you may want something that will blend in and look normal. In other situations, you may want something novel that makes people think of anything but a shelter.

7. Use Smaller Modules Across the Property

When looters and thieves are looking for viable targets, they focus mainly on larger buildings that promise enough material to make it worth breaking in. This is just one of many reasons why you should always break up your stockpile into smaller groups of materials even if you aren’t interested in making your shelter invisible.

In some cases, if thieves find small items “hidden”, they may leave the rest of your stockpile alone.

When building a survival shelter, do not put all your focus on fitting everything into one location, but have two or three different shelters scattered throughout your property.

For example, you might make one small underground bunker, one above ground hidden in brush and brambles, and one in some other location. Even if people spot one, it is not likely they will look for a second and third shelter.

8. Avoid Telltale Signs Like Utility Pipes and Meters

Even if you have lived through a catastrophic hurricane, it can still be hard to believe that a bigger crisis will occur, or that extreme prepping is a matter of paranoia.

There may also be a level of prepping that you won’t go simply because you think the odds of a social collapse that spans decades is a matter of “if” as opposed to “when”. It also means that you may overlook critical things when it comes to concealing your survival shelter.

Inexpensive, Easy to Build Cellar Will Protect Your Life and Supplies in the Next Crisis

You might think that running water in the shelter, electricity, gas, and phone service are very important. While digging a well and placing the pipes underground would be suitable for concealment purposes, you might choose to simply hook up some pipes from your home and extend them into the secondary shelter. If anyone comes to your home, those pipes will be easy to spot and can lead other people right to your hiding place.

Burying those pipes underground may work better, but remember that the water meter outside your house will continue to run. All anyone has to do is see that meter moving to know that someone is living close by.

Power lines with meters attached and other utility wires can also make it easy to track the location of your shelter. Rather than take these chances, find a way to live without power as much as possible, and use communication means that don’t rely on cable or internet access.

Foxhole radios, bullroarers, and many other devices can be used for communications in a time of need. In fact, it would be better to have these systems on hand if more complicated equipment is wiped out as it was in Puerto Rico.

9. Avoid Obvious Pathways To or From the Shelter

As with power lines, obvious pathways worn into the grass or the surrounding area can alert others to the location of your shelter. Even trampling sand or soil can leave signs of packing that will make other people curious enough to investigate. If you are still adding provisions to the shelter, or need to access it on a routine basis, there are some things you can do to avoid the signs of pathways to and from the shelter:

  • use vines or ivies across paths instead of grass. The vines can be pushed out of the way easily enough with your foot, and then back into place after you are done working in the shelter.
  • For dirt or sand paths, carry a rake with you. Use the rake to loosen up the compaction created by your feet. Do not forget to use the back of the rake to smooth out the lines made by the rake.
  • You can also set up stepping stones all over the yard. When you need to get to and from the shelter, step only on the stones. Just make sure that the stones are set randomly enough that a trail isn’t easily visible.

10. Avoid the Shelter When Others are Watching

It’s obvious that you should never enter or exit your shelter when other people are watching. No matter whether you created a liveable “lawn ornament” using an old car frame or some other object, disappearing into it or exiting it will alert anyone watching that something is hidden in the structure.

If your shelter is hidden in the woods, ensure you haven’t been followed to the site. If you can do so without alerting others to your hideaway, install trail cameras around the area. This will help you find out if other people followed you, or if they are nosing around. Conceal the cameras as high off the ground as possible so that they escape detection.

When it comes to concealing your entrance and exit times, don’t rely on night time to cover your activities. Given the availability of night vision gear and cameras, you never really know what kind of surveillance is going on all around you. Visit the shelter in daylight hours, or at times when electronic surveillance devices may have the hardest time picking up on your presence. Experiment with night vision enabled cameras to see when they convert from color to black and white as well as lighting patterns that they may not easily work well in.

Concealing your survival shelter isn’t something you may be able to do as an afterthought. Instead, if you are making plans to build a new shelter, figure out how to build in features that will make it hard to spot by humans, tracking animals, and various kinds of surveillance and detection devices.

Stay up to date on all emerging technologies or tracking methods that might be used to find your survival shelter. Once you know what you are up against, you have a better chance to revise your shelter and ensure that it will stay invisible and safe!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Is This Far Enough Off the Grid?

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Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

I know, but we can dream can’t we? This just might work if you want to be your own grid-square. A place with almost unlimited and unobstructed views, enough acreage to sight in your own 105 Howitzer and within driving distance of Lake Tahoe, south east of Reno Nevada, but far enough from the Golden Horde.

You have unobstructed views is all directions, a great house, even a lawn to mow, one that can be converted into a vegetable garden.

Good curb appeal, though there is no curb in the area.

On city power but plenty of space for a generator and a big Faraday cage. Places to raise chickens and rabbits and other livestock.

No restaurants close but it has its own good place to eat:

…and play…

…and keep an eye on the neighbors.

Automated lawn services.

An established vegetable garden.

And the clincher, you never know when food for a week is going to walk into range.

I believe we, each of us, at some point dream of leaving the rat-race behind, not hearing traffic, low-level airplanes, sub-woofers mounted in cars that may fall apart at any moment. Such places do exist for a price.

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Learn How to Use a Spotting Scope

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Though another piece of expensive, relatively speaking, gear to drag along, a spotting scope has no match when it comes to observing the world that surrounds you. Most often seen at rifle ranges, most ranges rent them to shooters, as a tool for “sighting in” either a new rifle or a newly scoped rifle.

To understand their advantage, and to justify the expense and the extra weight to carry, you need to know what they bring to the table that a rifle scope does not. The simple answer is a sighting range from a few yards to “way out there”. The counterpoint is “so does an excellent scope” – one perhaps costing more than the rifle it is mounted on and, just maybe, the truck you used to drive it to wherever you are. The counterpoint is, it is not attached to a single weapon and can be used to improve your skills across all your weapons, well, other than a Thompson 45 cal sub-machine gun, which hits every possible thing but what you are aiming at, but I digress.

On a any scope you need to understand the ranges, and on a spotting scope the first set of numbers refers to its magnification (or zoom), so, for example. a 20-60x means 20x to 60x variable zoom. The second number refers to the diameter of its objective lens. A spotting scope will usually have a 50mm to 80mm lens.

In general, it is believed that the least magnification that gives you a clear target image is the best magnification, as it introduces the least amount of visual clutter. Then it starts to get complicated. A 4x rifle scope is suitable for most big-game hunting, think 300 yards out, while a 6x works fine for 400 yards out so it is really for smaller game closer in that you want more magnification.

Simply put, nothing beats the view from a spotting scope when you are out in the back country where game can be at any range and of varying sizes, especially after you have sighted in that $1,500 Trijicon® ACOG® Ballistic Reticle Scope at 500 yards for that one bull ELK that will never, ever cross your path.

Once you use a sighting scope a few times and you will never imagine going out hunting without one. Whether its deer, turkey, elk, pronghorn, or smaller, closer game or even a black bear, there is little doubt that nothing beats a spotting scope.

It’s easy to fall into the idea that using a spotting scope for hunting and shooting is easy. After all, you simply need to look through the glass. But that is only a part of the process. Hunters take years to master the art of glassing through the scope. For you however, it need not take as long. By the time we are done, you should have a good understanding of how to use a spotting scope for hunting and shooting.

Let’s take a look at best spotting scopes for hunting where is few tips to help you use the scope more efficiently.

  1. Best Position

When out hunting, the number one thing that you need to do is to pick out the right position. This should allow you to see for a long distances all around you. The position should be accommodating in that you can easily sit back for long hours without putting too much strain on your body. You can imagine being in a steep slope. Not very ideal is it?

The location should also be able to provide you with a good place to set your spotting scope. As a hunter, you likely have a gun and a back pack. You should also be able to place these down next to you.

With the right vantage point, it’s time for the next step.

  1. Setting Up the Scope

It’s time to set up the spotting scope. Start by placing the tripod on the right position then place the scope on top. Adjusting the legs of the tripod is important to get the right and most comfortable viewing position. During use, you might find yourself needing to readjust the height of the scope. Being able to use the tripod is as important as using the spotting scope.

How comfortable you are when glassing through the scope can mean the difference between success and failure in the most literal way. If your viewing position is not ideal, a headache can cause you to abandon the hunt or miss an opportunity.

If after a short time you feel the slightest discomfort, readjust the height until there is no strain at all when looking through the scope.

  1. Time to Scan

It’s time to pull up those binoculars. Yes, I said binoculars. These are easy to use and will allow you to quickly view your surroundings. Once you spot a herd of deer, simply move the spotting scope towards them for a closer look.

When using the scope, ensure that you have zoomed out towards your prey. You will have a wider field of view and you can now adjust the lens by zooming in for a clearer image.

In case you wear glasses, your spotting scope should come with eye cups. These will offer the required eye relief.

Look out for the position of the sun. It is easier to spot your target if the sun is not glaring down on you from the front. If however this is the case, you can always retract the sunshade.

When zooming in you need to remember not to go up to the highest power form the lowest as the image will not be clear. Doing this will likely cause you to change your position and start the whole process again.

Beginner spotting scope users have a tendency to place both hands on the scope when glassing. This results in an unstable image. You are also very likely to lose your target due to the shaking. The best way to use the spotting scope is to keep one hand away while the other on the focus knob. Once you reach the right image quality, remove this hand as well.

  1. Practice Patience

It is not all the time when you scan with your binoculars that you will find a target. Sometimes the binoculars are simply not powerful enough to view greater distances. You can use the spotter to do this as well.

One proven trick is to divide up the area you are viewing into smaller sections. With the spotter at low magnification, scan through each area at a time. In case there are spots where the ground is covered with thick foliage, raise your magnification.

Continue doing this until you have covered the entire terrain. You would be surprised at how successful this technique is. Sometimes the binoculars simply missed an animal hiding behind a bush taking a nap, but with the powerful magnification of the spotter, you can pick up tell tale signs of its presence by a simple viewing of the horns.

  1. Dealing with Heat Waves

On a hot day, nothing challenges the hunter more than the heat waves. These become more pronounced the more you zoom in on your target.

You can beat this by simply zooming out. In case you zoom out too far that the target is no longer visible, simply up the magnification until you reach the right balance between image clarity and distortion.

Look out for clouds. These will prove a useful ally when viewing through the spotting scope. They will instantly remove the heat waves allowing you a chance to quickly zoom back in on your target.

Conclusion

Using a spotting scope may seem challenging to beginners, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. The spotting scope allows you to view targets at distances that an ordinary pair of binoculars simply could not handle.

As a tip for practicing your proficiency in the art of hunting with a spotter, start off by using a small stationary object. This will provide you with the right skills for setting up as well as adjusting for height and dealing with heat waves.

When you finally go out after the real deal, everything will flow naturally allowing you to achieve success.

About the author

I have a deep respect for the nature and the environment. We therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. I am writing from my experience and provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear.

The post Learn How to Use a Spotting Scope appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

7 Ways To Fry Your Electronics (Beside EMP)

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As preppers, we necessarily expend a lot of energy in preparations against EMP because of mankind’s enormous exposure to that threat, but in doing so, could there be other threats that we are forgetting?

Beside EMP, what threats are there to electronics? There are at least 7 other factors that can broke your electronics, and you have to learn how to control, so they would keep working and serve you.

Keep reading to find our what they are! 

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Briefly:

  • Sometimes electronics are cheap enough that you can store spares, but when you may be fixing it yourself, industry-standard, component-based electronics are much easier to fix and find parts for than proprietary architecture equipment.
  • Ever had alkaline batteries leak and ruin electronics? Lithium batteries are a better choice for electronics stored in vehicles when they must be stored with batteries installed to be effective.
  • Wear an antistatic wrist strap and connect it to bare metal surface on the chassis of the electronics you are working to minimized risk of damage from ESD.
  • Electronics that specify a ground do so for a reason. Go around them and you are asking for trouble.
  • Online, 3-phase uninterruptible power supplies prevent a whole host of power problems, prevent damage from bad power and greatly extend equipment life.

Proprietary vs Open Architecture

For a survival vehicle, you are better off with a vehicle that can be fixed relatively easily and with commonly-available parts. That easy-to-fix survival vehicle is like a computer that is not proprietary. (It is OK to be a driver and not a mechanic, but it is important that the vehicle be field-repairable by someone nearby and for a reasonable cost.)

The same is true, to a degree, of electronics. With less-expensive electronics, you may be able to get around this, to a degree, by stocking spare electronics instead of spare parts. The larger and more expensive systems are, the harder it becomes to stock spares because of cost and space.

So, consider where it makes sense to purchase highly-integrated and proprietary electronics and stock spares and where more modular, repairable electronics and spare components and tools to repair them would be more effective.

Enemies of Electronics

Battery Problems

Have you ever left a flashlight in the car and opened the battery cover to find that alkaline batteries have corroded and leaked? If stored long enough, without maintenance, a battery leak can ruin some electronics.

A simple fix is to switch to lithium batteries. This is especially important for gear stored in vehicles that need to be stored with batteries installed. Lithium batteries store longer, are lighter weight, last longer (especially in high current applications) and are far less likely ruin valuable electronics if stored too long.

Unfortunately, lithium batteries are also more expensive. If cost is an issue, store alkaline batteries separately and install them only when you use the electronics.

Lightning

Lightning is beautiful and awe-inspiring when observed and the wrath of God when experienced. I will address lightning separately because it is not always so much a power problem, but is induced by the environment.

Lightning protection equipment routes surges of more than then 300 volts to ground, but surges lower than 300 volts can still damage connected equipment, so lightning protection must be used in tandem with surge protection.

There are four parts to protecting a building from lightning:

  • Lightning Protection System
  • Building Ground System
  • Surge Protection
  • Connected Equipment Properly Grounded.

Phones, electrical, antenna, conductive underground piping … everything should be tied into the building’s ground system. This ground should be singular, continuous (not spliced or brought to a terminal strip) and properly designed and installed.

Lightening will take the path of least resistance, so all connected equipment must be properly grounded. If connect your computer to a little two prong extension cord without a ground prong or use adapters that eliminate the ground, you are asking for trouble.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

You know that little shock you feel and see when you touch a conductor after rubbing your feet on the carpet? The spark occurs as the electric field surrounding your body, balances with the electric field of another object. The spark is called electrostatic discharge and it is why electronics come packaged in static bags.

You can build up an electrostatic charge on your body by rubbing a balloon on dry hair or a loose knit sweater, combing dry hair with a plastic comb, or by dragging your feet on carpet wearing socks. These examples build up electrostatic charge in a process known as tribocharging, which builds a charge when two materials are brought together and then separated.

You may have felt this as you have removed products from certain types of plastic bags. This is the result of tribocharging causing electrostatic buildup as packages are jostled during shipping.

Microelectronics incorporate tiny transistors that run at very low voltages. This makes them cheaper, cooler, faster and more energy efficient. It also makes them more vulnerable to ESD. Microchips are particularly vulnerable to ESD.

Precautions against ESD are especially important when humidity is low (below 30%), and when wearing baggy or woolen clothing.  The chassis of most electronics offers a degree of protection against ESD, but when handling or working on electronics, on electronics, (such as removing a card or memory from a computer or opening protective cases) an antistatic wrist strap should be worn.

Connect the wrist strap’s alligator clip to a non-painted, conductive metal surface of the chassis of the electronic device you are working on. This balances your electric field with that of the object you are working on and prevents ESD. Take care not to touch circuits or contacts with fingers or conductive tools and protect vulnerable electronics with static bags.

Moisture

Moisture, salt air and high humidity (above 80%) can cause corrosion. Corrosion can prevent electrical contacts from making an effective connection or worse. Corrosion is a frequent problem with automobile battery connections and electrical plugs on trailers because they are often exposed to the elements and not frequently disconnected and reconnected.

Auto battery terminals can be cleaned with a saturated solution of baking soda and water. Care must be taken not to get battery acid contained in the white, powdery corrosion residue in your eyes, on your skin, clothing or the vehicle’s paint.

Clean any tools used to work on battery terminals as well. Saturate a bowl of water with baking soda until no more will dissolve and add another teaspoon or two, which will collect in the bottom of the bowl.

When you place a battery terminal in the bowl and gently swirl the solution onto it, a chemical reaction will begin as the baking soda solution dissolves the acid buildup. Baking soda will be used in this reaction and some of the baking soda in the bottom of the bowl may dissolve and become suspended in solution.

Dry the terminals with a disposable rag or paper towel and immediately dispose of them to reduce chances of acid damage. Then use a battery post and terminal brush to clean up battery and terminal connections.

Electrical connections between vehicles and trailers are typically best cleaned with very small wire brushes. Once corrosion is cleaned up and contacts restored, keep them from corroding again with felt discs impregnated with corrosion inhibitors or corrosion inhibiting spray.

Moisture can also be a problem when storing electronics long term or caching them. Use desiccant packets, and seal electronics in plastic bags treated with a dry vapor rust preventative like Zerust or add plastic tabs impregnated with it. This method or storage does not involve liquids that can short circuit electronics or messy cleanup.

Sunlight

Sunlight’s UV rays can damage some parts of electronics, turning them weak and brittle. When you read general storage directions, they typically tell you to store things out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

Temperature Extremes

Extreme heat can cause electronics to malfunction or permanently damage them. Extreme cold, can sap batteries, freeze moving parts or cause parts to become brittle. Most electronics have recommended operating temperatures. Pay attention to these when purchasing electronics, where applicable.

Today, it seems that many people accept the integration of electronics even in applications where live depends on their proper function, and do so with little thought as to potential reliability problems.

A few years ago, some US soldiers realized that some optics issued had questionable reliability in extreme cold and this caused quite a stir in the optics industry.

The optic for my Dragunov has a cold-weather battery compartment that I can clip inside my clothing when the temperature drops to ensure reliability of its illuminated reticle. If you operate (or may be forced to operate) in extreme heat or cold, take these factors into consideration to keep your electronics working.

Power Problems

You have probably heard about the aging patchwork electrical infrastructure millions of American lives depend on. The power supplied to your electronics by the utility can cause problems or even damage equipment and you can expect even more power problems during periods of high order volatility.

Fortunately, connected equipment in your home can be protected from power problems by power protection equipment such as the Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.

  • Interruption – The power problem that is probably most visible to most people is the complete interruption of power, commonly known as a blackout.
  • Surge/Spike – Surges or spikes are short increases in voltage that can trip fuzes, damage or destroy electronics and are caused by lightning strikes, improper wiring or load shifting by utility companies.
  • Sag/Under-voltage – Sometimes called brownouts, while a surge is too much voltage, a sag is too little, can be cause by heavy demands on available power, poor circuit design or too little power being produced, and can degrade electronics over time, trip fuzes or damage them outright. Sags can last from moments to hours and are much more common that blackouts, but may go unnoticed.
  • Line Noise – Distortion caused by Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), line noise can be caused by high voltage power lines, bad fluorescent light ballasts, severe weather or radio signals. Line noise can cause electronic degradation over time, snow on video electronics or static noise on audio electronics.
  • Swell/Overvoltage – Swells or overvoltage involve too much voltage like surges and spikes but are of longer duration.

Home Power Protection

In addition to the steps mentioned under lightning protection, home power protection is typically accomplished by pairing electronics, or small clusters of them with an UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply).

Quality UPS’s are three-phase, converting the AC power supplies by the utility over to DC power and back to AC and protect against all the power problems listed above. They also feature a battery to supply power until power is restored or until equipment is safely and properly shut down, which can be accomplished automatically with most computers.

If longer duration of battery-supplied power is needed, some models allow for additional batteries to be added to increase total battery capacity, but for longer term needs, a standby generator is typically installed.

UPS’s can also be wired directly into electrical building electrical systems in applications where one to one or cluster installation would be less-effective.

Many power problems may go largely unnoticed or users may fail to connect the fact their electronics have been damaged to the power problems that caused the damage. A quality UPS can prevent many of these problems and extend equipment life.

Be smart and protect your electronics so you could use them at the right time!

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

Here’s Your Guide In Choosing The Best Type Of Water Well

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Water wells are beneficial resources as they enable us to access free natural water. As a matter of fact, studies have deduced that 15 million households in the United States get their supply of fresh water from wells.

There are three main kinds of wells: the drilled well, the driven well, and the dug well, each having unique features. The drilled wells have deeper depths than the other types of wells. The driven wells simple in construction and cost-effective but can only tap shallow waters. The dug wells are manually constructed using hand shovels and dug until water appears.

But which one is fit for you? Here are the various factors you ought to consider while choosing the right type of well for your household.

14 Factors to Consider While Choosing the Right Type of Water Well

1. Unique Aquifer Characteristics

Groundwater is stored in aquifers, which are bodies of permeable rocks containing and transmitting groundwater. Their distinct characteristics may determine to a great extent the kind of well that they may be able to accommodate.

Examples of these distinct characteristics are the nature of the underlying rock, the capacity of the aquifer itself, the depth at which the aquifer is located beneath the ground, and the porosity of the underlying rocks, among others.

It is not humanly possible for you to know these characteristics. This is why you require the assistance of a qualified geologist, by all means.

As a general rule, if the aquifer is located deeper beneath the soil surface, your well has to be correspondingly deeper, and vice versa. The drilled type would suffice this role pretty well. You will, however, have to sink a shallower well like the dug well if the aquifer is closer to the soil surface or is larger in size.

2. Hydraulic Factors

Hydraulic factors are those that concern the smooth flow of water beneath the ground surface. They, too, have the ability to influence the performance of wells. This component includes the hydraulic gradient, the water pressure, and the volume.

Just like the aquifers, hydraulics are also undetectable by the ordinary homeowner. You will have to seek the intervention of a qualified geologist to help you out on this.

3. Intended Means of Drawing Water

Sinking a well is one thing, drawing water from the same well is yet another case to solve. Before settling on a given type of well, ask yourself the following questions: “Which equipment will I use to draw water from the well?”, “Do I have a storage tank, or will I be drawing water for immediate use only?”

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Water may be drawn from the well by use of various equipment, including buckets, electric pumps, or manual screws. The kind of equipment determines the possible depth of the well. In relation to that, electrical pumps have the ability to draw water from deeper depths than buckets.

You should, therefore, consider opting for a deeper well like the drilled well if you intend to draw water by means of an electrical pump. If you want to use a bucket or manual means of getting the water, the shallower dug well is your better bet. If you, however, choose to use water screw to draw water, then the driven well would be your ideal type.

4. Cost Implications

‘A plan is what you want to achieve, but a budget is why you can’t,’ so goes the old English proverb. Indeed, the ultimate decision as to whether you will have your well of choice largely depends on your financial resource endowment. This is because the expenses involved in digging a water well are potentially enormous. This, again, is dependent on the precise kind of well you desire.

The drilled well is. by far, the most expensive. It requires huge financial resource investments. This is due to the sophisticated equipment used to drill its depth and permanent structure. It is followed closely by the driven well type. The dug well comes at a distant third since it’s done without any use of big machines.

With all that said, you have to ascertain your financial strength first and foremost before determining which well to settle for. Discuss this with the others in your area who have already dug theirs for a rough clue. You should also discuss the issue further with the company that you shall contract to do the job for you.

5. Water Table

This refers to the level of soil beneath the surface in which the ground is saturated with water. The water table is determined by various parameters. These include the amount of precipitation the area receives, the elevation of the area, and the nearness of the area to water body like streams, lakes, or rivers.

In case your intended well site is closer to a body of water, it means that the water table is also high. This also implies that your preferred well should be shallower. Because of this, consider settling for the dug well type. The same case should apply to areas that receive higher precipitation.

If, however, your intended well site is situated in an area that is far away from a water body, this means that the water table is lower. Your preferred well site should, thus, be deeper in nature, all the other factors held constant. You will have to choose between the driven and the drilled wells. The same case should apply if the area receives less precipitation.

6. Soil Type

Soils determine the nature of wells that may be sunk in several ways. A sandy soil is pervious, meaning that they allow water to pass through them easily. It is less likely to retain water. For you to sink a well in them, that structure has to be deeper than usual. Because of this, the drilled well would be your best option.

Meanwhile, grounds like clay are impervious, making them more effective in retaining water. As such, you do not have to sink your well to deep to access the aquifer. This being the case, you will be required to sink a relatively shallow well like the dug well.

In some areas, the soils are rocky in nature. It is not possible for you to dig a well singlehandedly. You will have to employ sophisticated drilling machinery to carry out the task. If you intend to dig a well in such areas, you will definitely have to opt for the drilled or the driven types.

7. Amount of Precipitation

Precipitation is the sum total of the amounts of rain, snow, dew, sleet, or hail, which either falls or condenses into the ground within a duration of time. It determines the amount of water that may be possibly accessed whenever a well is dug in the ground. It also determines the water table, which subsequently establishes just how deep a well ought to be.

Before commencing on the task of digging a well, ask yourself, “How much precipitation does this area receive per annum?” If your intended well site is located in an area that naturally receives higher precipitation, then you will have to settle for a shallower well such as the dug well. This is because the water table is naturally expected to be higher.

If the location of your well is in an area that hardly receives any meaningful precipitation such as a desert, you have to settle for a deeper well. The drilled or the driven wells may suffice. This is due to the expected lower water table.

8. Terrain/Topography

This refers to the nature of the land in your area. It touches on such pertinent aspects as the elevation of that land above sea level, the inclination of the said piece of land, and the nearness of the piece of land to natural water sources like streams.

The terrain or topography determines to a great extent the depth of the well and its possibility to supply you with water all throughout. If the site of your well is located in an area of higher elevation, you will definitely have to opt for the drilled well or the driven well. It’s because those types of wells are deep enough to reach the water table and guarantee the unhindered supply of water.

If the well is at a lower elevation, then you may consider settling for either the dug well or the driven well. This is due to their capability of reaching the water table even at shallower depths.

9. Possible Contaminants

Contaminants are substances that may poison, disparage, and defile the water in the well. They chiefly originate from industrial effluence, raw sewage, agricultural chemicals, decomposing bodies, and underground chemicals.

If these contaminants get into the water, people are at risk of acquiring water-borne diseases, food poisoning, and hygiene-related disorders such as Cholera and Typhoid.

In as much as all the various kinds of well may be impacted by these contaminants, some are more vulnerable to them than others. The dug wells are particularly vulnerable because they’re shallow nature, and they are not securely sealed.

Your first task should be to ascertain whether these contaminants do exist in your area. If they do, then consider opting for the deeper and the more permanent well types such as the drilled and the drive wells.

10. Volume of Water Required

Under this consideration, you will basically aim at answering the following questions: “How much water will I require in a typical day?”, “Which buildings or facilities am I digging this well for?”, “Are there any other alternative sources of water?”, and “Is this well going to be my only source of water?”

If the well is to be your one and only source of water, then it has to be deeper and more permanent in nature. The drilled well fits this particular bill perfectly well. If it is to be complemented by other alternatives, then it has to be shallower in depth. The dug well would serve the purpose well, in this case.

But if the well is to supply water for the typical household, then it also has to be shallower. The driven and the dug wells would be great choices. In case the well is for industrial, agricultural or large scale uses, then it has to be deeper and more permanent, hence, the drilled wells.

11. Expected Lifetime

The different kinds of wells are intended to supply water for varying durations of time. This is mainly dependent upon the entire length of time you intend to stay in a particular area. If you have plans of moving elsewhere, then you may consider having a dug well; it can tap shallow levels of water, it’s easier to construct, and it’s budget-friendly.

But if you’re going to live in your residence for good, then you may want to settle for a drilled well, other factors considered yet again. This is for the sheer reason that this type of well is permanently constructed and ensures a relatively stable supply of underground water for your household.

12. Prevailing Legal Regimes

Different regimes impose various pieces of legislation to oversee the construction of these wells. In some municipalities, the residents are completely prohibited from constructing such wells at all. In others, they are allowed but are with a lot of restrictions, including the depth limit, the number of wells per unit area, the type of well or boring tools, among others.

You have to take the initiative of familiarizing yourself with these regulations. This is to avoid unnecessary frictions with the various government bodies. It is also to ensure that you get as many benefits as possible from the wells. Abiding by these regulations may also shield you from the possible dangers that may come along with flouting the rules. These include accidents, landslides, and the contamination of the water, to name a few.

13. The Number of the other Wells in the Vicinity

All wells get their water from underground aquifers. It goes without saying that the more the number of wells per unit area, the less the amount of water to be derived. This is due to the competition for a scarce resource.

If there are several other wells in the vicinity, you may opt for either the drilled or the driven wells. They provide more access to underground water. This being the case, your continued supply of the water is less likely to be interrupted even in moments of extreme drought.

14. Technical Skills

Different kinds of wells require varying degrees of technical skills to install. Deeper and more permanent wells like the drilled wells require more sophisticated equipment and technical expertise.

Moderately deeper wells like the driven wells don’t need big machines to construct. Dug wells, on the other hand, require almost no technical skills to sink. The challenge is to ascertain whether you indeed have what it takes to sink the kind of well you want or not.

In Conclusion

The factors identified and explained above are by no means exhaustive.  Make your own research and connect it to your own needs, so you could make the smartest choice when going further with providing your source of water!

This article has been written as a guest writer by Matila Ollie Jose from Costfreak for Survivopedia.

References:

https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1186/html/gen_facts.html

https://costfreak.com/average-cost-dig-well/

Tips for Camping With Our 4-Legged Friends

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: While walking the John Muir Trail from the Whitney Portal to Tuolumne Meadows I encountered a couple hiking near Red’s Meadow/Rainbow Falls with a Golden Retriever wearing a saddle-bag back pack. I saw this beautiful dog get stuck twice trying to get between a couple of trees. While the trees were wide enough for her, she had no concept of her extra girth/width this saddle back pack added. She was frustrated and one can understand why. So when this article popped into my inbox I just had to post it as whether pleasure camping or at the EOTWAWKI, this family member is, after all, a family member. Written by a relaxed pleasure camper.

Spending some time camping with your dog is one of the most enjoyable things. Are you a dog lover? Do you love camping? If the answers to these questions are yes, then this article is for you. Maybe you have never thought of spending time together outdoors with your dog. Now there is a good reason to try it and guess what? It will be a very enjoyable experience. You only need a few tips and guide to make it happen.

Training Your Dog is a Great Starting Point

If she is trained, you will be ready. The most vital training you need for the dog is a dependable recall. Does your dog respond when you call? Your dog should respond even when there are distractions or other dogs. Trust your skills and train your dog on how to respond promptly when you call. You might need to seek the services of a professional dog trainer if you are not sure.

Some simple commands that you can use to train your dog are explained here.

  • “Come” – This command tells your dog to come to you
  • “Leave it” – This command tells the dog to stop what she is doing and drop what’s in her mouth. This command is very useful when you go camping. You can use it to command your dog to stop sniffing a snake or dead crow
  • “Down” – This command tells your dog to lay down and wait for the next command
  • “Okay” – This command informs the dog everything is okay or cool

You’ll want to train the dog to stay in the car until they are invited to come along. This training is important because you’ll enhance the safety of your dog. A dog can follow you when you aren’t aware and get into an accident. Through the training, you’ll get the dog to trust you and obey your commands. Remember the more command your dog knows and responds to, the better for you. The training is a just a process of creating a good relationship with the dog in preparation for camping.

Untrained or un-socialized dogs will draw negative attention almost immediately and may put both you and the dog in harms way.

Remember to Carry Enough Supplies

Water should be the first item on the supplies list. Set aside a plastic water bottle and water bowl for your dog when packing supplies. It’s good to carry separate water for you and the dog, just to ensure there’s enough. Because dogs don’t sweat, they tend to drink a lot of water to cool down. When you break to drink water, give your dog some water too. The other item on the supplies is food. Don’t be tempted to change the dog’s diet. If she feeds on homemade food, you can pack some. But you might want to decrease the portions.

Backpacks are a good choice to carry camping supplies. The choice will depend on the number of days you’ll be camping. You can rely on a dog backpack to carry some supplies because it’ll relieve you of some weight. A healthy dog can carry about 25% of their body weight. Make sure to strap the backpack on safely without hurting the dog or putting on too much excess weight. The best practice is to put most of the weight low and forward, over her front shoulders.

Don’t forget a good tent when planning. A pop up canopy tent is great, although you might want to carry hammock. Remember to consider tent stakes. The right equipment will make camping with your dog smooth and memorable.

A First Aid Kit is a Great Idea

Your dog can be injured just like you. In fact, a dog can be at higher risk of being injured than you. A dog isn’t a good a judge of what they can do and might end up with injuries. Fearless dogs are more likely to be injured. Running and scrambling over rocks is fun and adventurous, but an invitation for injuries. The dog’s foot pads can be injured. Don’t assume that your dog’s thorn-proof! A pricking on foot can cause a lot of pain and even bleed. When it comes to the dog’s first aid kit, you’re the expert. Carry the drugs that have been prescribed by your veterinarian. Pain relievers are good to carry along as well.

When packing the first aid kit, consider the place where you’ll be camping. This way, you can prepare sufficiently. In almost any camp ground, there’s a threat of small and large animals. Some animals like moose and bears tend to avoid humans. They may however not avoid curious dogs. Your dog can be at risk of injury if the camping site has these animals. The dog can be kicked, bitten or even infected with a disease by interacting with these animals. Small animals can scratch the nose of your dog if they are curious.

In some places, ticks can be a problem. You’re spending time outdoors with the dog, and you should inspect the dog daily for any ticks. There might also be wood ticks in the camping site. You should consider immunizing the dog for Lyme. These tips will be sufficient to keep your dog safe. But at times, your dog might get a big injury that can’t be managed with the first aid kit. It’ll be a great idea to go back home and seek the help of your veterinarian if the injury is not life threatening. If it is, seek the closet professional help you can find. Fortunately, you can avoid all the worry by preparing well for the specific terrain and risks in the place where you will be camping.

Embrace Good Campsite Etiquette

While at the campsite practice good campsite etiquette. Be courteous to your friends and fellow campers. Use the commands that your dog has learned to keep the dog away from strangers. It’s your responsibility to properly dispose of the dog’s waste each and every time. To keep the dog safe, keep it close to you all times and don’t leave her unsupervised at the campsite. Even in the vehicle ensure your dog is safe. Knowing how to keep the dog safe and close to you will help to prevent unforeseen risks.

Finally, Enjoy with Your Dog

Now that you are camping with your dog enjoy to your fullest! Play with your dog, take some good photos and relax. Just stay cool. At night enjoy a campfire and let your dog enjoy too. Combine different tips that you have learned to make the experience memorable.

Author’s Bio:

Welcome to Rainy Camping. I am Michael Everett, a camping expert who loves to travel and explore the wilderness throughout the year. I aim to visit every campsite in the world and offer smart advice to the novice adventurers out there.

 

 

The post Tips for Camping With Our 4-Legged Friends appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Best Off-grid Power For A Wilderness Retreat

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By now everybody realizes that in cataclysmic SHTF event the number one ‘culture shock’ moment for unprepared crybabies will be no more electricity! At first it will be more expected than anything else.

Many of us have been through a power outage from a bad storm or equipment failure at one time or another in our lives. But what if the electricity didn’t come back on again as it usually does, in the nick of time, just at about when our flashlight batteries start to die?

Or what happens when it might be months before power is restored by the regular power companies, and maybe not for years?

Puerto Rico STILL is without power in most areas after this summer’s hurricane! We then come to the critical understanding that it might be time to have an off grid electrical power set up to fall back on if we ever want to recover from a caveman lifestyle in a SHTF event.

The problem is that there’s so much information out there now that a lot of us are still confused about exactly what we really need to be ‘off grid’ and how to go about doing this. To help clear things up, here’s a quick general intro to everything you really wanted to know about an off-grid system but were afraid to ask!

What Exactly Does Off-Grid Mean?

I know everybody has an idea of what going ‘off grid’ means. But someone answered that for me once by saying, ‘Oh, that’s like being a mountain man and living off the land with only your horse, a knife, and your gun,’ she answered.

Well, not exactly. Living off the land with only a couple tools can be called being ‘off grid’ I suppose, but to me that’s more like being in a very basic emergency survival mode, living each day just to maintain your miserable existence with only your bushcraft and survival skills. To me this is more like a temporary survival exercise until you can get back to civilization!

Having a little more than just a basic stomach filling meal and campfire to keep you from freezing at the end of the day will get worse than boring after a while.

Because I guarantee you, bare bones 18 century homesteading won’t be anything like you are used to, or ever fantasized it to be, when you were enjoying your favorite Grizzly Bear chasing the HD cable movie, on your nice flat screen TV with a bowl of hot buttered microwaved popcorn in your comfy thermostatically controlled modern habitat.

Big Power Companies Will Unfriend You

Going off-grid in prepping means that you are not going to be connected to one of these major public power company grids any longer so you also won’t be paying them outrageous monthly electric bills which also allows them to install smart meters on your house, and spy on your personal habits.

It doesn’t mean you will be without electricity for the electrical devices you need and want because it’s hard to do much without electricity except waste your entire day trying to feed yourself and keep warm.

But instead you simply are going to become your ‘own power company’ and you will be your only customer. Well that sounds interesting?

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

Obviously your personal power plant is going to have to be scaled down a bit. It won’t use a giant turbine steam engine and certainly won’t be nuclear. You don’t need miles long railroad cars loaded with tons of coal to feed the boilers for your power plant.

All you need are batteries—proportionally larger than your radio, flashlights, and cell phone equipment uses, but still similar in fundamental operational principle– and a way to keep them charged long term.

A word of caution at this point because there’s a cornucopia of appealing cool ideas on YouTube for providing off grid electricity to your place. Everything from zero point energy to perpetual flywheel motion, but most of it is so complicated and produces such limited power for practical use if it even barely proves the concept that these are really just experimental ideas and won’t really work for your survival purposes at this point in time.

The standard tried and true off grid power systems almost invariably use a combination of battery banks and solar/wind power. Even a scaled down battery and charging system for just your own personal house, won’t be ‘dirt’ cheap as most of advertisers seem to be implying.

A complete standard home electrical system converted to complete off grid power is averaging less in total cost than it was a few years ago but it still can be out of reach for most of us ‘Po Folks’ who can’t just casually lay out several thousands of ‘dead presidents’ (a.k.a. dollars) for a professional whole house commercial conversion.

But if you just intend to set up electricity for your smaller bug out location shelter which might be a tiny cabin, or travel trailer, or even a heavy duty tent like a yurt, with off grid electrical power, that’s a different and much more affordable, story.

All you need to do first is look up at the sky and find out how many days out of the week you are likely to average peak full sunlight hours. Because, again, the most common and least expensive way for small off grid applications is to use ‘ol sun to charge your batteries with solar panels.

This is so you can then start to plan how many batteries you might need, or if you might need additional battery chargers like a windmill or a small gas generator which is what many people use for a temporary outage anyway all by itself if they think ahead to store enough gas for it properly.

But if we’re talking long term survival and power needs at the BOL, we want something that lasts a long time without a lot of headaches. To put it simply your location has a lot to do with just how you balance and put together your system in terms of batteries and charging systems and solar panels.

And to keep the system cost effective, all these components become a trade-off depending upon your location and of course your power requirements.

You Can Do It Yourself!

First of all, you’ll save yourself a lot of labor money if you want to DIY and there’s all kinds of internet tutorials and books and quick guides out there.

You’ll also learn valuable useful knowledge about electricity and it’s really not hard even if you’ve never done it before. And then afterward, you can pay an electrician familiar with solar off grid set ups a one time relatively modest inspection fee to check it out for you.

So, here’s the bargain basement basics just to get you started.

“Watts” Up With That?

It all starts with WATTS! Think of it as the resulting amount of vibrating microscopic atomic electrons which can be manipulated and transformed into the electrical current ‘juice’ that powers all the plug-in stuff.

Your electrical wiring in your house has to carry electrical power to feed these watts to feed all of your electrical stuff and when you plug in the particular device just takes/draws out the amount of watts it needs to operate.

This is the electric ‘currency’ on a power system. Everything you have that uses electrical measures that usage in Watts. You pay you’re your utility company for what they refer to as Kilowatt Hours used.

Every tag on the back of every appliance tells you how many Watts your gadget needs to do what it’s supposed to do. Microwaves from 600 to 1100 watts on average, lightbulbs 30 to 200 watts on average, refrigerators and appliances between 2 and 6 hundred, and so on.

Determining how you get the amount of Watt power you want for your needs and deliver them to your home through a combination of Amps and Volts are part of the common formula, Watts=Volts x Amps.

Because volts, which is the electrical energy potential measurement in representing the electrical ‘forces’ factor which provide ‘pressure’ to move the electrical energy around the circuits through conductors which are the common types of house wiring you see everywhere.

Voltage potential can be stored, like in batteries, or generated constantly by electrical generators which are basically magnets that generate vibrating atoms to cause their protons and electrons to ‘energize’ through movement and then ‘flow’ a distance to another point through conducting wires for power use on that end.

Then we have Amps in the formula.

Amperage has to do with the ‘rate’ of the electromagnetic ‘flow’ in an electrical conducting wire. This one’s pretty easy to do an analogy for, just like a skinny garden hose trying get enough water (electrons’) to take care of a large burning building is not going to work, neither is a thin electrical wire enough of a conduit to provide enough watts to power a huge office building.

You have to balance the capacity of the wires to handle electrical ‘loads’ for optimum utility.

The Watts= Volts X Amps math can be used to determine all combinations of batteries and wiring sizing you will need to give you your necessary watts.

Remember that batteries eventually run out of stored potential energy and then must be re-charged. So, the charging system and wiring components then make it a bit more complicated, but not insurmountable for the average handy person.

Let There Be Light!

Okay, you decided that for now that you could survive comfortably in the middle of the wilderness in your survival shelter with around 1500 continuously available watts.

This means you can have on a couple 100 watt light bulbs, or a few 60 watt bulbs instead, a computer, TV, radio, and electric refrigerator, and even a microwave all on at about the same time before possibly overloading the system, and tripping the circuit breaker.

This would be only one 20 amp breaker on one main 12 gauge wire in your hard wired house system off the inverter, to split up between your mini-grid appliances and outlets, (unless you just temporarily ran a couple heavy extension cords directly off your inverter.)

So with this set up you’d be living about like they did in rural areas about 75 year ago with their electrical systems where ‘out houses’ were common and outside hand pumps into buckets brought the water in, until electric well pump motors were gaining popularity so indoor plumbing eventually became the norm.

But there were few, if any electrical washing machines and dryers or electric kitchen counter tops and heating was still virtually all done with fossil fuels.

So you want to figure out how many batteries you need for continuous 1500 hundred watts application for at least a couple days, but preferably a week of basic power before draining, and needing complete recharging if the sun or your solar panels don’t work to keep your batteries charged up. You want to keep them above 60 percent capacity during use to preserve their lifespans. Too many complete discharges/cycles are not good.

If you do live in an area where it gets so cloudy and dark that you often can go for many days without seeing the sun, then you will want to have a small wind generator to keep up the charge along with your solar panels, or a back-up portable gas generator.

There’s plenty of DIY projects on building wind turbines too, or you can get ready made commercial models. Here are some of them, to ease your research.

So having only one 12 volt deep cycle/marine battery which is not much bigger than a standard car battery but that lasts a bit longer between charging that on average says generates 675 amps and also says it gives you 100 amp hours at 20 hours, with different numbers here depending on the type/brand of battery, which is another confusing measurement of how long your battery lasts without charging before it goes dead, and is a little deceiving for practical purposes.

What you have to do is divide the 100 Amp/hour number by the other ‘@20 hour’ number to get 5 amps (to use in the equation for watts) of continuous amperage for the entire 20 hours before it drains and is discharged.

So now let’s solve for watts when watts = volts x amps. so 12 volts x 5 amps equals a whopping 60 watts. Yup, that doesn’t seem like much and sure is long way from 1500 continuous watts at one time? You can power maybe one 60 watt lightbulb for up to 20 hours. You can also power that lightbulb directly from a 60 watt solar panel on a sunny day.

Or a windmill that puts out the same wattage when it’s running at speed. All these work together on a system to cover all weather contingencies. But the ‘load’ is mostly on the batteries because they don’t care what the weather is as long as they stay charged.

However, for shorter time periods the battery can actually deliver more of the ‘cranking’ amps in its capacity and therefore more watts for a shorter time.

That’s how your single car battery starts your car’s powerful electric starter motor which needs a lot of watts and amps to crank over the gas car engine. 450 cranking amps X 12 volts is like around 7400 watts!

However, If you crank for more than a few minutes straight, you’ll usually wear down and kill the battery. And of course this energy/power trade-off is why if you accidentally leave your headlights on overnight you can’t start your car the next day because that usually pushes the 20 hour limit with only 5 amps per hour draw.

A single battery might work for a very short time for high energy needs up to a point, but not that well for extended off grid use.

The device that handles all these variables is called a power inverter. It changes 12 volt battery current to the AC (alternating current) that Tesla invented which is what is typically used in virtually all of our house and commercial electricity systems today.

You need this inverter off your 12 volt battery system because typical home wiring also uses 120/240 volts of power energy from the big power line service entrance to your house. So your TV, refrigerator, etc. is not set up for DC (direct current from the battery) and has to be ‘inverted’ to AC. The inverter changes the 12 volt battery mode to the 120 AC mode so you can just plug in your AC appliances right into the inverter with extension cords if you want. This makes the wiring for your off grid is not that complicated at all for basic purposes. It’s just like plugging into a wall outlet.

Video first seen on Power Inverters.

You find inverters at Home Depot, Amazon, and even Walmart. You can get a 1000 watt basic model for about 35 dollars or a better 2000 watt sine wave model with battery voltage gauge and charge controller for around $250.

If you just want something already to plug and play, there are quite a few portable off grid units that can be purchased ready to go, complete with folding solar panels and portable carrying case. Some of these, as expected, are a bit pricey.

But some are good deals if you have no inclination to put together your own system from components!

Separately an average new deep cycle 12v battery from Home Depot is around a hundred bucks. Solar panels are sold online for about a dollar a watt.

So you can still have your 1500 watt off grid power set up as long as you’re not burning up all 1500 watts continuously when there’s no wind or sun, which you never really would have to do when you think about it. You could get away with a basic setup of just maybe two or three batteries, a hundred watt solar panel to start with, and/or a small wind generator for charging and a cheap inverter, all for around a thousand dollars right off the commercial shelf.

If you are handy you can follow the instructions and build your own, and even your own wind turbine and solar panels for much less! This might sound a bit complicated at first, but after you get into it more, it’ll be no more difficult than changing the battery and cables on your car.

Start Small and Grow as You Become More Enlightened

For preppers who just want their bug out location or even their main residence to have basic off grid power, it’s a lot easier and much cheaper than you think if you start by getting one of these step by step detailed guides like this one here:

And then you expand as your resources permit if you want. It’s not hard to find decent used junkyard car or golf cart batteries and refurbish them for just a few bucks each and simply keep adding them to your battery bank for longer duration power potential.

So the answer to the question of what is the best off grid power system for a wilderness application, the main qualification will be the least expensive and the simplest, which will be something along the lines of what was just described here.

Your bug out location, even in the wilderness, doesn’t have to be a sensory deprived punishment sentence with miserable primitive living conditions. You can still have a decent comfortable modern electrical power setup for a relative bargain.

And why not? It’ll be bad enough otherwise trying to survive a grim long term scenario.

Modern electrical ‘work’ assistance from electricity will help you concentrate more on other necessary things like security and supplies. Maybe even watch Zombie movies from your VCD library once in awhile…to relax!

This article was written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.

This Is The Old Fashioned Way To Wash Your Clothes In A Stream

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A massive EMP or other event that eliminates electricity and municipal water supplies means you’ll have to find some other way to wash your clothes. Regardless of what is going on in your life and in the society around you, clean clothes are necessary for good health and proper hygiene.

If you have a stream of clean water nearby, or can reach one in a reasonable amount of time, you might use this resource for laundry, as well as many other water related needs.

Here are some tips for using streams to do laundry, as well as preserve the water for other purposes as much as possible.

Choosing the Best Place to do Laundry

There are five basic characteristics of a good location to do laundry.

Location should be as far downstream as possible from the area where you obtain water for drinking, cooking, and other needs. It should also be as far as possible away from areas where animals you plan to hunt may drink or use for their own needs.

Even though fast moving water can carry dirt and soap a long distance, the fact remains it will still add pollutants to the water and surrounding land. If you don’t want those items on your clothes, consider that you also don’t want to be consuming them with your beverages and food.

Water should be clean and fast moving. Fast moving water will make it easier to rinse clothes, and will also give you more options for automating the whole washing process. Needless to say, water that is muddy, full of algae, or other contaminants will not be suitable for washing clothes.

Choose an area where you can lean easily into the water without having to actually be in it while washing clothes. A stable rock outcrop or other location that leads into the water will give you a stable area to work, and also reduce the chance of slipping and falling in mud at the bottom of the stream.

Water should be deep enough to allow you to soak your clothes easily. It will also be of some help to choose an area where you can easily build a containment area to while you are working. You can use this area of slower moving water flow while using soap, and also for pre-soaking.

Washing Clothes Without Detergent

Many people are surprised that it is not always necessary to use soap or detergent to wash clothes.

Some people ruin their clothes, or shorten the lifespan of their garments by several years when they add too much soap. In fact, if you rinse out your clothes fully without using detergent or soap, you would find that more than half the “dirt” coming out is actually old laundry detergent. As a result, when you have nothing but a stream available for washing clothes, you can get clean clothes without using detergent or soap for routine cleaning.

To wash your clothes without using soap, you will need plenty of fast moving water and a means to ensure the garments are agitated as briskly as possible without tearing them apart.

Among other things, you can use a series of buckets and water traps to create plenty of agitation as well as sufficient water flow to get your clothes clean.

While using this kind of system, bear in mind that more delicate fabrics may only be able to tolerate a small amount of agitation. You can try using a less turbulent system, or make some detergent for these fragile fabrics.

Ways to Make Laundry Cleansing Agents

If you hunt any kind of mammal, you can combine some of the fat from the animal with lye made from potash. Try to choose ferns, or hardwood trees that will yield the highest amount of potassium in the ash.

A homemade liquid soap will get your clothes clean, however you can expect them to be quite stiff. You will need to use lavender, white vinegar, or other softening agents to create a detergent that leaves your clothes feeling more comfortable. Peppermint and aloe are also often used in laundry detergent to improve the odor and cleansing capacity. Overall, as with any other kind of laundry detergent, the less you use, the better.

This Timeless Collection of Forgotten Wisdom Will Help You Survive!

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need to use a detergent based cleanser to get your clothes clean.

Here are a few natural alternatives that you can try. Bear in mind that you should not use these every single time you wash clothes because they can also be retained by the fabric and accelerate rotting. If you use lye based detergent one week, you may want to try one of these the next time you wash, and then go back to the lye soap the next time you wash.

  • Wash you clothes with baking soda. If you do not have baking soda on hand, you can make it from lye. Bear in mind, however, the chemical formula for baking soda is NaHCO3, which means it is best derived from sodium based lye, or NaOH. Potash, on the other hand, has a much higher potassium (K) content, so the “lye” made from potash carries the formula KOH. If you are going to try and make baking soda from potash, you will be best served by looking for plants like kelp and seaweed that have a higher sodium (Na) content.
  • Use essential oils. There are many formulas for pre-treating stains as well as washing that you can use depending on what plants are available in your area.
  • Try an EcoEgg – this fascinating device is easy to carry, and can do several hundred loads of laundry before it needs to be replaced. Since it works best with high levels of agitation, it may also be one of your best options for washing clothes in a stream.

Using Rocks as a Scrubber

One of the oldest methods for washing laundry in a stream requires little more than a large, smooth, clean rock, some detergent, and two buckets. In order to make the rock work as a scrubber, you must first start off by soaking the clothes in water and ensuring that the detergent is already mixed in with the clothes.

Next, you will need to take each garment and slam it into the clean rock. The garment should spread out as much as possible so that the impact with the rock dislodges as much dirt and soap as possible. Once you are done slamming the garment into the rock, you can go ahead and set it up for rinsing.

As you saw in the video on washing clothes without soap, you can get plenty of agitation from running water to get your clothes clean. What happens, though, when you encounter a slow moving stream, or you don’t have time to set up a bucket and water falling system to increase the water flow?

In these situations, you may still be able to adapt the sytem to use with rocks. For example, you can try tying rocks to one line or rope. In this case, palm sized, smooth, rounded rocks would work best for sturdy fabrics. Next, take another line and suspend your laundry from it. Place the two lines in the water together, and the rocks should beat into the clothes and increase the amount of agitation from the water.

Wood Based Agitators and Scrubbers

If you look at the history of devices used for laundry, you are bound to see many references to wooden paddles, poles, and scrubbing boards. Any one of these devices can be used with a fast moving stream of water. Even if you have only a few branches to work with, it is still possible to create a wash board that will provide a suitable surface for scrubbing clothes.

Make a Scrubbing Board and Bag

No matter whether you have to do just one load of laundry or several over the course of weeks and years, it can be a very time consuming and strenuous activity.

Therefore, even if you are in a crisis situation and settle down near the perfect stream for doing laundry, you may want to do something other than continue pounding your clothes against rocks. You may also grow tired of using wooden board or other methods that take a lot of time and labor. In a similar fashion, as time goes by, you may also need to look for a clothes washing method that is less harsh on delicate fabrics, as well as one that will conserve on soap and detergents.

As another advantage to consider, when washing your clothes in a bag, you can also avoid spilling soap and other debris into the stream. Instead, you can pour the dirty water into a hole, or some other location further away from the stream. Needless to say, if you must move away from the stream for other reasons, a scrubbing bag for laundry will also help you make the most of any water that you may have on hand.

Even though your current washing machine may use a hard tub, you can use a flexible, waterproof bag to wash your clothes. Unlike most other methods, this one will enable you to wash clothes using a minimal amount of soap and water. Here are a few ways that you can make a flexible, waterproof bag from natural resources:

  • Properly tanned animal hides can be made into waterproof bags. You can make the bags just about any size, however a 1 ½” x 2 ½” internal area will work best of 5 or 6 garments. Remember, you will have to push and punch the bag with your hands to agitate the clothes. A larger bag will only make this job hard to achieve.
  • Layers of pine pitch mixed with animal fat will also make a flexible, waterproof material. You will also need to make sure the seams are waterproof, and find a way to ensure the bag remains closed during the wash cycle.
  • Make Tincloth – if you have old canvas from a tent, or other suitable fabric, you can sew it into the shape of a bag, and then coat the fabric with equal parts linseed oil and beeswax. This will make a fireproof coating as well as a waterproof one. Be sure to coat both sides of the fabric as evenly as possible.

Once you have a waterproof bag, you will need to be able to open and close the bag easily without having to deal with leaks when the bag is sealed for washing. If you make the bag a few inches longer, you can probably get by with simply knotting the bag shut before washing. You may also want to try creating a clip that will hold the fabric together tightly enough so that no leaks will occur.

In order to get the most out of washing clothes in a bag, you will need to put something in the bag that will dislodge dirt and debris as the clothes are agitated. Wooden boards with slats will work well for this purpose.

Round out any rough or sharp areas so that they do not punch holes in the bag. You will also be well served by making different boards for different kinds of fabric. For example, if you are washing denim, or some other tough material, you can use a board with fairly large strips of wood and not worry about the fabric being damaged.

On the other hand, if you want to wash a summer weight cotton or something else that is more delicate, you might want to have a smoother surfaced board on hand.

Build a Waterwheel Box and Agitator

When it comes to simple, inexpensive, and low labor methods for doing laundry, you are likely to feel that a scrub bag will meet most of your needs. In fact, when compared to striking your clothes against rocks, or using a scrub board in an open stream, it is most certainly easier.

What happens, however, when you can’t move your arms much because the weather is too hot or cold, or you are injured?

Under these circumstances, you may want a system available where you can just throw the clothes into a box and let the stream do the vast majority of the work.

At its simplest, if you can build a water wheel and a box, it is possible to combine these devices to create a stream powered washing machine. Here are the basic steps:

  • Start off by building a waterwheel that will turn easily in the water. Leave an extended shaft on one end of the wheel.
  • Create a T joint so that you can attach an upper and lower shaft to the central one. Make sure there is enough room between the shafts so that the laundry can be picked up out of the water, and then fall off the shafts easily enough as they rotate. Depending on the speed of rotation, you may also want to set the upper and lower shafts so that they angle inward toward the center of rotation. This may help ensure the clothes fall off the shafts instead of just getting wrapped around them.
  • Next, make two boxes. One should have grates on it so that water can pass through easily. The other should fit inside the grated box and be waterproof.
  • Setup the waterwheel so that it sits outside the box, while the extended shaft sits inside the box. One of the shaft extensions should sit above the laundry and the water line.

To use this waterwheel washer, all you need to do is add clothes, soap, and water to the waterproof box. As the external wheel turns, it will also turn the internal shafts. They will, in turn, agitate the clothes and also keep the water in constant motion. Even though the shafts will not create a traditional back and forth agitation, they will still be entering and leaving the water, which will disrupt it considerably.

After you are done with the wash cycle, go ahead and remove the waterproof bucket. Water from the stream will flow in through the second bucket, and carry away the soap and dirt. This process should also go faster with the increased agitation provided by power from the waterwheel.

From extended camping trips to surviving hurricanes and major social collapse, the ability to do laundry is an obvious, yet often overlooked need.

While washing laundry in streams has been done for thousands of years, there are several ways to optimize in order to reduce the amount of water, labor, and detergent used.

As you consider different methods to experiment with, remember that sometimes building a simple device can make the difference between being able to have clean clothes even if you are injured or don’t have the strength to utilize more labor intense forms of doing laundry.

In the end, this what our ancestors use to do too!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.cooksinfo.com/saleratus

Yeah, But You May Have to Deal with the White Stuff!

Click here to view the original post.

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

So, on a bright clear winter day a couple who considered themselves young and athletic, decided to go nordic (cross-country) skiing, just the two of them, a spur of the moment thing. After all, they were there on vacation to ski. They did take a trail map obtained from a local source and decided on a trail that was more advanced than intermediate. The trail was clearly marked with the “blue-square”, still not an expert trail. Their first mistake – ski trails (nordic) and ski runs (alpine) are rated in comparison to the other trails and runs within the specific ski area. There is no industry or national “standard” so if one has been venturing off the grid covered in white gold say in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, their trail ratings don’t equate equally to those of say, the Taos Ski Valley of Northern New Mexico, or Summit County, Colorado . They are a general guide, but not general enough to go out without understanding the local measuring stick.

        

Their second mistake – when they left at around lunch time they dressed fashionable for the 40 degree prevailing temperature, expecting to be back about 4 hours later.

Mistake number three: Since they had arrived at their western resort the night before, with clearing skies, they did not know that it had been snowing for two-days straight and there was now a fresh new 28″ layer of what we affectionately call “Sierra Cement” – the closer it is to the freezing point, the higher the moisture level in snow, the heavier the snow. (Dry powder needs temps below 20 degrees F.) Normally not a big deal for experienced skiers, in fact we pray for just such conditions, but, in an area where trail markers can be obscured by drifting, blowing snow, this is a concern. Generally, these markers are placed every quarter of a mile, generally. Factoring in mischief, failure due to prolonged exposure, and vague in brilliant sun-reflected light.  Miss one and you better know what you are doing.

You can see where this is going…

Mistake number four: They told no one of their plans.

Mistake number 5: They took sunscreen and a bottle of water each and their cell phones with multiple GPS apps, which failed as soon as they lost their signal.

Lost, they did survive the night because they found a small warming hut that protected them from the winds, and, with their combined body heat, the 42 degree drop in temperature overnight. They were found by the Sheriff’s Mountain Rescue Team working with the National Forest service. A lot of people taken away from their normal duties.

 

So as Preppers who may get caught off the grid in the deep of winter what should we focus on? Well, the things we know that apply no matter the weather!

First: PLANS. If it isn’t a SHTF scenario let someone know. If they were in a hotel, the hotel front desk staff. Since they were in a condo, the agency they rented it through – have you ever talked to a real person at Airbnb, Flipkey, or Hometogo? So what is your fall back? Yep, local police, fire station or Park Service rangers. These last three will teach you a very valuable lesson in responsibility if you fail to notify them of your return.

 

Second: CLOTHING. As a life-long skier I love that when you ski the “locals” favorite resorts in the West such as Alta or Brighton in the Cottonwood Canyons of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, or A-Basin or Mary Jane, in the Rocky’s west of Denver, you see so many people dressed more in “army surplus” than you do in $3,000 Bogner ski wear they bought at Neiman Marcus. They live there, they know how to dress (and save money). If you have to be trendy get a fancy backpack and bring your uglies that keep you alive if vanity is THAT important to you. AND stuff your survival kit in there to show you have a shred of common sense. Understand fabrics.

Understand cotton – light, comfortable, flammable, useless as insulation when wet,  breaths well when dry, smolders when burned for a signal fire, loses any sprayed on “waterproofing” quickly, great for cleaning equipment.

Understand Wool – good insulation wet or dry, makes you crazy from the itching when in direct contact with your skin, shrinks, retains moisture so well that when it gets wet it gets heavy, dries out, durable.

Understand Silk – Insulates and breaths well, hollow fibers do not trap perspiration when directly on the skin, does not itch, GREAT for undergarments that wear well and insulate, expensive to buy, good layering qualities, expensive to dry clean.

Understand Polypropylene – synthetic, insulates wet or dry, breathes well, burns and melts onto you skin, dries quickly, retains body odors, durable.

Understand Gore-Tex – A branded synthetic, excellent protection from wind, takes forever to dry, very durable.

Understand Spandex – form fitting, excellent at pulling perspiration from your skin, zero protection from cold or heat, should be illegal for anyone over 35, no matter their body type.

Understand Nylon – excellent wind protection, excellent moisture protection, zero ability to breath, melts on your skin when burned.

Moving on, what should NEVER be left behind when out in the snow: Sunglasses, goggles, ear muffs, a bandanna, hat, and gaiters – nylon sleeves that snap over boots and the calf, YOUR survival kit which contains fire starter, a knife, a compass, a whistle, signaling mirror, a thermal/solar blanket, tarp, a few energy bars, flashlight, your cell phone for fun and on and on.

Extra socks are a must, a second pair of gloves – an item easily lost, a wool cap – ruins your “do” but saves your life.

What do you tell someone before you go? Who is going, when are you going, where you are going, when you plan to return. Use “Italian minutes” as opposed to “German minutes” to account for a slightly delayed start, some “stop and soak it in” time, a planned rest stop. Be realistic, not foolish.

What else do you take? A GPS transponder or Avalanche beacon – NEVER go out and play in the snow without one! One that you have tested, know how to use and that has fresh batteries (or charge) and replacement batteries. I have one on me when I am just skiing within a resorts boundaries as there are so many places where a missed turn can put you in an instant world of hurt.

A lot of articles on prepping cover the off grid but seem to focus on warm days, cool or cold nights, and endless viability. Nice but not always the reality in winter where it snows. Snow camping and survival are a whole different animal in and of themselves. The cold and the moisture CAN kill you, the zero viability can stop you dead in your tracks. Skiing once at Whistler (Blackcomb) in British Columbia I took the dip into Glacier Bowl and not 20 meters down the steep the whole world went opaque. I could see NOTHING. Blast of snow/ice from an unseen storm produced the white-out. I stopped. I had to as there are trees and great big unpleasant rocks and other skiers. It took more than 2 minutes to break, with me listening for that clown that just dropped in and now can’t see me, or anything else. Not to be confused with snow-blindness which is from the glare off snow and ice, this is a different animal.

The mountains, a tempting destination if the WAWKI goes away, but, like fabrics it brings pluses (game, forests, snow and snow melt (water)), and minuses (your A-game for conserving heat, finding shelter, difficulty in movement and concealment.) Stay frosty!

 

 

The post Yeah, But You May Have to Deal with the White Stuff! appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Yeah, But You May Have to Deal with the White Stuff!

Click here to view the original post.

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

So, on a bright clear winter day a couple who considered themselves young and athletic, decided to go nordic (cross-country) skiing, just the two of them, a spur of the moment thing. After all, they were there on vacation to ski. They did take a trail map obtained from a local source and decided on a trail that was more advanced than intermediate. The trail was clearly marked with the “blue-square”, still not an expert trail. Their first mistake – ski trails (nordic) and ski runs (alpine) are rated in comparison to the other trails and runs within the specific ski area. There is no industry or national “standard” so if one has been venturing off the grid covered in white gold say in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, their trail ratings don’t equate equally to those of say, the Taos Ski Valley of Northern New Mexico, or Summit County, Colorado . They are a general guide, but not general enough to go out without understanding the local measuring stick.

        

Their second mistake – when they left at around lunch time they dressed fashionable for the 40 degree prevailing temperature, expecting to be back about 4 hours later.

Mistake number three: Since they had arrived at their western resort the night before, with clearing skies, they did not know that it had been snowing for two-days straight and there was now a fresh new 28″ layer of what we affectionately call “Sierra Cement” – the closer it is to the freezing point, the higher the moisture level in snow, the heavier the snow. (Dry powder needs temps below 20 degrees F.) Normally not a big deal for experienced skiers, in fact we pray for just such conditions, but, in an area where trail markers can be obscured by drifting, blowing snow, this is a concern. Generally, these markers are placed every quarter of a mile, generally. Factoring in mischief, failure due to prolonged exposure, and vague in brilliant sun-reflected light.  Miss one and you better know what you are doing.

You can see where this is going…

Mistake number four: They told no one of their plans.

Mistake number 5: They took sunscreen and a bottle of water each and their cell phones with multiple GPS apps, which failed as soon as they lost their signal.

Lost, they did survive the night because they found a small warming hut that protected them from the winds, and, with their combined body heat, the 42 degree drop in temperature overnight. They were found by the Sheriff’s Mountain Rescue Team working with the National Forest service. A lot of people taken away from their normal duties.

 

So as Preppers who may get caught off the grid in the deep of winter what should we focus on? Well, the things we know that apply no matter the weather!

First: PLANS. If it isn’t a SHTF scenario let someone know. If they were in a hotel, the hotel front desk staff. Since they were in a condo, the agency they rented it through – have you ever talked to a real person at Airbnb, Flipkey, or Hometogo? So what is your fall back? Yep, local police, fire station or Park Service rangers. These last three will teach you a very valuable lesson in responsibility if you fail to notify them of your return.

 

Second: CLOTHING. As a life-long skier I love that when you ski the “locals” favorite resorts in the West such as Alta or Brighton in the Cottonwood Canyons of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, or A-Basin or Mary Jane, in the Rocky’s west of Denver, you see so many people dressed more in “army surplus” than you do in $3,000 Bogner ski wear they bought at Neiman Marcus. They live there, they know how to dress (and save money). If you have to be trendy get a fancy backpack and bring your uglies that keep you alive if vanity is THAT important to you. AND stuff your survival kit in there to show you have a shred of common sense. Understand fabrics.

Understand cotton – light, comfortable, flammable, useless as insulation when wet,  breaths well when dry, smolders when burned for a signal fire, loses any sprayed on “waterproofing” quickly, great for cleaning equipment.

Understand Wool – good insulation wet or dry, makes you crazy from the itching when in direct contact with your skin, shrinks, retains moisture so well that when it gets wet it gets heavy, dries out, durable.

Understand Silk – Insulates and breaths well, hollow fibers do not trap perspiration when directly on the skin, does not itch, GREAT for undergarments that wear well and insulate, expensive to buy, good layering qualities, expensive to dry clean.

Understand Polypropylene – synthetic, insulates wet or dry, breathes well, burns and melts onto you skin, dries quickly, retains body odors, durable.

Understand Gore-Tex – A branded synthetic, excellent protection from wind, takes forever to dry, very durable.

Understand Spandex – form fitting, excellent at pulling perspiration from your skin, zero protection from cold or heat, should be illegal for anyone over 35, no matter their body type.

Understand Nylon – excellent wind protection, excellent moisture protection, zero ability to breath, melts on your skin when burned.

Moving on, what should NEVER be left behind when out in the snow: Sunglasses, goggles, ear muffs, a bandanna, hat, and gaiters – nylon sleeves that snap over boots and the calf, YOUR survival kit which contains fire starter, a knife, a compass, a whistle, signaling mirror, a thermal/solar blanket, tarp, a few energy bars, flashlight, your cell phone for fun and on and on.

Extra socks are a must, a second pair of gloves – an item easily lost, a wool cap – ruins your “do” but saves your life.

What do you tell someone before you go? Who is going, when are you going, where you are going, when you plan to return. Use “Italian minutes” as opposed to “German minutes” to account for a slightly delayed start, some “stop and soak it in” time, a planned rest stop. Be realistic, not foolish.

What else do you take? A GPS transponder or Avalanche beacon – NEVER go out and play in the snow without one! One that you have tested, know how to use and that has fresh batteries (or charge) and replacement batteries. I have one on me when I am just skiing within a resorts boundaries as there are so many places where a missed turn can put you in an instant world of hurt.

A lot of articles on prepping cover the off grid but seem to focus on warm days, cool or cold nights, and endless viability. Nice but not always the reality in winter where it snows. Snow camping and survival are a whole different animal in and of themselves. The cold and the moisture CAN kill you, the zero viability can stop you dead in your tracks. Skiing once at Whistler (Blackcomb) in British Columbia I took the dip into Glacier Bowl and not 20 meters down the steep the whole world went opaque. I could see NOTHING. Blast of snow/ice from an unseen storm produced the white-out. I stopped. I had to as there are trees and great big unpleasant rocks and other skiers. It took more than 2 minutes to break, with me listening for that clown that just dropped in and now can’t see me, or anything else. Not to be confused with snow-blindness which is from the glare off snow and ice, this is a different animal.

The mountains, a tempting destination if the WAWKI goes away, but, like fabrics it brings pluses (game, forests, snow and snow melt (water)), and minuses (your A-game for conserving heat, finding shelter, difficulty in movement and concealment.) Stay frosty!

 

 

The post Yeah, But You May Have to Deal with the White Stuff! appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Surviving Off-grid: Use Pipes And Ducts To Generate Electricity

Click here to view the original post.

A prepper’s mind will always find ways to survive when others won’t see any way out of the crisis. When it comes to generating electricity, there are many unexplored options laying right around your own home.

If you have pipes with water flowing through them, there may be several ways to generate 12 volts or more of electricity with relatively little effort.

Even if the majority of pipes in your home are made of plastic, there are still ways to make use of them, as well as every tap and drain in your home. Depending on the optimizations that you choose, you might need running water to generate electricity.

Combine systems that require flowing water with ones that don’t, and you’ll always have electricity as long as your house is standing.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

What to Beware Around Metal Plumbing Pipes

No matter whether a house is brand new, or has been around for several decades, there are always going to be changes that may not always be obvious. Even though all of the appliances and electrical features in your house work perfectly, shorts can develop that prevent the electricity from completing its journey back to the power plant.

As a result, this electricity may start flowing through metal pipes and other fixtures in your home. Contrary to popular belief, this situation is actually very common.

Before touching and examining metal pipes and other fixtures that aren’t connected to the electrical system, take some precautions. If you aren’t sure how to set up grounding for plumbing pipes, ask a plumber. Since the amperage carried through plumbing pipes can be high enough to injure or kill, be sure you know how to work around any and all metal pipes safely.

Use the Power of Moving Water in Vertical Pipes

If you have hot water in bathroom and kitchen faucets, this water goes through vertical pipes at some point on its journey through your home. Locate the pipes where the water flows from a higher point to a lower one. Aside from any pumping pressure from the water source, you will also have the benefit of gravity speeding the water’s rate of flow.

No matter whether these pipes are made of plastic or metal, you can cut into the pipe and insert a device with some kind of spinning rotor, blade, or wheel that has magnets attached to it. As the water passes over the wheel, it will cause it to spin. From there all you need to do is set up a system of coils outside the pipe that will generate electricity for you.

Depending on the length of the pipe, you may even be able to insert one device at the highest point on the pipe, and the second one further down. You’ll have to monitor the water flow rate to make sure you don’t slow it up too much with too many devices.

Also, optimize the blade or rotor design for the device. Since it is likely you will be building the device yourself, have a look at shell blade designs that are emerging for optimizing wind turbines. If you must build your own system, see if you can use fiberglass or other lightweight materials.

Just avoid placing these devices in lines or taps used for drinking or food preparation unless you are sure the materials pose no threat to your health. You should also look for the smallest magnets that will generate the strongest field.

Aside from using indoor pipes, you can also use gutters or other outdoor installations where water will move from an upper elevation to a lower one. While the power from these systems may be transitory, you should be able to harvest from at least two or three points along the tubing, plus from the exhaust spout.

Remember that these tube systems can be expanded with umbrellas or other objects to increase the water capture area. Once the water has exited the spout, you may also want to see if you can store it for use in the garden or some other purpose.

Video first seen on JohnnyQ90.

Take Advantage of Drains

Once you master generating power from vertical water pipes, start exploring the same kind of system for sink drains. To make this kind of system work, you’ll need to open up the device fairly often to remove debris or anything else in the drain water that will catch on the blades. Use a pre-filter or some kind of other trap so that the blades stay as clean as possible.

As a way of getting started, create a blade system that simply sits in the bottom of your sink. If you already have a fairly deep sink basin, you may have more than enough room to work with. In these cases, you will be looking more for blade designs that have a flatter profile than a shell or some of the newer optimizations emerging in the wind power market.

Since some sink drain pipes are made of metal, find out if they are already capable of conducting electricity. If they are, keep reading, because there are some small changes you can make around the drain that may give you a reasonable amount of electricity at very low cost. If all of the pipes are made of plastic, you can still use the water flow to generate electricity.

Getting Electricity from Taps and Shower Heads

There are two possible locations that you can use to generate power from taps and faucets.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

First, you would have to cut into the pipe just below the valves that allow water into the faucet. Even though these areas are likely to have an upward water flow, they still have a good bit of pressure behind them.

In fact, if you have ever made the same mistake of trying to remove a faucet system without closing the water valves, you will find out just how much water pressure there is!

Chances are you already have regulators on your faucets that reduce the amount of water that you use. You can achieve the same goal, and spin a rotor if you change the regulator design.

While these devices may not yet exist on the market, you can still combine rubberized faucet attachments and fiberglass blades with magnets mounted on them to achieve your goal. Just make sure that the blade system is as light as possible, so that it spins as easily from any air in the pipes as well as from the moving water.

Securing Access to In-house Pipes

As a prepper, you already know the areas where you can store your stockpile in the walls of your home. While you are exploring these options, take note of the water pipes found in the walls. Whether they are made of plastic or metal, you could modify the pipes so that they are easy to see an access without having to get into the wall space. Alternatively, you can still leave access points in the wall and cover them with paintings for other items.

Overall, the device is used to generate electricity from water pipes do not require a great deal of maintenance as long as the water is clean. If there happens to be more debris than expected in the water, you will not want to have to take an entire wall apart every time a filter needs cleaning.

Also, be aware that mice, termites, and other vermin can live for decades in the walls of your home without being detected. Even if they don’t chew on parts of the device, they’re moving over or through the area may jar something loose.

These are just a few reasons why it is very important to have as much access to in-house pipes used for generating electricity as possible.

Set Up Workable Valve Systems

Indoor plumbing for free is a great deal of convenience and ease.

On the other hand, plumbing leaks can be some of the most aggravating and expensive problems to deal with. Any joint for cut in a pipe is a place where weaknesses can develop and evolve into leaks. There may also be other times when you need to close off the flow of water in a fairly small area to manage your electrical generating system.

All of these situations can be more easily managed when you have valves set up that will give you more control of the water flow. For example if you have a device lodged in the downward hot and cold pipes for your bathroom sink, it would be useful to have corresponding valves somewhere upwind from that point. If you do have a problem in that area, it will be very easy to close off all water flow from the sink without disrupting the toilet and the shower.

If the only valve in your home is sitting on the main water entrance, it can spell a great deal of trouble when you have to work in more localized areas. These valve systems can also be used to create alternate routes for the water flow.

This can be very helpful if you need to make modifications to your system, and don’t necessarily want to replace all of the pipes where you were inserting devices. In these cases all you would need to do is open one set of valves and close the other until you are ready to reverse them again.

Locating Metal Pipes and Avoiding Problems

Many people are surprised to find out just how many metal pipes exist beneath their yards and lawns. In order to find out more about pipes on your own property, you can use a metal detector. Try to purchase or rent a detector that also gives you some ideas about the kind of metal used to manufacture the pipes. This information will help you figure out the best way to get the most electricity from them.

Before using these pipes for generating electricity, know what is actually going through them. For example, if the pipe is for natural gas, don’t use it for any other purpose. These pipes can be very dangerous to disrupt, as well as to modify. On the other hand, if the water pipes flowing into your house are made of metal, there is no reason to avoid using them.

If your home has or previously had a septic tank and leach field system, the tank and leach field may have some metal fittings on it. Since these areas are likely to be saturated with debris from waste water, don’t disturb them let alone use them.

Insofar as locating metal pipes indoors, you are also likely to find gas pipes, as well as ones for transporting oil. Avoid using any pipe that carries any kind of fuel, as you never know when electrical devices will short out, build up heat, or generate sparks. This is also something you will need to be very careful about when building and placing your devices.

What You Need to Know About Grounded and Bonded Metals

Did you know that metal plumbing pipes are often grounded? Depending on the number of pipes in your home or underneath it, there are many ways to ground or bond all of the metals so that you don’t get a shock from them.

Some homes also use metal pipes in the plumbing system as a means to ground the electrical system. It is fair to say that as long as you have metal pipes anywhere in your home, there is a good chance that they are already conducting electricity. You may also find that steel cabinets or other large metal furnishings will also conduct electricity even if you aren’t aware of it.

Video first seen on Bryan Ropar.

Before you test to find out if metal pipes and furnishings are, in fact, conducting electricity, understand the differences between bonding, grounding, and earthing. It will help you recognize each of these methods for avoiding dangerous sharks. From there, there are two methods that you can use to determine if there is already some current flow in the pipes of your home:

  • First, you can drain the water from your pipes, and then use an OHM meter to see if there is any current flowing.
  • Second, you can use an EMF meter to see if there is a magnetic field around the pipes without draining the water from them. If you find a magnetic field, then there’s a viable means to receive electricity from the pipes. Regardless of the source of the magnetic field, you’ll be able to use it for your generating an electrical current.

Using Outdoor Buried Pipes

Once you locate underground pipes that are suitable for generating electricity, you may be surprised at just how easy it is to tap them for a viable amount of current. Just look at some of the designs for earth batteries in order to see how to make this work.

  • Start off by finding out what kind of metal the buried pipes are made from.
  • Next, locate a second type of metal that will create a difference in electrical potential. Do your best to choose a metal that will provide the largest amount of variance. Just about any kind of scrap metal will do, as long as it is the right kind.
  • Once the two metals and wires are in place, you should be able to get a steady amount of electricity from the system. Unlike many other electrical power generation systems, you will not need to be concerned about time of day, temperature, or other weather conditions.
  • Insofar as electrolyte, remember that moist soil itself can act in this capacity. You can still try using other electrolytes, or you can see if soil containing iron metabolizing bacteria can be used and require less maintenance.

When you are stressed about paying your utility bills, or concerned about the increasing risk of power loss, look for the answer to your problems in the walls of your home.

There are many ways to generate small amounts of electricity from both plastic and water pipes that can help you get on the path to energy independence.

Also explore the options and take advantage of safe metal pipes in your yard and under your lawn!

This article haa been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/electricity/electrical/electrical-safety-for-plumbers-metal-water-pipes-can-shock-you

http://www.ecmweb.com/bonding-amp-grounding/understanding-differences-between-bonding-grounding-and-earthing

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/103896/how-to-tell-if-water-pipes-are-grounded

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170209133509.htm

These Are The Best Survival Businesses To Start Off-Grid

Click here to view the original post.

As the rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang has heated up, so has the risk to the United States. Recent missile and nuclear tests by the North Korean regime have made it clear that they are closer to their long-stated goal of attacking the United States than ever.

After their sixth nuclear test, in which they exploded what was supposed to be a two-stage hydrogen bomb, the North Korean news agency started talking about an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack against the United States for the first time.

What’s next for us? A totally off-grid world, where the survival of the fittest would become effective?

In a way, it’s surprising it’s taken them this long, considering how long I and others have been warning about that possibility.

Any county that is smart enough to develop nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) has to have people in their war plans department who are aware of how effective an EMP is and who would be punching the numbers to figure out how to use their nuclear arsenal in that regard.

An EMP attack doesn’t preclude the possibility of conventional nuclear war and we shouldn’t assume that it will. Regardless of the flaming rhetoric coming out of Kim Jong-un and his Secretary of State, they have to realize that they can’t win a nuclear exchange with the United States.

No matter how effective they are, we have way more nukes than they do.

Here’s Why We Can Never Win This War!

Even if they are able to take out Washington, a few other major cities and our entire electrical grid in one coordinated attack, we have more than enough nuclear missiles in submarines and nuclear bombs on aircraft carriers to turn their entire country into a parking lot.

But don’t think that will deter them from this course of action. This is a grudge match for them, wanting to get even with us for the first Korean War.

Based on that grudge, the North Korean government is bent on destruction and the people of that small country are willing to die in support of their leadership. If anything, that increases the likelihood for a combined EMP and conventional nuclear attack. They want to punish us and they want to punish us good.

Should that happen, our chances of surviving the attack unscathed are minimal. While we do have some anti-ICBM defense, there aren’t enough, especially not for a southern approach. So, the best we can hope for is that North Korea destroys a few cities; the worst is an effective EMP.

That’s the scenario we have to prepare for; an EMP taking out our electrical grid and turning the clock back 150 years or so, technologically speaking. The possibility of us surviving any sort of nuclear exchange, unscathed, is minimal.

The Worst Scenario

This is the worst possible scenario we face today; and it is not one that we can ignore. While I will be absolutely thrilled if our missile defenses are able to neutralize such an attack, I don’t believe that it is something we can count on.

With that being the case, you and I need to be ready to survive in a post-EMP world; one in which we don’t have electrical power; one which most people are unprepared to live in. According to the reports of the EMP Commission, as much as 90% of the US population will die of starvation. That sort of world. Somehow, we’re not only going to have to survive in it, but rebuild as much of our lives as we can.

This is why we are preppers; in order to ensure our family’s survival in the case of such an event. Everything we do is ultimately for this reason. But that isn’t enough. If all we do is ensure our own survival, what about our kids? Our grandkids? The human race in general.

That’s why it’s going to be important to be able to rebuild as much of society as possible. Then, and only then, will we be able to guarantee the survival of our children and grandchildren. That’s going to require the right sorts of skills, many of which aren’t common today.

Fortunately, there is still time. So if you don’t already have the right sorts of skills, you could at least try to learn some of them. There’s no way that anyone could possibly learn all of them, but the more that you can learn, the more valuable you will be in that post-EMP world. Perhaps you could be valuable enough that others would help to guarantee your survival and that of your family.

Of course, you’ll want to get something for your skills. That means turning those skills into some sort of business; a business where you can produce a product or provide a service to people who will be struggling to survive and rebuild their lives.

Valuable Businesses in a Post-EMP World

Any business you attempt to build for that post-EMP world will have to operate under the assumption that you won’t have any electrical power available to you, other than that which you produce yourself.

So, one of the things you may want to consider, as part of starting your off-grid business, is making sure that you can produce enough electricity to meet your basic needs, both in your home and in your business.

Other than that, plan on using hand tools, rather than electric ones. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should make or buy the necessary tools now, because you probably won’t be able to find them when the time comes. Besides, getting them now gives you the chance to learn how to use them effectively.

Growing Food

The biggest need that most people will have is for food. According to the EMP commission’s report, the vast majority of the people who will die after an EMP, will do so from starvation. The vast majority of the farms in our country are owned by giant corporations and grow food (mostly grain) in bulk.

Without fuel for the farm machinery, those farms won’t be able to operate. Without fuel for trucks, that food can’t be hauled to processing plants. Without electricity to run the plants, the raw food can’t be turned into packaged foods.

All food production will have to be local. Local farmers will do well, assuming they can get fuel for their tractors and combines. That will be the problem.

Likewise, local ranchers and shepherds will find themselves sitting on a goldmine, with people needing the food that they can produce. The ability to grow food may very well be necessary for your family’s survival. Growing more than you need will give you the opportunity to trade food for other essentials.

Charging Batteries

As a society, we are addicted to our electronics. While most of those will be destroyed, there is a good chance that small portable electronics will survive if protected in a Faraday cage. These will become like gold, as people try to cling to the pre-EMP past.

If you are putting in alternate energy for your home anyway, you could offer battery charging services to friends and neighbors. Solar panels will actually survive an EMP, with a loss of only 5 to 10 percent of their efficiency. However, the solar charge controller and voltage inverter for your system will probably be fried by the EMP; so make sure you have a spare.

Herbal Medicine

The current pharmaceutical industry will collapse, as will many other industries. This means that the only medicines any community will have will be those in people’s homes and in local pharmacies. When those run out, there won’t be any replacements.

However, modern medicine is an outgrowth of herbal medicine. Quite literally, all medicines started out as plant products. Big Pharma has synthesized the chemicals found in those plants, in order to make medicines which they could patent and sell.

Knowing which plants offer which medicinal properties and growing those plants could allow you to open up a post-EMP natural pharmacy, providing medicines to your local community.

Of course, you’ll need to educate the doctors, some of who will resent you. But the truly smart ones, who care about their patients, will take knowledge wherever they can get it.

Blacksmithing

Before the industrial revelation took over from them, most metal products were the handicrafts of some blacksmith. They made everything from tools to nails, with andirons in between. But they were one of the earliest casualties of the industrial revolution. Factories took over much of what they made and then cars took over from horses, eliminating the need for shoeing.

While there will be many tools and other metal objects laying around in the post-EMP world, there won’t be the old kinds of tools that people need for working with their hands. Blacksmiths may very well find themselves in a crucial place once again, helping to rebuild society.

Building Trades

While the EMP itself won’t damage homes, factories, stores and other businesses, it will make some drastic changes to society. People will find themselves needing to build outbuildings behind their homes, for their home-based business.

Others will need to change their plumbing, so that it will work off a well. There will always be a need for the building trades.

Taking this a step further, linemen for the phone or electric company will probably find gainful employment trying to put together local phone systems, build small hydroelectric dams and otherwise help rebuild society.

The skills these people have will become an important part of rebuilding.

Practical Engineering

When I say “practical engineering” I’m not talking about someone who can design a computer chip, but rather someone who can design simple devices, of the type that we will need to have, in order to rebuild our lives. Designing a loom for weaving fabric will be important, designing a computer won’t.

These people may not even be working as engineers right now, or might be considered technicians in business and industry. But they know how to put things together that will work. If we are going to have to rebuild turbines to create power, we’ll need people who can do the job from the ground up, starting by melting down the copper and drawing wire.

Another important characteristic of the type of engineer I’m talking about is the ability to repurpose items and turn them into something useful. Without gasoline, we won’t have much use for cars and trucks, but the axle from that truck might be very useful in building a wagon. That’s the sort of engineering we’re going to need.

Mechanics

While most vehicles will be off the road, due to a shortage of gasoline, there will be some that are running. We will need mechanics not only to fix those vehicles, but to find ways of making others run, ways of modifying engines so that alternate fuels can be burned, and taking engines out of cars to be used as power sources for other things.

Good mechanics, especially good shade-tree mechanics, understand the engines they work on, better than the engineers that designed them. This knowledge gives them the ability to modify those engines in a number of ways, such as increasing the power they produce.

I’m betting that if we get mobile after the attack, it will be because of mechanics that come up with some breakthrough new ways to use the internal combustion engine.

Making Bio-Diesel & Methane

Two of the most promising fuels sources in a post-EMP world would be bio-diesel and methane gas. While there are few cars on the roads today which burn these fuels, it is possible to modify some engines to burn them.

As these two fuels are some of the easiest to produce, requiring the least amount of equipment, this could very well turn into an effective business.

General Repairs

Like mechanics, people who can repair other things will have a ready business in a post-EMP world. There will be a need for repairing just about anything, as the factories will be closed and production will come to a standstill. All we will have is what we have at the moment the attack happens.

These people will also be likely to be the ones who work together with the practical engineers to create new things or reinvent old ones. In many cases, the materials to make those tools and equipment will come from cannibalizing existing machinery, appliances and other things that no longer work. Gears and pulleys don’t care what they’re working in, they’ll still do the job.

Gunsmithing

It is widely believed that a post-EMP world will be violent, due to a breakdown of society. As such, people will need their guns, and those guns will probably get a lot more use than they do today. Guns that get used stand a chance of getting broke. Hence, the need for good gunsmiths.

For that matter, the ability to make ammunition will probably become a high priority, especially with people trying to hunt for food. Anyone with a reloading press and the appropriate dies could have a ready-made business, without any further investment.

Make Sure You’re Prepared!

Most of the businesses I’ve mentioned will require some sort of materials and supplies. Gunsmiths won’t be able to go online and order gun parts, nor will blacksmiths be able to pick up steel at their local steel supply. In both cases, the craftsmen will either need to make their own materials or find a way of reusing materials that currently exist.

Don’t count on local warehouses having what you need either. They’ll probably have enough at the beginning, but those supplies will eventually run out. When that happens, you’ll need to have a Plan B that you can put into effect. That plan may require you making things yourself.

What I’m trying to say here is that you need to think through thoroughly any off-grid business that you try to create. Don’t think of it in terms of today’s world, but in a world where you won’t be able to just buy the parts and materials you need. How will you get them? Can you scavange? Can you find the raw materials in nature? Can you repurpose old stuff, melting it down to make new stuff again?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Preparing For the Future By Learning From the Past

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As preppers we are always trying to figure out the perfect combination of living simply, while taking advantage of today’s technology. There is quite a bit we can learn from how people lived a century ago. If an EMP, CME or something else took down the power grid, we could easily find ourselves in that […]

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10 Professions To Learn From To Survive The End Of The World

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Prepping has always been about the worst-case scenario. Maybe that’s because those really scary disasters motivate us more or maybe it’s just that in preparing for a true “the end of the world as we know it” (aka TEOTWAWKI) event make us ready for anything else we might encounter.

Regardless of the reason, there are enough of these major catastrophes in the world’s history to show us that they really can happen.

While most people who have lived on the face of this earth haven’t had to deal with anything more than a regional natural disaster, some have had to deal with much worse. To the people of Europe who survived World War II, that was a life-changing event. The same can be said for those who lived through the Great Depression or the Black Plague.

Real disasters happen. What skills would help you survive?

When I was growing up, the biggest risk we faced was that of thermonuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, was probably the closest we came to total annihilation back then. I was as glad as anyone when the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended.

But we are now in another cold war and it is looking much more like it’s going to turn into a hot war that that one ever did. Should that happen, or even worse, turn out to be an EMP attack, we could easily find ourselves living in a post-apocalyptic world; a world in which we’re going to have to do everything without the benefit of electric power.

Here’s Why We Can Never Win Against North Korea!

 

In such a case, people will be scrambling to learn the necessary skills to survive. But even more than that, they’ll have to learn how to do the things necessary to rebuild society. We are too accustomed to our technology and our comforts to just give up on them. People will be wanting things the way they are used to, or at least as close to that as they can get them.

With that in mind, it only makes sense to learn the necessary skills for living in a world without electricity. This doesn’t just mean surviving for ourselves, but helping others to survive as well; something that is normally outside of our plans as preppers.

I realize that most of us live and operate under the philosophy of taking care of ourselves, our families and our survival team. If all we’re concerned about is survival, that makes sense. But if we want our children to have a better life than that, enjoying some of the benefits we have today, we’re going to have to do more than just survive. We’re going to have to be ready to rebuild our world and as much of the technology that drives it as we can.

That job will probably fall to us, rather than to others, simply because we are the ones who are going to survive. So, we not only should be learning survival skills, but others which will help us to make things work.

Native American Doctor

Medicine is going to be one of the biggest problems in a post-apocalyptic world. While most people would die of starvation, many will also die for lack of medicine.

Today’s pharmaceutical industry depends on supplies that come from all over. Without transportation, they won’t have the materials they need to make the medicines that modern society depends on. Even if they could, without transportation those medicines wouldn’t get to you and me.

When the medicines that are locally stocked in hospitals and pharmacies are used up, there will be no more. The only medicines that will exist will be those that nature provides. The doctors of the American Indians knew those medicines and some still use them. If you can find one of them, and learn their craft, you’ll have one of the most useful skills that exist.

Even if you can’t find a Native American doctor, you could still learn about their medicine. There is a growing movement of people who believe in herbal medicine, which is based to a large part of the same roots as those Native American doctors’ medicine.

While you probably wouldn’t learn everything that a Native American Doctor could teach you, you’ll end up a whole lot better off, with a whole lot more information, than what you have now.

Chemist/Pharmacist

Pharmacists are actually trained for much more than just counting out pills, they are highly trained chemists. More than doctors, they know how different medicines interact and how they react once in our bodies.

Some pharmacists even know how to make medicines. That’s what you’re looking for: a pharmacist who can show you how to make your own penicillin, ether and chloroform will be giving you information that can save lives.

In addition to medical chemistry, there are probably other things you can learn from these people, such as how to make biofuel and other useful chemical substances.

Midwife

Everyone knows what the “world’s oldest profession” is; but I’ve never heard agreement on what the second and third oldest are.

Personally, I think that the midwife has to be pretty high on that list, as the “oldest” would necessitate midwifery. So even if something like farming or shepherding would beat it out (Able was a shepherd and Cain a farmer), midwives have been around for a long, long time.

As long as babies are being born, there will be a need for midwives. This will be especially true in times when there aren’t enough doctors to help women through childbirth. In a post-apocalyptic world, there’s a much greater possibility of women using midwives, than doctors.

Amish Farmer

Modern farming has become industrialized, with massive corporate farms and lots of expensive equipment. Even smaller farms depend heavily on equipment, with the tractor long ago having replaced the horse or oxen.

But the Amish never made that transition. Today’s Amish farmers largely do things the way their ancestors did them, still using horses as the main source of power on the farm. This gives them an incredible advantage over the rest of us, who don’t have the slightest idea of how to do things without gas engines and electric power.

Should we find ourselves on the receiving end of an EMP, the Amish will be less affected by it than any other group of people in our country. That’s basically because they don’t depend on electricity or the modern electronics that the rest of us use.

Their communities will thrive, while the rest of the country is dying. Spending time with one of these farmers and learning the methods and tools they use, would prepare you to be able to feed your family and many more, once the brown stuff hits the rotary air movement device.

Rancher

Ranching and farming aren’t the same thing. Throughout the time of the Old West, these two groups of people fought for the use of the land. That’s because the best farmland was also the best land for raising cattle, or should I say the best ranchland was often the best land for farming.

Of all the animals that mankind has domesticated through the years, cattle give us the most meat per animal.

Another way of putting that is that cattle give us the most meat for effort expended. That makes them the perfect sort of animal to raise for meat, assuming you’ve got enough land to raise them.

Snake-Eater

In the military, all “special action groups” are collectively known as “snake eaters.” It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Navy’s SEALs, the Army’s Special Forces or any other group, they all fall into the same general category.

Snake eaters are the best of the best. In the Army, Special Forces is not only the group that is called upon for unconventional warfare (guerrilla warfare), but they are the ones who are sent to other countries, in order to train their militaries. In fact, Special Forces got their start that way, first as the Jedburgh Teams in World War II and then as advisors in Greece and elsewhere.

Many people think of these snake eaters as expert survivalists. But that depends largely upon the environment you are talking of. They aren’t experts in the sense that you and I are trying to be, but rather in surviving any combat action. Their superior training makes them the best soldiers to have on your side, should things become violent.

Spending time with any snake eaters, learning their combat skills, will greatly increase your chances of not falling prey to the two-legged predators that will be out in force after a disaster strikes.

Hunting Guide

Hunting may not be the most efficient way of finding food after a collapse, but it may still be a very necessary part of our survival. But what most people consider hunting today is sitting in a deer blind, waiting for deer to start munching on the seed corn they put out.

While this may be an efficient way of hunting, it’s highly dependent on having the right equipment and the right place. I don’t think that’s something that any of us can count on in a post-apocalyptic world. Rather, we’re going to have to go hunting the old-fashioned way, tracking animals, learning their habits and then laying wait for one alongside a trail.

Skills like that aren’t something you can learn from just any hunter, as they probably don’t know them either. Rather, you’re going to need someone who started hunting before people used corn and deer blinds to hunt.

That’s why I recommend a hunting guide, rather than just any hunter. They’re more likely to know the skills you’ll need.

Blacksmith

If you’ve ever read any of my other post-apocalyptic articles, you know that I believe strongly in the profession of blacksmithing.

Before the dawn of the industrial age, the blacksmith made just about anything that could be made out of metal. From armor and weapons to shoeing farmer’s horses, the blacksmith was the man to see.

There are few blacksmiths in the world today; mostly because modern industry has replaced them. But when industry is taken away, then what? Who will be able to make the tools and other things that we need? It will have to be blacksmiths, or someone with very similar skills.

My father learned how to be a blacksmith, once he retired; apprenticing with a lifelong blacksmith who was a true artist of the trade. Unfortunately, I only learned a little of it from him, and don’t have a forge and anvil to practice on. If I could find one around where I live, I’d love to spend some time in his shop, learning what I could.

Mr. Fix-It

You probably know someone who can fix just about anything; a Mr. Fix-It (or perhaps a Mrs. Fix-It). These are some of the world’s most useful people and will probably be the true leaders of rebuilding society after a major disaster.

What makes these people so special is that they aren’t limited to just one trade, like many people are. Rather, they’re comfortable with any number of trades and even with fixing things that don’t fall within any particular trade. Whatever you need designed, built or repaired, they can find a way to do it; often a rather imaginative way.

I consider myself to be one of these people. Earlier in my career, I was a manufacturing engineer. Rather than just working in one engineering discipline, this forced me to do both mechanical and electrical engineering. I also took the time to learn how to be a machinist, mechanic and made many of my own prototypes.

On the side, I had a small construction company, along with a buddy of mine. So I’ve learned how to do a wide variety of things; becoming what we used to call, a jack of all trades.

Today I build a lot of my own survival gear. You can find countless examples of my work around my house. My garage hasn’t had a car in it since I painted one of them. Rather than being a garage, it’s actually my workshop. I figure that will serve me well in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Old Survivalist

Survivalism has changed since I got started in my youth. Back then we weren’t so focused on equipment, as methods. There just wasn’t that much equipment available; at least not compared to what we have available to us today.

So, you had to know how to do things yourself, rather than depending on having some sort of gadget to do it for you.

What this means is that those old survivalists were often trained much better than we are today, simply because they had to be. So they’re a fountain of useful information, if you can find them and get them talking.

Fortunately, most are willing to share what they know; so the real problem is finding them.

 

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

From Trash To Treasure: Make An Old Generator Work Again

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Regardless of the device you are talking about, there are always going to be weak points that will lead to the device being discarded. When it comes to power generators, the part that actually produces the electricity may still work, even though the entire unit has been discarded.

If you can’t afford a brand new generator, or are concerned about the cost of fuel, finding a scrapped out generator might be a good start. Depending on the reason for it being discarded, you could modify it to turn solar or wind power into electricity.

From taking steps to get off the grid, to preparing for a major emergency such as we’re seeing in Puerto Rico and California, knowing how to convert a scrapped out generator is a skill that would provide you and your family a warm shelter.

Once you are successful in converting your own generator to harness solar and wind energy sources, there is every chance that you can turn this into a saleable trade and time of need.

Get a Shop or Repair Manual

Before you start taking any generator apart, you should have a shop manual or a repair guide available, as it will provide information on how to test out key parts of the generator, as well as the names of all the parts within the unit.

While you may not necessarily be concerned about getting the engine started, you may still need to make repairs on the portion that generates electricity. The manual should also give you accurate information on how to separate these units so that the electric generating portion will not be ruined in the process.

Whether you need to replace fuses, wires, or other parts of this unit, having the part numbers in hand will make it easier to find them through various resources. This includes looking for compatible parts from other scrapped out units, or even locating materials that you can use to fabricate your own.

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

In some ways, taking apart a generator isn’t so different from working with an automobile engine or even a lawn mower engine. If your intent is to take the device apart from the top down for the purposes of cleaning, refurbishing, or repair, the blow up diagrams in repair or shop manuals will always be of value.

From a purely practical standpoint, even if you’re careful when laying out the internal parts of a complex device, you might set them in the wrong place, or forget how to put them back where they belong. This is when the shop manual for repair guide becomes useful, as it offers you a map and help you make significant changes in order to harness solar and wind power.

At that point, you should already be well on the way to creating suitable notes so that you will never have problems during the repair, cleaning, or refurbishing processes.

Be Ready to Take Notes

Since a wind turbine spins, you may think that it is much easier to convert a generator to run on this source. This is true to some extent, but you should also take notes on the exact parts used to connect the generator part to the driving section of the wind turbine.

Also converting heat or light from solar power sources into a means of driving a generator will also require separate modules composed of several parts. If you don’t take notes on how these parts fit together, what they are, and how to take care of them, you may wind up having many problems later on.

Whether you need to oil a shaft that has close tolerances, or another part that may wear faster than expected, these notes will help you make repairs faster and also ensure that maintenance protocols are effective. This includes giving you a chance to choose different materials from ones that may have failed in your first efforts.

The Basic Parts of a Generator and How to Adapt Them

Before you begin taking the generator apart, think about the following modules, and how they will either work or not work with the new power source you are considering adapting the generator to work with.

Video first seen on Brags & Hayes, Inc.

The engine and fuel system

Since most generators available for consumers use internal combustion engines, it is very likely you will be removing this part of the generator and replace it with something else.

A great deal will depend on what renewable source of power you decide to use. For example, if you decide to work with biofuels or natural gas, it may still be possible to use the internal combustion engine with some modifications to the fuel input systems.

On the other hand, if you are going to work with solar or similar forms of power, an internal combustion engine will be of no use. In fact, you may actually wind up building a steam engine if the main power you are able to capture is heat.

Lubrication, cooling, and exhaust systems

For the most part, you will find that the exhaust system will apply mainly to the internal combustion engine. Therefore, if you are discarding the internal combustion engine, you will not need to worry about the existing exhaust system. Depending on the generator model, there may or may not be additional lubrication required for the alternator.

Since the alternator itself is optimized to work with a specific engine, you may want to make a more careful study of all moving parts inside the alternator. A non-optimized driving source can increase wear on the internal parts of the alternator and cause them to break down faster.

Lubricating these areas may or may not be of help. If lubrication reduces wear, however, it can mean the difference between a generator that lasts only a matter of days or weeks, and one that will serve you well for several years.

Insofar as the cooling system, it is very likely that the alternator will need a separate cooling system if it doesn’t already have one, or if the cooling system is heavily tied to the engine.

The alternator

At its simplest definition, the alternator is little more than a tightly wound coil of conductive wire (usually copper) surrounding a magnetic core. As the magnetic core spins, an electrical current is induced in the coil.

From there, leads extending from the coil deliver electricity to other locations. No matter what causes the magnetic core of the alternator to spin, the electrical current will still be generated. This in turn, means that the alternator is the most important part of the generator for your purposes.

Since coils can be very difficult to wrap in large volumes, it may not be possible to repair an excessively worn alternator core. Therefore, when you are evaluating a scrapped out generator, start by testing out the alternator part before it looking at other sections of it. If the alternator is burned out or it does not function properly, you’ll have to build your own coils and magnet system.

Do not forget that there can be a loss of efficiency in less compact designs, however it is more likely you can wrap less compact coils without using complex machinery and get some current from them.

The voltage regulator

This part of the generator takes output from the alternator and modifies it so that the voltage, or force of the current, remains stable over time. Depending on the generator, you may have outputs from the voltage regulator that provide DC at varying voltages, and outputs that provide AC.

As with the alternator, the voltage regulator should be one of the first things that you test out to see if it still works. If it doesn’t work, you may still be able to refurbish or repair it. A great deal depends on how much of the regulator relies on solid state chips, and if they can be replaced with older style electronic parts.

Later on, you may want to integrate a joule thief somewhere in the system, or some other device that will increase the output of the generator without compromising voltage stability.

The control panel

If you are looking at a relatively new generator, or one that has been built in the last few years, then the entire generator system is operated by a series of computers. This will also include computers used to run the engine and control his performance, as well as independent systems that govern the alternator and voltage regulator.

It may not be all that easy to bypass one computer module and simply go on using the others. A great deal will depend on the specific model you are working with, and what you find in the repair manual.

Aside from modifying the purely mechanical parts of the generator, you may also need to interface with the control panel, using Arduino or some other programmable chip system.

Alternative Fuel Options

If all parts of the generator are still working (as in may just need some cleaning or refurbishing), and you want to try the most simple modifications, your best option will be to look for alternative fuels for the engine.

Natural gas, biofuels, or anything else that can be burned in an internal combustion engine May suit your needs. Unfortunately, if you have a newer generator, you may need to make substantial changes to the air-fuel mixture system and anything that governs it.

For example, if the engine has fuel injectors, you will probably need to replace them with a carburetor. As with a conventional automobile, you may need to do extensive work to modify or remove all the parts downstream that are controlled by computer-driven module.

When it comes to fuel options, do not forget about manifold modifiers that use electrolysis to produce hydrogen. You may also want to look into adapters that will allow you to replace some of the fuel with water.

Historically speaking, these devices are very controversial, and many people claim they don’t work. That being said, if you are interested in experimenting with these devices, a scrapped out generator engine may be an ideal device to work with.

If you can improve fuel efficiency on your generator, you may have a better chance of producing the same results with your vehicle.

How to Use the Generator With Driving Power Forms

As noted earlier, the alternator portion of the generator produces electricity when a central shaft spins. This shaft can be driven by the rotation from wind turbine blades just as easily as it can be driven by a gasoline engine, a water wheel or just about anything else that produces a spinning motion.

When you take the generator apart, you’ll find that the central shaft is attached to the engine using a bolt or some other assembly.

You should still be able to modify it to accept a pulley, or some other adapter that will make it easier to spin the alternator shaft with some other source of power.

Even though they are very much in their infancy, using magnets to produce spin engines is something well worth considering. Did you know that you can take something as simple as two fidget spinners with magnets mounted on them and get them to spin for hour on end without any other power input?

From that perspective, if you can get large enough ball bearings a suitable frame and magnets, you may be able to get enough torque from this kind of system to spend the alternator.

As an even further advancement into experimental options, consider using sound and other vibrations to generate a spinning motion. Liquid mercury and other forms of gyroscopes may also offer some areas of investigation; provided you can get sufficient torque from them.

How to Use the Generator with Heat and Steam Engines

Unlike using solar panels to harness the power of the sun, you will find that driving a generator is a very different process. Typically, the easiest way to do this is to use heat captured from the sun to convert water into steam; and then used pressure from the steam to spin a turbine.

You can study designs for both ancient and modern steam engines to see which one is most feasible for you to build.

There are also several other kinds of heat engines that you can use to spin the alternator. Bear in mind, however, many of these systems are not mechanically strong.

For example, a rubber band heat engine may fall apart if it must apply anything more than a minimal amount of torque to spin a central shaft. As such, if you want to take advantage of these kinds of heat engines, it is very important to consider your materials carefully.

What About Multiple Input Options?

As you consider different systems for generating power, you’re going to find that there is no such thing as one system that will generate all the power that you need. You’re also likely to find that it takes a considerable amount of money and effort to build one system that is large enough to power an entire household.

On the other side of the equation, there are many smaller systems that can generate 12 volts of electricity or small enough amounts of torque to achieve this goal. If you are determined to use a scrapped out generator to produce larger amounts of voltage, it may make some sense to see if you can combine the smaller systems to drive the larger one.

Simple machines such as pulley and belt systems and other machines built on the fundamentals of physics may be of some help to you. Just remember that each time you add a new system, you will also lose some of the energy or torque in the process.

When it comes to using scavenged materials to produce electricity, scrapped out generators are probably some of the most fascinating because they were already successfully used for generating electricity.

As long as you can differentiate between all of the modules that make up a generator, and make repairs to the alternator and voltage regulator, tyou could use those parts in conjunction with solar, wind, water, or even magnetic engines. If you have a good handle on biofuels, then you may also want to see what you can do with the engine itself.

Aside from producing something workable, you will also be acquiring valuable skills and experiences that can be of use in forming a new career now, or as part of a marketable trade in time of need.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

10 Uncommon Ways To Generate Electricity For Your Homestead

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Did you know that there are some very simple ways to generate electricity that won’t cost a fortune? All you have to do is to keep to the basics of using something that spins a magnet to induce a flow of electrons through a metal coil.

In fact, if you focus on smaller scale designs and look around your home, you won’t believe how many junk items you have on hand that can easily generate 12 volts of electricity with just a little bit of modification.

If you build one system at a time and harness them together, you are able to power an entire household.

Have a look at 10 gadgets you have laying around right now that can be put to good use generating electricity!

CDs

Since CDs are light weight and durable, they can act as a basis for spinning magnets in many different systems. 

Here are just a few to consider:

  • CDs can be used to make Tesla Turbines that run on the flow of air or water. Just add magnets to either side of the turbine and make sure you have coils nearby that will produce electricity.
  • CDs are also easy to cut into a number of shapes. They can be used to make small fan blades that will turn small motors into wind turbines.
  • While you are looking at wind power systems, there are many new vertical blade, shell, and bladeless designs that are very efficient and will also work well for turning small motors. Since CDs are made from plastic, you can easily heat up parts of them to bend into different shapes as well as cut them into any form that you need. Whether you need to combine several CDs or use just one to complete your blade design, you will be starting with a flat, durable piece of material that can be altered easily enough.

Magnets

No matter what kind of electricity generating system you want to make, magnets are absolutely essential. If you don’t have magnets to mount on something that will spin, you won’t be able to induce electrons to flow through a coil of wire.

Fortunately, there are many places where you can get magnets. This includes taking apart old motors that may no longer have usable coils, as well as many other electronic devices.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

You can also purchase magnets of all sizes and strengths and experiment with them to see which ones will give you the best performance with different kinds of equipment.

Old Circuit Board Parts

If you are looking for a treasure trove of parts to use for generating electricity, just about any old circuit board will do.  Make sure that you know the difference between AC and DC parts and keep them sorted out in your stockpile.

Here are some parts you should always set aside and then test out to see if they still work:

Capacitors

Ceramic disc, electrolytic, or film capacitors, they can all be used to store up electricity in a circuit and help streamline the output of your system. You should also make it a point to look for variable capacitors since they can be very useful for testing and fine tuning your devices.

Remember you can also make your own bottle capacitors.

Resistors

It may seem counter-intuitive, there are times when you will want to halt the flow of electricity through a circuit, or even redirect it.  Resistors are very important for controlling the flow of electricity so that you can protect other parts of the circuit and achieve your goals.

Diodes

Very important for controlling the flow of electricity through a circuit.

Transistors

They are essential for building control circuits as well as for boosting electricity output.

Relays

Capacitors can build up charges and discharge at predictable rates, but you may also need relays to trigger a change in a circuit path. You may not use them directly in generating power, but you’ll need relays as part of the interface that joins together diverse power generating sources so that you can run larger appliances or even your entire household.

Switches

Overall, you may not think small device switches are worth saving. Maybe you won’t focus on larger sized devices, while the smaller ones may still be useful for smaller boards that need special control for one reason or another.

Remember that safety is an important part of any power generating system. You should always be able to quickly, efficiently, and safely shut down any module in the system without harming yourself, the equipment, or anything attached to it. Switches are necessary for that purpose.

Fuses

As with switches, there is no way to substitute for well placed fuses on your circuit boards and within the power generating systems. Whether you make a mistake or a short occurs, fuses can truly save your life and also prevent your equipment from being ruined.

Do not try to cut corners and bypass fuses or leave them out of your designs.

The Board Itself

Even though each board may have a specific purpose, you can still use the pathways to take the place of wires. Just make sure that you know how to cut into the board to block off pathways that you have no intention of using.

If you do not have wires, but do have several small parts, this may be the most viable way to connect them together.

Computer Hard Drives

Many modern computers have “solid state” drives, but you can still get old junk computer parts that include hard drives featuring motors and solid metal disks inside. Aside from being fun to take apart, they are also a treasure trove for anyone looking for parts to generate electricity with.

Here are three parts you should aim to save:

  • The circuit board – there are many components that you will find useful. I wouldn’t personally recommend wasting time with the IC chips, but you could set them aside for other uses.
  • The motor – old hard drive motors are designed to spin heavy metal disks for hours on end at very high speeds. If you can get a good running motor, you could find a way to reverse it so that it will put electricity out instead of use it.
  • The metal plates – heavier plates are perfect for Tesla Turbines that will spin at higher speeds. They can also be stacked together and will not break apart as quickly as plastic CD versions.

Bicycles and Other Pedal Devices

Overall, you will find that bicycles are some of the most common devices used to generate electricity. All you need to do is make them stationary, and then attach a motor that is capable of producing electricity.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

You can also use mini exercise bikes or anything else with pedals that work in the same way as bicycle pedals.

Aside from using a motor, do not forget that you can also use pedals to turn CD based turbine blades or just about anything else you can attach a magnet to.

Appliance Motors

Computer hard drives are just one kind of household appliance that offers motors that may be of use to you. Blenders, food processors, can openers, and many other devices can be used to generate electricity as long as you have something to spin them with.

As with computer hard drive motors, you’ll also need to build rectifiers so that you can take the output and turn it into what you need to power other items.  If the device in question also has a power board connected to the motor, you could use it as part of the power conversion system.

When using appliance motors to generate electricity, remember how fast they normally spin, as well as the amount of load they can take. Some motors can rotate thousands of times per minute, others cannot.

If you exceed this speed or try to put too much weight on the motor, you may burn it out or wear it out faster than expected. Even though you may have a large supply of motors on-hand, learn how to preserve them and avoid ruining them so that you can make them last as long as possible in a time of need.

Fans

Whether you are looking at small battery powered fans or box sized fans, the motors and blades can be very useful for generating electricity. These motors are durable and designed to run for hours on end without overheating or needing maintenance.

If you are looking for systems that will generate larger amounts of electricity at one time, then box fan motors will work much better than hard drives or small appliance motors.

In addition, if you want a fast, easy way to get started with testing coils, a battery operated personal desk fan may be a good place. Just add some magnets to the blades, and then build your coils. Even though you will still need to power the fan with electricity, you can still use the blades to induce current in a coil.

Household Trash

Unlike other power generation methods, you will need to convert the trash into something else before you can use it to generate electricity.  There are four basic methods that you can use:

  • The simplest, and least efficient method is to burn the trash to produce heat. This includes turning paper into brick logs that will burn longer, and hopefully produce more heat.  You can use the heat to produce steam, which in turn can be used to spin a conventional turbine. Heat can also be used to spin a rubber band engine, which in turn, can be used for spinning magnets.
  • Depending on the type of trash, you can use it to make natural gas or methane, which can be used as fuel to power a generator. In this case, you would be using kitchen waste and other forms of organic scraps. While this method may be more efficient, do not forget you will also need to be able to store the gas.
  • If you don’t want to burn organic trash, you can use it to make compost. This will produce lower temperatures, but still enough to generate electricity. In this case, you would be using the heat from the compost pile to power a thermoelectric generator. All you need is a material that generates electricity based on the difference in temperature on one side of the material versus the other.  If you are curious about these materials, you may want to look at coffee pots such as the Power Pot and other camping equipment that use thermoelectric materials to generate electricity when they are heated up.
  • Although a stirling engine is technically a thermoelectric engine, it does not always rely on using special materials to drive the engine. Instead, you can use compressed air generated by heat to run the engine.

Video first seen on Kathryn Fourie.

Scrap Metal

Small amounts of metal and whole hunks of metal from engines can be used to generate electricity. Get two different kinds of metal and bury them with attached wires.  You can make small 12 volt cells in ice cube trays, or larger ones in your backyard.

Scrap metal can also be fashioned into many other things. In fact, if you are successful in building small prototypes of different kinds of wind turbine blades, you’ll need to turn to metal fabrication to make larger designs that will be durable enough to withstand higher speeds.

Here are some other ways you can use scrap metal:

  • Seeing the voltmeter budge for the first time can be an amazing experience. You may not pay much attention to whether or not your device will withstand the rain, cold, or other environmental factors. Metal is ideal for building cases and support structures for anything that will build up heat or need to be protected from the elements. You must also build your frameworks so that they can shield your devices as much as possible from EMPs.
  • Depending on your budget and interest in different kinds of equipment, melt scrap metal down and turn it into something else – everything from motor shafts to wire extrusions. Having the ability to forge and shape metal, will greatly expand your options for building power generation devices.

Wires

Wires are every bit as indispensable for generating electricity as magnets. You will need wire to make coils, as well as for connecting smaller power generation modules together.

Here are some places where you can find good quality wire:

Automobile Chassis

Whether you look in the junkyard or at rusty cars in an abandoned lot – chances are the wire harnesses are still intact. These are usually good quality, heavy wire that can be used for many purposes.

Motor Parts

Even if you can’t use the motors or other parts of old appliances, it never hurts to snip the power cords and save them. Later on, you can always remove the rubber coating and use the internal wire for various purposes.

Inside Abandoned Buildings

If you are able to get access to the walls or under the floorboards, there is a good chance you will find electric cables.  If they are coated in metal, you can always melt that metal down for something else.  The wire inside might be best used for constructing earth batteries, or other areas where heavy wire will be of value.

When it comes to repurposing gadgets to make electricity, you will only be limited by your imagination and determination.

Remember the fundamentals of making something spin, and then turning that spinning motion into a way to make a magnet move in relation to a coil. Once you are able to induce current in a coil, there is truly no stopping you from progressing to a point where you can power an entire household and beyond without the need for expensive solar panels or relying on pre-made fuels.

While this process requires time and effort, in the end, you’ll find it worth! Or you may find yourself looking for another reliable energy sources, in case of a blackout!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

The Smart Way To Choose A Trailer For Off-grid Living

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Travel Trailer vacationing has become a huge alternative for those who don’t like the restrictions of renting a room at a resort motel or hotel or traveling out of the country.

It gives them more of a variety of choices and travel freedom to literally camp out in style almost anywhere you decide to stop along the way. Due to the popularity and growth of the RV industry these things ‘have come a long way, baby!’

But how good would they be for the serious prepper to use as a useful bug out hideout, temporarily, or even for possible, long term or even permanent off grid survival living?

Here are some things to consider…

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Travel Trailers, also called RVs because they fall Into the ‘Recreational Vehicle’s licensing category in most states, have been around for a long time and come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

If money is no big deal when it comes to your comfort, style, and amenities, you can go hog wild and slob crazy feasting your eyes, and wallet, on one of the top of the line Motor Homes. Which are appropriately nomenclated as such because they are, literally, a very nice ‘home’ with a motor in it that allows you to drive it around like a bus instead of hauling it behind you.

These come in three styles. Wow, Awesome, and OMG-UnFreakingbelievable! The last category being more adapted for the rich and famous, and is what you usually see the big music stars driving across country in when they’re on concert tours.

These beauties can sometimes run upwards of seven figures depending upon luxuries. But even the ‘Wow’ models are not cheap and go for anywhere between seventy thousand to a quarter million for a nice one that comfortably sleeps 4-6 persons.

And technically, guess what? These are pretty much already completely self-sustained and off grid right out of the showroom door. Especially if it’s a diesel. You don’t even have to plug it in somewhere for electricity every time you stop if you keep the rather large fuel tanks filled.

And you don’t even need to keep the vehicle’s motor running. They have deep cycle batteries and a small compact onboard diesel generator already hooked into the power system and connected to the main diesel fuel tanks just for continuous charging of the batteries or direct off grid electricity in the newer models!

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A Tough Choice

But would I choose one of these behemoth motor homes for off grid living? Not unless it was FREE!

Because of the comparison that for the same cost of a higher end newer motor home one could have a nice custom off grid concrete house somewhere relatively private that’s a little more weather and intrusion resistant.

Also, there are some inherent maintenance disadvantages in large motor homes as they age like not being able to work on them that much yourself unless you’re a skilled mechanic. And you can’t just bring them to your local car mechanic in town.

Plus, when you think about it, how much actual motor-homing are you going to do to justify the enormous cost of fuel? There’s no such thing as a fuel efficient motor home and if you get stuck in the mud on a dirt road to your BOL, you are not going to push it out by hand.

And unlike pulling an RV Travel Trailer, you can’t just unhook your car or truck from it, and still have mobility. Depending upon the area of the country you want to go you would require a pricey power winch installed to help get you out of trouble on a steep or rough back road.

So all things considered, what’s the cost justification differential with a motorhome compared to a Travel Trailer pulled behind your personal vehicle? What’s the critical difference in towing your living quarters or driving a self propelled one?

Not much, until they come out with the robotic self-driving ones in a couple of years. Then this will bring a whole new meaning to “over the road vacations!” But these still would only be a sunny afternoon pipe dream for most of us anyway.

However, if you are not hauling your Country Western Band from coast to coast so you don’t need a replica of an Amtrak Train but still are enamored of a motorhome, there are many smaller models and versions that are built on a larger Chevy, Ford, or other such chassis.

They’re much cheaper, especially used, and easier to maneuver into smaller parking areas.

I know a woman who lives on the TX coast in a condo and has a small 20’ Ford motor camper with all the conveniences. It’s well stocked with supplies and water and extra fuel.

When a hurricane is forecasted she just hits the road with it and when she reaches an out of danger distance, she simply parks in the nearest Walmart or Truck Stop, steps up between the front seats into the back, relaxes on the couch, and waits out the event in comfort and safety!

She even named her motor home ‘APIAS’ for Any Port in a Storm. Not a bad idea, using your RV as a BOV so you don’t really need a dedicated BOL!

Different Strokes…

But the best ‘bang for the buck’ alternative would be one of the intermediate travel trailers, 20’ to 35’ long you are now seeing a lot of these days on the road.

In the past the larger heavier ones had a front hitch set up known as the ‘fifth wheel’. This was a heavy, bulky device based on the way the big semi-tractor trailer trucks hooked up and could only be installed in the back bed of a pick-up truck. Not on a regular back bumper area ball hitch.

Since older pick up trucks were not the ‘cat’s Meow’ of comfortable road cruising, pulling a 5th wheel trailer long distances was often tiring.

Today most of the newer larger travel trailers are made with lighter materials and advertised as ‘light weight’ RVs and the 5th wheel is becoming obsolete for RV camping. Which means you can pick one up used for a really good deal if you already have a truck and don’t mind installing a 5th wheel hitch in your truck bed.

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But the light weight Travel Trailers (TT) changes the ball game and some really nice midsized ultra lite Travel Trailers can even be pulled by regular family cars.

The designs have changed a lot as well. They’re just as comfortable and user friendly than a modern apartment with a lot of nice amenities.

Making the Best Choice

The old saying, ‘Everything’s Nice, Until You See the Price!’ tells it all here.

Since some of us who are interested in using TTs for off the grid living already can’t afford a house and then serious additional expense of converting the house to permanent off grid solar power, the only way we’ll even get close to off grid living is by opting for a Travel Trailer instead.

So it all boils down to costs. And here’s where it gets interesting. The reality is that not only is it fairly easy to live completely off grid in a trailer, and do it for a cost that almost anybody with any income can afford.

It can also be done comfortably and relatively cheaply if you think carefully about your needs and do some diligence in planning and searching for the best deal on the right trailer for your anticipated lifestyle.

Bigger is Not Always Better

When we think of living space most of us are already thinking incorrectly for practical application. Everybody, especially Americans, always likes bigger space, and more closets, and more appliances, and so on. We’re all conditioned by society to live like that.

But is it really necessary? Not for the most part.

Designers of living quarters always knew that when it comes down to it, there are only three basic areas people spend their inside time in: the Bedroom, the Bathroom, and the Kitchen.

Unless you’re a teenager who thinks their bedroom is a separate apartment or you are homebound a lot, you don’t even really spend that much time in these rooms if you’re working or active. People in other countries (like Japan) live their entire lives in one room city apartments!

Even some expensive luxury condos in New York are only 400 square feet of living space which is less than a 35’ by 12’ TT with slide outs. So even if you came from a large house style of living, it wouldn’t take you long to get acclimated to a comfortable smaller size domicile.

You might even like it better?

A Well Kept Secret

There are a lot more people living in travel trailers than you would think.

In fact there is a dedicated industry that caters specifically to people who want to live full time in their travel trailer. For a monthly fee much less than an average apartment rental, they provide a spot to park with an electric service plug in and a septic system to connect your waste tank hose into.

Your TT usually has a mini-version of a regular forced air home heating system, complete with in floor heat registers/vents powered by a couple 30 or 20 pound propane tanks, also usually filled at one of these ‘”community living” Travel Trailer RV camping spots, or available exchange refills at every Walmart in the country.

So pull into one of these camper places, set up in a couple hours, plop down on your couch in front of your HD flat screen, crack open a brewski and enjoy the playoffs!

There is an entire sub-industry lifestyle revolving around the TT phenomenon. There are guides and publications like ‘Trailer Life’ and others. Outlets and dealers and resources for RVs are everywhere.

And if you’re looking to escape from the mind numbing grind, an ex spouse, or family that makes you pop Alleve tablets like a kid chunking M&Ms every time you see them, it’s pretty hard to track or find you in your TT camper if you don’t leave a huge paper trail by paying cash for most expenses.

How Hard is to Make Your Trailer Completely Off Grid

Because most of them are already wired with built in 12 volt electrical lighting and DC to AC power inverters off a back-up battery, there’s almost nothing to it.

You would simply upgrade your battery bank with a few additional batteries, and a basic solar panel charging system or small portable wind turbine or build your own system along the lines of the(name the power unit book you are selling here?).

With enough watts to cover your electric needs and you’ve now got the power grid monkey off your back!

If you want to set up to include total disconnection from municipal systems somewhere more remote on your own land you’ll need a well and a septic system.

These are not cheap but depending upon water table depths and septic system requirements in your area sometimes you can get away with a relatively inexpensive sand point shallow well.

There are several Youtube tutorials on how to dig and set up your own well pump, and temporarily you can just use an outhouse type latrine if you have to. There’s even things like electric disintegrating toilets or composting toilets now that allow you to avoid digging a complex septic system.

There are all kinds of DIY information out there about hacking easy septic systems also on Youtube about this subject if you are not in an area with strict codes.

Buying a Travel Trailer

This is the best news about off grid living in a Trailer. If you explore the market, even on Ebay or Amazon… is that you might be surprised how inexpensive a decent used Travel Trailer can be.

Many were purchased just for occasional yearly vacations that owners evolved out of and just sit around so the people sell them and they have very little wear and tear other than needing to be cleaned up a little.

Pros and Cons of Off Grid Travel Trailer Living

PROs

…some considerable advantages for the frugal prepper.

Freedom!

I know people who say that once you escape the ‘stick built’ jungle, there’s no going back to being locked into a boring ‘hood’ where all you do is try to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

Or worry about going underwater in mortgage debt and not being able to sell if the area economy or the environment goes bad and raises your property taxes (like in Kalifreaknia, or Illinois) so high you almost need a six figure income just to own a relatively small home!

And there’s a bit of nomad in a lot of us. After all, it was the nature of early civilization to constantly move around in caravans for improved conditions.

Cost of Living

There’s no disputing the total package efficiency of living off grid in a travel trailer. Dollar for dollar including the cost of the trailer and your expenses are far less for the same services and style of living compared to a standard house construction or usurious apartment rentals.

And your cost of your off grid electrical set up equipment is usually paid for after the first year in power costs and the continued ‘free electricity’ can be huge savings in the long run.

Travel trailers are less maintenance than a conventional house and cheaper when you do have to do some.

CONs

…really not that many.

High Winds

Although you can ‘permanently’, as they say, attach or secure your Travel Trailer to the ground with posts to stabilize against high winds, I don’t know if I’d set up my TT Permanently in a neighborhood area out west known as Tornado Alley?

But not much stands up to a powerful tornado or a Cat 5 hurricane anyway so you just have to think ahead about it.

Heating

Most TTs have adequate heaters but the nature of the need of saving weight in something you haul on the road means that the walls and insulation in these units are not nearly as thick as a regular house. So this might be an issue up North and I don’t know for sure how warm a TT would be in the ‘badlands’ of North Dakota or Alaska although I’m sure you’ll find a few—even with wood burning stoves—no doubt. But there are a never ending supply of suitable living areas in this country where the climate is not yet ‘geoengineered’ enough for the standard unit heating to work just fine, So it’s really a non-issue unless your personal situation requires you to reside in a very cold part of the country.

 

So take your time and do your diligence. There are so many choices out there that it will pay off for you to search around. Make your choice to fit your plans. And you’ll be ‘good to go’!

Okay then, see you later on the road, and Off the Grid Monster. Don’t forget to wave!

This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.

Best 5 Options For Off Grid Batteries To Choose From

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As renewable fuel technologies develop, more and more people are looking to use them in order to reduce reliance on commercial electricity and other fuels.

But both options can be quite expensive if you simply buy pre-fabricated power generation equipment and batteries for storage. That’s why our reader’s question makes a lot of sense:

“Have you any info about batteries for solar off grid? Especially inexpensive alternatives?

Joe”

Before you make a decision about which batteries to buy, think about all your options and try a few things out first.

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Pre-Fab Large Scale Batteries

Aside from being expensive, pre-fabricated large scale batteries will be ruined by an EMP blast if they are hooked up to wires or any equipment that can transmit the pulse to the battery.

Even if you use DIY windmills or other power generating equipment that can be easily repaired after an EMP, these batteries may still leave you without electricity. Therefore, it may not make sense to invest a lot of money in these batteries or put all your reliance on them for future power storage needs.

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Here are some other things you should know about large scale batteries so that you can have a clearer insight into how they compare to something you might build on your own.

Edison Batteries

Even though Edison batteries are some of the best insofar as deep cycling and constant use, they can also be very unreliable and break down easily.

Over the years, Edison Batteries have been discarded and may be very cheap to find in junk yards and scrap metal stations. If you can refurbish one and get it to work reliably, this will be your cheapest option. You can also make your own Edison batteries and make sure they are built to tolerate repairs.

Tesla Batteries

As with other Lithium Ion batteries, the Tesla Battery cannot be deep cycled as much as an Edison battery. They are also fairly new on the market, so there is relatively little information on how easy or difficult it is to repair them and the cost.

While a Tesla battery may appear more reliable in the short term, that does not mean it is better for long term needs, or that will be reliable enough in a time of major social crisis.

Flooded Lead Acid Batteries (FLA)

As with Edison batteries, the FLA batteries have been around for decades. They were also some of the first used for off gridding power needs.

These batteries tend to have problems in colder weather, and may break down under constant deep cycling. That being said, if you are looking for a budget battery that has plenty of field experience, FLAs might be your best bet in the pre-fabs.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Even though lithium ion batteries are smaller and more durable than flooded lead acid batteries, they can still easily be damaged if something goes wrong with the inverters and controllers. Since they are also relatively new on the market, it is hard to say if they will last as long as older battery designs.

As with Tesla batteries, if a Lithium Ion battery breaks down, it is doubtful you will be able to repair it.

Lead-Carbon Batteries

These are relatively new batteries that use lead for the positive side of the battery, and activated carbon for the negative side. They are supposed to last much longer than Lithium Ion batteries and will take a lot more wear and tear.

While they are maintenance free batteries, you also will not be able to repair them if something goes wrong.

Flow Batteries

This is also a relatively new battery type that stores two electrochemical liquids in separate containers. From there, they are introduced into a central vessel separated by a membrane. As electrical charges build up, the electrons can be drawn off for use.

“Recharging” the battery is as simple as feeding energy into one tank or the other. These batteries are useful for meeting expanding energy needs because you only need to add larger storage tanks and equipment to upgrade the battery. Even though the electrochemical fluids can last for decades, they still require pumps to move them around.

2. Small Scale Pre-Fab Batteries

There are many ways to scavenge lithium ion batteries from cell phones, tablets, and other devices, but some other small scale pre-fabricated batteries may also be of some interest to you.

As with larger batteries, these will also be destroyed during an EMP if the battery is hooked up to a device that is susceptible or one where the pulse can be transmitted by wire to the battery.

On the other hand, since these batteries are much smaller and lighter in weight, it is also easier to build Faraday Cages to store spare batteries. Just don’t forget to rotate the batteries on a regular basis with the ones you are using for routine use so that they don’t deteriorate from lack of use.

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You will also need to look for less power hungry appliances and devices so that you can use the smaller batteries more efficiently. Insofar as collecting power from generating sources, it will be of immense benefit to build smaller modules and then feed the power from each module into the smaller batteries.

If you are interested in exploring diverse power sources, or can produce limited amounts of power using different devices, then these batteries may be an ideal answer for you. For larger appliances, it may also be of use to shift to natural gas or some other fuel source instead of relying on electricity.

NiMH

These small, rechargeable batteries are used in high drain devices such as cameras. They will last a long time, and can withstand both deep cycling and a range of temperatures. Unfortunately, they cannot be repaired and can also be quite expensive to purchase.

Cotton Batteries

Even though Ryden Batteries are still not on the market, there is every indicator that they will be available for both large scale and small applications. As innovative as these batteries are, they do rely on complex technology for manufacture, and are not likely to be repairable.

Automobile Batteries

Standard wet cell and gel cell batteries can be used for low drain applications. They can also be scavenged and refurbished as long as the metal plates in the battery are still in good condition. Just remember that the average life of most automobile batteries is 2 – 5 years.

Even if there are plenty of batteries available now, you may find very few viable scavenge options within just a few years after a major social crisis occurs.

Photosynthesis Based Batteries

These batteries require a special pot, a plant, and some water. As the plant absorbs sunlight and carries out photosynthesis, an electrical current is generated. Even though these batteries are expensive and do not make much electricity, they can last for decades and require very little in the way of refurbishing or repair.

Gold Nano Batteries

The manipulation of molecular structures at that level is truly leading to some amazing innovations in batteries. For example, gold nano wires can be used to make a battery that can be recharged well over 200,000 times without showing wear or breaking down.

While these batteries are not yet on the market, they may quickly become popular with people that want reliable batteries that will last for a long time.

Graphene Batteries

Even though graphene was forgotten about for decades, it is still possible to make it at home. That being said, actually making a functional graphene battery takes considerably more effort. Today, graphene batteries are rapidly taking over, and being used to replace lithium ion batteries.

You can purchase small batteries as well as larger ones that can be used to power a motor vehicle. These batteries are known for durability as well as the capacity to work well in high drain situations. They also recharge in minutes when compared to lithium ion and other batteries.

Nano Batteries

Today, there are many batteries and power generation devices that take advantage of molecular manipulation to create lattices, honeycombs, and other patterns that accelerate energy flow, or achieve some other goal. Nano technology is also being used to create new materials that have characteristics that are very different from the parent material by virtue of how the atoms and molecules are arranged. This is distinctly different from chemical reactions that cause an exchange of electrons, or replace atoms and molecules for others of interest.

Many batteries are using these materials for making batteries, but the battery itself is not necessarily referred to as a “nano battery”. Rather, this designation is meant for batteries that are made up of tiny batteries that are joined together to make a larger battery. They tend to be more efficient and charge faster because the electrons do not have to travel as far.

If you are interested in the smallest possible size battery with the largest amount of power, nano batteries should be at the top of your list. Perhaps at some point, nano technology will even provide some answers for EMP proofing and deliver a battery that will not be damaged if an attached device transfers the pulse to it.

3. DIY Smaller Modules Using Simple Systems

If you build these batteries correctly, they can produce anywhere from 1 to 12 volts, which makes them comparable to small scale pre-fab batteries.

These batteries will be the best for long term prepping as you will be able to make them from scavenged materials in nature as well as from junk piles or other locations. Their main drawback revolves around the need for trial and error as well as the limitations on the amount of electricity you can store with them.

As with small scale pre-fab batteries, you may need to make smaller power generation systems such as CD Tesla Turbines or other devices that will generate smaller amounts of electricity that can be combined to power larger devices.

Flywheel Battery

Unlike conventional batteries, a flywheel battery stores mechanical energy instead of electricity. Since many power generators rely on mechanical motion to produce electricity, you should be able to do the same with a flywheel system.

Aside from being able to build these batteries from many different materials, you can also adapt them to different sizes. This includes expanding to large scale batteries.

Other Mechanical Batteries

Twisting ropes, variations of the ancient Chinese Trip Hammer, and even springs can be used to store mechanical energy and then convert it to electricity when needed.

Electrolyte Batteries

Salt water, and many other electrolyte solutions can be used to make wet cell batteries that will store and release electricity.

These batteries may require a good bit of maintenance, and you will always have to be concerned with replacing the electrolyte once it breaks down.

Even though you can also scale these batteries to larger sizes, it may not be worthwhile because of electrolyte availability, or what it will take to produce more.

Natural Batteries

Potatoes, lemons, mud, and even copper pennies can be used to generate and store electrical charges. Even though these batteries won’t last for very long or generate much electricity, they can be used in an emergency situation.

Video first seen on Two-Point-Four.

Leyden Jar

You can make a Leyden Jar from little more than a glass jar and some tin foil. Even though the Leyden Jar seems primitive by modern standards, it can still build up thousands of volts of electricity and work reliably for years on end.

You can also add salt water to the Leyden Jar to increase the amount of electricity it can store. Unlike other batteries, you store and concentrate static electricity to make it of use for a wide range of applications.

Aluminum Graphite Batteries

These batteries do not hold as much electricity as lithium ion batteries, but you may be able to make them from scavenged parts.

Since they recharge faster, you may also find them useful for low drain devices and other applications. Because these batteries do recharge very quickly, researchers are looking for ways to bring them to the market.

4. DIY Larger Scale Batteries

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on batteries that will power a household. Here are two battery types that you can build from scraps that will last for years and serve your needs well.

Even though it will take some hard work to set them up, it will be well worth the effort. Unlike pre-fab batteries, these will last a long time, require little or no maintenance, and are very easy to refill or repair as needed.

Earth Batteries

These batteries are some of the easiest and most versatile batteries that you can make from scavenged material and a place to bury it.

All you need is some soil, two different kinds of metal, and some wire. You can build small versions of Earth Batteries in ice cube trays, or larger ones in your backyard.

Video first seen on MrTeslonian

If you want to increase the yield from these batteries, just add salt water or some other electrolyte. Insofar a ease of building, you will find that no complex tools are required.

They are also very easy to repair and fairly easy to maintain. Start off with a small version and then put several of them together before creating underground versions.

Salt Water Batteries

While salt water batteries were available on the market, the company that made them, Aquinon, filed bankruptcy earlier this year. It is difficult to say at this time if salt water batteries will continue to be available on the market. It is also very hard to say how useful or durable a DIY version of a salt water battery will be.

That being said, if you live near an ocean or have access to plenty of salt, this may be a good option for you to pursue.

5. Highly Unconventional DIY Batteries

Chances are, if you are a fan of Nikola Tesla, then you know that he was working on finding ways to generate electricity from the Earth. He was also very interested in transmitting electricity through the air.

While Earth Batteries may be far weaker than what Tesla envisioned, modern researchers are making some headway on transmitting electricity through the air. For example, devices exist now that utilize ultrasound, which is then converted to sound signals, and then transmitted to a receiver.

The receiver converts the sound to electricity, which powers the device. If you do some research, you will find many devices that work on similar principles, yet have never made it to the consumer markets. As such, you can adapt these ideas for your own use and see what you can come up with.

Each year, it seems like the types of batteries for off grid power usage expand in some interesting ways. Not so long ago, your choices were limited to Edison, FLA, and Lithium Ion Batteries.

Today, you can still take these batteries into consideration, or you can pursue DIY and unconventional models that will also serve your needs at a lower cost.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Further Reading

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months-and-power-over-the-air

https://realgoods.com/solar-renewable-energy/deep-cycle-batteries/flooded-lead-acid

https://seekingalpha.com/article/115257-lead-carbon-a-game-changer-for-alternative-energy-storage

http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/storage-technology-comparisons/flow-batteries

http://graphene-battery.net/graphene.htm

Puerto Rico: A Real Life Case Study In Surviving The Worst

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Our country has been plastered by hurricanes lately.

First there was Hurricane Harvey, which turned much of Houston, Texas into a lake, along with Corpus Christi, Rockport and the surrounding area. Then there was Hurricane Irma, which brushed by Puerto Rico and then tried to devour the Florida Peninsula. Finally, the third villain in this story was Hurricane Maria, which demolished Puerto Rico.

While Hurricane Maria was the “weakest” of the three, only a Category IV hurricane, it probably did the most damage. That damage is exacerbated by the fact that Puerto Rico is an island, making it harder to get relief workers and supplies in. Unlike Houston, access to Puerto Rico is limited to a few ports and airports, both of which were damaged by the storm.

Thousands of homes in Puerto Rico were destroyed by the hurricane, some only having their roofs torn off, while others were flattened entirely. Entire apartment buildings are standing with the façade torn off by the high winds, leaving the apartments exposed to the elements.

But the really serious damage from the hurricane wasn’t to people’s homes, although that is rather serious, but rather to the electrical grid. Over 95% of the island is currently without electrical power, not because of damage to the power plants, but rather to the near-total destruction of the transmission lines that carry the electricity produced to people’s homes, offices, stores and companies.

Without electricity, much of what people depend on to survive is eliminated. There is no running water, no communications, and most stores are unable to operate.

Between the lack of electric power to run their cash registers and the communications necessary to reorder stock, even if they sell their inventory for cash, using hand-written receipts, the stores will be empty of critical supplies, such as food, within less than three days.

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But coming up with that cash will be difficult for most people, as the ATM machines that they need to use and the computers for the banks are without power and communications as well. Since few people hold onto much cash these days, but rather use plastic for all their purchases, they are left without the ability to buy even the most basic necessities of life.

While relief efforts are pouring in, there isn’t enough and it’s not getting there fast enough. Unlike the rest of the country, the people of Puerto Rico are limited by being on an island. There isn’t anyplace they can go themselves, to get away from the problems or get what they need.

But getting supplies to the island is only the beginning of the problems. Once the supplies get there, workers encounter problems moving them to those in need. Roads are damaged or blocked by felled trees and other debris and gasoline is in short supply. Those nearest the ports and airports have the best chances of receiving relief supplies, while others, on more remote areas, may receive none.

Medical Issues

The problems that ordinary people have are bad enough. But they don’t hold a candle up to the problems faced by those with serious medical conditions. Hospitals are overrun, between the people who were injured by the hurricane and the normal problems they have to deal with.

On top of that, diesel fuel to run the hospitals’ generators is running short, limiting their ability to treat patients.

The lack of electricity is causing other medical problems as well, such as there not being power to run kidney dialysis machines. People with kidney failure need this treatment three times per week. Without it, their body accumulates too many minerals in the bloodstream and organs, leading to heavy-metal poisoning and death.

The same can be said for many other medical treatments which require electricity to run the equipment.

Medicines themselves are becoming an issue as well. While pharmacies and hospitals were well stocked before the storm, some medicines are running short. The worst of this are medicines which require refrigeration, like insulin. Without refrigeration to keep insulin supplies fresh, diabetics will soon find themselves without this life-saving drug.

Recovery from the Disaster

Rebuilding and restoring Puerto Rico is going to be a major project. The damage was so severe and widespread, that there isn’t any place “safe” on the island that people can go to, to get away from the problems. That also means that there is no good starting point to work from in rebuilding the island. If only part had been damaged, they could use that as a base for rebuilding the rest.

Unsurprisingly, officials have decided that the first focus of restoration has to be government facilities and hospitals. While that makes sense from the viewpoint of needing those to be functional in order to rebuild the rest of the island, it can also be seen as government bureaucrats taking care of themselves.

The first thing that has to be restored is the electrical grid. With so much of the grid damaged, repairs are impossible. Rather, the distribution grid needs to be rebuilt. This little project is projected to take six months, which probably means it will take much longer.

In the mean time, the loss of electricity will mean that people will be without clean running water, power in their homes, refrigeration and the distribution of products to retail stores will be severely limited. As all the farms in the country were destroyed by the hurricane, all food will need to be shipped in for at least the next year, until the 2018 harvest comes in.

While the death toll from the hurricane is officially stated as 16 people, that number will surely rise. Between the lack of necessary medical attention and the lack of clean water, they can expect to see more and more people dying, either of pre-existing conditions or from disease spreading easily due to lack of sanitation. The situation isn’t pretty and it’s likely to get worse, even with all of the efforts being thrown into relief and recovery.

This problem is amplified by the Puerto Rican government’s poor financial condition. With an economy that is near the bankruptcy point, there isn’t the money needed to rebuild the island. Fortunately for them, President Trump has waived the normal requirement for states to pay 25% of disaster relief and recovery funds.

Lessons to be Learned

This disaster was just about as serious as they come. While the process of rebuilding won’t be as bad as it would have been with an EMP, the outright destruction is much worse. The people of Puerto Rico, American citizens, are going to be hard pressed to survive this disaster and come out on top.

Video first seen on The Oregonian.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of lessons that you and I can learn from this disaster. Lessons that we should apply to our own prepping plans, so that when our turn comes, we are not left in the same boat as our countrymen find themselves.

If we don’t take the opportunity to learn, then we could say that their suffering would be in vain.

Shelter

One of the biggest lessons that we can take away from this hurricane, as well as the ones that hit Houston and Florida is that American homes are not built to withstand natural disasters, especially disasters that involve enormous amounts of water. Our homes are easily damaged in any sort of flooding, which ends up soaking into the materials and destroying them.

Granted, many of the homes which were the worst hit in the hurricane are those of the poor. As such, they aren’t built according to normal American standards, but rather, in any way possible. So they are not as strong as a typical American home.

But that really doesn’t make much difference.

In a time of major disaster, we have to assume that our home will be damaged, unless you happen to live in a concrete box. With that in mind, there are two things that we should do.

The first is to be ready to make emergency repairs to our home, having the necessary tools, materials and skills on hand to accomplish those repairs. The second is to have an alternate means of shelter that we can use, if our homes become completely destroyed.

I had previously thought of using a travel trailer as my alternate shelter, in case of a hurricane destroying my home (I live in a hurricane zone as well). However, looking at the damage in Puerto Rico, it is clear that such an idea was ill-founded; a travel trailer would not survive.

It would be best to have a shelter somewhere away from your home, the classic survival retreat that we all aspire to. But if you can’t afford that, at least make sure that you have a good tent or two that you can count on.

Water

The lack of clean water in Puerto Rico is going to account for many deaths. Had those people but had some means of purifying their water, they could survive. Yet few actually did. While I have no idea how many preppers there are in Puerto Rico, it is clear that there aren’t enough.

But I see something else here as well. This is one area, in which we, as preppers, can really serve our communities, earning their respect and hopefully giving them a reason to not attack us. That is, for us to be ready to provide water filtration to those around us. For us, this is easy, as we already plan on purifying our own water. All we really need to do is increase our capacity.

Another lesson that we can take away from this is the need to be ready to harvest rainwater. While a lot of us are already using rainwater capture, we probably don’t have anywhere near the capacity needed to capture even an infinitesimal amount of the water that would fall on our homes in a hurricane. Increasing that capacity would also increase our chances of survival.

Food

With the island’s farms in a shambles, food is going to be a real challenge for the next year, with prices considerably higher than normal. While food shortages aren’t a major issue yet, they soon will be, as people and stores run out. FEMA and other relief agencies just can’t get food to the island quick enough.

This pretty much answers the question of whether or not it is unreasonable to have a year’s worth of food stockpiled. For the people of Puerto Rico, a one year supply of food seems like a minimum, right now. Those that don’t have that much (most people) are probably going to end up losing weight.

There’s something else that this disaster brings up in the food area, as well. That is, protecting your food stockpile from destruction. If my home had been in Puerto Rico for the hurricane, it looks to me like much of my food stockpile would have been damaged or even floated away. I need to rethink my food storage, looking for ways to make sure that my food stays at my home site, even if my home becomes damaged.

One way to do this is to bury some of it. Five gallon buckets, filled with food will bury just fine, protecting the food. About the only thing that could happen to it, to destroy it, would be driving a vehicle over the top.

Electric Power

As usual, the electrical grid is one of the first things damaged by any storm. Therefore, none of us can count on electricity after a disaster. We either need to be ready to do without, or to produce our own.

In this case, people who had solar panels or wind turbines probably saw them damaged by the storm. High winds can be hard on both, especially if they are not properly anchored. In that case, their preparedness wouldn’t have helped them at all.

When Hurricane Harvey was headed for my home, before turning and making landfall at Rockport, I took down my wind turbine, strapping it down behind a cement wall to protect it from the storm. Had it been up and the hurricane hit our area, I am sure that it would have been destroyed.

Medical Needs

As I mentioned above, one of the biggest problems facing the citizens of Puerto Rico is medical services and supplies. This is not uncommon in any disaster situation, as medical services tend to become overwhelmed.

But there is a big difference in this case, that is, their generators are going to prove to not be enough. When the supply of fuel is exhausted, the hospitals and all their equipment will be down.

The only medical services we can truly count on in a time of emergency are those that are already in our possession. If anything, we had better count on needing more than we thing, not less. Chances are, we’re going to find ourselves in a position where we won’t be able to count on the medical community.

Self-Defense

It didn’t take long for the two-legged predators to come out of the woodwork and start taking what they wanted. I’ve heard stories of gunmen at gas stations, threatening others so that they could get in line first. While a fairly simple example, this is indicative of what is going on in other areas as well.

As supplies become even shorter, people will become more desperate. More and more acts of violence will break forth, with people fighting over food, water and other basic necessities. Those who are not prepared to defend themselves will be the loser in this game.

FEMA

Once again, FEMA has proven that they are unprepared to deal with any emergency, especially a major one. While their workers are hard at it, trying to coordinate relief efforts, they are behind the curve. Without others pitching in to help out, FEMA will be unable to meet all the needs.

There is a stark difference between what is happening in Puerto Rico and what has happened in Houston. While I don’t have any actual figures for how much aid is reaching Puerto Rico or how much of that is from FEMA, most of it seems to be coming from FEMA or through the Red Cross. On the other hand, the large Christian community in Texas provided most of the help to the citizens of Houston. In fact, there was so much aid given by the Christian Community, that news agencies who are normally hostile to Christians commented positively about it.

Anyone who is dependent on the government to provide them with aid is asking for trouble. While government relief workers do their best, it’s never enough.

We must be ready to take care of ourselves, and if possible, those around us as well. Are you prepared?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Can You Survive Below Radar? Off Grid Tips And Tricks

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Lately so many people are getting so fed up with pervasive totalitarian spying on literally everything we say and do, that they’re wondering whatever happened to the American Dream?

Add in out of control greed municipal intrusions with building code tyranny for exorbitant property tax profits, not to mention a noticeable increase in strangely nosy parasitic neighbors, all combined in a world starting to crumble under the weight of its own violent insanity.

Truth be told, is it even remotely possible anymore to enjoy the wonderful freedom of personal privacy, the peaceful solace that this great land, and our precious Constitution, once held for us?

Let’s take a closer look at the cold, hard reality.

It’s not what you think…

Where Did All the Freedom Go?

 “We tried so hard, and came so far, but in the end it never really mattered….”

The sadness of this discussion is that we should not even be having it in a truly Free country. The first important revelation here is that “We, the People” screwed up big time in the last generation with our mass passive acquiescence to the government nanny state.

We allowed Them to brainwash us into relinquishing our rights of self-determination to a point where they now control every facet of our lives in exchange for a specious promise (not even in writing!) to take care of us, and make us all little happy faced cherubs, bouncing blissfully on big daddy government woo woo’s cushy knee from cradle to grave.

Then they threw us a few bare bones in the dirt and we licked them up like the obedient State sponsored lap dogs we became.

The history is clear, but our own innate weaknesses ultimately caused our own libertarian demise because the mouse never resists the free cheese on the mouse trap. I don’t know if we even deserve liberty salvation anymore, or whether we can ever get it back…but that’s another depressing topic.

In any case, here’s what’s left of the whole idea of the off grid under the radar privacy situation today:

“You can run, but you cannot hide!”

First, I hope everybody realizes, or at least most Liberty minded Patriots, that if you want absolute, complete privacy from any kind of government or private sector intrusion, it simply doesn’t exist anymore. Nada, Zippo, Zero, No Mas! And all of YOU, my beloved, let them get away with it!

This is because the so-called ‘Grid’ is now everywhere. The Grid is now life itself! Therefore it stands to reason, if one desires to indulge in the solace of private seclusion, one must first escape the dreaded Grid itself? Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere to go… where the grid ain’t.

The last nail in the coffin of human privacy, ironically, which replaced the Patriot Act, was the American Freedom Act, which allows the FISA courts and the government dark state agencies to casually violate our 4th/A protections.

Toss in ubiquitous surveillance/location/tracking technology (also 4th/A violating in usage) so advanced that I’d need several more pages to even begin describing them here. Think of it like this, all despotic power elite totalitarian regimes need the same control as farmers have over their cattle.

They need to know where they are and what they are doing at all times. The more Big Brother/Minority Reporting the government becomes, the more of a slave you wind up being.

So before we go any further, realize and accept the following as FACT. If a government agency or one of its oxymoronic private contractors wants to find you, They Will.

Unless you just go somewhere so remote and deep in the jungles or mountains. and disappear yourself, one way or the other, permanently, which is really an optimal below radar off grid style of living, even if they don’t get you physically, as in someone like Assange or Snowden (who traded their freedom to travel for a prison sentence by escaping to sanctuary in other countries), they will be tracking every move you make, every day of your life, and then some.

Even Jason Bourne, today, couldn’t evade them or disappear for very long. Not with the latest biometric facial recognition and location tracking techniques. Not with the specially trained seek and capture teams assisted by inhuman god-like AI computers with seemingly mystical sources of information and telepathic powers! And just by being alive, we all generate some type of electronic trackable footprint.

Ironically, the only real effective way to disappear off grid is to let the government do it for you. Just like they recently did with the September 17th illegal street arrest and due process killing disappearance’ of attorney and activist dissident, Andy Ostrowski.

Oh, you thought they did that only in Russia! The true history is that The American Dark State INVENTED it along with the formation of the CIA and the Soviet Union merely copied it. Apparently, you’ve never heard of the infamous Homan Ave police detention center in Chicago? Where it was impossible for your lawyer to find you after you were arrested?

Instead of just arranging for you to be an “unfortunate victim” of an armed robber and shot dead like Hilary’s campaign staffer Seth Rich, who some say knew way too much about something that could kill her campaign (still not solved). Or a suspicious suicide like Vince Foster, remember that one related to Shady Clinton business dealings? (still not solved).

But if you’re merely a vocal dissident with a growing political following, there are less violent tricks of the trade totalitarian authorities use such as simply remove you by arranging for you to be “picked up for your own safety” (same way they’ll eventually get all our guns) as well as the public’s safety, because you are obviously mentally ill if you talk too much toward the government to where it might incite people to vote.

 

This is Why Conventional Preparedness Wisdom is Deadly!

 

There was some recent law maker talk about anti-gov speech being made into some kind of prohibited law!

Then you will be lost in the matrix of bureaucratic red tape, never to be found, until they feel like letting you go after their government psychiatrist prescribed sedative drugs they treated you with left your brain with little desire to activate over any cause ever again.

And you still wonder why so many people have “visions of bushcraft homesteading dancing” in their heads?

Currently our so-called free society here does have some current and growing levels of below radar existence if you consider living like an illegal immigrant or a sleeper cell ISIS group or something like that. You could say these are pretty far off grid, but it would not be in a good way.

They cannot step out of their social status into what authorities call “going deep dark” or “lone wolf”, which is a misrepresented term. Just to maintain such a meager sustenance these types of people need others to depend on and things like fake I.D.s and unreliable associates. Once they do, they’re on radar again, and the authorities will be hot on their trail.

But can’t I just opt out of society and live my own life the way I want? I’m not a criminal fugitive or anything, I just want to be left alone and live as quietly and privately as possible.

Isn’t there a way just to be law abiding, but minding my own business and avoid contact with anybody and not be a constant victim of their agenda based for-profit rip-off abuse on my personal life and money, without getting into all that radical stuff???

It Depends

One of the advantages in a capitalistic society is that money goes a long way towards fixing personal problems in any venue and any scenario. The wealthier you are, the easier it is to disappear and virtually never be bugged by anyone including the government (as long as you pay your taxes).

On a bare bones budget level it’s more difficult but it can be done. But probably the first thing you would need to do, is realize that you would have to change your lifestyle, and especially your location.

And for some it might be fairly dramatic and emotionally troublesome. But for most, just the sheer inconvenience and work outside of your normal life ritual would be too much of sticker shock of a life transition and an automatic deterrent.

Still, some people have valid reasons to go below radar off grid and often no longer have any choice but would even welcome an escape from the typical 8 to 5 lifestyle with a heavily mortgaged three bedroom two car garage home with 2.5 kids, and 1.5 pets.

But hurdles would still exist. Mostly economic. And because of the sub-culture of literally one third of the workforce adults barely existing hand to mouth from pay check to pay check, it is no longer considered a “such a shame” to reconsider a major life change. In any case this requires very pensive rumination.

Because you need to understand what off-grid really means.

But let’s say you simply can’t stand it anymore! You want to cut the twisted umbilical cord to the nanny state womb, and you made up your mind that you seriously want to give it a shot anyway.

What Should We Do?

Okay, here’s the main tricks, tips, and flips.

1. Get Off the Radar Screens

If the government or anybody is NOT LOOKING for you, you won’t be found! Remember, they CAN find anybody if they really want to, but they are not actively looking for everybody.

So don’t let them target you. Don’t buy form 4,473 guns every week. Buy them privately and pay cash. Don’t do anything that will make them come after you and you’re pretty safe from scrutiny.

It’s a shame we have to be so “defensive” like this but we made our own beds and now have to sleep in them. I still wax fondly reminiscent of the days when They knew they had NO business violating our private lives. Now it’s BIG Business.

However, if you think you’re going off the grid and below radar so that you can skip your student loan debt, IRS tax liens, child support payment, etc. then forget about it. All this kind of stuff comes back to your driver’s license, especially the new National I.D Card ones we all MUST have now, by unconstitutional illegal law.

Unless you are hiding primitively up in the mountains like some weird Sasquatch eating grubs, roots, and berries all day and only peddling your bike down the trail every few months for emergency supplies, sooner or later you’ll be rudely dragged back in the grid from that remote mountain paradise, when some bored sheriff’s deputy with nothing better to do than check on strangers takes a second glance at you.

2. Become Untrackable

This is probably going to be the hardest thing to do to consider yourself really off the grid. And it’s a lengthy process to untangle yourself from a spider web Grid.

Everybody knows that being on Facebook or Twitter or everything else is directly reporting your life’s activities and thoughts to the big “cloud” in the sky where the big all-seeing NSA, CIA ‘EYE’ lives. To really become off grid and under the radar you must unplug yourself from the mainstream computer.

Remember, there are specialty resources for this. One really doesn’t need to get this deep into it. If you just want to homestead and self-sustain somewhere private and get off the conventional power grid, you don’t have to get so primitive that you don’t even have a computer.

But it’s not a bad idea to read one of those “how to disappear” books on Amazon to get an idea how thoroughly you are connected to society.

3. Find the Right Off Grid Location

This will likely be the biggest challenge. The problem is that municipalities are often ugly little siblings of Big Brother.

I seems like they stay up late at night trying to figure out new ordinances and ways to tax or fine you into compliance in everything from size and type of housing you MUST have, to what you can do in terms of growing or hunting or recreating on your own private land.

And it gets worse if your land is close to wetlands or has a pond or stream through it. The Feds are usually in on that tyranny as well. This is because county municipalities are going broke due to excessive patronage jobs provided by the town officials to their feckless friends, and recalcitrant relatives who otherwise would fall to the laws of natural selection by themselves.

So many do not allow full time living on your own property in a nice modern travel trailer, for instance! And restrict you to minimum square footage requirements on new built construction so you pay more in property taxes.

And many will allow you—if you file special paperwork/permits and pay an inspector–to have a solar or other off grid power system, but you STILL must be connected to the conventional power line grid besides! Obviously because there’s a monthly base charge whether you use their electricity or not as long as you’re connected.

So this is an important first step. You must determine an off-grid friendly location in which to purchase your own piece of land. These are out there.

The problem is they’re not advertised as such and you have to search them out and find out the local codes. And most of the time they’ll be pretty remote. Deep in the Yukon you can probably find some land at a good price where there’s probably no building codes. Also up in the Canadian Wilderness.

And they say you can find heavenly peace and solitude “Down in the Bayou” Country where the climate might be more hospitable if you don’t mind snakes and alligators and who knows what else?

So make up your mind only after you decide exactly what the extent of your off grid life actually will mean to you, and how much privacy you can afford.

If you are on a fixed retirement income, then that will be your determining cost factor. If you are still stuck in a job that’s location locked then the next best thing is to start prepping for your retirement off grid location.

Or do like some people I know who found themselves a suitable location away from where they must live now, bought at least the land and will begin the steady set up of their off grid retreat as an ongoing project for a future transition.

4. Get a Trust or LLC as an Alt Identity

It’s too complicated to explain here why this is a very good idea for privacy and off-grid security. If you pay cash for your retreat location and have ownership in a Trust or registered in a business, this is the best way to go. Especially if you are into unplugging yourself as much as possible from the New World Order. Even your vehicles can be owned by the Trust or LLC or Nevada type corp. And nobody can just ‘check’ on your property anytime they want to see who owns it.

5. Last but NOT the Least…

…stop dreaming about it and get proactive!

If you’re one of those liberty minded free choice loving hold outs who can’t stand all this government overbearing authority, and truly don’t want to lose every last single bit of privacy (even smart toilets are coming), it would be best to start working on your emancipation from the grid ASAP.

Once a few final straws whack the collective Camel’s back, like the imminent elimination of cash (and illegalization and prohibition of using gold as alt currency) in favor of an all digital daily commerce system, it will become more and more difficult to get comfortably off grid and below radar if you haven’t already done so.

As this is being written the UK has the world’s first food store where customers use their palm finger vein scans as a credit card and facial recognition scans as identification. China is expanding fast on this.

In the U.S. distance radar scanners with biometric facial recognition (linked from your National I.D. card drivers license holographic photo) are being installed to instantly search and identify anyone just walking around an airport or train terminal.

So if you’re going to go off grid and below radar, better get started NOW!

This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.

References:

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/homan-square-chicago-police-disappeared-thousands

telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/20/british-supermarket-offers-payment-fingerprint-worldwide-first/

10 Ways To Repurpose A Lawn Mower Engine

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Have you ever noticed that the body of your lawnmower wears out long before the engine? If so, then you may even have a few extra engines laying around, but have no idea what to do with them.

There are several ways to reuse a lawn mower engine to meet a range of off gridding and survival goals. Whether you use an engine that was sitting in your garage for years on end, or you happen to find one abandoned by someone that saw no use for it, there is a chance you can use it for any of the following purposes.

Here’s how!

Build a Generator

From surviving the aftermath of a hurricane to trying to cut back on your electric bill, you would be amazed at how much electricity you can get from a lawn mower engine.

Depending on the horsepower of the engine, you could power household lights, and perhaps a few smaller, low drain appliances. For example, if you have RV or other 12 volt appliances on hand, you should be able to run them with ease.

Unless you convert the lawn mower engine to run on some other fuel, you will need gasoline. Fortunately, you will need far less than what you would need if you were running a conventional generator.

Even if you do not get as much power from the lawn mower engine, it will still get you through though times as long as you pair it with energy conserving appliances.

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

Power Transport Vehicles

Let’s say an EMP blast has wiped out most computers, and most cars and other vehicles that rely on computer are unable to run. If you have a lawn mower engine that doesn’t have any computerized or electronic parts, you can use it to power smaller vehicles.

Here are just a few options you may want to consider:

  • Bicycles – the lightweight frames and large wheels make it possible for even a small lawnmower engine to power the bike at a fairly good speed. For the sake of balance, you may want to add training wheels on the back wheel of the bike. Don’t forget to make sure that you can still use the brakes and turn the bike easily while the engine is running. You can also power tricycles using a lawnmower engine.
  • Motor bikes – even though motor bikes and scooters may not move as fast, they will still get you from one place to another.
  • ATVs, Go Carts, and Other Small Vehicles – You can power just about any light weight vehicle suitable for carrying one person with a lawn mower engine. This includes designing your own vehicles that will incorporate elements that you feel will be most important during a major crisis. This may even include a small side cart where you can put supplies, larger tires, or even tracks for navigating off road and in rough terrain. You may also want to include other design elements that will help you navigate in the snow or ice if you will be traveling in areas where these forms of precipitation will lead to problems. Just remember not to exceed the weight bearing capacity of the engine you are using to power the vehicle.

Power a Wheelchair

Even outside of a crisis situation, many people that need wheelchairs cannot afford motorized versions.

While these people may be able to get around a small room using a manual wheelchair, the lack of a motorized transport device makes it impossible for them to go the park or enjoy other activities in places where a motorized wheelchair may not be available.

In order to use a lawn mower engine to power a wheelchair, you would need to start off by building a suitable frame. Depending on the person, you can build a recumbent design, or something that looks more like a conventional motor driven wheelchair.

Regardless of the design you choose, a motorized wheelchair driven by a lawn mower engine is not suitable for use indoors or other areas with poor ventilation. As with any other gasoline driven engine, a running lawn mower engine still gives off carbon monoxide and other toxic gasses.

Build a Power Wheelbarrow

More than a few people interested in gardening these days live on very small pieces of land, or have medical conditions that make it very hard to tend a conventional garden. If you have a small deck or porch, a power wheelbarrow can be of immense benefit in setting up a container garden.

Among other things, you can fill it up with soil or compost and bring it to the site where you intend to plant. As long as the wheelbarrow has suitable wheels, it will be able to travel from one area to another with relative ease.

Video first seen on Roy Rickstrew.

When powering wheelbarrow with a lawnmower engine, it will more than likely have to run on at least three wheels. If you include longer handles for leverage, keep the single wheel in the front. This will enable you to use the wheelbarrow as a manual design as well as a motorized one.

If you plan on bringing soil and compost indoors to grow plants in a single room, it will still be best to have the lawn mower engine turned off.

During the process of building a power wheelbarrow, you’ll still need some way to steer the device even though you will not be sitting in it.

Your best option is likely to be an Arduino controller that has a remote controller on it. For the most part, once you know how to use Arduino to control a remote control car model, you can adapt the same methods for controlling a power wheelbarrow.

Power an Air Compressor

If you have ever worked with hand tools, then you were sure to be amazed at the ease and convenience associated with power tools. While you may need to go back to hand saws and other simple devices in a time of need, chances are you still love jig saws, circular saws, drills, and rotary tools.

As wonderful as these tools may be, many people that have used compressed air tools tend to think of conventional power tools as nice, but primitive. If you are serious about repairing cars or working materials that require a lot of force to manage, you are likely to want to use compressed air tools.

One of the most disappointing things is an air compressor connected to a tiny tank that won’t give you compressed air or time to get much of anything done. The most useful air compressors with big tanks or the capacity to deliver air without going to a tank can be expensive and bulky, so it makes sense to make an air compressor from an old lawn mower engine.

As with generating electricity, you will find that just about anything that spins can be combined with other parts and materials to compress air.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

Power a Small Boat

As you look at the scenes of devastation in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, it becomes clear that transport over land may not be the only cause for concern during a crisis.

Small conventional boats can be powered by lawn mower engines. It will will take some extra fitting to ensure the lawn mower engine doesn’t get wet, however it is well worth the effort, especially if you have to travel a significant distance in order to get to some kind of safety. The boat will have to be fairly small for this to work, and consider keeping it at home in a garage or some other area where you can get to it easily if needed.

Aside from conventional boats, consider adapting a lawnmower engine to run an air boat. If you take a careful look, in particular, at the pictures from Texas, you will find these boats are very important and useful when there is a lot of flooding combined with the potential for excessive amounts of underwater debris.

As with navigating through swamps or marshes, an airboat may be a much better choice if you are in a city or other suburban area and need to get out through flooded streets.

Build a Rotary Tool

Even though most people use hand held rotary tools without a stand, it is also possible to use them while suspended to a platform. Since a lawnmower engine can deliver plenty of power to spin a central shaft, it can be used to take the place of many different kinds of rotary tools. This includes:

  • Drill presses, screwdrivers, and power drills. Even though you cannot simply lift the lawn mower engine by hand for the smaller hand drilling devices, you can still use an extension that will deliver the spinning motion to a tool that you hold in your hand. For example, Dremel, Foredom, and other rotary tool manufacturers all make flexible shafts that fit onto the main rotary appliance while it it is mounted on a platform.
  • Polishers – you can use rotary tools to polish everything from metal and stone to wood. You will still need the proper grits and pastes to create smooth, even polishing effects.
  • Stone or Metal cutting and embossing – if you are interested in creating stone or metal art, it always helps to have a rotary device that can cut through these materials. In addition, you can also adapt rotary tools to polish and sharpen knives or other metal equipment that you buy or make yourself.

Depending on how you line up the equipment extending from the shaft, you may also be able to make a very crude wood and metal working lathe. Just be aware of the fact that the platform for this kind of application can be very tedious to design and will need to withstand a good bit of vibration without moving. You will also need proper tools for forming the items being spun by the lathe.

Power for Water Irrigation and Transport

If you own a homestead, you may have ponds or streams on the land that can be used for irrigation. If you have to get the water to move uphill or around complex land features, you’ll need pumps or other devices to ensure adequate water movement.

Combine a lawnmower engine with an Archimedes Screw or other devices in order transport water during times when the flow is too slow for your needs. This may also include pumping water up from shallow wells or other underground resources.

Even though it is true that there is no place for water to go during a major flood scenario, there are just as many other times when you can direct the water away from your home and property and have a reasonable expectation that it won’t just come right back. Therefore, converting a lawn mower engine to be used as a sump pump or other water draining device also makes a good bit of sense.

Many people going off grid often find themselves wondering how they can capture rainwater and deliver it inside their homes as efficiently as possible. If you need a low budget option, try using a lawn mower engine converted for pumping water so that you can move water from the rain trap through pipes to a tank inside your home.

Depending on where the tank’s lowest point is in relation to the other pipes, you can still get a reasonable amount of water pressure for household needs, or you may still need to add extra smaller sized water pumps around the house.

Power Heavy Lifting and Towing Equipment

As a budget conscious prepper, you might think that you will only have simple devices such as rope hoists and levers to move heavy equipment around.

On the other side of the equation, the spinning shaft of a lawn mower can be used to power hoists and pulley systems. Just convert the motion of the lawn mower shaft so that it wraps the rope around a reel, then you’ll have to work out a method to release the rope once the weight is removed from it.

Unless you feel like creating some type of transmission, it will be very difficult to create a “reverse” motion with the lawnmower engine.

You may be surprised at the number of times you will need to haul something big and heavy from one place to another. For example, if you are clearing trees or need to move bulky logs, you could create a cart and then attach a pulley system to it.

From there, you can attach the lawn mower engine to the cart, and then use the pulley system to drag the object from one place to another. As with any other moving device, you must also be able to stop the cart from moving forward, and you must also be able to lock the wheels in place for stationary use.

Learn the Fundamentals of Engine Cleaning and Repair

Today, more than a few people are interested in retrofitting cars or putting older ones back on the road. But as these vehicles become scarcer, you may be forced to try and refurbish a vehicle that has serious engine problems.

A lawn mower engine has the same kind of piston and cylinder system as a conventional gas engine, so you can take it apart and learn the basics on a much smaller device. As you go through this process, learn and practice good disassembly and assembly practices as well as learn how to clean and evaluate parts.

You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and then find out that you do not have the skills necessary to rebuild the engine. While there will still be a learning curve in transiting from lawn mower engines to old style automobile gasoline engines, it will not be as steep or complicated.

Over the years, many people have thrown out perfectly good lawn mower engines because they saw no other use for them. But lawn mower engines are small, durable, and reliable. With just a little bit of adaption, they can be used to meet a range of homesteading and survival needs.

No matter whether you start adapting lawn mower engines to other uses as a matter of hobby or necessity, you are sure to learn a lot, and enjoy a lower budget useful task at the same time.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Lifesaving Rappelling Basics You Need To Know

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In these times, riots, earthquakes, hurricanes, and many other problems make it likely you will be trapped in a building or need to get over a mountain.

While many people don’t think much about rappelling, it is a vital skill to have.

Basic rope working techniques associated with rappelling can help you get safely out of a multistory building to the ground, down the side of a mountain, or down from some other height when you need to save yourself.

Learning Rappelling

Essentially, when you rappel, you will be making your way down to the ground or a lower level using ropes and other accessories that enable you to control your downward motion and speed.

When compared to climbing up a mountain or to some other height, you will find that far more accidents happen on the way down.

Rappelling skills take time to learn and practice to maintain. Never rappel on your own until you master the process under the watchful eyes of an expert.

Better yet, sign up for classes in a certified climbing school.

Where to Practice

Like any other activity, it is best to start off in a place where you will be as safe as possible while you develop good habits and improve your skills.

When it comes to rappelling, the school you go to should have access to small cliffs or other safe locations.

Never try to learn the basics on a large cliff or off a building. This is where most beginners get into trouble and can get seriously injured or killed.

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

Don’t rush to meet your next goals just for the sake of completing them. Unfortunately, just because you think you are ready, that doesn’t mean you haven’t overlooked something critical.

Take your time and see what kind of mistakes emerge while you can fix them before they cost your life in a more dangerous setting.

Basic Hand Positions

Regardless of what you are doing or the hand positions you are using, NEVER let go of the rappelling ropes. When rappelling you must have both hands on the rappelling ropes.

  • If you are right handed, your right hand will be the braking hand. Keep your right hand below the rappelling device. Your left hand will be your guide hand, and must be kept above the rappelling device.
  • If you are left handed, then your left hand will be the braking hand, and right hand will be your guide hand.

Guide Hand Position

When rappelling down easy faces or slabs that are less than vertical, place your guide hand above the rappelling device. Use a light grip on the rope and let it slide through the hand.

Insert your guide hand’s index finger between the two ropes to keep them separated during the rappelling. This simple process keeps the ropes untangled and makes it easier to pull the ropes down.

Brake Hand Position

Your lower hand controls your speed of the descent down the rope. When rappelling using a single brake hand, keep the brake hand down by your hip to allow you to maintain a constant friction on the rope through the rappelling device.

 Warning! If you are using thin ropes and you let go with your braking hand, the thin ropes might to slip through the rappelling device and drop you to the ground below! This is just one of many reasons why you must always keep two hands on the ropes at all times while you are rappelling.

Two Braking Hands

Consider a situation where you are on a steep slope, or overhanging in a way that leaves you suspended in the air and not touching any surface with your feet. It is safer to use both hands as brake hands because it gives you more control than using a single brake hand.

On free rappels, always use an autoblock knot as a safety backup knot. This knot keeps you from zipping down the rope in an out of control fall.

Always put your lower brake hand on the autoblock knot so it slides easily and does not lock up unless you need to stop. Put your upper brake hand below the rappelling device and let the rope run through it.

Using Friction While Rappelling

How to Slow Down Using Friction

As you are rappelling downward, let the ropes slide through your brake hand. If you are going too fast apply more pressure to slow down.

You can also ratchet the ropes down in the rappelling device with your brake hand, which will increase the friction on the rope as it moves through the device.

Some rappellers wear a leather glove on their brake hand to help control their descent speed, as well as to protect their hands from cuts, friction burns, and debris from the ropes.

When to use extra friction on free rappelling

On very steep rappelling, you may need more friction than both your brake hands and the rappelling device can provide. For extra control and friction, wrap the ropes around your butt and hold onto them with a brake hand on the opposite side.

Another way to add more friction is to drop the rappelling ropes between your legs and pull them up against a thigh for more friction.

Basic Rappelling Steps

1. Choose the Rappelling Area Carefully

Before you prepare your ropes and gear, it is important to choose a safe area for the ropes to fall.

For example, if you are rappelling down a mountain, look carefully at the first ten feet or so for notches, grooves, sharp edges, and loose rocks. For safe rappelling try to avoid these features, as they can hang up the rope or damage it.

As you are rappelling downward, you will need to repeat the study process and look for other possible problems like tress, bushes or large rocks that could hang up the rope when you pull on it from below. Loose rocks and other debris can still fall and hit you or anyone with you when you pull on the ropes no matter how far along you may be.

Remember that rope safety is your first concern. If there is a chance of the rope getting stuck or having it rip out rocks or other hazards, try to relocate the rope to a safer spot.

2. Rappelling rope preparation

Take the two ropes and knot them together using a Double Overhead Knot or a Double figure 8 Fisherman’s knot, and then a stopper knot at the end of each rope tail.

Next stack the two ropes separately and throw them down separately so they don’t get tangled.

3. Safety check of the rappelling knot and rigging

Before you or anyone else begins rappelling, do a safety check of the knot between the two ropes to make sure the knots are tied correctly, both ropes have autoblock knots, and stopper knots on them.

Make sure that one of the ropes go through the metal descending ring. Check the slings or chains that secure the ring to the anchor bolts.

If your equipment is not in good working order, do not use it. If the sling isn’t working right, you can add an additional sling or a piece of webbing as a safety backup.

4. Recheck the ropes

Look at which side of the descending ring that the knot is on. This is the side to pull. Always look at the color of the rope and decide which color to to pull before rappelling. This helps to keep the wrong rope from being pulled and jamming the knot in to the ring.

Make sure the ropes haven’t crossed each other and are not twisted on the chains or slings. Be sure both strands of rope run cleanly down the wall from the rappel anchor without binding or twisting against each other.

It is possible for just one twist against the anchor or ring to hang up the rope and make it impossible to pull.

Sometimes as you are rappelling the ropes can twist against each other. Always be prepared for this problem and be able to solve it without putting yourself in danger.

5. To keep the rope strands separated use a guide finger

As the last individual goes down the ropes have them use a guide finger to separate the ropes so they drop without kinks or tangles to the next set of rappel anchors.

The best way to do this is to put a finger of your gloved guide hand above the rappelling device between the two ropes and descend.

If the ropes get twisted up at the anchor it will be nearly impossible to pull the ropes down. If this happens. Someone will have to reascend the stuck rope to untwist them.

6. Always test the rope pull from below

When the first climber rappels down to the next rappel station, have them test the pull of the ropes.

If the pull is easy, then the odds are you will be fine. If the rope is hard to pull, then the top climber will need to make adjustments from the top before rappelling down.

If you are rappelling alone, then you may need to go back up and adjust the ropes before moving on to the next point.

Some solutions to a rope that is hard to pull include:

  • Move the bulky knot that connects the two rappelling ropes downward.
  • If there is a ledge at the top, move the rope knot down below the ledge. Retest the rope pull from below. Do not forget to climb down over the ledge before adding your weight to the ropes.

7. Pulling the rappelling ropes

After you and your partner have both completed rappelling down to the next rappelling station or to ground level, it is time to pull the ropes. If everything has checked out, the ropes should pull easily.

Here are four safety tips for pulling ropes:

  1. When pulling ropes on multiple rappels, feed the free end of the rope through the new descending ring as you pull it. Failure to do this could result in losing the rope if you just let the rope fall to you before threading the ring.
  2. The flying free end of rope can lash out and cause injury after being pulled through a rappelling anchor. Wear gloves and a helmet to protect your face and hands.
  3.  While pulling the ropes, always be on the look out for falling rocks or other debris.
  4. It is very important to yell “Rope”! When pulling down a rope so that everyone you are with knows. This alerts everyone that ropes and possibly rocks will be falling.

Why Can Rappelling be so Dangerous?

Rappelling, in my opinion is the most dangerous technique used by climbers in the sport of mountain climbing. Here the safety of the climber depends on both their rappelling equipment and their anchors.

Once you lean back on the rappelling rope and you are committed for the descent, all that keeps you safe is your climbing skills and your equipment.

When rappelling your life depends on an anchor system. This system has to be well secured for your safety and well being. If you fall you could end up as a statistic for getting killed or being critically injured.

Most rappelling accidents are the end result of the rappeler’s errors in judgment and could have been avoided.

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

When rappelling always use the buddy system to check out each others rappelling gear and rappelling set up.

Each individual needs to visually check the other person’s climbing hardware, the anchors, bolts and slings on the anchors, and finally verify that the knot connecting the two ropes are tied correctly.

What can go wrong?

Rappelling is always dangerous and sometimes a bit scary when you are trusting your life to anchors and a rope. When rappelling there are a few things that can go terribly wrong.

Here is a list of a few of them:

  1. Failure to tie a stopper knot in the ends of the ropes and you rappel off the end of the ropes.
  2. The rappel anchors fail and you fall down to the ground.
  3. The rope connector knot comes untied. This can also cause you to fall to the ground.
  4. Didn’t use an autoblock knot as a back up, which can cause you to run off the ends of the rappelling ropes.
  5. Letting go of the rope with your brake hand can cause an uncontrollable slide down the rappelling ropes.
  6. The pull rope gets stuck when you try to pull it. Don’t forget you can try pulling on the other rope to free it. If not, someone must ascend back up the ropes to untangle them.
  7. The rope gets cut on a sharp edge. Access, repair, or replace the cut rope before further use of it.
  8. You might lose control if the overhang is too large. If possible relocate the rappelling ropes to a better location where the overhanging is not as bad.
  9. The rappelling device was rigged wrong. The rappelling ropes will not operate correctly in the rappel device, which will prevent you from moving downward in controlled fashion.
  10. Clothing or your hair gets stuck in the rappelling device. This will jam the rappelling device and must be carefully removed to allow the device to work properly again.

Even though many people don’t think about rappelling much beyond an outdoor sport, it is also an important skill to learn for preppers.

You can use rappelling to get out of a building or down a mountain as long as you have the right training and gear.

As dangerous as rappelling can be, it can still save your life as long as you know how to avoid the most common problems and approach the event with care and consideration.

Practice this skill, as your life might depend on it one day! Would you survive?

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Planning To Retire Off-grid? Here’s Where To Relocate

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One of the big challenges for retiring today is being able to afford retirement. Many of us are in the difficult position of not having company retirement benefits to fall back on. What that means is that all we have to retire on is our Social Security benefits. That’s not all that much.

Having money in savings doesn’t help all that much either. It used to be that if you have a million dollars in the bank, you had it made for retirement. Your million would net you $50,000 per year at 5% interest; but with today’s interest rates, you need five times as much in savings, to net the same amount of income. That’s more than most of us make in our entire life.

So, how are you going to survive?

There are two basic ways that people try to deal with this situation; either downsizing to reduce costs or trying to find a retirement business which can augment their retirement income. Both of those possibilities are workable, although neither is easy.

There is another option; that of going off-grid somewhere and becoming self-sufficient. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, it refers to a self-sufficient lifestyle, where you are not dependent on public utilities, but rather have an autonomous home, generating your own electricity and pumping your own water. For some people, it even includes growing their own food.

Not everyone views living off-grid the same way.

For some, producing your own electricity means that you would have to produce as much electricity as you use now, powering air conditioners, computers and massive entertainment centers.

But for others, living off-grid means changing their lifestyle, simplifying it to the point where they don’t need to produce as much electricity as what most of us currently produce. Financially, at least, this option is much easier.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

Living in such a way is extremely cheap, especially if you own the property you’re living on. While this would require a total change of lifestyle, retirement is a massive change anyway. Living off-grid would even give you something to do, tending your garden and feeding your chickens.

If you own a home now or have any savings, this is a real possibility. Selling your home would provide you with funds to buy property for an off-grid home and hopefully even to build the home. Whatever retirement savings you might have could be used for that as well, investing those funds in making it possible to retire in a comfortable, albeit different, way.

Basic Off-Grid Requirements

So, where are the best places to go, if you want to retire off-grid? That seems to be the question. Let’s lay out a few requirements for such a place, then we can discuss some likely locations.

  • It needs to be a remote enough area that you can buy a few acres at a reasonable price.
  • While being remote, it still needs to be accessible.
  • It needs to be close enough to a population center to allow the easy purchase of supplies.
  • It needs to have ample natural resources, especially water (which may require drilling a well).
  • It needs to be someplace where the law allows living off-grid (some states do not allow this).
  • It needs to be an area with a low cost of living.

Weather would probably be a factor as well for most people. Living in a hot climate, without air conditioning, may be fine for some, but others would really struggle with the heat. Likewise, living in a cold climate and heating with wood could cause serious problems for others. Ultimately, you have to find what works for you, not what works for someone else.

Weather can also affect your ability to produce your own electrical power. If you were to live in Washington State, you might have trouble with solar panels, as the constant rain would reduce the available sunlight. For that, you’d be better off in the Southwest, where it is dryer and there’s lots of sunlight.

Of course, there’s always a lot of tradeoffs when looking at different places. That location in the Southwest might give you ample sunlight, but it will also be a whole lot hotter. So, you’ll probably need more sunlight, so that your solar panels could produce enough electricity for your air conditioner.

Domestic Retirement Destinations

Most people will want to retire somewhere in the Continental United States, so that they can be close to family and friends. While this isn’t as cheap as living overseas, let’s face it, making a move that keeps you within the country is considerably easier than going outside the country.

Cumberland Mountains

The Beverly Hillbillies probably made one of the most expensive moves in history, moving from the Cumberland Mountains to Hollywood, California. Personally, I think that old Jed Clampett would have been better off building himself a nice house back home in Tennessee, but then, he wouldn’t have had his own television show if he had done that.

The Cumberland Mountains straddle Kentucky, Tennessee, and a bit of the western part of North Carolina and the Virginias. It’s beautiful mountain country, which really isn’t all that densely populated. That makes for rather low cost of living, as well as not a whole lot of government officials breathing down your neck about regulations.

But the real trick is to get yourself up in the backwoods, where nobody will be looking for you.

While I would personally prefer living in the Rocky Mountains myself, living in the Cumberlands would prove to be a whole lot cheaper. Land in the Rocky Mountains is high, pretty much anywhere you go.

Ozarks

Like the Cumberland Mountains, there are a lot of backwoods areas in the Ozarks, which includes the northern parts of Arkansas and the southern part of Missouri. There’s some beautiful hill country there, even though it really isn’t mountainous. People tend to be friendly and the cost of living is rather low.

One nice thing about this area is that the climate is rather temperate. You’ll have four full seasons, without winter coming so early that you can’t get a crop harvested from your vegetable garden. At the same time, you won’t have the really hot summers that are common in the Deep South.

The Northwest

I’m not sure that calling it the Northwest is the right term, but the area of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas is one of the more sparsely populated parts of the country. As such, it’s a great place to go if you’re looking for a lot of wide open country. In fact, the state of Montana is nicknamed “Big Sky Country.”

These are fairly strong conservative states, so there’s not going to be as much government meddling in your life as there would be in the coastal areas.

That makes it much easier to establish an off-grid lifestyle, without having a bunch of bureaucrats telling you what’s wrong with that. It’s also great country for hunting, allowing you to augment your larder, without spending a fortune at the butcher shop.

Rio Grande Valley

The southern tip of Texas is known as the “Rio Grande Valley;” three lies for the price of one. That term was coined by real-estate developers who were trying to talk settlers from the east into buying farmland there. Invoking the image of a wide, green valley might have sold land, but it wasn’t very honest.

The problem with the Rio Grande Valley is that it’s hot and dry. If you like that, then it’s a great place for you. But I’ll warn you, hot there is really hot. They say that people who live there won’t have to go to hell, because they’ve already experienced the heat.

On the flip side of the coin, the Rio Grande Valley is one of the cheapest places there is in the country to live, with one of the lowest costs of living. Maybe that’s why it’s such a popular retirement destination, with mobile home parks all over the place, dedicated to retired people.

Land is also relatively cheap, allowing you to buy a couple of acres outside of town much lower than you can in many other parts of the country.

The hot temperature does provide one great advantage for those who live there; you can grow crops pretty much year round. So, if you’re planning on growing a lot of your own food as part of your off-grid strategy, the Rio Grande Valley is the destination for you.

Buy an Island

Ok, this one probably isn’t practical for most people, just because of the high price tag, but I like the idea anyway. That is, buy yourself a private island. Yes, there are islands for sale, mostly in the Northeast and Northwest.

While island living isn’t cheap, it’s a great way to get away from it all; and who is going to complain about you living off-grid, when there’s no easy way to get electricity and city water to you?

Islands, by their very nature, are easy to secure. So you probably wouldn’t have much of a problem with the neighborhood kids stealing your hubcaps. For that matter, you might not have any hubcaps anyway; more like a boat. Any car you owned would probably have to be stored on the mainland and would only be used for shopping trips.

Foreign Retirement Destinations

For those who are a little more adventurous, moving outside the United States can provide you with one major advantage, it’s cheap. As long as you stay out of Europe and places like Singapore, the cost of living in much of the world is much cheaper than it is here at home.

Nor is living off-grid considered to be strange. In fact, there are many millions of people in third-world and emerging countries who live off-grid, simply because they don’t have the option of living on-grid.

You can forget about the idea of laws that prevent you from living off-grid; even if you have electricity and water available, nobody is going to think anything of you, if you choose not to use them.

Mexico

Our immediate neighbor to the south is probably the easiest destination to move to. The cost of living in Mexico is considerably less than the United States, even though some things are pretty much the same. That is, the cost is low if you stay out of the tourist destinations.

I live close to Mexico, and I’ve found that Mexican doctors and dentists are excellent, as well as being cheap by our standards. Mexican pharmaceuticals are much cheaper too. In fact, some retired Americans come to the border yearly, just to buy their medications.

There are a couple of potential problems with moving to Mexico though. First off, you really need to speak Spanish, at least enough to carry on a conversation. While there are some people in Mexico who speak English, you really can’t count on finding one when you need them.

Secondly, Mexican law doesn’t allow foreigners to buy property within 25 miles of the borders or large bodies of water. There is a way around this though, simply have a lawyer set up a trust and have the trust buy the land.

Belize

Speaking of Latin America, there’s an even better destination to think about than Mexico, that’s Belize. This small country, located just at the southern tip of Mexico, has a low population and not much else. But English is the predominant language there, making it much easier to move to Belize than to move to Mexico.

In fact, there are enough Americans moving to Belize to retire, that there are real estate companies which specialize in servicing them. But I’d avoid them if I were you, they make their money by selling Americans property for about three times what they pay. You’re much better off buying privately.

Bahamas and Caribbean Islands

While most of us think of the Bahamas and Caribbean Islands as nothing more than vacation destinations, someplace to go on a cruise, they’re actually wonderful retirement locations.

There are a number of the islands which are extremely cheap to live on, if you get away from the tourist traps, and most of the governments will be glad to leave you alone, thankful for the American Dollars you bring into their economy.

These islands also offer you the opportunity to establish a retirement business, serving other Americans who go there on vacation. If you really want to go off-grid, just buy yourself a sailboat and make the islands your home.

There are a lot of options to choose from! Whatever you do after retirement, plan it wisely and prepare for the worst!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Latest On North Korea: Is Nuclear Disaster On the Horizon?

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Angry rhetoric has been flying back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, between Washington, DC and Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea’s oft-spoken threats to destroy the United States has been repeated, ad nauseam, but are now being repeated back by President Trump.

Perhaps the North Korean leadership isn’t used to Americans who know how to talk tough, but it’s time that they learned.

Trump’s latest name for Kim Jong-un, “Rocket Man” is apparently gaining some steam within the diplomatic community, where it has been repeated by a number of ambassadors to the United Nations. While the US has borne the brunt of the hatred from the hermit kingdom, it appears that the nations of the world are united in recognizing the threat that he Kim regime is to all peace-loving people, everywhere.

This Conflict Isn’t New

The hatred out of Pyongyang is nothing new; it has been around since the creation of North Korea and the foundation of the Kim dynasty.

 

Here’s Why We Can Never Win Against North Korea

 

At the end of World War II, in 1948, the Korean peninsula was divided, just like Germany was, and the Iron Curtain descended over Korea. The Soviet Union placed Kim Il-sung, the current dictator’s grandfather, in power, mostly because he was a dedicated communist.

Immediately, the elderly Kim stated the goal of reuniting the Korean peninsula, brining the South Koreans under his rule. The North Korean hatred for the United States stems from there; for it was our protection of South Korea that has prevented the fulfillment of this dream.

Two short years later, then Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, gave a speech at the National Press Club. In this speech, Acheson made reference to several nations and islands as being critical to the “US defensive perimeter.” South Korea and Taiwan were clearly absent from that perimeter. This was misunderstood by the Russians, the Chinese and the North Koreans to mean that we would not go to war to protect North Korea, leading to the Korean War.

Two weeks after that ill-fated speech, Moscow gave the green light for the North Koreans to attack the South. On June 25th of that year, behind a massive artillery bombardment, the North Korean Army began to move, all but conquering South Korea. American and South Korean forces were forced back to the Pusan perimeter, from where their counterattack began.

US led UN forces advanced nearly to the Korea/China border, even reaching the Yalu River (the dividing line between North Korea and China) at one point. But this was too close for the Chinese government, who counterattacked, driving the combined UN forces back to somewhere near the 38th Parallel, the original (and once again agreed upon) dividing line between north and south.

If anything, this war inflamed the North Korean hatred for the USA, as the UN forces were predominantly American. In the eyes of the North Koreans, it was the US, not necessarily the UN, who defeated them and prevented the reunification of Korea under communist rule.

North Korean rhetoric against the United States began in this time period and has continued non-stop since then.

The only real difference between the angry rhetoric of a decade or four ago and the rhetoric of today, is that is seems like the North Korean government is finally reaching the point of being able to follow through on the threats they are making.

Video first seen on Trump Dayz.

Is There a Way Out?

Some people have accused the current tensions on President Trump, blaming him for escalating the current situation. Those people are predictably on the political left, where the idea of appeasement is much more palatable than standing on our own two feet.

This was Obama’s foreign policy and it has led to both North Korea and Iran being much closer to being able to attack us with nuclear arms.

Apparently those on the left are unaware of North Korea’s history and their attack on South Korea in 1950. For that matter, they probably have no idea of how poorly appeasement worked to stop Germany at the beginning of World War II.

If appeasement would work, North Korea should be the most peaceful nation on the face of the Earth.

Declarations of War

Beneath all of the rhetoric, the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, clearly declared war on the United States in 2016. This is not surprising, nor does it really change things. The Korean peninsula has been at war since 1950. All that was signed in 1953 was an armistice, not a peace agreement. In fact, there has never been a peace agreement between the north and the south.

There have been sporadic incursions into South Korea by the north, as well as shots fired across the demilitarization zone and a number of skirmishes. So a declaration of war really isn’t necessary; it already exists. Any such declaration issued today would merely be political posturing, nothing more.

As I write this, a notice has come across my desk, saying that the North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho is publically stating that Donald Trump has declared war against his country. In doing this, he is taking one of Trump’s infamous tweets and turning it into a declaration of war.

If Foreign Minister Ri has anyone on his staff that has any knowledge of American law, he would know that the US President can’t make a declaration of war. That has to come out of Congress. But then, waiting for Congress to declare war wouldn’t fit the image they want to portray of Trump war-mongering and them being the innocent victim.

North Korea’s Advances

The North Koreans have been working on their nuclear program for at least 30 years, although the exact date is not known. Their first nuclear test was conducted on October 9, 2006, nearly 11 years ago. Their missile program is even older, starting in 1976, with the Soviet Scud-B missile as their base.

Just a couple of months ago, the North Koreans fired their first multi-stage missile, giving them the capability of reaching the US mainland, at least in theory.

Then, on September 3rd, they had a major underground nuclear weapons test, reputed to be their first hydrogen bomb. Whether it was a hydrogen bomb or not, based upon seismic data, it was a full order of magnitude larger than anything they had done before.

Then, a report came to light, which was actually created during Obama’s presidency.

 

America is Marching Blindly in the Greatest Trap Ever Set

 

This devastating report blew away the comments that had been made about the North Koreans needing to miniaturize their nuclear bombs. According to the report, their nuclear program had been working along that vein all along, so every North Korean nuclear weapon is already miniaturized and can be fitted to a missile.

So, where does this leave us? It appears that North Korea is on the verge of being able to field actual nuclear-tipped ICBMs, which are capable of reaching the US mainland. While I am sure there are still technical issues that need to be overcome, the issues that are left are child’s play, in comparison to what they have already accomplished.

Anyone who talks about how the North Koreans can’t yet field a nuclear missile that is capable of attacking the United States needs to take a reality pill and quit living in a world of denial.

The very facts that they have a nuclear weapon as powerful as they do and missiles which can reach our shores are grave enough that we should be concerned. Solving the problem of reentry heat is minimal and whether or not their aiming is accurate may not be an issue at all, especially if they decide to attack with an EMP.

Many have written about the possibility of an EMP, but now the North Korean state news agency is talking about it as well. While that may be nothing more than more propaganda to maintain the support of the people, I’m sure that some planner in the military is developing the plans for such an attack.

If They Should Attack

The big question facing the United States today, is what if they attack? With the rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang heating up, there is a distinct possibility of then launching an attack. While I personally thing that would be a suicide move on their part, I can’t deny the possibility.

The most obvious option for our government to take is to eliminate their nuclear capability with a preemptive strike. But that’s easier said than done. All of North Korea’s missiles are apparently mounted on mobile launchers. So chances are, we don’t know where they all are.

Tracking mobile missiles is not easy, even with satellites, regardless of how easy Hollywood makes it seem. As the NRO discovered in the First Gulf War, it’s not hard to hide something the size of a mobile missile launcher in an area the size of a country.

Were we to attempt such an attack and fail, chances are high that Kim Jong-un would order the remaining missiles to attack the USA. Those that couldn’t reach the US would be targeted at our other vital interests, such as Hawaii, Guam, South Korea, Japan and out fleet off his shore.

Our other main option is to wait for them to attack first. If that should happen, we have enough nuclear capability to turn their country into a parking lot. But that’s not actually our biggest concern. While I’m sure that we would respond with some sort of counterattack, that wouldn’t affect your and my lives, nor those of our families.

What would affect our lives is our ability to stop that counterstrike before it reached us. That‘s the big question; whether or not we could effectively do that. Any ICBM launched from North Korea would most likely fly over Alaska or Southern California, where we have considerable anti-missile forces stationed. Whether or not they would be able to stop such an attack is up for debate.

Our military’s latest anti-ballistic missiles boast some impressive records, at least in their ability to counter test attacks. However, those are just tests and no matter how well tests are created, they are still somewhat contrived. The only real test for those weapons is for someone to attack us. Fortunately, that hasn’t yet happened.

This means that we are trusting our safety to largely unproven systems. Worse than that, the older systems don’t have as impressive a record as the newer ones do. So, there’s always the possibility that some of those won’t work. If the attack comes in such a way as to necessitate a response by those defensive weapons, it’s hard to say how effective our defenses will actually be.

It’s Time to Prepare

Officials in South Korea, Japan, Guam and Hawaii are all telling their citizens to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. This may seem a bit strange to our younger generation, but I grew up under nuclear threat. I still remember the drills in elementary school, when we were taught to “duck and cover,” as well as taught where our fallout shelters were.

I actually got my start as a survivalist during the Cold War, due to the threat of thermonuclear war. This is no different. Right now, we are in another cold war; but this one is with North Korea, not the Soviet Union. While we are much bigger than North Korea, with a much larger military and many more nuclear weapons, the other side has the advantage. That’s simply because the madman dictator on the other side can launch a nuclear attack on his own, without worry about congressional oversight or the risk of impeachment.

You can be sure that Kim Jong-un has well prepared bunkers to retreat to, when he pushes the button, launching a nuclear war with the United States. His people might die, but then, he hasn’t shown much compassion towards them anyway. I seriously doubt that it would bother him much.

Communist governments tend to look at the people as little more than peasants to be used and discarded, as their “betters” in the government so choose. Why should we think that Kim will be any different? He is already starving his population, so that he can spend his nation’s wealth on building a nuclear arsenal, proving how little he cares for them.

North Korea has already threatened Guam. They’ve sent ballistic missiles over Japan’s airspace. They haven’t said a thing about Hawaii yet, but it’s another obvious target.

In fact, the Hawaiian state legislature just received a highly secretive briefing about preparing for a nuclear attack. Information about what was covered in the briefing hasn’t yet leaked out, but it was definitely about making preparations, should a nuclear attack come.

While this briefing was declared to not be associated with things going on in North Korea, I seriously doubt anyone believes that. The only real nuclear threat today is North Korea; Iran isn’t ready yet. So, even if it is coincidental, in the sense that it is something that is scheduled to happen every X years, I am sure that North Korea was the focus.

As it doesn’t look like tensions between the United States and North Korea are likely to subside anytime soon, you and I should be preparing as well.

We could very well find ourselves living in the aftermath of an EMP, without any warning that it is to come.

This articles has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Prep Blog Review: Top Communication Skills For SHTF Survival

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How many time have you ever wondered what you need to communicate in a disaster situation or what skill you need to have?

Most people consider that they only need a handful of devices on hand, but what are the most important electronic appliances that you will actually use? Some give a list based on their priorities but these are not always the same for everyone, as we each have our own criteria of what’s important and what is not.

Another problem worth mentioning is, that it’s one thing to have them by your side and a completely different story in using them. We all know how to change a battery, that’s true, but what other options do we have in case of a disaster and when these are not longer available.

Sometimes we can just rely on old, proven techniques and sometimes we can improvise.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of 5+1 articles that will help you out so let’s get started !

1. Ten Principles of Preparedness: #10 Communication

“In the second season of one of my favorite television shows, “Jericho”, there was a perfect illustration of what can happen if reliable communication does not exist (I recommend you renting this two-season series or at least catching some of it on hulu.com).

While communication is the last aspect of the Principles of Preparedness, this doesn’t mean it’s insignificant in any way. In fact,  there’s a lot of danger, panic, relying on misinformation and chaos that can arise, all from the lack of communication.”

Read more on Preparedness Pro.

2. How To Modify An Am Radio To Receive Shortwave Broadcasts

“You can convert AM radios to receive shortwave frequencies between 4 and 9 MHz and used it that way for a while. You can make a like conversion on an AM radio you own. This can be really helpful when SHTF and you need to communicate.

Shortwave frequencies bounce off of the ionosphere and return to earth halfway around the world. It is easy to receive broadcasts from another continent; depending on conditions, time of day, signal strength, and target area for the broadcast.”

Read more on SHTF Preparedness.

3. SHTF Survivalist Radio Lists

“From monkeys in the Amazon Rainforest, to dolphins in the Caribbean, to ants under your picnic table, all species rely on communication with each other for survival. Humans are no different – we rely on communication to both warn and inform us, especially in times of crisis.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

4. Light, Fire and Smoke | Emergency Communication Signals

“In ancient days, people communicated by firelight. Signal fires were the “in thing.” Not only did they tell friendly forces of a presence, or of success in battle, a large collection of fires also intimidated intended victims.

Fire and smoke have been used to communicate trouble or distress among people ever since. The invention of the telescope in the 1700s significantly increased the range of long distance silent communication—observers could see signals at far greater distances.”

Read more on Survival Life.

5. Off-Grid Charging System For AA-AAA Batteries, Plus USB

“Off-grid charging for the AA or AAA battery and other consumer batteries can be accomplished with a combination of the right portable solar panel and battery charger to get the job done. When might this be useful?

While off-grid, camping, hiking, a remote location, or simply for your own preparedness.

-Communications devices
-Portable radios
-Flashlights
-Handheld GPS
-Etc..

While on the go, out in the field or backpacking, the following off-grid charging equipment will charge the most popular size consumer batteries (AA, AAA).”

Read more on Modern Survival Blog.

6. Campfires From Scratch: No Boy Scout Juice Required

“Liar, liar, pants on fire! I discover at a young age that pouring Boy Scout Juice on sticks for a “quick” campfire was not real smart. Boy Scout Juice is a vague term which includes all sorts of liquid accelerants. We had gasoline at the cabin that day.

I can’t remember who to blame for this grand idea, Henry or Craig, but I vividly remember the low whoosh sound that transformed a flickering kitchen match into a flaming mushroom cloud billowing up my legs. Screaming and wild dancing, reminiscent of cartoon characters, commenced in a desperate attempt to extinguish my now flaming trousers.”

Read more on Survival Sherpa.

This article has been written by Edward Szalinksi for Survivopedia.

Q&A On Storing Meat Without Refrigeration In Hot Areas

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You work hard to stretch your grocery dollars, but there’s no way around it – meat is expensive. When you find a good deal, or if you’re preparing for an emergency, you stockpile. Also, if you’re a hunter like most of the people in my family are, you probably bring in game meat.

Regardless of how much meat you have in the freezer – a lot or a little – when emergency strikes, you don’t want it to go bad.

“How can I store meat in Florida with no refrigeration? Your attic is not cool, your storage building is not cool, and if you go underground it is still only about 68°F if you are lucky. Can you please give me some ideas?

Thank You.

Frank “

Yes, Frank, you got it right! This isn’t much of an issue if you lose power because off a blizzard in Connecticut in February. That’s an entirely different set of worries, but keeping meat cold isn’t one of them. But if you lose it because of a hurricane in Florida or Texas or the Bahamas in September, you have a problem. I know it because I live in Florida too.

Once meat defrosts, you’re on a pretty strict time-clock, especially if you don’t have a fridge. There are, of course, refrigeration units that you can build that don’t need power, but chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little too far behind the eight ball for that kind of info to do you any good.

Here are some tips that may help you get a bit more mileage before your meat goes bad. None of them are long-term solutions to refrigerating meat without power, but they’ll help you get through a little longer.

Freeze Jugs and Baggies of Water

If you know the emergency is coming and you have meat stored in your refrigerator, prepare. Block ice melts much slower than bagged, cubed ice, plus you’re probably not going to be able to lay hands on a bag of ice for two hundred square miles.

I save milk jugs and juice jugs (a couple of different sizes) and fill them with water. I usually fill some quart-sized baggies, too, then I freeze them. Typically, it takes a day or a day and a half for the milk jugs to freeze all the way through, and less for the smaller containers and baggies.

I realize you may not have much room in your freezer to hold the jugs, but since you’re only a few days away from the storm, Throw the frozen ones to the back of the top shelf of the fridge where it’s coldest and throw a few more in the freezer.

Basically, what you’re doing here is creating the elements for an old-fashioned ice box that will keep the inside of your fridge and freezer cooler for longer. For Irma, I froze 5 gallons of water one half-gallon and several baggies. You can also use them in coolers, and when it melts, you have drinking water. Double duty!

For that matter, freeze your milk, juice, and other perishable liquids to extend their lives and to have additional “ice” to keep the inside of the freezer, fridge, or cooler cold.

Use the Igloo Effect

Group food together into piles in your fridge or freezer. Doing so will keep it all colder longer. This is something you can do before a major storm as part of your preps.

Make a few smaller clusters that you’ll use in one day, then you can just pull them from the freezer all at once and close the door for the rest of the day.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is -140 degrees F. That’s cold enough to freeze your skin instantly, but it’s a good thing when it comes to power outages because 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-inch freezer cold for two days and it’s not that hard to come by.

I know that there are places in Miami and Tampa in Florida that sells it, and I’m sure that there are other places, too. Plus you can order it and have it delivered. May be a worthy investment if you have a ton of meat.

Make a Clay Pot Cooler

This is actually a really good idea and can be made pretty much on the fly if you have two unglazed terra cotta pots – one bigger than the other.

It works no matter the size of the pots; as a matter of fact, it’s based on the same premise as modern refrigeration: evaporative cooling.

Video first seen on GlobeAware.

Here’s also a Survivopedia article that walks you through it, even though it’s a simple project, I would hypothesize that if you used extremely cold water, the temp inside the pots would drop significantly, too.

Don’t Freeze it to Begin With

Yes, I realize this is a case of pointing out the glaringly obvious, but it’s only glaringly obvious because you’re sitting there with a freezer full of thawing meat and no idea what to do with it.

The bottom line is that without refrigeration, your meat is going to be bad in a few days, and in the heat, there aren’t many viable options for keeping meat cold other than electric refrigeration. Store meat in other ways – can it or dry it – if you want to have it for emergencies.

You can find a lot of helpful info in this article about canning meat, and you can also get the proper way to dry the meat if you read this article.

If you’re worried about wasting it, the only real solution is to cook it up and what you don’t eat, give away.

For Irma, a bunch of us got together and had a huge barbecue. Not only did it keep us from wasting meat, it gave us all a much-needed morale boost and some leftovers to throw in the cooler. Also, keep your coolers in the shade to extend what little bit of cold you have left for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options for keeping meat cold for longer than a few days in hot regions without refrigeration. Heat trumps ice every time.

But there are ways to do it, same as our ancestors used to do it. Check the banner below for more!

However, I hope that some of these tips helped at least a little bit, and if you’re in this situation, please share it before you just let it go to waste. In those situations, there’s never a lack of people who could use it.

If you have any other suggestions for keeping meat cold in hot climates without refrigeration, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Surviving In the Wild: How To Balance Your Eating

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Let’s begin today’s article with the sad story of Christopher McCandless, the quintessential hipster whose decomposed body was found by moose hunters 25 years ago on September 6, 1992 in the close vicinity of Denali National Park.

This guy who became famous after a movie was made based on his diary has died of starvation inside a rusty bus that was used as an improvised shelter (prior to him) by dog mushers, trappers, and various other outdoors enthusiasts.

A note was found which reads:

“I NEED YOUR HELP. I AM INJURED, NEAR DEATH,  AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE. I AM ALL ALONE, THIS IS NO JOKE. IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE REMAIN TO SAVE ME. I AM OUT COLLECTING BERRIES CLOSE BY AND SHALL RETURN THIS EVENING. THANK YOU,”
CHRIS McCANDLESS

Obviously, eating a diet based on berries and unicorn tears in an outdoors survival scenario is not the best idea in the world, as Christopher McCandless discovered the hard way. This guy died a horrible death by starvation, because of his naive and idealistic view of the world.

The thing is, Christopher McCandless died of starvation in an area that was bursting with wildlife, but due to a lack of skills and imagination, he chose to try to live (if you can call it living) on an ascetic diet.

An autopsy determined that at the time of his death, he weighed a mere 67 pounds and he had almost zero body fat. It has been speculated that he might have poisoned himself by eating wild potato seeds.

However, the lesson to be taken home is that one can’t rely on weeds and seeds for survival in an outdoors SHTF situation.

 

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

 

I mean, okay, eating the inner tree bark, pine cone nuts, acorns, pine needles, leaves, weeds, and other plant-based foods may keep you alive for a while, but in the long run, you’ll get exhausted and maybe even poisoned if you don’t know what you’re eating. Our bodies are not designed to function properly with that stuff (we can’t digest cellulose, for example).

Not to mention that staying healthy and powerful on a raw-vegan elf/squirrel-based diet is nearly impossible because your body needs more protein than you can gather from pine nuts, if for no other reason than you burn more energy extracting them than you gain from eating them.

Even if, theoretically speaking, most people can live for weeks in a row without food, you’ll not be able to do anything of value while starving. And most people are totally clueless when it comes to what to eat when there’s no McDonalds nor a 7-Eleven around. In a survival situation, you’ll require all of your strength and stamina to stay alive. As a friend of mine nicely put it, can you fight a bear while on a grass diet? Forget about it, right?

When it comes to survival eating, one must pay attention to details, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong; I am not downplaying the importance of plants and veggies, but eating grass and berries is not enough.

A true survivalist should master the skill of correctly identifying edible plants in the wilderness. In a survival situation, you don’t want to take any chances such as eating a mushroom or a plant that may poison you.

What to Eat Then?

With only a few exceptions, one may eat anything that swims, flies, walks or crawls the Earth. People confronted with the dire straits of starvation have resorted even to cannibalism, not to mention eating leaves and bugs for nourishment. A survivor must go past his or her personal bias and eat what is available to stay alive.

Plants

When it comes to eating wild plants and fruit, the first lesson to absorb is how to stay away from poisonous stuff. The first rule of wilderness survival eating is to stay away from what you don’t know. If there’s any doubt, don’t eat it. If you’re not the “botanical dude/dudette” type (you don’t have a mental list of wild edibles), the general rule of thumb is to stay away from plants with:

  • fine hair
  • spines
  • milky sap
  • thorns
  • seeds inside pods
  • beans and bulbs with a bitter/soapy taste (read alkaloids)
  • grain heads with purple, pink or black spurs
  • plants with 3-leaved pattern.

Obviously, you can learn a lot about edible plants, but you’ll have to go study the phenomenon thoroughly. And speaking of edible plants, there is one plant that may keep you alive indefinitely, and I am talking about cattails.

Check out this article for further reference. Cattails are an awesome survival food and they’re easy to find, as they grow spontaneously near ponds, lakes and rivers.

Bugs

Though it’s off-putting to think about, when discussing a balanced survival diet, insects are an excellent source of protein and  they also contain some of the most important nutrients required by your body, (besides protein): fat and minerals.

Edible bugs are an awesome survival food, provided you can get past your preconceptions. Regarding commonly found edible insects in North America, here are a few:

  • grasshoppers
  • crickets
  • locusts
  • caterpillars (including when in larvae stage/moth)
  • ants
  • June bugs
  • termites
  • mealworms
  • centipedes

Stay away from brightly colored insects, as they may be poisonous. Generally speaking, insects will provide you with 65% to 80% protein. Compare that to beef’s puny 20% protein, and you’ll see why insects are recommended by many survivalists. Insects can be consumed raw or in a stew. Or, you can mix them with edible plants.

Other Creatures

However, when it comes to putting meat on the table, the name of the game is fishing, trapping, and of course hunting.  Having the skills to set traps, snares, and nets will keep you alive and kicking for a long time in any survival scenario imaginable.

It’s important to realize one simple thing: if you don’t have the tools for hunting large game, you should focus on smaller animals. They’re easier to catch and also they’re abundant. And speaking of small game, fish is an excellent source of fat and protein, and basically all North American fish are edible.

The same goes for amphibians (read frogs, check out this piece) and most of the reptiles. You can DIY nets, fishhooks, and traps for catching fish in a survival scenario.

Field-expedient methods include using wire, needles, and pins (any piece of metal actually) for making fishhooks. Alternatively, you may use coconut shell, bone, plant-thorns or seashells. Another method for catching fish is to use fish traps and gill nets. Finally, there’s spearfishing, but you would require Rambo-like skills for that.

Next, all species of birds are edible (including bird eggs), but if you plan to capture birds, you’ll have to master the art of trapping, snaring, or laying bird traps. In a survival scenario, trapping is the most feasible method to maintain a steady supply of fish and other fresh meat on the table, provided you know the rules of engagement, meaning you are educated on the lifestyles and habits of the animals you’re hunting.

Snares, pitfalls, and deadfalls are among the best known and easiest to improvise traps. Check out this article for further reference.

Another method for hunting small game would be to use a slingshot or a bow and arrow, but you’d require advanced skills in order to use them in a comprehensive way, i.e. you’ll have to practice long and hard with a bow and arrow or slingshot before being able to put meat on the table.

Obviously, if you’d ask me, I’d never go out in the middle of nowhere without my .22 rifle and copious amounts of ammo.

Now, it’s your turn to share your survival food tips with others in the dedicated comment-section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

Survival Stories Gone Bad: Chris McCandless

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There are many good reasons why we may end up in a survival situation, but putting ourselves there intentionally is pretty far down on the list.

These days, those who do it intentionally often end up with their own extreme reality show. Others end up as an example of survival stories gone bad.

Chris McCandless fall into this category. Here’s his story.

At the end of April, 1992, Chris, AKA Alexander Supertramp, left Fairbanks, AK and ventured into the Alaskan outback, determined to kill the “false being within.” He survived on a meager diet of scavenged roots, nuts, berries, small game, and mushrooms.

He’d also taken a 10-pound bag of rice with him. He lived for 113 days before dying on about August 18th.

His body was found inside his sleeping bag by a moose hunter who had stopped at the old bus that he had been using for shelter.

There was a note pinned to the door begging any visitor to wait for him because he was injured, weak, and starving. He was so far gone that he hadn’t even taken the note off the door when he returned.

Now, that may sound like a terribly tragic story to you, and it most certainly is, but Chris’s adventure and death is a controversial topic.

Video first seen on carinemccandless.

Some consider him an arrogant, entitled kid who died because of that arrogance and failure to prepare. Others think that he was somebody to admire who fell victim to the tides of misfortune, and yet others think that he was a mentally ill young man who went into a situation and died because of that mental incapacity.

Like everybody, I have an opinion. I believe that it’s a combination of the three. He was certainly not lacking in the clarity or mental capacity to set forth on his adventure, though it turns out that he was educated but misinformed.

From most accounts, he was also at least a little arrogant and likely overconfident in his abilities. Misfortune also played a part. But mostly, in my opinion, it was lack of preparation and experience.

 

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

Anytime you combine arrogance, ignorance, and bad luck, disaster of some type is bound to happen eventually. Even the most humble, skilled, and lucky of us experience misfortune sometimes, and they combined to equal the perfect storm for Chris. It cost him his life.

But … what can we take away from his experience?

Don’t Underestimate the Danger

First and foremost, perhaps his biggest folly was underestimating the danger of what he was doing. Living solely off the land isn’t just a matter of taking a walk, shooting a rabbit or two, and gathering a bushel of berries and edible plants along the way.

Some of those animals may just want to eat you back once the sun sets, and the edible plants, as he learned, aren’t always so edible.

Hard-core wilderness survival at the level he undertook is the epitome of the word survival. The only thing that could have possibly made it more difficult would have been if he were being hunted, barring nuclear fallout and other apocalyptic scenarios.

Don’t let the romance, for lack of a better word, of surviving on your own in the wilderness, being one with nature, and “finding yourself” blind you to the incredibly real dangers of surviving only your own competence and on what’s available to you.

Don’t Overestimate Your Skills

This goes hand-in-hand with underestimating the danger, and both of them can be chalked up to the arrogance factor. This reminds me, on a much more deadly level, of the kid who wants to build his own treehouse. It seems easy, but the reality is a whole different beast than the idea.

You don’t just decide one day, “Hey, I’ve been hiking and have experienced some pretty harsh camping conditions. I think I’ll wonder into the Alaskan bush for an underdetermined amount of time.”

He may have read up on what he would face but this sort of thing isn’t exactly something that you jump into without shorter trips and much more preparation. He was a traveler but had no experience remotely similar to this.

Plus, the fact that he was living on such a limited diet and at such a calorie deficit for so long indicates that he wasn’t prepared. Pictures that he took show that he became gaunt even before he was apparently feeling much of the effects of the poison that eventually killed him.

He was obviously not eating enough calories and was existing on a diet that had very little variance. The same mushrooms, wild potato roots and seeds, and whatever protein he caught surely didn’t provide his body with the wide range of vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids that it needed to thrive.

In short, he walked in thinking that he could just live off the land, and he couldn’t. Even had he survived, he would have likely been malnourished when he did emerge.

Don’t Ignore Your Body

Your body knows what it needs and it diverts energy from non-critical places on your body to critical ones. In other words, if you’re not eating enough calories, your body will steal it from other parts of your body to keep your vital organs functioning. First it burns sugar, then it burns fat, then it burns muscle.

He was to the point of emaciation – he went in weighing 140 pounds and his remains weighed just 66 pounds with no discernable subcutaneous fat – before he died. He didn’t get that way overnight, nor did he become sick and weak overnight.

The toxin in the wild potato roots and seeds that has now been determined to have led to his demise doesn’t just kill you on the spot. It’s a neurotoxin that acts slowly, so he would have been feeling the effects for days or even weeks – plenty of time to hike to the highway to get help. But he ignored his body.

Prepare for Every Contingency

We all know that this point has an inherent flaw: there’s no way to KNOW every contingency, so there’s no way to prepare for every one of them. What a reasonable, experienced person would do before attempting such an extreme idea is plan and prepare.

They’d play the what-if game. What if I can’t find game? Maybe I should have some back-up MREs. What if I get hurt? Maybe I should have an emergency means to communicate. What if my lighter or matches get wet? I need an alternate method of building a fire. What if, what if, what if.

In his case, he was woefully unprepared for wilderness survival. According to his notes, he attempted to head back to civilization in July, but couldn’t because his path was blocked because the Teklanika River was swollen at the place where he’d crossed in April.

Had he done his research and had a topographical map, he would have known that there was a hand-operated tramway that crossed the river not even a mile away from his original crossing spot.

Have a Backup Plan and Fail-safes

There’s an old saying credited to a German field marshal that says that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. It’s a good saying. That’s why experienced soldiers and outdoorsmen always have a backup plan and fail-safes.

Any experienced hiker or outdoorsman (heck, any Boy Scout) will tell you that it’s just part of the planning process to include information such as your path, your destination, and how long you expect to be gone in a plan that you share with at least one other person. That way, if you don’t show back up or make contact, they know to send somebody after you.

An emergency radio wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Nor would maps, a working knowledge of how to preserve meat (he killed a moose but most of the meat went bad because he didn’t preserve it properly), and just basically used a little bit of common sense. Maybe this is where mentally ill part comes in. Either that, or supreme arrogance.

The one part of his demise that he can’t be blamed for, much, is the fact that the wild potato seeds that made up a majority of his diet were listed as safe to eat in the book he wrote his diary in. It took a couple of decades for it to be determined that the seeds contain a neurotoxic amino acid commonly known as ODAP.

Of course, had he been eating a wide variety of foods and been properly nourished, the toxins likely wouldn’t have affected him.

So, it’s easy to look at Chris’s experience and, if nothing else, learn from it. The real reason that he set off on the trip will never be known, but in the scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he wasn’t prepared and he died because of it.

Would you do any of the mistakes he did?

Do you have anything to add? If so, please feel free to comment in the section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Best Bushcraft Tips To Learn And Share For Survival

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Bushcraft survival tips are a very hot topic in the prepper community, especially considering that old saying about “the more skills one has, the less gear one needs.” This “omnia mea mecum porto” (a Latin proverb meaning “all that’s mine I carry with me”) mindset is a prepper’s greatest asset, and I really did not mean it to rhyme.

To begin with, one may ask what on Earth is bushcraft?

In layman’s terms, bushcraft is what kept our ancestors alive and kicking for tens of thousands of years, well before the invention of agriculture, cozy cities, and our modern-day conveniences. Bushcraft is the ancient art of survival in the wilderness, using only the (sometimes scarce) resources provided by “the great outdoors.”

Keep reading to get the essentials!

Bushcraft is basically a fancy Aussie word for wilderness survival and it combines the know-how with regard to DYI-ing basic tools with how to use animals and plants at your disposal for outdoor survival in a SHTF scenario.

 

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

 

For true-blue preppers, learning bushcraft skills will increase your survival chances exponentially in a nasty environment/situation, via  increasing your ability to adapt to new challenges and unforeseen situations.

You Can’t Skips the Basics

The more self-sufficient and confident one is, the better. The quintessential bushcraft skills to master include hunting/trapping game, food foraging, shelter building, water gathering/purification, and fire making.

Basically, everything that revolves around food-water-shelter, the holy trinity of survival, is an essential skill to master for a survivalist.

Let’s make a basic list, so you could count them better!

  • When it comes to living off the land, as in food foraging, one must have in-depth knowledge of local flora, which is essential when it comes to efficiently harvesting edibles whilst at the same time avoiding toxic plants.
  • Camp cooking is also a must-learn skill for outdoor enthusiasts. And speaking of flora, remember that cattails are edible and easy to find in shallow waters along the shore. Read my article about cattails for further reference.
  • Trapping and hunting/stalking game is all about knowing how to build snares, how to use lures, how to fish (always remember to pack fishing gear in your survival kit), how to read animal signs while hiding your own (human) scent, making cordage, tying knots, cleaning/dressing/cooking game in the field, and the whole nine yards.
  • A solid survivalist must be able to gather and purify water by using an improvised water filter, and also know how to make a fire for boiling/purifying water, and so forth and so on.
  • Shelter building skills must include knowledge of how to make cordage, how to tie a good knot, how to harvest building materials (branches, fallen trees), how to use a knife for batoning, how to waterproof/make natural insulation for your shelter, etc.
  • Knowing how to start a fire in the wild using readily available materials is a must-learn art, including gathering tinder, collecting wood, building a fire pit, building a fire plough/a bow drill, or other device, and you should also know the different types of fires and their best uses in a particular situation.

If you’re just starting out in the fine art of bushcrafting, you should focus on basic survival skills, such as batoning wood, making simple tools, knot-tying techniques, basic fire starting, and building basic camp structures, including the tripod.

If you’ve already acquired basic bushcraft skills, you should concentrate on shelter building, foraging for food, building a fire without lighters/matches, basic trapping and making snares, and water purification.

For advanced bushcrafters (I am not sure that word really exists), you can engage in complex projects, such as land navigation (celestial navigation for example), making cordage and rope using plant fibers or animal tendons, tracking, and advanced structure building.

Now, let’s talk about some tips and tricks, because after all, that’s what today’s article is all about.

Tell Someone That You’re Leaving

To begin with, remember that communication is key. Before going out on a trip, tell someone about your plan, including where you’ll be going, for how long, and also share if you have a specific route set up (it would help with tracking you down in a SHTF scenario).

Don’t Lose Your Temper

Next, remember to keep your composure in any situation. Always remain calm, cool, and collected, think positive, and hope for the best while preparing for the worst. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but optimism goes a long way, even in a SHTF scenario. No matter how alone and scared you may feel, everything starts with your attitude in a survival situation.

If something doesn’t work as it should – let’s say starting a fire in the wilderness, for example – keep calm, don’t rush, and don’t panic. Just stop, relax, breathe in-out and try something else.

Proper Tools

Remember that at its most basic level, wilderness survival, aka bushcraft, is surviving out there in the woods with nothing more than an edged tool (say, a knife) and the clothes on your back.

Which takes us to the next tip: a blade (read survival knife) is one of the most important tools to have in a survival situation.

A light and sturdy blade is as important to the bushcrafter as the katana is for the samurai. And yes, I am  talking about a high-quality, full-tang blade, which may be used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from self-defense to digging a shelter.

Another must-have and highly versatile bushcraft tool is a hatchet or a tomahawk. Given its design, a hatchet is perfect for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping wood, splitting logs, hammering (posts or stakes), butchering large game, and so on and so forth. If two items are too much for your “money”, you can go for the ultimate bushcraft tool: the machete.

A machete can be described as the best of both worlds, being a hybrid of sorts between a hatchet and a knife. And yes, a high-quality solid machete can be used for digging, chopping wood, clearing bush, batoning, and more.

However, the best bushcraft tool is the one you have on your person, so don’t complicate things too much, alright?

Considering the fact that death from exposure is a regular occurrence when it comes to outdoor survival scenarios, you must always pack some type of shelter in your EDC survival kit (a poncho, a $1 tarp, etc.), together with a couple of large, contractor-sized garbage bags.

When filled with leaves, the garbage bags will make for awesome insulating pads on which you can sleep or sit.

Video first seen on KGB Survivalist.

You should  carry a good-quality fire starter with you at all times, tied and braided to your knife lanyard, and I am talking about waxed jute twine. Always remember to pack a couple of protein bars in your survival kit; they’re incredibly nutritious and lightweight. Also, they don’t spoil easily.

Learning basic body insulation methods may be a life saver in many survival scenarios. Think about stuffing leaves, newspaper, or dry grass under your clothes, so you’ll be retaining body heat in harsh weather conditions.

If you wrap plastic bags (remember those garbage bags?) around the leaves on a tree, the sun will evaporate the water from the inside of the leaves, which will then be forced to condensate on the inside of the plastic bag (read trapped inside).

The same trick can be used to extract water from plants.

Now that you know these survival tricks, would you make it on your own if stranded deep in the wild?

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite survival tips you’d like to share with us?

Feel free to comment below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

The Ugly Part of Water Purification: Top 5 Mistakes You Make

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Water is part of the survival triad – water, food, shelter. You can only live for about three days without it and even after twenty-four hours, you start experiencing physical and cognitive decline.

Right now, it’s easy to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water, but even without a SHTF situation, many of us are doing what we can to live off the grid. I’ve written several articles on collecting rain water and purifying water, and now I’d like to discuss how to make sure that your water is safe to drink.

Water purification is a primary skill that you need to have even if you don’t know much about other facets of survival because if you don’t have clean water, you’ll die. It’s that simple.

The EPA warns that as much as 90 percent of all of the water on the planet is contaminated in some way, so this is becoming a bigger issue for many of us who are trying to go off the grid. Even rainwater can be contaminated, and it’s best to assume that all ground water needs purified.

Even though being able to purify water during daily life and in an emergency situation is critical, you need to do it right. Improperly purified water can be just as fatal – but much more miserable – than having no water at all, so be sure not to make these mistakes.

Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification

There are many water filters out there; there’s a good chance that you have one in your fridge right now. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that filtered water is the same as purified water. Most water filters do exactly what they say: they filter out physical impurities such as debris, minerals, and pollutants such as insecticides. Most of them don’t purify the water, though, because illness-causing microbes are too small to be caught in the filter, nor are the filters designed to kill them.

 

This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!

 

Your water may look clean and clear and delicious, but it may also be deadly. There are only two ways to ensure that your water is pure – heat and chemicals.

Not Getting Water Hot Enough

Though pathogens start to die as the water heats, at 160 degrees F to be exact, there are many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that won’t die until the water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F. Keeping that in mind, you need to maintain a rolling boil for at least one minute, and three is better, especially at higher elevations.

If you’re short on water and worry about losing it to evaporation, putting a lid on the pot will help with that. Then just leave it covered until it cools.

Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly

There are a few ways that you can mess up chemical purification. First, you can use too much. This is most definitely not a case of more being better because whether you’re using iodine, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (pool shock), too much of it can make you sick or even kill you.

  • If you’re using iodine, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using bleach, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually hold one ounce.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when choosing your water purification method. Liquid bleach has a shelf-life of six to twelve months, so it expires and loses its strength. Pool shock keeps forever and a one-pound bag will treat 10,000 gallons. Iodine makes the water taste weird, but if you let it sit for an hour, you can add vitamin C (Tang drink mix or something similar) to eliminate most of the bad taste after the purification period is up.

Make sure that if you’re using bleach or pool shock that the product is pure without any additional additives such as perfumes. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Cross Contamination

This one seems like it may be simple, but it’s easy to re-contaminate purified water. Make sure that you don’t use the same containers or utensils for the clean water that you used before it was purified. In other words, don’t gather the water from a stream in your water bottle, boil it, then put it back in your bottle. You just re-contaminated your water and wasted time and fuel.

If you’re purifying in your bottle, make sure to pour some of the chemical into the lid and around the threads/ mouth of the container.

Failing to Purify AND Filter

This is another reason that you need to understand that filtering and purifying are two different processes. You need to purify your water to rid it of illness-causing pathogens, but you need to purify it to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Of course, it also removes any other debris such a sand, rocks, and minerals. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in, but I’d recommend filtering first then purifying just because it’s cleaner and there’s less risk of cross-contamination.

Either way, strain water that has visible debris in it before you purify it or filter it. Run it through a coffee filter or a densely woven cloth such as a bandana. Just a note: chemical purification is most effective if the water is at least 60 degrees F.

Studies show that at 50 degrees, only 90 percent of Giardia cysts were inactivated after thirty minutes. Warm up the water in the sun (or after it cools a bit from purifying), or let the water sit for an hour.

Failing to purify your water can cause such diseases as cholera, E.coli, rotavirus, hepatitis, staphylococcus, cryptosporidium and Giardia. These cause everything from upset stomach and cramps to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. In other words, it’s nothing to mess around with, unless you want to die a slow miserable death.

Don’t put your life at risk! You need only clear water to stay safe!

 

 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Power to Go!

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Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

 

Portable Energy Storage Systems 

We recently wrote of batteries for electric devices, the value of rechargeable, assuming a reliable power source, as well as home generators, something to the benefit of every survival enthusiast. Along those lines why not consider portable energy storage systems as a part of your prepper planning? Useful for a bug-out scenario or in a hunker down situation, the sizes and versatility of the systems out there offer some reasonable options for the short-term, and they can readily support some longer-term situations, should you find yourself and yours in one.

    

Here in the USA, being from a big city, I believed we are “blessed” with a steady-state of power, if we pay the bills in a timely manner. Then I spent a weekend on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. Two to three power losses a day. Well, there are many places where this is normal. On my half-dozen trips to India power is lost multiple times a day at the local businesses. The big “campus” call-centers have their own dedicated power stations just to keep your favorite 24/7/365 Customer Service Centers up and running. Bottom line, we are spoiled.

Other than tracking down a tripped GFI circuit, to find the tripped receptacle behind a garage cabinet, which you had bolted to the floor, not much thought is put into these “givens”, until a storm or accident put us in the dark. Switch on, lights on. And, you must admit, even after you deal with these you do let what you learned get pushed out of your head after a while because, you know, switch on, light on.

Having a reliable power energy storage system already on-line, ready to go, is never a bad thing. As small as a tablet, weighing less than a pound, to units that are only portable by crane and permanently affixed to your home, and ranging in price from a family meal out to a new family car, there is a right solution for us all.

  

Think of these systems as bigger rechargeable systems that you can use to recharge your smaller rechargeable batteries, as well as direct connect devices like tablets, and GPS receivers, and ham radios, always standing “at the ready” like good soldiers.

Knowing the underlying technologies used will assist you in making good choices. Solar – it has come a long way. A great alternative, but some days the sun just doesn’t shine – May Gray, June Gloom, the sun has exploded July, Michigan and Minnesota ALL winter long, Alaska 6 months a year. Anyone living near an ocean, or The Great Lakes knows low-pressure on-shore, high pressure off-shore produces a marine layer that can block out most if not all the suns energy. However, as long as photons are present solar cells charge, diffused light and reflective light are less efficient, but they still allow solar cells to collect power. The drawback is size, weight and time. While there are some light, portable systems, they can have a large footprint when deployed and they will tie you to a stationary location during charging. We are a fan of these but suggest you check out the footprint and charging times to make the best selection for your situation.

  

Solid State Batteries use a range of electro-chemical storage solutions, including advanced chemistry batteries and capacitors. Caution should one of these be ruptured. Flow Batteries store energy directly in an electrolyte solution (i.e., a car battery) for a longer cycle life, and quick response times, but again, caution should one rupture, and when they are done, they are truly done.

While we can’t forget the other stored energy systems, which include Flywheels, mechanical devices that harness rotational energy to deliver instantaneous electricity. These get complex, large, and expensive to obtain and to “keep on-line”. Other systems available include Compressed Air Energy Storage, Thermal and Pumped Hydro-Power (everyone has their own lake with a dam, right?) Interesting technology but perhaps not practical for “home”, or “away from home” use.

Bottom line, portable energy cells, readily available that can easily be transported, that can be used and reused repeatedly, are a great addition to any survival plan, hunker down plan, bug-out or go bag and should be a part of your disaster planning.

 

The post Power to Go! appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How To Recognize And Use Mushrooms For Food And Fire

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Many people that find themselves in the woods with no edible resources other than mushrooms may be tempted to give them a try. It’s not easy to know exactly which species of mushroom is safe to eat, and which ones can kill you. Making a mistake can kill you, so you really have to know what you’re doing.

On the other hand, you won’t be hurt if you burn the wrong type of mushroom, but knowing what to choose to start a fire will help you for sure.

Take a moment and get a few tips on how to recognize and use this natural resource for food and fire!

General Characteristics of Most Poisonous Mushrooms

Simply assuming that mushrooms eaten by animals will also be edible to humans is a mistake. Consider that humans can consume chocolate with absolutely no ill effect (and may even consider chocolate medicinal and downright miraculously curative), yet dogs can die if they eat even small amounts of chocolate. By the same token, animals can eat mushrooms that have chemicals in them that are poisonous to humans.

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

Here are some general guidelines you can use to avoid many mushrooms that are poisonous to humans:

  • Avoid mushrooms that are red colored or have red on them. These mushrooms are like many other living things in nature. Their bright colors are meant as a warning to stay away from them.
  • Some white or dull colored mushrooms are also some of the most deadly. Mushrooms with a bulbous base, or a skirt around the stem can also be poisonous. You should also avoid mushrooms with white gills.
  • If you touch the gills on a Milkcap mushroom, it will emit liquid or “milk”. Even though some mushrooms in this family are safe to eat, most are toxic. It is best to avoid all of them until you know which ones are safe and which ones aren’t in the area you are traveling through.

If you have ever tried to survive on foods gathered from nature, then you know that experimenting with unknown food types is vital. With the exception of mushrooms, you can use the Universal Edibility Test to determine if the item is safe to eat.

The poisons some mushrooms house can take days, or even weeks to kill. Some poisons may slowly attack and destroy your liver, while others will cause toxic, and eventually fatal buildups in other organs. Other mushrooms cause hallucinations, which can lead to accidents, injury, and death. Since just one bite of a poisonous mushroom can get you killed, you just can’t rely on these tests to evaluate them as a food source.

Start Your Own Mushroom Identification Table

If you can get a field guide for the area you are foraging in, they can help you identify mushrooms that are safe to eat, and build your list into a table based on the mushrooms that you encounter.

Here are the basic fields your table should have, or the questions you should be able to answer about each mushroom that you encounter. Keep a few pages for spore prints (once you know how to make them safely) or other tests that will help you compare patterns later on.

  • What season are you encountering the mushroom in? As with many plants, fungi also have set temperature, humidity, and lighting requirements. In some cases, a poisonous strain that looks like a safe one may pop up during a different season. While it is possible for them to overlap if temperatures are unstable, you can still count this data and compare it with other features.
  • Where is the mushroom growing? Contrary to popular belief, mushrooms won’t grow in just any place with sufficient dead material to live on. For example, some mushroom species will only live on a certain tree type, and cannot be raised in fields, or on other wood types or parts of the same tree. Also, edible mushrooms may differ from poisonous counterparts because they grow on different kinds of dead material.
  • How are the mushrooms growing in relation to each other? In some cases, edible mushrooms may grow in a ring, while poisonous ones grow in tufts, or vice versa. Pay attention to where each mushroom of the same strain is in relation to the others. You’ll still need to rely on other tests, as you never know if an animal or something else came along and disrupted the original growing pattern of the mushroom crop.
  • What color is the exposed side of the mushroom cap? What does its texture look and feel like?
  • How big is the mushroom cap? If you have ever watched mushrooms crop up overnight, then you may already know that some emerge as small buttons that quickly form wider, flat cap shapes. Others will emerge almost fully sized and then fall apart within a matter of days. There is still a maximum size for various mushroom species that you can use to help try and identify them.
  • If the mushroom has gills or other markings underneath, what is their pattern? You may notice forks in the gills, or other shapes that will help you distinguish between a poisonous mushroom and a safe one. Make note of how the gills or underside parts feel. Are they brittle or do they bend easily? Do they appear close together? Are the underside structures attached to the stem?
  • What color are the gills, or if the mushroom does not have gills, what color is in the area where the gills would be?
  • Does the mushroom have a bulb at its base? Does it have a ring around the stem?
  • Is the mushroom brightly colored or red?
  • How does the mushroom smell? Does it have a pleasant “mushroomy” odor, or does it smell acrid, like iodine, otherwise unpleasant? (In many cases, pleasant smelling mushrooms are more likely safe to eat. Still, every person’s sense of smell is different, and some people may consider iodine a pleasant smell and actually be nauseated by the odor of an edible mushroom).
  • Pay attention to how the mushroom’s flesh changes color when cut or bruised. If you have some lye available, you can expose some mushroom flesh to it. In some instances, the color change and what the color changes to may be the best test you can use to confirm which species of mushroom you are dealing with.
  • What color are the spore prints? While it can take several hours for the spores to drop onto paper, they will give you some very important information that will help you identify the mushroom you are dealing with.
  • As with potatoes and some other foods we take for granted as being edible, some mushrooms need to be cooked in order to be edible. When scavenging for edible mushrooms, list this information as well so that you know how to prepare the mushroom safely after harvesting it.

14920747 – collection of edible mushrooms on white background

How to Choose Fungus for Starting Fires

Humans have been using mushrooms for survival for thousands of years. Certain kinds of mushrooms were widely favored for medicine, food, and even starting fires.

Knowing the characteristics of polypore mushrooms can give you an enormous advantage if you need to start a fire, or carry a smoldering ember from one place to another. There are also other strains of mushrooms for the same purpose, but they may not be as effective.

Do you wonder how to recognize a polypore? This mushroom type usually grows on rotting wood. You’ll notice ridges of hard material growing out from tree trunks, as well as near areas where the tree trunk is covered with moss.

Polypores usually have hard, almost woody caps that may have a smooth or rough texture. They may also be brown, gray, or multi-colored.

Some polypores also look like “shelves” extending from the surface they are growing on. Depending on the species of mushroom, they can grow quickly, while others may take years to produce a good sized cap.

If you look underneath the cap of a polypore, you will more than likely find tubes or pores instead of gills.

Even though the polypores grow on tree trunks, there are others that grow on or near the roots of trees. In many cases, these mushrooms form a symbiotic relationship with the trees: they can help the tree communicate with other trees in the area by sending certain chemical signals.

Mushrooms can also cleanse the soil of contaminants, or change the pH to one that is more amenable to the the tree species in question. Polypores may also offer increased resistance to disease, insects, and other organisms that might otherwise cause damage to the roots of the trees.

As you learn more about these kinds of polypores, you may be surprised at how many uses humans have for them.

Basic Steps for Starting a Fire With Mushrooms

Overall, you will find that it isn’t especially hard to start a fire using polypore mushrooms. Here are the steps you will need to take:

Start off by locating some woody polypore mushrooms. Do not be concerned if they have a hard outer surface that cannot be broken or cracked easily.

Take a knife or other sharp object, and dig into the cap. You should reach a soft interior that feels something like felt. Pull off the hard outer shell of the cap until you have the felty inner surface to work with.

Next, you can shred the inner soft part of the cap, or cut it into thin slices. You may also want to crush the soft part to make something of a chunky powder. If you can, try to set aside some slightly thicker slices. Later on, once you have the fire going, you can use these bits to make charcoal, and also something similar to tinder cloth.

To start a fire using mushrooms, simply use your favorite sparking method and then use the mushrooms for tinder. Even though the mushroom will smolder quite a bit, surrounding dry tinder will ignite easily enough.

Other Ways to Use Fungus for Starting Fires

Today, many people interested in survival and off gridding make it a point to study as many different ways to start a fire as possible. Human history is also filled with a number of interesting, albeit strange methods and devices. In this case, lets have a look at how the Vikings used Polypores to start fires, and also carry the embers need to start a new fire from one location to another.

As with most other methods used to build fires with polypores, the Vikings also started off by separating the hard outer shell from the soft interior. Next, they cut this cut the softer part into thin slices, and then beat them until the became soft and pliable.

After using a method similar to what you would use to make tinder cloth, only with the mushroom bits, the Vikings went on to boil the mushroom bits in urine. Since urine has sodium nitrate in it, the resulting charred mushroom ignited more easily. It would also smolder for days on end, which made it safer and easier to carry from one location to another.

If you don’t go camping very often, or have not had to try and live in the woods for a prolonged period of time, it is easy enough to dismiss mushrooms as a source of survival food and fire.

On the other hand, mushrooms are some of the oldest and most resilient organisms on the planet. This, in turn means that many catastrophic disasters that will wipe out other organisms may not do much damage to mushrooms.

It might take some work and effort to learn how to classify mushrooms, it will be well worth it. They might save your life one day!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

3 Ways to Enjoy Music While Off the Grid

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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love music. I have it playing the background all the time, even now as I write this. So naturally, I’ve put a lot of thought into how will I keep listening to music when the grid goes down. There’s a reason that music has been around for […]

The post 3 Ways to Enjoy Music While Off the Grid appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

6 Things You Must Know When Choosing A Biofilter

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If you are interested in building a homestead or want to live as well as possible while all the world is falling apart, you’ll have to face the challenge of sewage and waste disposal. On the other hand, there are so many pollutants in the air, ground, and water, that you will need a way to manage harmful toxins and chemicals on your own.

Biofilters can be used to manage these and other problems.

Do you know what to be aware of when buying a biofilter? Here’s what you should know before any acquisition. Keep reading!

What is a Biofilter?

If you have ever kept an aquarium or fish pond, then you may already be acquainted with the concept of a biofilter. Basically, these filters rely partly on mechanical media to remove debris, toxic gasses, and other pollutants from a surrounding substance that is pumped through the media.

The filter media is also used as a growing place for bacteria that can break down even more chemicals and turn them into something less dangerous. For example, in an aquarium or pond, nitrifying bacteria break down ammonia excreted by fish and turn it into nitrates. The nitrates, in turn, are used by plants which release oxygen into the water.

Modern biofilters for aquariums and ponds still rely on the same bacteria to keep the water clean and in as good a condition as possible for the fish living in it. Other biofilters are emerging to take care of many other needs.

Some use other kinds of bacteria, while others use fungi and other micro organisms. Since different chemicals and molecules require different micro-organisms to break them down, you will find that each filter has a specific purpose and may not be usable for other applications.

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

What a Biofilter Will and Won’t Clean

Basically, a biofilter can break down or “clean” just about anything that can be metabolized by the micro organisms living in the filter. Many are only available to businesses, government, or other commercial consumers, but biofilters for different purposes are making their way to the masses.

If you wonder what kinds of micro organisms are used for such a dirty job and what could they deliver, here are a few examples:

  • Bacteria that break down sludge and sewage – these biofilters are available to consumers at all levels. For example, you can buy sludge removers for drains as well as for septic systems. There are also composting toilets available that utilize these kinds of bacteria.
  • Bacteria used in hydroponics, ponds, and aquarium systems – you get these bacteria “for free” along with any fish you might buy, and there are also jump start bacteria that you can use to establish them even faster in a new aquarium or hydroponic setup. In addition, there are newer and more powerful biofilter/pump systems arriving on the market that take even more advantage of these filters to accommodate larger aquariums and volumes of water.
  • Bacteria that break down plastics – these bacteria are very important for dealing with plastic waste that you don’t want to bury or have leaching into the soil. These bacteria and appropriate media are not readily available to the public, but you can expect to see these devices making their way onto the market as the technology gets cheaper.
  • Bacteria and fungi that break down volatile organic compounds – these biofilters are not widely available. They are designed, however, to break down paints and toxic gaseous pollutants in the air. You may not be able to buy a biofilter for air filtration, but you could make your own. In this case, you can make a fairly large on using a fan to move contaminated air into a pipe that leads under a bed of peat, wood chips, straw, or other appropriate media. Today, these filters are being used on commercial farms that are located near residential areas affected by the odor from animals living on the farms. You can also build a similar system for a homestead, especially if you are going to keep large animals in a relatively small or enclosed area. You can still use the same fan and pipe arrangement for pushing contaminated air into a location where it will be exposed to the micro organisms in the filter.
  • Other filters for water, or mud (soil that has been liquefied enough to pass through the filter). Even though these filters may not be readily available, you can still get pumps that will move thick mud or sludge around. From there, you may devise your own screens and media, as you would for making a biofilter for the air.
  • Bacteria that break down radioactive materials – these bacteria are still being studied and researched to see if they can be used to manage nuclear waste sites as well as other locations that need to be cleaned up. Sadly, while many people are at risk from exposure to nuclear radiation and debris, it is not likely that appropriate bacteria and filter systems will be made available to the public anytime soon. Since these bacteria are also rare and notoriously difficult to find, it may not be possible to obtain them from natural settings.

How Different Filter Parts Work Together

Consider the power and durability of the pump that will be used to take the contaminated materials and move them through the filter media.

A weak pump will not work as quickly, and may also burn out as the media fills up or begins to clog from debris buildup. Overall, the stronger the motor, the better it will be. Even if you push the filter to its maximum limit, a stronger motor gives you room to expand as well as reduce the risk of break downs.

Filter size is also important. Larger filters media beds can accommodate more bacteria and also process more material at one time. This reduces the speed at which clogs will develop. A larger filter surface are can also reduce impact on the pump and filter because it has more area to pull a “smaller” amount of material through.

Ease of Cleaning the Filter

When people hear about biofilters, they often start off by thinking that the filter should never, or rarely need cleaning. For example, in an aquarium filter using floss, you may even have been told that the floss only needs to be rinsed from time to time.

While some filters last for a long time without clogging, others need a bit more care. In fact, if you don’t clean a biofilter, the clogging can easily damage the pump and motor as well as kill off the organisms that you need for breaking down toxins.

Since you will also need to avoid killing off the bacteria or fungi employed while cleaning the filter, ease of maintenance is important. Most filters on the market today use drop in cartridges or screens that can be rinsed out, but they can also be quite messy to work with, especially if they have been immersed in water or mud.

Take the time to look at the filter schematics before you buy.

If a floor model is available, find out if you can test assemble and disassemble a unit to see how you feel about it. There are few things worse than trying to install new filter media when the clamps get stuck, or some vital part is stuck in a place that is hard to see or reach. Spend a bit more on a filter that is easy to care for than a cheaper one that is harder to maintain.

Is it Possible to DIY Replacements and Repairs?

Some biofilters have flexible media, while others require special cartridges that cannot be substituted.

For example, if you are considering buying a biofilter for a pond, it may require special cartridges that cannot be rebuilt or substituted with something that you make yourself. Other filters have non-DIY cartridges because the media the micro organisms grow on may not be readily available at the consumer level. Some may require special plastic films, while others may only grow in special chemical solutions that are housed maintained in some kind of ceramic matrix.

Either way, this can pose a problem for off gridders and preppers that want to be completely sufficient. It can also pose a problem for anyone that buys a system, and then find out that they can no longer obtain filters for a unit that still works perfectly in every other way. These are just a few reasons why you should shop around for a filter that you can make replacement cartridges for if needed.

If you do some research on biofilters, you will find out that some are fairly easy to make.

Let’s say you want to use a biofilter to process pond water. As you browse through listings for these devices, you may find there are several dozen models on the market, each with a different size cartridge.

When building your own system, you can always find a motor and pump that will match the models you are looking at, and then build a canister that will accommodate multiple sized filter cartridges. Even if building a custom canister doesn’t save you money, at least you will still be able to keep the system going even if the preferred cartridges are not available.

In this case, a custom canister can also be of immense help if you want to make sure you can use alternative media.

For example, there is no such thing as an aquarium, pond, or hydroponics filter that can’t use floss fiber or a sponge as the supporting material for nitrifying bacteria. Even if you have to fold up old fabric or loosely woven sari cloth, it can be used as a matrix for the bacteria.

You can also use prefilters featuring tighter or looser weaves so that you disrupt as little bacteria as possible when you need to change these filters.

No matter how careful you are about choosing durable biofilter with a good quality motor and pump, eventually it will fail. Under these circumstances, you are best served by having a filter that has a pump and motor in an easily accessible location.

If you can’t do the repairs yourself, look for a filter with a bit more flexibility, able to swap out different motors and pumps and still have them fit in the casing.

Powering the Biofilter

Electric pumps and motors are very convenient devices, and when it comes to household current usage, they can also take quite a bit of current: the larger and stronger the device, the more power it will need.

If you don’t have a viable source of electricity, your biofilters will also stop working. This is just one of many reasons why you should think about pump mechanisms that will work without electricity. Here are some other options:

  • for pumping water you can use an Archimedes screw or a ram pump. You’ll need larger or more loosely packed filters and then let the water drain down into a catching receptacle before feeding it back into a pipe for use in the house.
  • Instead of using electric fans to push air into a filter, try gravity fans.
  • If you must process large amounts of mud or sewage, choose either a water wheel or some other device that can operate a non-electrical pump.
  • Depending on the devices you have at hand, you could generate small amounts of electricity. Instead of powering one large device, build networks of smaller systems able to effectively use the power you have at hand. Let’s say you can generate 12 volts of power with a solar backpack or some DIY solar system. Let’s also say you have built 4 of them, and can easily build several more. Rather than try to operate one large fan, pump or motor, focus on smaller motors that can run on what you have. From there, you may need to make smaller filters and clean them more often, however they will still get the job done.

As more people become interested in prepping and off gridding, biofilters are also emerging as a technology of interest. Whatever you need to clean – clean water, air, or soil, biofilters could be the solution.

Just remember that each item you want to clean may require a different filter because each toxin you need to break down may require a different micro organism that has specific growth requirements.

Having a wide range of biofilters onhand and knowing how to choose the proper one will help you a lot. You need clean water, so be sure you’ll be able to provide it for you and your family!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/manure-management-and-air-quality/air-quality/biofilter-design-information/

11 Ways To Stay Warm When You Have No Shelter

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Have you noticed the skyrocketing rate of homelessness that keeps growing since Obamacare and other harmful systems drain jobs, money, and energy from the economy?

Once the final blow comes that spells the beginning of large scale social collapse, the ability to find a shelter will be as scarce as food and water supplies.

Many preppers think they will be able to get into the woods and build shelters, or find some other means to avoid living exclusively outdoors. It will be even worse: a sheer number of problems might lead to illness and disability that will prevent you from building or effectively managing an existing shelter.

You don’t believe you may wind up homeless and disabled so you still need to know how to stay warm when you have no shelter and can’t build much of a fire.

Wear Clothing in Layers

When you know it is going to be cold, you may be tempted to wear the heaviest garments you can find, thinking that weight and dense fabric equate to warmth. On the other hand, the best way to keep heat in close to your body is to have more air pockets that within the clothing itself.

Wearing clothes in layers gives you better air pockets than wearing just one thick garment.

When layering your garments, choose materials that wick moisture away from your body for the innermost layers.  This will enable moisture to be pulled away from your skin, which will reduce the amount of cooling caused by sweat and evaporation from your skin.

Materials in the outer layers should focus more on acting as wind breakers and moisture blocks. Plastics, vinyl, or other non-permeable materials will work well for the outermost layer.

Make sure the outermost layers are large enough to leave some air space between each garment. Remember, you are aiming to keep warm trapped near your body, not simply press a bunch of garments together in order to mimic thicker fabric.

Wear Black or Dark Colors

No matter what you are doing, black, or dark materials will absorb heat and radiation while white or shiny ones will deflect it. Typically, when it is cold, wearing dark colors will enable the fabrics to absorb heat from the sun or any other source of heat that reaches you.

Wear Extra Socks and Large Shoes

As with layering your garments, the best way to keep your feet warm is to wear layers of socks.

Once again, you will need to choose socks that wick better for the inner layers. This will reduce the risk of foot infections from excess moisture as well as help keep your feet warm and comfortable.

Until you’ve walked several miles on a daily basis, you may not realize that bigger shoes truly are more comfortable than ones that seem to “fit just right”. Always look for shoes that have a little extra room in the toes and around the widest part of your foot.

Larger shoes give you more room to layer socks, and they will also reduce problems associated with callouses and foot cramps. If you find that you have too much room around your ankles, just go ahead and wrap them in some fabric and put a brace behind your heels.

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

Pay Attention to Your Extremities

No matter how warm you manage to keep the core of your body, your arms, legs, hands, feet, and head are going to feel cold a lot faster. These are also the parts of your body that will develop frost bite fastest, so keep them as warm as possible.

To keep temperatures more, slip something thin and flexible into your gloves and shoes that will retain heat. This may be as simple as tin foil or anything else that warms up quickly and can be reused with little effort.

You can also use layers of fabric, plastic, or vinyl to keep heat in as much as possible. Just remember, though for hands and feet, you may need to loosen the plastic from time to time in order to let moisture escape.

Keep Your Head Well Covered

Fur and hair are both excellent insulators, but on the other hand, as an extremity, your head is also an area of your body where you will lose a lot of heat.

Here are some inexpensive things you can do to prevent heat from escaping from your head and neck area in cold weather:

  • Wear a hat with a face mask that you can tuck into the neck area of your innermost garments, to keep the heat close to your body and also help redistribute it if needed. You can easily knit or crochet a hat like this and make it custom fit for your needs.
  • The outermost shell of your garments should have a hood that can be used as a wind breaker and water barrier.
  • Make sure you can cover your nose and mouth to keep them as warm as possible. A black towel or anything else that will keep the cold out can be used for this purpose. You’ll need to leave some openings for ventilation, but you can still reduce heat loss by arranging the garment folds to keep most of the heat near your face.

Use Plastic as an Insulator

Anything from plastic grocery bags to trash bags, and even plastic table cloths can all be used as insulators.  When using plastic as an insulator against the cold remember to:

  • Choose plastics that are as durable as possible. Even though smaller sized trash bags may be cheaper, the larger construction strength bags are almost as heavy as black plastic commonly used for killing weeds. Heavier plastic will last longer and develop fewer weak points created as you move around.
  • Use black or other dark colored plastic as it will help retain heat from the sun or any other external source that you can find.
  • Make sure that you can vent moisture easily from the plastic on a routine basis without losing heat.  For example, if you have a flat sheet of plastic, arrange the layers so you can loosen different areas easily and let the moisture out from them without losing heat in other areas.
  • Avoid using tape or anything else that will pull on the plastic or create holes when you have to loosen the plastic. If you do need to secure the plastic, use light weight rope or even yarn to  form a seal between the plastic and your inner garments.
  • Avoid using plastic right next to your body because water evaporation from your skin can spell disaster and lead to both skin infections and increased risk of frost bite.

Control Moisture

Even though wearing layers of garments can help with moisture control, you should also know what parts of your body are going to sweat the most and cause problems.

For example, if you sweat a lot between your shoulder blades or tend to have sweaty feet, you must always pay extra attention to these areas. Among other things, you can try using an extra towel in these areas, and then change it out every few hours for a dry one.

Avoid using chemical antiperspirants as they can easily irritate your skin even more.  They also may not be easily replaced, which will leave you with another problem on your hands. If you are dealing with a social collapse or a scenario where you cannot buy something to replace what was used, chemicals like this will be a waste of time.

Hot Water Bottles or Other Devices

When it comes to retaining heat, few materials absorb it or hold it as well as water.  Therefore, hot water bottles offer a good way to retain heat near your body and also store any heat you can get from an external source.

A hot water bottle can serve to keep you warm and also meet other needs. In particular, today, you can buy a batch of collapsible, clear plastic, flexible water bottles that can be used to store water and also purify it. All you have to do is leave the bottles in the sun and let them heat up.

If the weather is especially cold, use a cardboard solar oven to increase heat capture.  Once they are warm enough, simply insert them into different layers of clothes. Since you can buy different sized bottles, it is possible to find ones that will suit your needs.

Balloons will also work in a pinch, however you may not be able to get more than one or two uses from them.  They also cannot be used for killing off bacteria in water because UV rays from the sun may not be able to get through the material as easily as they can through clear plastic.

Eat High Calorie or Fatty Foods

If you have ever been on an extended hike, or had to do a lot of physical work in one day, you also increased your caloric intake to meet those needs. Your body uses a tremendous amount of energy when you are out in cold temperatures. Choose foods that your body can turn into energy very quickly, as well ones that will help you stay warm.

This includes fatty foods as well as ones that are fried. If you are looking for the perfect excuse to eat some bacon, fried chicken, or anything else that is usually off the menu because of caloric concerns, being out in the cold with no shelter is a good excuse!

Insofar as food stores, you can also store away foods high in carbohydrates and consume them at regular intervals.

Along with high calorie foods, drink plenty of water. Even if you are feeling cold or chilly, your body is still doing a lot of work to try and maintain a safe temperature, which means you will be using a lot of water, and also sweating more than you might expect.

Keeping hydrated will prevent you from getting sick and also help you stay warmer as your body will be able to carry out necessary tasks as efficiently as possible.

Travel During Night Hours

As simple as it may sound, traveling during night hours is a simple, cost effective way to stay warm.  Since temperatures are warmer during the day hours, you can use this time to sleep or rest, as the sun and other resources will give you some extra heat.

This is also a good time to stay stationary and heat up water bottles or harness other heat sources that you happen to have come across in your travels.

Chances are you already know that your body temperature drops when you are sleeping.  If you are already out in the cold, this can spell disaster. On the other hand, when you are awake and moving around, your body produces more heat. Therefore, when you travel at night, you are producing more heat at time when less is available from the sun.

Build a Portable Solar Heater and Solar Cooker

No matter how cold it may be, the sun will still rise and provide heat for a few hours each day.  Here are two things you can adapt for your needs even if you do not have shelter:

  • You can make a solar heater from tin cans and a few scraps of wood and glass. Simply substitute the wood and glass for lighter weight metal and clear plastic, and you will have a portable solar heater. Count on using about 15 – 20 empty cans. You can pipe warm water or warm air in as close to your body as possible. You can use flexible plastic airline tubing (½ inch will work) in the layers of your clothes to transport both water and air, and a battery operated pump for more efficient circulation. If you are in one location during the day, this can truly be one of the most important pieces of equipment you have on hand.
  • A cardboard box solar cooker.  You can use this device to heat up everything from your dinner and water bottles to bricks and rocks that can be used to retain heat.

When you cannot start a fire and have no shelter, it can be very dangerous for you to be out in the cold weather. While you may not want to think about being homeless or what will drive you to this situation, it is still very important to know how to stay warm without shelter and a fire.

You can devote some of your survival budget to a set of garments and gear that can be used to keep you as warm and comfortable as possible even when the temperatures are freezing and you have nothing else to work with.

You’ll always find a way to survive if you have the will to practice your skills and prepare for survival!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia

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 – www.gunnewsdaily.com.  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.

Solar Storms and Earthquakes – Science or Pseudoscience?

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Solar activity probably has more to do with life here on Earth than we give it credit for. We know that life, as we know it, couldn’t exist without the light and warmth we receive from the sun.

Yet the sun causes us lots of problems too, between the ultraviolet light it emits and the frequent solar storms. The latest warnings issued these days confirm it.

Keep reading to find out more!

The Carrington Event of 1859 caused one of the largest geomagnetic storms of history. Just last year NASA was warning us of a repeat performance, which we narrowly escaped. The difference is, if a coronal mass ejection hit the Earth’s magnetosphere today, the EMP would most likely destroy the electrical grid and most electronics.

But even on a smaller scale, the activity of the sun affects us. The CB radio craze of the 1970s was killed by electromagnetic interference, which was caused by sunspots. Radio interference of all kinds is linked to such sunspot activity.

Even the constant change of our world’s climate has been proven to be linked to solar activity, not CO2, like the global warming alarmists would have us believe. So, our sun has the ability to do great good, but also the ability to do great harm and it has no conscience to guide it.

While concerns about a coronal mass ejection and the potential EMP it would cause are with us at all times, there are other things the sun is blamed for, which are one time, or at least very infrequent events.

One such is the recent concern of the current sunstorm causing a massive increase in earthquake activity.

Earthquakes exist all the time, proving that there are massive forces at work inside the Earth. But most of those earthquakes are small enough that they are not noticed by anyone except the sensitive seismic equipment that records them.

However, earthquake activity has been on the upswing here in the United States.

Part of that is due to fracking, which requires splitting underground shale deposits by pumping pressurized water into the ground. But those are extremely localized, mild earthquakes, most of which fall into the category of not being recognizable by people on the ground above them.

There has also been an increase in earthquake activity in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park and the supervolcano it enshrines.

Between Science and Pseudoscience

In some circles, this is raising concerns about a possible eruption, an even that could have dire consequences for a large part of the United States. While scientists still say that we are safe from such an event, an increase in seismic activity in the area around an earthquake is one of the signs that the Earth gives us of a pending eruption .

But now we’re hearing warnings about this solar storm causing a potential increase in earthquake activity, with the potential of earthquakes having a magnitude of as much as six to seven. But there is no real historic scientific evidence to point to a connection between solar activity and earthquakes.

I suppose if the sun’s activity were to produce enough geomagnetic force, it could have an effect on the Earth, even to the point of causing enough pressure to be responsible for the movement of the plates which make up our planet’s surface.

Were that to happen, we would have earthquakes caused by the sun. But the amount of magnetic force required to cause such an event would probably be much more severe than what we see from current solar activity. I propose that it would be strong enough to also trigger an EMP.

Studies have been undertaken, looking at the possibility of a correlation between solar flares (solar storms) and earthquake activity from January 1991 to January 2007.

While it has been shown that all 682 earthquakes of a magnitude of 4.0 or larger were preceded by a solar flare, not all solar flares were followed by earthquakes. So, while solar flares might still have some relation to earthquakes, there is no conclusive evidence that they do.

This indicates that belief that solar flares cause earthquakes is actually pseudoscience, defined as “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method”, according to dictionaries.

Our modern world is filled with pseudoscience. Most conservatives regard global warming (by whatever name) as pseudoscience. Christians who accept the biblical account of creation see the theory of evolution, which is universally taught as science, as nothing more than pseudoscience. The favor is returned by those who believe in evolution, calling creationism pseudoscience based upon ancient myths.

Likewise, there are many forms of pseudoscience that you can find cropping up within the prepping community.

The idea of the Earth’s magnetic field shifting, supposedly demonstrated by places in the Atlantic Ocean where the magnetic field is reversed, is a pure case of pseudoscience. In this particular case, it demonstrates an important thing we must realize in regard to any pseudoscience.

That is, it is theories, usually based on incomplete and untrue information, which are presented as if they were the TRUTH.

In the case of the supposedly reversed magnetic fields, the conclusion is based upon a false presentation of data.

Oceanographic studies of the Earth’s magnetic field have shown that there are places in the deep ocean where the level of magnetic force vary. The graph I saw shows a variance in almost a sine wave pattern.

But here’s where the problem comes in. Someone arbitrarily drew a line through the middle of that wave, just as would be done with alternating current. In AC, such a line designates a point of zero voltage. So it’s natural to read the graph of the magnetic variance in the same way, giving an interpretation of a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Could the Earth’s magnetic field actually shift? Yes, it can.

The earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant was severe enough to shift the Japanese coastline eight feet and cause a slight realignment of the Earth’s magnetic poles by four inches.

But that was an earthquake measured 8.9, the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history. If you’re doing the math yourself, you see that to actually cause the Earth’s poles to reverse would require 262,954,560 times that amount of force.

This is the type of thing that makes something pseudoscience. While I have just demonstrated that it is theoretically possible for the Earth’s poles to reverse, I have also shown that it would take an astronomical amount of force to make it happen; a force great enough that there’s just as much a possibility of it tearing the Earth apart.

Pseudoscience with a Goal

So why should we care? The fact is, pseudoscience is most often used to generate fear, causing people who hear about it to react in the way that the person presenting it wants them to.

That’s why global warming is always presented as something that can and will end life as we know it.

If they were to tell us the truth about their own data and their own computer models, most people would simply shrug and say, “So what?”

It’s hard to get scared about a potential rise of two degrees in temperature over the next 100 years, especially when you take into consideration that the Earth has already survived periods which were considerably warmer than that. But then, you can’t make money off of saying “Don’t worry folks, it’s just going to get a touch warmer.”

It is easy to sell pseudoscience to uninformed, uneducated people. That’s why low information voters are willing to go along with the whole global warming scam.

But we, those of us who are concerned about the future and about protecting our families from it, must watch out that we don’t fall into the same trap.

Yes, the world is full of risks and danger. Yes, much of the fear mongering that is spread around the internet has some basis in fact, but that doesn’t make it true. In many cases, the potential effects of such an event happening are so low, as to be negligible.

On the other hand, don’t let the true dangers get lost in the midst of the hue and cry of false risks. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a real risk, as are those of Iran.

A coronal mass ejection is a real risk too. So is the possibility of an economic collapse. For that matter, the lowering of our aquifers and the potential lack of water that may cause is a real problem too, albeit one that will take some time to realize.

So was the Ebola outbreak that happened a couple of years ago.

You are the only one who can decide what you should believe and what you should prepare for. That means you must take the time to educate yourself, sifting through the mass of false information and fake news on the internet, and finding the gems of truth, which will tell you what the real risks out there are.

Take action on those, and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way! Being ready to survive a blackout is one big step to take!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/alerts-watches-and-warnings 

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUSMIN33A..03J

 

7 Survival Movies To Watch And Learn

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Call me old-school, but when it comes to having massive fun indoors (especially with your friends and family), nothing beats watching a good movie while enjoying a cold beer and the traditional popcorn.

It’s also common knowledge that most people would enjoy a proper disaster flick, the likes of 2012, Deep Impact or Armageddon. Disaster movie stories are usually centered on people trying to survive extraordinary circumstances and events.

Now, from a prepper’s point of view, watching a survival movie is something like a sporting event for a normie, and I am talking about what tickles your fancy, so to speak.

While regular folk enjoy watching a good game of football or various TV series/shows (OK, we love doing that too), we preppers also like to watch and debate survival/disaster movies as a way to exercise their prepper mindset and to discuss what the hero’s next move should be, what he or she does good or wrong and what’s absolutely ludicrous.

Sometimes, they’re just a great comedy!

Basically, a good survival movie encourages preppers to think strategically and to imagine their own behavior in a SHTF situation. In my view, well-made survival movies (scarce though they are) are beyond entertainment, being more like a training session of sorts, if you know what I mean.

Also, watching survival movies with your family members (and prepper friends alike) and commenting “live” as things happen on the screen encourages you to think critically about SHTF situations. Also, you try to predict the outcome of a bad decision or a good one made by the hero, with an emphasis on boneheaded ones, which are  often the norm.

Even if Hollywood (read the motion-picture industry) usually produces tons of garbage, now and then a true gem of a survival movie appears almost magically. These rare flicks give us ideas and thoughts on how to prepare for when SHTF.

It really doesn’t matter what a movie is about, as long as we’re talking about a plausible scenario, such as in 2012 or San Andreas, or even a good old zombie/alien movie.

What’s important from a prepper’s perspective is to see and analyze how regular people may possibly react in extraordinary circumstances; that’s what will provide you with food for thought.

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

So, after this relatively long preamble, let me share with you what I’ve learned after watching dozens of disaster movies, all of them loaded with awesome survival tactics.

First, teamwork is essential for your survival, despite the “lone wolf” mentality many preppers seem to (wrongfully, in my opinion) have. When a disaster strikes, chances are good that you’ll not going to be “solo.”

Working as a team will increase the chances of survival. There’s strength in numbers and there’s also a thing called the division of labor because you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s been obvious since the dawn of man on Earth.

Also, we’re social animals, centered on community (family, tribe, etc.). Lone wolves sound great in theory, but in real life, even wolves hunt in packs and are social animals.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

To give you an example of fine teamwork from a survival flick, let’s take Dawn of the Dead, an awesome 2004 movie which tells the story of a group of survivors (and we’re using that word really loosely) taking refuge inside a shopping center during a zombie apocalypse.

As more of them arrive in the shopping mall, they realize that they’ll have to stick together and work as a team in order to withstand the hordes of (not so smart) zombies.

Also, Dawn of the Dead teaches you about the importance of planning and preparing: having a good refuge, an escape plan, of being able to determine who’s to be trusted and who’s not and, most importantly, that a group’s cohesion is given by its weakest link (there’s an asshole in every group of random people).

Oh, and on that note, you also learn that sometimes you don’t have to be the smartest one in the group as long as you’re not the dumbest one. I’m kidding, sort of.

Video first seen on Movieclips.

Another lesson learned from watching disaster flicks is that it’s critical to know the risks of your geographical location (as in knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses) in a SHTF situation.

Food for thought: if your city is close to a nuclear plant or in front of a big dam, in the case of a catastrophic earthquake or a nasty meteor impact, or why not, a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure, well, you’ll be forced to deal with some serious issues. Here, the value of an escape plan and escape route comes into play big time.

Also, it would help to understand the science of your region, especially if you live in places like California or Yellowstone. You got the picture.

San Andreas (2015)

Think along the lines of San Andreas, the 2015 movie which is loaded with awesome survival strategies and lessons. San Andreas depicts the horrifying consequences of a massive earthquake in California as a rescue chopper pilot makes a perilous  journey across the state to save his daughter.

Watching the movie, you’ll understand a little bit about human psychology.

For example, in a disaster, especially one of epic proportions, ownership of property becomes a fiction, i.e. emergency stuff can be found in a home or, in the movie, a car that isn’t yours if the situation really calls for it, and looting occurs in a matter of hours, not days. Hence, remember to have your gun for self-defense ready, locked and loaded at all times.

Also, the first few moments after SHTF are critical for one’s survival; if you panic and give in to mental chaos, you’ll just end up as yet another casualty/statistic. Do not freak out, and try to get over that state of shock ASAP, as this will give you a critical advantage over those unprepared for such an event.

Video first seen on Km Music.

The thing is, even in B-rated movies you can see a fact of life: people panic rather quickly and behave badly and stupidly, as life-threating events bring out the worst in many of us.

As shown in many disaster flicks, including San Andreas, the police and firefighters will bail in order to take care of their own families, and that’s quite understandable. The lesson to be taken home is that you can’t rely on the government to protect or save you.

Also, having some basic physics and engineering knowledge couldn’t hurt.

In the aftermath of a major disaster, whether it’s a terrorist attack or an earthquake or whatever, panicked people do the dumbest things imaginable, and that’s another true fact of life, unfortunately.

And that’s due to one’s shattered cognitive dissonance, i.e. modern-day people (especially city dwellers) are used to living their boring and safe lives in the complete absence of any clear and present danger.

They’ve become complacent and take that perceived “safety” for granted. When the universe explodes around them, they’ll behave like the proverbial chicken without a head, while others will be stunned, in shock and awe, and completely incapable of doing the most basic things like running for cover.

The Road (2009)

Another great survival flick is The Road, a movie released in 2009 that tells the story of a man and his young son as they travel by foot in a post-apocalyptic world through the mountains, searching for an illusory safe haven before the coming winter.

The theme of the movie is survival by any means necessary. What’s very shocking about this flick is the accurate way it portrays the dark side of mankind, the way people will resort to anything, even cannibalism, in order to survive.

Video first seen on 0noyfb.

The movie will teach you how to be careful when approaching strangers (not all people think like you, nor are they Good Samaritans), how to carry your survival gear over long distances, and that starvation is not an event but a long and painful process.

Also, having a gun and enough ammo will save your life, while keeping the fire (as in never stop fighting for a good cause) is quintessential. Your faith, provided you’re a “good guy,” will guide you and help your actions, yet you’ll have to be prepared to kill bad people, or you’ll end up getting killed. Also, you’ll learn that groups of desperate people are extremely dangerous and may kill you, or get you killed, for nothing really.

The Day after Tomorrow (2004)

Another disaster movie worth watching is The Day after Tomorrow. This movie depicts survival techniques in extremely low temperatures following the world freezing via a man-provoked ice-age.

Video first seen on Luis Trejo.

What to learn from? Big cities are very difficult to escape in case of a SHTF scenario, i.e. you’ll have to consider relocating if possible and always plan for bad weather conditions.

Zombieland (2009)

A very funny survival flick to watch is Zombieland, which makes for yet another post-zombie-apocalypse survival movie. Watching this gem, which is hilarious to say the least, you’ll understand why you should create a comprehensive set of rules to increase your survival chances.

The first rule of survival: cardio is essential! As in, stay in good shape. Also, people in distress will try to trick you, steal your stuff, and then leave you stranded; this is a trait of the human nature.

Video first seen on Video Clips HD.

Also, don’t scare folks if you don’t want to get shot and Twinkies make for the ultimate survival food (the last one is debatable).

The Edge (1997)

The Edge is the story of a billionaire who survives a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, together with two of his friends. This movie depicts in a very accurate manner how people react under stress when confronted with unfamiliar situations.

Also you get how important it is to have basic survival skills, such as knowing basic first aid methods, how to navigate sans gear, how to improvise a compass, how to build basic weapons such as spears, and how to defend yourself against predators.

Video first sen on blackruskie.

Finally, this epic saga emphasizes the importance of knowledge, smarts, and skills over the oh-so-common macho-ninja stuff and special effects.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is the true story of a guy named Christopher McCandles who died stupidly as he abandoned his privileged life and adventured into the wild, searching for adventure.

Video first seen on carinemccandless.

The thing is that this guy had absolutely no idea about wilderness survival, no skills, and basically no gear. And yes, he died of starvation in a cabin, which is pretty pathetic, to say the least.

The lesson to be taken home after watching this movie is to never go out in the wild unprepared. Life in the wilderness is not romantic, but a savage and brutal struggle for survival 24/7/365.

The importance of having the right mindset first of all is not a matter to be taken lightly in an outdoors survival situation.

Bottom line, have you seen a good survival movie recently? What did you think? Do you have any survival lessons to add? Share your thoughts in the dedicated section below!

EMP Survival Q&A: Would Nuclear HEMP Cause Fallout?

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Can you imagine something worse than an EMP, a disaster that would take us 100 years back?

It doesn’t takes lives in seconds, but rather takes away much of the means of supporting life in a modern culture.

But what if you add a nuclear blast to this scenario?

Mix in the radiation and it gets even worse. right? The world itself would be a radioactive hell, how could anyone survive it? Keep reading to find out the truth!

HEMP (High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse) is produced when a nuclear weapon is detonated above approximately 20 km (66,000’) altitude, but optimal altitude to affect the greatest area possible of the lower 48 states would be 350-450 km.

While the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon used to create HEMP would not likely produce enough fallout to harm people on the ground, it would still be prudent to ready your radiation detection and protection gear.

The Fallout Danger

The real risk of fallout out in this situation would not come from the HEMP or the detonation of the weapon used to generate it, but from escalation of force or the possibility that the HEMP is used to blind radar preceding a nuclear attack.

The fact of the matter is that if nuclear weapons are used in an HEMP attack against any major nuclear power, there is a very real possibility that it could provoke a retaliatory nuclear response.

In 1995, the world was nearly plunged into global thermonuclear war because Russian radar technicians were not properly notified of the launch of a Norwegian sounding rocket, which was mistaken for a US submarine-launched Trident missile. A principle attack scenario Russia plans for is an EMP first strike by the USA from the Barents Sea to take down their radar in preparation for a nuclear first strike.

The missile would only be in the air for about 10 minutes. That is all the time Russia had to decide and it took 8 of those 10 minutes to determine that the missile was headed away from instead of toward Moscow. The US plans for Russia to attack using essentially a mirror of the same tactic.

Because this tactic is so basic to nuclear warfare strategy, it boggles my mind that analysts (though typically scientists as opposed to soldiers) regularly predict that this country or that would somehow see clearly through the fog of war in the wake of a nuclear HEMP attack and respond to it differently than any other nuclear attack.

Add on top of this, the fact that the HEMP would take their radar off-line it becomes doubly unlikely. Then add that some countries have plainly stated that they would not differentiate between high altitude nuclear attacks and ground or air bursts and it becomes triply so.

The fact of the matter is that it is entirely possible that a HEMP strike against any major nuclear power could trigger a broader nuclear exchange. I get that this outcome is very uncomfortable to consider and that even otherwise rational folks tend to project what they imagine they would do in a theoretical situation if they were the individual with their finger on the nuclear trigger.

They opine that cooler, more rational heads would somehow prevail despite the fact that a nuclear power just got nuked and most communications and radar are down because they cannot imagine any rational person taking a course of action that would condemn millions of Americans to death.

While I would agree that a lesser retaliatory response is likely in response to a lower altitude attack against a single city or localized region, I am not so optimistic that the fog of war in the wake of a high-altitude EMP attack would be easily penetrated.

Since uncertainty about a rocket launch years after the end of the cold war brought us to the brink of nuclear war, I cannot reasonably conclude that an actual nuclear first strike most likely would not result in a response, especially at a time when nuclear threats have already been issued.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

About the Fallout

Nuclear weapons detonate so energetically that a tremendous vacuum is created in the wake of the blast. A shockwave, blinding light and intense heat are produced, so much heat, that matter inside or sucked into the fireball is vaporized.

When detonated at or near ground level, the vacuum lofts enormous volumes of vaporized dirt and debris up into the stratosphere, forming the characteristic mushroom cloud commonly associated with the use of nuclear weapons.

As the mushroom cloud forms, the vaporized material cools and condenses, forming solid particles. The mushroom cloud of cooling radioactive dust and ash is then dispersed and carried by the wind until it falls back to earth as “fallout.”

While the alpha particles emitted by the radioactive decay of fallout do not penetrate deeply (they can be blocked by a sheet of paper, your skin or a few centimeters of air) they are extremely damaging when concentrated and orders of magnitude more damaging when inhaled or ingested.

Fallout can be inhaled into your lungs and stick to anywhere you sweat, particularly the insides of elbows, backs of knees, neck, arm pits, etc. If exposed to fallout, there are a few things you can do:

  • Seek professional decontamination from trained first responders, if available.
  • Remove clothing and shoes. This alone can remove 90% of contamination. Bag and label for disposal. If this is not expedient due to cold or heat exposure risk, at least remove outer layers and shoes.
  • Use a radiation survey meter to do a full body survey, if available.
  • Remember that external contamination is far less harmful than internal contamination. Angle water so that it carries contamination away from skin, not over more skin or into eyes, ears, nose or mouth.
  • Gently clean skin with tepid water and mild soap with neutral ph. Cold water closes pores trapping contamination and can cause hypothermia. Hot water opens pores enabling particles to penetrate the skin, aggravates thermal burns and you should not breath the water vapor (steam) as it will carry isotopes cleaned off skin. Do not scrub or rub the skin excessively. Excessive scrubbing will do more harm than good. If running water is not available, use a damp cloth. If water is not available use Fuller’s Earth clay, clay or clayey soil.
  • Rise and gently shampoo hair. Do not use conditioner since it bonds particles to hair. Do not shave hair or skin. Knicks compromise the barrier skin naturally provides. Contaminated hair can be clipped if shampooing is ineffective.
  • Wipe eye lids and ears with damp sterile swabs, if available. If not available, use a clean, damp cloth. Gently blow nose and swab nostrils with sterile swabs, if available. If swabs are tested with survey meter, the swabs must be allowed to dry before surveying for alpha-emitting radioisotopes.
  • Brush teeth and rinse frequently.
  • Rise with 3% hydrogen peroxide for pharyngeal contamination.
  • Use a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per patient.
  • Use a radiation survey meter to do another full body survey, if available.
  • Cover any areas of residual radiation with waterproof dressings to prevent contamination of clean areas.

How to Protect Against Fallout Exposure

A basic understanding of how to protect yourself from fallout can greatly reduce exposure. Time, shielding and distance are your allies.

  • Time – intensity of radiation produced by fallout diminishes over time. The mix of isotopes resulting is complex with some persisting longer than others, so rate of decay can only be estimated, but between two days and two weeks, radiation levels will be less than 1% of their initial intensity. The longer you can stay sheltered, the lower radiation levels will be outside.
  • Shielding – the greater the density of materials between you and the radiation, the less radiation will reach you. Earth surrounding a basement, concrete or masonry walls or sandbags provide a measure of shielding from radiation.
  • Distance – taking shelter in the center of large, multistory building is more effective than in a room nearer and outer wall or the roof. The center of the deepest floor underground would be safest. The same reasoning applies in your own home.

How Situational Awareness Works in case of HEMP

Many preppers invest a great deal of resources in bug out bags, vehicles and locations but would likely sleep through any warning of an HEMP or nuclear strike for lack of a Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio to receive an alert and automatically warn them in time to get to a shelter. They run $30-$70 and are an oft-overlooked must have that saves many lives every year from a broad range of threats.

After a nuclear attack, there will be many potentially life and death questions and a shortage of information. Is there fallout outside the shelter? Are we being exposed to radiation? How much? Is it safe to go outside and for how long?

Communication infrastructure will likely be severely damaged, especially if the nuclear ground attack is preceded by an HEMP attack. Radiation detection equipment will likely be the only reliable way to answer these questions. An accurate radiation detection instrument can be built using materials you probably have around the house.

If you choose to purchase equipment, research the instrument you purchase carefully because many civil defense meters are not accurate at some exposure levels and some dosimeters detect ranges of exposure to low to be of much use in nuclear war. After you make your purchases, have your equipment tested and calibrated.

Video first seen on CrypticCRICKET

Even though high altitude nuclear detonations don’t pose a significant fallout risk, any time nukes are popping off, you might consider breaking out the radiation detection equipment and take precautions as opposed to placing your trust in the powers that be.

You are responsible for the safety of your family, not the government, so do not sit around and wait for them to inform you of when it is time to “get off the X” or not. Blind trust did not work out so well for residents of Utah and Nevada after US nuclear testing and they paid a truly terrible price.

Charging and wearing a radiation dosimeter is no big deal. They are about the size of pen, clip to your clothing and measure your exposure to radiation over time.

About High Altitude Burst

When a burst occurs high in the atmosphere, as it would in an HEMP attack, the vacuum it creates cannot loft tons of dirt from the soil which would become fallout in a ground burst, so there would not be a mushroom cloud.

There are still atoms and molecules up there, but the higher up the weapon is detonated, the less matter there is for the leftover fission product to activate and the less fallout is produced. While too little is produced to be a concern at ground level, past high altitude nuclear tests did create bands of radiation in the atmosphere that damaged low earth orbiting satellites as they passed through them.

Up to one-third of low earth orbit satellites in orbit at the time were damaged in some way, and some were rendered useless, so even though fallout would not be a direct danger to folks on the ground, it could still end up affecting us to the degree we are dependent on satellites.

Nuclear Weapon Type & Yield

Creating a high EMP field strength does not require a very powerful nuclear weapon, certainly not a large warhead capable of destroying a city in a nuclear blast near ground level.

Fission weapons in the 2-10 kiloton range (small as nukes go) area far more efficient use of fissile material than thermonuclear (fission-fusion-fission) weapons, making them a very attractive option for nations with small nuclear programs or even a determined terrorist organization, should they succeed in procuring a suitable weapon. A relatively small weapon such as a nuclear artillery shell, could result in tremendous disruption and loss of life if detonated at sufficient altitude.

An ERW (Enhanced Radiation Weapon), similar in design to a neutron bomb, is a class of low yield tactical thermonuclear (fission-fusion) weapons. Neutron bombs minimize blast and heat to maximize dangerous ionizing radiation and gamma yield which is what causes the E1 component of EMP.

The idea behind the neutron bomb was that it could kill enemy soldiers while minimizing civilian casualties and damage to the infrastructure that sustains them. Although it may sound like a contradiction in terms, the neutron bomb was intended to be a more humane nuclear weapon. While the blast radius of a neutron bomb may be as small as a few hundred meters, the highly lethal ionizing radiation produced can penetrate several feet of soil or the armor of a tank disabling exposed troops within a few minutes and killing them within a couple of days.

ERW’s are more effective at producing HEMP than nuclear weapons designed to destroy cities and military bases. Like neutron bombs, trading blast and heat for higher gamma and neutron yield means that they punch far above their weight class when it comes to create HEMP. Creating an ERW is probably what North Korea’s last test was. Such a weapon, detonated at altitude, could potentially create field strengths far more intense than 50Kv/m.

This is important because that number is used as a standard for shielding against EMP and was derived by analysis of the Starfish Prime nuclear test data from 1962 which is not classified. That test used a regular thermonuclear warhead which was not designed for optimal EMP yield.

High altitude EMP only really began to be understood after that test produced 1000x the EMP of tests at ground level. Since then, military scientists have had many decades to develop ERW weapons and in 2004, Russian generals testified that their ERW designs were “accidentally leaked” to North Korea. Because of the development of ERWs, the shielding protecting many of our critical systems may be insufficient.

No matter what, you have to be prepared, able to help yourself and your family in case of a total blackout! Click the banner below for more!

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

Resources:
http://www.abomb1.org/pdf/kfm_inst.pdf

This Is How To Build A Rubber Band Engine

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The rubber band engine is cheap and easy to make, and can be adapted easily enough to run on heat from a solar capture device.

This type of engine isn’t the most efficient device, but if you have been looking into power generation systems, then you already know that most systems are inefficient.

To generate a reasonable amount of electricity, the device either has to be very large or made from materials that are very expensive. Add in the cost of batteries and voltage regulators, and it may seem impossible to gain energy independence.

But why wouldn’t give this little fellow a chance and try to make one for your homestead?

How Does a Rubber Band Engine Work?

I have long been a fan of work with smaller devices that generate small amounts of energy, and then pooling that electricity to gain a reasonable amount of power.

While the rates may vary considerably, as well as the amount of heat required, most solid objects will expand when you heat them and contract when they cool. Rubber is like water in the sense that it will also expand as it cools and contract as it heats up. Unlike water, however, it takes much less heat to cause rubber to contract. Therefore, when arranged in combination with metals or other materials, heating up rubber will cause an object to disbalance. This “disbalancing” will cause the object to spin. As the object spins, you can use that motion to generate electricity with magnets and coils.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

Will Something Other Than Rubber Bands Work?

Thinking about materials that you can easily obtain, there are no substitutes that will work as well as rubber bands, or be as cheap to obtain in this particular energy generating design.

There are some things you can try and also look for as new technologies emerge:

  • Metals expand and contract at different rates. Therefore, it is possible to obtain alloys that expand much faster when heated, and also cools and contracts faster when away from a heat source. Unfortunately, it may take a bit more energy than it would take to create the same amount of change in a rubber band.
  • If you decide to work with metal alloys, try and see if a spring shape works better than something similar to rubber bands. As the spring relaxes and tenses, some additional capacity to turn the wheel may be produced from this shape.
  • Water is the only other readily available substance that expands as it turns to ice, and then contracts as it shifts from ice back to water. It takes a good bit of energy to cause water to shift between its four phases of solid, water, gas, and triple state. Nevertheless, if you work with smaller quantities of water and generate small amounts of steam that are held in tubes, it may be possible to push a wheel out of balance in a way similar to one of the most basic rubber band engine designs.
  • As research continues on nano-technologies and other studies that lead to development of new materials, it is entirely possible that some solid will emerge that behaves like rubber. If this material turns out to be more durable than rubber bands, then it may be worthwhile to see if you can obtain some and try to build a power generating engine with it.

As a prepper, you may feel a bit frustrated because this particular engine relies on a commodity that may not be available after SHTF.

There are ways to make rubber on your own from various plants, and once you design your first rubber band engine, experiment with growing plants that produce a sap that can be turned into rubber (dandelions, for example). You may have to make thicker bands in order to produce the same level of durability as you will get from commercial rubber bands, it is still worth the effort.

Video first seen on Adam Micolich

Different Ways to Build the Basic Engine

When building a rubber band heat engine, you will need to make sure that you control the amount of heat reaching the rubber bands. Too much heat can damage the rubber bands, so you will usually find that “less is better”.

You will also need to decide whether you will use a bath of warm water, or simply heat up the air around the rubber bands in order to make them contract. Even though you can use anything from old bicycle wheels to cardboard to build the frame for the rubber bands, the engine must have the following parts no matter whether you decide to heat up air or water:

  • rubber bands
  • a central shaft
  • one or more disks that can be mounted to a central shaft. This disk will also have to act as a support for the rubber bands. It will also need to be sturdy enough so that you can mount magnets on it.
  • a means to shield one half of the rubber bands from heat so they expand as quickly as possible
  • a way to heat up the air or water

Of all the designs featured on the Heat Engines page, the design by William E. Wiegand will probably lend itself the best to a wide range of power sources.

It also has a fairly large vertical frame, so there is also plenty of room for adding coils. Needless to say, for anyone interested in making a small central coil, this may also be an ideal way to build an electric motor that runs on heat.

X Powering Methods for a Rubber Engine

Many people are surprised to find out that a rubber band engine is very easy to power. A candle, or even incandescent light bulb will provide enough heat to cause the rubber bands to contract.

In fact, just about any source of heat, even if it is generated as a secondary process (for example, heat thrown off from a running engine) can be used to power the rubber band engine. Just make sure that you can shield the rest of the device so that the central disk keeps spinning.

Here are just a few simple things you can use to power the rubber band engine that will serve a dual purpose:

Candle heater

Set a candle heater to one side of the rubber band engine. As you will recall, this simple device requires little more than a few clay pots and zinc free washers. With 4 tea lights, you can heat up a small room for 2 – 3 hours and run the rubber band engine at the same time.

Alcohol, and Rocket stoves

Why not generate some electricity while you are cooking on these versatile stoves? As with the candle heater, just set the rubber band engine to one side of the stove where it will receive sufficient heat. Camp fires, and any other stove that throws off heat can be used for the same purpose.

Using a rubber band engine instead of materials that generate electricity based on thermal transfer will be cheaper and easier to develop into larger applications in the long run.

Other Sources

If you are serious about breaking away from commercial electricity or other commercial power sources, then you will already realize that solar and wind power offer you the best options. These systems have been hijacked by dirty and expensive “green” technologies, there is still a lot you can do at the consumer level to take advantage of them.

The sun produces plenty of heat that can be concentrated, and stored so that you can run the rubber band engine in many different kinds of weather.

Here are just a few devices you can make from stuff in your trash can or around the yard and use to power the rubber band engine:

Solar can heater

This device uses little more than old food cans, a wooden frame, some glass or plastic, and pipes in the center of each can. Basically, in this system, the cans are exposed to the sunlight, and cause the air or water in the central tubes to heat up.

From there, all you have to do is let the hot air flow into a room in your home, or let the hot water circulate in a water radiator. To run the rubber band engine, it is just as easy to make a second set of pipes that will blow hot air directly onto the engine.

Solar cooker

These devices can produce temperatures hot enough to cook meat, boil water, and bake bread. Just set up a metal coil in the bottom of the solar cooker and set the other end under a metal plate on one side of the rubber band engine. Do not forget to check the temperatures often so that you do not over heat the rubber bands.

Shiny object

The simplest and easiest way to concentrate heat from the sun is to use a shiny object that bounces sunlight onto a piece of metal. As the metal heats up, the radiant energy will disburse near the rubber band engine.

When experimenting with this system, be careful to watch as the sun shifts so that the mirror does not wind up bouncing heat onto dry grass or something else that can catch fire. It can take only a few seconds for to start a fire this way, and a matter of minutes for it to go out of control.

Plastic solar lenses

Water absorbs a lot of heat, and can also hold onto it for a reasonable amount of time. If you are interested in purifying water, then you may already know that clear plastic solar lenses or even a simple clear plastic bottle are very important for this purpose. If you let a contained source of water heat up, then you can also use that heat to power the rubber band engine.

As with the solar cooker, you will more than likely need to use some type of metal to transfer the heat from the collector to one side of the rubber band engine. You can also use styrofoam or other insulators on the metal so that as little heat as possible is lost on the way to the rubber band engine.

Needless to say, if you choose to build a rubber band engine that is designed to work with warm water, then you will not need to concern yourself with transporting the heat to another location.

Friction

Most people will tell you that friction is a necessary evil at best, but friction also generates heat. If you are interested in harnessing wind power to power the rubber band engine, you may look for ways to generate friction as the bladed (or bladeless depending on the design you choose) system turns. You can still use oils and other lubricants to reduce wear on parts, and still gain plenty of heat from friction generated by the parts passing each other. It may be as simple as adding a band around standard wind turbine blades (or make them smaller to compensate for the added wind power to overcome drag) that will produce friction.

How to Get Electricity From the Rubber Band Engine

Once you master assembling coils and magnets to generate electricity, using the rubber band engine will not be much different. Even though you may be tempted to make a central coil, do not forget these coil types are harder to wind. Magnets also weigh less and can be distributed more easily, so I still recommend using them on the spinning area of any given power generation system and then leave the coils stationary.

When generating electricity using rubber bands, remember that a rubber band does not have a lot of strength. Even if you can get the wheel spinning quite fast, it will take several modules going on at one time to generate significant amounts of power.

You are better off building ten smaller units that spin faster than one unit that does not move as well or breaks down quickly because of the wear and tear on the rubber bands.

Finally, as with any other power generation system, you will still need some way to even out the current produced, and then store it for later use. You can use anything from earth batteries to store electricity to twisting ropes that can be used later on to spin the wheel in the opposite direction and produce more electricity.

If you have some rubber bands sitting on your desk or in a drawer somewhere, you may not realize that these flimsy objects may be a key to generating electricity, even if they only produce a few volts of electricity, but enough to power smart phones, flashlights, or other useful small devices.

They are also a perfect way to gain a good introduction into harnessing solar power, or even how to build units that can be combined to generate even more power.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://the-mostly.ru/misc/heat_engines.html

Uncommon Off-grid Survival: How to Get Electricity from Mud

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It is no secret that anything from EMP blast and natural phenomena to outright sabotage from inside the country can lead to large scale disruptions in the power grid.

You have at least a few electronic devices that you’ll need to operate until you have made a full adjustment to living without electricity. Regardless of whether you need to access data on the memory chip for your smart phone, health monitoring tools, or even a battery powered radio, you should know how to generate electricity using as many methods as possible.

Overall, generating electricity or other sources of power from mud may be a viable option.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Earth Batteries?

How is this type of generator different from other devices made from similar materials? How a mud based electricity generator differs from an earth battery? Here are the main things to remember:

  • An Earth battery does not require salt or any other electrolyte. You can add salt to increase the amount of electricity produced. On the other hand, generating electricity with mud always requires the addition of salt.
  • To use an earth battery, you can take the soil from any location and it will still work. If you want to generate electricity using mud, you must make use of mud from areas rich in bacteria that do not rely on oxygen. Most people use mud found at the bottom of ponds or other areas that have been under fresh water for some time.
  • When generating electricity from mud, the bacteria responsible for making the electricity must have food. While waste or sewage can be used for this purpose, some bacteria may also require the addition of glucose or sugar. An earth battery does not require living organisms to generate or store electricity, so there is never a need to add food. At most, you will only need to add regular water from time to time in order to keep the soil slightly moist.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Using Electrolytes?

Even though generating power from mud requires salt, it does not work quite the same way as an electrolyte battery. The bacteria themselves charge up one side of the fuel cell as a part of their biological function.

On the other hand, an electrolyte battery works because molecules break down into ions when mixed with water. These ions gravitate to the different metals at different rates, which produces an electrical charge.

Over the years, many different methods have been used to generate electricity from electrolytes. If you are near the ocean, you won’t need much more than access to salt water and two different metal types that will serve as electrodes. With a few minor modifications, you can also make wet capacitors using similar materials.

If you are going to work with higher voltages, you might need to make this kind of capacitor both for storing electricity and making sure you can create and even discharge once the power is gathered in one location.

Alternatively, if you have pennies made 1983 or later, you will already have two perfectly good metals in the same coin for making an electrolyte battery. All you will need to do is sand off some of the copper from one side of each penny in order to expose the zinc.

Next, make a sandwich of cardboard disks dipped in salt water and add pennies between each set of disks. You can make approximately one volt of electricity for every penny you combine with the salt water and cardboard disks.

Should I Use the Mud Cell to Generate Electricity?

Overall, you will find that a mud cell generates relatively small amounts of electricity when compared to the size of the device. Something is better than nothing, so it will still take a lot of work to multiply that electricity and be able to use it even to produce the same voltage as you would get from a AAA battery.

You can most certainly try building a mud cell power generator to see how it works, and then try to adapt it to produce more power.

Here’s what you need to achieve to produce more electricity:

  • Find some way to get existing bacteria to boost their metabolism 200 – 300 times the current rate.
  • Get the bacteria to multiply faster.
  • To generate electricity, the bacteria actually form networks of conductive “bridges” or “wires” in the growing medium. At this time, it is not known if the bacteria themselves are producing the most optimal pattern for conducting electricity from one place to another. Changing the pattern may improve efficiency and it may also boost the amount of current produced by the generator.
  • Find a way to make the cells smaller: see if you can use a more liquefied mud cell, and then irrigate it with a steady flow of nutrient rich water. Provide some kind of growing film for the bacteria so they aren’t washed away each time the mud cell is bathed in water. Even though nanotechnologies may be outside of your available list of materials, they may one day be useful for making an optimized structure for the bacteria to live in and generate electricity across. This leads to a smaller footprint for each cell, as well as higher levels of efficiency.
  • Get equipment that will help you find out the answers to several questions: a microscope and access to white papers on nanotechnology, conductive material molecular structures, and other materials may be of use to you.

Basic Steps for Building a Mud Cell Energy Generator

To make a microbial fuel cell, start off by gathering the right kind of mud. Dig around in the bottom of a pond that has been around for a few years, and pull up some of the black mud at the bottom. This mud will be rich in the kind of bacteria that can be used to generate electricity.

Next, you will need some salt, water, agar, and PVC pipe. Mix the salt, water, and agar together, and then fill the pipe with them. Once the agar cools, it should be hard enough so that it will not spill out of the tube.

The agar acts as a repository for salt, which restores the ionic balance as electricity is drawn from the cell. You can also try cardboard dipped in salt water or other methods for making the salt bridge.

The microbial fuel cell requires two chambers that are connected by the agar filled PVC pipe. Make sure the seals connecting the chambers are waterproof, and that you can easily replace the salt bridge, so that you can refill or make changes to the ingredients in the other chambers as needed.

After you connect the containers with the salt bridge, fill one container part of the way with mud and insert an electrode. Since the electrode will need a fairly wide surface area, make one from regular wire, and then attach an aluminum mesh to it. Finish filling up the container.

Your next step will be to fill the remaining chamber with distilled water and salt. As with the first chamber, install an electrode and some wire.

You can also insert some air tubing that will be used to run an air pump that will aerate the solution in the water chamber.

If you want to increase the amount of air going into the chamber and ensure more stays in the water, try using an aquarium air stone. If you do not aerate the water in the second chamber, it will produce hydrogen gas.

Depending on the activity levels of the bacteria, you may notice a small amount of voltage immediately. It may still take days, or even weeks for the bacteria to rebuild their transport structure and produce more electricity.

Video first seen on CCS Microbial Fuel Cell

Are there any Other Uses for a Mud Cell?

Many inner city areas are soon to become areas where gas mains will explode and skyscrapers will tumble to the ground. Land with clean water and soil is rapidly becoming something that simply cannot be bought in an area with good weather conditions.

Aside from pointing to inevitable massive depopulation, it also means that if you want a homestead, you may have to settle for land that isn’t as clean or as safe as you would want it to be. This, in return, means that you will need some way to clean the soil. While mud batteries may not do much to generate electricity, they can do a great deal to increase the rate at which other bacteria remove toxins from the soil.

Therefore, if you are interested in owning a homestead, or know that you are already dealing with contaminated soil, you may want to experiment with these batteries to see if they will be of use to you.

Like many others, over the years, I have tossed around the idea of living completely free of electricity and electronic devices. While I have arrived at the sad conclusion these devices may be necessary for years to decades after a major crash, I still give a lot of thought to using as little electricity as possible. Since electricity is used for everything from cooking to home heating/cooling, this also means other fuel types must be considered.

Mud batteries can be used to generate hydrogen and biofuels. Typically, this process only requires carbon dioxide and sunlight. There is a good bit of research going on at this time to determine if this means of making butanol, a biofuel, can replace corn, beets, and other crops normally used for food.

Many people prefer cooking with electric stoves because they are safer, but just about everyone agrees that gas stoves produce better tasting food. You can build a gas stove to run on natural gas or methane, so don’t be surprised that this fuel is of immense interest to off gridders and preppers.

The bacteria that generate methane and natural gas also form similar structures within the growing medium that allow for the transport of electricity. As a result, even if you decide the mud battery is not a feasible option, you could check if the best bacteria for this method will also produce larger amounts of natural gas.

Aside from saving on soil depletion, this method may even be used one day to produce sugars suitable for addition in foods. In fact, bacteria are being used to make omega fatty acids that are added into organic milk. The bacteria strain may be different from the ones used to generate electricity, but never underestimate what mud and different methods for getting bacteria to produce various chemicals can do.

Right now, mainstream media continues to avoid covering topics like the Fukushima disaster, and other issues related to the leaking of nuclear materials into rivers and oceans. Virtually everyone points to other factors and blames them for the rises in cancer rates and other diseases that may well have an origin in hidden exposure to ionized radiation in the groundwater.

The same strains of bacteria used to generate electricity are also capable of removing uranium from ground water. If you are building a homestead near an area exposed to nuclear waste or materials, these bacteria may help. There may even be a way to develop a strain of bacteria that can be used to remove tritium from potable water supplies.

Once you begin exploring how electrically active bacteria work, it seems entirely possible this property can be used to remove tritium from non-radioactive water molecules.

In the case of making electricity from mud, the hydrogen generated by this process may be of more use as a fuel to power some other device that will deliver more electricity or some other useful form of power.

When it comes to generating electricity, cost, availability, and ease of assembly must always be your primary focus points. If you cannot generate enough electricity directly from any given application, see what else you can obtain that may be useful.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://sciencing.com/making-electricity-salt-water-4883969.html

http://theconversation.com/mud-power-how-bacteria-can-turn-waste-into-electricity-3677

3 Ways To Make A Torch In The Wild

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A simple hike can suddenly turn into a Bear Grylls episode, a struggle for survival, if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Basically, in a matter of hours, you may very well find yourself stranded in the wild with no help in sight, completely on your own.

And I am talking here about a sudden change of weather conditions, or you may simply lose your way, which may lead to numerous days of no one (including you) being aware of your whereabouts.

When it comes to wilderness survival, fire is one of the essential things to take care of, as it provides a number of benefits, including warmth, which helps with avoiding hypothermia. It also allows you to cook your food, boil water (read sterilize), signal for help or keep wild animals away.

Today’s article will teach you how to make a torch in the wild.

The first lesson to be learned is to never go into an adventure unprepared! The thing is, if you’re planning an outdoors trip or a hike or whatever, always take survival gear with you, the essentials so to speak, which must include a compass, a map, a flashlight, a knife, a first aid kit, proper clothes, emergency food, waterproof matches/a fire starter kit, and always expect the unexpected.

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

Speaking of torches and fire, one of the most underrated benefits of fire is the light it yields. And here’s where torches come into play.

Torches were used by humankind for thousands of years to illuminate the darkness of night, long before we discovered kerosene lanterns or electricity. When SHTF, DIY oil lamps and candles may be the preferred method of lighting for indoors use, but torches are the way to go in a wilderness survival scenario.

DIY-ing a torch using readily available materials is the perfect way to bring light wherever required; hence it’s an essential skill to master if you’re in the survival business.

To begin with, many folks have their minds warped by Hollywood movies that always make everything look incredibly easy, including making a torch in an emergency. If you think about a scene with someone, let’s say Rambo when he’s stuck inside a tunnel or a cave in Afghanistan, you’ll remember how our hero just grabs a femoral bone from some expired explorer, then wraps it up in rags and lights the gizmo on fire. And obviously, the fire lasts for hours and lights up the place like Frodo’s magic light of Earandil (if you know your LOTR). As you may imagine where this is going, reality is not as simple as Hollywood portrays it to be.

How To Make A Primitive Torch

In medieval times, torches were improvised from sticks of wood (or branches), preferably wet/green wood for preventing the fire from burning up one’s little digits. River cane, cattails, reeds and bark can also be used. However, certain types of torches must be bound using twine or similar stuff for keeping them sturdy. Obviously, certain varieties of bark, wood, etc. burn better than others, but in a survival situation, one can’t always be picky.

The most straightforward torch design is composed of a stick featuring a bundle of rags bound to one end, then soaked in tree sap, pitch, oil, or animal fat. In case you don’t have rags or clothes to spare, you can wrap bark around the stick’s end and stuff it with dry grass, moss, small bits of wood or leaves.

You’ll still need to soak some flammable material on the end (animal fat, pitch) to prevent your improvised torch from burning too fast or blowing out when you least expect it.

To get more specific, the most primitive torch that will last you for a while can be improvised from a freshly picked cattail. If you can get your hands on some grease or animal fat, not to mention lamp oil, this incredibly simple survival torch may last you for hours and hours. Here’s a little video.

Video first seen on bushcraftbartons

How To Make A Minimalistic Torch

Provided you can’t get any cattail, you will have to use the good old method of using a frayed branch along with some method for improvising your torch. As I already told you, the idea is to add a slow-burning fuel at the end of the branch, so the torch will burn for a longer period of time.

Rather than simply lighting the end of a branch (which is the most basic type of torch, because it really works, for a while at least), the idea is to create a proper torch that wicks and burns very much like a candle.

It would be ideal to carry some fire accelerants in your EDC survival kit, the likes of paraffin or cooking oil; these are excellent additives for a survival torch. If you don’t have them at your disposal, you’ll have to settle for animal fat (bacon grease if you’ve packed food, for instance) or tree sap.

A minimalistic torch can be improvised from a branch or green stick at least 2 feet long and 2 inches thick, cloth/birch bark, and some type of flame accelerant (animal/vegetable fat, paraffin, kerosene, etc.).

The torch will require a wick of sorts, which can be DIY-ed from strips of cloth. You must tear the respective fabric from a shirt or something similar. Alternatively, you can go for soft barks such as birch; i.e. find a tree and peel off a strip that’s about 2 feet long and 6 inches wide.

In the latter scenario, you’ll also require rope, twine, string or similar stuff to tie it securely into place.

Video first seen on Survival Elements

The wick must be attached firmly to the torch then soaked thoroughly with the flame accelerant before you light it up. A birch wick already contains natural resins that will burn for a long period of time, so you don’t have to soak it.

In the case of fabric/cotton wicks, make sure you saturate the fabric thoroughly with the stuff, whether it’s oil, gasoline, wax, animal fat, or whatever. If it’s dry, the wick will burn rapidly and fall away. Remember, it’s a wick, not firewood; your goal is to burn the oil, not the bark.

How To Make A Tree Resin Torch

One of the most effective torches to be used in the wild is the pine pitch variety. Even if you don’t have access to fuels, pine pitch, also known as pine sap, is an outstanding fuel and also readily available. All you have to do is to find a pine tree then to cut off a branch.

Afterwards, you’ll have to split one end of the stick 4-5 times then jam a handful of thin pine shaving into the gaps of the split end. Upon lighting it, the fire will wick the sap from the branch and it will burn for at least an hour.

Video first seen on OutsideFun1

If you’re lucky enough to have some toilet paper with you, you can DIY a nice  torch with this humble material. You’ll require 1 greenwood stick and about 50 ft of TP of any kind, together with flammable materials, such as cooking oil/animal fat (a cup).

The trick is to wrap the toilet paper around the end of the stick while spinning it, so it will end up looking like rope. The loose ends of the paper must be tucked into the torch head, so it resembles a huge Q-tip. In the next step, you’ll have to stick the wick into the oil and let it soak properly for 2 minutes or so. That’s about all there is to it; now you’ll just have to light it up. This one will last you for up to thirty minutes.

Now that you know how to make a torch, take a moment and think: are you ready to use this knowledge to survive?

I hope the article helped. If you have questions or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

How To Start A Repair Business

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Things are looking up with the economy; at least, that’s what we’re all hoping for. While the evidence really doesn’t back that up yet, there are a lot of businesses hiring and expanding.

If things keep going like they are, we should see a real reduction in the unemployment rate, rather than the fake one that has been reported for the last eight years.

But we are far from being out of the woods. The national debt is still staggering and nothing that Trump has proposed as of yet is going to do a thing to bring it down. Even his 2018 budget proposal does little to reduce the debt, although it’s a good start at going in the right direction.

There are also rumors floating around about a pending financial crash. Granted, there have been rumors floating around about that for years, but the rumors have changed slightly. Now, instead of it being due to the sluggish economy and the rising national debt, the potential for a collapse is supposed to be due to the world’s top financial movers and shakers.

If the rumors are true, and there is plenty of reason to believe them, pretty much every financial collapse that has occurred, regardless of the country where it occurred, has been engineered by these financial big wigs, in an effort to consolidate wealth and the resulting power in their own hands.

These big money men are all part of the globalist elite, working behind the scenes to bring us to a one world progressive liberal government. Supposedly, their plans require that the United States come in line with their philosophy.

That wasn’t much of a problem when Barack Obama was in office, as he is a globalist, but now that Donald Trump is president, they are concerned. Trump isn’t one of them, and in fact, stands strongly against them.

So they want to make Trump the fall guy, showing that his plans to “Make America Great Again” through capitalism and free markets can’t work. That, in turn, means that they want to bring about the crash in the next three and a half years, while Trump is in office.

When and if that happens, we can expect something much worse than the 2009 housing slump and the recession that it brought on.

This will be more like the Great Depression of the 1930s, or even worse. A combination of runaway inflation and unemployment rates that top out over 25 percent will cause havoc in all corners of our nation and the globe. Then, these global elites can “benevolently step in with their answer.” That answer will be world socialism, ruled by them.

Why Start a Repair Business?

Before we even reach that point, we have to survive through the hard financial times which will bring our nation to its knees. For some of us, that will most likely mean the loss of our jobs, our cars and our homes; in fact, it could mean the loss of everything that’s important to us, if we lose our jobs.

Let me say this though, and this is important; not everyone who goes through a financial collapse suffers from it. There are some people who flourish. The key is to be in a position where you are able to flourish, even while others are floundering.

Now I know what many of you are thinking; that to flourish during a time of financial collapse, you have to have a lot of money to start with. But that’s not true.

The key to financial success has always been the same, find a need and fill it. That’s true in times of plenty and it’s true in times of lack. So, what you need to do is find something that will be an area of need in that time, and prepare to fulfill that need.

I realize that can be tricky, but it doesn’t require a crystal ball. All we have to do, is look at what sorts of needs there have been in other countries, when they went through a financial collapse. Fortunately for us, there are a number of examples we can use, most notably Argentina.

While there are actually a number of things we could look at, I want to concentrate on only one area; that of starting a repair business. My reason for this is that repair businesses always flourish during a time of financial hardship.

The reason is quite simple, during a time of financial hardship people stop buying luxuries, mostly because they can’t afford them. As part of that, they try and get more mileage out of the things they have, rather than replacing them.

You might ask how this can be so, when people are out of work and businesses are closing. The answer is simple. Yes, there are a lot of people who end up out of work during a financial collapse.

During Argentina’s collapse of ’99, the real unemployment rate topped 25%. But those people aren’t the potential customers you would be looking for; you’d want the customers who are still working. They won’t have it as bad as those who are out of a job, but they’ll still have hardship too.

Remember, they will be suffering under runaway inflation, and wages won’t be keeping up. So those people will need to get more bang for their buck. Hence, the need for repair businesses.

Anyone can make the most complex DIY projects in no time!

Picking a Business

While we live in a largely disposable society, most of what we throw away is repairable, even if it may not seem so at first glance. There are people today who are making a living off of repairing windshields, reconditioning batteries and cell phones.

Some of these people are just offering repair services, while others are buying non-working devices, repairing them, and reselling them. In the area where I live, there are a couple of businesses which specialize in doing that with appliances. Since they get the appliances for almost nothing, most of what they sell them for is profit. Their only real inventory cost is the parts they put into repairing them.

Start out by looking at what sorts of things you already know how to repair. Perhaps there is something you’ve had to learn how to repair for your own needs at home; or there might be something that you’ve had to learn how to repair as part of your work.

You might even be working in a job currently, where you repair things for your employer. Whatever you know, prepare to start a business repairing that sort of equipment.

If you don’t already have something that you know how to repair, then learn something simple. A moment ago, I mentioned repairing cracked windshields. That’s not really hard to learn, and it doesn’t require a lot of investment.

Video first seen on ChrisFix.

People who have a broken windshield will gladly pay someone who knows how to repair their cracked windshield, since that is a whole lot cheaper than buying a new one.

Prepare to Start Your Business

Besides customers, there are three things any repair business is going to need:

  • Tools
  • Information
  • Parts.

Many repair businesses have little investment in parts, because they buy the parts for each repair that they do. But even then, there are common parts that need to be stocked, just to prevent the necessity of having to run to the store or parts house to buy them for every job.

Getting your tools and parts is going to require some investment on your part. So, you’re better off starting that now, while you are still working a regular job. Taking a small part of what you’re earning every week and investing it for the future is a sound financial decision; one that will pay big dividends later on.

My son is a certified network geek, working for a phone company. He has a number of different certifications on different things associated with his job. Some are specific to telephony, while others are about computer networking in general. So he’s starting a sideline business, offering his services to companies that can’t afford a full-time computer networking geek or telephone repair man.

That has meant buying the tools he needs to have, in order to troubleshoot networking and telephone problems, as well as a few common parts (mostly cables and connectors). So what he’s been doing is taking a small percentage of his paycheck each week and using that to buy the things he needs.

At the same time, he’s working on increasing his knowledge and gaining more certifications. His target is to reach a level of certification high enough that there are few people who know the things he will know.

When he reaches that point, he’ll basically be able to write his own ticket as a consultant, charging pretty much whatever he wants. That goes hand in hand with having knowledge that few people have.

This mechanism is so simple you can put it together by yourself in no time!

Start Small, But Start Soon

One of the things that keeps many people from starting a business of any sort is the cost. We tend to think in terms of needing to rent a storefront and build a complete business. But in reality, many businesses, like repair businesses, can be started out really small.

How small? That depends on how much room you have in your workshop. You can start in your garage or basement, on the back porch, or in a shed in the backyard. That’s the way people used to start their businesses.

If you go to any third-world or emerging country, you’ll still see people today who are running a repair business, small fabrication operation or small store out of their home. If they can do it, why can’t you?

Later on, if your business grows, you can start thinking about renting some space and moving into it. But if you’re going to do that, you’re probably going to need to have grown your business into a full-time job. At first, it won’t be that, more of a hobby business.

Don’t wait to start your business until you need it to generate business for you. Any business takes time to grow, so you’re better off growing your business while you still have a full-time job to pay the bills. That will also allow you to invest your profits back into your business, increasing inventory, buying more tools and marketing your business.

Keep in mind that some repair businesses may not generate a lot of money right now, simply because people aren’t accustomed to repairing things, but rather replacing them.

So you may not be able to grow your business past the hobby business stage. Even so, you should start now, so that you can build your reputation. This will also give you the opportunity to learn how to make your business run efficiently, improving profits. That way, whenever a financial crash comes, you are ready to expand your business.

Marketing Your Business

One of the biggest mistakes that people starting their first small business make is poor marketing. They don’t realize that good marketing is the number one key to opening a successful business.

It is marketing that will being customers in, nothing else. So if you want customers, you need some good marketing material and a good marketing strategy.

I’m going to concentrate on only three things here:

Flyers

While not glamorous, flyers are probably the single most common form of advertising there is, other than business cards. You need a good color flyer, explaining your business, with your logo prominently displayed and clear contact information.

Unless you know how to do this yourself, don’t even try. Hire a professional. While that might cost you a couple hundred bucks, you’ll end up with a much better product.

Image is an extremely important part of marketing. In our modern world, people are highly visual. They are used to identifying a business by its “branding,” which is the current buzz-word for their logo, style, font, and the colors that they use. Good banding and good printed material can make a closet-sized repair company look like it’s the world’s best.

Website

The second important thing you should do for your marketing is have a website. Here in the information age, just about everyone checks out a business online, before doing business with them.

Your website can be a way of introduction yourself to your potential customers, informing them about your services and sharing testimonies from satisfied customers.

The best business websites go beyond just talking about the business and educate the customer. Obviously, this needs to be in some area that is associated with the business.

So if you are repairing cell phones, you should have a series of articles about cell phones; perhaps covering tricks or “hacks” to get the most out of your cell phone, how to care for your cell phone and how to deal with common cell phone problems.

As part of your website, you also need an online presence on Facebook, with a link from your website to your Facebook page. Many people use Facebook as a way of checking out a business, as well as talking about their experience with that business.

Post regularly, talking about milestones in your business, new services offered, links to the articles on your website, funny stories, and articles of interest, which are associated with the products you repair.

Advertising

Finally, make use of the power of Facebook advertising. Your Facebook page is part of this. But more than anything, Facebook is a marketing platform, probably the single most effective one that exists today. Even so, you can advertise on Facebook very inexpensively, setting your own budget and parameters to ensure that you are getting the best value for your advertising dollar.

While there are many other things you can do in marketing, these three are the most important ones to get your business off the ground and starting to grow.

If you do them, chances are you’ll have success. But if you don’t, you’ll probably have trouble finding customers.

Even within the area of repair businesses, there are lots of different choices you can make. The key is in finding something that would fit you and provide you with a good business.

Grab your tools and start practicing your skills now!

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 This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

How To Generate Energy In The Desert

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When people think of deserts, they picture extremely dry terrains with intolerable heat in the day that is quickly changed to extremely cold temperatures at night.

Despite this harsh environment, some energy generating methods may work better than others. Actually, electricity can be generated in these areas regardless of whether there is a crisis or not.

Bear in mind, however, that along with any given crisis situation, you will also have to account for characteristics of the land and its inhabitants.

Be Aware About the Risks!

Large scale solar power is a key to energy independence here in the United States, and desert areas seem to be the best place for solar panels and equipment. But those with an interest in off gridding and survival also get led the wrong way.

There are many problems you might go into when trying to generate power in the desert:

High Temperatures Increase Risk of Fire

Motors, gears, engines, and other machines all generate heat as one surface moves against another one, in locations where temperatures are already high, which means they will catch fire much faster. Solar panels in the desert lead to endless numbers of massive fires that kill off habitats and spell immense levels of danger to anyone living near them.

Military bases located near the panels have also complained about how excess heat from large scale solar interferes with planes landing and taking off. At the personal, survivor level, a solar cooker may work really well, but you will also have to keep the temperature from going too high.

Small scale, home based solar panels are also known to come with an increased fire risk, which means more water may be required than you will be able to obtain in a desert setting.

Not Enough Water

To generate electricity using heat from solar installations will take large amounts of water. In fact, it is estimated that large scale solar installations use almost as much water as refining crude and fracking. Cattle, horses, and all kinds of wild animals die because there is not enough water in the desert for both the use of solar power and sustaining living organisms.

Poisonous snakes are plentiful in desert. No matter whether you use a wind turbine, solar panels, or other devices, rest assured that rattlers and other poisonous snakes will be drawn to your home and power generating facilities. Never forget that many snakes can also burrow underground and pose other hazards as you try to build or maintain both large and small scale power generating equipment.

Sand and Sandstorms May Ruin Equipment

Sand is a highly abrasive and can easily damage wind turbine blades and just about anything else. In addition, sand particles can easily clog up motors and just about anything else that works best when free of dust and debris. All kinds of equipment (including battery systems and generators) need special protection to work properly in a desert environment.

High Variance in Temperatures

High variance in temperatures will make it difficult to use body power generation systems. No matter whether it is too hot to move around during the day hours or too cold at night, even a lightweight system will prove virtually useless in a desert setting.

The Hidden Advantages

As with any other terrain and situation, there are things that can make the desert a kind of place where you may feel that challenges are outweighed by the problems you will encounter. Here are some of them:

  • Contrary to popular belief, desert areas do not get more sun than other areas. The terrain and temperatures are so inhospitable, the human population is very low. If you can manage to live comfortably there, you won’t be as concerned about defending your power generating equipment from thieves.
  • In most scenarios, your first instincts include trying to harness solar or wind power, and unlike other areas, you’ll have very few tall objects to compete with. Even though the amount of sun and wind reaching the desert is the same as everywhere else, you will actually have a much easier time accessing it.
  • Passive heating and cooling systems can be turned into power generators with less effort. Since temperatures vary extensively in a 24 hour period, you can use the transition points for a number of applications that would not work as well in other settings.
  • Overall, you’ll need to generate less energy than in other settings. Cooking can easily be accomplished without using electricity or conventional fuels, and you may not need conventional fuel, electricity to heat for cooling the buildings. Outside of medical, communication devices, and refrigeration for foods, there will be very little need for large amounts of electricity in a desert setting, which means that smaller scale DIY based electricity generating systems may work perfectly in this setting.
  • Minimal corrosion and rust. When you have motors and other metallic objects, one of your greatest problems will be the development of rust and other forms of corrosion. In a desert setting, motors and other objects of metal will rarely, if ever rust out. Just remember that flying bits of sand can still damage equipment, and that you’ll still have maintain your system from being ruined.

5 Small Scale Power Systems

Solar panels and wind turbines are primitive at best, cost a lot of money, and may not withstand the test of time let alone be capable of producing electricity after a major crisis. On the other hand, newer devices with fewer moving parts and degradable materials may well work in desert.

While some of these technologies may not yet be available to consumers, keep them in mind and see what becomes available as time goes by.

Thermocoupling or Heat Junction Systems

Basically, these systems generate electricity when heat moves from a warmer substance to a cooler one. In this case, as the energy moves from one substance to another, it also generates an electrical charge. For example, you can take copper and iron wires and generate electricity when heat transfers from one metal to the other.

Steam Generators

Since deserts offer higher temperatures, generating steam can be done on small scale levels and be successful. You can use something as simple as a modified solar oven to heat up water, or use more complex systems based on large scale technologies. Your next step will be to use the steam blasts to turn a turbine, which will have magnets attached to it.

As the turbine spins, the magnets will also spin and cause electricity to flow in a nearby coil. Just remember that water is limited in the desert, so you will have to make sure that you can conserve and reuse what you have in the system as much as possible.

Air Based Generators

Simply heating up air will not work the same way as converting from water to steam. Even though heating up air causes it to expand, the force generated is not as much as you can get with steam because vaporized water is still denser than air.

To take advantage of air pressure, it is much easier to simply take air at lower temperatures, compress it, and then release it through a nozzle. If you are interested in using a pneumatic type of system, combine gravity operated motors to compress the air, and then release it onto a lightweight turbine.

Aerogels

This is a fairly new technology that relies on nano particles and strands to create ultrathin pieces of matter.

For example, zinc dioxide, can be shaped into very thin hairs that will behave differently than large quantities of the same material. Zinc Oxide at the nano level will push electrons along a nano wire instead of releasing heat when the wires are placed in a silicon aerogel.

While this research is very much in its infancy, there are many other materials, including low viscosity liquids that might be made into sandwich layers that might function like zinc oxide and silicon. Unfortunately, we actually know very little about all of the materials that are available in a desert environment as well as how they may be used in a similar fashion.

Rubber Band Heat Engine

One of the most fascinating things in a desert terrain is just how much of a temperature difference there is between areas exposed to the sun and those in the shade. With a minimal amount of effort, you can use that temperature difference to drive a rubber band heat engine.

You can generate a bit of extra heat using a solar cooker, or keeping some other heat retainer near the end of the wheel where the rubber band is supposed to contract. As with other power generation methods, you will always seek to convert this spinning energy into electricity using magnets and coils.

Video first seen on Dan Bruton.

Large Scale Systems You Can Build

Solar Power

Unless you have a fairly large group of people that require electricity, large scale solar systems would cost more than they are worth in a desert setting. For example, if you choose to try and build or maintain solar panels, the glare from them will easily capture attention for miles around.

This can spell disaster in the post crisis world, as well in the pre-crisis world where there is a constant push to prevent people from living off the grid.

Wind Power

Aside from wind turbines that require towers, there are some new turbines that can sit close to the ground. You could learn more about wind turbines that produce power when a pole is shaken. No matter whether sand or wind hits the pole, it will still generate electricity from the motion.

Hydroelectric Power

If you live in an area where you can get water from the ocean or another large body of water, it may be possible to generate power by transporting that water through underground pipes that house turbines at certain intervals.

This particular system is already being used in Israel, and even at low flow levels, produces about half the power of a hydroelectric dam. Just search for the Leviathan Hydroelectric project and give some thought to how it might work in a desert region closer to home.

If you are planning on building a bug out location in desert terrain, this may be even more incentive to establish yourself near a body of water.

Some desert regions have as much, if not more water flowing beneath the surface than you would find in other areas. Before purchasing land or deciding on any given area, be sure to study the water tables so that you know how deep you would have to drill for water.

If you happen to find a place with plenty of water, it may just be possible to create a pipe system that will generate more power with less problems than you would encounter with wind or solar generation methods.

Alternatives to Electricity

While generating electricity may be more of a challenge than expected in a desert environment, there are still many alternatives that will not work as well in other regions. For example, passive heating and cooling systems in a desert setting work well because of the rapid change in temperature between shade and full sun as well as between day and night.

Here are some other things you can use in a desert that may work better here than in other climates:

Solar Cooking and Cooling Devices

In most areas, your ability to use solar cookers during the day and solar coolers at night will depend on clear skies. Since it rarely rains in the desert, there are also very few cloudy days to worry about. As such, you can build both smaller and larger scale solar cookers to meet your food preparation needs.

You can also achieve good temperature reduction at night by simply aiming the solar collector at a clear area of sky.

Water Purification

In most settings, you will always be looking for enough fuel to purify water. On the other hand, in a desert setting, full sunlight can easily kill off any bacteria in the water in a minimal amount of time. If you need to distill the water in order to remove heavy metals or other chemical contaminants, you will also have plenty of heat available for this task.

Evaporative Refrigeration

The ability of Zeer pots to cool off materials in the inner chamber depends on how much water can be moved from the inner area to the outer one. Since desert air is very hot and dry, you will actually achieve a greater cooling effect than you would in cooler, moister climates.

You can also expand on this design to take advantage of other materials that wick water easily in order to build larger refrigerator units.

Solar Lenses

When you need to concentrate heat for cooking, purifying water, or some other task, you may not be willing to wait an hour or more for the appropriate temperature to be reached. There are many lenses on the market that are designed to harness sunlight to produce several hundred degrees of heat in a matter of minutes.

Just be sure to operate these lenses in areas where they will not create fires. Even a low-grade magnifying glass can start fires in much cooler temperatures.

Food Storage Alternatives

The heat of a desert setting is more than enough to cause many different kinds of foods to spoil. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like hot, dry desert air for drying foods. No matter whether you grow fruits and vegetables indoors or hunt the for meat, all of these foods can be easily preserved by simply laying them out to dry.

Individuals that use electric food driers and other gadgets are sure to be surprised at how much better the foods taste, as well as how much easier the process is.

Obtaining Water

You will more than likely need an electric water pump if you have a well in the desert. Since these wells may go down several hundred to several thousands feet, a hand pump may not be a viable option. You could also have a pond or other nearby source of surface level water to draw water from with a ram pump or Archimedes Screw.

Or you could have a system that can draw water from the air, but it’s not likely to draw enough to meet your needs.

Under the circumstances, keep in mind a few things when obtaining water without using electricity:

  • making sure that any and all water is used and reused as much as possible, including taking waste water and dumping it into a sand pit during the early morning hours. Next place plastic over the pit with a rock in the center of the plastic. You can capture clean water in a pot or bucket as the moisture evaporates and hits the plastic instead of escaping into the air.
  • Setting up rain barrels and cisterns that can be used to capture any rain that does happen to fall. You can also set up large tarps so that you cover as much area as possible. Rains in the desert tend to be very intense, and they will also depart as quickly as they arrive. As such, you will need to capture the water quickly, and then store it in a location where it will not evaporate before you have a chance to use it. You will still need to purify the water before you use it in order to make sure it is as clean as possible.

Generating power in a desert setting will come with many challenges. If you find yourself in the desert and know that you must survive there for some time, there is no reason for your life and well-being to be threatened by lack of electricity.

You can take advantage of many alternatives to using power that may be impractical or far less feasible in other settings.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References

phys.org/news/2014-03-electricity.html

instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Rubber-Band-Heat-Engine/

EMP Q&A: North Korea’s EMP Threat Explained

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The world we live in relies on electricity totally. The heating and cooling, the hospitals, and banks, the communications and transportation and even working land for food would go into chaos with only one killing EMP shot.

Humankind is working hard to make it possible, just take a look at North Korea. And before asking about Koreans’ capability to drop an EMP on US, remember the critics who mocked the Japanese before WW2.

History is prone to repeat itself. Prepare yourself in time to survive its lessons. Keep reading to discover how the North Korea’s EMP threat is explained.

This guide will help you survive more than an EMP!

A Threat Like No Other

Once people become aware of the threat posed by EMP, they naturally have questions about EMP preparedness. Actually, EMP is one of those subjects where the more you learn about it, the more questions you tend to have.

I was pleased to be invited back to PrepperCon 2017 to host EMP Survival Question & Answer Sessions again this year, on behalf of Survivopedia, and address some of these questions. Feel free to ask your own questions on EMP survival in a comment, and I’ll do my best to find the proper answer for each of them!

The types of EMP that present a threat to mankind are incredibly powerful pulses of energetic radio waves that can pass through the human body undetected, yet wreak devastation upon the systems mankind depends on to sustain life.

The electrical grid, fossil fuels, water, food, healthcare, banking, communications, internet and transportation are critical to our way of life. Even a temporary loss of any of these system is catastrophic.

When we consider how much these systems are interdependent, the loss of all of them at once would paralyze the nation to a degree which is difficult for most people to comprehend.

Why & How North Korea Can Drop an EMP On The US

Question: Is it possible that North Korea could pose a threat to the US?

I heard that they would need thermonuclear weapons, better missiles, bigger nukes or the ability to miniaturize them in order to be able to harm the USA.

Answer: Any country that has nuclear weapons and can orbit satellites has the technology and ability to carry out an EMP attack on the USA. I have noticed a great deal of ignorance on this subject in social media posts and blogs.

It does not take thermonuclear weapons, ICBMs or miniaturization to create a Nuclear High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). The USA created the first HEMP I am aware of with the Hardtack Yucca nuclear test. In that test, a small warhead was carried high enough to make use of the Compton Effect, resulting in a 1000-fold increase in EM field strength. The weapon does not have to be large, at most 10 kilotons, which is the size of tests North Korea has been carrying out.

To affect nearly the entire Lower 48 states with a single weapon, optimal height of burst would have to be 300-400 km, but still lower than the orbit of North Korean Satellites, which overfly the US. Dropping a nuclear weapon that would detonate lower in the atmosphere is certainly within the country’s capabilities.

The last two satellites have payloads sufficient to house a nuclear weapon. North Korea has committed a lot of resources to both satellite and nuclear programs. North Korea has also practiced launching missiles of cargo vessels just like Iran.

The US has few defenses to shoot down such an attack launched from international waters in the gulf coast unless we specifically station a carrier battlegroup there. Even a detonation at much lower altitude could affect a city or even an entire state.

North Korea’s latest test may have been a nearly 10 kiloton neutron bomb optimized for maximum gamma yield. This what we would refer to as a superEMP or enhanced radiation weapon. These points, taken together amount to quite a body of evidence that North Korea has been planning an EMP attack or to create the appearance of the ability of such an attack for over a decade.

Critics point to past failed launches, overlooking the fact that we also had failed launches early on and our first attempt to orbit a satellite also failed. They only need one to succeed. They also point to the fact that putting weapons in space is a breach of international law.

North Korea has a history of violating international law with abandon even when it has meant harsh sanctions so it puzzles me why anyone would see this as an obstacle. Miniaturization of nuclear weapons was not a serious obstacle to the US and was achieved within a couple of years even before we had microcomputers.

Critics mocking North Korea’s military capability sound very much like critics who mocked the Japanese before we engaged them in combat in WW2. History seems to be repeating itself.

Why Fixing the Grid Would Take Years of Survival

Questions: I heard it could take 3.5 years or longer to fix the grid. Don’t we have stockpiles of Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) that we could just swap out if they were damaged by an EMP? Why would it take so long to fix the grid?

Find out how to survive when the lights go out!

Answer: The 3.5 year number assumed that only the USA was affected, that the rest of the world was undamaged by cascading failure and that other nations would help us. In senate hearings, committees have the luxury of examining the question in a bubble.

In the real world, nations are highly interdependent and growing more so every year.  e.g. the loss of the US economy could bring down the world economy with it since the EU economy is closely tied to the US economy and without the US and EU, China would lose its consumer base.

Let’s say an EMP has knocked out the electrical grid and it is our job to fix our little part of it. We need a LPT (Large Power Transformer) to replace the one that was damaged by the EMP. An LPT at a power generating plant steps up voltage for transmission over long distances through transmission lines.

At the destination where the electrical energy will be consumed, another LPT then steps the voltage back down to a voltage that is useful to the destination city’s electrical grid, so we will suppose that our hometown needs a step-down LPT.

LPT’s are custom built, can weigh between 100 and 410 tons, can cost up to $10M each and take up to 2 years to build even in a fully functioning world. Considering the obstacles to obtaining a LPT in a post-EMP world demonstrates the difficulty of estimating how long it would take to get an EMP-ravaged grid running again with any degree of accuracy.

Ordering a New LPT After an EMP? Prepare to Wait!

Normally, we would create a request for proposals, evaluate the bids and award the contract to build our LPT. This will take longer with the phone system and computers down. The red tape would need to be sorted out somehow, and we would need to establish limited communications through radio operators.

The factory that would build our LPT would not be able to start production because they lack electric power to the run the factory, but we will imagine top priority is given to LPT factories and we are able to get power to build. Our order would normally sit in a queue, the factory would need incentive to rush our order past other orders just as urgent as ours.

The plant would want their $10M, but the world banking system could be paralyzed or even collapse. We might have to pay in gold or leaders might attempt to coerce cooperation.

The factory would have to get workers to leave their families in the middle of a protracted grid-down emergency. Even if it could, they wouldn’t work for funny money.

The workers would not be able to work without food, which could be a real problem because just-in-time inventory management virtually guarantees a food crisis. The world food system could collapse. But farmers would have no fuel to run giant tractors guided by GPS that also would not work.

Companies would likely have to pay workers in food.

A solar storm of this magnitude would also knock out satellites, meaning no satellite phones, communications satellites or GPS.

To build the needed LPTs, we would need vast stores of high grade electrical steel and copper which can account for more than half the cost of an LPT. The US produces no more than 20% of these raw materials annually.

Most LPT’s were built between 1954 and 1978. We would need to get the manufacturer copies of the schematics. While this might seem trivial with the aid of computers and telecom equipment, it would likely further delay replacement LPT’s.

Our LPT would probably be ready to ship between 6 months and 5 years after the order was placed. But even before the MHD EMP, special transport had to be arranged to ship a 410-ton After the MHD EMP there would not be enough fuel or functioning refineries. DoD would probably have to handle transport of the LPT, but most military bases are dependent on civilian power infrastructure.

The naval vessel transporting the LPT could run into bad weather or navigation problems because weather satellites would be down and GPS navigation inoperable.

With around 2,000 LPTs in service, the USA has more LPTs in service than any other nation, which also means the US grid has more major points of vulnerability than any other nation. The combined production capability of the entire world has never exceeded 600 units/year, even at its peak over 44 years ago.

The total combined LPT production of the whole planet has not exceeded 400 LPTs/year since 1973. It would take time to ramp that production back up.

Why to Fear the Power of Solar Storms Too

Question: How long could it take to recover from EMP caused by the sun?

Answer: The type of EMP that occurs due to solar activity can cause power surges in the electrical grid, overloading it and causing physical damage. This type of EMP is known as magnetohydrodynamic EMP (MHD EMP). Magnetohydrodynamics is the study of magnetic properties in electrically conductive fluids, like the hot, electrically conducting plasma the sun is comprised of.

Solar activity such as Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can send a mass of solar energized particles toward the earth that can arrive in as little as a day, interacting with the earth’s magnetosphere and causing a geomagnetic storm. The result can be brilliant aurorae (Northern or Southern Lights), damaged satellites, disruption of radio communications and damage to the electrical grid.

Depending on the intensity and duration of the event, a MHD EMP event could affect an area as small as an Eastern state and the grid could be back up the same day. It is also possible that a severe MHD EMP could affect the entire planet.

Studies presented to the congressional EMP Commission estimated that the USA could have its grid back up in 1.5 – 3.5 years, but I am doubtful of this number. For starters, there is no manual on how to restart the grid. It has simply never been done. The electrical grid was slowly pieced together over more than 100 years. Fixing the grid will be delayed by a bit of a chicken – egg problem.

You can’t get the grid back up without Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) and you can’t build LPT’s without electricity, transportation, food, safe drinking water, security for the workers and their families and everyone who supports each of those systems, their families and so on.

Any way you look at it, recovery from a server MHD EMP event would be a process, not an event, and a long, non-linear process full of obstacles that we could not possibly predict, at that.

To Ground or not to Ground the Faraday Cage?

Question: I have heard conflicting answers. Should I ground my Faraday cage or not?

Answer: Yes … and no.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a refrigerator or smaller and is not wired with electric outlets and a breaker box like you have in your home, then, no, do not ground it. Grounding a small Faraday cage can do more harm than good.

You could think of it in terms that the ground could act like an EMP antenna, receiving the electromagnetic energy (radio waves) of the EMP, converting into power and possibly radiating into the space you are trying to shield.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a room or building or is wired for mains electricity (AC power), then yes, it should be properly grounded.

If You Still Have Questions About EMP Survival

EMP is one of the greatest threats mankind faces and I do not want you to leave your preparations on hold for lack of information. Please ask questions in the comments below or email them to us. Speak up, reach out and remember that imperfect preparations are better than none.

This survival guide is the perfect tool to help you prepare. Click the banner below for more!

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

Start A Metalworking Business By Building A Forge

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Many advances in human society and culture occurred as different groups learned how to mine metal ore and turn it into useful tools.

You need farm tools, weapons, or machines to carry out various tasks, so keep on hand what you need for metal working. If you know how build and use a forge, you’ll have a valuable skill to barter, but also a good start for a business that can help you survive nowadays.

There are several ways to build a forge that will meet most of your needs. Aim to build at least one forge and learn how to use it so that you have a better chance of being able to make and repair metal items in the future.

What is a Forge?

At it’s simplest, a forge is not much more than a place where you can heat metals up in order to soften them for further working. If you define a forge as all the things that you will need to heat, shape, and temper the metal, then there are a few more parts to consider.

For the sake of this article, I am defining a forge as the equipment you use to heat metals only.

Every Forge Must Have These Parts

You need to obtain and maintain a specific temperature to make metal items that will be durable and useful. As a result, there are some parts that every forge must have in order to achieve maximum temperature without compromising safety:

  • A place to burn fuel. If the forge is going to use coal, this area might be an open pit or tub lined with fireproof material. Forges that use gas or liquid based fuels may have a cylindrical or square shaped fireproof chamber surrounded by a metal jacket. It should be noted that coal burning forges are better for situations where you need to heat large amounts of metal or produce an unusually large shape such as a sword. Since gas fired forges produce a more even heat and are easier to operate, they are usually better for knives or other small items. That being said, if you are looking to build a highly adaptable forge, coal fired ones will be more suitable for your needs.
  • Fuel Inlet – for simple coal forges, you might simply layer some coal in the bottom of the pit, and when more fuel is needed, simply drop it into the burn area. If you are going to use natural gas or propane, then the fuel might be fed into a central chamber via a pipe and nozzle. In a similar fashion, if you are going to use a liquid fuel form, you will most likely want to pipe it in and be able to control the flow via a nozzle.
  • Air Inlet or Tuyere – since burning fuel requires oxygen, the forge must also have a means for introducing larger amounts of air. This is usually done via a tube or pipe extending into the main burn area.
  • Bellows – in order to reach and maintain higher temperatures, more air needs to get into the burn area in a shorter period of time. Bellows are used to push the air into this area as quickly as possible. Coal burning forges might have the Tuyere located under the burn area, and then a pipe would lead from the bellows so that air comes up from the bottom. Gas burning forges usually have a blower or fan that is used for the same purpose.

Materials in Nature You Can Use to Build a Coal Fired Forge

No matter how experienced you may be as a prepper, there are bound to be things that don’t seem very useful right now that will turn out to be very important later on. A metal forge is one of those items that can easily be left out of your plans, or just as bad, left behind if you have to evacuate.

If you are in a situation where you absolutely need a forge, here are some natural materials you can use to build each part of a coal forge:

  • Burn Pit – a pit or even a hole in the ground can serve as a burn pit. You can line the pit with rocks and small stones so that it retains heat better.
  • Air Inlet – create something like a Dakota Firepit design so that you have an easy way to introduce air into the burn area.
  • Bellows – the simplest form of bellows will only force air into the fire when the handles are compressed. On the other hand, if you are going to forge metal, the supply of air must be steady, yet easy to adjust as your working needs change.

There are two forms of bellows that will be suitable for this task. First, the double-acting bellows is not so different from the simpler form.

You will need animal hide, leather, and other soft material to make the bag and attach the pipe, paddle, piston, valves, and handles. The pipe is a simple hollow tube that you can make from wood, bone, or even sturdy reeds or bamboo. Finally, you can make the paddle, piston, valves, and handles from wood harvested from trees.

The second form of bellows is known as a Fuigo Box Bellows. Unlike the Double Acting Bellows, this form does not require a bag. You can make everything but the sealing from wood.

Video first seen on Cut Marks

How to Make a Gas Fired Coffee Can Forge

As a prepper, I find no end to the usefulness of institution sized, or #10 food cans. From making large bins for storing devices to building stoves, there is truly no end to what these sturdy cans can be repurposed for. In this case, they serve as the beginning material for a forge that you can make knives, spear points, and many other useful items with.

Here are the basic instructions:

  • Start off by making sure the can is clean and dry.
  • Most people do not remove the bottom can lid, however having one end of the can closed limits the amount of room you have for heating metal. I recommend removing the bottom lid so that you can extend the metal past the back. While you may have to move the metal back and forth to keep it heating evenly, it is better than having a forge that is too small for anything larger than a 2 -3 inch item.
  • Next, attach a base to where the bottom of forge will be. It should be big enough and wide enough so that the can will not roll over. Be sure to use fireproof material. The base should also be sturdy enough so that it will no collapse under the weight of the can, the lining, and any other attachments you will be adding to the can. If at all possible, try to make the base wider than the size of the can opening. When you are working with metal in such a cramped area, it is all too easy to bump the metal or the tongs holding it into the sides of the can. If the base is not sturdy enough or tips easily, it can make for a disaster as well as more than a few injuries. While many videos and “how-to” guides show coffee can forges with substantially narrower bases, it is better to be on the safe side and realize that accidents can and will happen, especially when you are in a stressful situation or working with unfamiliar equipment.
  • Take a propane torch and measure the tip of it. You will need a metal pipe that is large enough so that the tip of the torch can fit through it easily.
  • Once you locate a suitable metal pipe, drill a hole in the can to accommodate it. If you removed the bottom lid of the can, it might be best to put the hole near the center of the can so that heat will radiate evenly to the front and back of the can. Attach the pipe to the can. The hole should be in an area where you can easily place the torch into the pipe and not have it or the can tip over. If necessary, add a cinder blocks or something else beneath the base of the can so that the torch tip will be at the right height in relation to to the can.
  • Even though a natural gas or propane flame produces quite a bit of heat, tin cans aren’t very good at retaining heat. Therefore, you will need to line the inside of the can with fireproof material. Plaster of Paris, cement, and even mud will work as insulators. When lining the can with an insulator, do not forget to leave the hole open for the torch inlet. Try not to get insulating material in the pipe used for this purpose.

Video first seen on Andrew W

How to Make a Gas Fired Forge From Natural Materials

It is fair to say that a coal fired forge is easier to make mainly because you don’t have to be overly concerned about constructing a viable fire pit. While you will always have to be concerned about the size of the pit in order to conserve fuel, at least you will not have to spend as much time forming a more robust enclosure.

Overall, I would most recommend using fired clay or adobe to make the enclosure for a gas fired forge. When making the enclosure, do not forget that clay shrinks well over 20% from its original size as it loses water. It is better to make the enclosure a bit bigger so that you don’t wind up starting all over again.

Here are some basic rules for making a clay enclosure that can be fired successfully without the benefits of a modern kiln and all it’s heating controls:

  • As with any other clay construction that must be fired, always avoid making air pockets in the clay. Pay extra attention to joining areas and overlaps where air pockets are likely to form.
  • Don’t forget to poke holes in the clay so that it heats evenly. Since it will be much harder to control the speed at which temperatures change in a field kiln, these holes can reduce the risk of the entire vessel cracking.
  • Always make sure the clay is as dry as possible. While moisture isn’t quite as dangerous as air to a clay object being fired, it can still lead to war page and cracking, especially if some areas are thicker than others.
  • Try to make the clay thickness as even as possible throughout the vessel.

You can also make the enclosure from slabs of stone and then join them together with mud or adobe. It will take less work than making a clay vessel, however, you must choose the rocks carefully. Porous rocks can retain water and air that will cause them to explode when heated. They may also release toxic gases that can kill you or leave you with severe health problems. Learn about which rock types can be heated safely, and make sure you know how to recognize them in any terrain.

At the same time, you can also learn more about which rocks carry metal ores or point to veins of ore. This is especially important if you wind up in a situation where you don’t have much metal to work with, or the metal is of the wrong type for your needs.

How to Find Fuel for the Forge

You can use charcoal in a coal fired forge as long as you have enough air flowing through from the bellows. Even if you do not have coal, you can still turn wood or other materials into charcoal and use them in the forge.

Insofar as natural gas fired forges, try getting natural gas from large compost piles or septic waste systems, but it can be difficult to store this type of gas and also ensure that you remain safe. You’ll also need suitable piping and a valve system so that you can control the gas flow. To make these, you will need softer metal ores, or, you can start out with a coal fired forge to make these items, and then build the gas forge.

While forges aren’t especially complicated in terms of the equipment used, they are vital for building and repairing metal items.

No matter how far back society slides, the path back up to a more modern lifestyle cannot happen without metallurgy skills. At the very least, if you have metal forging skills, you and your descendants will have a better chance of surviving and thriving after a major disaster scenario.

Grab your tools and start practicing your skills!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Coffee-Can-Forge/

6 Ways You Can Build a Water Pump

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Most people today rely on municipal water supplies, but they are not beyond the risk of water shortages. In fact, as more areas deal with uncontrollable forest fires and droughts, you can expect the water crisis to get even worse.

Potable water supplies are more and more contaminated with dangerous drugs, commercial pollutants, and other unwanted additives that need to be filtered out.

If you have your own water pump, you take control of your water supply and also make it easier to obtain water regardless of the situation you find yourself in. But if you don’t have one, you should learn how to build it.

And here’s what you need to learn about it!

PVC Hand Pump for Wells

If you have a well that has water within 25 feet of the surface of the ground, a manual hand pump is one of the best options.

The simplest and cheapest form you can make is made of PVC pipe and shaped like a “T”. To make a “T” shaped pump from PVC you will need:

  • PVC tubing – if you must make a manual well pump in a natural setting, you could use a hollowed out tree limb. Even though it will rot out fairly quickly, this pump will still buy some time until you can find something that will not rot or corrode easily.
  • Check Valves – at its simplest, a check valve allows water to flow only in one direction. You can make a check valve by cutting a rubber sphere in half and inserting it into the main PVC tube. If you have no plastic or actual check valves available, try making them from plant based rubber.
  • O-rings – most people use rubber o-rings for preventing leaks in a manual water pump. In a time of need, you can also use leather, or make the rings from plant based rubber.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Reciprocating Displacement Pumps

These are the more traditional looking manual pumps that you may be accustomed to: they have a long handle off to the side of the main shaft that you raise and lower, and there is a piston inside the pipe that fits very close to the sides.

As you move the handle, it creates a vacuum in the pipe as the piston moves upward. As long as water can get into the pipe, then it will be pulled upward until it reaches a spout for the water to flow out of. When you move the handle again, the rod attached to it sends it back down the pipe.

For the most part, you will find these pumps easier to make using natural materials. As with the PVC hand pump, you can still use a hollowed out log until you can make pipe from a more durable material. The handle and bar attached to the piston can also be made from wood.

While you can also make the piston from wood, you will need to wrap something around it that will make a tight seal. You can use plant based rubber or just about anything else that will withstand being immersed in water and will also form a tight seal with the pipe.

Remember, you may need a thicker seal layer as well as find some means to make sure the inner surface of the pipe is as smooth and even as possible.

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

Archimedes Screw for Surface and Underground Water

As its name implies, the Archimedes Screw makes use of the angle of a helix to move water from a lower level to a higher one.

Here are the basic parts you will need to build an Archimedes Screw:

  • A pipe that extends into the water. The bottom of this pipe will always have to be below the water level.
  • A screw-like structure that fits into the pipe. Unlike a screw, this form needs to have deeper blades that rise at an angle up the length of the shaft. The lowermost part of the screw must also be submerged in water.
  • You will also need a crank or something else attached to the upper part of the screw to make it turn. Historically speaking, animal labor was commonly used to turn the screw. More modern versions make use of motors.
  • A sealant that prevents water from slipping back downward while not seizing against the wall of the chamber. This is especially important if you need to use animal or human labor to keep the pump turning. While some 20 – 50% leakage may not be a problem if you have a motor and plenty of power at your disposal, it can spell disaster if your resources are more limited. Use a rubber edging on the screw itself, and then perhaps coating the wall of the surrounding pipe with food safe silicon or some other lubricant. This would give you a better seal and still enable the screw to turn with the minimal amount of resistance.

Unlike many other pump listed in this article, it can move water over large distances or from great depths. As long as you have the power to turn the screw, and the material that you’re using is durable enough, you can deliver water to just about any location.

Historically, screw designs were made from fairly weighty metals that required a lot of energy to move. Today, there are many fiberglass compounds that are almost as durable as metal, and will not be ruined by exposure to water. If you can mold these compounds into a suitable form, then you will have a light weight but durable Archimedes Screw.

You could also design a tube that will seal better so that less water drops back down to lower levels. Do not forget that you can also use rubber and other materials to form better seals than were possible in historical times.

Get your own amazing device that turns air into water! 

Mini Electric Pump for Moving Small Volumes of Water

Many Americans are concerned about the reduced safety paired with the soaring cost of municipal water supplies, while local and state governments insist on preventing people from using wells or harvesting water by other means. Consumer level water collection is still possible, and will become inevitable during a major crisis.

One of the biggest overlooked problems surrounding collecting your own water is moving it from one place to another. Consider a situation where you are collecting rainwater and intend to use it to flush your toilet. Even though you may be able to gather enough water using a simple system to reduce your municipal water usage by 20%, you must still get the water from the outside into the toilet.

Initially, you may feel that simply dipping a pail into your water cache and dumping it into the toilet may be good enough. While this system will work, there are easier and more convenient ways to achieve your goal plus utilize the stored water for other means. You can use a mini pump attached to a water barrel to pump water directly into the water tank of the toilet.

Many modern heating systems rely on a blower to move warm or cool air through access paths located in the walls and floors of your home. If you cannot generate electricity, it won’t matter if you have fuel to run the furnace, in part because the furnace may be in a basement or crawl space where it won’t deliver heat to important areas of your home.

A few inexpensive pipes and radiators can be used to move hot or cold water around your home. Aside from installing a boiler and a water tank on your heating and cooling system, you will also need one or more pumps to move the water into the pipes and radiators. If you choose models that run on battery power, it should be possible to recharge those batteries with solar capture devices or wind turbines.

You do not need a huge or very powerful pump for this purpose, many motors that you scavenge from both battery and conventionally powered appliances can be used. Once you have a working motor, all you need to do is create an impeller and an impeller chamber.

Make sure that you do not take everything you see in videos or instruction sites as matter of fact. For example, more than a few videos show plastic covering the air vents of the motor. Not only is this useless, it is dangerous and can cause the motor to overheat and catch fire. Even though there are submersible motors used in aquarium filters and other applications, you cannot expect to simply close off the vents on a regular pump and achieve the same results.

You can make your own motor using magnets and coils of wire, as long as you have these materials. Just remember you will need to practice winding motors so that you can build the best possible model.

Ram Pumps

The hydraulic ram pump is one every prepper should practice building because it does not require electricity to run and can move water from lower elevations to higher ones. As long as you have a source of moving water such as a stream or river, a ram pump will deliver a steady amount of water with very little in the way of maintenance.

It does not matter if the water is flowing above ground or below ground. In order for the ram pump to work, the inlet pipe only needs to be about 18 inches below the water level. That being said, if the underground stream or river is too low in relation to the area where you want to collect the water, you will need a stronger pump, or find a way to collect the water at a lower level.

Even though most commercial ram pumps are made from iron or other metals, you can make one from PVC pipe, a check ball, and a few fittings. It should be noted the PVC version of the ram pump is very different from the manual pump version.

To begin, in order to use the manual pump, you will need to apply steady physical force to the pump. On the other hand, the ram pump gets all of its power from the movement of water as it moves through the inlet pipe. While both pumps require a check ball, their modes of operation are truly different, and also ideal usefulness in different settings.

Video first seen on joshuaburks

Diaphragm Pumps

Your water resources are extremely low? A diaphragm pump will be less likely to fail if thin mud, grit, or grime get into it. Even though you will need to separate the best of the water out from these solutions, at least it is better than nothing.

At its simplest, a diaphragm pump relies on an empty chamber that changes shape as energy is applied to a diaphragm or membrane at one end of the chamber. While diaphragm pumps are often used for pumping air, they are also very useful for pumping water.

All you will need is some PVC pipe, a source of flexible rubber (this can be as simple as rubber gloves), two check balls, and some PVC piping for the diaphragm chamber, inlet, outlet, and main body of the pump. You will also need an electric motor or some other means to cause the membrane to vibrate. I would recommend experimenting with sound waves, which are used to make speakers vibrate.

Gravity motors and other simple non-electric motors may also be used to power the diaphragm pump. Just make sure that you try out different systems and methods now rather than wait until an emergency occurs. A mistake made now can be overcome with adjustments. Once a crisis occurs, it will be too late to obtain other materials or find needed information.

Across time, people have used many different methods to move water from one location to another. Once municipal water supplies and electric pumps are no longer operable, you will need some way to pump water on your own.

Depending on the water source available or the specific application you are interested in, one or several of these pump designs may be of interest to you.

Learn how to build and use these devices. Worst comes to worst, you will have a few extra pumps in your stockpile, or you will know exactly how to build what is needed during and after a major social collapse.

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ah810e/AH810E06.htm

http://explorable.com/archimedes-screw

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/hydraulic-ram-pump-zmaz79mjzraw

How To Hide Your Car And Stay Undetected

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Can you imagine your life without having a car? Shopping, going to work, taking kids to a game or going to the doctor without having a mean of transportation would turn into a nightmare. Your life is spinning in the rhythm of our four-wheeled companion.

In a bug out situation, your life will depend on your vehicle even more, so make sure you take good care of it and prepare it to remain unnoticed.

If you live in the city, bugging out may be less about driving on uneven terrain and more about avoiding rioters and traffic jams.

The vehicle that you are going to use must look like it belongs in the area you are traveling through. Depending on where you are and what is going on, there will be times when you can use these tips, and times when you should adjust them in order to avoid specific problems.

Why Customization is a Failure

Many preppers try to customize their vehicles with lift kits, unusual tire types, roof lights, and other items that may or may not actually expand the usefulness of the vehicle. In most cases, the benefits you may get from this customization does not equal the loss of capacity to blend on city or suburb streets.

Some also believe that a heavily armored tactical vehicle will deter rioters and troublemakers. This is a very bad mindset: mercenaries will see the vehicle as a sign of wealth, and do anything in their power to steal it or kill you to get it.

This defense system will make your home invisible to looters!

Essential Parts of a Camouflage Kit

You might travel through different neighborhoods with different wealth levels and cultural values, so a vehicle camouflage kit would be useful. If you haven’t surveyed the areas and mapped them out, then do so before you drive through. At the very least, if you need to make changes to the vehicle, you can do so before driving through.

Spray Paint

Always keep a few cans of different colored spray paint, gray primer, and other colors of primer in the vehicle. Gray primer is especially useful because rioters and looters will think the vehicle is junked out and pass it by in favor of vehicles that may have something of value to steal.

You can use these paints to make the vehicle look old and rusted out, or you can use them to spruce up the vehicle so that it looks newer.

Video first seen on mycoolkeno

Repair Kits

Fiberglass body repair kits can also be used to change the appearance of the vehicle. Make sure you have some simple body working tools to do the job right.

Different Color Duct Tape

Use dark colored duct tape to cut down on visible light that can be seen at night from the vehicle headlights, tail lights, and running lights.

Duct tape can also be used to give an illusion it is holding two broken body parts together even if they are intact. You can use this to make doors, windows, and fenders look so old, anyone looking at them would think there is nothing of value in the vehicle.

Rolls of Exhaust System Repair Tape

These rolls of tape can make a perfectly good exhaust system look like it is in very bad shape and is ready to fail at any moment.

Any other decals, stickers, or pieces of metal that can help to give the vehicle an illusion of being a junker, or conversely, like it belongs to a wealthier person that belongs in a specific neighborhood.

When using the camouflage kit, the most important thing is how well you blend into your local surroundings. You don’t want to look too affluent, too weak, or unable to protect yourself.

Find that happy medium that tells the rioters and other troublemakers that you can handle yourself without arousing suspicion of local people that can also cause problems.

Why Choosing Your Vehicle Wisely Makes Sense

It is not easy to find the perfect bug out vehicle that will address your needs and also be easy to conceal. In general, the outer aspects of the vehicle should match the times and styles of the areas you will be traveling through.

Stay away from brand new vehicles, or ones that are so old people will remember them because they look different. The outer body of the vehicle should look between 3 and 7 years old and be common looking.

The Size of the Vehicle

When it comes to hiding your bug out vehicle in plain sight, size is also an important factor to consider. By instinct, you will more than likely want a pickup truck or something large enough to carry a lot of items from one area to another.

In a time of social unrest, however, pickup trucks can easily be a target because they have a stereotype of being rough, reliable, dependable, and able to carry things of great value. On the other hand, a medium sized SUV looks as common and nondescript on a city street as it does on a small town road.

Remember, your vehicle must also disguise who and what you are. The last thing you will want is for people to realize that you are a prepper, and therefore have valuable skills, materials, and supplies. From this perspective, you can get away with a larger vehicle as long as it looks normal for the area.

You might be forced to leave the vehicle in a secure location, including an underground location, in a wooded area, or even parked in a cave. For these situations, you would be better off with a smaller vehicle simply because there are more places where you can hide it with less effort.

What About Trailers

Outside of the question of hiding your vehicle, trailers are useful for bringing along more supplies and even for living space. If you are trying to blend in or drive through a crowd of rioters, a trailer can be a huge liability.

Aside from making your vehicle easy to spot, a trailer can make the entire vehicle harder to handle. Not only will you be unable to simply unhitch the trailer and leave it behind, all avenues of escape may be cut off by masses of people.

Camouflage and Concealment: What You Need to Know

You have to take full responsibility for your own safety, and one of the best ways to do it is to stay inconspicuous. Even if you are armed and well trained, it is still better to avoid being attacked.

Camouflage and concealment are different, but related skills. Concealment is making yourself hard to see. Camouflage is changing something’s appearance so it’s harder to notice. Camouflage does not need to involve making whatever you’re camouflaging look like something else. All you need to do is make sure it doesn’t look like what it actually is.

And here are the six basic aspects of camouflage and concealment you need to learn.

Vehicle Shape

The human eye is naturally drawn to anything that looks out of place or familiar, however large numbers of the same thing can cause viewers to overlook similar items. If there are relatively few vehicles in the area, you will need to make your vehicle harder to see. Vehicles or the shape of a human being will all stand out unless they are disguised, and the most effective way to avoid this is to break up the shape by using a camouflage pattern.

A good camouflage pattern doesn’t work by mimicking the background around it. Instead, it disguises the outline of a familiar or unnatural shape by breaking it into smaller or regular ones. Contrasting colors are the best way to do this. You can borrow the idea of military camouflage patterns to match the surrounding colors.

Another way to camouflage a parked vehicle is to use a camouflage net, but never just drape the net over the vehicle. Support it with poles or cut branches to create an irregular shape. When using poles fit some kind of spreader to the end to keep the net from slipping down over them.

Shine

There are many shiny things in nature, and they do attract attention. If the vehicles around yours look shiny and bright, a dull vehicle will stick out and be noticed. Oddly enough, what you wear while you are driving can also draw unwanted attention.

No matter what neighborhood you are driving through, avoid wearing anything that will produce a flash or a shine. Remove all jewelry and your watch and put them in your pocket. Reflections of light on your skin can also be very visible. Use camouflage cream to make it harder for others to see you.

Shine is a big problem for vehicles. If you want the vehicle to look run down and useless, remove or paint any chrome work. Cover it with 100mph tape, or burlap. When the vehicle is parked, cover the windows, lights, mirrors, or anything else that might reflect light with burlap sacks, or better yet an old tarp that makes it looks like the windows might be cracked.

Shadows

Always be aware of the position of the sun when you stop to rest or shelter. It is possible to be hidden in dense vegetation enough to conceal your vehicle, but still enough light to cast a distinctive shadow on the ground. If you are moving inside of a tree line and throwing a shadow outside of it, the movement of the shadow can reveal that you are there. To hide the shadow move further into the trees.

Even if you have the vehicle parked under a camouflage net, that shadow will give everything away. To get rid of this shadow problem, hang a skirt of burlap around the bottom of the vehicle after you have parked. Another way to break up the shadow is to fill this gap area with light brush. If you can, park in vegetation that reaches a couple of inches above the bottom of the doors. Always pay attention to wheel well shadows that must also be removed.

Silhouette

A silhouette is basically a shape against a contrasting background. The classic way to reveal your position by silhouetting is to cross the skyline. Anyone at or below your level will see your outline. If you are following a ridge line do not move along the crest. Stay off to one side and far enough down so that the ridge is between you and the sky.

If you must cross the high ground, look for cover such as trees or a dip in the ridge. To reduce your silhouette as much as possible, you may have to wait until it is darker and you can drive across undetected.

The sky is not the only thing you can be silhouetted against. You must always be aware of what is behind you. It does not matter how well camouflaged you are. Try to avoid moving in front of anything that is a stronger contrast with your vehicle.

Picking the right location is a huge aid to help minimize silhouettes when picking overnight camps. Remember If your are in cover you are not silhouetted against anything so build your camp in the woods. Pick your locations surrounded by higher ground so anyone approaching will be silhouetted, but you will not.

Metallic and Heat Signature

In the modern age, all kinds of equipment can be used to spot a vehicle no matter how well you disguise it for human eyes. Try coating the vehicle in specialized paints or other materials that will prevent your vehicle from showing up on scans designed to pick up metallic objects in unusual places, or heat signatures from the engine and exhaust.

Sound

A muffler in good repair is very important for preventing others from hearing the sound of your vehicle’s engine. Don’t forget to turn off the sound system and anything else that will create too much noise.

Hiding your vehicle isn’t especially complicated if it is your sole objective. As a prepper, however, you will find there are many conflicting needs that will interfere with things that will work best insofar as hiding your vehicle.

In the end, it will be up to you to decide what balance you will draw between all of these opposing needs.

Interested to keep your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Replacing Gasoline: 7 Homemade Alternatives For Fuel

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Whether you commute several hundred miles per week, or only just once per month, letting go of traveling by car doesn’t feel comfortable to anyone.

While it’s possible to make automobile fuel at home, there are some other options you can, and should consider. If one method does not appeal to you, others may also work and give you better options when it is impossible to buy gasoline or other fuel types.

How Easy is to Make Gasoline at Home?

Gasoline is made from petroleum, which is essentially the remains of living things that died thousands to millions of years ago.

Be prepared to face some problems with trying to make gasoline at home that is comparable to what you would get at the gas pump:

  • Finding petroleum deposits that you can reach with drilling equipment isn’t easy, and most people lack the resources to purchase and process barrels of crude.
  • It takes a good bit of petroleum, water, and other materials to produce even a single gallon of gasoline, and the equipment is also very expensive.
  • Many of the sites online that claim you can make gasoline at home may actually be talking about biodiesel or similar fuels. You can make burnable automobile fuel based on alcohols and other “renewable” fuel sources, but it’s not the same as gasoline made from petroleum. The energy, density, burn characteristics, and effects on delicate engine seals and parts is very different.
  • Even if you have tools and equipment to refine gasoline, it can be a very dangerous process that requires a good bit of skill. Together with that, you will also need to be able to maintain the equipment and make repairs as needed.

Simply put, making gasoline at home isn’t something you can do by yourself, nor can it be done at low cost or in a residential setting. While you may be able to make small amounts of biodiesel, or even a hydrogen based fuel, gasoline is likely to be out of your reach.

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Start Off with Building a Steam Engine

Before you try to make any kind of fuel at home, think about how you can reconfigure the engine that powers your vehicle.

Historically speaking, the rise of the internal combustion engine didn’t come about just because this engine design worked better than the steam engine. Rather, it had to do with who got bank loans and how they marketed the product.

In terms of technological simplicity, fuel choices, safety, durability, and power delivery, the steam engine outranks the internal combustion engine.

So if you are willing to change an existing vehicle in order to use homemade fuels, start off by converting to a steam engine. Making this change has its benefits, and here are just a few of them:

  • You can burn just about anything to heat up the water used to produce steam. If you are interested in liquid fuels, or even gas based fuels, you only need to install the tanks. If vehicle has the right shape, you can easily power the vehicle on five or six fuels without any problem.
  • Even solar “panels” composed of black plastic tubing with water running through them can be used to heat up the water or keep it in a pre-steam state so that it takes less of other types of fuel to produce steam.
  • Steam engines might weigh a lot less than internal combustion engines, which means the vehicle will require less fuel.
  • If you use hydrogen fuels, or fine tune a solar heating system, the vehicle will have few, if any detectable emissions. Concerned about being followed or having the vehicle stolen? With this option, you won’t need to worry about electronic surveillance equipment following conventional fuel signatures.

Today, it is virtually impossible to obtain a consumer level automobile that uses a steam engine. Researchers are still looking at steam engines and working on them, so you they might come back into style in the next few years.

Research on the patents and materials for steam engines, and start with simple ways to boil water with as little fuel as possible, if you are on a low budget. From there, you can move on to building up pressure from the steam, and then using that pressure to drive a piston.

Some people have successfully converted automobiles to run on steam engines, which is a perfect project to experiment with if you have a homestead or a farm. It may be hard to legally take your vehicle out on the roads, but things can easily change in a crisis situation.

Rely on Water for Hydrogen Fuels

Hydrogen fuels offer more promise for an alternative fuel than most other types because it can be made from water and also natural gas.

But remember that during crisis, you won’t find automobile fuel faster than water. Processing some fuels requires large volumes of water, which makes it even harder since water scarcity forces other priorities to the top of the list.

With just a few modifications to your car, you could use water (which is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen) to reduce the amount of gasoline you need to run the vehicle.

If you explore hydrogen fuels further, you might create your own fuel cell to run an electric motor. This is quite interesting if you have a hybrid vehicle.

Check these patents and devices for converting your vehicle to run on hydrogen, or for getting started to develop your own ideas.

  • Fuel Cells – it produces electrons, which can then be used to power a motor. It differs from a battery because it takes fuel and breaks it down to release energy as opposed to simply store the energy. You can also find small scale kit you can use to start with fuel cells if you don’t want to build one from scratch, and this is a great project to pursue with children or grandchildren.
  • Garrett Electrolytic Carburetor – if you have a vehicle with a carburetor, this is the perfect invention for you: this design adds electrolysis plates to the lower section of the carburetor, and the plates break down the water to release the hydrogen and oxygen. There are similar devices on the market that break water down, and release hydrogen into the engine, and they won’t eliminate all need for gasoline, but increase mileage by a good bit.
  • Denny Klein’s Aquygen– even though these vehicles are not as efficient, the technology behind them is valid and will be better than nothing in time of need.
  • Hydrogen Booster Kits – these kits allow you to “enhance” the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines by injecting hydrogen into the fuel mix. Some kits are better than others, and results may vary.

As a note of caution, there are many people around the world trying to find a viable way to make vehicles run on water. Most systems either split water apart using hydrolysis, or they try to feed hydrogen and oxygen into the cylinder.

Before building something, check the viability of the plans you are looking at. Look or think about developing a system that pressurizes the oxygen first before attempting to use it to drive a piston.

If you need an electrical charge to drive a motor, look for ways to incorporate a joule thief or some other technology that will give you more current from what has already been produced.

Try to incorporate solar and other devices that can be used to generate power as opposed to simply relying on water or hydrogen. Generating heat to drive a steam engine would also be a viable answer.

Biodiesel

If you have a “flex fuel vehicle”, or one that runs on diesel, then homemade biodiesel may be an option for you. Depending on the recipe, making biodiesel can be dangerous, so study your options carefully and take your time when building and working with your equipment.

There are three main ingredient types you will need for making biodiesel and you can make or obtain them all from natural resources:

  • Fats or oils – this takes up the main bulk of the biodiesel, and you can obtain them from animal or plant based sources: spent cooking oil, scraps of animal fat, and many other kinds of kitchen waste. If you aren’t sure if a particular fat or oil will suit your needs, you can try visiting the Make Biodiesel website to see how different oils and fats compare to each other.
  • Alcohol – usually, methanol, or wood alcohol is recommended for beginners. Wood alcohol is not easy to make, but you can purchase some and work with it until you are ready to use grain or ethyl alcohol. Grain or ethyl alcohol is the edible form found in beer, wine, and other beverages, and you’ll have to set up a still and concentrate ethyl alcohol so that it can be used for making biodiesel.
  •  Lye – it’s not only useful for making soap and opening stuck drains, but it also acts as a key catalyst for making biodiesel. While pure lye is still available on the market, it can be hard to get, so learn how to make lye from potash. Remember there’s a difference between lye made from potash and commercial lye: you may need to tweak your biodiesel recipe a bit if it isn’t already calibrated for homemade lye.

Video first seen on Utah Biodiesel Supply

Unusual Biomass Fuels

A great deal of money and effort has been put into making fuels from corn and other crops that have a high sugar content. Typically, these crops are used to make large quantities of alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline in order to reduce the amount of petroleum used in the fuel.

While there are many problems associated with soil depletion and destruction of plant diversity (because GMO strains are used for fuel production), these fuels are, in my opinion, falsely touted as a viable alternative to petroleum products.

In the last few years, there has also been a push to develop fuels based on the extraction of oils from plants. For example, algae is seen as a viable source of fuel because a high percentage of the plant material is made up of oils. Some people claim that growing algae is hard, but actually extracting oil from algae can be a difficult and expensive process.

If you can get ahold of large amounts of algae, try and see for yourself if you can come up with a viable system.

In a collapsed world, the sheer amount of waste and chemical contamination of surface water will lead to all kinds of algae growth. Learning how to put this noxious stuff to good use for making fuel will be to your advantage.

Video first seen on Lucid Science

The Overlooked Power of Natural Gas

Natural gas from compost and garbage dumps is truly one of the most overlooked sources of fuel in our country.

It is possible (but expensive and time consuming) to convert your vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG). Storing natural gas safely, and then compressing it enough to provide fuel for a decent driving distance are difficult too.

While there are a few cars made to burn this fuel in the United States, they are far more popular overseas. As prepper vehicles go, natural gas has more than enough power to operate the kind of engine that will be suitable for rough terrain, however refueling and storing natural gas can be a problem.

Video first seen on GasitalyTube Italy

If you want to pursue this path, start of by seeing how much natural gas you can generate from compost piles and other renewable resources. Make sure that you can use the gas for other fuel needs such as cooking and heating your home, since you can use it for other purpose if it turns out that you cannot use natural gas to power a vehicle.

What About Magnet Based Propulsion?

The basic purpose of the engine is to make it possible for the surrounding vehicle to move, which requires a certain amount of power to overcome the effects of gravity. There are different methods that can be used to achieve this goal, and magnetic fields can also be used.

There are toys on the market that rely on reversals of the electromagnetic field between the base and an object in order to make the object float. The same principles are used to power some of the fastest commuter trains in the world.

If you’re interested in this topic, your main problem would be keeping the car moving without having a nearby rail or other source of switching current to work with. If you are interested in powering a vehicle for your homestead, you can build a grid to cover the local area.

Research on advances in wireless current transmission. We are still far away from the system envisioned by Tesla, but wireless power transmission can easily be used to power vehicles levitating in a magnetic field.

Other Engine Designs

In some ways, building an engine for an automobile is not so different from building any other power generation system. At heart, both systems must generate some kind of spinning motion that will either push a vehicle forward or induce electrical current flow in a nearby coil.

Study different ways to induce current, and see if any of these devices can be used to build an automobile engine. For example, the Tesla Turbine can be run on compressed air, or even a steady stream of water.

As strange as it may sound, wind power may have far more to offer in terms of engine design than continuing with the concept of an internal combustion engine. Today, many materials can be used to make smaller and smaller wind turbines that may only require a tiny breeze or a slight shaking to produce an electrical current. Even sound or certain sound based vibrations in different media can be used to generate an electrical current that combines with other sources to run a motor, or even power a series of magnets that will enable the vehicle to break the bounds of gravity.

Remember, right now we are dealing with technologies that must overcome large amounts of weight. Simply put, the more weight you have to deal with, the more power it will take to overcome the effects of gravity. Look at lighter weight polymers and newer materials used to create both propulsion units and the surrounding vehicle.

Some situations can make traveling by automobile very expensive and complicated even on regular times. While a lack of gasoline is bound to be a problem in the post crisis world, trying to make gasoline at home is not a viable option.

There are other alternative fuel and engine design options that you can and should consider.

In most cases, coming up with something useful will take time and effort to come out with something sustainable and tangible, given the limited materials available to the average consumer in these times.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Resources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Gasoline

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/148416-are-steam-cars-poised-for-an-epic-comeback

http://www.stanleymotorcarriage.com/SteamEngine/SteamEngineGeneral.htm

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/fuel_cell.html

http://www.make-biodiesel.org/Ingredients/ingredients-for-biodiesel.html

Why The Most Delicate Part Of Our Infrastructure Is The Grid

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In case you hadn’t noticed, major power outages are on the upswing. During the period of 2000 to 2004, there was an average of 44 power outages per year, nationwide. That rose to 100 per year in the period from 2005 to 2009, and doubled to 200 in the years 2010 to 2013.

In 2014, 14.2 million Americans were impacted by power outages, with California topping the list. I can’t find compiled data for the years after that, but in the first six months of 2014, there were 130, which shows a continuing of this trend.

Basically, our electrical grid is old. Power plants, distribution centers, substations and transmission lines are all designed with a 50 year lifespan. But a large chunk of our electric grid is older than that and an even larger chunk is approaching the 50 year threshold. In the Northeast, there are transmission lines which have been in continuous use for over 100 years.

The Fact: 3 Blackouts in One Day

On April 23rd, three major cities in the US received blackouts on the same day – New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; the largest, second largest and fourteenth largest cities on our country, respectably. The fact that these happened all at the same time and can’t be attributed to either hot weather (the use of air conditioning) or storms is suspicious.

While all three of these cities were hit by outages, San Francisco was hit the hardest, with business, traffic and many day-to-day activities coming to a complete standstill. We are so dependent on our electric grid, that there are few areas of activity which are not affected by a blackout.

Video first seen on Fox News.

Yet as we look into the future, we can expect more and more blackouts to occur. Government red tape and regulations are making it harder and harder to build new power plant. During the years of Obama’s presidency, the coal power industry was especially hard hit. That’s on top of the struggles that the nuclear power industry regularly has, because of the fear that the political left has of nuclear power.

Yet the left’s vision of green power is unrealistic. The only renewable (or green) power that is reliable is hydroelectric, and the United States has pretty much maxed out the use of available rivers in building hydroelectric plants. Unlike Lesotho, Bhutan and Paraguay, we can’t produce 99% plus of our energy needs from hydroelectric dams.

We need to depend on much less reliable wind and solar power, neither of which can provide power 24/7. Even geothermal power, which the United States is the world leader in, accounts for only 0.41% of our total energy needs.

Not replacing our aging power grid merely plays into the hands of our enemies, all of whom are aware of our high dependence on electrical power. We can be sure that any countries who look at the Untied States as a potential enemy, have both mapped out our electric grid (the information is readily available on the internet) and developed plans to disrupt it.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

The Question About the Cause

The question has been raised whether the power outages on April 23rd were part of a test attack by a foreign power or not. China and Russia lead the world in cyberwarfare, especially China. But they are not the only countries pouring resources into this new battleground.

Compared to other forms of warfare, cyberwarfare is cheap, requires few “soldiers” and minimal money spent on developing or acquiring arms. A small group of brilliant programmers and hackers can do wonders, when given the freedom to experiment.

When survivalists think of the grid going down, we tend to think of an EMP attack. I wrote about that recently, in regards to North Korea. But an EMP is only one of the options available to an enemy. Cyberwarfare entails less risks and requires less expenditure of money; yet can be extremely effective.

It is a known fact that nuclear power plants have been targeted for hacking, with considerable success. Remote control of a nuclear plant by a hacker can cause a variety of effects, ranging from reducing power output all the way through causing a meltdown of the core.

I’m not sure if it is possible, but if they can hack in far enough to cause a meltdown; it seems to me that they could also cause a runaway reaction, leading to an explosion.

Then there’s the attack on the San Jose, California substation in 2013. In that attack, unknown parties shot the coolant tanks on the substation’s transformers, draining the coolant out and destroying the transformers. Had it not been for the ability designed in to the electric grid to reroute and cover a destroyed substation, the people of San Jose would have been without power for months.

Our grid can absorb the loss of a substation, power plant or transmission line. But the more that are lost, the greater the chance of the domino affect taking over, causing more and more failures. If a major substation were to be destroyed during peak usage time, the number of people who would end up being affected could easily run into the millions.

What Is the Risk?

One of the biggest tactical mistakes in the protection of our country was when some unnamed officials admitted to the Wall Street Journal that sabotage of just nine key substations would be enough to bring down the grid.

Do you want to guess which countries have engineers hard at work determining which o the country’s 55,000 substations are included in that short list? Once they figure it out, there will be a clock on our country’s electrical power use.

Potential attacks like this, and our dependence on electricity, make our country much more vulnerable than it was 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. The more we depend on electronics in our day-to-day lives, the more easily our lives can be disrupted.

Worse than that, the disruptions that we would experience can’t be replaced by other systems, as we no longer have those systems available to us.

  • Loss of water pressure as the city water loses power
  • Loss of heating and air conditioning
  • Loss of communications, once phone companies run out of fuel for their generators
  • Loss of fresh and frozen food, without stores having refrigeration
  • Loss of transportation, without the ability to pump fuel out of underground tanks
  • Loss of our supply distribution system, which is highly dependent on computers
  • Loss of much of our medical services, which depend on electricity as well
  • Loss of jobs and the associated paycheck, as few companies can operate without electricity
  • Loss of education, when the schools shut down
  • Loss of air travel, which depends on radar and radios for communication, not to mention the fuel they need to get those planes in the air
  • Loss of the news media, which needs power to broadcast
  • Loss of the internet, which is all electronic
  • Loss of sewage systems, as soon as the sewage lines back up. Water treatment plants depend on electricity to drive their pumps. Without that, the system backs up.
  • Loss of refrigeration, so our food will spoil
  • Loss of access to our money, as we mostly depend on electronic money
  • Loss of access to money in the bank, as the computers which tell the bank how much money we have would be inoperative
  • Loss of commerce, in general, due to the inability to access money
  • Loss of defense, as the military depends heavily on electronic communications, as well as electrical power to control and run our weapons systems

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the idea. Basically, everything we depend on, depends on electricity to operate. So, without electricity, our lives come to a standstill.

That’s a fact known to our friends and enemies alike. So is the lead time on new transformers for substations and how few manufacturers there are in the world build those custom artifacts. Maybe it wouldn’t have as major an impact on the USA as a nationwide outage caused by an EMP would, but the fact is, it wouldn’t take much to take out the grid regionally, in any part of the country.

Without electrical power, it wouldn’t take long for fear to set in and for people to turn against each other. FEMA’s recommendation of three day’s food isn’t going to help people much, when they’ll be without electrical power for weeks or even months.

Even Hurricane Katrina left some people without electrical power for six weeks, and that didn’t take even one terrorist who was willing to lay down their life in pursuit of a larger cause.

When Going Off-grid is Not Your Choice

For us here in modern-day America, the loss of the electric grid is probably the ultimate urban survival challenge. With our lives and our communities so dependent on electrical power, the loss of that power would quickly lead to a breakdown of society. As soon as people realized how close they were to starvation, they would panic; and that, in turn, would lead to them turning on each other; especially on those who they suspected had food.

Survival in such a situation has to include complete isolation from others. The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If people don’t see you, they won’t be asking how you are doing. Nor will they have the chance to ask you if you have any food that you can share with them. They may speculate, but that’s all it would be.

This would be an ideal time to disappear to that secret cabin in the woods, if you are fortunate enough to have one. If not, you’ll need to make your home look as abandoned as possible, while you live off of whatever food and water you have stockpiled.

Depending on how widespread the blackout is and how it happens, repairs could take months or even longer. In a case where substation transformers are destroyed, it takes a year to build new ones. That’s long enough that the loss of life could be severe enough to prevent their replacement. America, as we all know it today, could cease to exist.

This is why a three day supply of food isn’t enough. For that matter, a three month supply of food isn’t. You are going to need at least a year’s worth of food to survive this sort of attack, and possibly even more.

The year figure I just mentioned is based upon the assumption that within that year, you can get your own food production up and running. But if you can’t, then you’ll need more than a year’s worth of food in your stockpile.

Water will be at least as critical, if not more so. The idea of surviving off the water in your hot water heater or the community pond assumes that you’re only going to have to survive a short period of time. When we’re talking a year or more, you’re going to have your own means of harvesting water.

If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you’ll be able to use rainwater capture to provide you with water. But if not, about the only truly reliable means of providing yourself with water is with a well, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to have a river flowing across the edge of your property. Any other method for getting water would require you going out in public and letting people know that you are alive, healthy and obviously eating.

The ability to defend yourself could ultimately be the most important part of your survival preparedness. Regardless of who you are, where you are, or how well you isolate yourself from society, somebody is going to realize that you are there. That realization will probably be quickly followed up by the thought that you are better fed than they are, which would mean that you have food.

Once people realize that you have food, when they don’t, you’re in trouble. While some will limit themselves to begging for food, others will try to take what you have. In either case, you’ll have to be ready to defend home, family and your stockpile as well.

That may even mean defending your chickens and vegetable garden. When people are desperate and hungry, they do desperate things. Scaling your fence to steal some food may not even seem all that desperate to them. But if you allow it, your garden will be cleaned out in a matter of days.

Sadly, survival carries with it some hard decisions. Decisions like not helping others, so that you can take care of your own.

If you can’t make that decision and then follow through on it, chances are, you won’t survive.

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This article has been written by Bill White 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. 

Comic Con star yearns for Bora Bora

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millie bobbie brown wide smile

Smile – you are off the grid

“Stranger Things” fans gave Millie Bobby Brown — the 13-year-old breakout star of Netflix‘s sci-fi series — pure and unmitigated rock-star treatment on closing day of this year’s Indiana Comic Con.  highlights of the session – she yearns for an off-grid life and she hates shopping.

Brown’s Q&A was peppered with bio info you might find in a teen-focused magazine from the “Stranger Things” era:

Where would you like to visit? “Bora Bora, because it’s off the grid.”

What’s your favorite color? Purple.

What’s your TV obsession? “Friday Night Lights” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Music favorites? Gorillaz and Whitney Houston.

Give her space when she’s eating in a restaurant or trying to catch a flight.

And don’t bother sending Eggos, the breakfast treat closely identified with Eleven. Brown is wary of hidden cameras and poisoned waffles.

When doors opened to the large hall where Brown answered audience questions, the first of 500 or so attendees ran to grab prime seats as if the event were a Harry Styles concert. It took exactly one fan into the session, 13-year-old Addison Tuttle of Lexington, Ky., for Brown to field her first request for a date.

After someone said Brown’s YouTube videos are a source of encouragement when this particular fan feels unwanted or unimportant, the “Stranger Things” actress stepped down from the dais to deliver a hug. Tears fell for multiple fans when given the chance to talk to the actress who portrays telekinetic youngster Eleven.

Christy Blanch, the Q&A’s moderator and owner of Muncie’s Aw Yeah Comics store, paused to note the affection in the room.

“I have been doing this for four years, and I have never seen this amount of emotion in questions,” Blanch told Brown.”I did Carrie Fisher’s panel and nobody broke down like this.”

Brown, a native of Spain who spent early years in England and now lives in Atlanta where “Stranger Things” is made, appeared comfortable in the setting.

She agreed to pose with a Godzilla action figure supplied by a fan who asked about Brown’s role in the upcoming film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” When asked to showcase her rapping skills, Brown said she felt like singing and belted out an a cappella minute of Emeli Sande song “Read All About It (Part III).”

Wearing black, low-cut Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, Brown told the story behind the Victoria Beckham-designed rabbit shirt she wore this Easter Sunday.

“I hate shopping,” Brown said. “My mom tricks me into going shopping. She says, ‘Oh, we’re just going to get Starbucks,’ and here we are! We were in Target the other day, and she said, ‘Just try on this. It looks really cute and you can wear it to the con.’ I said, ‘I’m not trying it on. Just buy it and we’ll see if it fits.’”

Regarding the signature pink dress with the Peter Pan collar worn by Brown’s character during the latter episodes of the first season of “Stranger Things,” Fishers High School junior Sarah Dunlap said she bought hers for $40 at Hot Topic.

Justin Hanks, a 27-year-old from Cincinnati, said it was a challenge to find the dress in his size. Of all the Indiana Comic Con attendees paying homage to Eleven, Hanks likely was the only one sporting a beard.

“When we go to a convention, I like to be something obnoxious and over the top,” he said. “As soon as we saw that Millie Bobby Brown was coming, I thought, ‘Oh, I have to do this.’”

Hanks’ friend, 23-year-old Adam Grey, combined wardrobe elements associated with the “Stranger Things” character portrayed by Winona Ryder: a Christmas-light necklace, a handheld ax and a phone receiver and cord emerging from a pocket of a khaki jacket.

Brown referred to Ryder as her “second mom” and she said David Harbour’s Sheriff Hopper may be her favorite character on the show. But most of the Q&A session focused on the show’s young actors.

Shortly after auditions, the girl and four boys — Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson) — exchanged texts: “Did you get the job of ‘Stranger Things’?”

Brown said she’s closest to Schnapp, whose character’s disappearance triggers the story of “Stranger Things.”

“Noah is my best friend,” Brown said. “We’re the same age. We do everything together. We go to Six Flags. We have play dates. I mean, we are children.”

Brown said Wolfhard is her adviser, McLaughlin resembles a watchful older sibling and Matarazzo is her “entertainer.”

When asked what’s difficult about portraying Eleven, Brown said it’s all easy.

“She’s part of me,” Brown said. “She’s my alter ego. It’s not hard to switch back and forth. She’s just there. As soon as they say cut, I’m ‘the Millster’ again.”

Set in fictional small-town Hawkins, Ind., “Stranger Things” unfolds as a 1980s tale influenced by the work of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King.

Perhaps aware that Brown couldn’t talk about particulars on the show’s second season, which premieres on Halloween, no one asked.

The post Comic Con star yearns for Bora Bora appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Build An Alcohol Stove

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If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just well versed in the fine arts of prepping, I bet you already know about alcohol stoves, either DIY or commercially available ones. The thing is, if you’re looking for the lightest, cheapest and most reliable stove possible, the alcohol stove is the one for you.

There are plenty of companies out there who manufacture and sell alcohol stoves, but the good news is that you can build your own for next to nothing while using basic tools and skills.

There are a few myths and lies out there about DIY alcohol stoves. For example, some say that they don’t really work and they’re not reliable. Yes, they actually do work in real life, just ask old school hikers or your local bum.

Alcohol Stove – Myths Debunked

An alcohol stove is not suited for just any situation, as it has obvious limitations.  For example, a small DIY alcohol stove is not the ideal tool for melting large amounts of snow or for cooking food for a family of ten.

A homemade, lightweight and compact alcohol stove makes for the perfect companion while camping, hiking or backpacking solo. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have been using them regularly for decades now with zero complaints, so yes, alcohol stoves do work admirably in their niche.

Another myth about alcohol stoves is that they’re not reliable. Very fake news folks. A well-built alcohol stove will last you forever, as it has no moving parts, i.e. it’s that kind of “Russian design”, simple and sturdy. Also there are no filters to get clogged and so on and so forth.

The most common type of DIY project is a soda-can alcohol stove; the point is, even if it “breaks”, you can build another one on the spot with readily available materials (back to that in a jiffy), so the reliability issue is pure nonsense.

Some say that alcohol stoves are dangerous. Again, very fake news, considering that playing with fire is always dangerous, hence in that regard all stoves are “dangerous” if you’re not paying attention.

The problem with alcohol stoves is that if you knock them over while cooking, the fuel inside can easily spill.

Just remember a few simple rules while cooking with these bad boys and you’ll be fine: don’t cook on flammable surfaces, keep flammable materials away from your lit stove, always keep a bottle of water nearby when cooking (or a fire extinguisher, whatever), be careful when cooking during the day as the alcohol flame is almost invisible (don’t get burned), avoid cooking in windy weather as it makes controlling the flame difficult, don’t add fuel if your stove is already burning, never cook inside your tent, and avoid using your alcohol stove in enclosed areas which lack proper ventilation (think carbon monoxide poisoning).

Also, never leave the burning stove unattended and, after using it, let it to cool down for 10 minutes before handling  it.

Another thing about DIY alcohol stoves is that they have a bad rep for crushing easily. That’s somewhat true, considering that they’re often built using soda cans, which are basically thin sheets of aluminum.

Even the ones manufactured from (tougher) tin cans can get crushed if you step on them, but that’s a feature, not a bug! I am only kidding; however, the simple solution to the issue is not to step on them. Store them inside a hard sided box/container like your cook pot when you’re not using’em.

Finally, there’s another myth about alcohol stoves not working at high altitudes and/or in low temperatures. I can tell you from firsthand experience that a DIY alcohol stove works just fine at 6,000 feet above sea level, so for all practical purposes, assuming that you’re not climbing Everest using DIY alcohol stoves, you’ll be just fine.

The thing is, given the fact that the oxygen content in the atmosphere decreases with altitude,  an alcohol stove (or any other open-flame type of stove) will not be as efficient at 5000 feet as it is at sea level, but then again, that holds true for any type of fire.

Also, I’ve used soda can stoves in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit and without noticing a degrading in terms of performance. Just to give you a picture about how efficient these babies are, I’ve read that the Finnish and Swedish army uses alcohol stoves all year round, and it gets pretty cold out there in northern Europe (think -10 Fahrenheit winters).

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

How to DIY an Alcohol Stove

Now with the misconceptions taken care of, let’s concentrate on the DIY part.

Why DIY instead of buying one? Well, first, it’s lots of fun doing things on your own, especially if you’re into prepping. Secondly, you’ll save money in the process and third, you may end up caught in a hairy situation someday with no hardware store around, so you’ll be forced to improvise your own gear.

And yes, a DIY alcohol stove can be improvised with ease almost anywhere in the world, provided you have the fuel available. The simplest alcohol stove can be built using nothing more than 2 empty cans of soda, a nail for puncturing holes, a razor blade, a penny and a thumbtack. Yes indeed, it’s that simple folks.

As per the fuel, you can buy large amounts of (at least 70%) methanol/methyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol at any hardware store for a few pennies.

Alcohol Stove Comparison

If you’re the picky type of person, take a look at this alcohol stove comparison and make up your own mind about what type of “design” you want to concentrate on.

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

The Beverage Can Stove

The easiest DIY project is the beverage can stove. There are other ideas, usually more complicated, but the beverage can stove is the hikers all-time favorite. Its beauty is its simplicity, like a Swiss watch, if you know what I mean.

In the first step, you’ll have to cut the bases of the 2 cans approximately 1.5 inches from the bottoms.

Next, drill the burner holes in the top can, including the fuel drainage hole, then there’s the cutting of the top can. The base of the bottom should be filled with a material that will soak up the alcohol (acts like a wick); for example, fine sand or even more fancy stuff, like perlite (a siliceous rock, easy to find at gardening centers).

In the next step, you’ll fit the 2 parts of the stove together; just take a look at the next video tutorial and you’ll see about the fine details.

Video first seen on IntenseAngler.

Just remember to prime the stove before use, i.e. you’ll have to pour a tsp. of fuel in the dimple of the stove (on top) and light it up. In this way, you’ll heat the fuel inside, which will evaporate, and your oven will magically start working.

Here’s another video about how to make a soda can/beer can stove, which compares 2 types of designs.

Video first seen on Andrew W

The Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove

Here’s a Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove, a fancy DIY project by all means and a more elaborate one, which is more of an exercise in cool design and mad skills.

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict

The Tin Can Stove

An alternative to this relatively flimsy (yet very easy to DIY) beverage can stove is the tin can stove. This baby is not made of aluminum but from tin, which makes it more stable, hence more difficult to knock over.

Also it’s stronger and less prone to accidental crushing. Finally, steel retains heat better than aluminum.  Soup/baked bean cans are made of tin for example.

The problem with this type of DIY alcohol stove is that tin is harder to cut/process than aluminum.

Here’s an idea (this guy doesn’t use tin cans but that’s not the point) and you’ll see what type of tools are required for processing stronger tin.

Video first seen on Nick Van Leuven

The Cream Box Stove

Video first seen on Mr. Llega

Here’s an idea for an alcohol stove improvised from a Nivea cream box (made of tin) and it makes for the best of both worlds, i.e. it’s not aluminum made (it’s stronger) and it doesn’t require too much effort to build it (all you have to do is to drill a few holes).

If you have any question or comments, feel free to speak your mind in the dedicated section below. Good luck, have fun!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Soaraway Sun plugs 3D printed homes

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Passivdom says it can deliver within a day

Britain’s Sun newspaper is known as narrow minded and bigoted.  So it was a surprise to find it extolling the virtues of off-grid, 3D printed homes yesterday.

Somebody at the Sun had not got the memo – because the paper described “incredible homes of the future, which cost just £26,000 and can be 3D printed homes in a matter of hours.”

Ukranian company PassivDom offers the unique product: a completely self-contained home, designed to function anywhere in the world.

Robots 3D print the cosy homes in a matter of hours after they are specified and ordered.

“For anyone who has ever dreamed of living off the grid, the company offers an affordable solution, which cuts out the hassle of building your own home,” the paper says.

A 3D printing robot can print the walls, roof and floor which slot together. Then a human worker can add the windows, doors, plumbing and electrical systems to finish off the build.

The homes can withstand even the most hostile conditions and prices start at just $31,900 (£26,000) and are available to be pre-ordered in Ukraine and America, with the first of the houses delivered later this year.

Aside from the price tag, the most impressive thing about the homes is the fact that they can exist with no need to connect to external electrical and plumbing systems.

The self-powered properties are airy and light, with a solar panel and battery allowing residents to experience all the mod-cons without a connection to the national grid.

And the houses are also completely mobile, and designed to offer a comfortable standard of living in some of the planet’s most inhospitable environments.

A filter converts humidity in the air into water, with the manufacturers boasting that their product is built to withstand even Arctic conditions.

PassivDom offer a number of models, with the smallest measuring 380 square feet and setting you back £26,000.

Without a separate bedroom, residents in the 3D printed homes would kip on a sofa bed, although all models do come with bathrooms – as well as the necessary tech for you to control your appliances via a smartphone.

Buyers can also request bigger, or even custom-made models, which can cater to the tastes of all prospective homeowners.

The firm’s founders hope that their products can solve global housing crises, as well as giving people more freedom to live wherever they want at a reasonable price.

The post Soaraway Sun plugs 3D printed homes appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100

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IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100   Things are getting so cool now. This house is real and its solar powered for up to 4 hours a day. It comes with the solar panels. This is an absolute amazing find. The article takes a detailed look at this option. This is about the best option …

Continue reading »

The post IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100 appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

DIY Desalination

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desalination, potable, cheap drinking water

Water desalination can be easy AND rewarding

Earth isn’t called the “Blue Planet” for nothing, but the majority is saltwater and therefore not immediately drinkable. Hence we need the desalination process which removes the salt from saline water so we can drink it.

One of the main hurdles living outside the system is having a reliable source of clean, fresh drinking water. There are plenty of desalination projects that cost into the millions of dollars, but how about cheap DIY methods you can do at home?

Desalination can take advantage of evaporation. The dirty or saline water is heated and the water turns to steam, leaving the impurities (salt) behind. All that then needs to be done is capture the steam, condense it and voila clean drinkable water.

 

Below are some videos of easy and cheap methods of making your own DIY desalination devices!

The first is based on a whistling kettle, some pipe, a coolant around said piping and a collection tin – easy peasy!

 

Here is another version of a similar system using a pressure cooker instead – who said they are only good for canning!?

 

If you want to invest in some specific desalination kit, then check out this video which uses the non-electric distiller by Water Wise.

 

No camp fire or stove to hand? No problem! Check out these solar distillers – not exactly top tech, but proves you can capture the power of evaporation really easily. (Ignore the soil eating cat!)

 

And one using a plastic bottle!

Let’s face it we have all wanted to live by a golden beach in a sunny spot at some time in our lives. But with water at a dollar a pop for a 100cl plastic bottle, desalination has a definite cash benefit.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below!

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OFFGRID Living: How many solar panels and Batteries do you need to run your home?

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Easy to follow information on how much power you consume, how many batteries you need to power your home, and how many solar panels you need to maintain those batteries. […]

The post OFFGRID Living: How many solar panels and Batteries do you need to run your home? appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Would You Convert Your Car From Wheels To Tracks?

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Many people that haven’t given up on automated transportation during crisis find themselves wondering if their vehicle will be able to navigate over rough terrain. As roads fall into worse disrepair, or are destroyed completely, wheeled vehicles may not work very well, even if there is enough fuel and spare parts to keep them running.

Rubber tires can be a weak point in prepper transport plans, so it may be worthwhile to consider converting the vehicle to one that runs on tracks.

Before spending money on conversion parts and tools, think about the advantages and disadvantages first!

Let’s count them together in the following article!

Better Traction than Wheels

If you have ever tried to drive a vehicle in mud, ice, snow, or even a few inches of water, then you know that navigating can be very difficult. Just about anything that decreases traction between the road and the tires can lead to skidding, sliding, and absolute disaster.

Vehicles with tracks on them have much better traction. Aside from increased surface area for gripping complex surfaces, the tracks are also wider, which increases stability.

Even a fairly small track vehicle can move more easily over large potholes or other surfaces that would ruin the drive train of a wheeled vehicle. Larger track vehicles can find their way across just about any surface as long as the rearward track has something to grip onto while the front moving ones grab onto something else.

For example, if you want to go off road and encounter a sewage ditch, most cars and trucks would get stuck in it. A track vehicle can slide right over the ditch and move on almost as if it had been on steady ground the entire time.

While the vehicle itself may shift around a lot, it will still keep moving forward because the tracks will be able to grip just about any surface and use it for traction. Even if you do get stuck in a track vehicle, it may be easier to back out because moving the tracks in reverse will give more traction along surfaces that worked before.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive when they traveled for months! 

Better Weight Distribution

To understand how weight distribution works, think about swimming and suspension bridges.

The surface of water has something called “surface tension”, a very thin film of atoms and molecules at the surface of the liquid that are positioned closer together than they are deeper into the liquid. Now think about a paper clip. If it is all folded up, it will sink no matter how carefully you try to rest it in a bowl of water. But if you open up the paper clip (which doesn’t change it’s weight, but causes the weight to be distributed over a greater area) and gently place it on top of the water, it will float.

By the same token, if you are unable to swim, you can still float by laying face up, spreading your arms and legs out and arching your back so that you have as much surface area as possible.

In a similar fashion, suspension bridges work because the weight of the upper support structures serves to redistribute the weight of the pavement below them in relation to the pilings that reach into the water.

Most people will be trying to drive cars with just four wheels on them. All of the weight of the vehicle plus anything it is carrying must be supported by these wheels. This, in turn means that if you are trying to drive through mud or something else that gives way easily, the vehicle will sink, in part, because there is too much weight concentrated in a small area.

Now consider a situation where you have an extra large pickup truck, or some other truck that has tires arranged so that they are doubled up on each axle. Even though this increases the amount of surface area to distribute weight across, there may still be too much weight in a small area.

Even if you go up to sixteen wheels, the weight distribution will be higher than what you would get with a track vehicle. This is one of the reasons why track vehicles can get past muddy areas while wheeled vehicles with the best traction systems will still get stuck.

Always remember that when you have a belt moving across a surface, large weights get distributed across the entire track instead of just resting the focal point created by tires.

Kits That Let You Switch Between Wheels and Tracks Are Available

Realistically speaking, there is no such thing as being able to take an under powered or small vehicle and turn it into something that has the durability and power of a military tank. If you have a conventional four wheeled vehicle, it may be possible to add a track system to the axles on an “as needed basis”. Basically, all you need to do is take the tires off, and then mount the additional wheels and tracks onto the hubs.

Even though these systems won’t give you as much weight redistribution as a track that runs from front to back, they will still work better than the tires you are using now. Right now, on average, a small passenger car exerts 30 psi on the pavement, while a track system would only put around 3 psi. If you are moving through mud or snow, this will give you a very clear advantage.

When purchasing a track kit for your vehicle, bear in mind that your vehicle will handle very differently once the kit is installed. You will need to practice a good bit in different terrains so that you know what can and can’t be done using this kit. This practice should include at least some off-road muddy conditions as well as snow, ice, and city driving.

If you find that there are areas better handled with tires, be sure to include when and where to change the tracks for tires so that you can have the best of both systems.

Video first seen on AD Boivin.

Easier to Defend

If you happen to believe in the ability of guns to stop bad people from doing bad things, then you probably know that wheeled vehicles can be stopped by shooting out the tires. Since track systems don’t require air filling, the tracks should not be damaged by most types of bullets. As long as you use metal tracks made from durable material, your vehicle should keep right on moving no matter how many bullets hit the tracks.

You already know that military tanks weigh much more than a conventional vehicle. When it comes to adding more weight, nothing takes up more than armor plating that will stop bullets, grenades, and other ammo. As a result, if you are interested in a bug out vehicle that will be easy to defend, you will need to consider the ability to add a good bit of weight in armor.

In many cases, adding a track system will enable you to customize even relatively small vehicles without having to worry about the weight problems commonly associated with wheels. Needless to say, these customizations can also include mounting different kinds of weapons inside or on top of the vehicle.

Can Pull Heavier Loads

If you are accustomed to the sight of tractor trailers, then you may think they are the best for pulling heavy freight. As a wheeled vehicle pulls something along, the tires actually dig in a bit, which causes the vehicle to move closer to the ground. If the weight is heavy enough, and the ground soft enough, a wheeled vehicle will literally dig itself into the ground as the wheels continue to spin.

By contrast, a track vehicle has much more ground surface to grip, and will use it to actually pull the weight forward without the tendency to dig into the ground.

Remember, that as the track advances, a whole new surface area comes into contact with the road as other tracks maintain the forward motion. This increase in surface area can be many times larger than the relatively small spot gripped by each tire.

If you do decide to convert your vehicle to run using tracks, you might pull heavier weights with it. Just make sure that the drive train, suspension, and other parts of the vehicle are strong enough to pull the added weight. As efficient as tracks may be, they cannot make up for weaker metal in parts of the vehicle that might give way under heavier weights.

Suitable Vehicles May be Expensive or Hard to Find

Vehicles that run on tracks come in all shapes and sizes. There are also thousands of people that have taken passenger cars, trucks, school buses, and other vehicles and converted them to run on tracks.

Some of them will never make suitable vehicles for preppers because they are either too under powered, too cheaply made (in terms of vital parts like the drive train, suspension, and transmission), or can’t be reworked to meet a variety of prepper goals.

While adding tracks to these vehicles may give you a bit better traction, the tracks cannot compensate for all the shortfalls that are found in most vehicles on the road these days. The ideal vehicle, regardless of whether you add tracks, should have the following features:

  • You should be able to live and sleep in the vehicle, or tow a trailer that you can live in. Most passenger sized vehicles that have a large enough back seat are also fuel hogs that will be hard to convert to alternate fuels. While adding tracks may mean you can put a bit more weight on the vehicle, it isn’t likely that you will be able to make the inside of the vehicle bigger without spending a lot of money. A larger sized pickup truck might work well enough along with a removable track kit.
  • Speaking of fuel – you should be able to convert the vehicle from gasoline to biodiesel and other fuels.
  • The under body of the car should be strong enough to take on extra weight for armor and other defense measures. Most passenger cars simply don’t have strong enough suspension and drive trains to do this kind of job. If you want something at or near military grade armor for your prepper vehicle, you would probably be best served by adding tracks to a Mack truck or an old full sized bus. Needless to say – these vehicles can cost a lot of money even in the used market.
  • The engine and transmission must be fast, strong and durable. Did you read about how easy it is for Tesla vehicles to catch fire in an accident because of the batteries? If so, then you may also be aware of the fact that hybrid vehicles have under powered engines because they are expected to run on an electrical motor at least half the time. Even if you could put a track system on a hybrid, it won’t deliver more power or speed. If anything, the vehicle will run a good bit slower and deliver even worse performance in this arena. I would not buy anything less than 6 cylinder engines for a prepper vehicle, and nothing under a 6 (8 cylinders and up would be better) for a track vehicle because of the reduced speed problem.

Too Easy to Spot and Follow

Even though tracked vehicles may not put much pressure on the ground, they do leave distinctive markings. For example, if a track vehicle moves on a lawn, it will tear up all the areas encountered by the edge of the track. If you are the only person in the area with a track vehicle, it will make it very easy to figure out where you passed through.

Once you have a distinctive track pattern, it will be very easy for others to follow you. Here are just a few things that a good tracker may be able to figure out as they follow your trail:

  • If you stop to repair tracks or put them back online, it will show in the trails left behind. Depending on how many times you stop, anyone following you may be able to figure out when you and your vehicle are most vulnerable, and for how long.
  • Depending on how many times you stop for fuel, someone following you may be able to calculate fuel efficiency. If these people want to surround you or catch up to you – they may look for a time when you are low on fuel and cannot afford to waste it trying to get away from them. Remember, even if there are hundreds of other vehicles on the road, the tracks left by your vehicle may still be on the shoulder or other areas where they can be easily spotted and read.

Unless track vehicles become far more popular, your bug out vehicle will also stand out in a crowd and be memorable. Anyone that sees your vehicle may conclude that you have a lot of supplies in the vehicle, or that you have other things of value.

No matter whether you drive down a city street or pass through a small town, your vehicle will draw more attention than you may be comfortable with.

Tracks Can be Hard to Maintain

If you think getting a flat after a tire has been in service for several years is a nuisance, then you will be very unhappy with the way track vehicles perform. While it is true that metal tracks cannot be stopped by bullets, they can develop problems during normal driving. In fact, tracks are far less durable than tires, and more inclined to need replacing.

Even if the tracks remain in good condition, that does not mean the track will stay in place while you are traveling. Depending on the track system, it may take several hours to re-align the track on its sprockets. You also need to carry around a good bit of equipment to do the job properly. While you may not need a jack to lift the vehicle up, there are many places where repairing a track system can be difficult.

When it comes to maintenance, also consider the cost of buying new parts. Today, there are only a handful of manufacturers that actually make track systems. Whether you need to buy just a single new plate, a new sprocket, or rubber gear to lessen impact on pavement, all these parts can be very expensive.

Unless you are planning to use the vehicle over rough terrain and know how to handle all the needed repairs, you may be better off sticking with conventional tires. If you do decide to buy a conversion kit that can be removed and installed easily, you may find that it will only get you so far in your journey before you have to switch back to tires.

Cannot Move as Fast or as Quietly as a Wheeled Vehicle

Consider a situation where an earthquake, hurricane, or military invasion has led to some kind of localized or larger scale social collapse. There may still be a chance for you to escape from a city or town, provided you do it as quickly as possible. You probably won’t have any “off road” places to drive through until you reach areas near or parallel to larger stretches of main highways or the thruway system.

Until you reach those locations, you will need to move as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. When it comes right down to it, no matter how much you lubricate the tracks and wheel system, they are going to squeak, squeal, and make a lot of noise. Sadly, even if rioters or others looking to steal don’t see your vehicle, they will most certainly hear it coming.

Today, many people claim that there is a psychological advantage to using a track vehicle during a crisis. According to these people, tracks are threatening looking, and people may avoid you because they think you can defend yourself with ease.

Now let’s say you converted a passenger car to run on tracks. After people stop laughing at the spectacle of something like a hatchback crossed with “Number Five” (remember the movie Short Circuit), their next thought will be to see what you are carrying. While they may be more hesitant to approach a Mack Truck or a bus, rest assured that smaller vehicles will be a target.

Your vehicle will not be able to move fast enough on tracks if others decide to follow you in wheeled vehicles. Unless you can get to a swamp, off the road, or to some other area where wheels do not work well, the lack of speed alone will present a huge problem.

While you may have thought ahead and added armor, it will only be a matter of time before a slow or stopped track vehicle can be breached. Even if you can get to an area where tracks work better, the sound of your vehicle moving along may still make it possible for thieves to follow you at their leisure. They will be guided both by the sound and the tracks that you leave behind.

Converted Vehicles May be Difficult to Steer

No matter whether you are going through a city, trying to turn onto a different road off the highway, or merging onto the thruway, accurate and easy steering is very important. Typically, this is much easier to accomplish with tires because they can be easily moved in the direction that you want to go. By contrast, when you want to move a track system, the entire length of it must shift along and adjust.

When it comes to creating the perfect bug out vehicle, there is no question that changing wheels for tracks has some advantages. Once you look more into the cost of this conversion, however, you may conclude that it is best to buy a vehicle that already runs on tracks.

If you have an interest in the kits that convert conventional vehicles to run on tracks, bear in mind that these kits also have some strong and weak points.

Test these kits out to see how well they work, and keep them on-hand for a time of need. You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on converting to tracks that cannot be used for routine travel, or buying something that will be more useless than expected in an actual crisis.

Would you convert your car from wheels to tracks? Share your thoughts and experience in a comment below!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.jcitracks.com/eShopMore.asp?id=10

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

http://www.jcitracks.com/eshownews.asp?/66.html

Veteran Seeking a Happy Community

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Hi I’m 31 white male Army veteran, medically discharged, and have been traveling around tent camping and living off grid much as I can on free forests I run into. As a veteran,I know primitive survival skills from native Americans and know how to train people for this as well. I know how to build shelters, fences anything with wood with axes or saws. I can garden, know plants that you can eat or use for medicinal uses. Just looking to stay at a place long term like permanent and be a happy off grid community. I’m a hippie very peaceful, drama free and very loving guy. Hit me up if you want to know more about me or have a place I can help join you all out. 

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Experimental Tech in Desert Village

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off-grid village, desert, village, platform, technology, Israel,

An off-grid village in the dry desert has become the place to develop solutions for off-grid living in undeveloped communities.

An off-grid desert village in Kibbutz Ketura, Israel is being used as a platform for tech companies and entrepreneurs to develop innovative off-grid technologies. The village was set up in 2014 via a collaboration between the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. The project is aimed at developing off-grid solutions for undeveloped areas, encouraging experimentation. It is the key step between development and implementation in areas where whole communities have no grid access.

There are four key areas for off-grid living which are currently being developed and worked on in the village.

Desert Village Building:

There are three types of structure in the village, based on existing building types within in off-grid communities. The rural structure is based on a traditional design and has a thatched roof to help with ventilation, but lacks natural light. Therefore, to adapt it, the village has added windows to the buildings to provide natural light for reading and other activities, as well as providing more ventilation.

The urban structure is based on a design most commonly seen in urban slums. The modifications to this design are the double roof structure and wall insulation. The first roof layer is made of palm leaves for ventilation purposes and the second consists of metal for protection against the rain. Plywood walls have insulator material like sheep wool within the wall to keep thermal balance in the building. The structure is mainly based on plywood which is low priced and the design is simple to construct.

Finally, the earthbag dome design was first developed in the 1980s, using soil sacks to construct huts. The bags of soil provide a rigid, stable structure with a balance of temperature. There is no need for deep foundations or a separate roof structure, due to the dome shape. These buildings are rapid to construct, simple and cheap.

Energy:

The desert village has some different energy technologies within its boundaries. The Kalipack solar suitcase can produce energy from three sources – electricity, a vehicle or solar power. Storage takes the form of a lithium ion battery and can power a small refrigerator, laptop or lighting, amongst other things. The village also has a small domestic biogas system which has efficient waste disposal whilst producing methane gas for cooking, water heating and home lighting.

LuminAID have introduced some chargeable and easy to use solar lighting. But GravityLights have also been developed at the village. These work by combining kinetic energy with potential energy. A weight of some sort is elevated and connected to a pulley system which powers a generator. The result is a light which is five times brighter than a kerosene lamp. Surveys with families using the lights have been very positive so far.

Water:

Clearly something that is very important in every community is clean water. The desert village has a solar water distillation system developed by SunDwater. This technology converts contaminated water to drinkable clean water through a process of concentrated radiation, requiring no external energy source. Plus, it’s completely green and eco-friendly. NUFiltration have also developed a water purifier unit in the desert village which provides waste water treatment. Once again, easy to use, requires no electricity and produces 500 litres of clean water per hour. There’s also no maintenance or spare parts required as it’s all done using man power! The village also has a solar powered water pumping system for agriculture and farming.

Food:

We all need fuel and that means food! The village has a hydroponics system developed called the LivingBox. These modular units are like Lego, therefore they can be fitted together and remodelled to suit different needs. They can grow a wide variety of fruit and veg and save up to 80% of water that would be used in other techniques. Solar ovens and cookers are used for cooking food. Plus, an energy generating pot has been developed which produces electricity from a heat source. The pot can then be used as a charging point for phones and other devices.

These are just some of the developed technologies that are in the village. Check out this video below to find out more about renewable energy in the Off-grid demonstration village!

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Where to drop out in the USA

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Nipton Hotel

You may never leave

Does your life ever get you to the point where you want to just drop out and leave the system behind? Here are four options for starters. There are many more – you can hook up with others using our free classified ads service or posting on our searchable map – landbuddy.com

NIPTON
In the Mojave desert town of Nipton, the spirit of the western frontier has transformed a forgotten outpost into a self-sustaining ecotopia where the dream lives on.
A former long-haul trucker with a bowie knife strapped to his hip, Jim Eslinger serves as caretaker and hotelier of Hotel Nipton, its existence marked by a wagon-mounted sandwichboard that reads:
WELCOME TO NIPTON, CA B&B HOTEL & ECO-CABIN STORE, RV PARK & CAMPING RESTAURANT
Eslinger added a cluster of tented eco-cabins, outfitted with platform beds and wood-burning stoves.
A faded settlement of about 20 permanent residents, the town consisted of an assortment of structures, some solid and occupied, some as vacant and splintered as an Old West movie set. Computer Gamers might know Nipton for its cameo in Xbox 360’s Fallout: New Vegas, where it played a post-apocalyptic wasteland infested by giant mantises. But otherwise it was your typical drive-through desert community, fixed at the crossroads of Nowhere Special and Wherever You Were Going when Eslinger arrived. There was one notable exception: Nipton, and everything in it, was for sale.
There a cluster of tented eco-cabins, outfitted with platform beds and wood-burning stoves. Popular with today’s 30-something crowd, the cabins were based on a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. There is a solar plant, which produces 40 percent of the town’s power. It sits on the outskirts behind a barbed wire fence, its rows of reflecting harvesters mirroring the sun as it moves across the sky.
There is a hydrogen system in order to store clean energy.
The town of Nipton is for sale.

KALANI HONUA
A solar-powered village tucked away on 120 acres of lush Hawaiian rain forest sounds a lot like Lost: Season 3, but it’s actually an eco-minded retreat center in one of the best areas in the state to drop out. Here in the heart of the Big Island’s Puna District, residents and volunteers are busy harvesting papaya and avocado, cooking farm-to-table meals, and taking classes in hula and tauhala weaving. Book a night in one of their cottages, pop in for a gong bath, or grab some honey produced from the on-site apiary. From $95; kalani.com.

SYNCHRONICITY
There’s no rule that says you must drop out in a rural location with hippies running nude through the woods. Case in point: Synchronicity, a creative community set in L.A.’s bustling Koreatown. Though a small group of artists calls it home, the door is always open to guests, who can stop by for weeknight dinners and a monthly art salon. There’s even a private room on hand for passersby to crash, free of charge up to a week, though payment in the form of a cooked meal, live performance, or carpentry is accepted. synchronicityla.com.

ARCOSANTI
Set on 860 acres overlooking central Arizona’s Agua Fría River valley, Arcosanti tweaks modern means to live greener. The late founder Paolo Soleri encouraged his town to live leaner-efficiently making use of labor, space, and design to create a place that’s elegant and resourceful. Drawing some 50,000 tourists each year, the sleek mini city amid the prickly pear and cottonwood trees offers guided tours, workshops, live music performances, and a gallery of intricate wind bells that are built by residents and serve as a perfect souvenir. Not so much a home for dropouts as a place to drop in. arcosanti.org.

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Spain’s Sun Tax to be axed

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Sun tax, Spain, Off-grid, solar panels, tax, grid

Is the sun finally setting on Spain’s controversial “sun tax”?

In October 2015, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a controversial tax on those using electricity produced by their own solar installations. However, a new government says solar panel owners could soon see the back of the so called sun tax.

What is the sun tax?

This legislation causes those with self-consumptive photovoltaic systems to pay the same grid fees as those without solar panels. This covers the power contracted from an electricity company. But they also have to pay a second “sun tax” which means solar panel owners pay for the electricity they generate and use from their PV systems, even though it doesn’t come into contact with the grid.

There are other facets of the legislation which also caused more outrage. Photovoltaic systems up to 100 kW are not able to sell any excess electricity they produce. Instead, they must “donate” the extra to the grid free of charge. Systems over 100 kW must register if they wish to sell the extra electricity. Community ownership of PV systems, of all sizes, under this legislation is prohibited. Not only this, but the legislation is retroactive; meaning installations prior to the introduction of the tax must comply. If the conditions are not met, then the PV system owners are subject to a penalty fee of up to €60 million ($64 million). To put this in perspective, this is twice the penalty of a radioactive leak from a nuclear plant. Unsurprisingly, this caused outrage.

Exceptions to the tax

There are some circumstances where the tax does not apply. Fear not off-gridders, this tax is only for those connected to the grid. If you run an off-grid system then no grid tax needs to be paid at all. Installations smaller than 10 kW are also exempt from paying the second sun tax. The Canary Islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish territories in Africa) are also exempt from the second tax. Mallorca and Menorca pay the second sun tax at a reduced rate.

The Spanish government defended the legislation by saying the fees contribute to overall grid system costs. However, the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) pointed out how uneconomic the new law was. Their spokesperson stated, “Each kWh imported from the grid by a self-consumer will pay double the tolls compared to a kWh imported from the gird by another consumer.”

Change on the horizon

The current legislation is an unnecessary burden placed upon solar consumers who want to be more economical and environmentally friendly. This has been recognized by opposing political parties and other unions and consumers. The political party which initially brought in the sun tax is now a minority. Therefore, there is now the opportunity for all opposing parties to remove this expensive and impractical legislation.

In January 2017 a law proposal was registered in congress, beginning the process of the sun tax removal. The urgent changes to the legislation listed in the document include the right to self-consumption of solar energy without charge. Along with this, several consumers should be able to pool their resources to share a self-consumption facility to help tackle poverty. Plus, the proposal also adapts the sanctioning regime to avoid the multi-million euro fines, becoming more realistic. Finally, the importance of renewable energy as an appropriate instrument to help reduce environmental impact of electricity production has been recognised. Alongside, the role it can play in strengthening energy independence for Spain. The President of the UNEF, Jorge Barredo, said of the proposal, “it is a very important step in defining a different and more favourable regulatory framework for self-consumption.”

The law proposal has outlined a period of 3 months for the legislation to come into action.

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ODDBALL LOOKING TO JOIN OFF GRID COMMUNITY

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Hi, my name is Olivia and I am 17 (turning 18 very soon). All my 17 years I’ve been sort of the oddball out.

Over the past few years I have learned about my true self.

Hippie at Heart

I am a hippie at heart and I dream to live a simple and enlightening life.

I do use marijuana and believe that it can help with a multitude of things. I am absolutely in love with nature and animals.

Meditation

I also practice meditation, crystal healing, and yoga. I want to find a off grid community where I can be with people like me and all are accepted for who they are. I am a hard worker! I love gardening, caring for animals, and I’d be down to learn how to do anything necessary to live sustainably! I will be turning 18 soon and when the day comes, I hope to be able to drop everything and go off grid. Please comment!

Peace

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A Microgrid Revolution – Blockchains spreading everywhere

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Microgrid, revolution, off-grid, electricity, trading, blockchain, technology, solar, renewables

Could pylons become a relic of the past with the microgrid revolution?

This is the new way to generate power, sell it to your neighbours, and cut out the middleman – the Utility company. And it uses the same Blockchain technology as Bitcoin.

In the Gowanus and Park Slope regions of Brooklyn, dozens of solar panel arrays have been hooked up to the Brooklyn Microgrid.  The project which currently has 50 participants signs residents up to a virtual trading platform. Those with solar panels are then able to sell excess electricity credits generated from their systems to buyers within the microgrid community.

Based on Blockchain

The virtual energy trading system is based on “blockchain” technology. This allows individuals to keep a secure and reliable record of transactions. It is essentially technology’s answer to a book keeping system. Giving more control to the consumer, it allows the turning of traditional relationships between utility companies and customers on its head. By bypassing the big electricity companies altogether it is allowing this community to have a sustainable, secure and cost-effective source of power. Lawrence Orsini, LO₃’s CEO, told the New York Times, “In order for transactive energy to take off as a whole, regulators have to be comfortable that markets can actually work this way and, more importantly, that people want markets like this.”

LO₃ Energy are the designers of this experiment. They used Google Earth to identify the Brooklyn neighbourhood as the first of potentially many more microgrids. By moving away from a centralized approach and creating local energy networks, should an emergency occur these systems can become grid independent. Residents approve of future project plans, which involve a microgrid located near to a hospital or other community resource. This way essential services could disconnect from the grid and operate independently during power failure. Garry Golden, a member of the Brooklyn Microgrid, said, “It’s a recognition of energy needs…you can feed the energy where it needs to go”.

Microgrids elsewhere

The Brooklyn Microgrid is hardly the first community to explore microgrid options. In Bangladesh, Me SolShare, a company founded in 2014, has been working on setting up microgrids in rural areas. Offering peer to peer sharing and pay-as-you-go solutions for low income households, the company aims to help the 65 million people without central grid access. The SolBox is the key to the trading networks they set up. Acting as a DC power meter, solar charge controller and machine to machine communicator, it is a node in the electricity network. The decentralised peer to peer microgrid networks set up let people earn income directly from the sun. In a low income household, this can make a huge difference.

Jumping continents

German based company Sonnen, have set up a community of 8,000 sonnenBatterie owners who share the energy they produce. By using the energy exclusively from the community, there is no need to go back to a utility supplier. The virtual energy pool is monitored by central software which balances supply and demand throughout the system. There is a monthly membership fee of €19.99 ($21) to join the sonnenCommunity. However, Sonnen justifies this with a number of benefits for joining the community aside from cheaper energy prices. These include: a discount on a sonnenBatterie with a 10 year guarantee; plus free remote maintenance and monitoring and weather forecast updates, amongst others.

And again

Jumping continents again, in Australia Power Ledger have used blockchain technology to set up the first residential electricity trading market. Located in Perth, the system will allow renewable energy owners to decide who they want to sell their surplus energy too and at what cost. Power Ledger is also working on a 500 site trial in Auckland, with New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor.

It’s clear that the benefits of microgrids are becoming more well-known and wide spread as technology allows its facilitation. Do you have any microgrid experiences or opinions? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Hot Springs you must visit

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Hot Springs, off-grid, water, solar, geothermal, retreat, off the beaten track

Fancy a dip?

Hot springs offer much-needed peace, quiet and relaxation. The naturally occurring, geothermally heated bliss provided in beautiful surroundings is second to none. Plus, if you don’t want to be in a more developed hot spring spa, there are plenty of options to exploreoff-the-beaten-track . Here are 6 off-grid hot springs you definitely need to visit!

If you want off the beaten track then try:

Ringbolt Hot Springs – Arizona

Located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, this set of pools is visited by thousands of people per year. A 6 mile round trail takes you up through a dramatic volcanic canyon, south of the Hoover Dam. Volcanic rock and granite boulders litter the landscape and lead you to a spot just downstream of the Ringbolt Rapids. After climbing a 20 foot ladder to access the best springs you can bathe to your heart’s content. Directly at the source of the springs the water is the warmest, reaching up to 110°F. The highly mineralized water spews out of the source at approximately 30 gallons per minute! The strenuous hike takes approximately 5 hours to complete (excluding time spent bathing in those beautiful springs) and is closed during the summer months due to it being hazardous because of high temperatures.

Read this couple’s experience of trekking and camping in the area. Alternatively, watch this father and son duo take the trail up through the canyon and reach their destination:

 

Steep Ravine Hot Springs – California

These hot springs are rather unique, trading mountainous vistas for a beach front! The warm water seeps up through the sand at the Steep Ravine Beach in Marin County. These springs are quite a phenomenon, only being exposed for a couple of hours a day. Therefore, it is important to consult a Californian Tide Chart and opt for a minus tide, to avoid disappointment. However, due to the very slight window in the day in which the springs can be accessed it can get rather busy! It’s worth it though, even just to paddle in these warm waters.

 

Goldbug Hot Springs – Idaho

Between the small towns of Salmon and Challis, high up in the desert, lies a chain of six waterfall fed pools. These small but perfectly formed features are accessed by a very up-hill 2 mile hike. The trail offers little shade for respite and the majority of the climb is done in the last quarter of the trek. The pools are a definite reward after that steep incline! Water temperature varies depending on the time of year, so don’t dive in (literally) until you’ve judged the temperature with a hand or foot first! Be warned clothing is optional at the pools, so don’t be surprised if you see some not entirely clothed hikers in the area.

For other hot springs in Idaho, check this out.

 

If you want a bit of luxury, then visit:

Wilbur Hot Springs – California

This is an off-grid sanctuary, providing a natural digital detox from the very on-grid, tech-loving world. The solar-powered resort is set in the heart of a 1,800 acre nature preserve, and it has its own hot mineral springs. The geothermal water contains 3 ounces of dissolved minerals per gallon and is undiluted, untreated and unheated. This is a true relaxation haven with massage treatments and yoga sessions also available. You can take a day trip, or camping grounds, cabins and a solar lodge are all available, giving the option to extend your stay.

Watch this video to get your first impressions of Wilbur Hot Springs:

 

Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Colorado

Up a winding track a few miles out of Steamboat springs, lies this beautiful off-grid retreat. No big signs point to its location and during the winter only big 4x4s are allowed up dirt road. Alternatively, the springs can be reached via a 3 mile trail through the surrounding national forest. This has a real off-the-beaten-track feel. Several large soaking pools with warm to rather hot waters are available next to a cold creek for some cooling off. During the day the springs are family friendly, however during the evening an optional clothes policy means adults only! The resort is currently working on replacing their solar panels, batteries and controllers to keep their off-grid status.

Watch the video below to get a feel of Strawberry Park Hot Springs:

 

Breitenbush Hot Springs – Oregon

Last but not least, is the remote forest sanctuary named Breitenbush. In 154 acres of beautiful landscape including a glacier fed river, an ancient forest and mountains on the horizon, sanctuary really is the right word. Three natural pools with smooth river rocks allow you to sit back and take in the beautiful landscape. Temperatures range