91 Gallon Gasoline Storage Project for Emergencies

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Preparedness is always about improving your foxhole, going from where you are to the next level bit by bit based on prioritization and available resources.  I currently have multiple 5 gallon containers on site which I cycle fuel storage through, but with three vehicles with a total tank capacity over 70 gallons plus two generators I need more improve my position.  We all store food, water, medical supplies and more but tend to neglect fuel which is a life source for many in times of need.  Granted unless one has a thousands of gallons on site it’s not a long term solution but for immediate needs when faced with natural disasters having a fuel source beyond that of the standard 5 gallon can be an enabler.  Here are a few factors that I considered when building my fuel storage plan.

  • Affordable (Less than $1k total).
  • Mobile, not buried in the ground.
  • Relatively easy to build, instead of buying a more expensive all inclusive option.
  • Minimum of 50 gallon storage capacity which does not require cycling through every few months.

My plan involves taking my existing 5×8 trailer which I bought from Lowes a number of years ago and adding a tank and pump to it.  This 91 gallon tank will weigh around 675 lbs full and that’s easily accomodated with the 1600lb trailer capacity, it will be a unit I can keep on the property or take with me if I need to go mobile.

The Trailer

 

The Fuel Tank

Concept

I plan on mounting this fuel storage container to my trailer, but only after laying wood down on the trailer to create a more sturdy surface.  This container will be able to provide a reasonable amount of fuel storage on site and will also be portable in case we have to bug out with multiple or even one vehicle.  In instances were gas stations are out of fuel or lines are long this would be a a huge advantage, along with having more storage on the trailer for other items.

Bottom Line

Self reliance is a massive advantage when it comes to preparedness, whether it be generating one’s own food or having a fuel source on hand.  While not the best solution possible this project will provide my family with some piece of mind knowing that we do not have to rely on local sources (in the short term) in times of need, and should the power go out for a few weeks at a time we will be able to run our generators with no problem.  Anyone else have a fuel storage plan or project?  Let me know!

 

Hurricane Irma: This is why we PREPARE.

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I’m preaching to the choir but it had to be stated.  If you take a look at what is going on right now in Florida it is a classic case of why preparedness should be a critical part of one’s life.  Folks are lined up around the block for bottled water that they will never get a chance to buy because the shelves are already empty, the next opportinuty to collect supplies probably coming when the National Guard sets up a distro point.

Long lines form at Costco in Florida as residents brace for Hurricane Irma. Image @ KITV Channel 4

Think about these components of preparedness and how they could apply in this situation.

Bugging In:  Having the necessisary supplies (food, water, even gasoline) on hand to stay in place for weeks even without power and without having to rely on outside sources.  Even if the water supply became unusuable for a period of time it would not be a major factor.

Bugging Out:  Having all of the necessary supplies to quickly displace, be self sufficient while on the move knowing that critical items were along for the ride.  Ability to move without having to stop to refuel until out of the danger area, secondary location already identified and ready / willing to accept visitors.

Security:  Understanding that in long term power down scenarios there will be no shortage of folks looking to take advantage of thin law enforcement coverage.  Having a security plan in place in order to address this.

First Aid: Folks could get hurt, not only having the equipment on hand (not just a first aid kit, but things like IFAKs, IV kits etc) but the training in order to employ these properly.

Communication:  Cell phone coverage most likely will go down, having a secondary and tertiary plan (HAM radio).

I could go on and on but the main point is this:  taking initiative and remaining proactive while times are good so that when the tough times come, the only difference is this is now a time for execution and not rehearsals.  I’ve stated this many times, if one is primarily prepping for EMP strikes and WW3 / Martial Law, priorities are misplaced!  The greatest threat all of us face come in the form of localized or even wide spread natural disasters.  Hurricanes, flooding, tornados, wildfires, earthquakes etc.  It’s too late for the folks who are just now lining up hoping to catch a case of bottled water at the grocery store but hopefully many will learn from this experience….sadly most will not.

 

Your Bugout / Survival Vehicle Achilles’ Heel

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I have a large truck, it’s capabilities are extensive.  I can haul people and gear with the full size cab and large bed, I can tow or even winch my way out (or others) of trouble.  The powerful V8, 6 inch lift and large tires have gotten me through all sorts of mud, deep snow and even difficult off road trails where airing the tires down was a necessity.  Large steel bumpers with beefy mounts on the front and rear not only improve the look of the truck but are much more sturdy than the standard plastic / thin aluminum near worthless bumpers that come standard on most trucks.  Yet with all of this, my truck has a major vulnerability that has showcased itself 3 times in the past year: flat tires.

Yes, I have a full size spare and the equipment to change it out but that takes time.  Also if you are on a slope or any sort of area that is not flat pavement it can be a huge challenge to jack up a lifted truck with all that weight.  The point being that all of our vehicles, to include those with run flats (yes, I’ve owned a car with run flats that actually caught a flat) have this similar vulnerability.  In a bugout or survuval situation, all the prep and planning can be stopped short by a simple roofer’s nail.  What if there is a fire, flooding or some other natural disaster and you have to make a quick exit and whoops…tire sensor comes on and now you are on the side of the road at a stop where every minute is precious.  You need to be able to recify this quickly in order to get moving, here are a few items that I have in my vehicle which can help with this.  You will notice some redundancy built in here, that’s intentional.

Slime Flat Tire Repair Kit:  All the basics to repair / seal flats with a small compressor to assist in airing up the tire.  Relatively cheap and good for most vehicles, easy to use.

ARB Tire Repair Kit:  I found that I needed a much more robust tire plug kit when I snapped the handle off of my cheap plastic kit trying to plug a tire.  Trying to ream and subsequently plug a 10 ply tire required the use of a rubber mallet and some force, better to have this kit on hand when the chips are down vs something of lesser quality which could (and probably would) fail.

Smittybilt  5.56 CFM Air Compressor:  This is my primary compressor and it is very powerful, easy to use and quite handy.  My wife messaged me via her satellite communicator that she had a flat tire (no cell service) a while back.  I hopped in the truck and went to her location, an obvious hole directly in the sidewall of her tire which was not repairable.  I looked at my watch and knew the tire shop was 15 minutes away and would be closing in about 25 minutes.  I had 10 minutes or less to make something happen, as we live in the moutains it is not like our options are that of those who live in the city or suburbs.  I quickly plugged the hole and pulled out the compressor, it aired the tire back up in seconds…we were on the road very quickly headed to the shop.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t a new topic and almost borders captain obvious territory, but I know everyone who has been driving for a while has caught a flat and there is never a convenient time for this to happen.  I would also guarantee that a few choice words accompanied the realization that a tire was flat, because it always sucks.  Folks in Houston had to evacuate under duress, I was discussing the possibility of having to evacuate our location if fire ever threatened.  In times like these calling for AAA, waiting for a tow or even taking the time to jack the car up and swap to a spare (that might be buried in the trunk under lots of gear or supplies) isn’t optimal.  Time is of the essence and having the right kit to deal with a flat quickly can make all the difference.  I’ll leave you with this with respect to a spare tire, should you need it…when was the last time you checked the psi on that bad boy?

 

Water Storage Tips and Techniques

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I typically store my water off of the ground, whether it be in the basement or garage.  The main reason I do so (no matter the type of actual storage device) is primarly to avert the leaching process: concrete to plastic to water.  If you search the internet there is no shortage of folks who believe in mitigating the leaching process and others who say it’s not true, in any event it doesn’t take much to elevate storage containers off of the ground like so.

Method 1: Wood.

I like to cut 2×4’s for my large 55 gallon drum containers, usually 4 per container.  The wood is obviously very sturdy and helps to distribute the weight of the drum which can come in around 380 lbs (each).

Method 2:  Foam Boards.

Local big box improvement stores have foam project boards which can be purchased for cheap, I use these primarily for water bottles, jugs and water bricks.  Truth be told there could be chemicals leaching from the foam boards into the chemicals from the plastic into the water, I try to mitigate all of this by simply cycling through my water storage supply.

I recently had an experience which made me very thankful that my items were up off of the ground.  We had a clog in our septic system which resulted in a backup and rather disgusting overflow in our garage.  While it flowed out of the garage and into the rocks outside it passed right under my water storage.  All of the items which held the water bottles / jugs etc became rather soaked with the nasty liquid but the bottles remained unscathed.  I was able to toss out all of the nasty stuff, clean the floor up with bleach and put the storage items back in place.

If I had to wager a guess I probably have around 600 gallons of water stored on site, while I do have a well if the power goes out and the generator runs out of fuel we’re screwed.  I cycle through my water and also protect it by keeping it up off of the ground using two methods.  Think about this when you address your own storage needs.

For more tips on food and water storage for emergencies check out the FEMA website here.

 

4 Storage Food Mistakes You Might Be Making

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This past weekend my wife and I organized our storage / preparendess area.  We did this together so that we would both know where items of note where, instead of me just taking on the task and her having to dig for something in my absence.  We have various storage items sorted by category on heavy wooden shelving (or on the floor, example 55 gallon drums of water) and other items on commercial grade restaurant stainless steel shelving.  Mostly these are canned food items which are within easy reach, useful when making spaghetti and one is out of Ragu.

While organizing the stash we discussed where our current needs were, mostly this revolved around items we constantly use and did not have enough of. Various spices, cans of vegetables or even things like Nutella or bottled Mayo.  I think folks need to have these conversations and evaluate what their food storage situation is like, not just for some major SHTF event but a 2 week power down scenario.  The worst thing one can do is get online, drop a few grand and toss some food storage boxes in the corner just in case.  What follows are a few other potential mistakes folks might be making with respect to food storage.

Buying in Bulk

Don’t get me wrong, I too buy in bulk so let me narrow this down a bit.  For everyday items like the aforementioned can of corn, it’s nice to be able to go down and grab a can for the evening meal.  Yet if all you have are the giant bulk cans of corn, the type that would feed a family of 10 or would have to be tossed in the fridge for leftovers (for days) it might not be the best idea.  It is a bit more expensive to buy the smaller cans but that will ensure that you actually cycle through the food instead of looking at a giant can of yams and thinking, I’ll never eat all that (and moving along).

Not Layering Your Storage (Diversify)

I’ve preached this from the beginning, having various types of layered food storage.  You need items which are ready to eat with no prep at all, think MRE’s or even some canned food items.  These can also be easily transportable if the need arises for a quick bugout.  Next in line would be meals that must be prepped but are still easy to utilize, think Mountain House meal packs or similar, boil some water and you are in there.  A final option would be the large #10 cans where actually going through a decent amount of meal prep would be required.  Layering food storage allows for optimum flexibilty and that is a good thing.

Not Buying What You’ll Eat

There you are walking through the dollar store and cans of potted meat are on sale for 50 cents each, you buy $100 worth with the thought that if times ever get tough you won’t mind eating potted meat.  10 years later all those disgusting cans of potted meat are still sitting on a shelf with zero chance of being cycled through.  When it comes to our canned food storage we typicallly buy items that we can cycle through and eat on a regular basis, while I believe that canned food expiration dates are suggestions I’d like to keep things moving on a first in first out basis if at all possible.

Not Cycling Through Food

I sort of touched on this in the previous bullet point but for many of the items which are considered perishable, it’s important to cycle through them.  This evening we made some tuna salad with cans of tuna that expired 2 years ago, I feel perfectly confident that they will be fine but I might have been a bit overzealous in my tuna purchases originally.  The point is if you buy things you will not eat willingly you’ll end up wasting food as it essentially sits on a shelf and rots.  Cycle through it replacing with never items to keep things as fresh as possible.

The Bottom Line

Wait until the next big storm in your area and then go to the grocery store, watch the folks scramble to fill their carts and baskets with items that will probably only last their family another 3-5 days at best.  Having a good storage food cache on site at your location is a key component of prepardness, while building that stash try to avoid many of the mistakes listed above.

 

Building a Preparedness Community from Scratch

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I am in the preliminary stages of building a preparedness community, assembling a contingent of like minded individuals / families which can trust each other when times get tough, be it a localized disaster or something greater.  The reality of the situation is that no matter how much training or preps you have, a community will be more of an asset than trying to go it alone.  The time to find out if your neighbors can or cannot be trusted or might have skills which are valuable isn’t after a major event has occured.

My journey to start this process began a few weeks ago with a handful of people around a table sipping on coffee and discussing likely vs unlikely events and how we could address them.  I hope you will follow along as I continue to document the progress we make and setbacks we face.  What follows below is a brief synopsis of how I got the whole thing off the ground to begin with.

Putting out Feelers

I rather dislike social media but also understand that it can be a good tool for open source communcation, I also understand that big bro also knows most everything about me anyways so whatever.  I put out a feeler on a local community FB page asking if folks would like to meet to discuss preparedness with the caveat that this wasn’t some doomsday / anti government type of thing, but rather a practical exercise with hopes of meeting some folks who would like to chat about some of our threats and what we can do to address them.  I had an overwhelming response to this post and it was mostly positive, we set a time and date and went from there.

Meet and Greet

We decided to meet for coffee at a local shop, turns out there were about 10 of us that showed up.  Not bad for strangers all unsure of who else might attend or the actual intentions of the person who set the whole thing up (me).  There was a feeling out period where we shared information about ourselves, backgrounds, why we thought preparedness was important and what some of the largest threats were that we faced.  While there was some mention of low probability, high impact events (WW3, Supervolcano) we mostly agreed that things like fire and localized power outages were top of the list.  From there we took a look at wasy to mitigate those risks (brainstorming).

Path Forward

In the hour or two that we sat at that table we weren’t going to solve the world’s problems but we could prioritize a list of what we could address on the local level immediately.  One thing we decided was that we needed to have consistent meetings, we also needed a better way to communicate other than social media.  Another longer term goal for all of us was getting set up on HAM so that we could have consistent communicaiton and situation awareness (SA) with our surrounding community and even outlying areas.  We agreed to work on many of these things and exchanged contact information and called it a successful meeting.

The Bottom Line

I have no idea if I can trust any of these people quite yet, nor do I know if any of them actually truly want to put in the work to do what it takes to build a solid community.  What I can tell you is that by establishing gates with solid action items it will weed out those who are actually about doing something, and those who are in it for the free coffee.  What I know to be true is that there are folks like me with other skills who can be an asset to my family and together we can be an asset to the community as a whole.  This time will be filled with trial and error but if say, 6 to 12 months from now we have just 3-5 families who have started to work together toward a common goal it will be more than we started with.  I hope to keep everyone updated on the progess as we move along.

 

SHTF Mystery Gear Box: Worth It? Maybe.

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If you are like me you’ve spent countless cumulative hours in various big box stores, outdoor stores, dollar stores and even at swap meets looking for useful or even just cool preparedness items.  It can get to a point where you are once again standing in front of that vending machine in the break room, you know everything that is in the machine but you stand there anyway pondering your next move.  Boring.

Why not let someone else make that choice for you with respect to your next move?  Granted I wouldn’t roll the dice and let a stranger mail me my next firearm (even if they could) , but for smaller less “big decision purchase” items why not give it a go.  There is something to be said for anticipation and the unknown and at the price points offered by SHTF Club one really can afford to take a leap of faith…besides you can cancel at any time per their website.  Here are the plans they offer as well as some additional information.

A new mystery box every month. (Usually ships around the 15th.)

Three tiers – Basic: $19.99, Pro: $49.99 and Elite: $89.99.

The $19.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than what you pay.

The $49.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $80.

The $89.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $120.

Cancel or renew at any time.

So your next question is probably going to be, what’s in the box?  According to their website it’s some variation of (but not limited to): knives, fire starters, emergency prep (SOS), hydration, survival gear, hard use tools, paracord and other accessories.   You are probably thinking, well that’s cool but how good is this stuff?  I’m glad you asked because I should be receiving a box from them in the next few days and will be reviewing the contents inside.  Some of my thoughts are:

Are the contents worth the price of admission?

What about the quality of the contents?  Good knife or $5 OTC at Ace Hardware type knife?

Relevant to preparedness?

Presentation:  How packaged, as in neatly with applicable instructions for those who may need them or dumped in a box?

I am fairly confidence that I will be pleasantly surprised with this product, after all they have good reviews out there and seem to be serious about advancing the preparedness message.  I will follow up shortly with a review but in the meantime, check out their website for yourselves and see if anything strikes your fancy.

 

The Complacent Phase vs Prepping When Times Are Good

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On the surface things seem to be moving along rather swimmingly.  The story line goes something like: improving economy / Dow trends / more jobs / less National Debt / and just a general feeling that things are going better, whatever that means.  I for one can appreciate that gasoline is not $4/gallon but that doesn’t make me any sort of expert.  A quick browse of the standard prepper-ish websites reveals mostly the same headlines that were there in 5-7 years ago, not so much on TV about prepping anymore because life is good.  It’s so easy to get complacent in times like these after all, Trump is Prez and he will make America great again….right?

Complacent:

adjective
1. pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation,etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied:

It’s tough to prioritize prepping when there really doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency.  Back in 2010 folks were snapping up a years worth of food for storage and plotting potential bugout locations if and when T-SHTF.  Now a new car in the drive might not necessarily be a bad thing, along with that trip to the Bahamas.  Previously prioritized preps (maybe a solar addition and gardening) are on the back burner and the discussions among friends about potential courses of action with respect to threats have all but subsided.  The planning and execution phase has been replaced by the complacent phase.

I believe there is a huge opportunity now to advance prep priorities while maintaining a good life balance and still enjoying the fruits of one’s labor (read: nothing wrong with vacation).  Here are a few reasons why.

  • The pressure isn’t there.  A few years back when people believed the sky was falling folks were scrambling to play catch up, tossing credit cards at preps and making poor decisions.
  • Demand is relatively low for whatever products / materials you might need or what to stock up on.  Ammunition, storage food, water storage devices, medical kits.
  • It’s ok to experiment.  Start that garden now and see just how difficult it can be to grow your own food, try planting various seeds to see if store bought perform better than those stored prepper seeds you have on a shelf in the basement.
  • Save Money.  Pretty self explanatory but needed to be mentioned.  If the job is paying more try to save more when times are good.

The above listed are just a few reasons why I believe that now is the time to take advantage of this lull in the action, calm before the storm if you will.  I’ve often quoted Mark Steyn when he stated (reference the economy): “Something that cannot go on forever, will stop.”  Any number of things could happen to disrupt this current state of relative calm which we are in and it might be next week, 2 years, 5 years and so on.  If you look at some of the major prep blogs out there folks in the comments section have been calling for a collapse based on evidence every year for the past 10 years….”surely 2010/11/12/13/14 is the year” they said.  Here we are in 2017 coasting along on what I believe to be ice that is thicker than others would imagine.  If it all comes crashing down at that point we’ll all have what we have and it will be the mad scramble once again.  Use this time wisely for surely, at some unknown point in the future things will not be so great.  The expanse and impact of whatever it is that will occur, maybe the economy contracting or even collapsing, is anyone’s best guess.

 

 

50 MORE Survival Items You Forgot To Buy

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50 MORE Survival Items You Forgot To Buy There’s an old Far Side comic that shows a married couple standing in a bomb shelter and a sky full of mushroom clouds directly above them. The shelter is filled with canned food, and the wife is yelling at the husband: “How many times did I say …

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20 Preparedness Items You Should Buy Every Month

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There are some survival items that you’re probably only going to buy a few times in your life, if that. Things like gas masks, rain barrels, portable generators, and other large and/or high-ticket items. On the other hand, there are many survival items that you’ll want to buy repeatedly–the kind of things that you’ll either […]

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The Truth About Survival Gear

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Today I want to share a video by Canadian Prepper. It’s about all the new survival gear showing up in the market. The preparedness niche has grown massively ever since the Great Recession, and with all these new products to choose from, it’s very tempting to become obsessed with buying the latest and greatest survival […]

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Survival Sanitation: Cat Litter Overlooked Prep?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Bic. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Quick: what do you do if you’re in the city, the grid is down, and the toilet won’t flush? Break out the cat litter, contractor bags, and a trusty 5 gallon bucket, of course!

But how long is that single tub of cat litter in the back of the garage going to last your family? Is your pallet of fifty pound bags actually a year’s supply? We know “one gallon of water per person per day,” but how much litter is needed to clump it all up afterwards?

The role of cat litter in sanitation is to bind up the moisture in the gloppy mess of sewage making it easier to handle, inhibiting bacterial growth, and thus reducing odor. We need enough to bind the moisture and cut the smell to acceptable levels. As you cannot measure smell, this estimation will be based on the amount of water we need to bind.

Why do you need cat litter?

The average human produces about 4.5oz of solid waste per day of which 3.5oz is water [1]. We also produce about 1.5 quarts (3lbs) of liquid waste per day [2]. In total, there is about 3.25lbs of water in our waste per person per day.

There are several kinds of cat litter on the market: clay, clumping clay, silica crystal, and natural litters like pine and paper. What we’re concerned with is how much water an amount of litter can absorb per pound.

Silica-crystal based litters can absorb about 40 times their weight in water [3]. Sodium bentonite clay (‘clumping’ litter) is good for 10-15 times its weight [4], and other clay (non-clumping) is good for half of that – about 6 times its weight [4]. Pine litter can absorb 3 times its weight [5] and cellulose (paper) litter can handle 1.5 times its weight [6].

Read More: Importance of Sanitation after SHTF

Note that a lot of manufacturers give “x times more absorbent than clay” ratings, but don’t tell which clay, per volume or per weight, and so on, so I stuck to claims of “absorbs x times its weight in water” to have a better common point of reference. This could also vary by manufacturer, so read up on your litter of choice to get the most accurate estimate.

These are maximum ratings reported by the sellers, so they are likely spruced up. We have to keep surface area in mind as well: even if you can technically dry your daily solid waste with 0.1oz of silica litter, if that’s not enough to cover the leavings, the litter is not going reach everything without stirring. Gross!

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

In a stressful emergency situation, no one is going to have the patience to scientifically ration the litter by weight, either. Litter absorbs by the pound, but you will use it by the scoop. Even if you get a scoop sized to your litter’s absorbency (you do have your custom titanium grid-down scoop, right?), you might scoop a level scoop while junior uses heaping scoops.

All this suggests we should build in some wiggle room. Silica is powerful, but also likely to be surface-area restricted. I would estimate silica litter can easily handle 20x of its weight in water, clumping clay litters 10x, clay 3x, pine 2x, and paper 1x. Given that in a sanitation emergency you will need to account for drinking extra water if it is hot or you get sick, we should also round-up the amount of liquids to 4lbs to be safe.

Thus, a fast and loose estimate of the amount of litter you need per person per day is going to be 4lbs divided by the absorbency number above. For instance, silica litter is 20x, so 4lbs divided by 20 is going to be 0.2lbs per person per day. A standard clay litter is 3x. 4lbs divided by 3 is 1.33lbs of clay litter per person per day, or a family of four using a whole 20lb bag of litter in 4 days!

If you’re in a hi-rise where the grid going down will take the sewer pumps with it, it might not be unreasonable to have a week supply of litter, so that family of 4 will need close to 40lbs of standard clay litter! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to drag that much cat litter up the stairs or find a place to store it. Thankfully, with a bit of planning we can reduce this number by a factor of 8.

Liquid waste is the bigger problem – 3lbs vs 0.25lb of solid. Liquid waste is also sterile, and an airtight lid keeps the smell down, so you could separate solid from liquid and use litter on the solids only without creating too much of a health risk. Even doubling for wiggle room would leave us with 0.5lbs of water in solid waste per person per day. That 20lb bag now lasts a family of four for a whole month!

In practice, this means putting an airtight jar or jug next to your waste receptacle to be emptied into an airtight bucket away from the living space such as in the far corner of your balcony or just outside your door. Keep in mind small children may need instruction and prompting to make sure they’re with the program. The ladies may also appreciate certain accommodations. Talk to them for ideas.

What to do with all that mess?

But what do you do with a full bucket? Depending on fluid intake, you might be dealing with around 1.5 quarts of liquid waste per person per day or 1.5 gallons for four people.

Though liquid waste is sterile, I would not recommend dumping. Venturing outside your apartment in a densely populated area sans utilities is a bad idea to start with, and would you just let someone dump 5 gallons of waste on your lawn? The city might fine you when order is restored as well. You have to do what you have to do, but don’t plan on being that guy!

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

I would also avoid depending on your garden, especially a container garden which has no subsoil for the waste to leach into. Liquid waste has high concentrations of salt and nitrates, which most plants can’t handle without dilution. This requires water, which is precious in a grid-down situation. It also risks exposing your food supply to any medications or supplements you’re taking, and if you’re eating heavily preserved foods like MREs, all those chemicals are going into your plants too. Yuck!

Buckets are cheap and stack-able, so it is feasible to maintain 1.5 quarts of bucket per person per day, or 9-10 five gallon buckets per month for a family of four. 15 three gallon buckets would also work if you would rather lug 24lbs at a time rather than 40lbs. Figure out a place to store full buckets and you’ll be all set.

Remember kitty litter and buckets will run out. A week’s supply is a good idea, and a two-week supply will probably be enough for most circumstances. If you’re planning for a month, you would be better off figuring out the logistics for a longer term solution such as a latrine or leach well dug deep into a nearby flower bed.

So there you have it – a “gallon per day” rule of thumb for a cat litter sanitation solution:

First check what type of litter you are buying to figure out its absorbency. Silica crystals: 20x, sodium bentonite clay: 10x. Other clay: 3x. Pine: 2x. Cellulose: 1x.

Divide 4lbs of waste per person per day by the absorbency number above to get a ballpark estimate of how much litter you need. Just like with water, multiply by 2 or 3 if you want to be cautious.

If you have a plan to deal with liquid waste separately, you can get away with replacing the 4lbs above with 0.5lbs, but remember to add extra in case of illness.

Remember that people won’t weigh litter scientifically each time they need to go, so get a grid-down scoop sized for your litter at the dollar store and make sure everyone in your household understands your litter strategy. And don’t forget the needs of your actual cats!

References:

[1] Average human solid waste production:
[2] Average human liquid waste production:
[3] Silica litter absorbency:
[4] Clumping and non-clumping litter absorbency:
[5] Pine cat litter absorbency:
[6] Paper cat litter absorbency:

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4 Things Wrong With Your BugOut / Survival Bag

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I recently spent a few days out in the backcountry wilderness living out of my bag, miles away from the nearest town and long out of cell phone range.  It was myself and my dog hiking a few miles a day at over 10,000 feet in elevation, getting in touch with nature and evaluating some gear. When out in that sort of environment one figures out really quickly what is essential and what is fluff with respect to gear, what works and what doesn’t.  Since the bugout / survival bag is what we rely on to hold all of our essential equipment it stands to reason that this piece of kit should be near the top of the list with respect to how well it is taken care of.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case in many instances, so here are 4 things that might be wrong with your bugout / survival bag.

1- It hasn’t been unpacked in 6 months

Cooler temps are approaching so does the gear in your bag reflect that?  How long has it been since you completely emptied your bag, took and inventory and re-packed it?  Far too often gear is packed and then allowed to sit which means folks forget what is where and items often expire.

2- It doesn’t have hydration bladder pockets

Water is everything out in the wilderness and you must have a good way to not only carry it but access it while on the move.  Many good packs have built in hydration bladder pockets on the sides allowing for a 2 or 3 liter hydration bladder to be stuffed down in them.  Run the hose down over the shoulder and drink while on the move, hook up a mini sawyer in line water filter for drinking river/lake water.  The days of strapping canteens to a belt or the back of the pack are long gone for most, as there are much improved methods for carrying water.

3- The gear inside it has been chosen based on theory, not practical application.

Folks tend to buy gear based on other people’s opinions and there is nothing wrong with that, but has that gear been tested out in the field?  Has the tent actually been set up, fire starting material tested, stove been used to cook food?  Maybe there is a hatchet or other cool looking tool in there that is completely unnecessary, only way to find out is to get out there and test the gear.

4- It was purchased wholesale for $25 online.

It’s true, you get what you pay for.  To build a quality pack you need quality materials and folks who know what they are doing.  Time for design, R&D, manufacturing and advertising.  All of these things are built into the cost of the product (a good bag in this case) so that the company can remain profitable.  I know this seems like basic information but it stands to reason that a bag that runs $25 on the rack cannot possibly hold a candle to a pack that runs $350 or more.  The type of materials in the more expensive pack will be more durable, the zippers and fasteners will be better, the internal frame and shoulder straps will be much more comfortable and on it goes.  There are some good compromises out there which folks on a budget can look into but one must be careful when choosing a good bag.  Go cheap and by the time mile 5 arrives you’ll be sorry you did.

 

150 Preparedness Items You Need To Stock

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that I love lists. Well recently I came across the ultimate list of preparedness items. It was made by Jane from MomWithaPrep.com, and it covers just about everything you could possibly need to survive a major disaster. The best thing about this list […]

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30 Survival Items Every New Prepper Should Get

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So you’ve decided to become a prepper. Maybe you’ve been putting it off for a long time and now you’ve made a new year’s resolution to get started. Maybe a friend or family member went through a personal disaster like a burglary or bankruptcy and it got you […]

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Building a Prepper Tool Kit the Thrifty (Aka Cheap) Way

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

5/5 (1) Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PAD Commander. You can add the items below in his prepper tool kit to your list of prepping supplies for acquisition someday. I thought I’d follow up on my article for the Prepper Journal about Building a Get Home Bag […]

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50 Survival Items You Can Find Around The House

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All preppers have that moment where they feel completely overwhelmed by all the survival items they want to buy. If you’re feeling this way, just relax, list the items in order of importance, and focus on one thing at a time. You’ll get there. You should also consider […]

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