6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

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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 JD. 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.


Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed in their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot.

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medical related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple window sill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution is taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

Check out their site to learn more:

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

About the Author: JD is the founder of  I Will Make You Hard to Kill. His site is dedicated to a wide variety of skills that improve survivability in emergency situations as well as everyday life. He is a SERE Specialist with 18 years of military service teaching aircrew and special operations personnel how to survive, evade, resist and escape at the U.S. Air Force Survival School located at Fairchild AFB, WA.

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Practical Bug Out Reloading

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With about $300 to $400 invested in reloading equipment, all those hundreds or even thousands of once fired brass casings can be reloaded for a tremendous savings over buying factory new ammunition.

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Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?

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You have a gold coin that you paid $1100 for back when the world was still somewhat sane. Do you offer that coin for a loaf of bread? 100 loaves or a years supply?

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Field Weapon: Constructing a Bow & Arrows Using a Knife

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Using only what is available to from the natural surroundings and what small amount of belongings you have, it’s time to construct one of the oldest tools used by hunters, the bow and arrow.

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Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare

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Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare.

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Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit

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With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition.

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Hiding in Plain Sight – Innovative Ways to Discreetly Wear Survival Gear

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In this article I list some of the most unique ways that some basic survival gear, weapons, and defensive tools can be disguised in items you already wear every day.

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The Keys To Effective Prepper Communication

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This article attempts to cover some of the basic pros and cons of various forms of communication and introduce the reader to some additions that should prove helpful in crisis and bug-out situations.

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Self Defense Options: More than Just Guns

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from valknut79. 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.


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

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation.  Considering that a gunshot in a crowded public space is one of the fastest ways to start a riot, potentially getting you or your family even more harmed, the balance point for many tends to tip towards leaving your weapon holstered.

Imagine again.  This time, you and your family return home, and see the basement window broken.  Alarm bells are going off in your head, and you draw your weapon, instructing the kids to wait in the car.  Upon entering, you are able to see that the dangerous infiltrator is actually a 14-year-old boy who lives down the road.  Is he dangerous, or just a neighborhood nuisance?  You have less than seconds to decide.

Maybe you are one to draw in these circumstances, however, I believe that these are two examples of situations where yes, a gun could be advantageous to you, but it would be better left holstered.

Of all the four major prep areas – food, water, shelter and defense – it is defense that is most often overlooked.  I know preppers who think that all they need is a pistol and some ammunition, while others stock an armory, but the fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep.  In reality, self-defense is so much more.

Personal Defense                

The fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep. In reality, self defense is so much more.

The first line of defense to prepare is your last line of defense – your ability to defend your own person.  Guns are fantastic, but are not always the best solution to a conflict.  The best way to start that process is to take a martial arts class regularly.

Martial arts classes are incredibly varied, and depending on where you live, you should find a broad spectrum of different styles.  You could opt for a striking art like TaeKwon Do, Karate or Kung Fu, or you could focus on a martial art that emphasizes grappling such as Judo.  There are many arts that are combinations by nature (any MMA style or Krav Maga), and there are many schools of striking or grappling arts that borrow from outside of the strict boundaries of their chosen style to incorporate a broad range of self-defense elements.

Striking arts are probably what everyone thinks of when they imagine martial arts, as they are based on using your hands and feet to punch, chop and kick your way to safety.  These arts value speed and quickness over size and power, and often incorporate a large variety of cardio exercise practices that will double as your workout for the day.  The major advantage to learning a striking art is clear – these arts are focused on disabling an opponent quickly from a (relative) distance, and allow you at least a small chance of fighting multiple opponents.  A typical class will involve practicing kata or patterns of movements, practice kicks and punches against air, striking heavy bags or padded opponents, and jumping techniques.

Grappling arts are going to be more similar to wrestling than what you’d likely think of as a “martial arts” technique.  Instead of punches and kicks, you’ll learn disabling holds, pressure points, and throws.  A certain amount of size and strength is not necessarily essential, but will definitely help.  Classes for grappling arts tend to emphasize one-on-one, back-and-forth style of practice (I’ll throw you, then you throw me), and may not be as exercise-heavy as a striking art.  The advantages of studying a grappling art are the fact that they focus on defending yourself from abductions and mugging-style grabs and unarmed defense against an armed opponent, which are highly practical scenarios.  In addition, many people who have studied street fights have noted that over 80% of these encounters end up on the ground, where grapplers have a distinct advantage.

Both styles give you opportunities to practice against your classmates in simulated fighting scenarios.  Striking courses usually incorporate sparring practice where you use heavy pads and light contact to simulate a fight and test your reflexes and skills.  This allows you to safely practice your skills so that you’ll know you can function in times when you need to defend yourself. Grappling arts use amateur wrestling, or kneeling wrestling known as rendori as sport-practice.  In rendori, you maneuver your opponent on the mat in an attempt to make them submit from a painful or inescapable hold.

Finding a style is a good choice, but it may be better to find a school first and a style second.  Not all martial arts courses are created equally.  Many are black belt factories, where you pay a certain fee and are guaranteed a black belt after a certain amount of time.  Other schools are going to emphasize tournament performance or flashy-but-not-realistic jumping and leaping attacks.  Good schools are hard to come by, but they’ll offer a variety of different types of skills and performance elements, have a wide variety of people at varying levels of abilities and ages, and have experienced instructors.  Park districts are an excellent place to begin, but there are some valuable strip mall dojos that offer different types of instruction.  Ask for a free trial class, or at least to watch a class before signing up.

Non-Gun Weapons

Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality.

In addition to a basic level of skill in hand-to-hand combat, I think it’s also important to find a hand-to-hand weapon to supplement your firearm and EDC kit.  My personal choice is a tactical flashlight that functions as a striking weapon, a strobe light to distract and disorient my attackers, and a tool that I can use in my everyday life.  Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality, and since it’s a small flashlight it is a very inconspicuous weapon that is never taken away from me at sporting events or theme parks.  If you don’t like that suggestion, consider some of these other hand-to-hand weapons that are easy to carry:

Remember that no matter what weapon you choose to carry that you are well equipped and ready to use it.  A knife may not be the best weapon for every encounter, but if that’s what you choose, that’s what you might be stuck with.  If you pull pepper spray from your pocket or purse, know how to use it, or it will be taken away and used against you.

Dogs

Best Prepper Dog for SHTF

My final suggestion for personal defense is to get yourself a dog.

Dogs are fantastic companion animals that are also overlooked but highly practical pieces of a prepper’s armory.  They require much more regular upkeep than what you’re storing in your gun cabinet currently, but are also useful for a wide variety of situations.

Dogs are not a fail-safe mechanism for security.  Just check YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of home security videos of dogs peacefully approaching burglars and not making a peep if that burglar thought ahead to bringing some dog treats with them.  That said, training and mentally stimulating your dog will certainly help in developing his senses enough to make him a versatile tool and defense mechanism as well as a companion.

Training your dog to be a more aggressive “guard dog” is certainly an option, but one that I would strongly discourage.  It is important for your dog to be socialized among other animals and be extremely selective about whom he attacks.  An “attack dog” is not a good choice, and will likely do you more harm than good, both in terms of legal trouble and difficulty in raising and training him.

If you don’t want a traditional guard dog, and if your dog is more likely to lick your home invader than attack him or warn you, then why bother?  It’s easy – prepper dogs are a highly effective deterrent for would-be attackers.

There is an old adage that states “When you’re running from a bear, you don’t need to be the fastest, you just need to not be the slowest.”  Choosing a large breed of dog, such as a Rottweiler, or an American or Olde English bulldog will definitely make your home significantly less appealing for any home invaders or burglars. More intelligent breeds, such as German Shepherds can act as an early warning system for people approaching your home, and may be able to be put to work around your home for basic tasks if you keep livestock.  These kinds of dogs are also those that have a reputation of being aggressive (even though they’re not), and their reputation alone can be a deterrent.  Keep in mind that many of our modern breeds, even those poorly designed for defense like bloodhounds or greyhounds, were originally bred to be hunters or highly specialized seekers, and have many practical applications in SHTF or survival situations

Taking dogs with you when you go outside for exercise or a walk is a good way for urban preppers to discourage muggers and attackers.  Even rural and suburban preppers can benefit from having a dog along on walks or runs in case of twisted ankles, or in the event that you are involved in some sort of accident.  My mother-in-law was riding her horse that she’d ridden thousands of times in the past, along a trail that she had ridden hundreds of times before, and when her horse was inexplicably spooked she fell off.  It was her golden lab that ran back to the farm alone to find help while she was knocked out.

All told, the advantages of having an animal companion are significant, specifically in terms of defense.  For those with allergies, there are some hypoallergenic dogs that are available, and depending on the breed you choose, you may find yourself unaffected by short-haired breeds.

A dog is not the highest priority on the list, but can certainly be a helpful addition to a home or personal defense system.  I certainly feel better about leaving my teenage daughter home alone for runs to the store or when I’m out to dinner with my wife when Arthur (my 90-pound monster of an American Bulldog) is home with her, even those he’s secretly a big softie.

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Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Suzanne S.. 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.


When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bag, freeze-dried food, water, transportation, first-aid kit, weapons for protection and a place to bug-out to. The idea is to have the basic needs of food, water and shelter readily available. The problem is; when the SHTF not everyone gets to just go merrily about their way, to easily head out and get gone. In fact, it is quite likely that many of us will sustain significant injuries that need to be tended to. Whether it is ourselves, our loved ones, or the friends who will be with us, we will need to know how to take care of each others injuries and illnesses.

I am an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Emergency Room experience, the majority of it in Level I Trauma centers (where the most severe cases…crashes, gunshots, severe work injuries, falls from heights, etc. go). Prior to becoming a PA, I was an EMT. I have a great deal of experience dealing with trauma victims and worked in an ER where we saw multiple gunshots daily. I have lectured at several colleges in the Chicago area as well as being responsible for teaching EMT, Physician Assistant, Medical and Podiatry students. I have also been an instructor for the American Red Cross teaching First Aid, CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes.

There is a lot of information out there about what makes up a good medical kit for your bug-out bag. Everything you need can be either assembled by you or purchased as anyone of a variety of pre-stocked kits. While the kit you have with you when you bug out is obviously important, it is also completely useless if you have not taken the time to learn how to use it. The truth is you can stop most bleeding with direct pressure. Sometimes you need a torn shirt, some duct tape and a pair of trauma scissors. You don’t have to be MacGyver to do it. You do need proper training.

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV to the side of the road. The baby was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is reportedly doing OK.

That said; EVERYONE who expects to deal with the aftermath of when the SHTF needs to know basic CPR and at least basic Trauma First Aid. That means taking classes and practicing what you learn. I can tell you stories about people attempting to administer first aid who had no training, but I won’t. Suffice it to say the outcomes were less than desirable.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Let’s think about some injuries you can expect in the woods, hiking or running to find cover. Or for that matter, just being in a place where help is not going to come anytime soon. Falls are very common and can result in anything from a scrape to sprains to more serious injuries like fractures and head injuries. So ask yourself; do I really know how to treat a sprain? What about a fracture? Do I know how to stop bleeding and properly clean a wound? Have I ever done those things? Would I be able to actually do the job the right way should I need to? What if it was something life threatening? Could I save a person’s life?

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you can have all the gear in the world at the ready, but YOU are not ready to bug-out!

I’m going to give an example of injury event that can be a tragedy if you are not properly trained to treat it. Remember, this is about knowing: both what TO do and what NOT TO do.

You and your companion are moving quickly through a heavily wooded area and your companion falls. When you reach them, you see a branch has impaled their arm. They are essentially stuck to a tree because of a branch sticking all the way through their arm. Your companion is in shock and not even aware of the extent of the injury. They are confused. There is blood coming from their arm and also from a gash on the right side of their head which is bleeding profusely. You think you see bone exposed through the head laceration and it seems that one of their legs has something wrong. Closer examination shows you that the ankle is sitting at a strange angle. What do you do now?

If you are like most people, you freak out, try to compose yourself so you don’t freak out your companion, get really pale and nearly pass out and then reach for your cellphone to call 911. Oops, no connectivity, so no help coming. So what now? The first aid kit! You have a first aid kit with a manual in it to walk you through caring for these injuries. You dig out the kit, open and it and check the book only to find it’s great for small cuts and bruises and simple things, but it has nothing remotely close to what you’re dealing with now.

Suddenly, you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to cancel that first aid class you had signed up for but decided you were too busy/tired to take. Besides, someone else will know what to do or I’ll call 911 anyway, I’ll never need to use it.

WOW! Talk about contrary to prepper philosophy. Or is it? It would seem that Emergency Medical preparedness training is a no-brainer, but in reality, most prepper sites and stores that cater to preppers are focused on the medical equipment you need rather than the training required to use it.

So anyway, I can’t teach you the how to do it in this article. I can give you a good idea of what good, accurate care and treatment of this fall will require. And yes, you can look all these things up on the internet. However, unless you learn from a real, live person who can guide you and correct mistakes you will surely make as you learn, you are never going to be able to really address the problems this very real scenario depicts.

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

The very first thing required in any trauma/accident situation is an evaluation of the site of the accident. Stop, take a breath and look at where you are about to go. Is it a safe place to enter? In the urban world this is akin to a Paramedic called to the scene of a gunshot victim. In that situation, the Paramedic cannot help the victim until the Police have arrived and determined that the Paramedic is safe from the danger of being shot herself when she goes to help. At that point the scene is declared “safe” and the Paramedics can get to work.

In the wilderness or woods, the dangers are different but still just as potentially deadly. Is the ground stable? Are there dangerous branches or rocks that could fall onto you as you make your way to your companion? Will you slip and fall as well if you attempt to help? Do you need to take time to tie off before going to the person? What about wildlife? Are you in danger of animal or insect attack when you go to help? Can you find a way to make the scene safe?

Only after you treat the area as if it were a busy street corner will you be safe. You have to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Once the scene is determined safe, or made safe the next thing is to get to the injured person and take stock of the situation by doing an initial survey of them. This is done by looking and speaking to them without touching them. Encouragement to stay still is recommended at this point. Usually saying “Hold on, try not to move, I’ll be right there,” is a good start.

Look carefully at the person and where they are lying. Do you see any blood? Where is it coming from? What about limb deformities? If so, which ones. Are there any objects that will cause difficulty in treating the injuries? Can they be cleared or do you need to find a way to work around them.

Now it’s time to your ABCDE’s: Airway/Head and Neck, Breathing, Circulation, Disability/Deformity, and Exposure assessment.

Airway: If the person is conscious and talking, then they have a clear airway, but they might have a neck injury which will require stabilization. In the case of any significant fall, or one with an accompanying head injury, be sure that the cervical (neck) spine is stabilized. If the person is unconscious or can’t talk, be sure that the airway is clear of obstruction before going further. Gently lowering the jaw while holding the forehead steady will allow you to see if anything is causing an obstruction. Look for broken teeth, blood, dirt or some foreign body causing an obstruction. Remove any obstruction you can see. Do not blindly probe their mouth. You could push an unseen object backward and cause an obstruction where none had previously existed.

Breathing: Is the person breathing on their own? If they can talk, they are breathing. Is there any reason to suspect a possible lung injury? Do they have any evidence of a chest injury that could have broken a rib? A broken rib can puncture a lung and lead to air in the chest collapsing the lung on that side. You can check this several ways. One is to watch the rise and fall of the chest and see if both sides rise equally. Another is to put your ear on one side of the chest, then the other and listen for breath sounds to be equal on both sides. If you notice that the trachea, the tube that runs down the middle of your neck, is pushed to one side; that is a clear sign of a lung injury. The best case scenario is that you have a stethoscope in your kit that will allow you to hear the actual breath sounds easily. If there is a lung injury, this is a true emergency and will need to be treated quickly, but that is a procedure that requires specialized training.

Circulation: Check for obvious bleeding, but also in the case of extremity injury, is there good blood flow to the far portions of the extremity? Is the color of distal (far) limb pink or pale/bluish? Is it warm to the touch or cool/cold? Pink and warm = good. Anything else indicates blocked blood flow which may be due to arterial injury or compression. Arterial injury needs repair soon. Compression can often be correct by adjusting the limb to an appropriate angle.

Disability/Deformity: Is neurologic function intact or are they confused, unable to answer questions or showing other signs of significant head injury? Are there limb deformities, obvious chest or facial depressions indicating broken bones? Depending on what you find, a variety of things may be needed from re-evaluation of the airway, to splinting or bandaging.

Exposure: How long has it been since the injury took place? Are they becoming chilled or hypothermic? Cold =shock. Putting a warm cover over an injured party ASAP is essential even in hot weather.

The important thing to do now is stay calm and determine what needs to be treated first. If there is copious bleeding indicating probable arterial involvement (this can also be characterized by blood that sprays with each pump of the heart) apply direct pressure and if necessary a tourniquet that can be tightened and released easily. If there is no major bleeding issue, then recheck the airway and breathing. If there is chest deformity and/or other evidence of a collapsed lung, that is the next thing to deal with unless there is now evidence of airway obstruction or the person is not breathing on their own. The former requires clearing the airway, the latter requires rescue breathing. The collapsed lung requires specialized training you can’t get from the internet or a book. Any other injuries can wait. Remember; the brain starts to die after 3 minutes without oxygen. Airway is first unless bleeding is so profuse that not stopping it would mean there would not be enough blood to circulate oxygen.

Back to our fall victim; we have bleeding, limb deformity, confusion and a fall. The fall means we have to have high suspicion of a neck injury and the confusion could be shock or it could indicate a more serious injury such as concussion or a brain bleed. We also have a penetrating injury which may have been an insult to a major artery. This person is seriously injured and qualifies as a trauma patient. Ideally, we would get this person stabilized and out of there ASAP, but that is not an option. Instead, we have to stabilize and create a sheltered space as close to where we area as possible so we can begin to treat the various injuries.

Assuming there are no immediate life threats (Excessive bleeding or collapsed lung/blocked airway) we begin by stabilizing the neck. A towel, shirt or thick cloth of some kind can be rolled and taped carefully in place to accomplish this. Next stabilize and splint any limb deformities so that we can move the victim with the least amount of discomfort to them. Continue to talk to them to assess their mental status. At this point, things get tricky…

People’s first instinct when presented with something sticking out of or through a body part is to remove it. STOP! Don’t do it! Not only is it exactly the wrong thing to do, it could quite possibly be the thing that kills the person. I know it is scary looking and seems like the danger comes from it being stuck in the person, but at this point the person is alive and has survived impalement. Leaving the object embedded is not dangerous at this point; it is actually the safest thing to do. As long as the object is left in place, it is acting to tamponade (stop) the bleeding. That is, it is putting pressure on any lacerated vessels and preventing any major bleeding. Yes there will be some oozing around the injury site, but it will be minimal as compared to what happens should the object be removed. NEVER REMOVE AN IMPALED OR IMBEDDED OBJECT FROM A PUNCTURE WOUND unless you have been trained to handle this procedure. This is another procedure that requires specialized training courses.

But what about infection, you ask? Yes, infection risk is high, but it is not a life threatening problem at this time. A neck injury or brain injury will need prior attention as will the bleeding from the head wound. Antibiotics are something you can give, but not at this time because the victim has a decreased mental status and it is not clear if they can swallow a pill without causing an airway obstruction or aspirating it into a lung.

For the time being, the safest and most efficacious thing to do is to cut both ends of the branch so that your companion can be maneuvered to the sheltered spot. Start with the end of the branch still attached to the tree and try to keep the arm as immobile as you can while doing so to minimize pain. You can then trim the protruding opposite side.

Don’t cut the ends short. Leave enough to be able to grasp both ends firmly to assist removal when it is time. Use your gauze or Ace wrap to secure the branch so that it moves as little as possible during transport to avoid causing undo pain.

Continue to monitor the ABC’s and mental status and address what need to be done ASAP. Once you have done as much as you can, find a way to get this person out of there and to an emergency care center as quickly as possible otherwise, they will likely not survive for very long.

This all started out as a fall but resulted in multiple injuries placing your companion in danger of dying. With the proper training, you could swing the odds much more in favor of a good outcome. So before you buy that cool medical kit, or put one together on your own, get out there and get trained. If you know someone who has been trained and can teach you the emergency survival techniques you’ll need, ask them to teach you. Meanwhile there are a multitude of courses in first aid, tactical lifesaving, wilderness emergency medicine, survival medicine and CPR. Don’t forget to look into classes that teach herbal remedies. Know what plants can ease pain or prevent infection, they may be the only medications you’ll have available.

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

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Survival Group Selection: Would You Take Yourself?

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from GoodPrepper. 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.


Survival groups whether you call them that, a Mutual Aid Group, “The Team”, or any other monikers have become ever more popular over the past few years. While I think this is a fantastic idea for those of us that see what is coming I also see a lot of online bragging in forums about how “prepared” their group is followed by 3 paragraphs detailing firearms purchases and maybe some references to a few members being ex-military. Tactical skills are great but I see two problems with the way most individuals and groups approach them.

First, people tend to focus nearly 100% of their time, money, and attention on the sexy gun stuff with nearly nothing left over for the other skills that make for a well-rounded survival group.

Second they tend to overestimate their tactical abilities. I once heard it said that buying a gun (or dozens of them) doesn’t make you a marksman any more than buying a piano makes you a pianist. Having been in the military doesn’t necessarily mean a person has much competency with firearms. Many units only get to the range twice a year and almost never with pistols. Add to that the vast majority of those in the military (all branches) aren’t trigger pullers but rather are in support functions sitting on the FOB or on a ship out at sea and you will see why having even someone with a deployment under their belt also doesn’t guarantee you have a gunfighter on your hands. I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter (2 different things) at best. Now after several years of spending thousands of dollars on quality training instead of buying more guns (I couldn’t properly fight with) I have improved by leaps and bounds and wish I had half these skills when I was deployed.

Are you as good as you think you are with a firearm? On a related side note how is your gear? Of course you won’t know the answer to this unless you have gone out and run it hard in a realistic class setting. I recently had a coworker that went out and bought the latest cool guy holster everyone on the internet told him the Israeli soldiers were using (so it must be good then, right?). He went to a class I recommended for him and 30 minutes into the class the holster broke into pieces. Had he not gone out and really run the thing he would have been potentially betting his life on a bad piece of kit.

I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter.

But back to the topic at hand, if many survival groups are mainly made up of people whose only skill set is “providing security” and for some reason you found yourself looking to join a group either now or after a collapse, would you take you? If you are honest with yourself the answer is probably “no”. The reason is, you’re just not worth the calories it takes to feed you when running gun battles might only be occurring 0.001% of the time in any given week or month depending on your location (if they are more than that you might want to relocate). So the next question is what other skills do you have or can you develop to be worth someone taking you in?

What skills do you bring to a survival group?

I personally see the following as the new member value hierarchy. This is based on the composition of prepper groups I have seen firsthand or read posted about. If your entire group is made up of a commune of expert farmers and ranchers then that skill set would obviously not be as high a priority. So in order of low to high for me:

Guy with a gun– Low value, even lower if they have the low skill-set and poor equipment many firearm owners do. (90+% of preppers)

Guerrilla Gardening

Gardener– Someone who regularly kept a backyard garden, this person might also have learned to can their excess. You definitely won’t have to shoot it out with the zombie mutant biker hordes every day but you do need to eat every day! (20% of preppers….most preppers meant to develop this skill but “never got around to it”, “didn’t have space”, or “insert other excuse here”).

Communications person– Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r and plans to learn how to use it later and doesn’t want to get licensed because “when the SHTF there won’t be no FCC around to stop me”. I’m talking about someone who has accumulated the extensive equipment required and trains on it regularly. This guy can run something like PSK31 digital mode transmission to still communicate around the world during even the most challenging propagation conditions. He might also be your power person because he has spent a lot of time researching batteries and solar setups to keep his rig running while out in the field for extended periods. This guy might even be higher up than I have listed, after all without him you might literally not know what is going on in the world beyond what you can see from your window. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r

Farmer/Rancher– This person devoted their livelihood to raising food – either vegetables or livestock of some combination of both. They understand how to produce on a large-scale and how to deal with procuring the inputs needed and dealing with the unused byproducts. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Medical professional– TRUE medical professional. While taking a CPR class and buying an Israeli bandage is nice this is not the same thing as being in the medical profession. Also while natural medicine has its place as off the shelf medicine becomes scarce you will want someone who has experience operating on people at an EMT level or above to address trauma and is expert at diagnosing larger issues such as whether an infections requires a gram positive or gram negative antibiotic to treat. (Less than 1% of preppers meet this category.)

In SHTF, you won’t be able to count on medical treatment being available.

I’ve surely missed some here like skill sets here like someone who is an expert in human waste sanitation, or a logistician that can track your supply usage or even something more exotic like a blacksmith. Part of this is because I don’t think these are full-time jobs unless you have a very large group and partly because the purpose of this article isn’t to feed you the right answers. What I want to get you thinking about is that if you step back and look at what your own group would need or imagine the needs of a group you are looking to join, would you take someone like yourself in?

You might not like the answer so pick something higher up the hierarchy and get to work! Much like anyone that tells you that they don’t have 20 minutes a day 3-4 days a week to exercise is lying so is anyone that says they don’t have the time or money to learn a new skill. You may not be able to become a doctor but in my case I decided I would become a ham radio operator. It seemed daunting, I didn’t grow up around this stuff and in the military I just called over the S-6 private to fix my radio in the MRAP whenever it wasn’t working. Turns out it is VERY EASY and inexpensive to get your license in amateur radio. Whole articles have been written about it but I will say it really only takes about 45 minutes of studying every night for 10 days to 2 weeks and then about $10 (or sometimes free) to sit the test and you’re on your way with a Technician class ticket. Now get to know the old guys at the ham club in your town that administered the test and you’ll be amazed at how generous they are with their time, they’ll even let you use their equipment for free! Plus who here doesn’t know how to use YouTube to learn almost any new skill….for free! I’ve since upgraded to General and then Extra class (the highest level). I have put together a highly portable mobile set up and I get out in the field to test my equipment and refresh my skills at least twice a month. That’s just one example of how you can build worth as a group member beyond being the “gun guy”.

Lastly if you decide you only care about guns and are “too cool” to learn anything else at least learn as much as you can not only in training and tactics but also maintenance and repair. Attend an armorer course and acquire the tools and spare parts to do the work. You still won’t be worth as much to me as a farmer but you won’t be a dime a dozen.

I realize this article might offend some but hopefully it gets you thinking and honest about your value especially if you are currently a “lone wolf” looking for a pack. People have covered how to find other preppers but I wanted to include some information on how to be as valuable as possible once you find them. Good luck and get learning!

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How Chemistry Class Saved My Life

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from West Texas Backpacker. 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.


While in high school chemistry class you would have been called a geek or nerd if you ever truly believed that “I am going to use this one day,” while everyone else was saying “I am never going to use this in my future, so why must I learn it now?” I’m here to tell you today that I was that nerd that believed such things and further studied chemistry for another five years into college.

During my academic career my interests always sparked when I learned about chemicals that could be used for some medical treatment, or were able to create an exothermic reaction and generate enough heat to produce a combustion of sorts. One that was very particular to me was a chemical called Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4). Potassium permanganate was especially interesting because if mixed in the proper quantities it can be used as an aseptic treatment to prevent infection on wounds and injuries. To add to its unique properties if mixed with a locally bought form of glycerin it would create an exothermic reaction to cause a small flame to form.

Now that I have given you some background information I will tell you of my experience when chemistry class saved my life. During the fall semester of my junior year in college I joined a backpacking adventure group that was composed of individuals, whom all shared the passion to learn survival skills and backpacking techniques. Being a rookie in the world of prepping this group caught my interests. So as meetings began to start and we practiced various skills such as cooking over fires, knots, survival skills and techniques. As we continued expanding our knowledge we also planned our first outing into the back-country of New Mexico during the month of October.

We assembled our gear and packs and planned out our route with enough food to last our 30 mile trip into the wilderness. Along with the checklist of items that we were given that would be necessary for any camping trip; I thought it was necessary to pack my trauma kit, and some chemicals for a chemistry experiment. This experiment was to take place towards our highest elevation at 13,000 feet above sea level and to be as much for entertainment for the group as an experiment for me.

We trekked for two days up and further into the back-country until the only tracks we saw were our own and the native wildlife. As the group approached the summit the weather began to rapidly change and thunderclouds started to form. We had made a group decision that in order to get back into the tree line for cover, we needed to summit the peak and descend on the other side as quickly as possible, because the route back down on the ascending side if caught in a storm would become even more dangerous due to its steep and narrow trails than the route descending on the other side.

Moving with a purpose the group quickly summited the mountain while fighting the wind that was gusting approximately 60-80 miles an hour the entire time. As the group began the descend one of the female hikers tripped and tumbled down the steep rocky path and received a moderate laceration on her knee. Quickly I dumped my pack and my skills as a nurse took over. I quickly had another member pour approximately a teaspoon of potassium permanganate in a one liter water bottle and shake it until dissolved while I readied the bandages and wraps for her knee. I cleansed her cut with our prepared aseptic solution and bandaged and wrapped her knee so that she could continue down the best she could.

Shortly after our unfortunate event our luck continued to fail and heavy rainstorm began just before we reached the tree line. Quickly the group of six gathered firewood, and threw together a tarp lean-to for shelter. Wet and miserable some of us were experiencing early signs of hypothermia, and we all desperately wanted to feel some small amount of warmth. Several members tried various means to start-up a fire from lighters, storm-proof matches, to even burning their own cotton shirt to get a flame to arise and light our fire. However the wind was awe to powerful and would extinguish our flame before it could ever catch.

It was then I remembered my plans to do an experiment and rushed to my bag and removed the small baggie of potassium permanganate and small bottle of glycerin I picked up at the store. I paused before I began and looked back on my previous trials with this combination. I remembered back home in Texas at 3500 feet elevation it would take approximately 5 seconds to generate a flame, but at this elevation and wind I knew my chances would be limited. So then I figured I’d better go for broke and used my remaining supply of both ingredients. What seemed like an eternity ended up only being about a minute before the greatest sight of our lives appeared.

A huge, bright fire-ball arose from our stack of tinder and kindling, and the group simultaneously began tossing larger logs onto the fire for it to chew on before the wind would have a chance to counter its warm punch. Our fire was a great means for improving morale and keeping at bay the clutches of hypothermia. We were able to dry our wet clothes, cook a warm meal and drink some tea and hot chocolate under the tarp until the rains subsided. After the rain stopped and we were all dry and full we set up our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags for much-needed rest. Once we woke up that morning it was as if the rain had cleansed the mountain of any bad juju, and we finished our adventure safely and pleasantly back to the truck.

There were numerous lessons learned from my first trip into the back-country that I have since benefited from. Most importantly the one that I and the group agreed on was that if there hadn’t been a chemist in the group then we all undoubtedly would have had a much more difficult time fending off hypothermia than we did that night.

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Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.

 


Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher. Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.

This means in the Winter season you always need to have a Winter bug in kit on you at all times you know you cannot easily get back to home base. You should always have a compass on you in SHTF as fog, rain, and snow can easily get you lost real fast even close to home base. This is my minimum gear I’d have on me if venturing any distance in the Winter season in Southern Ontario away from the home base.

  • Emergency bivvy bag. Many makes of these are available. Get an expensive one you can reuse. In SHTF you cannot reorder from Amazon easily.
  • Emergency stove and fuel. The goal here is to boil water for hot drinks and food and to get a bit of heat. I’d use my BioLite but a basic rocket stove made from an old number 10 tin can would work great. Carry fuel and ignition. Snow means getting a new supply might be impossible. The BioLite Wood Burning Campstove is expensive and heavy but really awesome on fuel usage and heat. It also charges a good light source (get the orange one not the blue version)
  • The clothes I’d be wearing would be Winter proofed. Look up and learn how to dress for Arctic temperatures. I’d have extra gloves, hat, socks, and leg/arm thermal wrapped in the pack as well.
  • Metal water container that can be used to boil water. Some emergency filters won’t work so well in minus temperatures however hard you suck on the ice!
  • Emergency shovel. Dig a hole and then a ditch around the base so water will run away from you. Consider covering it to make a snow cave. Know how to do this safely.
  • Those high calorie life boat rations and MREs would also be great in this situation. I’d want 5000 Cal minimum but 10000 Cal would be safer. Candies and a couple of boil in the bag meals will help with variety.
  • A couple of Mylar survival blankets and a 6 by 10 piece of transparent plastic sheet. The better the survival shelter, the warmer you will be.
  • 50 feet of paracord.
  • Decent amount of duct tape
  • Folding saw and a knife in case fuel is available
  • Flash light that works without solar or batteries. Hand crank or squeeze (I use the BioLite for this one).
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun screen. I never use it except in the Winter. So easy to burn your face

At this point you are probably rolling your eyes but this kit is for my local conditions not for yours! Deep snow is a killer up here and will be much worse in SHTF. Mostly I won’t venture more than 2 miles from home base and this is my minimum carry is for extend trips beyond 10 miles in December through March. It would be a lot smaller for local sojourns. If you can safely get back to home base then get back to it. If unsure bug in and make camp until it is safe to walk home. What did I miss? What should I not carry? Let me know in the comments and why of course.  I excluded snow shoes as I’d have them on if it had already snowed but would not carry them if it had not. I can make a pair using the folding saw, knife, and paracord if I had to.

Winter Storm in SHTF from your cozy bug in or bug out location

If you have prepped right and have been lucky then you should have adequate calories and comfort to survive the storm. If not then you are SOL. However these are some of my ideas that might be overlooked by some in SHTF.

Toilet Paper

I have loads of it but it will run out. The supply I have will be withdrawn from circulation after the first four weeks of SHTF. I will tell my girlfriend she has to let go of the past and embrace the now. Likely she will leave me at this point and I will have doubled my supply of white rice! The paper toilet paper will be strictly only for use if sick or in deep Winter (and her birthday. I’m not heartless). I have precut a large supply of linen toilet ‘paper’ from old jeans and shirts. In the warmer months that is what is used to wipe and polish. In deep Winter the ability not to have to wash the toilet rags will be an awesome asset (pun intended) and avoid a real problem in arctic temperatures.

Fuel

For me this will be wood. I plan worse case and SHTF forever. You need about 5 cords of wood to get through the Winter here but around my bug in home I can collect wood for sure 10 months of the year so this can be reduced. At my bug out cottage that drops to about 8-9 months of the year. Sure I can hack down standing dead trees but realistically how many of them will be close to me abode after a few months? Wood gathering and storing will be a continual endeavor all year-long. Collect birch and ignition materials will also be a yearlong activity. However if I can avoid chopping and processing wood when it is below minus 10C then I absolutely will. Sure that makes for great looking prepper videos but to me it means they did not prep smart.

Exercise in SHTF should be avoided and exercise in arctic temperatures should only be done in a life or death situation. Like the bears your plan should be to basically sleep through the worst of the Winter. Using wood from one or two years ago that has been stacked properly is a great idea but think for a moment. In SHTF you will probably use your entire stock of wood in the first year if you neglect to add to the supply each and every day. Like toilet paper you never, ever can store enough wood but try.

Fuel Storage

Fuel for me means wood. I do not expect gasoline or propane to be widely available in SHTF and do not construct my preps around anything that cannot be found or used 5 years down from the SHTF event(s). Wet wood needs to dry before use. Cold wood needs to be warmed before use as does kindling. You can, with effort, work around this but why even try? Your bug in or bug out place needs to be able to accommodate a large supply of wood and ignition material inside the place. Going outside in a storm is the last thing you will want to do and having an ample inside store means not opening the door and prewarmed and dry wood. Have lots of mouse and rat traps as the critters love wood piles. In the Spring store wood at least 30 feet from your shelter. Have a wheelbarrow to help move wood and water around when there is no snow.

Water

If safe to drink then snow can easily be melted provided you have lots of wood available. Remember to add unfrozen water to the pan and add snow slowly in small amounts and stir. If can and will burn if you just dump it into the hot pan. You need to use a window or an additional chimney to direct the steam outside your shelter. Water vapor gets everywhere and moisture can kill you in SHTF. Bang a few empty cans together and use aluminum foil to funnel the rising steam into the cans. Have it open through a window and use bubble wrap and duct tape to seal. Block the inside end with cloth when not creating steam.

You should have a lot of treated water stored year round but remember to move it inside the warm room before freezing starts to occur.

Home is where the hearth is

One room is your home in the deep Winter. Heat that one room and use plastic sheets and Mylar to reflect heat back into the room and trap heat in the room. Bubble wrap should have been hoarded for all the windows before SHTF. Hand plastic sheets on both sides of all the doors and avoid using them as much as possible. Stack soil and wood around the outsides of that inner room to add insulation but make sure it is in trash bags and is dry.

Set up a tent inside this room to sleep in but, as with the plastic sheets make sure there is zero risk of a fire or a melting happening. Have several fire extinguishers and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm inside this room as well. If you cannot set up adequate ventilation do not use anything other than the fireplace to cook in. I’m using the BioLite as well as the fireplace but with the additional ventilation system for steam described above.

Plan how to gather more fuel and food in the warmer months. Figure out how to preserve that food for the next Winter. Keep mentally busy as Winter is not a great time to wander around outside when snow is on the ground. It takes far too much energy to do so and has a lot of risks.

The Roof

Have a suitably angled roof for your worst case snow fall activity. Sure you can go up a ladder and sweep it off but I can tell you a lot of elderly males get spinal injuries each and every year in Ontario from doing that. Have your roof renewed more frequently than you need as roofers will be in short supply in SHTF.

Winter SHTF is not all suffering, eh?

Can you skate and do you have frozen rivers and lakes near you? For most of Ontario’s history travel in the Winter was easier than in the Summer and this will happen again a few years into SHTF as the bridges fall and the roads fail. Good time to go out and meet the neighbors. Winter is a wonderland and a great time to think about ice fishing.

Keep a supply of pre SHTF goodies hidden away and some tinsel. December 25th or as near as you guess the date to be wrap up some presents using newspaper and eat some decent food. Sing carols and make merry. This birthday and special day celebration is what makes suffering through SHTF worth while. Never neglect to think about how to make yourself happy in SHTF even if most days it will be as awful as the weather is right now 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Bug Out- Building a Load out Plan for Your Vehicle

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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 GoodPrepper. 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.


Most people’s primary plan is to bug out by vehicle which makes a lot of sense given how much further you can travel and how much more you can carry. Most of us have a bug out bag that we have packed and repacked (and repacked again) and we know exactly how much it will hold and what goes where. Now how many of you have done this for your vehicle?

If you haven’t, I think you will find much like you probably did with your bug out bag, space fills up FAST!

Today I’m going to teach you one way to plan for a vehicle load out, this will do two things for you, first it will save you time in an emergency by helping you know in advance of the balloon going up what all will fit in your vehicle and where it goes. Also I will help you develop a plan to secure the load so you can travel more safety.

So where to begin? First get out a piece of paper and list out the things you intend to pack. Hopefully by now in your preps you have seen the advantage of using bins or bags to group items so you are able to stay organized and load large amounts of stuff quickly.

Next prioritize these items, what if your loading gets cut short and you have to stop what you are doing and immediately get on the road? What would you want going in there first? For my wife and I it would be our Bug Out Bags and primary weapons followed by water, medical kit, food, spare gas, tools, ham radio equipment, generator, and finally personal luggage.

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

Once you have the list prioritized draw out the rough shape of your vehicle’s interior and start “filling” it with the items you plan to pack. So if you know you medical bag is about 1/3 of the width of the back of your SUV then draw that there with the giant vehicle repair and recovery box that you think takes up about 2/3 the width of the back of your SUV next to it. Now what can go on top of that? What can go behind it? At this point you may have to make trade-offs as to what on the priority list gets loaded first because something heavy just has to go on the bottom. That’s okay.

Now if you plan to put a cargo carrier on the trailer hitch, pull an actual trailer, or have a roof rack start “filling” this up as well. As I mentioned above spare gas is high on my priority list but obviously this is stored outside the car.

Okay so now we have a rough plan all done without having to lift anything. If you aren’t great at estimating dimensions you can speed up the accuracy of your first round draft by measuring the inside of your car and then measure some of the larger bulkier items while making your paper draft. Because I had been camping with most the items in the past I sort of knew how much room most of my things took up.

Now it’s time to physically go out and bring each item to your vehicle and see if your plan works. You will discover several things when you go to do this. First your stuff is ALL OVER THE PLACE! How many trips did you make to the basement, garage, kitchen, bedroom, storage room, storage shed, etc? Lots and in some case things weren’t where you thought they were. Imagine going through that for the first time in an emergency?! So while you are gathering the things on your list just note where they are like: “Med kit- Basement top shelf”.

Roof top storage is an often overlooked place to store many items. Make sure you have appropriate tie down materials.

I don’t expect you to store everything in one place, for one thing while it would be awesome to have everything stored two feet behind my truck but my garage isn’t heated and cooled so I wouldn’t want to store medicine in there for example. Second I don’t want all of my preps on display every time I open my garage door! So it’s okay to store things you plan to bug out with in different places but try to limit the total number as best you can and document where each item is. As an added hack I put a small piece of bright red duct tape on each item that is part of my vehicle load out to make it easier to see on shelves next to everyday items that may not be going.

Having gear stored in one location is nice, but not always possible.

The second thing you may discover is you over estimated how much space you have or you fit it all in but in the case of a car instead of a truck you may find it riding on the bump stops. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out I went too conservative and I had more room to stack things than I planned so I was able to add to my list. Either way now is the time to fine tune and in some cases make some tough decisions as to what doesn’t make the cut. Hopefully everything you pack is just bonus because you are headed to an already well stocked Bug Out Location but I know many folks aren’t there yet. If you do have a place to store things at your Bug out Location this might be time to think about what you can live without at your primary residence and go ahead and preposition more out there.

Once you have become Tetris-master 9000 and fit everything together as efficiently as possible and in an order that makes sense (all while documenting where it came from) you need to do two final things. First ensure the things you want to be able to get to (quickly in some cases) can be. How many times have you seen the people by the side of the road unloading a trunk full of stuff to get to their spare tire? Don’t be that guy! You should be able to get to anything you may reasonably expect to need to assist your vehicle in making it to your destination. Perhaps just as importantly you will need to be able to get to anything you plan to grab should you have to abandon the vehicle and head out on foot, possibly in a hurry!

Careful planning now can save hours of wasted time when you need it.

Lastly SECURE YOUR LOAD! My initial exposure to load out plans came from my very first days in the army when it was impressed upon us how devastating something like a couple of full ammo cans flying around a vehicle in the event of an accident or roll over could be to the occupants. Most of us can imagine the dangerous road conditions under which we may need to bug out and so the likelihood of an accident is much higher than during our normal daily drives. Add to this a loaded down vehicle that will not be able to respond or perform as well as normal and other stressed out drivers trying to make good their escape and you can see why all that stuff in your vehicle needs to be secured as best possible. If you have a pickup truck this is made easier by tie down points. Do you have the ratchet straps or cargo netting you need to do so? Inside of a car can get trickier but it can be made safer. For example the ammo cans I mentioned could be wedged down behind the back of the front seats on the floor board rather than stored on top of a box on the back seat parallel to the back of your head. Use your imagination and actually try tying things down to see if you have what you need. Now add those bungee cords, ropes, and ratchet straps to your list and note their location.

That’s it, you’ve done it, you have a load out plan. I recommend you practice fully loading your vehicle for a load out twice a year. It’s a pain but it will improve your time getting out the door, reveal any items that “magically” moved from where you thought they were stored, and remind you to make updates as your packing list and especially your vehicle possibly changes. Good luck and be safe out there!

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Cupcakes and Conservatives

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Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from John D. 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.


An unusual phenomenon is occurring on College Campuses these days. It seems that students are offended by just about everything. Microaggressions, is the term used to identify a ludicrous branch of political correctness that defines certain everyday words or behaviors as offensive, bigoted or racist. Commonly used words and phrases are causing so much stress and anxiety, that students now need “safe spaces”, to escape. In addition to hurtful words and phrases, certain Halloween Costumes have been banned, and posters are only permitted in so-called “free speech” areas. Tampons are being placed in men’s restrooms, which would be considered odd, if not for the fact that some students don’t seem to know which bathroom to use. Counseling has been made available for those who can’t deal with the election of Donald Trump.

If you see a college-age student wearing a safety-pin (on his shirt, not holding his diaper up), you should know that he or she is doing that to show support for people who may be frightened. Be advised that the safety-pin wearing person won’t do anything to help you, other than to run with you to a safe space. They’re very good at running away from threats, real or perceived.

Safe spaces are designed to give students who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. Rooms are sometimes equipped with coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and videos of frolicking puppies. Yes, I’m talking about college, not kindergarten. This avoidance of anything unpleasant by college students suggests a level of unpreparedness when dealing with difficult conditions. If harsh words and unpleasant situations are too much to deal with today, those precious snowflakes certainly won’t be prepared for the realities of life after the SHTF.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect. For the most part, college students are impressionable, and easily duped. College students are sheltered from reality. They are without children, and carefree. They don’t pay taxes, and don’t know what if feels like to earn $100k per year, only to have $50k of that taken away from them. College students are away from their parents for the first time, living on their own and making their own decisions. They see their conservative parents working productively in order to cover college expenses, but at the same time are exposed to liberal professors who promote themselves as intellectually superior. They don’t seem to see the irony; while liberal professors tend to have no skills, other than teaching, they view productive and multi-talented conservatives as inferior to them.

It’s understandable, I guess, that college students tend to be more open-minded than their old-fashioned, conservative parents. It’s actually a good sign. It suggests that young liberals can turn on a dime, and adjust to life after an apocalyptic event.

Because you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of those delicate butterflies. You may ask, “what does this pussification of young adults have to do with me?” It’s simple; in a post-apocalyptic world you’ll have to live among them. They’ll be the ones who’ll come to you begging, when they realize they have no survival skills. So what do you do, give them pictures of frolicking puppies and send them on their way? You’re not going to have time to coddle, or retrain them. You’ll be too busy focusing on your own survival.

Having been thoroughly indoctrinated in liberal ideology, some of the precious snowflakes will not respond well to retraining, especially training from someone they regard as inferior to themselves. They’ll be confused at first. Why is it, they’ll wonder, that this clearly inferior person is living comfortably, while I’m suffering? They need to learn early on that they can’t survive if they cling to their current mindset. They are in desperate need of a paradigm shift. When things are crumbling around them, your voice of reason will do more good than you can imagine. It may take a little time to sink in, but eventually they’ll learn that they can’t survive, expecting others to be responsible for their well-being. Perhaps the best you can do is give them survival literature, and hope they’ll transform by themselves. You might have an opportunity to teach them about bartering. If they come to you expecting a handout, ask them to provide a service, such as working in your garden, in exchange.

For those who remain hostile to views not aligned with the political left, make it clear that you won’t tolerate liberal behavior, and that you have no tolerance for Prima donnas. You’re a survivor, and you don’t have time for that. And, you certainly won’t tolerate efforts to redistribute what little wealth you may have. This will be a time for tough-love. Excessive generosity not only diminishes your survival potential, it is counterproductive as far as the precious snowflakes are concerned. The only exception, that is to say the only reason to give generously, is to help the disabled, the sick, the very young, and the very old. Our Christian values demand that we do that.

To survive, all able-bodied people need to pull their own weight. Liberal cupcakes can be a valuable asset, due to their knowledge, if they can adjust. Among them will be medics, engineers, scientists, agriculturalists, etc. However, it’s not enough just to provide services. They can’t just run off to a safe space, every time someone speaks harshly to them. It’s not enough just to grow, process, and store food. It has to be protected. Those providing services after a catastrophic event must be reliable. The only “safe space” should be the womb. Ironically, even that is not a safe space today. Thanks again, liberals.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect.

There will be plenty of time to reintroduce liberal principles once society has stabilized. In a post-apocalyptic world, there will be those who’ll do exceptionally well. Perhaps some will amass a great deal of wealth off of the backs of the poor. In time, due to a sense of guilt, liberals will once again emerge. To deal with the guilt, they’ll promote government handouts. They’ve never had a problem giving away someone else’s money. That’s what liberals do. Liberalism will be less absurd in a post-apocalyptic world. It must be. It will be a time to show more compassion to the victims, and less to the criminals. In a pre-apocalyptic world, a theft might be covered by insurance, or used as a tax write-off. In a post-apocalyptic world, a theft may impact your survival.

Conclusion

Our police, military, and firefighters risk their lives for us every day. Expecting snowflakes to pull their own weight is not asking too much. Survivors in a post-apocalyptic world will be those who can work with others, invent, build, grow, and fix things. Many of those who cannot do those things will die off, but all should be given the opportunity to adjust. Don’t despise those who don’t seem to have any skills, encourage them. They just need to be reprogrammed, that’s all. Don’t be upset because some don’t know which bathroom to use. Retrain them. Let them know that gender is based on reality, not on how they feel on any given day. In other words, it’s time to reintroduce common sense into their lives. Watch out for those who don’t adjust, and those who believe they’re entitled to what you’ve worked for. Those begging for food or supplies need to learn that they must give, in order to receive. Expect that. Lead by example. If you offer something in exchange for labor, keep your word. Be humble. If you’re fortunate enough to live a long productive life, eventually you’ll need someone to take care of you. Be kind, be fair, and be ethical. Today’s precious snowflake may be tomorrow’s post-apocalyptic doctor, who’ll save your life.

I know that not every college student, or professor, is a liberal. I know that some liberals are not as extreme, or as incompetent, as I’ve portrayed them in this article. Still, for many, it’s time to grow up.

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Survival Without Prepping

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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 Hazard12. 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.


I continue to see articles that offer good advice about prepping, But survival is education, training, and skill. Barricading yourself in the home for defense or Bugging out! Yes, Fine. The more you have and can do works, but you and I have different meanings of the word. My transportation breaks down 40 miles from somewhere in snow/ice 20 degrees, and 30+ winds…. is a nice, but inconvenient adventure. I wish to tell a story, and make a “comedy media” about it. Not funny when you hear/see people die, but fantastic if you can learn for when you need it.

There are stories in Oregon, of instant storms, rain and wind for eons, beautiful country and hypothermia. Meaning rapid condition changes. Easy to prepare for if you know what to expect, but, lets talk about what you really mean by prepping. It’s too late for many who live in those countries where the violence and breakdowns are occurring now or that have destroyed once wealthy nations. Earthquakes, the Tidal Wave, economic collapse, War, and societal breakdown. For the purge, or martial law, I’m armed ready, trained… and not going to be sitting here. Now for the coming zombie apocalypse, there is always the better ground. They call mine, the cascade mountain range, from Alaska to Mexico. what do you call yours? If I’m away from Portland, and in a 100 mile move, I can choose Mountain, Desert, Coastal, or the greatest ditch to ocean drainage system in which to live, prosper and hide in that ever existed – with perfect climate.

In my opinion. personally I hope most people go to the outskirts for their protection and care. They will not make it in cities, but the government will be there to Sign U UP, have a sandwich, sorry NO gear allowed, dress warmly. I don’t want to live in a city, now, or then. Being a Oregon country Man, I’m a little rough around the edges, had a couple bad habits, you probably know a similar story, Ex-USAF, pain pills, drinking. I seemed to have finally turned out OK. And no, I have no one to volunteer witness for me. But I digress.

So Its cold, snowy, I’m at a friends cabin, on Mt Hood, Anyone knowing Trillium Lake and Still Creek Campground should know what I am saying here. As usual, HWY 26 is right there, you can’t see it, but you can hear it. Chains, trucks until the winds shut down the highway. My friends cabin is less than 2 miles from a liquor store, beer store, food? Although there are 3 foot drifts on top of 2 foot snow pack.

Noticing we didn’t bring enough supplies to and it is already 7pm. The sun sets at 5. I decide to walk a trail cut through to the campground which will be easier. This time of year, the gates are closed and locked, you can not drive to government camp from here… kinda.. 5 miles back down the snowed in road, cut over, hit 26, and back up the mountain, sanded and police.. where you belong.

The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks

I smoke to improve my health, most know what I mean by now. This night I have a partial pint in my pocket, a beer in my bare hand. I dress in open cell polyurethane foam, with a field jacket, stocking hat, and boots. I’m good for -10 and 50 mph winds except hiking through the snow will make you sweat.  So I open my chest to the air. Feels great. It’s actually somewhere around 25 degrees Fahrenheit with 20-30 mph winds. And snowing. The year was 2009-2010 if you wish to look at the storms. 3500 feet above sea level. Portland is 50 miles at 85 feet sea level. I used to live 30 miles down there. 600 feet above seal level at the time.

Read More: Winter Car Survival Kit

So imagine my surprise to hear a commotion, some movement, and a light. Not many bears or lions and definitely not this Lyon, ever use flashlights at night, except sparingly. We all do use light properly, bears are just too smart to consider a “flash” light. The noise was caused by a group of people stranded.

So add to the confusion, these people are stuck. Their vehicle is still warm inside with motor off and radio and lights on. In these conditions,  the car may stay warm for a couple of hours or so? As long as it starts. If it doesn’t, these people are in for some serious trouble. I think the driver said he had just under quarter tank. v-8 Ford car, nice. Should have left it in Portland and brought a truck.

I also came up here in a car and plan to leave the following afternoon. Now consider this from the side of the people in the car. You are semi lost with your car stuck, although not that bad. There are 2 men, 2 women, and you are angry, blaming, and maybe scared? I don’t know, and am not judging. You look out the front windshield, and a Bigfoot sized man, wearing a field jacket, open at the chest, drinking a beer walks up to you. He pulls out a pint, takes a slug, indicates sharing.

The guy inside rolls down the window and says, “what are you doing out here?” I reply, “Well, I was hoping to make the liquor store before they close”. The window goes up, and I feel, I should probably get moving. I’m out here in this environment because its my favorite thing. Had they acted sooner, those poor people would have suffered, at best getting their four Arses out and unsticking the car. But we know potheads, don’t matter, no need to listen to this guy. Be your own man. You aren’t going to listen? are You?

So a guy gets out the passenger door. That’s the right side front door, for you common law, private property folks that know, you don’t have a passenger vehicle. Title 18. When the liquor store is already closed, it’s illegal to take retail drink off premise, or outside in the winter. I could talk about title 31, legal tender and silver coins and walking back with a bottle but there is not much having to do with survival in that subject. I no longer drink alcohol much, but when a drunk is smarter than you, prepping may not come to mind.

So I tell him how far, and what they should be doing, to get out, if they stay where they are they will die, etc. He gets back in already freezing, while I actually have been semi stationary and ready to now button back up since having cooled down a bit. I am probably running a 100 degree body core. So to make the short story long, and the long story short. Against my advice the women want to go with me. Uh, no. A man wants to go with me to the store. If he is borrowing gear, he should be OK. My thoughts are with the 5 of us, lets dig, support, and push this vehicle out, and you all drive down this tree lined road, right here back home. Driver thinks he should go down the ridge. But with the Lake gate closed I ask how he is gonna climb back up in this snow? Once the car is free, point it the way home.

What did I do next?

What are you going to do, and how will you know? When you are a prepper you help people, in a survival situation those people you are trying to save might injure or kill you. Getting cold and hurt helping is always a bad idea. Sometimes you know not to. I hope we can all learn that safely? Not being seen, heard, tracked, is and will be necessary, while traveling, hiding, holed up, or even when it is time to attack. Warrior? He’s the teacher, dump him out naked in Alaska, in a week he’ll be sitting in Florida with a drink in his hand in your back yard. Observe and learn from this man, do not engage. (paraphrased from the sarge in Seagal’s on deadly ground) Green Beret Tactics.

Seriously now, I step back and short hop behind the tree,over a snow berm. erasing my tracks with a branch. (snow, wind, remember) and I walk to the village known as Government camp Oregon, 97028. Some time goes by, and I am in the bar, purchasing my goal and enjoying a nice drink, when in come the group from the stranded car. They look all brave and proud of their escape and are, like me having a drink, and talking about heading back home. As I depart, I understand that in front of me is a 2 mile walk in the storm. I am happy to go. In coming prepper days, there will be no time for fun and games. It wont be humorous anymore. But little will change for me the way I see it. I will have powerful trained friends, or I will be alone.

The other story was in Oregon, around the same time, I’m pretty sure. Of the Kims whom made some random mistakes. in the much safer coast range. Yet, with no drunk hillbilly to advise them what to do. The family survived without the Father, being rescued we are told. they were missing. The people in the Mt. Hood forest were not. yet. and they might have been OK. Maybe I should mind my own business?

Maybe I should not write a stupid article containing, alcohol use or smoking the evil marijuana? Fine. Maybe you all will learn, be the teacher, prepare for timing, retreat and advance. Learn martial arts, gather friends, recognize enemies. Plan to move. Prepare, train, practice till it’s a reflex. Relax, never panic, always respond. Conserve energy. Create energy. Everyone has my excessive survival tool for all occasions, a magnifier, or a Fresnel lens. Nothing excessive about my knife.

So that’s enough rambling on, you can thumb me up, or subscribe to the newsletter, or respond to me in the comments at the bottom. Luck favors the prepared mind. Your worst enemy, other than bankers, government, and media; will be shock, at loss, injury, family. War sux and will mess you up. I’m already messed up, so they cant win. I have nothing to lose. except some family and friends. If I don’t lose them, its like carrying my magnum, so I don’t have to argue or fight. If I do, well, a hazard may be upon them.

Prep well, folks. Remember what the greatest teacher said. “and I will be with you Always, even to the end of YOUR DAYS.” I’m gonna win this challenge, so are some of you. Survive!!

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Prepping After 60

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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 Sundee Z. 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.


Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman living alone with no family, no spouse, no other support other than yourself? I ask myself everyday as I grow older and a little weaker in body and strength. I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do. It is the same in prepping for just myself, my livestock, and the homestead.

I live on seven and a half acres in a rural southern California area which is like a mountain/high desert mix when it comes to weather and vegetation. My well is a good one and does the job of watering the livestock which consists of chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a llama, horses and assorted dogs and cats. So, I have a good start on being self-sufficient. I decided to not bug out but to bug in if SHTF ever happens. So, I have devoted my time and meager income to this place.

When you are older and alone there are a lot of things that go thru your mind when the subject of prepping comes up. A lot of the questions such as what happens if I can’t get to town, how will I get my medications, what happens if the grid goes down, how do I function as an older woman alone in a non-functioning world, etc., etc., etc. Yes, there are hundreds of questions and sometimes the answers are easy and sometimes they elude us. Being older and alone does pose many unique problems for the one facing this uncertain world. When faced with these problems, I decided to sit down and access my situation and made a lot of decisions and lists. The first one was to bug out or not. Being that I have some disabilities such as arthritis and a bad back, there is no way I could walk out of here or ride my horse great distances to get to…Where? I don’t have a bug out place and if I did I would never make it there alive. I found that most of what I needed to survive was right here in my home.

womanfarming

I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do.

So, I took inventory and started my first list of what I had in the way of survival gear, food, water, clothing, medications, tools, and a second list of what I needed to get. If I did bug out, I could not begin to carry what I would need to travel to an unknown destination. I would be a moving target for those who would like to take what I had. And, what would happen to all my animals? I have a pretty good start on being self-sufficient here with chickens and turkeys for meat and eggs, dairy goats for milk, butter, cheese and, a horse for transportation, a llama for packing, sheep for meat, wool and milk and in the spring I will be starting to raise rabbits, one or two cows for meat and milk and guineas for an alarm system. I have all I need here. Why leave it? I am comfortable here and feel a modicum of safety and I know some of the people and the area. That is a big thing to consider in deciding whether to stay or go and how you will get there. It is not very safe for older women to go out alone now so just think of how it will be if things get rough?

I made a third list of things I needed in the way of tools for survival, building supplies and weapons for protection. I bought a few power tools and two small gas-powered generators to run them and a little chest freezer. I bought that so I can freeze meats, cheese and butter and make gallon sized ice cubes to use in the antique ice box that was used by the previous owner for a liquor cabinet. I have tried it out and it works like a dream. I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter. I had to learn how to butcher the chickens and will have to learn how to do the cute fuzzy rabbits. But, if it means I will eat then so be it. We all have to do things that are distasteful but will do them to survive. I do believe that the older generation is better at getting it done than the younger and we don’t need a cell phone for that.

As for protection? I believe that in the future people will revert to old-time weapons for protection such as bows and arrows and spears and such. If the grid goes down there are only going to be so many bullets and no one to keep production up and not everyone is adept at reloading. So, my weapons of choice is the long bow, a cross-bow, and several pistol bows. I practiced a lot to become proficient in archery and can hit what I aim at. Even being 65 I can pull 40 lbs. And, it is a silent weapon. Pretty good for an old lady! But, I also have shotguns and pellet rifles. I learned almost all that when I turned 60. I made me a practice range on my place between the silage corn I planted and the wheat where I could and still do shoot regularly.

texasfarm

I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter.

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. Just because you are older and maybe not so strong physically does not mean you just lay down and die. I think that because I am older and alone it drives me to want to survive anything that is thrown at me. The instincts to survive are there and all you have to do is use your head, do the research, organize, learn, learn, learn, …and maybe, join a self-sufficiency /prepper group for moral support. When I needed gutters put up on the eaves of the house to catch rain water for the livestock, I looked on the internet for DIY instructions and got it done. When I needed raised garden beds for my gardening, I designed one and got it built. Now I have many of them. It wasn’t too hard but still there are things I wish I had help with but with a little ingenuity I usually get it done.

After my dad died, I had to decide where to move my 84-year-old mother and myself. I have always wanted to move back to the country and live out my life in a rural setting, so that is where I landed. That was four years ago and since then the outside world has grown more violent, unpredictable, and totally dangerous with rumors of war, terrorists and possible financial collapse and EMPs. I have not been able to ignore it any longer. Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me. Then my mother was diagnosed with third stage dementia and since early this last year has had to make the transfer from here to a nursing home. I found myself turning 65, needing back surgery and losing income from taking care of my mom. I kept making lists of foods, household goods, clothes, weapons for self-defense, first aid and medical stuff, tools, livestock, and a lot of other things including what I already knew and what I wanted to learn about. I read, searched the internet, read blogs and always ask questions. As time has passed I felt overwhelmed with the stuff I needed to get done and for the first time in a while felt completely alone. It took a good talking to myself to set me right on the prepper path and now I find myself making great strides in becoming totally self-sufficient and ready for anything. And, I don’t feel my age is a hurdle anymore but actually has been a blessing.

I know that living in the country is very different from living in the city. I have lived in both and when the time comes and the grid goes down, preparing oneself with food, water, and the tools you need to have to survive are almost the same. You still need warmth, a roof over your head, a way to cook, and protection. You still need to be ready to hunker down where you are and have survival items unique to your circumstances. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming and lonely when having to make decisions concerning your safety and comfort especially when you are by yourself. But, if you have studied, learned and listened to the rumblings you will be prepared and will survive. After all, you have made it this far so you can be called a senior citizen.

womanshotgun

Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me.

Not everything in prepping for one is dreary. One thing I realized while making my shopping list the other day for my food storage was that it contained foods I really liked and I got to pick and choose what to purchase. No one else had a say in what I bought. That was a bonus since I lean towards comfort foods and not gourmet stuff. The pros definitely outweighed the cons like not having to share my favorite candy bar with anyone. Do take an inventory of all the items you have now and build on that. Don’t forget to prep for you pets and do splurge on some good books, puzzles and crafts supplies to keep busy if you ever have any free time. Make sure to store up batteries so you can play your cd player and listen to music. It is a treat for yourself after a long day of working to keep yourself alive. This can be true today before the SHTF. And, don’t feel sorry for yourself for being older and alone. I don’t believe Karma gives us more than we can handle and hard work and challenge build character even in seniors.

As for being a senior, you should be able to draw on that vast supply of experience on keeping yourself healthy, active, sharp and for learning new things. Just remember, it is not how old you are or how infirm you might be, don’t think you cannot do it. You can if you believe you can. You will find a way. Even not having a lot of funds for purchasing items for your survival shouldn’t deter you. Get creative and go to garage sales, second-hand shops, Good Will and Salvation Army. I shop a lot at the dollar store and have saved tons of money on paper goods, canned goods and other household items. Personal items are a good buy there as well.

I found out a long time ago, when my kids grew up and all moved away, and I divorced my husband that you only have yourself to rely on. No one is going to look out for you and it will be really true when the SHTF comes around. I found out there were things I didn’t think I could do but found out that I can. Being alone lets one really get to know yourself. Being older doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. I believe I have every right to survive as the next person. Maybe more. That I have worked harder, learned more, done more and have earned the right to live with my own two hands by being more creative, smart, knowledgeable and resilient than the younger generation who can’t get the cell phone out of their face. Sit back at the end of the day and think of all you’ve accomplished all by yourself and be proud of it.

So, let’s get busy and quit thinking about how old we are and how much those joints hurt and start getting ready for that uncertain future and let’s survive. After all, we’ve lived this long, I’m game for twenty more years…are you?

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Survival Scenario: Any Car Is Better Than No Car

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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 Silent Earth. 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.


So long as its reliable

Any car is better than no car, Yup not really applicable to some city dwelling preppers but for the rest of us they are pretty damn essential. Yes we would all love a purposely designed or modified vehicle that can carry us across continents taking us, our families and all we need to survive a very long road trip. BUT in the real world we are far more likely to own and drive something far more mundane.

For ordinary people going about their normal every day lives, a breakdown of the family vehicle can be annoying, very inconvenient and often EXPENSIVE ( that’s why preventative maintenance is essential) BUT it’s rarely dangerous or fatal.

BUT, regardless of if you drive a fully tricked Ford F250 or a 15-year-old Ford Fiesta, what is vital is that you have a RELIABLE vehicle regardless of how modest or basic it is. If you arrive late, tired, stressed and hungry at your home or BOL in a 1 liter micro car AT LEAST YOU ARRIVED and are not dying in an expensive metallic paint covered steel coffin miles from anywhere with a snapped cam belt. Be the vehicle 15 years old or new, fully tricked out or factory standard, loaded with survival gear or just sensible extras, it’s just money down the drain and possibly fatal for preppers if the vehicle fails when most needed (In the UK we call it Sods Law)

We have two cars, both Suzuki’s the other Sunday BOTH were off the road, one with a fractured exhaust and the other with a terminally flat battery. This happened on a Sunday when bus services around here are sparse at best but in fact do not run at all to where our son was (at his girlfriends place WAY up the Dales). He ended up having to stay there overnight and missing an important University seminar.

To suddenly find yourself basically completely stuck with no resources available to get to your loved ones is a bloody nightmare at best. But its compounded by the thought that many people in our positions also live in hamlets with no usable resources such as shops, post offices, garages, service stations, bus or taxis and in some cases people can be up to 90 minutes away from such services (longer in winter). Practical mobility must be a cornerstone of the average prepper, perhaps not so much for a self-employed homesteader but the ordinary family guy turned prepper a degree of mobility is essential.

To suddenly find yourself basically completely stuck with no resources available to get to your loved ones is a bloody nightmare at best.

Vehicle Maintenance is Key

It is essential we stay on top of our vehicles maintenance both scheduled such as servicing, but also PREVENTATIVE maintenance IE giving your car a good check over frequently with the Mk 1 Human eyeball. WHAT you drive is irrelevant, how RELIABLE the car is what is paramount.

Look at the tires for unusual wear, blisters, ruptured side walls, tire pressures etc, Ensure they always have plenty of usable tread. Ensure the wheel nuts are not only correctly tightened BUT that they are not so tight that you cannot unfasten them if you need to change a wheel. Old tires especially cheap tires can get brittle and hard, they may look like they are good for another 20,000 miles but they are so hardened they offer almost ZERO traction.

Keep an eye on bits like the exhaust and its hangers, if it’s getting badly rusted get it replaced (consider a stainless steel one if you plan on keeping the car) .

Batteries can AND DO die suddenly ( especially in winter) its worth ensuring your tame mechanic is encouraged to check its charge rate, fluid levels, charge voltage ( 14.4 to 14.7 = good), Make sure the battery clamps and cables are secure and not oxidized (esp the Negative to Earth lead and its bolts).

Drive / Fan/ Cam and PS belts need to be checked frequently for cracks, fraying and adjustment.

Brakes, a GOOD mechanic will clean the brake, copper slip the bits that need to be slippy and ensure the pads / shoes that are needed to stop you have plenty of depth, are not glazed and are wearing evenly.

It is essential we stay on top of our vehicles maintenance both scheduled such as servicing, but also PREVENTATIVE maintenance.

Do not wait until the vehicle needs servicing BEFORE you check your Oil, Coolant, Screen wash, ATF, Brake Fluid etc ideally you should be checking them no more than every two weeks, more frequently if you do high miles or on dangerous roads.

Check and clean your head and stop / tail light and indicator lights, NOTE modern H4 and other Halogen headlamp bulbs actually decay quite badly in under two years, your bulbs can lose 30 % of their brightness so it’s definitely worth changing your HL bulbs for good quality after market bulbs every two years.

If you fit extra lights such as driving, hunting or fog lights ensure the alternator is capable of handling the extra load. Many modern car manufacturers fit alternators that are only just capable of operating the OE equipment.

Plastic headlight lenses can become badly scratched and opaque over time you can buy lens re-polishing kits off E Bay and Amazon.

Wiper blades are essential in bad weather rain and sleet and snow, did you know your screen wash actually dries out your wiper blades which in turn degrades their performance, so change em annually if you can afford to.

Don’t forget to rotate your spare fuel in the Jerry can if carried, and to add fuel preserver to the replacement refill.

Keeping your engine bay clean can also reduce the risk of breakdowns, an oily grimy engine is a perfect environment for creating electrical shorts and for trapping unwanted moisture, keep your engine bay clean, or get it valeted and not only will you reduce the number of faults you may get, but it makes working on your car more bearable.

Everyone should carry tools, jack, flashlights, light sticks, tire pump, jump leads, bulbs, fuses, relays, emergency rations, water, warm clothes, walking shoes etc, even a blanket or sleeping bag in bad weather, Hand cleaner / sanitizer and some clean clothes are also handy additions. Put as much love and care into maintaining your vehicle as you would in caring for yourself and it will reward you by doing what you ask it to do when TSHTF.

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Poverty Prepping: Getting Ready With Less Than $10,000 a Year

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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 M. 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.


I have a tight budget. I’m talking, poverty level budget, and with survival products being over the top expensive, prepping can be really hard. There are hundreds of articles about prepping on a budget. They present us with products that are “budget friendly,” and ideas on what is the best way to prep and save money, but those products don’t fit the budget, those ideas don’t fit the forced lifestyle of the poor. The “Impoverished.”

I’m a college student and currently I gross $8000 annually, and have had to work extremely hard to get up my preps. The following are a few tips to help others with getting ready in a similar situation.

Be Patient

Every step of this process is going to take some time. It’s tempting to blow a whole paycheck on survival gear, I know, but it’s better to show yourself that you can work and wait for what you need. Think about growing vegetables, you can’t pick all of your tomatoes just because one of them is ripe. Everything has to be ready, at it’s own time. Don’t rush anything, even if it feels urgent. We’re turtles, and we will win the race.

Cut it Off

Get rid of what you don’t need. You can use a towel and wash it, instead of using paper towels. Doing dishes is not going to kill you. You don’t need Air Jordan’s if you aren’t on the college basketball team. Why do you have Wifi, if it comes free with your apartment? It’s slow, but it works.

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Save money wherever you can, just to save it. Take shorter showers, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and open the blinds, instead of turning on the lights.

P.S. You’ll be lucky to have running water, let alone internet, when SHTF.

Budget Everything

Budget gas, groceries, rent, savings, insurance, bus fare, fun. Whatever you need to pay for each paycheck, budget. Write how much you can spend, on each item and only spend that much. Seriously. For people like me the most important things are going to be rent, and gas/transportation to make my next check. Write what that costs, and then prioritize and move down the list. Fun is the last thing you budget after you read the next two items.

Budget a savings amount, I save 8% of each paycheck, when possible. After two years of doing this, I have a month of cushion, if I were to lose my job.  After your “Normal” expenses are accounted for, you need to budget in prepping. Just $10 per month. Less if you have less, more if you have more, this is a priority, above going to the movies or the bar; be responsible.

Make sure your math adds up, don’t have a $1,000 spending budget with a $500 paycheck. A good tip for those who are really struggling, is to make payments each paycheck; save a little from each paycheck to put towards your bills.

Learn and Practice

No book you buy can teach you more than you can learn for free, you’re on the internet, use it. Learn to make a fire, learn to make a shelter, learn how to fish and make traps. Learn to do this with just I knife and what nature has given you, because buying a tarp, might not fit your budget.
Learn what is edible and poisonous in your geographical area, how to identify it and how to cook it. I love clover, in salads and as an add in, in curry.

Practice all of this. It’s fun and free. Those two words are beautiful to see in the same sentence. Practice with kids in your family. Practice on a date; firelight and natural shelter in the woods, with some soup boiled over the fire… I say romantic. Run drills, for everything from fire and power outages, to riots and looters.

Don’t be a Gear Snob

I understand the importance of quality, the $1.00 knife you have is better than the $100 knife you would have someday. If you’re struggling to even eat, you don’t need to be turning up your nose. There is a time and place for quality, and yes, one $50 shovel may outlast five $10 Shovels, but we need to make sure that we have a shovel. Search before purchasing, find the best deals, that you can.

thrift-store-outside-haltom-city

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This article was posted as part of a contest, hell, I’ve won knives, flashlights, even a tent. Put in the work, it’s like applying for scholarships.

Hoard, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If it is safe and reasonable to keep using something, do. It saves money. Your backpack for school is your edc, last year’s backpack is your bug out bag. Make do. Use what you have. You can even learn to make a gas mask from a coke bottle and a beer can.

Shop the bulk aisle for groceries and for preps, I watched the store employee pour brand name flour in the bulk bin, once… that’s quality and quality at the cheapest price.

Public Resources

Use the library for information. Use the food shelf to find canned and bagged food to stock pile. Get help, if you’re below the poverty line, these resources are for you. USE THEM. My food stash is all canned goods from the food shelter, I just keep track of the date.

Save up

Now, I mean this as in after you have your basics. Once you have a decent emergency box BOB, car kit, and edc, you can buy more high quality products to replace what you have, especially when something breaks.

Live, Now

I told you how to save money, throughout this article, you should have preps and maybe even some money left over. Save up for something fun, with your leftovers. Life spent only planning for the future, isn’t really a life at all.

I could write books on this, but I have class, a job and a daughter to deal with. I hope I can help even one person in my situation to be ready for whatever the future may bring. Do what you need to do, only you know what you can do.

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When Walking Alone: Observe

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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 Samuel L. 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.


It is important to be aware of your surroundings for many reasons but the most important is your life could depend on it. It is also important to try to blend in with the crowd. If you look suspicious, as if you have something of value that you are hiding or look well dressed, and you have no means of protecting yourself you will be an easy target for pickpockets and thieves.

Take fashion and social queues from the local population. Avoid talking too loudly and avoid areas where the crowds congregate as often as possible. If possible leave old clothes in your car or place of work so that if things happen when you are at work you will not fall prey because you are well dressed.

Walking on the street

Be cautious of hiding in tight spaces, there may be others there hiding also waiting for the opportunity to jostle and rob you of your personal belongings.

When walking on the street do not trust females who want to help you find something i.e. place to eat, hotels, bus line etc. They, in many instances, have an accomplice which in turn will rob you or they may take you to a location where the accomplice can rob you. If you need to ask for directions go to a store or other establishment and ask there.

Also, do not give change to someone who asks for it. They may be trying to see if you have any money. The minute you grab your wallet or take money from your pocket he/they may rob you as now they know you have money. Also try not to wear any jewelry or fancy shoes, etc., for the same reasons.

follow

Walking through public parks

If you are traveling and want to avoid been robbed you can do this. As you walk on a street make sure your belonging i.e. purse, briefcase, bag is on the hand closest to a wall of a store, shop, building, etc. If someone starts to walk towards you walk closer to the “wall” as soon as you can. If the person is there to rob you of your belonging he will be hard-pressed if you holding the item close to the wall.

Also, if you feel that this is the case as soon as the person closes in get your back against the “wall” and turn and look at both directions just in case he has friends.

If you are walking around and have your wallet in the back pocket in a strange city, first take your wallet and place it in the front pocket. This will make it harder, but not impossible, for someone to rob you. Keep your thumb in the pocket where your wallet is and the other fingers out. This is in case you are bumped by a person trying to rob you. This will allow you to react without having to have your whole hand inside the pocket which generally gets stuck when you need it and are wearing jeans.

Be aware of the person who bumps you in the street as he generally has an accomplice who will rob you as you pay attention to him.

Never carry your backpack behind you as the robber will generally cut your backpack and take what he wants as the contents fall down and he will run with what he can get while you are preoccupied with your belongings spread on the ground. Plus it will attract the attention of passerby’s who are desperately wanting a freebie. Carry it on the front of your chest.

beingfollowed

Sitting in a cafe, restaurants, etc.

If you are in a coffee shop or any place to eat do not leave your belonging on your table unattended and go pay for your food, etc. Always carry anything you carry with you at all times, especially when you move out of the table

If a group or someone armed wants to rob you, Grab the item and throw it far away from you and run. Nothing you carry is worth your life.

Riding in a taxi

If you are riding in a taxi and gave the taxi driver the address or the name of the place where you are going to stay, make sure you know the route. It would be a good idea to take your personal phone and google the direction on the GPS. This is so that if the taxi driver veers off to suspicious localities you can ask him/her, why he is going in that direction. If he says that it is because of traffic jams, etc. check your GPS and look for the traffic jam. If he has a GPS it is easy to find out and compare with yours. If he does not have one and he did not receive a call to divert his trajectory, then be suspicious and get ready to call someone and related the incident and do not get off the phone until you are in the place where you are supposed to be or in a safe location.

If you do not have anyone waiting or that can be called locally “fake” the call and say to the “person” on the phone that you may be late because of the traffic jam and, holding the phone as if the person on the other end is listening, ask the driver how long it will take to get to your location. Then relate the message to the “person” on the phone. This will tell the driver that if you are not there by the time specified that the person should contact the police. And if you really feel that you are in danger give the description of the car and driver as well. Again make the driver think you are covered if something happens, especially if you are a woman.

Walk away

When in doubt… get out. Be it in a car, bar, restaurant, bus, etc. Always trust your instincts. It will save you when things get bad.

Avoidance and retreat

If you are in a situation where you cannot leave because someone may be threatening you or someone you may be with, then, it is time to get on the phone and call the police. Always have the police number handy. Also, always tell someone, not in your party, where you are going and when you expect to return. If there is a change of plans let the person know for obvious reasons, even if it is the hotel where you are staying. That way if something bad happens at least someone will know to contact the police.

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The “Economical” Knife

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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 Scott H. 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.


The knife is an essential part of any survival kit. We all know that. We all carry a knife on a daily basis. If you don’t, you need to move to a Free State or start carrying one if it is legal. That said, knives are like vehicles and firearms. Everyone has an opinion on which knife is the best and most economical knife. Today you get mine.

Based off of every day, or at least situational use, my choices have been tested. The following opinion is based on practical, not tactical use of edged tools. All may be used for offensive and defensive purposes, but are not designed for that said purpose specifically.

The pocket knife – Tier 1

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Every Day Carry. There are plenty of cool “tactical” folders on the market know. Open-assist is the bomb! I own several, as well as pre-ban switch-blades. There is nothing cooler than flicking a button/scale/lever and having a blade pop out to impress your friends. I have yet (even with the “high end”) to have one not fail in one way or another. So you really need to put some thought into your EDC pocket knife. It is not a “do-all” like a fixed blade. It is the do-most for everyday use.

As a kid growing up on a farm, I had the original “Leatherman”… An “Old Timer” multi-blade folder and a pair of pliers. Later I graduated to a “Buck” lock-back, single blade folder. I still have both of them. 30+ years’ worth of EDC. When pocket clips became the rage, I switched to a Gerber EVO Jr. I carried and used it for many a year. It finally got to the point that the blade would wobble no matter what I did to fix it. So it got retired. I picked up a Kershaw “Onion” as its replacement. Great knife. It is now retired as a Kershaw “Barge” has replaced it. So far, this is the ultimate pocket knife for me. I do tasks with it I would NEVER do with any other pocket knife. Besides everyday use, the wedge end is a fantastic Kubaton and the thick blade is very durable for defense. Check it out.

The fixed blade knife – Tier 2

fixedblade

Fixed blade knives offer greater strength and can be used in more situations.

This is my GHB knife. There are SO many good options in this category that an article unto itself could be written. The main thing I want is a decent steel and full tang construction. Several factors also come into play depending on your AO. I kicked this one around for a couple of years and determined for me, that the blade should be no larger than 7”. Single edged. Light weight. Full tang. Hold a good edge and be easy to re-sharpen in the field.

I tested 3 knives extensively. 1st was the Morakniv. This is a GREAT knife! Unfortunately it did not meet the criteria for me. They are not full tang. While they are strong and functional at most levels, the two I field tested broke at the hilt after a few rounds of batoning. I still keep multiples of this knife around. I really do love it. It just doesn’t fit my needs for a tier 2 knife.

The 2nd test was the Smith & Wesson SW6 Extreme Ops recurve. This dude is a beast. I believe it is 420 steel, so not the best, but it is thick and hefty. I have batoned 100’s if not 1000’s of logs with it for the backyard fire-pit and camping adventures. You do need to Loctite the scales if you want to keep them on if you baton. I use a file to sharpen it as that is the only way I have found to get a good edge on it. Yes, I know how to sharpen a recurve knife. Cheap steel. I beat the crap out of this thing and it keeps coming back for more. Between the steel and the weight, I have placed it in the Plano Box as opposed to regular carry. I have lost one set of screws batonning with it. I am not sure it can retain a decent edge for defensive purposes? It would make a great billy club though.

The 3rd test was the SOG Seal PUP. This is a good, light-weight, all-purpose knife. It retains a good edge, it is easy to sharpen and it comes with a decent sheath. I take this where ever I go. I don’t even know it is there. Mine has the serrated edge which is great for Para cord slicing and general rope duty.

The Kitchen Sink Knife – Tier 3

gurkha-kukri-aeof4

This is the big boy. A large knife can do everything a small knife can, but not vice-versa. As a proud American, I absolutely LOVE the Bowie knife. It is large and heavy. It really meets all of the requirements if you look hard enough. Decent, full-tang Bowies can be found for around $20. That said, the do all for me is the Kukri. I like the Ghurka House blades. It is an ax. A hammer. A scythe and a terrifying offensive/defensive weapon. If you get one of the budget ones, keep in mind that they are typically good steel. You will need to modify the ceremonial handle to not get blisters. They usually come with a couple of utility knives. Work with them. The sheath is moderate. You can modify it to your needs. Of course other options are available. “Combat” knives usually fall into this category as well. They are typically designed for one reason. I’m not saying that they can’t handle most situations, but do you really want to baton with your $300 “Hisshou”? Or dig a trench with it? Look at your overall situation and make an informed decision. Think about what you need and not what you want because it is cool.

Summary. Get the most bang for the buck. You can go all “Mall-Ninja” and get worthless gear. Survival relies on true and proven gear. I am offering my field tested opinion. Mileage may vary.

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How Prepping and the Golden Rule CAN Co-Exist

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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 Any Amy. 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.


During this past summer the uneasy knots in my stomach kept growing and ultimately transformed into what felt like a massive “nesting” urge, which led to my plunge into prepping. I’m way behind most of you, but I’ve been gaining significant ground each week. I do have some advantages, like being a health professional and having grown up as a tomboy, but I’ve still got a long road ahead before I can reach at least my baseline comfort zone.

I’ve been reading myriad articles posted on various prepper sites, both extremist and more middle-of-the-road sites, for the lack of better terms. Unfortunately, one common theme appears to prevail – the philosophy that preppers should under no circumstances help the unprepared, who in essence deserve to be punished for their lavish lifestyles and lack of foresight. I do understand many of the reasons behind this belief as well as the very real and purported risks associated with not following it. But I don’t believe it has to be an all or nothing proposition. Consider this – what if, during said SHTF catastrophe, all of your preps were destroyed and you were left with nothing? Or what if it was your elderly grandmother who needed assistance in another town; would you still agree with her prepper neighbor who chose, when she knocked on his door, to shoot first and ask questions later?

I know, I know… a lot of you will reply by saying that YOU have multiple stashes of preps, so there is no possibility that you’d ever lose everything. Well, that may be true (albeit unlikely) in your case but not in everyone’s. We all can’t afford bunkers and remote cabins to (attempt to) escape to. Besides, what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend? Or have you completely given up on non-prepper society, including blood relatives?

What I find incredibly amusing is the number of prepper articles or blog postings that reference certain fables or even Bible passages in a truly pitiful attempt to justify the position of not helping others. Ah, yes, the story of the ant and the grasshopper. Fine. Whatever. I’ve seen it a dozen or more times in the past few months. And then there are those who claim to be Christians and who pull statements from the Bible and use them out of context. Very convenient. Are you trying to convince others or yourselves that it really “is” acceptable not to help others? What happened to things like the Golden Rule? What about, for those who profess to be Christians, what Christ considers to be the second greatest commandment – to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18)? Do you find such concepts too difficult, contradictory, or troublesome to incorporate into a prepper mindset? Or do you simply prefer to pick and choose what you think supports the way you believe and ignore the rest? Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and you know it.

what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend?

Many prepper articles and advertisements proclaim, “…we’re all in this together!” (while trying to sell you more outlandish gear that is “guaranteed” to be the absolute one thing to have that will save your life). Yeah, right, we’re all in this together… that is until the SHTF, and then it is every person for himself or herself; you are seriously on your own; don’t come knocking on my door! These statements of supposed collaboration are so ludicrous that they just crack me up. I don’t believe for a second that any seller profiting from preppers is in this “with me”… other than to try to get as much money out of me as possible prior to the SHTF event. I’ll even admit that I idiotically purchased two of these products, which both turned out to be defective or useless pieces of junk resulting in my returning them for refunds. Real friends, real teammates, and real partners don’t sell you crap so they can make a buck, so don’t believe for one minute that these sellers give one damn hoot about where your ass ends up when the SHTF. They won’t hesitate to shoot you, too, given the chance.

And in an article just recently (11/1/16) published on this very site, a seemingly well-meaning prepper stated that “…it’s not your job to feed and clothe your neighbors or your community.” Hmmmm, really? I wonder if she ever read in the Bible about feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, or providing a drink to the thirsty? Everything you did not do for those in need, likewise you did not do for Christ (Matthew 25:40-45). Yes, it is your responsibility and mine to care for our neighbors, contrary to popular belief, regardless of whether or not you like them or approve of their lifestyles.

What if all your preps are destroyed?

What if all your preps are destroyed?

If this is getting annoyingly theological for you, how about we switch gears and take a look at the show “The Walking Dead,” of which I am a serious fan. Have we not just seen demonstrated in Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7 the idea that people can, and do, change? Look at how both Morgan and Carol have changed. And then there is Daryl, who keeps saying in retrospect that he “should have killed” so-and-so, but then he goes on repeatedly trying to save people episode after episode. Yes, I realize it’s a television show, not real life. No joke. (I don’t waste much time watching mindless television anyhow.) But people can change. So who are you to say that your neighbor can’t change, too? Do you think that being a prepper gives you the right to judge another human being’s ability (or lack thereof) to change and therefore possibly condemn that person to death? Who suddenly made you judge, jury, and executioner? I’m not talking about giving up the safety and welfare of your family. I’m suggesting you plan – yes, PLAN – to include helping others in your prepping. If you’re smart enough to prep, then you’re most certainly savvy enough to figure out how to do this. And if you choose not to, then you will be held accountable, one way or another, for failing to not at least try to help your neighbor in need… and this goes beyond simply trying to convince them to prepare in advance.

I am not inexperienced enough to claim to understand the situation of every person out there who might read this. But I can tell you that my family is not wealthy. My family doesn’t take vacations or go to the movies or drive fancy cars or have a bunker or cabin to escape to. But our meager preparations do include provisions for others. It can be done without breaking OPSEC or exposing your family to danger. Take a recent article published elsewhere about what one person learned from a “redneck neighbor.” I was deeply moved by that article. The redneck neighbor had over 20 emergency kits for his neighbors… the same neighbors who constantly rolled their eyes at him, looked down on him, and ridiculed him. I don’t know if the kits were expensive store-bought kits or homemade kits, but what does it matter? He still believed in caring for his neighbors and had invested in substantial supplies to help them when they inevitably came knocking on his door seeking help in a crisis. Who is the Christian in that article? Who is the one person who followed the Golden Rule despite being mocked? Can you not see it? Who do you want to be?

Do you really want to be the last person standing after TEOTWAWKI? Do you honestly want to sit there and watch your neighbor’s kids starve or die miserably painful deaths from disease outbreaks? Do you want your neighbors’ blood on your hands and your conscience? I’ve read that some preppers are looking forward to having a “short” SHTF event in order to wake everyone else up. Let me tell you, I doubt we’re in for anything short unless you are talking about a local flood. In the meantime, I challenge you to find a way to prep for those outside your four walls. And if you aren’t a Christian, at least remember the Golden Rule. Find a way to implement it. If you don’t, you will be held accountable for your actions or inactions, one way or another… when society/rule of law is restored, or upon your own death, or just by plain old Karma. Yeah, what comes around goes around.

Do you need a couple of ideas to get the juices flowing? Okay, here are a few simple ones, without exposing your personal stash during the early stages of a crisis:

1) Build some rough, homemade emergency kits… not the expensive, prepper-style buckets. Start with a small plastic grocery bag from your local store. Add a book of matches (preferably obtained from a local establishment) and a few small tea light candles OR a dollar-store-type of flashlight. Throw in some cans of caffeine-free soda or small bottles of water. Include a couple of pop-top cans of low-sodium store-brand soups or ravioli and/or pop-top cans of generic tuna or chicken, all of which can be picked up for next to nothing when your store (or Wally World) has discounts, coupons, or buy-one-get-one-free offers. Top it off with a couple of granola bars, fruit strips, applesauce cups, or maybe one or two sealed pouches from a box of Pop-Tarts™ or something similar. Don’t forget to include a plastic-wrapped set of disposable utensils leftover from having purchased take-out or delivery food, especially if the person isn’t familiar to you.

Have these little “kits” easily accessible in a closet somewhere near the front door, but don’t just go run and grab one to hand out to every visitor like it’s freaking Halloween. Allow the person to remain outside, behind your locked door while someone else is watching them (from a window or wherever), and then act as if you are taking a little time to bag up a few items. Bang around in the kitchen pantry a little bit before coming back to the door. Apologize that this is all you can afford to share, as you, too, are strapped for necessities. Also be sure that each plastic bag “kit” does not contain the identical contents. Make 5 kits or a dozen kits – whatever works for your situation and budget. Perhaps reserve them only for people you know so that you don’t have to risk opening your door to complete strangers.

2) If you prefer to focus on one aspect, consider choosing water/fluid. Assume your neighbors just might have a few cans or boxes of food on their pantry shelves. If a neighbor comes looking for help, give them a 2 liter bottle of caffeine-free generic soda. It will provide some calories as well as fluid without promoting dehydration.

Again, you don’t have to go overboard, but it is essential to try to help in any small way, while being safe, particularly during the beginning of a crisis. You may even end up making a new friend or ally. But if things drag on, there will eventually come a time when you will have nothing left to give out without the risk of compromising your family. At that point you (hopefully) can simply commiserate with your neighbors and perhaps try to figure out the closest Red Cross or other water/food-distribution site. This is somewhere a person from your household absolutely must visit along with the rest of your neighbors, so as not to raise suspicions. Bring along some empty containers to fill with water in case there are no water bottles, a cardboard box to carry any food, and a backpack with extra room that also contains your hidden EDC (Every Day Carry). Preferably go in a small group with other neighbors rather than alone. Be certain to carry additional concealed weapons for protection.

3) Another option could be to select a specific neighbor to help, such as an elderly person who lives alone or a single-parent household where your kids know their kids. Take a small care package of whatever water, food, and lighting items you can to that person or family and see how they are doing. You can even explain to that person or family that you had time to fill up a couple of leftover 2 liter soda bottles with water before the taps ran dry and that luckily you’d just been to the grocery store the night before. Then if anyone else comes to your door looking for assistance, you can explain you shared what little you had with one neighbor already or simply say you have nothing available.

4) Anonymously donating food, water, and/or other supplies to a nearby charity or church at the very beginning of a crisis can be another way to keep your family protected. If someone comes looking for assistance, you can point them in the direction of the known charity or church or elsewhere without having to directly give out any assistance.

5) Or after you’ve implemented your family’s SHTF emergency plan, consider trying to knock on the doors of (or call, if possible) at least 2-5 of your closest neighbors, who you at least know by name, and alert them to the emergency, in case they are unaware. You might even casually suggest that you heard on the radio that people should fill up everything available (buckets, tubs, sinks, pots, bowls, pitchers, etc.) with water while they can, just in case, and to send someone else from their house (if available) to the store to purchase bottled water and/or food, assuming the roads aren’t already flooded with cars, etc. Doing this simple, proactive step might save you from having quite as many people knocking on your door looking for assistance. It may also win you some allies. Of course, it could go the other way and send those same people looking to you for aid if they fail to follow your suggestions; but I believe in an actual SHTF situation, there will be sufficient evidence (such as non-functional cars & cell phones, widespread power outages, mass confusion, lack of communication, etc.) that even the most reluctant person would try to do anything possible to protect themselves.

Obviously, none of these suggestions is foolproof nor are they appropriate for everyone. These are just some ideas. Do what you can or come up with another suggestion to share with others in the comments below. Not helping anyone at all (outside of your family or group) is simply not a realistic option unless you plain don’t care whether or not you gain the world but lose your soul. We will need others – including those who are different from us – to rebuild society once the event ends.

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The Coming Correction

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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 Grampa. 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.


In the millennia mankind has existed we have witnessed some small corrections. Nature, the things by which we are all bound, sets in motion events, unforeseen and undeniable. In an age where science strives to understand and alter mankind, I see efforts in a multitude of misdirection’s.

What nature provides us, science does so artificially. These efforts, while noble and well-meaning fall short of nature’s millions of years of experimentation finding what does and does not work. Mankind is nothing more than the product of that grand experiment. I will hear all the arguments that it is God who created mankind. Does it say God also created nature? Why should God create something if he had no intention of using it? So comes the corrections.

To mankind it means the extinction of blood lines that have become weak and corrupt. Many have learned of the plague that came abruptly to kill the multitude. A tragic event but it left mankind stronger. Other events that destroyed entire civilizations by the fact they looked to God for help and should instead have looked to themselves and adapt for survival. Now we are faced yet again the correction that will destroy mankind or make us stronger. We hear of future events of volcanoes, and asteroid’s, and even another sun with its planets that is coming. If there is truth among these events I haven’t found it.

The truth I do know comes from the threat of government. This is something that mankind has created but failed to control. Mankind doesn’t like violent change. We will tolerate much and will be pushed to the extreme before some, the ones with ability to lead react. They incite others to follow. We have seen the evidence within our history. How accurate that history is debatable but it divides the followers into the divisions of their particular mindset.

PoliceSWAT2

We have the Christian, Budist, Muslim, with leaders that profess radically different physiologic mindsets. All professing to know and teach their own difference between what is good or evil. This is not the focus of my writing. Each has given their section of mankind the abilities to adapt. This is the crux of my point, adapt to what?

Man will be it seems from the predictions called upon to adapt. If we believe the many predictions, it will be a natural event that will put man’s talents to survive to the test. In the end it will be the strongest and most versatile that will survive. Survival, the very thing that many prepare. Which do we prepare for? If I had that answer, I would indeed be a rich man. While most wait for the answer, the event springs itself upon us. Now it is assured that the multitude, unprepared will dash off directionless and leaderless. They are destined for extinction. They will assemble into gangs with a leader that has only force to insure safety and will revert to a society of the Stone Age level that consumes to survive. The probabilities that this level of survival could last depends on the food to be consumed. Many of “the followers” will gather behind these leaders for security. Does this sound like our government? They turn a blind eye to the atrocities that leadership and power bring. This multitude will survive moving from place to place using the resources until it comes upon the community that it can’t overcome and will choose to combine to survive or die.

I continue now about the correction event, not knowing what it may be or if we can oppose its force and survive. Survival being the goal we as individuals must decide what is best for each of us. The multitude must continue to make their living and support families. We must also think ahead and plan on a direction we must take in the event we are separated from our families and what we must do when we are back together.

UrbanSurvival

With the multitude of websites showing us what we need or have to survive. They range from the pocket tin that is guaranteed to have everything one needs to survive. To the backpack so large that will draw notice of others and tell them you have what they need. I can say that I wouldn’t want to draw attention to myself. The description I do like is the grey man. The ability to blend and be the shadow. Sounds like a good idea for the crime fighter TV program.

When we address the problem everything and everyone must be considered an enemy. Even people you work with will in desperation act for their own survival. The people who are in a state of panic will be capable of anything. The ninety pound woman has been documented lifting a two ton car off her child. Panic and adrenaline can exhibit superhuman strength to a man or woman. You do not want to be the focus of that force. Sadly the strength is fleeting and needs an extreme event to activate. We cannot depend upon this so the rest must depend on our brain.

The brain is the best tool we have for survival. Teaching it to make the correct decisions by evaluating the conditions of the moment and projecting into the future. The future is the goal we want to get to. To be clear it will be yourself against everything else.

To get where you want to be you must have direction. Without direction you have no hope to survive not only hardship but the corrections nature imposes to cleanse its mistakes. What form will they take? Nature is creative and to survive it we adapt. Any living thing plant, animal, or microbe if it can’t adapt is extinct. With the many predictions that could come from nature or man the object still remains the same. Survival of yourself and family. World events at the moment seem to outweigh nature. It would seem the target will be the grid. If this is so then despite what plans we make they will be only temporary at best. The hordes the zombie flicks entrap our imagination with will show up. The difference they won’t be slow unthinking creatures. They will be armed and hungry and will take what you have. The only hope is to remain unnoticed until the majority have passed on looking for food. The odds of going unnoticed? Slim to none. If we have an attack like this its purpose won’t be to defeat America but destroy it. Any country wanting the resources wouldn’t destroy them. Leaving America intact would call for biological methods. Eliminate the people leaving its resources intact. Could we survive this?

Some will as has been proven with the plagues. Some will be immune to whatever is put out. The final question is how to prepare? Knowledge and as many skills as one can learn to use without power. It won’t be how much gold you have that will keep you alive but how valuable you will be in a community. Knowledge weighs nothing and the ability to adapt. The things that every animal alive must have to survive.

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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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Dealing with Gunshot Wounds in SHTF

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.


The mantra of Guns, Bullets, and Beans is a reasonably common one but bullets go both ways. Almost everyone who has served in active duty involving gunshot injuries or has been involved in treating them will tell you never to engage in a fire fight unless you have no other choice. Rather than focusing on building a fortress to defend your supplies it is safer to build a home you can walk away from without compromising your supplies or getting on the wrong end of a gunshot wound.

Rule One: Do not get shot.

Rule Two: Get shot in a leg or arm without any bone involvement.

Rule Three: If you have to be in a fire fight make sure you kill them all before they can return fire.

I have never been shot and I have only had two guns pointed at me but I have nursed a fair number of shot ICU patients over the years. In SHTF things will be different and trauma care for shooting patients (I dislike the term ‘victims’ as it implies powerlessness) needs a hard look at especially if you live in an area of the world that has a lot of armed people around you. This article will have some biology (science is fun!) and I am not talking about body armor or types of ammunition (not my specialty but here are penetration estimates. If Pat uses them there will be graphic photos and I hope these will not trigger anyone but knowledge is power.

infographic-of-gunshot-injuries-for-writing-fiction

The article is long and I am not going into lung, abdominal, brain care as basically you are likely dead. Please look up lung injuries as knowing what tension pneumothorax, septic shock, and paralytic ileus are good ideas.

Basic Field Care if you are Shot

Avoid being shot again. Disengage and get to the safe area. All home and bug out locations should have a stocked and safe area away from the main buildings that is believed to be safe in the event of an attack.

A wounded man is helped to get away from gun shots Picture: AFP

A wounded man is helped to get away from gun shots
Picture: AFP

Do not scream “medic!” or “I’m hit!” There is a fire fight going on so do not give tactical information to the enemy or distract your side. Everyone on your team is a field medic and has practiced for this so no one helping you needs to be screaming for help either. You and/or they deal with it until after the fire fight. Stay off the radio until the fire fight is over and give no tactical details if summoning help. “Jimmy I’m at X and I’d like to see you” is better than “Jimmy! They shot me in my leg. It hurts. I need help now”

Look for the entrance area and check if there is an exit area. Survey yourself quickly for other injuries. Entry wounds can look insignificant and exit wounds can look dramatic. The actual issue is what was in the way and what is happening beneath these entry and exit points.

gunshot-wound

Exit wounds can look dramatic

Cover the wound’s entry and exit points with thick cloth or blood stopper bandage as soon as you can. Limit the blood flow by partial or a full tourniquet if you have knowledge to safely use one. Blood looks dramatic and it is hard to assess the amount. Pulse rising, blood pressure dropping, consciousness failing are signs of massive blood loss. Without intravenous infusions and/or blood transfusions you will likely die. I know some are prepping to give blood transfusions but this is a really dangerous and specialized intervention. Giving a basic intravenous of normal saline (0.9% sodium chloride) is simple and easily learned. Both are illegal to use but not to learn unless you are a medical doctor.

Leave this initial thick pad on no matter how wet it gets. Add more and do not remove any. I do not feel a blood clotter like the Israeli Bandage should be applied at this stage unless you have several in reserve. If you have one only consider using it after the next phase of care or buy more than one. Technology keeps evolving but if you use it can you remove it without an Operating Room?

If possible elevate the wound above your heart. This lowers the blood pressure locally and should decrease bleeding. Realistically it probably will be easier to raise your heart above the wound site.

If bone is injured splint it as it is for transport and apply the initial pad over the splint.

If it is not an abdominal injury drink as much water as you can and keep drinking one pint an hour. Sports mixes are a good idea as well. If abdominal you will likely die but stay nil by mouth (NPO) as you might get lucky and abdominal trauma is always worse if you take anything by mouth.

It is going to get painful quickly so use the brief pain-free period to move away from the bullets and get to safety.

Basic Field Care if you are the Medic

Yeah! We won and all the bad guys and girls are dead. As in all First Aid situations assess the area for possible threats prior to giving care. Any snipers waiting as your team-mate was screaming for help giving away his location? Has the shooter who did the hit been dealt with or are you next? Consider dragging the injured away from the scene before doing anything else.

When safe have a look and verify if they are alive or just barely alive? If dead or barely alive then do not waste time, energy, and supplies.

If you can see bits of their bowels, chances are slim for survival.

Reasonable signs of potential viability are that they are conscious and can talk to you in sentences. If they are able to do this has the wound caused abdominal contents to become free?

Sorry but without a surgeon and a good hospital/surgical set up your friend’s dead if you can see bits of their bowels. Brains oozing out of the wound, eyes, nose, or mouth are equally untreatable in SHTF so do not waste supplies on a futile attempt.

Then follow the steps you would take if you had been shot. Starting to go beyond these in the field is just not a good idea. Get them to the safe zone.

Safe Zone Preliminary Care

Everyone in your group should know how to do this as you might have to do it for yourself.

 Emergency War Surgery: The Survivalist's Medical Desk Reference

Emergency War Surgery: The Survivalist’s Medical Desk Reference

Unlike every film you have ever seen getting shot is extremely painful and shock is likely for the pain alone even if blood loss is minimal. Get calm and practice deep breathing techniques to slow and steady your breathing and your heart rate. If you have alcohol available do not drink it if you are shot. If you are the medic have a small amount. Seriously, I have a small bottle of brandy in my kit for me to swig if I am facing a major injury and it can also be used to sterilize instruments and your hands.

Okay. Now what are we facing here? If they are unconscious check for other wounds as there are many cases where the obvious and none fatal wound gets all the care while the insignificant and overlooked wound slowly kills the patient.

Strip them naked. Use scissors or a knife but get them fully naked unless they are conscious and are sure they have only one wound. Even so I am stripping them and doing a quick body search. Note where all the wounds are and where you see swelling and bruising. Is this survivable? If there is flank and/or side deep bruising from an abdominal wound likely means the spleen is damaged if on their left side or the liver if on their right side. Frankly they are going to die unless you can do surgical repair which is highly unlikely and is highly skilled. Wounds that go through the body are more survivable than those where the bullet remains inside but a through shot going through the deep abdominal area or chest is likely not one you can treat. No worries they will die quickly from blood loss or lack of oxygen.

If the decision to treat is made then clean the area around the wound and your exposed arms and forearms with something. Clean water if that is all you have or use the remaining brandy to clean your hands carefully. Soap and water is awesome hence having a stocked safe area previously set up for major injuries away from the areas likely to be in a fire fight is a good move. You can use multiple different liquids but the aim is to pour the external stuff AWAY from the wound and never towards it.

Having done that move them onto a fresh laundered sheet or have one placed under them. If possible have the room warm to avoid cold shock but you need the area naked to do this care. Avoid using beds as they are too low and the mattress will be ruined. A massage table or a folding plastic table is a good idea.

Using a powerful flash light (have a head lamp if you cannot get an assistant) pick out and remove everything you can see in the wound that is unattached to the patient. Clothing and bullet and bone fragments have to be removed or infection will occur for sure.

Now reassess blood loss. Is it arterial (bright red maybe but you can see it pulsing) or venous (dark for sure and steady stream)? If arterial use a tourniquet between the wound and the heart if possible, get sterile gloves on, and go in. Find the sight of bleeding and suture it. This can result in limb loss but most arteries can be sealed and blood flow can take alternative routes. At a pinch you can seal it with a hot piece of metal from a fire but frankly you likely will have the patient die of shock. This is not the movies. Still I’d consider it for a wound in a limb that cannot stop bleeding no mater my digging around in there.

Yes you can use back powder but only if it is a limb and the bleeding cannot be stopped. This will hurt and inflict a severe burn on top of the other injuries.

Set bones if you can and have to at this stage. The wound is as clean as you can get it and you have flushed it out with loads of cooled boiled water after adding a bit of salt. 0.9% sodium chloride is normal for the human body but flush it out a lot until most of the bleeding has stopped. You have removed every bit of dirt, clothing, and bullet you can see in there. You have stopped all major bleeding. Doing this on yourself is unrealistic despite the movies so everyone in your group needs to know how to do this not just the doctor or the nurse. They might be the one shot.

Start broad spectrum antibiotics and ensure 3-4 liters so fluid intake a day. Use the intravenous if you have to but keep them hydrated.

Broad Spectrum Antibiotics:

  • Amoxillin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Gatifloxacillin
  • Streptomycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Chloramphenicol

If bone involvement it is very important to use a broad spectrum antibiotic to avoid issues later on with chronic bone infection. If you have antibiotics then use them if the wound penetrated deep into the body. Hopefully their tetanus is up to date especially if soil has entered the wound which in SHTF is likely from clothing in a fire fight. Antibiotics will not help tetanus and it basically kills people horribly.

Ongoing Care

Evacuate them to a hospital with a trained doctor as soon as possible. If you can do this within 60 minutes you dramatically increase their chance of living. Okay if you cannot then try this!

Wound Care

If the outside of the dressing is clean and dry and there is no obvious smell, swelling, or severe pain then leave it on for 7 days. Do not peek!
Change the dressing using clean materials if sterile ones are unavailable. Laundered sheets work fairly well for this so have a supply kept aside for health care use. Unopened packs of baby wipes can also be considered very clean. Wash your hands and arms well with soap and water before and after giving all care and especially wound care. You do not need a face mask but do not breathe into the wound even if you are wearing one. The outsides of face masks are extremely contaminated and the human mouth is as well even if you floss frequently. Use cooled boiled salt water to soak and dressing that are stuck and take them off gently.

If the wound is bulging or leaking pus (yellow smelly stuff) then remove one or two sutures and let it be open to drain. Be aware that 7-14 days afterwards this can occur and the entire wound site might burst open. Flush everything with loads of cooled boiled salt water and attempt to push gently back into the body and then suture really well. Probably will die but worth a try if you have got this far. Open it carefully being sterile if possible and remove obviously dead tissue and wash everything out. Have a good look for any debris you missed the first time you treated this. This is a wound infection and needs 12-24 hour dressings until it heals (once or twice a day). Change the antibiotic given if you can at this point.
Do not use triple antibiotic cream, honey, or anything inside the body. Just don’t ever no matter the temptation. Flush with cooled boiled water and if open and you need to pack it use cooled boiled water-soaked sterile gauze.

General Care

Use limited bed rest. However sick they are turn them every 1-2 hours in bed and get them up in a chair as soon as possible and totally ignore their complaints about this. Immobility kills. Keep them hydrated well and use higher protein foods if available. Add a stool softener into the mix early on if they are immobile. Metamucil works fine if used early on. Let them rest a lot and avoid strain on the wound area but also make them feel useful. They can cut up clothing for toilet paper and other chores so make them earn their keep.

They will out of commission for a long time so have stored food available and firewood and drinks they can reach even in a weakened state. You might not be able to do this for them.

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Prepping for a Winter Crisis! – Blizzard of ’77

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When you live in an area of North America that is prone to blizzards, you must take it seriously and prepare accordingly. The Blizzard of ’77 is a prime example of why you should be prepared. We live in Southern Ontario, and it crippled this area and Western New York state. Although I did not live through it first hand – my entire family did! Their stories have shaped my desire to be prepared in case this was to ever happen again. These stories were passed down to me through parents, coworkers and grandparents, as I was not born yet.

The Blizzard began the last week of January, 1977. My dad said they closed his high school as soon as the blizzard was in full swing. He recalls walking home on top of the snow and passing by peoples’ chimneys. That’s how high off the ground he was from the accumulated snow. He told me he was actually one of the lucky ones. He heard later that in neighboring towns they didn’t close the schools early enough and children were stuck there for days! Everyone’s power was out for days, and the stores were wiped clean within hours of the first day.

A coworker told me she was stuck in her house with her baby that was less than a year old, and she ran out of milk. There was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Other people tell me they were stuck in their vehicles in the freezing cold, no one could get to them. There were no cell phones at this time. You were stuck there until someone found you. If you left your car, you risked freezing to death in the elements. All of Southern Ontario and Western New York was declared as a ‘state of emergency’ by the government. Police, Fire and Armed forces were called in to help from neighboring communities to supply food, water and medical aid. My Grandmother’s friend tells the story of her whole family huddling in the kitchen with the gas stove lit for warmth. They shut all the doors and hung blankets in open doorways just to keep the heat in the room they were in.

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When a crisis like this hits, emergency services are limited. There is only so much they can do when there is 5-8 feet of snow on the ground. If they can’t get to you, they can’t help you! This is why it is so important to have emergency supplies at home and in your vehicle. It could save your life. You have to take the safety of your family into your own hands, and be prepared for winter. At the bare minimum you should have a candle and lighter, a blanket, a few food items, a flare, basic first aid kit and a supply of water in your vehicle at all times. Some people also like to have sidewalk salt/sand on hand, as well as a collapsible shovel… you may just be able to dig yourself out if you have the right tools. I have personally had to use the salt/shovel combo many times!

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My parents told me that the people who had generators and snowmobiles were the best off, and they were actually helping with the rescue mission of getting others out of their buried cars. It was the only suitable mode of transportation during the storm. The cars were completely buried in the snow, you could not even see the tops of them. My family witnessed people driving right over top of buried vehicles.

If you live in an area prone to any type of storm you should have a generator and gasoline stored away, at the very least. Living without power, when you are not accustomed to it, is not fun!

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People nicknamed the Blizzard of ’77, The White Death. Many people died from freezing to death in their cars, having heart attacks from shoveling snow etc. People had frostbite on their hands and feet from being out shoveling for hours so that they could actually get out of their houses. Most people don’t think of snow storms as being deadly like hurricanes and tornadoes, but they can be if they are severe enough! It is imperative to have stored food, water & medical supplies in your house in case you are snowed in and cannot leave! You may not only lose power, your water may be turned off, or you may have to deal with pipes bursting. So be sure to have an adequate amount of water to see you and your family through several days. There are actually articles on this site that help you figure out how much water and food to store for the size of your family. It is not that expensive to stock up on a few survival necessities, and you will be so thankful that you did if you ever faced a natural disaster.

Some of the bare necessities may include, but are not limited to:

If you happen to be stranded outside when the snow storm hits try to find the closest building for warmth. If you do not have that option there are many videos on YouTube that instruct you how to stay alive in a blizzard. They are informative and practical.

One of the most important parts of prepping for a natural disaster of any kind is having the knowledge and skills to carry you through hard times. It is also important to never have the attitude that ‘oh that will never happen to me.’ A natural disaster can strike anywhere, any time. Mother Nature does not discriminate.

Hope this helps someone prep a bit for the coming winter! It will be here before we know it!

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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After TEOTWAWKI hits, the great thing is that the time for worrying will have passed. Well, if you have prepared well, the time for worry should have passed. As preppers, we won’t have to worry and we can focus on being happy, and helping others be happy. Unfortunately, for most people that is when the time for worrying—and worse—will begin. It’s sad, its tragic, but there’s really not much more we could have done to prevent it. We tried visiting with friends and family to help them catch a clue about our precarious situation before things fell apart, but for the most part they didn’t want to listen.

When TEOTWAWKI hits, they’ll be in a world of hurt, and we won’t be able to fix it. We need to accept that fact.

What we can do is try to help a little.

Because most people will be losing their collective minds in the initial days and weeks after TEOTWAWKI hits, the safest thing to do for ourselves and our families will probably be to stay as far away from society as possible for a while. However, once reality has set in and people have started to adjust to the new normal, an essential component of rebuilding your immediate community will be the ability to give selfless service to others.

Now by this I don’t mean you start feeding and clothing anyone or everyone. Most of us cannot do that. Most of us recognize that one of the reasons that our society is in the mess we’re in is because we fostered a community of people who existed and even thrived on handouts.

What I do mean is that life is suddenly going to be difficult for everybody, and much more difficult for most. When this happens, our attitude can make all the difference in ourselves and our families, and it can have a huge impact on others as well. It doesn’t have to cost any money. It may cost a little time. It may take a little effort. And then there are those things that may cost a little money now, but they can be very valuable later.

FREE

There’s the free stuff that doesn’t take any time—smiles, hugs, winks. We’ve all noticed how just a smile can lift sagging shoulders. Then there is the free stuff that takes a little time—telling a joke, a helping hand in carrying out a task, reading a story to children. Sharing raspberry or rhubarb starts or medicinal plants. Just listening when someone needs to vent or cry. Rocking a baby for a mother who needs to get some work done.

Kindness

Kindness

INEXPENSIVE NOW, INVALUABLE LATER

As I gather supplies for my family and prepare for difficulties that lie ahead, I try to imagine what very inexpensive items that are very small and difficult to DIY or do without will be high demand. I recall reading about a starving German woman following the end of WWII who was observed trading away her orange for a spool of thread—and then her friends gathering around begging to have a little of that thread as well. Also, I think about what drives me crazy now when I don’t have it even for a short time. Well, things that I should always carry in a purse, but since I never carry a purse…. Lip balm, lotion, a nail file. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Benadryl really are very inexpensive and store forever.

medicalsupplies

A little triple antibiotic ointment could literally save a person’s life. Vegetable seeds are incredibly inexpensive. They don’t necessarily store well (depends on which vegetable—tomato seeds can be viable after a decade, while onions may not last three years), but as long as they can be cheaply rotated and replaced, it makes sense to store extra. Spices could be shared with others as well, and they’ll remember your kindness throughout the meal, and hopefully beyond. I store mostly what I think my family will use in the next few years. However, because my dear husband has an irrational fear of being without nutmeg, we probably have enough of that spice to last our entire valley for a decade. Matches are pretty cheap, so I think we have a lot of those, but then again as I think about it a little more, maybe I should pick up some additional boxes.

SERVICE THAT TAKES A LITTLE TIME AND/OR MONEY

However, often service is going to take a little more time and/or expense. And we need to be in a position to serve others outside family as a means of re-building the community. It won’t always be convenient, and it might involve some sacrifice. By this I mean taking the time to teach others the skills they need to survive. Yes, it will be hard because people could have listened and learned when it was easy. But it will be an opportunity to draw together as a group.

Someone will need to teach skills such as simple as mending of clothing, gardening, careful knife sharpening, cooking and baking, trapping, appliance repair, water purification, etc. The list is endless. I have bamboo knitting needles that I have gotten very cheaply now that I will be able to share with a few others who express the desire to learn. I’ve got hundreds of hand sewing needles and dozens of spools of thread. And because we won’t necessarily have the time to personally teach skills, we also have lots of how-to books.

What about having some cheap candy on hand to give to children? My daughters have learned to knit very tiny animals, like only an inch or two in size, that they will make and give to youngsters. Play dough can be made with flour that has gone rancid or buggy.

Serving others during TEOTWAWKI is like being on an airplane that’s hit turbulence or is experiencing some kind of malfunction. You’re not the pilot. You’re not trying to land the plane. Simply put, you don’t have those skills to share. Just like it’s not your job to feed and clothe your neighbors or your community. You’re just trying to help the guy next to you get the oxygen mask on. But remember, like all the flight attendants say in their pre-flight announcements, you have to put your own mask on first. Take care of your own family and needs first. Because you have prepared, you won’t have to worry. You will be able to be happy. And as such, you will then be in a position to help others and we’ll all be able to rebuild that much sooner.

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How to Be a Prepper in College

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Talon E. who to my amazement, wrote and submitted this article from his cell phone. Twice! 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.


We all prep for different scenarios, and start at different times in our lives. What made you start prepping? Did someone convince you that it’s a good idea? What’s your excuse for not prepping? Most of the people I try to get prepared have many excuses for not starting. Being 22 and just one semester away from getting my bachelor’s, the most common excuse I hear is I can’t afford it. Well I say. If there’s a will,  there’s a way and in this article I am going to share how I practice being a prepper in college.

I grew up in a small farm town of 3500 people. Growing up I wasn’t in boy scouts. I was just a kid that liked shooting guns. We always had a little bit of food set aside, and we would always rotate food. I never realized what it was for. I never recall them talking about any radical ideas for it, just thought it was a good idea to stocked. Just. In. Case.

For the past four and a half years I’ve lived in a small apartment (now in a duplex) in a college town with a population of nearly 91,000.

The first couple years of my college life I was on campus in the dorms. Luckily for me, being on a native American campus we have a good amount of mother nature on our campus. Mother nature always provides, but you have to know where and what.

I have a pretty small collective of friends that I fully trust, but I have several acquaintances and connections that give me opportunity. My close friends my age know I prep, but they always say it costs too much to start prepping. While they say this I think in my head how much they drink and go out. Obviously you still need to live life and enjoy it, but I believe at some point you have to prioritize for the well-being of yourself and your family’s safety. There’s plenty of money to be made, and plenty of deals to be had. Building one bug out bag takes a good amount of planning and strategy which takes time. Just having one bag puts you ahead of most people in urban areas. I built my several bags and prep’s by purchasing one piece at a time. There is no excuse for the lack of prepping.

Prepping doesn’t have to cost a fortune

I’ve always had a knack for finding good deals. In no way am I wealthy, but I grew up wheeling and dealing. I am constantly scouring Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, etc. I work hard for my money, and when it’s not enough I find side jobs come in handy. Most college towns have places where you can donate plasma. This is a good way to build some spending money. My part-time job is an auto detailer for a dealership. I’ve found that I’m quite good at it and I like doing it. It is becoming a lost art and there is a lot of money to be made.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have enough cash to spend on discretionary supplies.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have extra cash to spend on discretionary supplies. Competition is fierce for these spots.

Another misconception that is popular with college kids making excuses in my area is that it’s all about spending money. Prepping isn’t only material things. Sure it’s a big part of it, but it’s also a mentality. Everyday I think what if’s and different scenarios to challenge my mind. Prepping is a prepared state of mind. This website and others brought me very good insight as to what I could and should do in different emergency scenarios. Even if you can’t afford to build several bug out bags, buy firearms, stockpile food and water, then you should definitely be researching other aspirations. Knowledge is power and there is a lot of survival information to be had on the internet! Not everyone grew up as a boy scout, I know I didn’t. Knots can be as important as knowing how to skin an animal, or what plants are edible.

Friends of mine that try to prep dismiss the fact that upon the beginning stages of WROL it will be a blood bath at regular store such as: grocery stores, pharmacies, gun stores, etc. They all say oh I’ll just go grab some food at the store. No. It won’t work that way. This is why it is very important for us to prep. Even if you live in the dorms it would be a very good idea to have some canned food, bottled water, flashlights, and batteries hidden away. There’s plenty more you can prep for but I believe most people I talk to could not handle a stressful event such as SHTF. If you have a little prior knowledge to survival and your environment, then it should help you prepare mentally. Having a small stockpile of supplies can be a safety net, and should provide you a little bit of time to collect your thoughts as to what just happened and forming your game-plan.

Start small but build continuously

I am just now starting to buy some canned food to put aside just in case of a power outage. A single can of corn in my area is merely 69 cents. It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence. The only problem I see is when you must bug out, the canned food will be very, very heavy. Make sure to keep your home stockpile separate from your bug out bag supplies. A good habit for both is to still use the supplies in both spots and replace them with new ones to keep the “best by” date as far out as possible.

dormfood

It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence.

My generation has lost the ability to be self-sufficient and prepared. For other college students reading this and wanting help to prep on a very tight budget, I urge you to read as much as you can. Free information will only be around as long as society holds up. To be clear I definitely live the “college experience”. I don’t go to parties or go out for nights of binge drinking. There is other ways to be social and they are much cheaper.

The biggest challenge in prepping for a college student is preparing for an active shooter. You don’t know when it’s coming, from where, or how many there are. Most college campuses don’t allow firearms or conceal carry. Some states are starting to allow conceal carry on campus which, in my opinion is a great idea. My state is one of those starting to allow that. Unfortunately for me I go to a Native American College that is federally owned so the law doesn’t hold there. How do you prep for an active shooter if you’re not allowed to have even a pocket knife, and you don’t want to break the law? This question brings me back to what I stated earlier about reading as much information as you can. The have been survivors of every school shooting and their stories are out there.

So I am constantly reading and building my knowledge of survival. Now what? Personally a bug out bag is my go to item to start with for any prep. Whether you believe in TEOTWAWKI or just wanna have a head start on a natural disaster there is always room for a bug out bag, and it is very important to have this bag with you at all times. I have found that Walmart can sell everything you would need for a bug out bag. Piece by piece you will complete it. That being said don’t be that person to go buy a “pre-made emergency bag” they are made in bulk and most likely won’t be very accepting to your specific needs. MRE’s are a good choice for any style of bag as well as freeze dried foods. You need to always consider where you would go, how far is it, and the terrain you would trek through. If you have found that there is several options for water I would choose Mountain House freeze-dried meals because, they are light and filling. If water sources will be scarce then MRE’s take much less water.

For the preppers who believe in the large-scale, scary things that could potentially happen remember that there’s always going to be someone wanting to take what you have. I once read a very good article on here that mentioned that no matter where you hunker down there will be people after it. You WILL be overrun. That has always stuck with me and because of it I am constantly thinking where would I go now? Where would I go next? I suggest knowing your terrain and various routes to get around area’s that are going to be most likely a huge mess.

A lot of the things I’ve talked about have been really similar. The constant repetition should help retain the information for all the young, hard-headed, minds I am trying motivate. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I could say, but for my first article I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Bottom line is if you keep making excuses you may find yourself scrambling when the stuff starts hitting the fan.

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The Biggest, Most Likely Disaster You’re Not Prepared For

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The Wall Street Journal warned us about it.

It keeps government officials up at night.

But the vast majority of Americans are completely unprepared for this disaster:

We’re talking about power grid cyber attack.

We, as a society, are hooked on electricity. So many people take it for granted, and can’t imagine a world where they couldn’t flip a switch and cook their food, heat their home, communicate with family or co-workers, or access all of the date we have stored in the cloud.

The US power grid is one of the most important, and most vulnerable, systems in the country. Every single critical infrastructure, from communications to water, relies upon its function. Without the power grid, our country can’t conduct business. We can’t do our banking. We can’t even milk our cows.

America is not ready for the grid to go down.

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But it might. In fact, it probably will. And the government knows it.

The President of the United States stated two years ago that “For those who would seek to do our Nation significant physical, economic, and psychological harm, the electrical grid is an obvious target.”

The power grid isn’t only a target because of how essential it is to the inner-workings of our society, but also because of how weak it is.

The power grid, like many other areas of technology, is automated and remotely controlled. That leaves a network of 160,000 miles of transmission lines, and 55,000 sub-stations very vulnerable. Many major substations of the power grid are completely unmanned, secured from physical attack only by a single, chain-linked fence.

But physical attack isn’t the only, or even the biggest, threat to the system. Cyber hacking is growing as the primary threat to our country’s security, including our energy security. Defending the power grid as a whole is extremely challenging, since there are about 3,200 utilities, all which operation only a portion of the grid, though most of the individual networks are interconnected. With this sort of complicated, multi-faceted network, it’s hard to pick up on a malevolent attack, when there’s so many different administrators involved. The lack of coordination of power grid ownership and leadership doesn’t lend itself well to security.

The Wall Street Journal says it well:

“The grid was cobbled together during the electrification of the U.S. over the past 125 years. It is a fragile, interdependent system. There is so much variability in the grid that what cases a catastrophe one day might not the next, which makes security issues complex. Small problems can quickly spiral out of control.”

Federal officials are very aware of this problem. Almost twenty years ago, officials stated that “virtually any region would suffer major, extended blackouts if more than three key substations were destroyed.” Despite this knowledge, they have done very little about it.

SolarPanels

Having your own capacity for back up power might be the only thing standing between you and disaster

One journalist, Ted Koppel, ventured to ask government officials flat-out what they were doing about this threat to our country. His findings were disturbing. When he asked government security officials about their plan of action if the power grid ever went down, they became uncooperative and defensive, giving Koppel oversimplified and unclear answers. Koppel could only gather from these responses that there really was no plan. At least, not one that was accessible to the people who would be most affected by a prolonged outage (so, everyone.)

The country’s usual response to disaster includes evacuation, increased supervision, and emergency aid. But in the case of tens of millions of homes without power, this action wouldn’t take care of the situation. Evacuation wouldn’t make sense, supervision would never be adequate, and emergency aid would be depleted within days. Koppel speculates that the government doesn’t have a plan because they don’t know where to start. The situation would be bleak, with few good options, if any.

So where does that leave us?

If we can’t depend on the power grid, and we can’t depend on the government to adequately protect us from grid failure, it’s time to take our power into our own hands.

We’re talking about building up your own energy fortress. It’s up to you to make sure you have back-up power–stored energy that you can tap into whenever you need it. Instead of wondering when the next power outage will hit, you can know that you’ll still have the electricity you need to keep your outlets up, your light on, your devices charged, and your refrigerator running. With this sort of security, you can know that your household, and those closest to you, are protected from anything the power grid throws your way.

What does energy security look like?

Mounting Solar panels on roofs or moveable panels allow for easy access for maintenance.

Mounting Solar panels on roofs or moveable panels allow for easy access for maintenance.

There’s actually one very good option for individual businesses and homeowners, and it’s available right now: Batteries.

Energy storage could change everything. Think of it this way — households independent from the grid won’t even notice a grid outage… that is, until their grid-connected neighbors come knocking.

Households equipped with solar panels and energy storage in the form of home batteries will be completely protected from any utility company mishap, whether it be on a large or small-scale. Home batteries allow households to power their own essential appliances like refrigerators, water pumps, and heating/cooling devices with stored electricity collected from renewable energy sources like solar panels. The grid may be vulnerable, but the sun? Not so much.

Energy storage changes the entire conversation about grid vulnerability. We don’t have to talk about prolonged power outages as an impending probability, but a situation that can be avoided altogether. Home batteries put the power back into the hands of the consumer, and back into the appliances and systems we need to sustain our lives.

The largest most likely threat to our everyday lives–a power grid attack—doesn’t have to be a threat at all. You don’t have to live in fear, connected to a power grid that could fail at any moment, leaving you and your family in a vulnerable, and potentially life-threatening situation. Instead, information about this threat can motivate you to adopt a new way of creating, storing, and consuming energy.

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The Importance of Your Knife and a Backup Bug out Bag

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Let’s first deal with the easier of the above listed two points: the backup bug out bag. I was talking to my best friend a while back and I brought up the bug out bag that I had made him as a birthday present and I asked him if it’s still in his car. He said no and I asked why not and where it was? He stated that it’s at home and that if the SHTF that he would be rushing home to his wife and it would be there. I then said, you may not make it home without having that bag. What if something happens to your car and you need to hoof it (I then had to list a couple of possibilities of what might happen to the car, auto accident, roads closed or impassable, EMP, etc.). Then I explained that if you’re forced to walk or jog and something else causes you to be out there longer than a couple of hours, you will be damn glad that you have that backpack full of all the supplies you need to survive. He was quiet for a minute then said that he hadn’t given that much thought and he would put the bag back in the car.

I won’t go into details about what is in the bag as various preppers have gone through the bug out bag checklist many times in the past but I will tell you this. I have two cars and two motorcycles (one each for the wife and me) and I have a bag for each vehicle. I also have another bag ready in the house in the event that I need to grab and run and don’t have time or the opportunity to get to the cars or bikes. The bags for the cars and house have all the exact same things in them but the bags for the motorcycles are by necessity smaller, and thereby have fewer items in them. They do have all the most needed items in them and I could get by with just those and of course, during the course of surviving, I would hope to pick up a bigger bag and add more needed things as I came upon them. I also have my computer bag with me at work and that has the bare essentials in it just in case I have trouble getting out to the parking lot where my car is.

The point of all of this is, you need a bag for any possibility that may arise for exactly where you might be at any given time. It would be terrible if after all the thought, time and effort put into making a bug out bag, that when you need it the most, it’s not within easy reach. That would be the epitome of Murphy’s Law, so prepare ahead of time by thinking all of the possible scenarios that could keep you from reaching your bag(s).

The Importance of Your Knife

StatGear 99416 Surviv-All Outdoor Knife with Firestarter, Sharpener & Cord Cutter

Now onto the importance of your knife(s), as my best friend (yes, the same one as mentioned above) once said, if you need a knife then you’d better have more than one. A knife is not just a hand-held weapon, nor should it just be a survival tool. For our purposes (preppers) it needs to be both as well as a third option-an offensive projectile. Most folks would say that a really effective survival knife is not suited for throwing and they would be partially correct, except for the fact that ANY knife can be thrown.

The best survival knife will have a blade length of between seven and ten inches with serrations on the top edge of the blade (to be used for sawing). However, the best knife for offense will be double-edged and can be as short as three inches and still be a deadly weapon and usually balanced nicely for throwing. I cannot offer any quick insights into how to throw a knife, but I can tell you this, again, any knife can be thrown (just like most tools can be thrown). Do a search on you tube for “how to throw a knife” and you will find many great instructional videos that will help you learn this.

Here is a VERY important thing to remember, do not go with a cheaper priced knife, no matter if you use it for survival or for combat, as your life might depend on this knife and a cheaper priced one will definitely let you down (and of course, when you need it the most). Having a sharp, easy to deploy survival knife can help you face almost any obstruction you may face in the wilderness. Your knife needs to be able to help you procure food, and help to cook it as well. It needs to be strong enough to help build your shelter, dig a hole and assist with the cutting of wood for a fire.

I have a ten inch survival knife, complete with a hollow handle that holds the basics: fishing line and hook, water-proof matches, compass, etc. and it is made from high carbon steel. I do not recommend stainless steel as it doesn’t retain its edge very long and is susceptible to bending and/or breaking. I also have a hunting knife with a six-inch blade made with a full tang (made of one single solid piece of metal) which are superior to partial tang or rat-tail tang blades and are capable of performing heavy-duty tasks like prying, digging and pounding. Also, make sure the grip around the handle is not made from a slippery substance as that can either cause you an injury or worse, your death. Hard rubber or a polymer is recommended as it won’t get slippery and will absorb some of the shock if you are using it as a tool. If you are buying a knife for your backpack, bug out bag or just for your camping/hunting supplies, make sure it fits comfortably in your hand. If the handle is too big, you won’t get the full benefit of the knife’s capabilities. If it’s too small, it could become a dangerous item for you (when a knife slips from your hand, they have a tendency to cut something that you didn’t want cut, usually another part of you).

survival-knife

My survival knife hangs in a leg sheath at my side and I have a few other knives in and on various spots on my back pack, my belt and on my web gear. These other knives are smaller, some are folding knives and some are fixed blades but all are the best that I could find as even a small folding knife can be used for almost anything that the above listed survival knife can do so I wanted the best quality available. Make sure that you have at least one knife that is a skinning knife, to be used as a cutting tool for removing the hide of game animals or for cleaning a fish. This will usually have an extremely sharp short thin curved blade that will keep the tip from puncturing the hide or spearing the meat. A gutting knife is also good to have but most fixed blade knives can serve this purpose if you are trying to keep your bags overall weight down.

I have two smaller fixed blade knives that are spear pointed with nylon wrapped cord for a handle. These are for making into a spear for fishing, hunting and/or as a long defensive/offensive weapon. These can be attached to the end of a long branch by using the cord to secure it. I also have one machete type knife that has a 17 inch blade (stored in a sheath attached to my backpack) to use for a brush clearer and also as a longer defensive/offensive weapon.

In conclusion, no matter how many knives you get, or the type, remember these basics: 1. If you need a knife make sure you have more than one. 2. Get the best quality that you can afford. 3. Think about what uses you can get out of the individual knife. And lastly, make sure it fits your hand!

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The Penny-Pinched Prepper

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from UncleMorgan. 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.


Over the years I’ve heard many people describe how they would prep if they won the Lottery.

The Big Survival Truck is usually the first thing mentioned, and it’s almost always a 4-wheel drive multi-ton with brawny winches fore and aft and full stealth capability. Then there’s the all-encompassing armory of truly first-class (and extremely expensive) firearms. Plus tons of ammunition, and a Band-Aid. And a 30,000-acre BOL in Montana with a 17-bedroom underground nuke-proof house and an Olympic-size Jacuzzi—all solar-powered, of course.

Unfortunately, most of those people don’t do very much prepping while they’re waiting for their winning numbers to pop up. They just don’t have the money.

In today’s troubled economy, money goes fast, but it doesn’t go far. The average person doesn’t have enough money in the bank to carry them (and their family) through one month of lost income, much less a full-scale disaster. A person should always try to have some kind of emergency reserve. Not having emergency funds doesn’t leave much room for prepping.

So what can a poor penny-pinched Prepper possibly do?

Simple: Get four envelopes and label them Water, Food, Clothing, and Gear. Determine to use the contents of each only for its designated purpose. Then follow these three easy steps to fill them up with money:

Sell

Take a good look at everything you own. Then sell everything you don’t actually need and/or use except items of genuine sentimental value. Everybody needs two 9/16″ wrenches. But if you have three, you should sell one. Even if you can only get $0.50 for it. It may seem like a small thing—too little to be worth bothering with—but the average adult has about $2,500.00 worth of possessions they neither use nor need. Those are the things that should fund your first preps.

Sell everything that you don’t need or want to make money which could be used to purchase prepping supplies or simply build a nest-egg for harder times.

Auction the good stuff on the Internet, have a few yard sales, rent a stall at a flea market, advertise in the free Classifieds, and tell all your friends. Be persistent. Eventually, you’ll sell it all. Trust me on this: Somewhere, somebody desperately wants that three-headed elephant statue that someone must have given you because you’d never buy anything like that, especially if it cost money and you weren’t drunk. However much money this step makes, divide it equally into your four envelopes. (Water, Food, Clothing, and Gear)

Buy

Think outside the box and purchase wisely. Water, of course, should be your first concern. It’s far more critical than food. A person can last a month without eating, but after three days without water they’ve stopped lasting and started dying. The minimum water allowance should be 1 gallon per day, per person. Set 5 gallons per person as your first water goal, and pursue it with the cost of the container in mind. You can buy 3 gallons of “spring water” from the Wally Store for $5.78—but you shouldn’t.

Instead, collect freshly emptied 2-liter soda bottles, rinse them out, and fill them with food-grade water right out of the tap—at the rate of about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. Price: $0.01, rounded up. Also collect every screw-top beer can you can get your hands on. Wash and rinse them thoroughly and then you can use them for storing water and many other needful things. Free cardboard boxes can be collected from supermarkets to store your water bottles neatly and to shift them fast if you ever have to bug out.

Don’t worry about purifying tap water that goes into clean containers. The chlorine that’s already in it will do that job for you automatically. Gradually work your way up to storing 30 gallons per family member, if you can. When you reach your water storage goal, empty the Water envelope into Buy/Sell.

Water-Storage

Water should be the very first item you stock up on.

Food should be your next concern because in an emergency the supermarkets will be picked clean within hours. Do all your panic-buying long before it’s time to panic—then you’ll never have to. Again, shop wisely: Don’t automatically shop at the most expensive supermarkets. Go to the cheaper ones, and also check out any Bent & Dent Stores in your area. Many times the canned goods there aren’t dented: They just came out of torn cartons. Clip coupons and look for sales. Be sure to check out any local auction houses. Some have monthly food auctions where you can get almost anything except fresh meat at amazingly low prices—as low as 10% of retail for some things.

Buy long term storage foods only, plus whatever you find that you would normally buy in your ordinary shopping. After each auction, figure out how much you saved on the regular shopping items and add that much as cash to your Food envelope. What you save on regular items at the auction is the time and gas you would have expended in ordinary shopping. The cash saved can go to your preps without impacting your standard of living.

The first rule is “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” If you hate green olives, don’t buy a gallon just because they happened to be cheap at the moment. You should stock only foods that you are accustomed to and like. ALL your foods should be comfort foods. Emergencies are stressful enough. There’s no need to add diet discomfort to the situation. Store the kinds of food you are eating, eat the food you have stored before its expiration date, and replace it as you do.

Buy rice and beans because they are cheap and provide complete amino acids when eaten together—but be sure to acquire the recipes that make them into superb meals. Buy canned beef, pork, and chicken, plus soups and vegetables. Buy white pasta because it keeps longest. (Spaghetti packs very compactly.) Ramen noodles are cheap, but go rancid in about two years. Buy extra virgin olive oil and canned lard. Both have their different uses.

The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

The second rule is to buy in small containers. Refrigeration may not be available, so don’t buy canned vegetables by the gallon—unless your family is large enough to eat a gallon in one day.

The third rule is to buy variety: Don’t buy 100 lbs. of rice and 100 lbs. of beans and 10 lbs of “everything else”. Buy some of every kind of food you like, plus enough spices to put some serious zing into your cooking. When the flat-screen TV is dead, meals may become the high moments of the day.

Your first food goal should be three days (nine meals) for each person in your family. Do some careful calorie counting, and plan for three 1500-calorie meals a day. That’s more than the total 1500 calories a day many people recommend, but emergency situations are stressful, and usually require a lot of manual labor (such as walking instead of riding). The idea is to maintain your optimum body weight, not to drop to your minimum.

Gradually work up to a thirty-day food supply, and eventually try for ninety. When you’re good for food, retire the Food envelope and roll any leftover money into Buy/Sell. Then turn your attention to Clothing.

Start with durable but comfortable foot gear. Buy good new work boots, or military surplus combat boots. Buy several pairs of thick wool socks. Break the boots in, and wear them at least a few hours a week to keep them supple. Buy a surplus military poncho w/ liner. That’s good gear, and you definitely don’t want anything orange or yellow at any price. You may eventually need to be very inconspicuous.

Assemble one complete set of clothes for winter and one for summer. Include a camo hat with a brim and a black knitted watch cap, work gloves, knee pads, two bandannas, and sunglasses. Don’t be too proud to shop the thrift stores for used clothing. Incredible buys can be found there. Plus, in a disaster situation you don’t want to be seen in anything that says “Rich Person/May Have Food”.

When you’re good for clothing, empty the Clothing envelope into the Buy/Sell envelope. Then turn your attention to Gear.

Gear is an endless exercise in optimization. Start small. Buy the cheap stuff first. Haunt the thrift stores, dollar stores, yard sales, and flea markets. Roughly in order of importance: a good folding knife and a good sheath knife for each person. Also two Bic lighters, a Stainless Steel water bottle, personal cooking kit, pocket chainsaw, 30’ of 550 paracord, a tarp, a groundcloth, and a good wool blanket. A buck saw and a ¾-axe for the group, plus a four liter pot with bail & lid. Matches in a waterproof pill bottle for everyone, plus a small first aid kit.

Store your gear in a large gym bag—and with it your three day supply of food and three gallons of water. Two bags is okay, if there isn’t room in one.

All of that will be far too heavy to carry on your back, which is why you needn’t put it in a backpack. Instead of a $100+ backpack, buy an old golf dolly from a thrift store for $3.00 or so. You can tie the bags on and roll your gear instead of having to carry it. You’ll be amazed at how well that works.PepperSpray

The last part of Gear that bears discussion is personal defense. It’s a sad fact that in a serious emergency or disaster scenario the only animal you’ll find that will be both vicious and eager to attack you will be another person. Every person should carry a razor-sharp machete to chop brush with. Machetes do not run out of ammunition. Mace can also be a good friend in bad times. The best brand is Bear Spray.

Depending on the circumstances and the personal choice of conscience, a firearm may be desirable. The debate over which is best is endless, but having both a pistol and a long gun offers the best of both worlds. Being seen with a long gun can be disadvantageous—it can draw the attention of law enforcement (if there is any law left) and it can draw the first bullet from an unseen sniper on the trail.

For that reason, I recommend the only long gun I know of that can easily be hidden in a Bug out bag, gym bag, or book bag.

That’s a 12-ga slamfire shotgun made according to the instructions in the Kindle eBook The 15-Minute Shotgun. It breaks down into two pieces, the longest being 18-1/2”, reassembles instantly without tools, and can be used for both personal defense and subsistence hunting.

And, to the delight of the average Penny-Pinched Prepper, it only costs $10.00 to make.

When you’re reasonably well geared up, the Gear envelope can also go away, and you’ll be down to one envelope: Buy/Sell. And that brings you to Step 3:

Buy/Sell

Prepping is an ongoing process. It requires a small but continuing subsidy. Use your Buy/Sell money at auctions to buy things you can immediately sell for a profit on Craigslist. By that I mean a good washer-dryer set bought for $50.00 and sold for $200.00 the same week. Or an ugly flatbed trailer bought for $65.00, spray painted generic black, and re-sold for $250.00. Or an immaculate recliner bought for $5.00 and sold for $75.00. I have done all of those things at auctions and many more. I have funded my preps for years with an occasional Buy/Sell and made a little money on the side, too.

Spend your Buy/Sell money however you wish. By the time you’re reasonably well geared up you’ll probably know exactly what you next prepping goals should be. Whatever they are, they’ll probably be as uniquely individual as you are.

In my case, I’m saving up for that solar-powered Jacuzzi.

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Preppers Don’t Have Abs

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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 Cannin’ Joshua W. 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.


Hello Prepper family,

I love the internet and social media. It lets me be exposed to a slew of information and knowledge that I would have otherwise never been able to view. In just a couple of clicks I can watch how to build a primitive spear thrower,  or purify dirty water into something ….less dirty. After enough clicks, however, I inevitably stumble upon something displaying the need for a horribly impractical “prepper tool” that I just must have. Holding this awesome, life-saving, badass and totally affordable (insert sarcasm) thing is some ex-military looking, bearded fitness model that TOTALLY MIGHT HAVE BEEN SF, Or an overly sexualized woman with chiseled abs.

Now hear me.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking like a Viking with an AR or a jacked and tan super woman–in fact, that’s actually super impressive. But is it indicative of someone living the prepper lifestyle?

Pros of Tacticool

Let’s not underestimate the power of looking like a tactical boss, because there are some practical advantages to be found.

1) Predators naturally seek soft targets– It’s primal, like natural selection. Whether the predator is a lion or street thug, the predatory instinct is driven to achieve its goal via the easiest, most non-confrontational path available. When looking to rob a house, break into a car, or mug an innocent bystander, the criminal has a vast amount of potential options and they will inherently choose the path of least resistance. This is one obvious advantage to looking like a former linebacker with Don’t Tread on Me tattooed across your throat.

2) You might feel more confident– Hormones are a hell-of-a drug. Seriously. And your mindset and mentality play a role in how your body produces and expresses levels of certain hormones. Confident people have higher levels of testosterone than their more sheepish counter parts. They also have lower levels of cortisol. Here is a quick talk on body language hormones, it’s worth the watch. What will that do for you?! How about greater muscle mass, clearer skin, stronger bones, lower stress levels, and decreased levels of anxiety. So if a Mo-hawk and 80-piece pocket tool are what you need to feel awesome, then I would say, go for it.

3) It’s just fun– Unless you’re too uptight to enjoy the simple pleasure of holding blacked-out combat katana or you wouldn’t enjoy setting up plans with your buddies on how you would take back and survive a potential “Outbreak” like scenario.  But for most of us, this serves as a temporary form of escapism. We take it seriously, but definitely enjoy the process along the way.

Cons of Tacticool

How could looking awesome be a bad thing?

1) The issue with abs– On average men are 18-24% and women are 25-31% body fat. This is relatively natural. For men, they typically start to show visible abdominal muscles around 10% body fat, but will have more defined musculature closer to 6%. Women tend to fluctuate around these numbers because they naturally store fat in locations other than their midsection (where the sexy abs are). So what happens to these fitness icons if there is an actual SHTF scenario and food acquisition has becomes a real problem. At 6% body fat your body is already running low on fat, which is actually very important for cellular function. Now your body is forced to burn your lean tissue and muscle for calories. This is not an excuse to be un-athletic or out-of-shape. But if you do truly identify yourself with the prepper lifestyle, then how prepared your body is must be a primary goal. You should absolutely be strong and physically capable. I believe you should consider pursuing a body that thrives in every situation and scenario, rather than one that simply looks good on Instagram.

At 6% body fat your body is already running low on fat, which is actually very important for cellular function.

2) The lines between tactical and tacticool become blurred– The more time you spend in and around any group or community the more that community becomes your status quo. I am sure you have experienced this in your life countless times. Everyone at your work drinks beers on Wednesday nights at a bar close to your office. Now you also drink booze on Wednesdays. Your significant other watches a specific TV show, now so do you, etc. If you spend enough time pouring yourself into the cool, but unrealistic, prepper activities and products then eventually you will lose sight of what makes sense and perhaps lose sight of what’s out there just to make someone else money. This is a trap that most of us have fallen prey to at some point. If this is you, then don’t be too hard on yourself. You are in great company. But take note of the things and time you have invested in, that offer little to no return on actual preparedness.

3) Cool is not going to help, when all hell breaks loose– This seems like the most obvious and important reason why we shouldn’t be pursuing phony replacements for the real thing, but it needs to be said. The reason we prep is because we have this thing in the back of our minds telling us, “event X could happen”. Whatever your X is, you’re probably right to pursue it. But somewhere along the way we tend to get caught up in gadgets and thing-a-ma-bobs that offer little to no value in prepping for our X. Do not get caught in this trap. If you wake up one morning and event X is taking place all the money and time you spent on superfluous things and skills will leave a tangible bitterness your mouth.

Pros of Tactical – You are the real deal

Physical Fitness for Women

1) You’re an actual hard target – There is a difference between looking the part and being the part. If you are stuck in the “cool mindset” currently then this will be hard for you to distinguish. But if you ever have the opportunity to spend time with someone who is actually prepared for event X then you will quickly realize they have no flashy bumper stickers, no unnecessary tools and they do not feel the need to show anyone how prepped they are.

2) You ARE more confident – There is something to be said about the benefits of the “fake it till you make it” mindset and the power of feeling confident. But nothing will substitute the confidence that comes from being tried, tested and proven worthy. This type of mental shift permeates every fiber of your being and you see the world differently. When you understand what you’re capable of and know the limits of your training, you can take that with you wherever you go.

3) It’s deeply satisfying – Don’t get me wrong, it also fun. But there is a certain sense of satisfaction you get with a job well done. There is a specific feeling of accomplishment and deep well-being that acts like a filter through which you see the world, knowing that you are ready. Ready for whatever life throws at you, ready for the good, the bad and the many potential X events that exist.

Cons of Tactical (kind of)

1) Work, work, work, work…work – This type of lifestyle and level of preparedness takes work and a lot of it. You cannot purchase it. You cannot watch a few YouTube videos and consider yourself amongst the elite. You must be diligent, consistent and continually striving to master yourself and your situation. This is something that few people are willing to do, because work is hard and uncomfortable. But that’s why few people are really prepared for the hardships of life. But you are going to win in this is game, while others are satisfied with following the status quo of mediocrity.

FitnessApps

2) It takes humility – Humility is something that we are culturally void of and so, being humble is typically counter intuitive for most. But if you are over-confident or the least bit arrogant then you will have a false assessment of your abilities and mistake your level of preparedness for something it isn’t. Being tactical requires self-reflection and an accurate assessment of who you are and what you’re capable of. This will typically be accompanied by a degree of emotional or mental strain as your reality will not match up with your ideal. Being a great Prepper takes the ability to assess your situation and degree of readiness with accuracy.

3) It takes patience – Like humility, patience is another very important skill that one must cultivate if they are going to be prepped for life’s contingencies. It would be great if in an afternoon or weekend we could take a class, get a certification and be off-the-grid ready. But this type of work takes time. The more time you spend in this world the more you will come to realize that you have additional skills to master and continual knowledge to obtain. So, enjoy the journey and take pride in every step along the way. Patience is not only a virtue, it’s one of your closest allies.

As you can see, the above “Cons” are not negatives, they are just challenging. As you continue down the tactical road of physical and mental preparedness, remember that the journey is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t get sidetracked or fooled by anything that claims to be the end-all of products. Put in the time and work, seek to better yourself and know that the best investment you can make in your preparations for the future will always involve personal growth and investing in yourself.

Stay Frosty

~Joshua

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Pressure Canning for Preppers

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Cannin’ Nancy. 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.


Pressure canning is, by its nature, done by those who wish to preserve an overabundance of fresh food for consumption at a later date, and as such is an activity routinely engaged in by many preppers. Of course, there are many other reasons people do their own pressure canning: environmental (only a thin metal lid to dispose of as the jar is reusable); nutritional (you know what’s in that jar); financial (saving energy by cooking several meals at once and by having convenience foods on hand).

However, most people preparing for the dark days ahead don’t use their pressure canning to its fullest potential. Often people just don’t realize how important it is going to be to have variety in the diet, especially in a world where fresh and frozen foods will be lacking. Having a wide variety of pressure canned foods, many of which really aren’t available commercially, will be a welcome addition to our diets.

Most people look at pressure canning as a means of preserving garden produce and maybe some meat or a few stews here and there. And for those reasons alone a pressure canner is a worthwhile investment. But there is so much more that can be done. So let’s take it to the next level. The Ball Blue Book of Canning (hereafter the “BBB”) should be found in every prepper’s library and will provide all the guidelines for canning the basics. It should be consulted for all matters related to food preparation and processing times. This article is focused more on preserving some of the foods you really want to have on hand, those that will make meals a little more delicious and boost morale in difficult times.

Vegetables

Most of what is in the BBB regarding vegetables is pretty straightforward and beyond jazzing them up with spices or peppers, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss, with two exceptions. The first is canning shredded zucchini. Most people prefer to simply freeze their shredded zucchini to use later in zucchini breads and cupcakes (a favorite around here) and soups. But we’re preparing for when we won’t have freezers. So every year we can a few jars of shredded zucchini so that we can make our treats. The zucchini simply gets shredded in the food processor, packed in jars, and processed per the BBB.

Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving

Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving should be found in every prepper’s library

The other exception is potatoes. Yes, potatoes are routinely canned so as to be able to make soups and mashed potatoes long after the fresh potatoes in the root cellar have run out. But in this case we’re talking about that other main food group in the American diet: the French fry. Even if the pressure canner was not used for anything else, it would be worthwhile (in this family, at least) to acquire one just to be able to have French fries when the grid goes down. These fries are so incredibly divine. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a taste. You’ll just have to trust me.

You’ll want a French fry cutter to make preparation a whole lot faster. Amazon sells them for about $15. (Use the larger blade—1/2”. The smaller blade is just too fine and the fries will kind of disintegrate. ) Buy a bag of large potatoes—not the super huge ones. The potatoes need to be scrubbed well, but as long as they are being used for fries, they don’t need to be peeled (soil can harbor the botulism spores, but deep-frying will kill the botulism, so no need to worry about peeling). Cut the potatoes into fries and follow instructions in the BBB, except instead of boiling potatoes for 10 minutes, only boil for three. Place the fries in wide mouth canning jars. Continue canning per instructions from your BBB.

When you wish to eat some fries (which will be often!), open the jar and put the fries into a strainer. Thoroughly rinse and drain to remove excess starch. Deep fry in peanut oil until they reach a golden brown.

Dry Beans

Dry beans aren’t a particularly exciting item to can, unless you get excited about saving money, time, and energy. Dry beans normally take hours to prepare for each meal. By utilizing a pressure canner, you prepare beans for several meals at once, saving money now and time down the road. So how is it done?

By utilizing a pressure canner, you prepare beans for several meals at once

Soak beans for several hours or overnight. Rinse and drain beans several times, then fill jars about halfway. This is the part that is a little tricky, and I can’t be more precise than “about halfway.” You see, the exact amount to put in the jar will vary due to several factors—the type of bean, for example black beans usually expand more than pinto beans; the age of the bean; and how dry the bean is.
After filling jars about halfway with beans, add salt (1/2 teaspoon per pint, 1 teaspoon per quart) and boiling water. Process per instructions in your BBB.

Meats

For those who haven’t ever ventured into the world of canning meats, but do have experience with canning fruits and vegetables, don’t be scared. Yes, you need to follow directions and be careful, just like for produce, but canning meats is so much faster and easier! All meats are canned exactly as outlined in the BBB; what I present here, however, are some ideas for preparing and packaging meats for other uses generally not discussed elsewhere. Having a variety of dishes in our menus will be critical to good morale in the coming crisis.

Beef

I can a good quantity of stew meat to be used as is in stews, but also to be shredded for use as taco filling, French dips, etc. Ground beef also gets browned and canned so that I can make soups and casseroles very quickly. Most people who are preppers and canners are already familiar with this. However, I know it will be very nice in the future to also be able to have a hamburger now and then. Obviously stew meat won’t work for this purpose, and neither will ground beef that hasn’t had a little extra preparation.

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So this is what I do to have some hamburger patties. Form about one pound of ground beef into a log and roll it up in parchment paper that has been cut so that it is about an inch wider than the wide mouth jar being used for canning. Fold the parchment paper over the ends to help hold the hamburger log together. Put the hamburger log into the jar, making sure that you have one inch of head space. Process as per ground beef instructions in your BBB.

When you’re ready for some slider-sized burgers, run the jar under hot water for a minute or so to loosen the hamburger from the sides of the jar. Carefully slide the hamburger log out and remove the parchment paper. Slice the patties about ½” thick and fry them in a little butter or bacon grease for extra flavor. Serve with buns and all your favorite condiments.

Pork

Some pork is canned in chunks for later use in chili or to be shredded for taquito filling or super quick pulled pork sandwiches. Leftover ham from Christmas and Easter (we always get a large one for just this purpose) gets canned for adding to soups or fried rice.
I think bacon will be one of the most important morale boosters in the food department, so I can quite a bit. To can bacon strips, cut a piece of parchment paper about two inches longer than the height of a wide mouth pint jar. Lay the bacon strips (which you have cut into halves or thirds) side by side down the middle of the parchment, fold the parchment over the bacon ends, and tightly roll the bacon up as you go. You’ll need a few pieces of parchment, and you’ll want to overlap each additional parchment strip with the previous one to hold everything in place. Stop when the roll is large enough to fill the jar and place the roll in the jar. Process per BBB instructions for canning pork. When you wish to cook your bacon, you’ll need to run the jar under hot water to soften the fat and be able to remove the roll from the jar. Lightly brown the bacon and enjoy.

Can there be such a thing as too much BBQ after the grid goes down?

I also can bacon ends and pieces. These are typically sold in three-pound packages. There is usually quite a bit of fat, but there is also quite a lot of solid meat, and there are some pieces that look more like regular bacon. They all get canned separately. I use the bacon fat in some of my cooking, and the meat will become bacon bits for salads and baked potatoes. Some will say that in a TEOTWAWKI situation, bacon bits will be a bit of a ridiculous luxury. And I might have agreed a few years back, but for this one experience. A few years back we had a phenomenal crop of potatoes, and as such baked potatoes were a frequent dinner in our home. The kids were getting a little tired of them, so I decided to fry up a can of bacon bits to add to the spuds that night. I could not believe what a difference it made in the kids. They were so excited! Another lesson learned in avoiding flavor fatigue.

Chicken

This is probably what we can the most of in the meat department, mostly because I have one son who cannot have beef or pork. Home-canned chicken is perfect for making quick casseroles or adding to a summer salad for a main dish meal. And with a can of chicken on hand, it takes no time to get homemade chicken noodle soup ready when someone comes down with a cold.

Chicken bones. No, this isn’t being recommended as food for people, but chicken bones can be pressure canned (using directions for canning chicken meat) for feeding cats. Because the bones are hollow, after being pressure canned they can be easily mashed with a fork and fed to cats. Unfortunately, the chicken bones are too high in protein to be fed to dogs. (Too much protein can cause kidney damage in dogs.)

Convenience foods

Pressure canning is mostly about preserving the harvest, but it’s also just as much about making life easier. It’s what people have been doing for decades when purchasing processed foods at the grocery store. However, as more of us realize what kind of garbage is being added to commercially produced convenience foods, we’re opting to do more of our own. While we all enjoy freshly prepared meals, sometimes that just isn’t an option—the chief cook is sick, there’s been an emergency, or labors that day were needed elsewhere.

Keeping a ready supply of stew, chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce on hand for just such situations is a great way to reduce stress and be prepared at the same time.

Having some home canned convenience foods can really save the day. Keeping a ready supply of stew, chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce on hand for just such situations is a great way to reduce stress and be prepared at the same time. Because every family will have their own favorite recipes, I’m not providing any here. Most any recipe can be adapted for canning; one just needs to always remember to process for the time stated for the ingredient that needs the most time and highest pressure.

Traditional favorites for convenience foods to can at home are stews, soups and chili. Bear in mind, however, that some items just don’t do as well in a pressure canner at home. I’m not sure what the difference is between commercial canning and home canning, but unlike their commercially canned counterparts, noodles and rice just seem to go to mush when canned at home. So in this house we always add those ingredients just before mealtime.

With dark days ahead, and days that could quite conceivably turn into years, why not invest in a pressure canner and start preserving your own (at significantly greater savings over purchasing commercial products)? With more and more food being sourced from who knows where and with increasing reports of unsavory individuals employed at food processing plants, why not take control for more of our own food needs? A pressure canner is going to cost $100-$300. But the peace of mind that comes from preparing your own food? Priceless.

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A Different Perspective on Survival Tips

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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 Grayfox 114. 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.


As a regular reader of several “survival/prepper” blogs, and being a long term prepper and a survivalist well before the term became fashionable, I often shake my head in wonderment at some of the articles on the net! Everyone that writes a column seems to be giving advice on how this or that is invaluable in a SHTF situation, telling you what you should do or have in order to weather the storm, any storm, and survive, and putting forth the requirements for a bug out bag that will let you live off the grid for months! Nothing wrong with that, but it takes more than a bag.

As usual there is always a flip side, and frequently the flip side should carry a warning that “This may cause death or serious injury!” You never see this… Well, I’m going to play devils advocate and attack several of the most common so-called “survival tips” preps so prevalent on the web today. I will even offer a suggestion or two. Before I start, I will say that almost anything a person does to prepare is probably a good thing, but moderation should be the rule, an open ind is a plus, and remember, not everything you read on the internet is true!

Bugging Out is the best plan

This has always been a touchy issue with me, long before the best-selling novels which made bugging out via vehicle seem to be a fairly easy and exciting proposition. I think the reality is completely the opposite: bugging out in anything other than a controlled event will be disastrous in the extreme, especially if you live in or near a large city, It will be slightly less so in rural areas! In the event of a SHTF scenario, anyone that has waited till the last-minute to get prepared, or get going, is going to be in serious trouble.

Mass evacuations are a recipe for massive traffic jams.

Mass evacuations are a recipe for massive traffic jams.

Bugging out, if that’s what a person chooses to do, had better take place in front of an anticipated or looming event, not after it has occurred! Hurricanes are the event which comes to mind when I think of mass bug outs: long lines of slow-moving cars, or not, such as with Katrina, and most of the people just trying to get out of an area, with no particular destination in mind. There is usually plenty of warning when hurricanes are approaching. If something catastrophic were to happen near the front of the line of cars, it is a safe bet that everything would come to a halt, and then what? Your bug out has just stalled! Hopefully, you have a survival plan in place for a situation like this and have the required gear with you. Most people will not have either!

Let’s talk about a sudden SHTF event such as an earthquake, or worse yet, an EMP event. An earthquake that destroys the infrastructure of a given area will be bad, but it is likely that help will be available from places removed from the affected areas, but it may not arrive immediately. In a case like this, it is possible that many will want to or will have to bug out, but I DON’T THINK IT WILL BE FEASIBLE in most cases! The damage to infrastructures such as roads, buildings, bridges, gas stations, etc, will all serve to constrain movement, especially those people who are dependent on their car, soccer mom van or mini commuter to get around.

Bugging out will generally leave them caught betwixt and between the devil and the deep blue sea! And loading the family car, van or truck with all your “gear” will be appreciated by others when you’re stuck in traffic at a collapsed bridge. Do you really think you will be able to eat and drink while stuck in a procession of refugees, awaiting salvation, when everyone but you is hungry and thirsty? It won’t take much to bring out the animal in people! For the average person, a vehicle will be nothing more than a contrivance to get you away from your house.

road-rage-camera-hollywood-blvd

Tensions will rise higher in stressful situations.

Let’s go beyond a somewhat localized event and talk about an EMP. No one is really sure of the effects an EMP on modern society, but everyone agrees it will be bad. Most vehicles will stop, all types of electronics smoked, a failed power grid, nuke plants getting ready to fail and on and on. And the general consensus is that the problems won’t be localized, they will be national if not hemispheric wide, so forget help arriving. Assume for a minute that it does happen, and you’re at home, at your house in suburbia…You know the golden hordes will be pouring out of the cities, both trying to escape the chaos and some on the hunt. So, do you load your backpack with food, water, clothes, ammo, medicine, first aid kit, shelter pieces, your gas mask and binoculars, sleeping bag and other needed items and hit the road for the woods or your “bug out location?” Leaving several years of preps behind will not only be very difficult, it will be downright foolish! Oh, and the wife and two kids, aged 11 and 14, will be carrying their own “stuff” too…right? And it’s winter and there is 3’ of snow on the ground and the temperature is -12……..Anyone thinking bugging out is a viable option is delusional! Most that try this will be casualties within a day or so, victims of someone else, the elements or accidents. While the weather might slow down the refugee rush, it won’t stop them and eventually you will have to deal with them.

Personally, there are only two reasons I can think of for bugging out and leaving a home port: First, a fire or flood that threatens to destroy your home and preps and kill you, and second, to get to a previously stocked and secure retreat with everyone involved bringing their 72 hour packs and carrying defensive armament, but not carrying every required survival item on their back! Traveling fast and gray will be the order of the day and even this could be difficult, more so if you’re afoot, especially so if you haven’t trained, the weather is bad, or if one of your members is sick or injured or if you are being pursued or hunted! More on this later.

It should be obvious by now that I am not in favor of bugging out! I don’t have a back up retreat, although I wish I did, and in light of that I cannot realistically entertain the thought of leaving the security of my home and all my preps to head for some other location. Back to the fire or flood, I would secure what I have as best I could, on location, and would make a temporary short distance move. In a true SHTF event, I WOULD NOT trust my future to ANY governmental agency offering promises of aid with the requirement that I go somewhere! I am a firm believer that a trip to a FEMA camp in a major SHTF event would be a one way ride.

You need the ultimate bug out vehicle

The ultimate target or coffin would be more applicable! While it would be nice to have one vehicle that could “do it all,” most people cannot afford such a beast. I certainly can’t, and in spite of the fact that I am a very accomplished mechanic, modifying a vehicle in the manner so often suggested would be a major undertaking, and very expensive if you are paying someone to do the work. When you consider that even the military has trouble putting together such an all-purpose vehicle, at least one that has utility other than IED hunting, you should view such an undertaking with a jaundiced eye!

 

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

A high horsepower, jacked up and armored 4×4 war wagon, nice to look at and maybe even drive, is NOT what is desired. It is, or will be, a high priority target in the event bugging out becomes a reality, and shtf has escalated to a world WROL! (without rule of law) I think the money a person would be spending on something with as limited a use as a war wagon that might or might not be running after an event could be better spent in many other vital areas! If you choose to have a dedicated bug out rig, ascribe to the “gray man” theorem and make it a nondescript ¾ ton, long wheel base 4×4, gas or diesel, preferably one from the 70’s or earlier. Make it reliable, use available monies to add extra fuel capacity and spare parts and possibly a camper shell………Remember, alternators and the associated voltage regulators on most vehicles are electronic devices and an EMP could fry them! You won’t go far without electricity, even if the engine still functions, so plan ahead with spares, or better yet, get a an early generator (NOT ALTERNATOR) and regulator from a pre 65 vehicle and have the hardware to mount it on your ride if needed! Put a steel shield, one perforated with ¼” holes, in front of the vehicle radiator to provide some ballistic protection to this vital component, add a heavy front bumper and you’re ahead of the average bear. Tires are difficult to protect, but 10 ply load range E are tough and they can be plugged. A 12 volt compressor which fills a small on board air tank should be part of your accessory package. If your truck has an automatic transmission, shield the lines that run from the trans to the radiator. Easy to do and it will prevent damage that could cause hemorrhaging of the ATF. A small trailer carrying additional non vital but nice to have gear would be a great addition, one that could be dropped if required. Regardless of what you drive, stay aware, stay gray, and stay ahead of the crowd.

Survive as an Army of One

This is a common mindset among many preppers. So many preppers have the attitude and idea of hunkering down to wait for the zombies, killing them if they threaten. Noble and dumb! And hiding in the rocks with your 30-30 and a bologna sandwich, sniping them as they move in, is a pipe dream. You’ll have a 40mm or an 82 dropped on you in short order. And UN troops or government storm troopers? If you are bugging in place, or even bugging out post event, you had better have a plan to deal with and negotiate with them, at least initially. It is highly unlikely that you are well-trained enough to deal with a professionally trained adversary, it is a virtual certainty that you do not have the required armaments to deal with their vehicles, at least initially. This is when the old adage about not keeping all your eggs in one basket should make its worth known. In the event “they” do a search of your habitat, not finding a large store of food, ammunition and other prohibited items might alleviate suspicion.

LoneSoldier

Everyone does better in a group of people. Being on your own might work for a little while but it is not a long-term viable option.

Several years ago there was a monthly paper published by some Army Spec Ops soldiers from Fort Benning, Georgia. The publication was called the RESISTER and dealt with numerous issues of the day, most notably an out of control government that was using the military to deal with American citizens and enforce gun control and martial law (For what it’s worth, the Army, the government and other agencies were furious about the publication and content of the RESISTER, and pulled out all the stops to find the publishers and put a stop to the paper. As far as I know, they were never caught, but for some reason the publication disappeared) The RESISTER stressed that going head to head with a trained military force was suicidal! You might take out one or two of the OPFOR out, but you would be killed. There would be no negotiations such as would happen with the police. The suggestion put forth by the RESISTER was “give them something, some of what they are after, and let them leave. You can live to fight another day.” This is as applicable today as it was then. I feel the only time a person should be an Army of One would be in the event of a round-up of people for transport to a camp or holding facility. If you cannot make an escape, then fight with everything at your disposal and hope your neighbors join in! Getting on a bus or train or truck or falling in line to be marched off is the last thing you should be doing, and might be the last thing you do, particularly if you have no needed skills, you have a physical defect, or if you are on one of the reported lists, Red, Green, Blue, that are purported to exist. Useless eaters probably won’t be tolerated.

Regardless of your feelings about being impotent, cowardly, traitorous to the cause, don’t act foolishly and in haste when dealing with occupiers or those in power. Bide your time, because opportunities will arise. A quick look at history will show this to be a fact once the initial “blood letting” has subsided, so be patient. Think before you act and think about the repercussions of whatever act you perpetrate, but above all, be ready to act if the situation requires action!

I’ll just hit the woods and live off the land

Sure you will, for a short time, until you are shot by someone viewing you as a threat or a target of opportunity, or until you stumble onto someone else’s turf and they take everything you have, or till you starve to death when your food runs out or you become incapacitated by eating a plant that you were sure was listed as safe and nutritious in a book you read. Anyone planning on being a modern-day Daniel Boone needs to rethink their position. While it might be possible to rough it and survive, few people have the skills needed, particularly using what they can carry in a back pack.

If you are forced to bug out, make sure you have a plan and maps if you have to go across country.

If you are forced to bug out, make sure you have a plan and maps if you have to go across country.

To start with, everyone thinks they will kill deer, elk, moose and other big game and be set for food. Maybe, but how are you going to process, preserve and store several hundred pounds of meat? Darn difficult to take a lot of it with you, you’re on the move, remember? Besides, your pack already weighs 70 pounds and is full. Trapping is not an option, because you’re not going to be in one place long enough to set a line, and you didn’t bring any steel with you, anyway, and pole fishing is not terribly rewarding. Living off the land is fraught with problems and pitfalls even when a person has really prepared for it. Read some of the books by homesteaders in Alaska to get a feel for the problems faced. And these are skilled people not being hunted, and not trying to stay off the radar, but just trying to survive till spring! I don’t consider living off the land to be anything but a short-term, emergency proposition. And judging by the number of people who have this very thing in mind, the woods and forests might soon become a battleground among like-minded individuals.

For what it’s worth, I believe the multiple TV reality shows about people in Alaska have implanted a false sense of security and bravado in many people, making them think they could go off grid and make a go of it. Nothing could be further from the truth in my opinion. The people featured on these shows are not really off the grid. They hike to a location carrying what they have in a pack, and suddenly they have a cabin, food, transportation and all the trappings needed to live reasonably safe and secure in the wilds. Truth be known, mos of them would starve to death or freeze within a year. The shows are a far cry from reality!

I’ll just take what I need from other people

While not common, there are people in the prepper community that have this as a plan. They are idiots, and while they may be successful a time or two, they will eventually meet the wrong person. There are an estimated 300 million guns in America, and I consider this to be a conservative estimate. This should give wannabe miscreants a pause, but some will still pursue this venue. When the SHTF and the rule of law is no more, a whole new set of rules will surface and punishments will be swift and possibly deadly. Being a criminal will not be a healthy occupation, especially when people realize they are on their own and take drastic steps to protect what is theirs. I included this segment because I frequently hear it being discussed.

Being a criminal will not be a healthy occupation, especially when people realize they are on their own and take drastic steps to protect what is theirs.

While on this subject, think about your neighbors, friends and acquaintances. I happen to live in a lightly populated area, but with the realization that I cannot make it alone, I have broached the subject of preparedness with a few of my neighbors. Only one has the mindset and preps that are similar to mine. The others, seven households in the immediate area, claim to be ready, but they have limited stores of anything remotely approaching “preps,” they are more interested in a week-end get away than buying storage foods, and they tend to scoff at some of the ideas I have about what might be in store for us. What they do have are guns and ammo and the knowledge that I and mine are true preppers, in spite of the fact that I have practiced OPSEC, and this leaves me on the horns of a dilemma so to speak. If something should happen, will they show up looking for a hand out, or worse, will they show up demanding food, water, medicine or something else? I might be supportive of friends and neighbors, but they had better have something to offer other than themselves. Providing some security while eating you out of house and home is not a viable option! And “taking what they need” will not work with me! The wife of one neighbor is a nurse/anesthesiologist, and the first aid items for their house consist of some over the counter meds and bands aids. They feel that hospitals and doctors will always be available. Like it or not, these are the people who will be here when the SHTF, so they either have to be enlightened or dealt with.

The points above are not etched in stone by any means. They are my personal feelings and beliefs, formed over 25+ years of prepping, and “fleshed out” from various sources. I am not suggesting that anyone abandon what plans they may have, but hopefully, this will at least cause some to review them. Regardless, my plans are to “bug in place” and work from there.

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7 Frugal Gardening Tips to Help You Prepare

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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 Connie G. 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.


I enjoy gardening and being frugal. I also have been prepping for many years, knowing that ice storms and cold weather happens here every winter, and often after paying bills the budget is stretched tight. Prepping doesn’t have to be in case of civil unrest or a pandemic, prepping can be for everyday life.

Here are some gardening tips I have learned over the years that save money, allowing me to grow more for less which opens up cash to spend on prepper supplies and less at the grocery store.

Use Willow Water

This gardening hint is straight from my grandma, who lived a long life planting just about anything. Here it is 55 years later, and I still remember her teaching me useful gardening information. Using willow water really helps to root cuttings faster and to water plants with to stimulate more root production. Willow water is easy to make, just take some soft, pliable branch tips of any type of willow and soak for a week or two in regular water.

Curly willow, pussy willow, weeping willow, Arctic willow among other varieties all work well, and to make it really easy, I put the branch tips right into my watering bucket. As it is used I just refill the bucket with more water. Scientists have discovered the willow water contains Salicylic acid, which is in rooting hormone for plants. Grandma didn’t know why, just knew that by watering her cuttings and transplants with willow water they would grow strong roots that reached out for water and helped plants grow sturdy.

Chamomile Tea

Tepid chamomile tea sprayed onto the soil and on tiny seedlings can help prevent damping off. Damping off is so discouraging. Waiting patiently for days, your seeds finally germinate and emerge from the soil. A day or two later, you see your seedlings just tip over, with the stems looking like they were pinched. Heart breaking. That’s damping off, a fungal disease that includes root rots and molds. The tepid chamomile tea sprayed onto the soil and plants can help treat fungus naturally found in soil and air.

DIY Seed Starting Containers

Looking for cheap seed starting containers? Plastic flats are nice, but usually too big for window sills and way too big for starting 10 or 12 tomato seeds of each variety. I actually plant about 700 tomato seeds each year of all kinds of heirloom varieties, then give most away. This way i can enjoy planting lots of seeds!

disposable-plastic-containers

Use plastic non compostable deli containers with clear covers.

I use plastic non compostable deli containers with clear covers that friends and relatives save for me. They are the right size for starting seeds, and by marking them with variety name and date sown, you have the info right at your fingertips. The clear covers act like a mini greenhouse, just be sure when the seeds germinate you open the covers up for air to get in and to allow the seeds some room to grow. When it is time to transplant, I just pull up a chair and carefully lift each seedling into its next home, usually a 4 inch plastic pot filled with potting soil. The deli containers can be used for 4 – 5 years, being sure to relabel the following year to keep things straight.

Kleenex

Have you ever tried sowing tiny seeds like carrots and getting them all over or way too close? If you take a sheet of paper towel or Kleenex and cut into strips, you can make easy to use seed tapes. Mix up some flour and water to make a thick paste. Make dots of paste on the strips and then place a seed onto each dot. The strip can be put into a small furrow then covered up with soil. After a short time the strip will decompose and the seed is already well on its way growing.

Parsley

If you like the look of containers filled with lovely blooms, but wish they were more than just decorative, consider growing parsley around the edges as a pretty green accent plant. The parsley can be added to your cooking and dried for use in the winter. Not only is this a great way to frugally fill decorative containers, imagine how much iron, Vitamin A and C you will be adding to your diet. Parsley can be washed, dried then placed in a freezer bag in the freezer. It can also be dried and used that way as well.

Fruit Bushes instead of ornamental shrubs

Use fruit bushes as window dressing instead of traditional ornamental shrubs.

Use fruit bushes as window dressing instead of traditional ornamental shrubs.

If you are looking to add shrubs to your landscape, consider thorny edibles like raspberries and blackberries. You can harvest the fruit for jams and jellies, or just eating fresh. Not only that, the thorns can be quite painful, planted in sunny spots near windows it can help deter people from trying to break in.

Compost

Compost to raise fertility in your soil. Keep in mind animal bones, fatty substances and pet urine and manure should not be included in your compost pile. Coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and veggie peelings, leaves (not black walnut), grass clippings (without pesticides and herbicides) can all be incorporated into rich material to help bring nutrients to your garden where they are needed.

Remember every year is different. Some years you may have bumper crops of tomatoes and peppers, while the following year is filled with more green beans than you can manage. Plant a little extra just in case.

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How I Plan on Bugging In

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.


There are multiple articles, videos, and books about bugging out and a few on bugging in. My aim here is to throw a bit of thought on the bugging in concept from my unarmed Canadian perspective. This article is more a personal ramble than a detailed ‘how to’ for others.

Bug In or Bug Out?

For me my first choice is a bug in at home though I am not sold on it as a definite concept. For this reason I have one prime bug out location (BOL) at a cottage and two secondary ones at friends’ homes. This is really a personal choice. For all those that say you are 100% dead staying at home in SHTF there are more saying you will 100% die in the woods. The truth is between the two extremes but for me I need a roof and walls so I have them at home and at the cottage. If you bug in will it work long-term? If you bug out can you get there and can you be assured of survival on arrival?

The Bug Out at the Primary Residence or Your Primary Bug Out Location (BOL)

If you do not have a wood fire and close, dense forests then I’d not even consider this. Same is required for several local water sources. Having a great knowledge of the neighborhood helps even if the neighbors are literally a knife throw away! For me I keep them both equally stocked as I am still figuring out the pros and cons of each and likely will be doing so until, and if, the actual SHTF occurs. “Two is one, one is none” seems a good rule except for BOL where many people have one main choice. So rather than having one, either bug in it home or bug out then in at a BOL, I have two. Costs more of course but if you are really preparing for the end of civilization it seems a better idea to me than focusing on only one main alternative.

Food

You should have a year’s supply of food stored in the house and the same buried nearby that you can access even if you cannot use your house. That would be a minimum for a SHTF scenario. As you go beyond this (I’d aim for twenty years supply. I have two at present) keep a year’s worth in the home or BOL and the rest in ground cached nearby in multiple locations but accessible if you cannot safely enter the home.

If you are focusing on preparing for a Winter storm, train derailment, etc. then you are preparing for something other than the end of civilization. I always prepare for the worst possible case as it makes the more likely events very easy to navigate through. This should cost you about a thousand dollars. Buy Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Buy strong food grade buckets and consider the gamma lids for all of them but at least four of them. Unscrew the middle, empty, add a plastic bag, and you have a toilet!

You should have a year’s supply of food stored in the house.

Buy oats, flour, pastas, sugar, extra virgin coconut oil, rice, beans, and grains (each bucket has most of these as you do not have only one or two types of food in a bucket. If you have to grab a couple and run at least you have a bit of variety) in bulk and freeze them for 72 hours to kill the critters and then decant into one gallon or smaller Mylar bags. Add in yeast and salt and spices to every bucket and you are good to go. Have a good mix of types rather than just white rice and pinto beans (these are a great staple but have a variety available).

On average each five gallon bucket is approximately one month’s food for one person but with decent foraging and careful use you can stretch this to two months. You will lose weight but so is everyone else. They stack well but are obvious so plan where you keep them carefully. Mine has asphalt added to their outside for the driveway sealing I’m never going to do. Consider the Mylar bags only in your attic placed so they cannot be seen if anyone looks into the space if the attic is not a room. Consider tins and cans stocked in under the bed containers placed under the stairs and well covered by the usual junk people have. I have a huge amount of tins and jars padded by blankets in the bottoms of boxes filled with old cassette and video tapes. If able put tins and bottles inside wall spaces which I have not as yet done.

I do rotate food but not the long-term stores. I have about ten cardboard buckets filled with a variety of everyday foods we normally eat and replace the filled pantry from these and then repurchase. This adds up quickly and we believe tins do not really expire if not used before their expiry dates.

Tools for Survival

BioLite Wood Burning Campstove – Powers most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones

A full range of gardening tools and prepping supplies is an absolute requirement as is seeds. Seeds go off so get the expensive Mylar sealed ones but spend only $10-20 on these a year. Buy a few every year and store carefully. You cannot have too many nor can you wait until SHTF to learn gardening. It is a lot of fun and not as hard as I figured it would be before I started out. Consider raised garden boxes and have lots of tarps and nails to cover these if the SHTF is radiological. Have poles and clear plastic to construct a greenhouse if, like me, you do not need one at present. Learn how to harvest seeds now and not in SHTF. I have mixed success with beans and amaranth and incredible success with most herbs. I am still learning but it is easy and fun once you get into it. I absolutely will not be gardening until after the first Winter post SHTF. This would be making myself a target.

Have three plans to cook food and make sure all three are not dependent on modern civilization. I have a wood house fire, a BioLite, and a solar cooker. I also have propane for those none long-term events when I don’t really want to cook in the living room. Have at least two good quality cast iron pans and the ability to boil water in 5-10 pint amounts on an open flame.

Have good quality foraging and wilderness skills books. Open these up frequently and look at them and try to use them. Have a large store of plastic bags and bottles. Learn how to boil can as a minimum and have a plan to dehydrate via solar large quantities of fruits and vegetables. Your pre-collapse buckets will eventually run out and your job is to use them as little as possible for as long as possible. Have some ability and knowledge to harvest tree sap for drinking and for boiling down into sugars if you live in a suitable area. Know how to harvest bark and cook it. It is tasty and full of sugars. Again do not wait until SHTF to find the axe is rubbish for this or you do not know how to peel it correctly from a living tree.

For me livestock is not possible for various reasons but if you can you should explore this and make sure you can feed them well in SHTF even if the stores never open again. Fishing rods, lines, hooks, and nets are set up at home and the cottage for us and we know how to smoke them (the fish I mean!).

If you do not sprout seeds already may I suggest you start to do so? It is easy, healthy, and tasty. Again they go off over time so buy yearly but keep all of them. Some is better than none. They also turn into plants and require very simple equipment you should have now rather than try to improvise in SHTF.

Water

Berkey Filters are excellent Prepper resources.

Berkey Filters are excellent Prepper resources.

Have at least two sources of water within easy walking range. Have a wheel barrow and buckets to transport it to cut down on the time and effort this part of your new life will take. If this is not possible you need to store thousands of gallons of water not a few cases of bottled water.

Have the ability to clean and use the water using various means. Initially I am using stored water and then the Berkey Water Filter. This is expensive but I do feel a good Berkey with four black and four white filters at my home are well worth the investment. We used it in a previous home for all our water but here it is wrapped up in a plastic tote waiting for the day I need it again. Next year the BOL gets one as well as it is an essential and essentials should work very well, for years, and be ready to use at your destination not carried there. Tablets and portable filter systems are for traveling only in my opinion. I have a lot of them so I can use them for daily living if the need arises.

Good quality rain barrels, tarps, and food grade plastic pipes should be readily available to convert rain into water for drinking, bathing, and the garden. Again I have these but they are not set up as I am not keen on screaming “prepper” to anyone who walks by the house or cottage. You should also have a large supply of large clear soda pop bottles. I do not use the stuff myself but collect them from others who do for “starting my plants”. Prefilter, lie in the sun, and consume in a couple of days. SODIS water treatment is clearly explained on the web and is an easy back up plan to provide large quantities of water if the Berkley fails.

Heating

As I said I’d not consider staying anywhere without wood heating but I live near lots of woods and in a climate that gets a bit cold in the Winter. Cold enough to freeze your nose hairs! I have a decent tent system and on top of the mattress in front of the fire it will work great especially with the sleeping system we have. I have not duplicated this at the cottage as I’d rather travel with the ability to be warm but I see the need to spend the cash at some point in the near future.

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Wood-stoves in Northern climates will save lives in a SHTF event.

I have lots of black bags to seal the windows (see Security) and lots of cheap survival blankets to put up for heat reflection and clear plastic for the doorways. It is my number one concern as death will come swiftly to the unheated up here. In the Summer (yes it does get hot in Canada) the basement of the home stays cool and the cottage stays cool as it is on a rock system by a river.

We have decent Winter clothing in both places and SHTF clothing ready to go in the basement. I went with merino wool for the base layers but have cheaper layers to wick if I feel the need to change clothes in the Winter. I plan on getting smelly in SHTF (see Security) initially and during the Winter a weekly spot wash is all I can see doing.
Power

I would love to put up solar panels at the home and the cottage but until more people do it is just a big, fat target on me. The one home in our neighborhood with solar is not defensible and I cannot see how they expect to stay there if armed and cold people show up. One day perhaps when 25% of the homes do this I will but until then it is simply not worth the risk.

I plan to have no lights at night. Up at dawn, work hard, sleep at night when not on watch from day one in SHTF. For millennia that was the human experience and I see clinging to our current lifestyle in any form in SHTF as being risky. I can use solar lights to generate light that is brighter than the current house lights but that is for emergencies only. I am not even sure if I’d risk it then but I have it and it works. I use a few small solar panels that easily get enough power for this when set up on the 300 square foot balcony and the Biolite stove produces a bit.

I am flirting with a gas generator but for SHTF I cannot see the use. We no longer have a sump pump in the basement so really it would be for the fridge and freezer in a temporary Summer blackout.

Transportation

Our car is the bugout vehicle of choice and we keep 40 liters of gas on hand all the time but if I cannot use it then we have decent bikes with small panniers. Walking would be our main transport method so the wheel barrow is an essential bit of kit as well as good quality back packs. Other than the local area I am not planning traveling much at all in SHTF. Kayaks at the cottage would be helpful in the warmer months if a distance travel was needed but I’d not risk it without a clear destination and honestly in SHTF my local area will be the extent of my concerns.

Security

Guns run out of ammo and using them might not be a good idea if people fire back. The noise would also likely attract a lot of unwanted attention. Plus in Canada it is not as easy to equip yourself like GI Joe as it is in our neighbor to the south. I also think it creates a false sense of security but that is just my opinion. If I find a gun in SHTF I’ll carry it and use it. I have some plans on how to do that but it is not really a legal thing.

The home is defended mainly by passive means. Heavy duty iron fencing and another six-foot wooden one going up in the Spring. Having dogs means this sort of fencing is actually above suspicion and welcomed by the neighbors. Barb wire and solar motion lights go up in SHTF as I am not that sociable at the best of times. Doors, windows, and frames have the fixes easily done and available on the web but the wood pile by the garage is basically entering the ground floor in early SHTF. Stacked high and deep on tarps it won’t allow anyone to get in. We can leave the house by the ladder on the balcony as and when we feel it is safe to do so. It does mean I can be burned out but the house is concrete and looks small and uninviting compared to the neighborhood which are wood and much larger. Passive alarms on any entry point and wooden hurricane boards are further things that go up in SHTF.

Operation Enduring Freedom

The cottage goes for not looking inhabited and the already ransacked method. As a nurse I have a collection of body bags and a few of these around the place with rotting meat inside would likely put off most people along with the danger contamination signs and tape.

Both places have food and supplies in ground away from them in case of loss of the building (fire or intruders) and I have plans to evacuate and retake both places. This is situational and has some legal issues so I am not discussing it here but stay and fight to me seems more risky than running from the determined and taking it back later on. I’d definitely allow any intruders who have driven me from the place to find a large amount of alcohol that is poorly hidden. As hard as it might be to not drink it myself in SHTF I want to make sure a large group of intruders can get well drunk in this circumstance.

Both places have lots of black heavy-duty garbage bags and duct tape. All doors and windows get blacked out but, again, I am not planning to use light sources at night. In the first few months of SHTF I am also not planning to have the fires going at all and later on only at night. If it hits in the Winter this will have to change but we can stay warm enough without a fire for a week or more. Making cooking smells or showing smoke is just not worth it in the early phase of SHTF and we have planned food, clothing, and sleeping accordingly. Use a wood fire at night if possible and have no daytime smoke.

Active methods of security are bows and lots of arrows. The home entry points are blocked so anyone determined enough to scale the 9-12 foot balcony might be asked politely to not do so. We also have a lot of throwing knives and attached to long sticks, they can be useful to spear fish or any other thing dumb enough to try to get into the home. Classic historical methods of deterring intruders from your ‘castle’ and they work silently. A well-aimed piece of fire wood is also off-putting. One thing I have determined that intruders are dealt with in ways that mean they cannot every return to try again.

In both areas we have good relations with our neighbors and plan to help them out a bit depending on the SHTF. We know them and their habits and have studied them carefully for a few years. We absolutely have not revealed ourselves as preppers nor would do so in SHTF. I am hoping for a Winter event so this aspect dies off rapidly but you need to have neighbors who are allies not enemies. In a bad SHTF they are all enemies so mainly we plan to hide out and defend as best we can.

Going outside will be carefully done. The radios are only for emergency use and we would only use planned routes and times of travel to avoid people. Having worked twelve-hour nights for years it will be no issue going outside at 3am and being back by 5am. Each outside trip will be in the same outer clothes each time and no these will never get laundered. Hair and beards will grow as if we cannot heat water to clean them. After a couple of weeks your hair does not really need washing anyhow (yes we tried that!). Food intake will be rationed so we will lose weight except the day before any planned heavy work or travel when we will have a decent 4000-5000 Calorie day. This will also be a Sunday thing for us but mainly 1500-2000 calories a day the rest of the time. Fat people will stand out very quickly in SHTF.

Have one in ground food cache and two in home ones that are okay but you would happily surrender to an intruder if over powered. Giving them something very reluctantly might save you or not but is worth a try. Getting a week’s worth by emptying your “only” stores should make them happy. In a slowly evolving SHTF we will ask for food and water. We will line up for it and use anything supplied locally. Not doing so is a big red flag that you do not need the help.
After the first year we plan to advertise our health care skills if the area is stable and generally join in with whatever community is there. As both towns are old ones with a long history of water trade and lumbering I cannot see someone not starting a community in them once the population has again dropped to a normal historical size for the terrain. Skills are more important than equipment and we both have great health care skills. We also have a lot of equipment and know how to replace it. People will need to give birth and have bones fixed and cuts sutured.

Obviously offering these services will only be done when our community has sorted itself out without our help. I have no desire to be the leader nor am I willing to risk our preps before stability has occurred. I also have no desire to join a prepping community as I cannot see myself being part of either a paramilitary or hippy organization. Maybe I’ll meet some eventually that seem more suitable and I would happily store food and supplies in their BOL but I’d rather be a lone wolf than submit to some else’s authority however benign.

Location

We carefully choose our home and cottage. Both are out of the obvious way especially the cottage and both have large garden areas and plentiful trees and water very nearby. Even this step seems not enough and we are floating the idea of relocating a lot more northwards when we retire in 5-6 years. The cottage can be easily sealed off from vehicle travel and should be the primary bug in location for us. What puts me off this is knowing that the locals will drive around on ATVs with guns for a while after SHTF has happened looting all the cottage places even those not on lakes and remote. The cottage supplies are mainly buried except for old and dirty tools that work great. I see it as a Summer place and the home as the Winter place. I’m actually planning to loot abandoned lake cottages myself by kayak or snow shoe in early SHTF if at the cottage.

Walk everywhere around your locations and make careful notes as to where all water sources are including swimming pools. Note all fruit trees and clusters of wild edibles. Over time note when these are ready for harvest and learn how to store and process them. For us in Canada it is vital we know our black walnuts and acorns. The protein and fats from them is utterly essential to have.

Know all the roads and trails and rail links. Where are the out-of-town food warehouses and how can you get to them easily? If you have local bus and train services where do they normal park when not in use? Diesel is always a useful addition and our local trains have lots of spades, axes, and other goodies stored in them. Police, Fire, and Ambulance buildings should be known and considered for entry. Even if ransacked already likely you can find useful things inside.

Future

I’d like to be able to install solar and wind power after an SHTF but the cost is too much for me at present so I am looking at ways to do so from scavenging materials. Overall prepping is a hobby for me and I am hoping it never becomes my life but if it does then I will do what I can in the now to help my loved ones survive and a new community arise.

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Short-Term Food Storage for Beginners

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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 Bessie M. 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.


In the prepping world some people differentiate between long-term food storage and short-term food storage. Some don’t. Long-term storage stores longer (you probably figured that out on your own). It doesn’t have to be rotated as quickly, though you should always strive to rotate. It is generally much less expensive, and takes less space than short-term storage foods, and it is loaded with calories and the basic building blocks for nutrition (at least, it should be). In general, long-term storage food staples like whole grains, beans, flour, oil, sugar, etc., aren’t usually eaten on their own and they can take considerable time to prepare. They are not the foods you want to have when a natural disaster strikes.

That’s what short-term food storage is for.

Short-term food storage is a supply of foods that you normally eat. In our family, we aim for a minimum three-month supply. When TEOTWAWKI hits, especially if it is a natural disaster or involves the loss of the power grid, those initial days are going to be highly stressful. This is not the time to make dietary changes or to have the stress of preparing new and unfamiliar meals from scratch. This is definitely the time to keep meals as close to normal as possible for you and your family, especially children. You really don’t want to add stress to your digestive system. That will only make life a lot more stressful. Because it will also be hard to think and plan meals, you will be much better equipped to deal with the disaster if you have prepared in advance.

Planning for Short-Term Food Storage

In the first one to three days of TEOTWAWKI, you’re dealing with the shock of it all, with multiple problems. Over the years in our family we’ve experienced several power outages and several boil water orders. However, we’d never dealt with both at the same time, and so we decided to give that a try. I was truly astonished at how difficult it was to create meals—and this was during a time when there wasn’t the added stress of a real emergency. We were just trying to get an idea of what it would be like without clean water and power. Of course, we had water stored—a lot of it. But in a real disaster you don’t necessarily know when the water is going to be safe again, so you want to be careful with your supplies. I didn’t want to make meals that required a lot of water to prepare or to wash afterwards. The whole experience was quite eye-opening.

So when TEOTWAWKI hits, you’re going to want to eat foods from the fridge and freezer first, if possible, if they don’t require much preparation. Beyond that, you’ll want true convenience foods. A few cases (depending on family size) of MREs and freeze-dried foods would be reasonable. We have three cases of MREs here, to be used as a last resort due to the high salt, fat, and calorie content (not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those involved in heavy physical labor). However, you really want to make sure you have some laxative to help pass it. Freeze-dried foods and meals are more expensive than MREs but can be prepared just as quickly. They do require water to re-hydrate, but lack the undesirable constipating effects of MREs. And they generate very little in the way of dirty dishes.

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When power goes out, cooking over a campfire is a simple option that only requires a safe place for a fire. Optional implements like cast iron cookware and a grill help.

After the first three days, things are still going to be difficult. You are still going to want convenience-type foods that you normally eat. For breakfast meals you’ll want boxes of cereal, instant oatmeal packets, freeze-dried fruit to add some variety, and shelf-stable milk. Pancake mix will work when you need a little change. Powdered eggs can provide for instant scrambled eggs, but they have a greyish tint to them that some find unappealing. Plan to have some salsa or ketchup (or low lighting) to hide the color. And you can’t go wrong with hot chocolate. Breakfast is also a good time to include a multi-vitamin for each member of the group.

For lunches canned soups (make sure to get a good variety) and chili will still be very quick and easy. Boxes of macaroni and cheese can be prepared without too much trouble, assuming you have milk and (shelf stable boxes of milk or evaporated milk) and butter (freeze-dried butter, or coconut oil makes a surprisingly good butter substitute). Crackers and peanut butter, canned or dried fruits, and some juice boxes will round out your midday meals.

Read More: Where There Is No Kitchen: Cooking When The Grid Goes Down

As far as dinners go, you’ll want some packages of hamburger helper (make sure to get varieties you actually enjoy) and cans of stew. You definitely want several boxes of instant rice. Not only does instant rice take far less time to prepare, it also needs far less water. Rice-a-roni and couscous (plain and flavored) are also prepared fairly quickly and will add variety to your diet. Canned meats, such as hamburger for adding to your hamburger helper, canned vegetables and canned fruits will round out your meals. As you purchase your canned goods, bear in mind that cans with the pull tabs that you just peel back and don’t require a can opener are not as sturdy as the cans that don’t have the pull tabs. I’d go with the sturdier can any day.

For treats have on hand small packages of a wide variety of foods. You’ll want healthier items such as jerky, dried fruit, and nuts, as well as sweet comfort foods such as cookies and candy. Chips don’t store as long or as well, but you understand the need to rotate your foods, right? Also consider storing pretzels, goldfish crackers, or whatever items your family enjoys.

These foods will eventually run out, and they aren’t necessarily all that healthy. Again, as you build this short-term food storage, remember the importance of variety. I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t be like my son’s college roommate out on his own for the first time. He bought a case of Chef Boyardee raviolis and thought he was set. After ten days into this experience, he realized the error of his ways and spent the rest of the semester trying to trade it away. He was never successful—and he never finished the case. This three-month supply is to be utilized as you gradually transition your body and taste buds and cooking skills to long-term storage foods.

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In addition, as you build this storage, make sure you have enough calories, like 2,500-3,000 calories per person. Yes, this is at least 500-600 more calories than most people need each day. If TEOTWAWKI isn’t stressful or demanding a lot of you physically, you’ll have extra food. You’ll never regret having stored too many calories. And please don’t deceive yourself into thinking it will be the ideal time to start your diet. With the stress and exertion, you’ll start shedding pounds immediately. Don’t add the stress of insufficient calories. I often see companies promoting a 1,200 calorie per day meal package, or a plan that suggests 1,600-1,800 calories per day will be adequate. Now this is fine for children, but not for teens, not for adults, and not for anyone who is experiencing stress. It’s not sufficient for anyone doing heavy labor, like often occurs in a disaster, and not for cold temperatures when the body needs more calories.

Unfortunately, I can’t really provide a shopping list of exact foods and quantities to purchase. For one thing, individual tastes vary widely. For another, the food manufacturers are constantly changing the packaging, labeling, and ingredients. Sometimes the packages are actually decreased in size. Sometimes the manufacturers maintain the same can size, but they actually decrease the amount of food and increase the amount of water. And sometimes they do both while claiming to have the same number of servings per container, even though they have decreased the number of calories in those servings. It’s something we all have to pay attention to when we shop.

And finally, as you build your short-term food storage, make sure you store it properly. Properly means cool, dark, and dry. It does not mean in a hot garage or in the attic. Nothing decreases the nutritional value and palatability of food faster than heat. The number of people who disregard or ignore this counsel is staggering. Do store your food in closets, under the bed, in the basement, etc. The cooler, the better. If you haven’t started yet, begin building your storage today with a trip to the store on your way home from work. You’ll be glad you did.

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The Poor Man Prepper

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PCPrepperGuild. 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.


I am so sick and tired of a large majority of these stories always talking about all these real nice things people have for Bugging out. Oh look at our All terrain 4X4 Super Duty Extended Cab 8ft bed Jacked up fully loaded Ford Diesel Pickup. With our totally decked out bug out trailer that’s going to keep me and my family safe so I can return to my $ 180,000.00 a yr. job.

I mean am I the only one that feels this way? I make $ 50,000.00 a year as a Professional Firefighter.  And just to state, at the end of the day, I really don’t have a lot of money left. I also work a part-time job. Still can’t seem to come up with money to buy that kind of truck. Plus have all the extras, we all know they’re going to say this man has.

So let’s get down and dirty here and talk about what a common working man would have. Poor Man Prepping… Now I may be all wrong here, and just a complete dumb-ass. But most of the people I know are just like me. Just trying to make, a better life for their kids. We are the ones that don’t have that bug out location, and are going to have to bug in at first just to see how things go.

One day at the station we were sitting around the table, and the talk was about The Walking Dead, love the show, but I asked ‘so what would you guys all do if SHTF happened right now?’ Boom the world fell apart. We went around the table and each guy that was in the conversation said what they would do. Every single one of them gave pretty much the same answer. Get their guns, grab their stuff, load up the family and leave. So when it came around to me well, they didn’t like my answer. I was going to go to each one of their houses, and grab their stuff, I can use to help me and my family survive in our home. Something to think about.

Yea we do have some Bug out Bags and Boxes ready to go, our own small stockpile of prepping supplies. Maybe even a Chevy pickup to throw all that into. But in the end, we will be the ones banding together to make it. Yea I might be the one with the stove and cooking supplies, possibly a shotgun to try to protect my family with. But my neighbor could be the guy with all the guns and nothing else. It just cracks me up that as I read article after article on here it always seems as though there trying to brag or show off in some way.

So now that I’m way off point.

PennyPincher

Good! I am going to start writing my own articles and see where this takes me, I can say one thing for sure we are going to talk about what a common working man can afford and can get. Should they have 3 to 6 months worth of food stocked up in his basement with his AR15 and Shotgun and all his other guns, plus Gallons and gallons of water? Well it would be nice. But then again were talking about what we can do to prep.

Let’s start small, and build from there.

1 Sharpe Permanent marker, no this may never stop a mob from stealing your stuff but it will make sense in a sec. Cases of water is really what got me going, Buy one or two cases and store them in a cool dry place. Write on the case year and date you bought them. (Sharpie Marker) This will at least let you know how old it’s getting and what gets drank first or rotated out. Same thing with some canned foods vegetables, Dinty Moore beef stew, spam canned meats –  write on the can when you bought them and exp. date so it’s easy to see. Oatmeal, pancakes just add water mix, syrup. Sure, sure if you can get more go for it. But just start saving what you can.

Then try to set up every family member with a bug out bag so it is ready to go. Have them plan for a weekend away from home, 2 nights three days. This will give them something in their bags –  try to add in a few other important items. Plate, Cup, Bowl, fork, knife, spoon. This can all be cheap plastic ones bought at a dollar store. Don’t forget to have each person pack an old blanket and pillow if possible.

Now I know most of us have food at home, well when it’s time to go nothing says you can’t take that with you it’s always a good idea to save those old grocery bags to load your food up. Take it. Just make sure what you take you can cook and eat. Pots and pans from the house may just be all you have. Draw up a check list and keep it close by. I am not saying don’t read the other articles or even take ideas from them, they are all good and may help in one way or another.

As far as your Bug out vehicle that’s going to take you away to the middle of nowhere, or a Budget Inn. Will the family car will most defiantly do? Yes! Should we all strive for a nice place in the middle of nowhere, and that 4X4 ATV I mention? You can if you want.

But my grandmother once said to me when I asked, why we don’t have a bomb shelter?

She said, ‘If we did have one would you really want to be the last ones left on earth, when everyone else is gone?’ If were truly going to make it to the next century and the SHTF we need to band together as the human race, cause without each other we die divided. Just my thoughts.

Look for more from me in the Future.

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Beware of the IDIoT (Incredibly Dangerous Internet of Things)

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Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from John D. 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.


As preppers, we’re perhaps more aware than most of what COULD happen. We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. To minimize our vulnerability to the lawlessness that would follow an apocalyptic event, we arm ourselves and harden our homes. We actively look for ways to increase our chances of survival. We understand that the household items we depend on every day must be reliable, because they may not be easily replaced after the SHTF.

When we buy a new TV, refrigerator, toaster, microwave oven, or any other appliance, we expect years of reliable operation. Breakdowns are rare in the first few years of the product’s life. The ONLY product that doesn’t consistently measure up, where reliability is concerned, is the personal computer. And, not only do computers have a high failure rate, they can allow outsiders to access personal information.

While computer hardware and software should be more robust, it’s not entirely the manufacturer’s fault. Unlike other appliances, most computers connect to the world-wide-web, providing a potential entry point for hackers. Because a dishwasher, refrigerator, toaster have no such web connection, there is no danger of those items being hacked. At least not yet.

You may believe that everything is under control as far as your computer is concerned. You’ve purchased and installed the latest-greatest anti-virus software. The firewall is configured and turned on. You apply security updates as they become available, run periodic scans, and check removable media each time it’s connected to the computer. These activities are important, but at the same time provide a false sense of security. Hackers look for opportunities to trick you into letting them in, or into disclosing sensitive information. That practice is known as “Social Engineering“. Hackers also look for vulnerabilities in computer hardware and software, and attempt to exploit them BEFORE the anti-virus software is aware of those issues. In an effort to keep up, anti-virus software companies publish and push updates to your computer almost daily. In cases where hackers were one step ahead of the anti-virus software providers, infections have occurred. Still, you don’t worry too much, because you know that for the price of a couple of hamburgers and a six-pack of beer, your nephew can fix just about any problem you may have.

Computers are simply tools. They should conform to our needs, not the other way around.

It seems that we’ve accepted the fact that we have to do a lot, just to keep a computer running, and our data secure. Even though a computer is the only product that requires a lot of attention, we don’t complain, not too much anyway. What does all of this have to do with prepping? Bear with me, I’m getting to that.

Computer technology affects our lives in many ways. It’s in our appliances, and our automobiles. Computers have been in cars for many years, monitoring sensors to detect problems, running the dashboard display, and controlling battery charging, just to name a few tasks. Those computers are reliable, primarily because they’re not grid connected. There’s no remote entry point for hackers, and hackers don’t make house calls. On the other hand, grid connected cars offer features such as traffic reports in real-time, remote starting, and remote unlocking. Features like that would not be possible without remote connections. However, by accepting grid connected cars, we’re headed down a slippery slope. I’m not talking about a far-fetched conspiracy theory, it’s already been proven. Under test conditions, grid connected cars have been hacked. Millions of vehicles have been recalled. If it happens in real-life, the result could be deadly crashes. And, it doesn’t have to be YOUR car that’s hacked. Imagine a hacked car, out of control, coming into your lane of traffic.

When hackers unite, or employ zombie computers, to focus a coordinated attack, it’s known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDS) attack. While that typically refers to a single company or website, imagine a DDS-like attack on grid connected cars. It’s not hard to imagine a high percentage of cars suddenly going out of control, resulting in mass casualties, and too few resources to deal with them. That could lead to societal collapse, the kind of thing that we, as preppers, prepare for.

Another serious security issue related to automobiles is the remote starting feature. If your car is in a closed garage, attached to your house, a potential for carbon monoxide poisoning exists. Imagine a scenario where a hacker is able to start your car, at night, when everyone in the house is sleeping. It wouldn’t take long for deadly carbon monoxide to spread to every room. Some remote start systems include safety features, but do you really want to put that much faith in technology?

As if connected cars don’t represent enough potential danger, your connected car can be used to track your movements. The same can be said for cell phones and club memberships. I’ll save those issues for a future article.

Will we someday have to apply security patches to our cars, and make appointments with the dealership to have viruses removed? It seems we’re headed in that direction. The computer industry is either unable, or unwilling, to give us hacker-proof products. We can’t count on the computer industry to keep us safe.

Cars are not the only thing we have to worry about. So called “smart appliances” are part of an overall Smart Grid strategy. A major benefit of the Smart Grid is to facilitate reducing electricity usage during periods of high demand. This benefits the consumer, as well as the provider. Today, just about all appliances are available as smart appliances. Collectively known as the “Internet of Things”, or IoT, many are of limited value to the consumer. A smart refrigerator, for example, may cut your electric bill slightly, but offers little advantage other than that. Someday, your smart refrigerator may tell you when food is about to spoil. That’s a good thing, I suppose, when it works correctly. However, if your refrigerator is “hacked”, it may trick you into consuming spoiled food. Imagine that; a hacker can poison you by operating through your refrigerator!

Instead of opting for an expensive smart refrigerator, why not choose a standard model, and adjust its thermostat to the highest temperature setting that still provides an adequate level of cooling? You don’t need to be grid connected to save money.

A smart clothes dryer can be programmed to send an alert to your phone when your clothes are dry. Yes, there’s an app for that, but do your really need it? A hacker may send a signal to apply maximum heat, even after your clothes are dry, in an attempt to start a fire. To believe there is no danger is to put a lot of faith in over-temperature sensors. I don’t want to do that.

Internet control of a home thermostat may allow you to save money on heating and cooling, but it also provides an opportunity for hackers. If a hacker makes adjustments to your thermostat, it’s inconvenient. If a hacker makes adjustments to thousands of thermostats, the result could be a grid overload, leading to a widespread power outage. Consider a locally programmable thermostat instead, not a grid connected one. A locally programmable thermostat, also known as a set-back thermostat, can help to keep your heating and cooling costs down, but without the hacking risk.

Some camera-based home security systems are grid connected. Isn’t it great to be able to keep an eye on your home and pets while you’re away? You might think that you’re the only one who has access to the video feed, but you might be wrong. Imagine hackers watching you as you move around your home, sometimes not fully dressed. The only thing protecting your privacy is your user name and password. Be aware that user names can be easily guessed, and software is available that can easily “crack” passwords, even passwords considered highly secure. There are already reports of security cameras and baby monitors being compromised. In one case, a man was caught screaming obscenities at a baby.

Speaking of camera’s, someone may be watching you RIGHT NOW via your laptop’s built-in web cam. Hackers know how to do that, and can do it without turning on the little red LED camera indicator. Hackers can also disable the “shutter sound” when taking pictures with your web cam. If you’re not using it, cover your web cam with a piece of tape.

When setting up an IoT device, be sure to change the default user name and password to those that cannot be easily guessed. For example: If your name is John Smith, don’t use Jsmith as your user name. It’s too easy to guess. And, as a rule of thumb, don’t use any English word as your password. Instead, consider changing some of the letters to numbers or special characters. For example: The word “Boatman” can be modified by changing the “o” to a zero, and changing the “a’s” to @’s, and by adding a punctuation mark at the end. The result is a much more secure, but easy to remember password, B0@tm@n$.

Even if you do those things, don’t assume that the device is secure. Use encryption, if that feature is available. Many “connected” devices send user names and passwords in plain text., instead of sending them encrypted. As you “log-in”, perhaps from a phone or mobile computing device, a hacker may intercept your credentials, and later use them to impersonate you.

The use of public wi-fi makes you susceptible to two specific types of attacks, Man in the Middle, and Evil Twin. Without going into too much detail about those, an attacker intercepts your communications and steals your information, usually without you knowing about it. Included are your user name and password, making it possible for the hacker to impersonate you at a later time. Avoid public wi-fi when doing banking transactions, accessing credit card accounts, making on-line purchases, and when accessing email.

Protecting sensitive information is not easy in a “connected” world, just ask Hillary Clinton. Although she had help from IT professionals, used sophisticated software, and smashed devices with a hammer, more than 30,000 emails that she tried to hide or destroy, were recovered. Osama Bin Laden understood the danger of being “on-line”. His solution was to employ couriers to transfer sensitive information using removable media, instead of email.

Conclusion

A connected world is a dangerous world. You and your family could be maimed, burned, robbed, stalked, exposed, suffocated, poisoned, or at the very least, embarrassed. Grid connected devices, and devices that send and receive radio signals, give hackers a potential way in. A way in is every much as dangerous as leaving doors unlocked, and keys in your car. Sooner or later someone will notice, and take advantage. While a robust password may stop some intrusions, it won’t stop an experienced hacker. Although you may do everything correctly, a hacker may exploit a software or hardware vulnerability to gain privileged access to your equipment.

Cars and appliances that are not grid connected, or not remotely activated, have no easy entry point for hackers. If you must use high-tech devices, use those that are locally programmable, and not grid connected. Consider low-tech devices, like an old-fashion manual thermostat, instead of a more modern electronic one. Because of its construction, it can’t be hacked, and isn’t susceptible to EMP’s. Low-tech devices are also less susceptible to power surges and lightning strikes, so you may save money by not having to replace them as often.

So what does all of this have to do with prepping? Technology fails in many SHTF scenarios. For that reason it’s wise to avoid dependence on technology. The avoidance of grid connected devices takes this to the next level. It could PREVENT Teotwawki. Preventing Teotwawki is much better than dealing with its aftermath.

Only you can prevent TEOTWAWKI

Only you can prevent TEOTWAWKI

 

About the author: John D has earned several computer industry certifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and Security+. He has worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Department of Defense, primarily performing computer and network security-related functions. John D is an experienced microcomputer-based equipment developer, programmer, and an experienced Electronics Technician. He has received commendations for his work, including an award for a device he developed to aid the physically disabled, and an award for his efforts to assist the people of Haiti, in the aftermath of an earthquake. As a hobby, John D is involved with alternative energy projects.

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What Can We Learn from History About Food When SHTF?

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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 Calamity Janet. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win cool prizes, enter today.


I’m always surprised, and often more than a little disturbed, when I hear folks say that when SHTF occurs, they’ll just go hunting, or they’ll trade for the food they need, or they’ve got a few boxes of MRE’s, so they’ll be fine. Such attitudes show a dismal lack of familiarity with history and what really happened in previous collapses. By learning about what happened, and knowing that history repeats, we can prepare better and avoid making the same mistakes when SHTF again.

I. Confiscation

Many countries around the world already have laws in place banning citizens from storing food in their homes. Fortunately, we have no such laws currently in the United States. However, we do have plenty of executive orders allowing FEMA to confiscate food for emergencies (and, of course, they get to define “emergency”). And we have historical precedent for the federal government to outlaw food “hoarding” and arrest individuals found in violation (see “Navy Man Indicted for Food Hoarding“). This man was betrayed by the grocer, but anyone from whom he purchased large quantities could have betrayed him, as well as anyone who could have observed the foodstuffs being carried into the home.

Lesson: Don’t discuss how much food you have with anyone. Don’t do all your shopping in one location. When you unload your groceries, do so in the garage with the door shut so that inquisitive eyes can be avoided.

II. Rationing

Whether in the name of fairness—making sure the poor are able to eat as well as the rich, making sure food gets to the troops, or merely controlling who gets the food—governments will ration food in times of crisis. During World War II, sugar was the first item to be rationed. Before ration books were received, individuals had to declare how much sugar they already had at home, and coupons in the books were adjusted accordingly. The allotment was one-half pound of sugar per person per week, so 26 pounds per year.

Rationing is frequently seen in times of shortage, regardless of cause.

Households preserving fruits by canning were allowed a special allotment of 25 pounds of sugar per person per year. This was about half the normal annual consumption at that time. Currently, Americans consume an average of 120 pounds of sugar per year. The next foods added to the rationed items were coffee (though there was an abundant harvest in South America, all shipping was being diverted for the war effort); meat, excluding chicken (for the troops); cooking oils (most oils at that time came from lands occupied by the Japanese, and lard was used by the Navy to grease their guns); processed foods (due to a tin shortage); and, canned milk (to ensure babies and children had enough).

Lesson: Build a generous food storage supply, and especially include those items are entirely or largely imported, including sugar, cocoa, coffee, and oils.

III. Gardening

As food becomes scarce, the need to grow one’s own becomes readily apparent. Fresh produce wasn’t rationed during any of the recent wars, but at times it was just unavailable. So everybody had gardens. One debate currently raging in the prepper world is whether to plant heirloom seeds or hybrid seeds. In reality, there should be no debate. Both kinds should be stored. Heirloom seeds should be used because they breed true generation after generation. Hybrid seeds should be planted as well because they tolerate a greater range of adverse conditions and have higher yields.

Victory gardens will sprout up everywhere during food shortages.

Victory gardens will sprout up everywhere during food shortages.

In addition, the most fortunate families already had several fruit trees producing on their property. While we may not need to worry about government confiscating home-grown produce, that doesn’t mean that our gardens are necessarily safe. Unfortunately, even today, before we have yet collapsed, we hear reports of gardens being raided. Invading armies in ancient times took whatever they easily could and frequently destroyed crops in the field that they couldn’t carry with them. But they generally avoided the so-called peasant foods—root crops such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets. They were too much work.

Lessons: Grow your own food to the extent possible. Plant some fruit trees. If possible, harvest root crops only as they are needed.

IV. Hunting

People who say they’ll just hunt when food gets scarce must either believe that no one else will be hunting or that all the game will reproduce and grow to harvest size overnight. It just doesn’t happen that way! In times of turmoil, wildlife becomes scarce quite rapidly. In fact, game in many areas were hunted to the point of near extinction during the Great Depression. Furthermore, as animal populations decrease, the time required to hunt increases. Hunting may well become a luxury. Setting snares may prove to be a much better way to go.

Lesson: Don’t plan to feast on local wildlife when SHTF. At best it will be supplemental dog food.

V. Cooking

Particularly disturbing is the number of people who really do not know the basics of cooking and baking, not to mention having no familiarity with how to use camp stoves or Dutch ovens to prepare a simple meal. Most people, even preppers, eat from cans or packages that they pop in the microwave. Increasing numbers of people cannot make a simple loaf of bread. While it wasn’t a time of war or political or economic turmoil, a rather alarming percentage of the 49ers in the United States’ California gold rush died of disease because they were malnourished. Ninety percent of the 49ers were men; very few had brought their wives with them. Men wrote home to their families, apologizing for not recognizing the work they did in preparing food, and pleading with their wives and mothers to teach them how to cook rice and make biscuits.

Lessons: Learn how to cook and have hard copies of recipes.

VI. Trading

I’m always puzzled by the staggering number of people who proclaim that when SHTF they will simply barter for the food they need. Why not just store what you want so that you know you have it? Those that have food available for trading will be in the driver’s seat and setting the terms. Farmers prospered to an unbelievable degree in WWII Germany. Very early on they had all the hired help they could use—people who worked solely for meals and a place to sleep. As the war dragged on and even the wealthy were struggling to obtain food, the farmers began accepting Turkish rugs and handcrafted furniture in trade for a little food. Their wives had rings on every finger. The farmers needed nothing and could command the highest “prices” imaginable.

Bartering

Towards the end of the war, one man’s unrelenting begging finally persuaded the farmer to accept as payment an $8,000 family heirloom pocket watch as payment for a twenty-five pound bag of beans. That bag of beans sells for less than twenty dollars today. Just sayin’. But a person didn’t need to be a large-scale farmer to do well. I had an acquaintance whose friend in the Depression raised chickens. He bartered the chickens for items he wanted, but didn’t necessarily need. He would usually propose a trade that he knew would initially be rejected, but eventually the other guy would come around within a week or so. In one case he traded three chickens for a motorcycle the family could no longer use because gas was unavailable.

This gentleman built wealth for his family by offering goods that were in demand. Because we have drifted so far from our agrarian roots, many city and suburban dwellers will be easily fooled. Two families in Germany pooled their valuables to trade for a goat to produce milk for their children. Unfortunately, the city dwellers lacked some critical life skills. They ended up having to give the butcher half of the Billy goat as payment for butchering.

Lessons: Be able to raise your own food. Raise chickens or rabbits for barter. Learn some life skills. FFA and 4-H are good programs for children (and parents!) to learn to raise small and large livestock.

During World War II ration books enabled governments to control the food. The move toward a cashless society where every purchase is recorded on cards will make controlling food—and tracking who has it—much easier. Gather your food now. You can never really have too much. Learn principles of food storage—how and what to store, where to store it, how to cook it, how much you need. Pay with cash—no store rewards card, no Costco or Sam’s cards. Don’t lead the government to your door. Certainly don’t shop where you are known—don’t lead acquaintances to your door. In closing, remember what Henry Kissinger said in 1970: “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

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No Excuse for Starving

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Ben Brown.  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!


A Colorful History

There is no excuse for starving, especially in Florida. We have citrus of all kinds (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cumquat, and loquat), mango, grape, guava, bamboo, banana, plantain, sugarcane, avocado, acorn, dandelion, purslane, podocarpus, papaya, lychee, lemon grass, garlic grass, hickory, chestnut, coconut, cattail, coontie, cactus, cassava, Jimaca, and cabbage palm. They are all edible, all delicious, and each can be found growing throughout much of the Sunshine State, if you just know where to look. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

I grew up in South West Florida, just below Tampa Bay, and all my life I’ve loved studying the rich history of our Sunshine State. Florida has been home to many colorful characters throughout its history, from the pre-Columbian Chatot, Timucua, Tocobaga, Tequesta, Ocali, Apalachee, Asi-Jeaga, and fierce Calusa tribes to formidable Spanish Conquistadores like Hernando de Soto and Ponce de León to blood thirsty pirates like Jose Gaspar and Caesaro Negro to the wily Seminole and Miccosukee warriors like Osceola and Holatta Micco to Confederate blockade runners like Captain Archibald McNeill.

For me, the most interesting aspect of Florida’s history has always been the Seminole Indian Wars, partly because the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes are the only Native American tribes to never lay down their arms in abject surrender to over whelming Federal forces. Even the indomitable Comanche and Apache ultimately surrendered, but not so the Florida tribes who melted into the Everglades where Federal troops dare not follow. These two tribes were part of the Civilized Nations; they wore spun calico shirts, smoked clay pipes and were fond of their smooth bore muskets. They survived forty years of warfare (1817-1819, 1835-1842, 1855-1858)1 against a modern and well equipped army, not because of any technological superiority—although the Seminole and Miccosukee were excellent marksmen with bow and musket—but because they were adaptable and were able to live off the land in the wilds of Florida’s untamed swamps, wetlands, mangroves, and hammocks. As it was for the Seminole and Miccosukee, living off-grid in a SHTF scenario means having to live off the land.

Long-Term Scenario

We all pray that SHTF events never happens in our lifetime, but we prepare for them anyway. The Seminole and Miccosukee survived their own SHTF; will we survive ours? Our SHTF, when it comes, may come upon us slowly or suddenly. Regardless of the cause, we owe it to our children to survive, so we pray for the best and prepare for the worst.
I don’t have a cabin in the mountains. I don’t own a cattle ranch. I don’t have a fortified bunker with motion sensors and early warning systems. I am forbidden by our home owners association from installing claymores in my yard. Heck, I don’t even own any night vision optics. I just a private citizen who wants to see his family to survive. Faced with a SHTF event, I know that the acquisition of security, shelter, food, and water will be imperative to ensuring my family’s survival.

Most coastal Floridians have already faced SHTF scenarios—we call them hurricanes, and we take our hurricane preparedness seriously. Since Hurricane Andrew destroyed the southern tip of Florida in 1992, many households have maintained a family sized “hurricane box” containing enough gear and supplies for the home team to survive for at least a few of days. That may not seem like a lot by Prepper standards, but the hurricane box is not part of our Prepper provisions. It’s just a seasonal precaution. We stock the hurricane box in spring, watch the Weather Channel from May (Caribbean hurricane season) through October (Atlantic hurricane season), consume our hurricane supplies through winter, and restock the following spring. This rotation keeps stock fresh and it beats having to run to Publix for a last-minute can of green beans so my wife can whip up one of her tasty casseroles.

MREPreparing for the future requires forethought; the more you accomplish before an emergency event, the less you’ll need to accomplish during or after one. Stockpiling alone, however, can only carry you so far. You must be able to find renewable food sources. Once the SHTF, it will be too late to harvest Ramen at Walmart. Even if you could get your hands on that last brick of tasty noodles, fighting a gang of thugs for looting privileges is not sound tactical advice. If the gangs control your local Walmart, what then? Wouldn’t you rather be able to safely feed you’re your family from home than having to wander the means streets of some post-apocalyptic city scavenging for a nice clean dumpster? So, let’s assume you’ve already taken care of your short-term physical needs. You’ve got plenty of Evian and MRE’s on hand, your storm shutters are up, and everyone on your team who’s tall enough to ride the bog rollercoaster is strapped. No gun fight at the OK Walmart for you, but what about long-term survival? What about replenishable provisions? Have you considered that once your MRE’s run out, you will need to restock your larder with what you can hunt, fish, or grow?

Florida waters are teeming with fish, crabs, shrimp, crawdads, and turtles, not to mention the abundant squirrels, and various fowl that populate our area—with the notable exceptions of birds of prey and carrion eaters, pretty much most fowl are edible. For deer and hogs, we would need to go further afield. Barring a catastrophic decimation of wildlife, protein will most likely not be a problem for Floridians, especially for those of us living along the Coast. Carbs, however, will be much harder to come by.

The average healthy adult requires approximately 200-300 grams of carbohydrates daily.1 My favorite carb is rice, but what we’ve stored won’t last forever. We could try growing our own, but growing rice is a complete mystery involving paddies and some kind of water buffalo. We could try going native by harvesting acorns—a good source of carbs: 1 oz dried acorn (2-3 acorns) contains 14.6 gr. of carbs2—but the acorns in South Florida tend to be rather small, and harvesting them is labor intensive, requiring patience and lots of water for blanching out the tannic acid. Acorns are a great supplement—my wife makes a mean acorn-raisin cookie—but they are not a staple food.

The Lowly Sweet Potato

recipe-oh-so-sweet-potatoes

The sweet potato is not a magical cure-all food, but it does have many dietary and strategic qualities that American Preppers may find advantageous.

To resolve to the how-to-get-enough-carbs-so-I-don’t-starve dilemma, I would recommend the same carbohydrate-rich staple that was grown by the Seminole and Miccosukee and helped them survive as a people while they waged a forty-year long guerilla war. This same tuber was consumed by escaped slaves who filtered down from plantations in

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 32 Variety Pack

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 32 Variety Pack

Georgia and Alabama to hide in the trackless Florida wilderness, and it was eaten by early white fishermen, farmers, and ranchers who settled Florida; the sweet potato (Boniato Rojo). The sweet potato has been a staple in Central America since about 8,000 B.C.2

It grows wild (and I do mean wild) in many parts of the South, not just in Florida. The sweet potato is not a magical cure-all food, but it does have many dietary and strategic qualities that American Preppers may find advantageous. A store-bought sweet potato weighing approximately 7 oz. contains about 3 gr. of carbs while the same amount of rice has almost three times as many carbs (11 gr.), rice is labor intensive. Have you ever tried hitching a water buffalo to a rice plow? Though it lacks the carbs of rice, an average-sized sweet potato does possess many other essential nutrients including: potassium (48 gr), Vitamin A (2,026 IU), and Beta-carotene (1,215 mcg).3

Even if you’re able to fight off the first wave of spam-starved zombies, a single-family dwelling can suffer an extensive amount of damage from a break-in, let alone a firefight. During a SHTF event, we must be able to survive off-grid inconspicuously. This means living under-the-radar. It’s your choice; you can hang a “Welcome” sign over your green house door, or you can hide your food source in plain sight. Because they are so well camouflaged, the only true enemies of these delicious uber tubers are mice, floods, and weed whackers (just ask my wife).

The Growing Process

sweetpotatoes1

Sweet potato vines can cover ground almost as quickly as kudzu and drop roots at the nodes their entire length.

When germinating sweet potatoes, I employ the “science project” method. It is the skin that produces the buds or “eyes” that become roots, so all you will need is the outer portion of the potato. Slice out one-inch wide slips of skin from the potato. Make them about as half as thick as a pencil (1/8 inch) to lend support to the skin. Suspend—do not submerge—the inch-wide slips of skin in cool tap water by using string to form a “hammock” or tooth picks spears to hold the slips at water level, skin side down. Each slip should have its own container; too many slips in a confined space can cause the delicate sprouting roots to tangle. Direct sunlight can quickly bake young sprouts, so store them in indirect sunlight.

In about two weeks, you should see several healthy root tendrils sprouting downward from the slips into the water. When the tendrils grow to about six inches in length, it’s time for planting. Gently remove the sprouted slips from their containers and plant them about 4-6 inches deep and about 12 inches apart.4 Much of the soil in South Florida tends to be sandy and poor, so you may need to prep your soil before planting. My property is sandy and wonderful for growing sandspurs—they are the reason Floridians don’t walk around bare-footed. I do not prepare my soil before planting sweet potatoes. The whole point of the exercise is to establish a renewable food source that will grow well without any help from me. After about three to four months—depending on the variety of sweet potato, rainfall, soil, soil prep, pests, etc.—the crop will be ready to harvest. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the leaves turn yellow on the vine, and the growing tubers cause the ground to bulge as though there were moles tunneling beneath the soil. I live in Hardiness Zone 10 (South Florida); your results will definitely vary.

Suspend—do not submerge—the inch-wide slips of skin in cool tap water by using string to form a “hammock” or tooth picks spears to hold the slips at water level, skin side down.

Sweet potato vines can cover ground almost as quickly as kudzu and drop roots at the nodes their entire length. The potatoes grow close to the surface and can be harvested easily with bare hands. I don’t use my bare hands because Florida is home to the dreaded Brazilian Fire Ant, six different venomous serpents, and an ever-growing population of pythons. This is a genuine concern when weeding or harvesting because sweet potatoes attract rodents which in turn attract snakes, and the ground cover from the leaves can be so dense that you would never notice a coiled pygmy rattler until too late. All the prepping in the world won’t save you from a coral snake bite either—they are part of cobra family—with no way to refrigerate rare anti-venom serum during a SHTF scenario. “Don’t stick your hand in there!” is a good rule to live by in Florida, so use a little common sense and employ a small cultivator rake carefully to avoid damaging your crop.

For my first attempt at sweet potato gardening, I cut eight slips, but two failed to germinate. I planted the remaining six slips in a three-foot by five-foot patch of well-drained sandy soil. My little garden yielded 14 medium-to-large sweet taters. These were germinated from one store-bought potato. Not too bad for a first attempt considering the small size of the plot and the fact that I did not water at all. The Florida August monsoons did the watering for me. The rains come so regularly in late summer, between 3:00PM and 5:00PM, that you can practically set your watch by them. That particular crop of even survived a record-breaking three-day freeze just prior to harvest. A three-day freeze might not impress most Northerners, but it is big news in South Florida.

After my first crop, I let the vines continue to grow on their own, hoping for a second picking from the same planting. Unfortunately, the potatoes did not survive my wife’s attempt to clean up the back yard with the weed whacker. The best sweet potatoes are the large ones near the original slip planting. The further away from the original plant that the nodes take root and become potatoes, the smaller the tuber will be. The stunted golf ball-sized sweet potatoes, though still technically edible, are rough and not very tasty. These became seed crop for the next planting.

Another nice thing about the sweet potato is that it can be grown almost anywhere: apartment window boxes, small backyard gardens, empty lots downtown, power line easements, around the edges of county parks, or the woods behind your house. With their dramatic purple blossoms, the attractive broad-leafed vines are used as an ornamental plant. They make such great ground cover that they are regularly incorporated into landscaping around buildings, mailboxes, lakes, canals, trees, and other shrubbery.

There is a storm canal easement behind our property. Like Johnny Apple Seed, I’ve started planting germinated slips on this property. Several plantings have taken root and are growing well. When the summer rains begin, they should really take off. The early success of this off-property experiment has encouraged me to try other locations. I’ve germinated and planted sweet potatoes at my mom’s house, my brother’s house, and at a friend’s house. They’re going to enjoy the attractive ground cover around their shrubs, and I will enjoy helping them establish a prolific and renewable emergency food source.

I’ve started scouting other areas as well for strategic planting locations that will be self-sustaining. Anticipating future fuel shortages, I’ve kept my scouting to within bicycling distance from my property. There is a long tract of scrub woods along the river near our home which will make a good planting zone as the average non-agricultural zombie wouldn’t know the difference between potato vines and kudzu. My plan is to hide a strategic and productive potato pantry in plain sight. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

Resources

1. http://www.semtribe.com/
2. http://www.carb-counter.net/nuts-seeds/1027
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato
4. http://www.organicgardeninfo.com/growing-sweet-potatoes.html

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Learning from History: Take-Away Lessons from When SHTF in the Past

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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 StayinAlive.  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!


One of the first casualties of our public school system in the United States has been the teaching of history. We’ve permitted the liberals to slander our greatest leaders, diminish or completely ignore our greatest moments in history. Students aren’t taught what actually happened in the past, because they might see history being repeated at present. They might start thinking and getting dangerous ideas.

Unfortunately, this has been going on for decades, and most American adults are pretty clueless about history and the implications for the future. By learning about what happened in previous generations, and knowing that history repeats, we can prepare better and avoid making the same mistakes when SHTF again.

War

When it comes to war (and by this I mean all-out war that truly affects our daily lives), both the government and the people boast that it will be over with quickly. The big wars—the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, for example—are never a surprise except to the woefully ignorant, and hostilities have been stoked for some time before shots are ever fired. As part of the propaganda, the intelligence and capabilities of the enemy are diminished or demeaned. The powers that be suggest that the war will end quickly, and the gullible always fall for it. Governments use wars to divert the attention of the people from the problems at hand and to deflect the blame for them that they would otherwise place on the government.

Governments use wars to divert the attention of the people from the problems at hand.

Politicians feel a whole lot safer when their constituents blame a foreign country for domestic problems such as economic collapse rather than the failed policies of government. And wars can very quickly solve a nasty unemployment problem. The media endlessly promotes the importance of making personal sacrifices to support the soldiers, and complaining about shortages becomes unpatriotic. Imports and anything the military says is needed for the war effort simply become unavailable.

Take away lesson: Knowing this, and knowing that our nation needs a war (according to the politicians who need to deflect blame for our collapsing economy), we plan for a long war with no trips to the grocery store, no trips to Wal-Mart, and no UPS guy bringing any of the nice stuff he normally does. We have to have all the food, clothing, medicine, and basic vehicle maintenance items on hand before hostilities break out.

Money

When government fails to manage the exorbitant amounts of money that corrupt legislators and bureaucrats have already extracted from the people, they don’t acknowledge the failure. Rather, they demand more, but generally through means other than taxation. The ancient Romans shaved the edges off their coins to melt into new coins with supposedly the same value. FDR took us off the gold standard in 1935. The printing presses were fired up in Germany following World War I, and more recently in Zimbabwe. It’s happening now in Venezuela.

aptopix-venezuela-protest

Venezuela is having food riots due to shortages.

Around the world we have seen the bank bail outs with taxpayer money. We already have larger banks that are charging depositors to hold their funds with negative interest rates. Coming next are the bank bail ins with depositor money. And safe-deposit boxes are anything but; in a pinch the bank will empty yours. When banks face collapse, they start calling in loans. Those with debt are vulnerable. Then there is also the drive to become a cashless society so that every transaction can be monitored and taxed. Only time will tell whether our leaders do away with cash before we collapse.

The chaotic financial situations surrounding WWII affected absolutely everyone, but of course the middle and lower classes were much harder hit. This made the average Joe a little more open to accepting bribes just to be able to feed himself and his family. Many are the people who were able to avoid the Nazi concentration camps by being able to place some gold coins or jewels into the right person’s hand. At the same time, because Germany’s currency was so worthless, it was better used to burn and generate some heat. The take-away lessons here?

1. Have no debt

2. Keep only a minimum balance in your bank for paying bills

3. Have everything necessary on hand before SHTF, because paper and digital money will become worthless

4. Have some precious metals if possible, including junk silver, for what you forgot to get or didn’t think you’d need.

News Media

There’s a reason why viewership among so-called news programs has been declining for the past several years—they are all in direct collusion with a corrupt government. Most of what should be reported, isn’t. Much of what is reported only diverts attention from the real issues. And this has been going on for well over a century. If you take a close look at the 1918 influenza epidemic (The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry, was a real eye-opener), local and federal governments hid the truth about the spread and the severity of the disease. Newspaper reports were whitewashed or completely scrubbed, all for the sake of not panicking the citizenry (and promoting the sale of Liberty bonds so necessary to fleece the people and finance the war). Phone operators were ordered to eavesdrop on private conversations and break the connection if the parties began discussing the epidemic. Forty years previous, journalists were also complicit in hiding the extent and severity of the yellow fever epidemic (see The American Plague, by Molly Caldwell Crosby).

Nothing to see here… Move along.

Bottom line? If the media and the government are trying to panic you with reports of the latest outbreak of whatever, and especially if they’re hyping a vaccine to go along with it, there’s probably nothing to worry about. But if they’re trying to downplay the severity of an outbreak, it’s time to wake up and pay attention to what’s happening around you. Hopefully you have everything you already need to shelter in place for the duration.

Corrupt governments create boogeymen to divert attention and distract the people. In the past two millennia the boogeymen have often been Jews, and sometimes Christians. In addition, throughout history people persecuted anyone who was different, who hadn’t yet been fully assimilated into society due to language and culture, and sometimes, mere appearance. It used to be so important for immigrant children to do well in school and to lose any trace of an accent. Irish, Italians, Chinese and others were routinely discriminated against for even the most back-breaking jobs. At the outbreak of WWII, the Japanese on the west coast of the United States were rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Things are a little different now, aren’t they? In the United States today, who are these boogeymen? Christians, gun-owners, home schoolers, Constitutionalists. White, middle-class, hard-working Americans. For some reason, we boogeymen now finance the new bread and circuses. Just as the ancient Romans gave food to the lower classes by taxing the upper classes and provided the circuses as a means of distracting the less intelligent people, we now have all the welfare benefits provided to anyone who asks (unless they happen to be white American citizens, then there is a test), whether they’re here legally or not. And lest we start pondering how messed up things are, we have the Kardashians, NFL, Netflix, and Facebook to divert our attention. The take away lesson here?

1. Don’t be distracted

2. Make every new day an opportunity to prepare

3. Gather more food and other supplies

4. Learn a new skill that will be useful post-TEOTWAWKI.

The Sheeple

There will always be that group of people who deny the reality that is staring them in the face. As preppers, we already see that every day as we monitor the economy and financial markets, domestic and foreign news, especially as it regards volatile situations liable to erupt into all-out war at any moment. As a whole, Americans in particular seem to suffer from irrational exuberance about their collective future. In The Bielski Brothers, a fascinating history of a trio of men who established communities in the forests of Eastern Europe and saved about 1,000 Jews, there are several accounts of Jews identifying with their captors in the camps. The Jews somehow came to believe that they were special, that they wouldn’t be killed, even as they saw friends and family being raked down. The Bielski brothers encountered dozens of Jews who were afraid to leave the known concentration camps for the unknown forest.

sheeple

The lesson here? Gentle persuasion and education of our friends and family before SHTF may work with some, but I think we have to resign ourselves to the fact that quite a few of our loved ones won’t accept reality. For the safety of others in our group, we may have to let the sheeple make their own choices and live (and die) with the consequences. It is the most difficult lesson to learn.

Betrayal

We already have government programs indoctrinating our children at all levels, encouraging them to report inappropriate behavior. And while children absolutely need avenues for getting help when any kind of abuse is involved, we really don’t need the problems that issue from someone telling government how much food we have stockpiled or how many guns we have. Government encouraged the betrayal of friends and family in both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and especially disturbing were the cases where children informed on their own families.

While the US government still promotes this behavior with their “See Something, Say Something” slogan, our primary concern today is not in being betrayed by others. We are betraying ourselves. We rat ourselves out with Facebook. For the sake of saving a few dollars, we have store loyalty (Kroger, Safeway, Hy-Vee, etc.) and membership (Costco, Sam’s) cards that track our purchases and spending habits. And we have cell phones that record our conversations and cars that track our movements. NSA stores all our emails. All this data is reported and mined to create a perfect profile and history of each person.

The lessons here? Keep your children as far removed from the government as possible. Home schooling goes a long ways towards that. Avoid social media like the plague. Pay cash for everything as much as possible. Don’t ever use membership cards for any store. Use a stupid phone, and that only when necessary. Don’t purchase vehicles that track your movements.

In conclusion, history repeats. It always has, it always will. Each generation will experience all-out war and financial collapse. It’s been seventy years since WWII and eighty-five years since the Great Depression. Our time is up and our turn is coming. Learn from history. Be prepared.

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Why I Decide to Pack More Than 72 Hours Ahead

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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 Blazemaxim.  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!


We all start off our lives living in bliss and thinking the world we live in is perfect. Then as you leave your younger years behind and start into your early teens you learn that’s not so much how it is. You learn of human history and wars that have ravaged the world through the ages. You start growing up more and more then you see the world is not as you saw it as a child. You go to college and start a family as you progress. You watch as your generation is overtaken by the next and hope that the wars never reach your homeland.

One day they will and it may not be something like Red Dawn or a repeat of past world wars. Maybe it’s just a stupid mistake of a perceived threat and next thing you know nukes are falling. It could just a simple repeat of past natural disasters like a sun spot wiping out all electronics in the world, or maybe we are drilling for oil, then come across extinction level virus or bacteria. That has been shown recently with finding never before seen bacteria in fracking waste by scientists. All in all, my point to prove is from time to time civilization has been in dire straits that almost ended life or just topples a country or government.

What do I pack in my bug out bag?

With all that thought on history, a lot of people prepare for disaster to strike and build themselves BOBs and stock up at least 72 hours worth of resources like food and water. What would you do if it was longer than that or you faced a serious crisis that took the world to its knees? When I think of bugging out or bugging in respectfully, I think of a crisis that would be something more like a WROL scenario. What would you need in a situation like that. Would the food you stored back get you through or the water you stocked up last the entire duration?

Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves with Piezo Ignition

Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves with Piezo Ignition – 11$

What do you need to think about carrying in your bug out bag to help you survive? You need to think about what is needed to keep you and anyone with you alive. To start off you’ll need a way to make any water you come across safe to drink. It’s a good idea to carry a water filter or multiples. Acquire a sharp knife or two. Remember 2 is 1 and 1 is 0. Knives can help with crafting weapons and utensils. You could buy some camping gear to cook on and you can make a penny stove to cook with as long as you have fuel for it. I find 91% alcohol works well.

Another way to cook is make a gasifer stove (see below). It works with anything organic that is flammable but wood is the preferred fuel. If all else fails build a fire and take a clothes hanger, make a loop with it, wrap it in wet newspaper and cook on that. I heard it works well if the ink is not poisonous. That covers hydration and cooking.

How are we going to eat?

Well in the earlier stages of this scenario you’ll come across canned foods and foods preserved so they last a while but as time goes on these things will go out of date and/or be used up. So in this time it’s a smart idea to grow food. Learn now how to do that. For a while animals will also be a source of food, but in time will be scarcer until humanity declines enough for animals to reclaim the cities and forests. Next comes how to defend yourself, and family if they haven’t opted out of life.

You need to know a few self-defense techniques.

It would also be a great idea to learn how to use a bow, spear, slingshot, and such since bullets and smokeless powder will disappear in time. In the same sense firearms will not last forever even if you had a million bullets. Your gun will need to be cleaned and oiled. Metal will wear down and parts will break with you have a small chance of finding replacements. This is why learning a little self-defense is better than nothing.

What about medicine?

When there is only you and whoever is left of your family how would you treat infections? What about animal bites, broken bones from falls, or a fast killer dehydration from diarrhea. You should at the least get some first aid training and have some medical supplies in your survival pack. I mean if your near a city maybe you can find antibiotics or pain medications in a pharmacy. Probably not when its been looted by others trying to survive too. Willow bark is what aspirin was derived from and many plants are natural antibiotics…

So what all I was trying to do with this article is convey my perceived SHTF scenario to you guys. I feel a lot can be accomplished in small SHTF scenario like hurricanes, floods, and natural disasters with a 72-hour bob but when I think of bugging out or in I’m thinking of TEOTWAWKI.

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Thoughts About Prepping from an Ole Fart

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Paul S.  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!


First: I want to thank, “The Prepper Journal,” for allowing me to enter their writing contest. This gives me a chance to put some thoughts I have been thinking for a long time on paper. This is not going to be a long treatise on how we had to walk to school through the snow up hill both ways.

Next, let me earn the right to have you read my article, by telling you a little about myself.

I am a 75-year-old grandpa of five Wonderful Grandkids. Born, January 17, 1941 as a great-grandson and grandson of pioneers who came west by covered wagon in 1875. I was raised on the family homestead, located on the Palouse Plateau, just north of Moscow, Idaho. The Palouse has some of the richest farmland in the U.S.

My parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression as people of the soil, meaning we were essentially early grid joiners who used the land for our livelihood. Electricity was established in 1936, phone service, (crank phones.) approximately 1938. No refrigerators or ice boxes or super markets or, or. The closest town, Garfield, Washington, was 6 miles away over twisty, curvy, muddy or dusty dirt roads; with huge mud holes in spring and fall. We were often snowed in for weeks at a time in winter.

Everything we ate had to be grown and preserved off the farm, during the summer. All repairs had to be done on sight, using material at hand, because a trip to town was a half day affair. The closest farm machinery dealer was 9 miles away in Palouse, Washington. I have a degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho; although I spent all of my work life as a test technician in research and development, working for a major truck manufacturer.

When You think of prepping, what is Your mind-set? Do You think of something that might happen maybe in the future? Is the, “Boogeyman,” going to come and steal all of Your stuff?

Prepping is a state of mind

Woman admiring sunset from mountain top

For me Prepping is a state of mind: being prepared for today and tomorrow, and maybe for the future. Look at Your situation right where You are right now and ask Yourself a few questions. You could maybe divide the questions into categories: Man-caused; economic or maybe war – or Natural; earthquake or weather or even cosmic.

If I couldn’t work, how would I live? Do I have enough set aside to get through until I could work? How and what will I eat? Drink? Keep warm? Is my living situation secure? My cousin sells used trailers and motor homes. He sells 3 to 4 units a week to homeless people. My Bride and I just returned from a trip, traveling up the California coast. I didn’t count, but I bet we must have seen 50 to 75 vehicles parked off out-of-the-way, dusty, covered windows; people living in them. Since 2008, millions have lost their work and can’t find a replacement job.

What skills do I have? Can I repair a broken whatever? Can I find out how to repair a broken whatever? How do I find out? Where do I look? I am not suggesting You become a brain surgeon, but I do think spending a little time sitting at the dining room table maybe disassembling a simple hair dryer you purchased or picked up at a garage sale is a great practice. Maybe going on to Google and seeing if You can find information on the process. Learning what tools are needed.

man-on-ladder-fixing-shingles

Ask Yourself any question about any situation.. Am I ready? If not, how can I get ready??

You see, it is a mindset.. It is putting Yourself mentally in a situation and seeing if You measure up. It is deciding to spend some time in research, study and practice, instead of whatever society deems necessary for Your attention; whether it’s sports, entertainment or politics, or, or.. If You tell Yourself, I don’t do that, or I can’t do that;; then You will probably become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

We live in the age of information, but that information is only useful, if You internalize it to the point to where You can call on it and use it if necessary.

The next big earthquake might hit right in the middle of the 3rd quarter… are You ready?

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EDC During SHTF and Why “Tacticool” Might Just Get You Killed: Part I

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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 Panthers14. 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.

Our EDC Gear is equipment we carry every day that can help us out of bad spots. Normally, we consider items like a knife, flashlight, concealed firearm, multi-tool, even a bandanna and lighter round out the list. These are all to varying degrees perfectly fine while society is still normal. The EDC during SHTF will likely be different. What do you plan on carrying every day when it all goes to hell?


The video clips below can illustrate several different points which will be important to the prepper/survivalist community, but the point that I want to focus on in this article is that of appearances during a potential SHTF event.

In the first video clip, Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley spots two men entering the club wearing long black trench coats, which is seemingly an unassuming choice of clothing aside from one fact which the erstwhile detective points out: it’s June and a long black trench coat wouldn’t be a typical clothing choice for the hot Beverly Hills sun (which is where the movie is set).

WARNING: The first video clip is NSFW; it is a scene in a strip club and there is some objectionable language and risqué imagery in it; to minimize this, stop watching at the 1:30 mark, as the point I intend to make with the video has been demonstrated by that time in the clip. If you find the clip wholly objectionable, I would advise you to skip it and watch only the second clip, which will still demonstrate the point I want to make without any such issues.

In the second clip, CIA assassin Jason Bourne notices that another potential CIA “asset” is there to track him down and probably kill him. When his girlfriend Marie asks him how he could possibly know that simply by looking at the man, he says that “everything about him is just wrong.” He enumerates what is “wrong” about the man relative to the location and culture that they are in; that in Goa, India (where the scene is set), where few people drive cars, this man has a car, and a nice one. In Goa, India, where there are few Westerners and few wearing Western clothing, this man, a Westerner, is wearing Western clothing (albeit very low-key and suitable for the weather) and sunglasses, which VERY few in Goa will wear.

The second clip is fairly clean, but involves some close-up goriness if you watch it to the end. To eliminate that, stop watching at the 1:15 mark, as the point I intend to make with the clip has been made by that time in the clip. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Now, what relevance does this have to a prepper/survivalist who is going to go through an SHTF scenario? I would argue that, while few non-prepper/survivalists will have the observational acumen of a detective or a CIA operative, the “traditional” perspectives and attitudes on prepping/survivalism leave PLENTY of room for hordes of desperate and opportunistic non-preppers/survivalists to take advantage of the observational oversights that preppers/survivalists are prone to. What do I mean by this exactly? Well, I have observed that there are two primary viewpoints that preppers/survivalists hold that non-preppers/survivalists would take advantage of.

These main thoughts are either:

  1. ‘my community has fallen apart and we are living in a WROL (Without Rule of Law) world. I’m most likely going to be the best armored/most well-armed person still left in town and I’m gonna bug-in anyways, so I can just jaunt down Main Street all decked out in my LBE/tac vest with ammo and everything on, an AR in my hands, a 9mm strapped to my waist or leg, and a big knife and maybe a tomahawk tucked in my belt and if any mugger wants to mess with me, well, they’ll regret it,’ or
  2. ‘I’m bugging out and no one knows where my BOL (Bug-Out Location) is, so I can go on minding my own when I get there, doing my daily chores with my AR strapped over my shoulder and my 9mm and a knife in my belt and no one will be the wiser and if anyone DOES want to mess with me and mine, they’re gonna wish they hadn’t!’

Now, while noble-sounding, this line of thinking actually makes one very vulnerable because of the tendency of preppers/survivalists towards the practice of “tacticool,” that is to say, the practice of preppers and survivalists decking themselves out in the most top-of-the-line mil-spec-oriented gear and assume that it’s a good idea to walk around with it about town, leave it in your car for anyone in your car to see, and take pictures of it to put on social media. Whether you realize it or not, people are developing ideas and perceptions about the gear that they see you photographing, carrying, and/or wearing. Given the relatively “stable” nature of the present day, those thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘Oh, that’s a cool bag. I wonder where he/she got it. Hmm…I wonder what he/she puts in it.’ However, if you change the circumstances and put people in a catastrophic SHTF scenario and they see your gear, I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that their thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘they have stuff, they’re prepared, GET THEM!’ Just as the car and sunglasses and the trench coats made individuals stand out in the video clips, so to will that piece of tacticool gear make you stand out and more than likely make you a target for the desperate and unprepared.

While I could probably find myriad examples of the proverbial tacticool gear, I will focus primarily on three examples, to which I have already alluded to, and the correlating problems with each in a SHTF scenario: the tactical vest, the tactical pack, and weapons.

The Tactical Vest

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

The inherent problem with the tactical vest is that it says as much as you DON’T want it to say as it does what you DO want it to say. Ostensibly, what you want a tactical vest to say is, ‘I’m ready for whatever combative situation comes my way, and I’m a tough nut to crack. Don’t mess with me!’ However, what it ALSO says is, ‘I have stuff and I’m ready for a fight.’ Now, on the surface, this may not seem like a terrible message to telegraph, but one has to also think about the implications of the messages that he or she advertently AND inadvertently telegraphs. While you may wish to telegraph a message of strength, you must also consider just to what degree you can back up that message. Anybody seeing you and taking note of the messages you send with your tactical vest may very well just decide to ‘up the game’ with more firepower than you have or more hostiles than you can reliably defend against. How many can you reliably defend yourself against? 3? 4? 6? More? What if you are traveling or living with others, others who may not themselves be armed or know how to fight?

Now, considering all of the tactical variables that one has to think of if there is an inadvertent ‘invite’ to a confrontation, would it not be wiser to keep a lower profile and avoid unnecessary confrontation altogether, a means which could be achieved by avoiding the tacticool piece of equipment that is the tactical vest? I leave it to you to decide.

The Tactical Pack

5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Back Pack

5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Back Pack

Anyone who has been in the prepper/survivalist circle for any reasonable amount of time has probably already been made aware of the risk that is the tactical bag. The primary disadvantage of the tactical bag is just that, that it looks tactical, or more appropriately, tacticool. The major problem with that tacticool look is that, in this day and age, people take one look at it and IMMEDIATELY are prone to think, ‘prepper.’

While that MOLLE-bedecked pack gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that you’re ‘ready,’ it also tells that opportunistic vulture who wasn’t ready for SHTF, ‘Oh look, one of those prepper, survivalist nuts. Hey, this person’s bound to have some great stuff that I can use. Let’s just knock them off and take their stuff.’ It’s not whether you can take that person (or that person’s buddies if they’re there), but whether you can afford to have that person (or other people later on) have that impression of you and continuously have that kind of ‘target’ on your back. Can you? I leave that to you to decide.

Tactical Weapons

The last item that I want to focus on briefly is weapons. Now admittedly, weapons are a much more manageable element of EDC during SHTF because you can choose how you carry weapons, either concealed or open-carry. However, things may not be as clear-cut as walking down the street with your sidearm strapped to your thigh like you’re the new sheriff in town. Now, at this point I think more than any other in this article, I’m sure that there are plenty of readers who are thinking (maybe even mouthing to their computer screens) ‘this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, you can’t go out with NO WEAPONS! You can’t got out without ANY show of defense! You can’t make yourself a target like that!’

Tacticool

You’re right, but I am NOT advocating going out weaponless; I am merely warning against going out kitted out like you’re ready to win World War Three all by yourself. As mentioned above, that only encourages would-be thieves to up their game against you, wait until the right moment, then take you out when they have that tactical superiority. I would put it to these readers: would it be better to face one or two people who run into you on the street who think that you might be an easy mark being that you are not well-armed, only to be shocked and surprised in an alley when you pull concealed weapons on them, or to show your hand from the beginning with the tacticool look with all sorts of weaponry, only to find yourself visited later by seven or eight equally well-armed individuals who have chosen the place or circumstances of a potential fight which will put you at a disadvantage?

Another consideration is what condition any semblance of ‘law enforcement’ exists in the SHTF scenario. Again, I think that the common assumption that it will just be a WROL situation and that everyone will be free to open-carry as they please. I would suggest that this will not be the case…at least not everywhere. Whether it be still by elected officials or by vigilante gang, I would contend that in many places, some semblance of ‘law’ will still exist. As such, rules about certain types of weapons and certain types of carry of weapons needs to be considered. If you get your weapons confiscated for open-carry where it will not be allowed, then what good did all that weaponry do you?

So then, I bet that the first logical question rolling off of the minds you, the reader, is something like, ‘so if I’m not gonna wear a tac vest and I’m not gonna carry a tactical bag and I’m not gonna be carrying a bunch of obvious weapons on my person, then just what the heck am I gonna do with all my gear, and where the heck am I gonna put it?!’

Well, in part 2 of this piece, which I will be cranking out soon, I will address those issues!

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Why Should You Be a Prepper?

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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 Chris O. 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.


Let me congratulate you first and foremost for taking the time to read this article and the many others the touch upon how to become or continue to prepare to be a “prepper”. What are we preparing for? These are some of the buzz words or often discussed reasons. Total economic breakdown, food crisis, EMP or the countless many other mass disasters that can affect the average everyday citizens in the US. Y2K wasn’t so long ago that we all have forgotten but many young adults were not old enough to see the preparations, church plans and overall fear.

Many young adults have been brought up with a sense of almost instant gratification, entitlement enabled by the ability to communicate without too many issues with the advent of better computers and cell phones. These younger adults are starting to see that the world like those of us that are a little older. Just think this is the first year many students are learning about 911 as a historic event. The world is not as safe as many once thought it was. Many of us have seen the horrors of an economic collapse (currently taking place in Venezuela as I write this). Katrina’s wrath and long-term destruction. Earthquakes that kill thousands.

Some of you reading this have even been a part of disaster or time where you didn’t have power, water, food or ability to travel. How long do you think you can go without being able to shop at a store? How many days’ worth of food, water and protection from the elements do you truly have? For cold environments you need a heat source, for warm environments you need a shade or cooling source. Are you really prepared? Feel free to take a break from this article and look in your pantry?

Now that I have your attention or agreement. We will get to the meat and potatoes of why you should be a prepper. Do not depend on the system. The system as has been seen in action, is not fast or efficient. FEMA and DHS are not here for you. Scary thought – they are ready to help but are only able to handle 3 large-scale disaster at one time. Three Katrina’s, 911’s or Large quakes. After that the stock they have on hand is gone. There is no fall back plan for you the average citizen. Our government officials, Community Stakeholders and employees maybe will fare a little better. You are the only person that is going to truly provide adequate emergency supplies and protection for yourself when a disaster strikes on a large-scale. You are the end all be all that will protect your family and or self if you are a single person with no family.

Food riots of 1917

Food “protests” of 1917. Nothing as civil as this would happen if people were hungry today.

How do I start prepping?

Right now you considering making the choice to not be a “sheep”. You need to understand that telling the world that you are or want to become a prepper is counterproductive. You may not want to share that information with many because of the negative things that are happening the world. You DO NOT want to make yourself a target. Do I believe the government is going to come for your supplies and or weapons? No but I think that other people in your area may look to you for the things they need when SHTF because they have failed to plan themselves.

As a beginning prepper you’re overloaded with information. Trust me I thought I was doing all these great preps. I thought that I have it all figured out. I am prior service, a Firearms Instructor and have connections. Guess what? Connections do not mean anything when the desperation sets in.

So the supplies and cost may seem overwhelming. Your family and friends think that you have been drinking the “tin foil hat” crowd’s cool aid. Some of your loved ones have “known” other preppers and have a horrible connotation to the word prepper. Face it these same folks will come running if the proverbial feces hit’s the fan. You are prepping for you. You are prepping for your family. You want to be ready for an all hazards approach to Disasters.

People have been preppers longer then people have laughed at it. When our pioneers blazed the trail west they were preppers. They couldn’t magically go to the general store. How many people laughed at them? Be careful because the internet is full of “prepper” sites and articles that want to sell you the newest, best and in many cases very expensive ready-made kits. They can be Food buckets, that “cool new shovel that you can crush Zombies skulls” with or say that you need 20 different firearms for all the situations that you may encounter. These examples are a little outlandish but folks trust me, go shopping around on doomsday sites. They are often using fear to entice you to buy. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking all of it I am just a realist. I have served overseas in harm’s way and can tell you that the biggest things you need are food, water, shelter and the ability to defend yourself.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela's food riots.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela’s food riots.

Having a basic 30-day food supply, water, defense and a plan is huge start. Don’t think about a year, start with a month. Most disasters that we truly will face are less than 30 days. Get training on how to use your defensive equipment. Stay in shape. The argument that having a firearm will keep you safe and make it so don’t you have to run is garbage. Next use some of the foods that you store know how to prepare them, don’t buy stuff you won’t eat or don’t like for food storage. You want to start small. For example, fruits, veggies and meats all in cans. Add up how many people are in your home and plan for 30 days. 2 meals a day and throw in a snack or treat as well. If you have kids plan for them. If you can keep everyone fed and semi happy, morale will stay high.

Next you need to evaluate your risks, include summer, winter and extreme conditions. Are you in a tornado, earthquake or hurricane zone? Use this information to ready shelters if needed. You must maintain your body heat. Lastly buy a good pistol and rifle for each adult. Do not spend a fortune. Remember that training I was talking about earlier spend more on that than the guns. A Glock 19 and a DPMS AR platform with 500 rounds each per adult would be the minimum suggestion from me.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Once you are set on those mainstays add medical equipment and training remember it’s all on you. Count on there being no 911 or first responders to save you. Mitigate risks, plan for disasters that are realistic and when you are well set up and ready for a year start working on those less than likely situations.

In closing I want you to feel safe, be fed and have a roof over your head but do not forsake time with family to get this done in a weekend all you will do is stress yourself out. Try and involve the immediate family. Work on small project to build into the large project. It should be a fun journey that keeps you feeling prepared. It is not a project to that should be done out of terror or fear. We are not that close to an apocalypse or are we?

Chris Otterson
US ARMY SSG (ret)
Owner ASTS
A Solutions based company
“Till Valhalla”

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Lessons Learned: From Coupons to Prepping

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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 MsD. 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.


I was born and raised on the East Coast and my great grandpa was an Indian from the Wampanoag Tribe. We had a summer cottage which was his land on a lake, it was there that I began to learn about things coming from the land. We had no bathroom so we had an outhouse and we would bathe in the lake. I remember my grandmother would reach for the white flower like plant that grew along the side of the lake. When you wet it and rubbed it together it made lather and gave a sweet smell.

I remember her telling us if you want to eat, you better go catch your dinner. I learned to fish, learned to look for night crawlers by putting soap water under a rock and waiting for them to come above the soil. When we wanted something sweet to eat we would walk the blueberry patch with her. She also had a blackberry bush. Apples we would pick from the trees up the road. We cooked many meals on an open fire.

I know that if you have an ear infections my grandmother used to take the core of the onion and place it on the outside of the ear and all the gunk in your ear would come out. So much of what I learned early on has stayed with me. As I got older I learned from own Dad how to plant a garden and from my Mother how to can what we would grow so we would have food later. Canning today is so much easier they have better pans that don’t require pressurizing.

Our yard was full of dandelions and she made dandelion wine.

Removing the petals to make the wine.

Removing the petals to make the wine.

As I have gotten older and started a family, I use coupons all the time and I am stockpiling so that my family has food later. I am stocking up to barter but most of the items I got free or for hardly anything. When couponing, I tell people do not get the frozen items, instead focus on the can goods that you can keep. I also recommend the freeze dried goods too because they have such a very long shelf life. Toilet paper, sanitary pads for females, over the counter medications for both children and adults. Every time you go to the store grab a gallon of water…Every time.

I hear and see everything that is going on. I trust no one. I am actually in the process of building hide a way walls and book cabinets with storage rooms behind them. A spare room bed that is actually containers holding items etc. I have an old fashioned pull out couch that has a storage area underneath it. I am a single Mom with one teenager so I took lessons on how to use a firearm. I already am a skilled Nurse. But I cannot afford a bug out retreat so I have to make my house safe. Although I do have a bug out bag ready to grab and go if needed. I also have one in my car.

Volunteers carry water, food, and other supplies up darkened stairwells at the Sand Castle houses to assist residents who continue to live without power in the Far Rockaways section of the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Despite power returning to many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area, residents of the Far Rockaways continue to live without power and heat due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Volunteers carry water, food, and other supplies up darkened stairwells at the Sand Castle houses to assist residents who continue to live without power in the Far Rockaways section of the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Despite power returning to many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area, residents of the Far Rockaways continue to live without power and heat due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When your own government of FEMA and Homeland security is telling you to be Prepared for 72 hours you should listen. I lived through Hurricane Andrew and it was horrible in Country Walk. No one was there for at least a week or longer. We were 2 hours away from a direct hit and we had no power, no water for over a week. No one came to our area and we had to take care of ourselves because we not directly hit by the storm even though we had some of the same results. So the stores were closed because they had no power. Highways were jammed because no one had gas . It was total devastation. No one was able to access their money. Banks we closed because we had no electricity.

If I can tell anyone anything is you need to be prepared. Keep Cash on hand. Make sure your address is correct on your ID because if its wrong and they have restricted access, you won’t be able to get back in. I know it happened to me. Get extra ID and SS card with birth your certificate. Make sure important documents are planned for if you have to leave your home in an emergency. So many things the government will ask you for if need help and you have to have them or you are turned away.

I know the food trucks do not come to the stores. So for those of you who have children and babies stock up on canned formula, powder will not be as easy especially if you do have a supply of clean water. If you are on any kind of special medication try to get a few months supply. As for samples and put the aside. I would encourage everyone to read up ask questions and be prepared.

Keep your family close and strong.

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Preppers Need to Continuously Practice Situational Awareness

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Shirley. 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.


We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another…our mobile phone rings as we’re exiting a store and, for one reason or another, we decide to continue talking to the caller rather than opting to “call them back”.  As a result, our attention is not 100% focused on our surroundings as we navigate our way through the parking lot to our vehicle. Normally, having our attention diverted to “something else”—even if it’s only to a voice in cyber-space—is “no big deal”. It’s the kind of thing that if we dared mention it to our teens, we’d very likely get the “roll of the eyes” or  “that look” which is commiserate with “whateeeeever, Mom….”

This is one thing that kids just “don’t seem to GET” these days: the need to be AWARE of their surroundings AT ALL TIMES—not JUST when their “public” isn’t screaming for their attention! That is one of the main problems with social media—it sidetracks attention—if only “momentarily”—from the here-and-now.

Most of us have heard about or actually read for ourselves the accounts of people—mainly women, of course—being mugged in parking lots. Frequently, they’ve had infants/children in tow who’ve distracted them, or they were struggling with parcels or other purchases. Perhaps they weren’t even aware of the panel-van that was strategically-parked alongside their car—the sliding-door of the van positioned right beside their driver’s-side door. In barely an instant, the woman is abducted, leaving her child/children abandoned.

We are, essentially, losing an entire generation to the lure and glamour of social media.

Why is situational awareness important?

In a perfect world, all children would learn—and practice—what’s known as “situational awareness”. They would all instinctively know what to do—and the reason for the need—that when they enter a new place that they visually scan the room for fire extinguishers, make mental note of ALL of the room’s potential “exits”, consider if there are any potential “threats” in the room, including unsavory people or any persons who might be dressed in a way that “doesn’t jibe” with either the weather or what others are wearing.

Case in point: several of the “school -shooters” were garbed in long trench-coats on warm, sunny days when such apparel was really inappropriate. The appearance of such an outer-garment SHOULD HAVE alerted someone, as it was unnatural and illogical for someone to be wearing such as that. The truth is, that several “someones” probably DID notice the in-congruence of it, but they failed to say anything to anyone about it and their failure to do so resulted in the deaths of many innocents, indeed, they themselves may have become a statistic due to their inattentiveness or lack of appreciation of the importance of their observation.

How often do we, as parents, make sure that we choose a seat in a restaurant or meeting place that faces the main EXIT? Do we even realize the importance of doing so? We are so much more likely to recognize a potential threat when we “see it coming” our way.  We can identify the odd behavior, the odd or inappropriate apparel, the things that our intuition tells us are “just not right” so that we can act immediately and instinctively to protect ourselves as well as others. We have a much better chance of intervening in a potential catastrophic situation—and protecting not only ourselves but those around us from impending disaster when we face the path of ingress/egress instead of sitting in an opposite-facing seat.

Once we’ve identified a potential threat, we need to know and understand our “options”. What should we choose to do about it? Do we have “escape options” or would it be better to “hide”? As parents, we inherently know the difference between “hiding”, also known as concealment, and “taking cover.” Hiding under a table or behind a chair would do little to protect me, personally, from the danger of any attack, much less gunfire, though it might conceal me from a bad guy IF and only IF said bad-guy had incredibly-bad eyesight! It might, however, be the perfect hiding-place for one of my more diminutive grandsons!

Know the difference between concealment and cover

“Concealment” is defined, quite simply as hiding behind or under something. It’s quite possible that that particular hiding place might conceal me or one of my precious grandsons from a “bad guy”, yes, but simple concealment is no protection from a bullet.

When someone yells for you to, “Take cover!”, it means for you to immediately hide behind or under something that offers real protection from gunfire. This could be a concrete or brick wall, such as found in many commercial buildings nowadays. Typically, the kinds of metal doors found in many buildings prove to be better cover than is a wooden door of any kind. And if there happens to be a metal filing cabinet nearby that can be pushed up against said door, so much the better!

The truth is that we need to take responsibility for and be pro-active about what happens in our day-to-day lives. It’s way more than just teaching our children! If we will personally be assertive enough to make sure that we procure that door-facing seat for ourselves—even to the point of asking our waitress to seat us at a different table—or being willing to wait for a different table to become available, if that is the only option—we can INFLUENCE our children and even those around us positively. Our kids will understand the importance of why we’re making those choices and, just possibly, they’ll begin to make those same choices for themselves—but we must take the effort to explain our actions so that they can develop an understanding.

After all, by very definition, it’s when we least expect it that “unexpected things” occur.  Right? If we had any idea that something life-threatening or catastrophic would happen, we wouldn’t even be leaving our house that day, would we?

Please, too, be assertive when joining a friend who’s chosen the “more-desirable” seat…ask them to please exchange places with you and explain that it’s part of your “mitigation” training—to always have “eyes-on” the door—for their protection as well as your own. This revelation can be the beginning of a very worthwhile and life-changing conversation with your friend. One never knows whose life will be impacted positively by imparting such knowledge. And, truly, the life that is saved may be that of someone you love.

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How to Live Off Grid Successfully

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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 John L. 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.


If you have been wondering how to live off grid – “is it really possible?” and “Can I do it?” the short answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!”.

Remember: The only sure thing in life is Change itself. There is another important rule of life that is often overlooked:
“Anyone can only teach you what they know.” Learning is a lifelong process. The long answer is still yes, just with a lot more things to take into consideration. Living off grid will take a commitment of time, resources, and determination. You will really need to believe in what you are doing, have a vision for it, and want to make it work despite the obstacles that will plague you.

Living off Grid Takes Practice

Living off grid is not the easiest way to live. Until you do it you don’t even know the things that you are going to have to give up. The big things are easy to figure out: Refrigerators, Heating systems, Television, Kitchen Appliances, and THESE ARE THINGS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE UP!

There are other things that many people don’t think about until they are actually in the midst of it. Like indebtedness, careers, local churches & schools. Sometimes families and friends.

It still takes money to live

There are probably more Americans living off the grid that are on SSD (Social Security Disability) than any other group. Most of them would tell you they love it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Having a small income makes all the rest of it possible, you then can develop an income program that puts the “Icing on the cake” and improves your comfort zone. These parts of your personal economy, are called self employment. This needs to be discussed in a separate letter, but I will say this, it is easier than you think, and very financially rewarding.

There are a myriad of small electronics that people use daily that may not work with your new lifestyle. It isn’t that they are necessary objects, they are conveniences. Yet, for many of us, convenience gives us the foundation of our lives.

If you are still thinking of living off grid then there are a few decisions to be made. What worked for me was the awareness that getting by with less was a way to need less. Finding a comfortable zone to live in meant having money left over, on pay day.

Every time I could find a way to either live without or get for nothing it meant more money in my pocket.

Designing an Off Grid Home, (RV or trailer lifestyle)

Your Off-Grid location can be anywhere you want. Even were you are right now.

Knowing how to live off-grid in different environments will help you to make the choice that is best for you. The point is: Living off Grid, is a collection of small things that you can do, that collectively change your life, to give you more of what you want and less control of your life by an unappreciative society, country or world. If you think having a job, even a good job, is just another form of slavery, then you are a candidate to “live off the grid”. It’s your choice; it’s your life, to live your life the way you want. I suggest that making an ongoing list of small things to change and learning how to prioritize that list, is a good place to start.

Going Off Grid Where You Live Now

You might think that those questions are secondary but they are not. It is entirely possible to go off grid right where you live, if you own your own home or where you rent, In fact you can begin learning how to live off grid today. Become aware of how powerless you are in your present life because it will give you an insight into the changes you can make in your own life NOW!

A suggestion: This is not about Religion, Ask yourself….“In whom do you place your trust?”

Interesting how many organizations and people are living off your pay check, not just your wife and kids, But your local Municipal government, including police dept, fire dept, water & electric dept, tax office, Sewer dept, all depend on you to support them.

Living off the grid starts with a change in attitude

Solar panels can be added. Circuits can be turned off. Water can be discontinued and wells can be dug. Research should be done into alternative forms of energy, appliances, and different ways to run a household when standard energy isn’t being used.

In my case, I want to keep it simple, I rent a place to park, It includes water, sewer and electric. It has worked well for the past 5 years. It is harder to move off grid in a subdivision but it can be done, depending on your homeowner’s association and local policies.

The world is getting smaller, It is getting harder to find privacy.

It’s easier to move off the grid, when you park your motor home in an RV park and plug it in, or park in a spot and turn on your own generator or plug into their electricity.

Moving to a New Location

If you are planning to move then take the time to consider your needs, desires, and the various benefits and negatives of different parts of the country. For example, in Texas where I live the benefit is apparent. The winters are basically mild. While we do get cold snaps they are interspersed with warmer weather. There are a total of three growing seasons. It doesn’t take a whole lot to stay warm in the winter if you can handle 50 to 60 degrees.

Gardening (not my thing)

On the other hand we can go two to three months in the summer without a drop of rain. This means that you will be hand carrying water to your garden. Summers are hot. Living without air conditioning when it is 110 outside is challenging, at least until you get used to it. I prefer a good Wal-Mart for groceries; good Mexican grocers or farmers markets can be good for fruit & Veggies.

If you are going to make a move then you should consider areas where there are not extremes of temperature or of rainfall.

Things to Consider

The other important thing to consider is the locality.

  • Will you continue to work at a job?
  • If so how long will your commute be?
  • How far can you afford to live from the place that you work?
  • Is the location you are looking at economically sound?
  • Will you have access to groceries, church, gasoline, medical care?
  • RVing around the country can be a great way to research these questions, while enjoying your younger years. Remember, we all get old and our needs WILL change.

All of these questions will need to be researched and answered before you begin to look at moving to a new location.

Learning How to Live Off Grid

Now that you have established where you are going off grid the question is how to do it. The best place to start is by analyzing all of your electrical usage for a month. Exactly how much electricity do you use on an average?

Most off grid systems cannot handle the load that modern man puts on them. You will probably need to cut back on your usage. The next thing to do, then, is to figure out how to cut back on your energy use. Will you use a propane stove or refrigerator? Wood stove?

If you choose to use a wood stove or heat will you have access to wood? How will you light your home in the evenings?
What type of solar do you plan to use? Is your home designed in such a way that passive solar can be used?

Types of Off-Grid Energies

There are a number of types of energy for off grid homes.

  • Electric power line
  • Electric Solar
  • Electric Wind
  • Wood heat / cooking
  • Electric Gas Generator (I’m getting ready to do a gas to propane conversion on the Onin Generator out of an old Motor home)
  • Electric / heat / cooking Propane
  • Water (micro-hydro)
  • Geothermal

The biggest need will be for heat and cooking. Once you have those two things decided you are pretty much good to go. Cooking on a wood-stove is difficult for most people to adjust to but it can be done. Many people, once they learn to do it, would not go back to cooking in an electric oven! Conserving energy is one of the best ways to deal with your energy needs. Anyone can do that, no matter where they are.

What Can I Do Today?

Start right where you are. Most people cannot afford to just go off grid one day. It is a process of both investing in the products needed and doing the research to gain the knowledge to do it. The second part is, were all different, and our want, needs & expectations need to be honored.

Tips for Saving Energy Right Now Conserve energy where you are

  • Use solar hot water heaters
  • Use heat exchange units
  • Caulk doors and windows
  • Let your body acclimate to colder than normal or warmer than normal temperatures
  • Get a clothesline and stop using the dryer.
  • Upgrade insulation.
  • If your refrigerator or freezer is over 10 years old, consider buying a new, energy efficient model, or even a propane one.

In other words, see how low you can go. Get rid of the electric clock radio, the power drill, and the microwave. Try to get the electric bill down to the bare minimum.

Evaluate Your Need for Power

Once you get your electric usage under control you will be in a better position to see whether or not you will be comfortable going off grid completely. Even if you decide going off grid completely is not something you want to do you will have learned how to save on your electric bill, and that is a big benefit.

Going off grid is not for everyone. It is really an investment in a much simpler lifestyle. It does not have to cost thousands of dollars. Just do what you can, where you can.

Taking the steps slowly, researching, and learning how to live off grid will help you to make a smooth and successful transition if you decide that going off grid is for you.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GOING OFF THE GRID
Living off the grid has nothing to do with being a environmentalist, It does have to do with living your own life, within your own economical means.

About the Author – John Lindquist soon to be 80. I live in the woods between Austin and Phlugerville, have been practicing living off the grid since 1985. Attached is my E Mail, I can always use a new friend JohnLindquist625@Gmail.com

“I do what I have to do, the rest of the time I do what I want to do.”
“Everything in moderation”

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Making a Living Post TEOTWAWKI

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Bobcat-Prepper. 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.


I recently completed reading “World Made By Hand”, and its sequels “The Witch of Hebron”, “A History of the Future”, and “The Harrows of Spring” by James Howard Kunstler.  In each book, he covers one season in the life of carpenter Robert Earle and his neighbors of Union Grove, New York after waves of epidemics have caused the collapse of modern society.  The survivors live (and die) in a world similar to the early nineteenth century in daily life and technology.  They have almost given up on progress, until Brother Jobe and his New Faith followers arrive in town, buy the old high school, and restart the local economy with their beehive of activity.  I learned that some folks have a resiliency to overcome awful circumstances, and will strive to rebuild a society that works on some level.  Also, food will taste much better when it is made by hand!

The reason the America of “World Made By Hand” (WMBH) is stuck in the 1800s and cannot be as productive as today’s society, is the lack of cheap energy.  America’s bounty was built on cheap energy, pulling ever-greater amounts of coal, oil and natural gas out of the ground for very little cost. Oil deposits that were close to the surface were used up first, and then as our technology developed throughout the twentieth century, we consumed deposits that were deeper and provided less return on investment. Likewise, the easy-to-access coal deposits have been used up, while plenty is still available with heavy excavation machinery and electrical power for lights, elevators, and ventilation.  These fuel sources have allowed us to achieve a technology and productivity unthinkable two hundred years ago.

Here are a few ways that our world today could quickly end up “made by hand”:

1) An EMP weapon detonated over America’s heartland fries the electrical grid and most electrical devices.  The 2004 congressional EMP report estimated that 90% of Americans would die within a year from starvation, violence and disease. Without electricity, we cannot pump the oil, refine it, or transport it to consumers.

2) A fast-moving epidemic that kills or incapacitates as few as 10-20% of Americans could easily set our society on a downward path, as employees critical to our power/transportation/food distribution systems die or, out of fear of contagion, refuse to show up to work.

3) A cyber-attack shuts down our power grid for a couple of weeks, American cities are torn apart by riots, looting, and chaos, and the American economy goes up in flames.

Most American workers today have jobs that would vanish in an instant once the power goes off, and the oil stops flowing.  Stock trading? Gone.  Marketing?  Gone.  Car sales jobs? Useless. If the worst happens, have you given any thought to how you would be making a living post TEOTWAWKI?

How could you thrive in a “World Made By Hand”?  By getting a job from the 1820s.

Let’s look at how people made their living 200 years ago, at the end of the Industrial Revolution but before the discovery of oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859.  Which skills were in demand in a country of 9.6 million citizens?  According to this National Bureau of Economic Research report from 1966, the top areas of employment in 1820 were:

World Made by Hand: A Novel

World Made by Hand: A Novel

Agriculture – 2.47 million workers (78.8%). After any world-altering disaster, everyone would put growing food first, and it is a good idea to become a master gardener now. Jobs associated with the farm could include field laborer, livestock care, animal husbandry, butcher, food preservation, beekeeping, and many more.  “Squire” Bullock has a good feudal system going outside Union Grove, with all of his workers living on his estate and taking most of their pay in food.

As food-raising efficiency and preservation get better and business efforts organize, there would be opportunities for the WMBH economy to emerge, for a few workers to specialize in other areas like:

Trade – Estimated employment of 150,000 (~5%). Jobs associated with trade could include traders (deal makers), warehouse ownership/management, warehouse workers, retail shop ownership, and retail shop workers.

Construction – Estimated employment 150,000 (~5%). Much of building construction was done by farmers and their slaves in the 1820s, so the actual number of dedicated construction workers during that time period seems lower than actual level of work done. I can foresee survivors building outhouses and smokehouses for themselves, but very little construction done otherwise. Investing money and labor into new construction requires construction supplies, hope and economic growth, and there would be very little of that after SHTF. The residents of Union Grove did not build a thing until Brother Jobe’s congregation arrived, and gave the town the economic jolt they needed.

railconstruction

Construction on the Great Northern Railway’s transcontinental railroad.

Domestic Service – 110,000 workers (3.5%). Servants did the housework for the folks better off, but there were very few mentioned in WMBH, and rightly so – a poor economy would allow few to afford such a luxury.

Transport (Ocean & Rail) – 50,000 workers (1.6%). These two modes of transport would be much reduced after oil is unavailable. The heroes of WMBH travel primarily by walking and horseback, but they also use horse-drawn wagons, mule-pulled flatboats traveling through canals, and small sail-powered cargo ships on the Hudson River and Great Lakes. These are great ways to move food and supplies, but they require a long lead time to learn to build/retrofit boats, breed more horses or other beasts of burden, and develop productive and safe trade routes. If Kunstler ever writes a fifth WMBH book, I hope he will have a wood- or coal-powered steam engine come through Union Grove – that is when you would know America is coming back.

Teachers – 20,000 workers (0.6%). Sorry, teachers – after SHTF, there will be no school board to hire you back, no property taxes to fund your paycheck, and most of the curriculum you teach now will be irrelevant anyway. What purpose will be served by kids learning the themes of Shakespeare’s plays and writing a 1000 word compare-and-contrast essay? Children will be needed to shoo the crows from the corn, pull weeds, and do all the chores the adults are too tired or big to do. When they are older, the children can work in the family business, apprentice with a craftsman, or work for wages (in some form) as a day laborer.

Fishing – 14,000 workers (0.5%). Without refrigeration, the jobs in this area will be scarce, but with the right fishing expertise, worm farming equipment, poles, nets and salt, a fisherman could do quite a business providing much-needed protein to the surviving community.

Farming in the 1800s was done by every member of the family by ox drawn plows.

Farming in the 1800s was done by every member of the family by ox drawn plows. Do you have any oxen? What about horses?

Mining – 13,000 workers (0.4%). Coal would be a much-needed commodity in a WMBH to get machines running again. Coal is valuable because it is eleven times as energy-dense as wood, but the business is problematic.  Coal mining by hand is hazardous, back-breaking work.  It was often performed by children in the old days because of the nasty work environment and low ceilings, or by slaves in some countries and times.  To get coal out of the ground without petroleum-powered equipment would require a conveyance system of cars and tracks, or baskets and strong backs.  Picks, shovels and lanterns would be needed, and a few canaries to warn of methane pockets, too.

I live in coal country, but the mines have been closed so long that few folks remember where the mine entrances are; an old coal mine map could be the start of a prosperous business in a long-term collapse.

Cotton Textile – 12,000 workers (0.4%). In an SHTF scenario, people worry about food, not new clothes, right? It is only as the societal collapse of WMBH unfolds over ten years or so, that poor quality clothes like t-shirts and cheap jeans fall apart under harsh conditions, and Union Grove folks look for new clothes made by hand from the tailors of Brother Jobe and his New Faith Church community.

Raising cotton (or flax or hemp) is beyond most gardeners’ ability or interest, but to have the supplies, equipment and ability to grow, card, spin and weave fiber into cloth would be a great asset in any long-term scenario.

Sewing clothes from store-bought cloth, on the other hand, is a lot more appealing and achievable today.  A seamstress could also alter clothes for survivors losing weight, children growing up, or adjust clothes “inherited” from those who didn’t make it.

Iron/Steelworkers – 5,000 workers (0.2%). Due to the high fuel requirements, large equipment, and high skill required to smelt iron and forge steel, I didn’t even mention mining iron ore earlier. I don’t think our society could do it for a long time once the mills shut down. There would be plenty of steel left in our buildings and cars for recycling into hand tools, if life turned south.

No matter the time, resources or situation, healthcare workers will never be unnecessary.

No matter the time, resources or situation, healthcare workers will never be unnecessary.

To these categories of 1820 employment, I would add for your consideration:

Security – Federal or state soldiers, local police, and private security for businesses and wealthier families may all be needed. One would need to be proficient in firearms, sword and knife fighting, and hand-to-hand combat, depending on the situation and weapons available.

Craftsmen – Blacksmith, tanning/leather-working, carpenter, brewer, gunsmith, cheese maker, and baker.  All typical jobs you might find in any European town for hundreds of years.

Doctors and Health Care Workers – The medical profession is especially important to preserving life after SHTF, and yet its effectiveness will be severely hampered by the loss of power, equipment and supplies.

Medical doctors will have only their senses and brains to figure out what is wrong with a patient internally, as X-rays, MRIs and lab tests will be a thing of the past.  Their stamina will be tested by the flood of new patients arriving at their doorstep with work-related injuries and third-world diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhus. Nurses, lab technicians and even veterinarians may be recruited and trained to help treat the crowds.  Specialists will be needed to modify some equipment for non-powered use, herbalists to provide medicinal herbs in the wild for treatment, and scavengers may be helpful to find medications in abandoned pharmacies or homes.

Lumber and Firewood – Woodsmen would be vital to providing the main power source for the community, young men with axes and saws to turn the remaining forests into fuel for warmth, cooking and for many of the jobs above.

Very few people today can do the WMBH jobs listed above. We are used to power tools, internet access, and an accessible supply chain to help us get our jobs done.  Think hard about your unique skills, and determine if they would be useful after SHTF.  If not, acquire and hone new skills to complement your own, buy or build new manual equipment, and figure out new supply and demand chains to allow you to make a living in a “World Made By Hand”.

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Prepping Your Family: Whether They Are All Aboard…or NOT

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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 Shirley. 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.


“All Aboard!” Easily understood when shouted by the conductor of a train—either get yourself “on board” or be left behind; essentially, it’s HIS way or the HIGH WAY, so to speak. It’s a whole ‘nother thing when those same words—all aboard—are a request spoken by a MOTHER—even when in a pleading voice! Yes, I’ve heard lots of platitudes and vague reassurances from my kids, but no real “concrete preparedness plans”—for water and food storage, alternative bug-out location selection, or other (all-important to my mind…) “prepping supplies” that they may be accumulating for themselves AND my grandsons….

I’ve tried to do my part: I recall two Christmases ago when I gifted my girls and their sons with Bug-Out-Bags. There were all of the “appropriate items”, including some high-tech “nifty” things that I thought were pretty cool, as well as first aid supplies, of course. Being a nurse, I certainly had to put First Aid at the top of my list for THEM…right? But it wasn’t any of those specialty items—the curved hemostats (a.k.a. “roach-clips” for those of you of that particular generation)—that really got their attention. It was the “children’s toothpaste” that brought tears to my older daughter’s eyes….that I knew that my grandsons would be wanting—no needing—the comfort items that they associated with home if they had to skedaddle in a bug-out scenario.

That’s what it’s all about to me—prepping is very individualized in many respects. True, we all need water and food, but we need, too, the creature-comforts that we’ll be sorely missing when unceremoniously uprooted as will happen when we have to bug-out. As individuals, we all have our own needs and wants that are peculiar to us—I call these personal idiosyncrasies my “quirks”. (For me, dark chocolate would be hard to do without, while friends of mine wouldn’t consider it living if there wasn’t a latte´ for them in the morning!)

I try to think of everything for everyone in my family—after all I’m the MOTHER, so they count on me to have the knowledge and the resources to be able to think-ahead not just for me and their dad, but for all of them, too.

Granted, I haven’t always been in this preparedness mindset: our church formed what we refer to as a disaster action team and we’re all CERT-trained. The “Community Emergency Response Team” training is generally crammed-into a very full weekend and includes first aid, triage, search-and-rescue and other needed skills. It’s in this very training-oriented setting that I first began to get it together, preparedness-wise.

The director of our team, a former Eagle scout, has taught us how to use a compass and make para-cord bracelets to add to our B.O.B.s.  He invited guest-speakers to instruct us in how to make lanterns and collect/store water.  He also gave demonstrations on solar and Dutch-oven cooking. (Learning to cook in a solar oven was a bit intimidating to me, at first, but it’s really quite easy—especially in that food doesn’t over-cook like in a standard electric or gas oven. Members of our team have also experimented with building their own ovens—with surprising success from very little effort!)

As a result of this influence in my life, I began taking steps to stock up my own pantry with the sugar, flour—both wheat and nut types, though we’re pretty much gluten-free ourselves; spices, baking soda, vinegar, bouillon cubes, honey, spices, coffee—both regular and decaf, though I’ve yet to do the whole vacuum-packing that some swear is necessary.  (I’ve been told that my pantry, after 10 years, would make “most Mormons ‘green-with-envy’”, and I’m just fine with that!)

The purchase of several pre-owned food dehydrators have allowed me to make my own “marinades” for beef, duck and salmon jerkies. I may not “can” now, but I have enough dried proteins to last a month or more—and they take up very little space and are quite nourishing, to boot. Using organic fruit, I’ve also made fruit leather, which is quite flavorful and nutritious.

I’ve invested in cast-iron skillets and a Dutch oven, as well as a French-press coffeemaker that are now carefully stored for when they’ll be called into service.

In my stores are a relatively-limited supply of liquor—pretty much just vodka and tequila. Okay, that’s one aspect of supply on which I REALLY need to focus in the future. Ever-clear seems to be a popular item to stock and has several uses….so that’ll be an item on the “need-to-buy” list, certainly.

BUT I’ve excelled in other areas: one entire drawer in my kitchen is equipped with tapes and glues—including one that uses a dental-adhesive that hardens when UV light is applied. And, on top of a tall cabinet in the master bath looms a towering stack of toilet paper and tissues ceiling-high. At least they’re relatively out-of-the-way, even if I have to use a step-stool in order to reach them. There’s an enviable supply of candles of all shapes, sizes and descriptions and I’ve taken to collecting my empty toilet paper rolls and filling them with dryer lint.

water1-1024x768

My medicine cabinet, likewise, is crammed with Vitamin C, multivitamins, iodine tablets, gauze bandages, dressings, ointments, band-aids, nitrile gloves, N95 face masks, braces of all types (wrist, neck, knee, back), Q-tips, cotton balls, Ace bandages, as well as an assortment of tape that would make any pharmacist proud. Other bathroom cabinets are chock full of hand soaps, extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, and, of course, all of those little soaps, conditioners and lotions that are supplied with motel/hotel lodging.

There are currently in my laundry room five jugs of liquid laundry soap and I’ve chosen to learn about, and stock-up-on, essential oils—even going so far as to follow the mind-set of millennials insofar as learning which ones have a variety of not-so-obvious uses on which I might need to rely in an emergency. I’ve gone so far as to start making my own essential-oil concoctions—including Four Thieves Oil—as well as others for hand/face wipes, disinfection, refreshing, cleansing—out of strips of paper towels and a base of witch hazel; lip balms, salves, sunscreen, deodorant and remedies for insect-bites and “boo-boos”.

I’ve “dedicated” two drawers in my laundry room to batteries—all carefully arranged and separated by type—as well as the all-important battery-tester. And in my closets are extra sheets, blankets and pillows, as well as a vast supply of warm clothes, sweaters, boots and socks that’ll be great for “layering” should the need arise.

My garage stores supplies of duct tape, important hand tools, two Coleman stoves, multiple canisters of propane, lanterns, spare ponchos and “emergency” blankets  that I’ve acquired from the Thrift Shop where I volunteer my time on Wednesday afternoons. That’s been a real boon in that I can get “first-dibs” on canning supplies, books and various other prepper items at a fraction of their original cost.  One great find was called a Luggable Loo—still new in box—and includes odor-neutralizer. The tops of the tool cabinets reveal backpacks, hiking frames and other duffelbags, which are loaded with even more prepping supplies.

Two additional shelves contain my survival knives, paracord,  hand crank radios, flashlights—both “crank” and regular, specialty tools, survival whistles, pocket chain-saws and my personal B.O.B., as well as water filters—a LifeStraw,  a Sawyer Water Filter, two SteriPens, purification tablets and non-scented chlorine bleach.

Our two dogs are considered part of our family, so there’s a supply of both canned and dry dog foods and appropriate dog-related items, as well as the necessary toilet/sanitation wipes and other supplies—for them as well as for us humans.

The mechanical room off the hall is where our WATER is stored—in 5-, 10- and 25-gallon containers. My horse trailer has a 35-gallon water tank that I keep full as a back-up, also. Two of the other chaplains on our team have creatively used water jugs to discreetly fashion a coffee table in their living room, as well as store stacks of other jugs between their sofa and an outside wall. Because we can’t always be sure that the water will be palatable, I’ve invested in a large supply of natural citrus products that flavor water in a more healthy way. This idea, too, I’m passed-on to my team members.

As part of our team’s efforts, three years ago, I purchased one of those huge bags of cat litter that have the blue crystals. This is what I apportioned into small pieces of coffee filter and fastened with a small rubber band. The resulting product is used in large containers of sugar and other foodstuffs as a desiccant. Note: Not all cat litters are created equal; you need to search-out the ones with the crystals, which are, essentially, the active ingredient.  To other members of our preparedness team, I distributed baggies full of the surplus so that they could follow suit.

And because it’s a good idea to continue learning and to share knowledge, I learned how to easily make waterproof matches and taught the skill to others. As part of our team’s efforts, I compiled a 310-page manual, a presentation of which includes over 90 slides, which can be used to teach others similar skills, to make suggestions and offer instruction. A number of us have studied for our HAM radio license and have personal radios, as well as walkie-talkies of various types and sizes. I’ve honed my handgun skills and have even convinced my husband to join me at the range once. We have a stash of appropriate ammo. and two of the guns live at our respective bed-sides in anticipation of any event that might call for self-protection. A retired Army Ranger and church buddy does my reloading and uses my scavenged brass to keep a good supply of ammo. for my use.

So, I’m becoming more and more prepared for what might come soon. And, my promise to you is that I will tell your kids about the importance and significance of all that my team and I are doing and I’m counting on you to tell my kids…since, they never seem to listen to me. :>)

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Providing Hospital Care in SHTF

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.


I have three decades experience in trauma ICU care at a level three trauma center (used to be level one was the worst category. That was flipped a few years ago) and recently saw yet another YouTube video where the Israeli bandage was being waved around like it is the savior for all SHTF issues. Quick clot and compression bandages will certainly save lives if applied and monitored correctly. As ever get training for health care needs before you need them and try to get real life training not just videos and books.

However I got to thinking about what I would do with 32 years nursing experience and most of that in trauma if I had a person laid up in bed and was faced with providing hospital care in SHTF and why. It seemed to me the knowledge is not that widely available or known but please, as ever, correct me in the comments below. As ever Doctors are really smart and any advice I give here is intended only for my own use and you should not use any of the advice given unless you have had a smart Doctor agree with it.

Bed Rest

Back in the dawn of time a lot of my surgical and medical patients used to experience sudden cardiac arrest. I was around for as medical science figured out why and how to treat this reasonably common (in the 1970s) complication of bed rest. Deep Vein Thrombosis leading to Pulmonary Embolism (same thing that kills discount airline passengers. Always fly business class!).

Bed rest is an easy prescription especially if the injury is severe. Bed rest is what I love to do when sick and getting me out of bed is hard. However with eight hours of lying around the venous blood flow through the large veins of the legs and calf slows. Pain, fear and lower levels of consciousness will make this worse. Dehydration also encourages the venous blood to slow and thicken deep within the person’s legs and calves.

However many injuries in SHTF might well need bed rest so what can you do?

sickwoman

Low Molecular Heparin injections are really good but you likely will not have any. T.E.D. ™ anti-embolism stockings are a good thing to have in your trauma kit. Reasonably cheap and come in a variety of sizes. You can also use tight bandages wrapped around the legs but honestly they are more likely to cause venous congestion than minimize it. Here is what you should do if you have appropriate stockings or not. Move the legs and the joints carefully trough a range of motion (depends on the injury of course) every one to two hours throughout the stay in bed. Get them up into a chair and make them walk as soon as practical. In the 1960s you got to lie in bed for a week being hand fed if you had a heart attack to minimize cardiac stress. This caused a lot of deaths from embolism! This is also why new mothers get booted out of hospital in hours as well. Beds are very dangerous places if you lie in them for ages. Give a bit of daily Aspirin but read the next section carefully first.

Start gentle laxatives as early as possible and encourage high protein foods and drinks. Monitor their temperature twice a day at the same time of day and consider gram negative antibiotics if they develop even a slight temperature.

Aspirin

Most people are familiar with aspirin. If the person is a child or a baby do not give ever. Rarely it can kill the child. However if you are taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) you should also never take aspirin. Advil, Motrin, Aleve are common pain killers but never, ever take them and aspirin. Take one or the other, never both. If you have asthma try to avoid taking aspirin. The reason is that a severe asthma attack can be triggered by aspirin especially if you have asthma and/or are also taking an NSAID (this is arguable). The aspirin also makes the NSAID ineffective (this is true). Now I know some people are going to be saying “but I have asthma or I took Advil and aspirin and I am fine”. You were lucky and most times you will be lucky but you might not always be lucky. These are rare but fatal complications.

bottle-of-aspirin

If you are bleeding actively (gushing or oozing blood or bruising under the back- check frequently when you turn the person on bed rest who has had a trauma) never give aspirin. It is an excellent blood thinner which is why small doses if safe should be consider if your person on bed rest can safely swallow. I also have aspirin that absorbs via the mouth for those too ill to swallow liquids safely. Pulmonary embolism is a proven killer of people on bed rest who do not have access to regular injections of low molecular heparin. If you have ulcers, gout, kidney, or liver diseases do not take aspirin. It is to be avoided in hypertension but frankly I consider it too valuable to avoid if primary hypertension unrelated to kidney disease.

Read More: Medicine to Stock up on for When There Is No Doctor

Broken bones should also avoid aspirin for at least three days. A bad femur fracture can cause several liters of blood loss into the tissues. A bad pelvic fracture can easily bleed so much internally they die. If you can use transfusion but battle field transfusion without cross and typing has many risks and is unlikely to be available in SHTF. Even if you have the same blood type there can easily be dramatic and deadly effects from a blood transfusion as incompatibility is not just the blood type. For me if you need a blood transfusion to survive in SHTF you are a gonna anyhow so why bother?

In the third trimester of pregnancy do not take aspirin as both the mom and the baby may well bleed to death during the delivery. Do not use it is you are breast feeding (breast is best and possibly the only option in shtf) as the baby will get dosed and it really is not a good thing. If the aspirin bottle smells strongly of vinegar it may no longer be effective but if it is all you have then take it anyway. Consider researching Willow Tree Bark (and the leaves to some degree). Natural analogue for aspirin and an okay pain killer (beats nothing).

Many people use “baby aspirin” to avoid strokes and heart attacks. This low dose aspirin is expensive, Buy normal aspirin and take half a tablet.

Real Trauma Kits

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large

You can buy good trauma kits and Israeli bandages and I would encourage everyone who is trained to use one to have one and plenty of extra supplies but then what? Your friend stopped a bullet in her right leg and it seems the bone is broke judging by the screams when she moves and the bits of hard white stuff sticking out. Step one is to control the bleeding and step two to avoid infection. You slap on the Israeli bandage (likely your will need more than one), use the splint to immobilize the leg, and start her on fish antibiotics.

Then what? She’s going to be laid up for weeks and will take a lot to get her back on her feet. Do you have a bedpan (urinal for the males too slow to dodge bullets) to make washroom times less messy? Do you know how to remake a bed with a person lying in it and to wash them? Back in the 1980s as a student nurse we did these things on each other. These days they do not and their skills show it. Have a night where you try this on a loved one after reading up on how to do it. It is honestly a lot of fun. Can you make and use skin traction to get the bones in a better alignment? Again it is not hard and is easy to do but you need to know how to do it right to avoid crippling them. Do you have electrolyte drinks in large quantities and understand that urine needs to be clear or they are dehydrated? Real trauma kits will let you start intravenous infusions, pick out the bone bits, and suture internally and externally. The focus is on the first hour in prepping but rarely do people think about care the next day, the next week, the next month. Pool shock used to make strong bleach is a great thing to wash the bed sheets and to swab the area around the person who is stuck in bed. Can you make a frame and a hand hoist to let them sit upright frequently and relieve pressure on their bum and back? Pressure ulceration is not fun. Again look up basic nursing and at least have a text book available if you have avoided actual practice.

The one of the best things to get is an Emergency RN and keep him or her in your ‘kit’. An medical Doctor is helpful but they rarely have to do the thinking and creating that the RN has to do and RN who has worked in ED for a couple of decades knows much more than more a ED Fellow.

Fish Antibiotic

These are achieving a fair degree of popularity amongst preppers and for good reason but are you treating a Gram negative or gram positive infection? Generally speaking gram negative infections are more harmful than gram positive ones and tend to be more resistant to antibiotic use. Use penicillin and sulfonamide for gram positive and use streptomycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline for gram negatives. Use ONE for one week or two weeks (look up treatment regimens). Use another if the person is getting worse or is unimproved at the end of the full course of the initial drug.

Other than using gram staining (yes you can but I’d not bother) you need to assume it is a gram negative bacterial infection. These tend to kill more than the positive ones and are more common. If there is zero improvement then consider using a gram positive antibiotic. Gram negative is your go to antibiotic first off except if the bowels and/or stomach has been opened but frankly the person will likely die of sepsis in this case no matter what you do in SHTF. Try gram positive but give nothing by mouth if the bowels and or the stomach have been hit. Can you use a stethoscope and assess bowel sounds? A basic and a useful skill but can you give intravenous fluids and use a nasogastric tube? It gets complex very fast in trauma and stopping the bleeding is vital but there is more than this to ongoing treatment.

If you are thinking of using antibiotics at least take a look at this and realize many fish antibiotics are really not used much in humans anymore as they can cause issues. Still if nothing else then I’d use them. Prepper Princess recently mentioned she is worried about cholera in SHTF. This is a reasonable worry in SHTF and is likely if you fail to treat all water and food sources as possibly infectious. A quick search uncovered this so fish antibiotics used wisely would be useful. However I would go with doxycycline as a first use in cholera and the other advice on treatment here is highly appropriate to most infections in SHTF. You can and should do this for all infections you think are likely in SHTF and that you wish to treat. A standard drug book is too detailed and confusing for most people.

Within one month of a specific antibiotic not being used the rates of its efficiency start to rise. Store lots of antibiotics especially the gram negative ones as they will work very well after a year or two. Penicillin will again be great for sexually transmitted diseases which will also dramatically return in SHTF. Of course abstinence is the best practice but what else are you going to have to do in the bunker?

Babies

They will come along in SHTF as they have since humans first appeared on the Earth. Do you have contraception and/or methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies? Returning to the 1800s and each fertile woman popping out 10-16 children would happen fast. This Wikipedia article, (I know but it is reasonable) shows that death three to five days after birthing for women will be very common in SHTF. What the article fails to say is death rates were 40-60% for women having their delivery from a Doctor and 5-10% (or lower) from the Midwife in the same maternity ward. The lesson here then and now is wash your hands and forearms in bleach before and after every examination, do not use long sleeves (of note this applies now in health care), have lots of soap and clean water. Scrub clean beds between uses. Basic stuff but easily overlooked.

Babies get sick and die. Always have and always will but most infectious diseases had very little mortality (death rates) prior to antibiotics and vaccines (maternal deaths are the exception here). Chlorinated water, sleeping one person to a bed, quarantine of infectious people, hand washing, and good old fashioned nursing are absolutely critical in SHTF and now to avoid dying for infections. Sure antibiotics have saved millions but we are in the billions.

Hope all of this gives you some food for thought.

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Tactical Walking Tips for Bugging out on Foot

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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 Raider. Raider offers this article I believe as a companion piece to my recent article on SHTF Route Planning. In this piece he offers great advice and tips for security considerations if you are faced with the reality of bugging out on foot. 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.


BEFORE SETTING OFF

  • Try on your Rucksack and Jacket, Jump up and down on the spot, if your kit rattles or bangs re-pack rucksack until its silent.
  • Ensure shiny items like watches, ear rings, earphones, belt buckles are covered up or taped over.
  • Make sure your specs and shades are the dull, matte colored frames, not the shiny ones.
  • Do NOT take hand luggage; you must keep both hands free for climbing, roping, using tools etc
  • Keep your EDC essentials on your person not in your rucksack (Knife, Compass, Lighter, Flashlight, Multi Tool, Bandana, Hats, Gloves, Watch, and Shades etc) should you have to abandon your rucksack.
  • Daytime departure, take a look out the windows from well within the room moving to the right of the room to look left down the street, and vice versa. Do not stand in the window and silhouette yourself. Ensure as best possible departure will go unnoticed.
  • Night time departure, extinguish all lights and fires before looking out of the windows, move slowly at night as human eyes detect movement more than detail in the dark. Ensure as best possible departure will go unnoticed.
  • Turn off cell phones, pagers etc before leaving.
  • Use simple hand signals to relay information to other family members, raised arm means stop, raised arm and a crouching stance means stop and take cover, arm extended to left means move towards the left, arm extended to right means move to right. Keep the signals few in number and very simple.

READY TO GO

  • Turn out lights if it is dark, open door or window PARTIALLY and LISTEN for threats.
  • Send out one person to scan the immediate area for concealed threats.
  • If the area is good to go the rest of group to follow, silently and at least 3 to 4 ft apart (6 to 8 feet if tactical situation demands more defensive stance)

WALKING

  • Walk where possible in the shadows, look up for hazards in surrounding buildings, Look down to avoid items that may make noise like twigs, gravel or broken glass.
  • Pause frequently to listen, you generally will identify more threats by sound than vision, breaking glass, raised voices, gun shots, vehicle engines, running feet, barking dogs etc
  • Watch what nature does, if you see a flock of birds, or a rabbit, or deer for example suddenly take flight that tells you something has frightened it, and it may NOT have been your party.

    Solomark Night Vision Monocular

    Solomark Night Vision Monocular

  • Look left and right SLOWLY in a steady scanning motion, Human eyes detect motion more than shapes when its dark and you have more detector rods and cones in the sides of your eyes than you do at the back. Scanning side to side as you walk you will detect MOVEMENT before shape.
  • The last man in the group needs to keep stopping and quietly observing the rear to check if you are being followed.
  • Avoid using flashlights to navigate with, rely on your own night vision, Human eyes take 35 minutes to adapt to the dark but only seconds to lose night vision if a fool turns on a flashlight. Not to mention the risk of advertising your position to the whole area if you do use a flashlight.
  • Where possible avoid public places and spaces where cops, troops or thugs may gather, try and stay in the shadows.
  • Avoid districts where scavengers may good looking for food, loot etc
  • When passing through hilly neighborhoods never walk along hilltops or ridge lines, stay under the ridge line and don’t silhouette yourself.
  • If faced with an obstacle such as a hedgerow or wall try always to go round or under it, not over the top or through a gate because again you are just exposing your position.
  • In the short term most highway and rail bridges are really places to avoid, both official check points and predators WILL target them. Look for alternatives.

UrbanBugOut

RESTING & EATING

  • Light no cooking fires to be lit during the day unless you can guarantee you won’t create any smoke
  • When cooking at night, position the cooker in a hollow or hole so it does not give off light giving away your position, Beware of the odor of cooking food also giving away your position.
  • If in a group ONE PERSON COOKS, the others spread out and keep watch for approaching scavengers, Silence is golden as you will hear them approaching long before you see them.
  • You need to remember the cook will probably lose his night vision so if you have to bug out someone will need to help him until his eyes adjust.
  • Ideally eat in shifts, half eating half keeping watch, pack away camp cooker etc BEFORE eating in case you have to bug out in a hurry.
  • Take every scrap of rubbish with you or bury it, fill in your cooking hole / fire pit, leave no clue to your passing through.

SLEEPING

We all need rest and the young and elderly need more rest than healthy adults, you all must sleep when possible. Human biorhythms run in two hour cycles, so to get the full benefit of sleep people need to be fully asleep in two hour sections. This really means in a stressed situation after a day of bugging out each member will need three hours in his sleeping bag, and hour to wind down / de-stress and two hours’ sleep. So whilst at least one person stands watch, the others should rest in three hour sections. All gear must remain packed in rucksacks and boots etc kept close to hand in case you have to make a swift and stealthy exit from your campsite.

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Making Homemade Wine – Who’s Got the Hooch?

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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 Jamie Page. 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.


It’s been a heck of a day on the ‘ol neighborhood homestead… I woke up this morning hearing a ruckus out back where the chicken coops are located, just past the root cellar. I ran outside just in time to see the tail end of a fox carrying off one of my best egg laying hens. SOB dug under the fence… That’s not the way I like to start off my mornings. Sometime around 3pm we had an unknown, heavily armored dump truck come down the road and do a slow drive by scoping out the neighborhood.

Fortunately, the few neighbors I have left joined me as we gave them a few warning shots into the side of the truck. We felt it was necessary to let them know it would be wise to keep on moving. We are not a neighborhood who takes kindly to strangers poking around since all heck broke loose.

Things have been tough since the grid went down. I spend most of my days tending the garden, caring for the animals I still have left, hunting what few deer are still around and there is always that ever-present danger of outsiders looking to take what my family and I have been able to scrape together to survive in this tough new America. I sure do wish somebody around here knew how to brew up some homemade wine…It’s been a long day.

How to Make Homemade Wine

One of several valuable trading commodities after the collapse will be alcohol. It will be helpful to be able to manufacture and trade homemade wine in a world where the local grocery store no longer exists. Everybody talks about having a supply of lighters, canned goods, ammunition, water, etc. and that’s all good. However, after a long day of SHTF living, I pretty much figure we could all use a little fermented relaxation and liquid currency.

Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Beer Brewing Starter Kit with Block Party Amber Ale Beer Recipe Kit and Brew Kettle

Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Beer Brewing Starter Kit with Block Party Amber Ale Beer Recipe Kit and Brew Kettle

Whether your taste is for beer, homemade wine or straight up hard liquor, knowing how to make homemade wine is probably one of the most important skills to know and master in a post-apocalyptic world if you intend to barter for survival or just escape reality for a couple of hours. ‘Liquid gold’ could get you and your family the supplies desperately needed to survive and with a little planning, practice and forethought, you can have the necessary knowledge to make that happen.

Obviously, there are dozens of recipes and even more tried and true ‘secret’ methods from Uncle Jimbo and Grandpa Joe on how to home brew alcohol. Your drinking preference will dictate which type of drink you want to brew, ferment or distill. I am going to give you a short run down on a basic way to make homemade wine, which I think is the easiest way to get started with minimal investments and time. Anybody with thumbs should be able to make this standard grape juice wine. Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this when it comes to making hooch and ease is a good thing when resources are limited.

First… go buy or squeeze a gallon jug of 100% grape juice from the store or the grape vines out back, find a heavy duty (thick walled) rubber party balloon, a packet of red wine yeast (bread yeast will work in a pinch) and a cup of sugar. Fruit juice concentrates works well also if you are able to stock up your freezer with them. Eventually though, it will be whatever local fruit you can get your hands on. Don’t forget to mash up your fresh picked fruit.

Step One: Pour 1 ½ cups of juice out of the gallon jug and have yourself a refreshing beverage to enjoy while you move on to…

Step Two: Pour one cup of sugar into the juice jug, put the cap back on and shake the bottle until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Adding more sugar creates higher alcohol concentrations.)

Step Three: Add one small packet of wine yeast to the juice jug and swirl it around lightly. (Use red wine yeast for purple grape juice and white wine yeast for white grape juice if you want to get fancy. A packet of bread yeast will work also.)

winery-red

Those extra exam gloves you have lying around can also work for this purpose.

Step Four: Take a needle and poke one hole in the top of the balloon.

Step Five: Stretch the inflating end of balloon over the uncapped juice jug. (Make sure it’s on pretty good, the balloon is going to fill with CO2 gas and slowly leak out of the pinhole.)

Step Six: Place the juice jug in a warm, dry place and leave it alone for thirty days. The wine will be ready when the balloon has collapsed and is no longer filled with gas or it is obvious no more CO2 gas is being produced. (If you wanted to, you could purchase a wine specific airlock and cork to plug into the jug. Done this way, your wine would be ready when the bubbling stops.)

Step Seven: Filter your wine through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a new container using a clean funnel and put a cork or screw cap on it. This is to remove any dead yeast, sediments and fruit bits that settled to the bottom. It’s ready to drink! A lot of folks prefer to use a glass carboy, which is just a fancy word for a jug.

Congratulations! You just made cheap hooch. Maybe you could trade a gallon or two for some boxes of ammo or a couple of venison steaks and potatoes?

Blueberry-Wine

Just about any fruit will yield a fermented beverage with the right ingredients and conditions.

Using fresh picked fruit or honey will be your most likely scenario once all the stores have been picked clean of food and bottled juice. Sadly, most fruit varieties we are accustomed to will not be available. If you live in the south, muscadine grapes are well known and often made into wine as well as wild blackberries. Apples would be another obvious choice and of course honey, either wild or cultivated.

The Home Winemaker’s Companion: Secrets, Recipes, and Know-How for Making 115 Great-Tasting Wines

The cool thing is fruit wines of all kinds are essentially made the same way as our recipe above. Just remember to clean and sterilize your jugs and equipment as best you can because dirty equipment can ruin your batch. Bacteria can harm the yeast and not allow it to do its job eating up the sugar and producing CO2 and alcohol. More sugar generally means higher alcohol content. Be sure to plan ahead and stockpile lots of sugar and yeast packets if you choose to be the local winemaker everybody turns to.

Keep in mind, this was just a basic article on homemade wine making. There are many nuances and variations to flavor and quality. There is a plethora of useful information just a few clicks away on the internet. Knowledge and practice are essential if you want to produce a respectable product people would want to trade for. Even though society has collapsed, return customers are vital to building symbiotic relationships for rebuilding and staying alive.

Bonus information…. Honey wine is usually called mead. Mead can be traced back in history over 5000 years BC in Northern China and has been found in Europe around 2000 BC. During the Golden age of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the preferred drink of choice. So, if the ancients can make it, so can you. And if it tastes terrible… at least it will get you drunk.

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11 Ways Your Prepping Skills Pay Off In Everyday Life

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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 Lisa Bell. 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.


I used to think people who were constantly talking about government conspiracies, doomsday and all the other scare tactics were spouting wild theories. I still do for the most part… Recently, I got a different point of view when I read the article 8 Reasons Why Prepping is Good for You by John Lewis. He talks about using what you learned prepping and apply it to areas of your everyday life.When you boil preparing for unusual situations or prepping down, all it really means is that you turn back the clock and return to a simpler time when people were independent. In simpler times money was kept in the home, personal debt was rare, people cooked the food they grew and got a lot of exercise in the process. We have situations every day that we need to be ready for so let’s see how your prepping skills work out in these situations.

Floods – Recently, Louisiana had several days of flooding rains. Roads were flooded and people were cut off from stores and medical centers, many people were stuck in their homes. If they had stored some food, water and extra medical supplies they did better than those that didn’t.

Stuck on the Road – Accidents, storms and traffic jams on the highway have caused people to be on the road for hours and even days. If you have your go bag packed with extra blankets and food you will be glad to have it, and thankful that you learned some self-reliance.

Earthquakes – Earthquakes occur more often than you think and there is very little warning when they are coming. As a veteran of a couple of earthquakes I know they have a wide range of damage. Power may go out, roads are often impassable and you are left separated from family. If you remembered to make an emergency plan with your family you will find out quicker whether they are okay or not. Communications are often jammed so if power is out you will need to have a solar-powered battery charger to try to get through on jammed lines. It can take days.

Water Contamination – Water contamination seems to pop up on news stories at least once a month. Your prepper skills would have taught you to have bottled water on hand or to have the equipment to make drinkable water on hand. Stores often don’t have often have enough for an entire community.

Do you know how to make drinking water safe if what is coming out of the tap isn't?

Do you know how to make drinking water safe if what is coming out of the tap isn’t?

Hurricanes – While hurricanes vary in strength and size, they all come with a lot of wind and rain. When Hurricane Irene struck New England back in 2011 trees came down, bridges were swept away, shopping centers were flooded and power lines went down. The damage was widespread; the effects of the storm were felt long after the storm departed. The people and companies that did the best were the ones that had back up power and extra supplies.

Fires – Fires usually require a quick exit from a building or even a large area. If you have prepared in advance, your important papers will be in a place where you can grab them quickly and go. This will not only give you peace of mind, it will make the recovery much easier on you.

iBeek® Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger

Winter Weather – Ice storms and blizzards are some of the prettiest storms; and with that fresh look comes cold problems. The storms are very destructive. In 2008 an ice storm hit New England and New York. The roads icing were the least of the problems. Power was down for weeks; the grid had to be replaced in freezing weather. Many New Englanders are ready for storms but weeks without power tested even the hardiest people. The people who depended on power to heat, cook and shower and that had no other heat source had to go to shelters or to a family member’s home to keep warm. People stood in line in restaurants to charge their phones so they could check on friends and family. The sun shone strongly right after the storm, your solar battery charger will be very useful on one of these days.

Financial Health – There is one area of being prepared that we can use on a daily basis and that is finances. Many of us have gone into debt for things that we don’t really need. The prepper lifestyle encourages debt free-living and skills like cooking, and home medicine that save money and encourage good health.

Relationships – Any activity your family does together forges your relationships. Prepping activities are no exception. Getting prepared for unusual situations is an opportunity for everyone, especially children, to have confidence, build skills and learn independence.

Education – Prepping is like attending a new school. You still learn plenty, you just don’t sit in a classroom. Here are just a few of the lessons you get at Prepping School:

Science: Growing and preserving your own food not only teaches children where food comes from, you create family memories for years to come. I still remember picking apples, blueberries and strawberries in the field, then coming home and helping my Mom and Grandmother cook with them. We also had a garden and I remember my Dad’s tips on planting tomatoes and cucumbers.

Solar power is an option for off grid and prices are coming down.

Solar power is an option for off grid and prices are coming down.

Physical Education: Our modern lifestyle has cut out a lot of the exercise that people in a simpler time got by walking more and doing more labor themselves instead of having a machine do it. Planting a garden and then harvesting that garden require exercise and fresh air. If you hunt for your own food you walk quite a bit in the wilderness. You can also take your family on hikes to find things like the nearest water source and medicinal plants. When you map the route you are teaching and learning mapping skills and geography.

Alternative Energy – Designing and constructing a solar or wind powered system is a lesson that gives children a useful skill that will last throughout their lives. They may even start a business based on the experience. Solar, wind and hydro energies are going to be a big part of our children’s lives. Teaching them how to use them correctly is an important lesson.

Raising Animals – When you raise animals for food you have to research which food is good for them, build them a pen and make sure they have a warm dry place to stay. Their medical needs must be taken care of as well. This is a lesson in building, responsibility and science.

Health– More exercise is just one health benefits of getting prepared. When someone is hurt and cannot get to the Dr. or clinic the medical supplies you have and skills you learned prepping will be needed. This is a good science lesson for the kids. Learning to heal others could influence their career choice. When you help someone by cleaning their wounds and healing a sick person you gain confidence. It worked for my Grandmother. One of the home remedies she used was an egg poultice which was used as a drawing agent. When my Dad welded he often got metal slivers deep in his skin. He would apply Grandma’s poultice to the sliver and cover it with a bandage. A day or two later the silver would be in out and my Dad was happy.

Peace of Mind: The peace of mind just knowing you are ready is priceless.

With all the benefits of prepping, maybe we should all live like the world is ending. We would build better relationships, get more exercise and eat better.

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Prepper Conditioning: Total Body Fitness for When the SHTF

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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 Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Sam Thift. 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.


A violent mob a tad over 1,000 strong is blocking all outbound traffic on a major freeway leading out of downtown, your car is stuck in the snarled traffic and night is approaching. What are you going to do?

You were just about to pull into work on a Monday morning when an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) leaves your car sitting in the middle of the street on a downtown city block. How are you going to move?

Record breaking 100-year flooding is quickly rushing towards your neighborhood, and you have heard the bridge to safety is already under 3 feet of water. Where are you going to go?

Civil unrest, the breakdown of society, perhaps Martial Law, or the absence of the Rule of Law, are all possible consequences of any number of doomsday scenarios, or even breaking points themselves. Solar flares or tactically deployed strategic nuclear weapons can emit an EMP capable of destroying on-board computers and sensitive electronics in vehicles manufactured after 1980, while damaging the power grid and basically returning modern technology to the peak era of horse and buggies, the butter churn, and the quill pen. Major natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires can be severe, quick, and unannounced, potentially forcing you into an immediate need to evacuate, sometimes without the luxury of vehicles, boats, or other modern modes of transportation.

What is your current level of prepper conditioning?

Being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, swarmed by an angry mob can reduce a city to foot traffic, and potentially put you in direct physical danger. Think about Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas, Milwaukee, or Reginald Denny, the truck driver during the 1992 L.A. Riots, whose beating was caught by a news helicopter:

Fight-or-Flight instincts right? We are all familiar with that clever little quip. Are you capable of fighting back? Against multiple aggressors? For a sustained period of time? If not, are you capable of the flight option? Can you escape those aggressors? Could you outrun them in a sprint, through an urban environment, and continue to lose them over a sustained longer distance? What if you do initially outrun the aggressors, but are eventually caught and then forced to defend yourself? Fighting fresh sucks enough, try fighting when you are already fatigued. It is important to consider your level of prepper conditioning before you are facing a disaster.

Many of us have our everyday carry (EDC) gear, whether on our person or in a small easily accessible bag of some sorts, at all times. Others have a get home bag (GHB) or bug out bag (BOB) loaded with tools, gear, emergency food supplies, and even defensive items, either in our vehicle, at work, or otherwise ready to grab and go at a moment’s notice. Have you ever shouldered that pack and walked any distance? Even if you know a route to get home without consulting your Google maps or in-dash navigation, have you ever actually walked it? How far is it? What type of footwear do you have on? Dress shoes, high heels, flats, sandals, all not good choices for long walks. Have you done so in inclement weather? What if your planned route is impassable (consider the angry mob presence, or flooded roads/trails)? How heavy is that pack again?

Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack Military Style MOLLE Compatible Tactical Backpack Bug Out Bag

Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack Military Style MOLLE Compatible Tactical Backpack Bug Out Bag

Sheriffs offices, fire departments, and other emergency management professionals do their best to warn residents of impending danger from natural disasters, and will assist in pre-planned evacuations often designed to allow ample time for you and your family to be removed from your residence safely. However the timing of natural disasters is not always so convenient and officials may not be available to help you, individually. You may have to load up your valuables and find a road out, but without the knowledge to move forward, a safe route may not be possible in your family car. Can you hike out of your neighborhood on foot? Are you a strong enough swimmer to tread water for extended periods of time, or even swim across a pond or lake to escape the danger? If you have small children with you, are you capable of carrying them to safety as well? Can you push a heavy object out of your way, lift an item off yourself or a loved one, pull yourself over an obstacle, or negotiate a series of uneven, loose, or otherwise treacherous terrain to find safety on solid ground?

What do all of these have in common?

How long do you expect to survive a SHTF event?

All of these scenarios are examples of easy ways your ability to survival the initial blow of shit hitting that proverbial fan will depend upon your physical ability and conditioning. If you have ever been in a fight, even in training, sparring, bag drills, or other controlled environments, you know how quickly you can fatigue. If you have not, just find a large pillow or something else soft to punch, and hit it as furiously as possible – as if your life depended on beating that pillow – for about 30 seconds, then assess your heart rate, breathing, and perspiration. They are probably all up quite a bit. Rest for 10 seconds then do it again for a minute. Then sprint out your door to the end of the block, and do it again for another 45 seconds. Rest for 5 seconds and go ALL OUT for a final 10 second surge. Then run a lap around your neighborhood and reassess yourself when you get back home. Go inside for a glass of water, you earned it – then defend yourself against that last attacking pillow for another 30 seconds. Get the point?

Fatigue from fighting is very real, and very quick. If you are not big on hand-to-hand combat, but have read a couple of books, or seen a movie or two, or practiced kata or other sequenced movements such as are commonly trained in karate and taekwondo, then you may not know how your body will actually stand up to the massive expenditure of energy required in a fight. Need somewhere to start? Look for a local gym and sign up for a free test class in Krav Maga. Condition yourself.

If you have ever been in a fight, even in training, sparring, bag drills, or other controlled environments, you know how quickly you can fatigue.

If your prepping relies heavily on the use of EDC, GHB, or BOB gear, you should not only be intimately familiar with every piece of gear you carry or plan on carrying, but you should be even more familiar with what it feels like to actually carry that gear. As the crow flies, I work 10 miles from home. My regular commute covers 15 miles. Pending any alterations in safe passage following an incident, I expect my trip home could range upwards of 20-30 miles. At 6’4” and about 225 lbs with a GHB weighing in around 24 lbs dry, I have a little room for 3 liters of water while keeping my ruck right around 30 lbs. With a little intimate road time, proper footwear, a series of blister/heal cycles and rubbing my shoulders raw from straps, I know what pace I can move at and how long I can move like that. Toss in variables of being loaded with an unplanned item, or extra gear I happen upon, and I also know that I can double upon that coupon and keep going. How do I know that? Walking around the neighborhood, simple day hikes on the weekend, or a good backpacking trip are all good places to start. Or jump straight up for a good sense of what added stresses could feel like on your psyche and your body, and look at completing a GoRuck event (Google it, it is worth every dime). Condition yourself.

Not sure what will be required of you before, during, after a natural disaster? Ask anyone who has lived through an earthquake, wildfire, tornado, or flooding. Look at the Cajun Navy in Baton Rouge, LA. Think they have it easy in their boats? I guarantee they end their day plum tired from the physicality required to help their neighbors. Strangers even. If you cannot push yourself off the floor, could you push a standard home office bookshelf off yourself? If you cannot perform a single pullup, could you pull yourself up and over a large item like a refrigerator blocking the doorway out to safety? Say your kid, spouse, or loved one is unconscious or otherwise unable to walk to safety themselves, can you carry them – even if for just a short distance to get out of the house? Could you drag them even? Can you hike out from danger, run away from danger, swim to safety, or simply walk down the road, for miles, until you find refuge? No, you do not need to go to the gym, eat protein bars and post-workout shakes. Try some simple body-weight exercises. Pushups, pullups, squats, planks. YouTube any one of those, find progression exercises for them if you cannot do them strictly now, and work your way towards them.

Take care of your conditioning now before life takes care of it for you

Get up and move, if even a little. Go for a walk, swim at the rec center, ride a bike, anything. You have a busy schedule. Work. Family. Life. A daily set of push ups, pull-ups, squats, and planks can be done in as little as 5 minutes. You have spent far more time than that just reading this little 1600 word article. You probably spent more time than that navigating the internet to find this article. You may even spend ten times that amount scrolling through Facebook feeds, or news articles, or simply sitting on the couch watching glimpses of your favorite programming between chunks of commercials and advertising. That’s fine. Just slip off the couch and do 10 push ups during a commercial break. Even once a day. How long does it take to walk around the block? Twenty minutes? Take the dog. Can you run a couple of miles? That doesn’t really take too long either? Be like Nike…Just Do It. Swim at the pool? It takes longer to drive there, rinse off afterwards, and drive home than it does to actually swim even just 500 meters. Condition yourself.

BodyWeightExercise

No, you do not need to go to the gym, eat protein bars and post-workout shakes. Try some simple body-weight exercises. Pushups, pull-ups, squats, planks.

Surviving is just the first step to survival. If you struggle with the basic physical abilities to easily get through some of the things I have discussed above, what good will the 2 years of food, hundreds of gallons of water, or thousands of rounds of ammunition do for you when the shit hits the fan? That stockpile will just be a jackpot for someone more conditioned for a survival situation than you. Someone like me who comes along later to find the money you spent, thinking you were prepared, when a few simple daily efforts could have made a far bigger difference in your life.

Get through step one first. Survive the events of the day. Then start to consider.

Are you free of addictive substances, habits, or vices? Quitting smoking is hard enough today, without other stresses, and with the assistance of any gum, patches, or other tricks to take the edge off. I know. I have done it. I cannot even imagine how weak-minded I would be a few weeks after SHTF to come across someone trading a pack of cigarettes…I probably would have sold the farm for it if I hadn’t already quit. Many prepper philosophies out there advocate for even non-users to stock up on alcohol, tobacco, and coffee to be used as trade items later on. The thought being that these little trinkets will have substantial value in bartering systems when regular supplies have long disappeared or been consumed by former smokers, drinkers, and coffee addicts. If you make it that far after the SHTF but cannot turn down a smoke, a drink, or a cup of Joe, you are just begging to be taken advantage of.

Is your body accustomed to the diet you plan on sustaining yourself with post-SHTF? Yeah, bust out the beef stew or chicken with salsa MRE, throw it in the nifty heater and lean it against a rock or something, and you’ll be a member of the “these are actually pretty good” crowd. Now eat them every day for two weeks. How has your stomach felt? How are your bowel movements? Are you paying attention to calorie intake versus expenditure? During the crucible for the Marine Corps, you are given just 2 MREs over a 54 hour period when you cover 48 miles with 45 lbs of gear, navigate 36 “warrior stations” and 29 “team building exercises” all on 6 hours of sleep. I had food left over afterwards and don’t remember going number two at all, but made it just fine. If you eat three MREs per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll “survive” alright, but your guts will hate you.

Can you perform the daily physical duties and manual labor required in your long-term survival plan? If you currently work on a farm or ranch, in most construction trades, oil field operations, logging, or other physically intense professions, you probably do not need much of this information at all. If you do not work in one of the above, or a closely related field, go spend a day with a family member, friend, or neighbor who does work in one of those fields and tell me how you feel the next morning. Manual labor is real. If you think the post-apocalyptic world is ripe with clerical positions, business analytics, or private consulting firms, think again. Your air-conditioned office, break rooms, water coolers, hour-long lunches, and paid vacation and sick leave are all gone. If you want to get by now, it will all be on your shoulders. Day in and day out. If you cannot weed a garden all day, you will starve. If you cannot walk the countryside gathering wild edibles all day, you will starve. If you cannot climb to the top of a ridge, check a trap line, or take down some big game and carry it home, you will starve. If you cannot gather firewood, build or reinforce a shelter, haul water, move gear – over and over – or potentially even engage in defensive postures, struggles, or all out battles, where does that land you in your new world?

Condition yourself early and often. Move. Eat right. Live right. Easiest, cheapest, most sustainable preps out there. I appreciate any and all feedback and dialogue! Know a little about anything in any of these areas, share it, talk about it, and get the thought trains rolling. Disagree with me, let me know why. Look for more to come on my conditioned prepping, from SHTFit. I am totally open to your ideas, I may even flat-out admit it and incorporate your thoughts into my own conditioning approaches. In the end, we should all make sure we are Fit for when the Shit Hits.

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Long Term Food Storage: Benefits of Storing Wheat

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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 Cannin’ Nancy. 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.


Why does everyone talk about storing wheat?

I recognize that there is a significant number of people in the world that do not tolerate wheat well, or at all. My father-in-law has celiac disease, and one of my sons cannot have any whole grains. However, even these individuals should consider storing wheat in some measure, and I’ll be discussing the reasons why at the end of this article. Of course, those that will benefit most from this article are those who can eat wheat.

Wheat is the staple grain of the North American diet. It’s what we grow here all across the Great Plains. It’s what we’re accustomed to eating. We have the recipes for breads and other baked goods. (You do have recipes, right? Hard copies, right?) Amaranth, quinoa, spelt and such are great, but most people don’t store or use them. They don’t know how to work with them. TEOTWAWKI won’t be the time to learn. And exotic grains are expensive. At least for now, wheat is very cheap.

Because wheat is what we grow here, it’s what will be available post-TEOTWAWKI, if anything is. Even if you can’t eat wheat, consider storing it for those who can, especially those in your family or those who may be coming to you. That way you have cheaper food for them and you can keep your costlier non-wheat preps for yourself.

Nothing smells better, or tastes better, than freshly baked bread. Really good food improves morale in a crisis. And unfortunately, bread is one of those items that cannot be stored. It has to be made fresh every week. Furthermore, most people can’t make bread. It is definitely one of those skills that takes practice and should be mastered while we can still feed the loaves that flop to the chickens without feeling wasteful.

wheat-1530321_640

Non-GMO Hard Red Spring Wheat

Non-GMO Hard Red Spring Wheat

Wheat is nutritious.

Wheat combined with milk (in the same meal) will provide all the essential amino acids for building protein. Wheat is a primary source of B vitamins. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, they can’t be stored by the body. We need a constant supply of vitamin B to maintain good health. In addition, sprouted wheat berries (more on that later) are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide some vitamins A and D.

While being able to bake bread is probably the main reason for most of us to store wheat, there is still plenty that can be done with wheat berries until you are able to obtain a grain grinder and while you learn to bake your bread. The whole grain can be boiled for cereal. Any leftover boiled berries can be mixed in with ground beef to extend it (meat loaf, meat balls, hamburger patties, etc.) without too much notice by the rest of the family. The whole berries can be used to make blender pancakes or blender waffles (full recipes and tutorials at storethisnotthat.com). The berries can be popped and eaten like popcorn.

But wait, there’s more!

Wheat Berry Salad with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Wheat Berry Salad with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again. Rinse the wheat well three to four times per day. (For the specific how-to’s of sprouting wheat, click here.) The two to three-day old sprouts can be added to soups or salads. At this point they are already much higher in calcium and vitamin C and several other minerals. Or let the sprouts continue to grow and green up a little for adding to sandwiches, like alfalfa sprouts. Or dehydrate the sprouted berries and grind them into flour for sourdough baking. Or toss them into soil for growing wheat grass for juicing.

Furthermore, wheat berries can also be used to grow fodder for our animals. Basically, the wheat berries are soaked and sprouted as described above, but instead of sprouting in a jar they are spread in a plastic tray with drainage holes. The rinsing is the same—three to four times per day, and the wheat berries are allowed to grow into wheat grass. The roots develop into a thick mat, and the grass and mat are fed as fodder to livestock about ten days from the initial soaking. So even people who can’t eat wheat benefit from storing it as the fodder is fed to chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep who turn the fodder into eggs, meat, milk, and sometimes even fiber.

While it does take a little time and effort—but just a little—to grow fodder, bear in mind all the benefits. One pound of wheat berries becomes seven pounds of highly nutritious natural fodder. Wheat has a much, much longer shelf life than commercial feeds, it is much cheaper, and takes much less space. Fodder is a great way to provide greens in winter when grasses and weeds aren’t growing.

WheatSprouts

Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again.

What is the best type of wheat to stock up on?

As you start researching the possibilities of adding wheat to your storage program, you find that there are actually a lot of different kinds of wheat. So now what? What kind to purchase? After all, you don’t want to make any mistakes here.

Durum wheat is what is used to make pasta, and soft white wheat is used for baked goods that do not use yeast—biscuits, cookies, cakes, etc. Soft white wheat also has less protein (gluten) than hard white. Most people do not store these two grains, at least not in significant quantities.

Hard white spring wheat sprouts best, but some research shows that it doesn’t store quite as well as the hard red and hard white winter wheat’s.

Hard red wheat has very slightly more protein than hard white. However, because hard white lacks the bitterness of hard red, less sweetener is needed in baked goods. For all of its advantages—milder taste, superior baking qualities, and ease of sprouting, hard white winter wheat is what we store.

And just how does wheat need to be stored? Regardless of the variety you choose, if stored properly wheat can remain viable and edible for hundreds of years. There are a variety of storage options, each with their pros and cons. Mylar bags are easy and very portable, but rats and mice can chew through them. Grain stored in #10 cans is pest-proof, but the cans are subject to rust, especially in humid areas. And storing enough wheat in cans gets a little pricey, at least for us. Some choose to store their wheat in large plastic or metal barrels. I just don’t like them because they aren’t very portable. Our family has moved (with our food storage!) eight times in the past 25 years. I can’t imagine what a nightmare moving large barrels would have been.

StoringFoodLongTerm

You can find free food-grade buckets at local stores around town.

Storing Wheat in your home or retreat

We choose to store our grains in plastic buckets that we get free from bakeries and donut shops. They’re free, they’re food grade, they’re portable. Yes, mice or rats could eventually chew through the buckets. Admittedly, we have had some seasons with an overabundance of mice and rats (isn’t even a single critter an overabundance?), but we’ve never had any critter chew on the buckets. The cons are that the five-gallon buckets can be difficult for some people to carry. And those lids can be nearly impossible to remove. Make sure you have a few bucket wrenches for them. They’re a lifesaver.

Store your wheat in a cool, dry place—50-60 degrees is ideal. Wheat that has been stored at higher temperatures for even a short time will not sprout as well or at all and will not make good yeast breads. It will also have lost some nutritional value.

Exactly how much wheat should you store? Well, that’s going to vary from one person to the next. The LDS Church advises 400 pounds of grains per person per year as part of their food storage recommendations for a 2200 calorie per day diet. That’s what I use for my family, with about 300 pounds of wheat per person. However, in addition to that we also store 50 pounds per chicken or rabbit to grow into fodder. When it comes to wheat, I think the day will come when it will be worth its weight in gold. With all its uses, the ease of storing it, and its low-cost, you just can’t ever have too much.

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Raising Rabbits: One Size Fits All Prepper Solution?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Rabbits truly are the “one-size-fits-all” preppers domestic livestock and after reading the reasons why raising rabbits could be ideal for any prepper, we think you will agree.

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SHTF Plan: Preparing for a Power Outage

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

The number one thing I prepare for is a POWER OUTAGE when SHTF. Every SHTF series of events, includes the inevitable power outage. In fact, whenever the power goes out, even temporarily, I wonder if SHTF has arrived.

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Five Step Mental Practice for Psychological Preparedness

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Psychological preparedness is a radically important part of survivalism and might possibly be the determining factor for long term survivalism. In fact, the first step toward getting prepared is making a conscious affirmation to develop a will to live.

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Politics in a Post-Apocalyptic World

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Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

The most important rediscovery in a post-apocalyptic world will be fried-chicken. Fried chicken will not only be a catalyst for a post-apocalyptic civilization, it will divide humanity into two distinct subgroups.

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My SHTF Lifestyle: Preparing to Create Happiness

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

I hope that others benefit from my slightly different ideas on what a SHTF lifestyle could look like. When I first began preparing I looked for lists of preparedness items and tried my best to purchase as many as possible.

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Using REAL EVENTS to Educate, Train and Practice

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

It is important that everyone in your family or in your group understands not only the world we live in but also that threatening events can happen in a flash. Will you be prepared?

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Making Your Own Solar Powered Motorhome

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

What if you could design a completely independent motor home that uses solar power or grid power to charge batteries to provide engine power, a dehydration system for water and hydroponics for food?

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Save on Prepping Supplies: Tax-Free and On-Sale

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Sometimes though, even when it’s not a preparedness-related sale, there are things we can stock up on that applies directly to preparing for the worst. Today we talk about how you can save on prepping supplies.

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Beating The Heat Old-School Southern Summer Style

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There are a ton of ways we can help cool our bodies and little changes to activity and habits that can lower the heat in our homes, too, but for this article, I’m going to concentrate on the dwelling space itself.

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Sanitation: The Often Overlooked Necessity

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Although food, water and security are definitely necessary to keep you alive, there is one aspect of prepping that is often overlooked and it can hurt even the most knowledgeable and well equipped survivalist.

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Coming Gun Control – Prep Yourself Before It’s Too Late

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Whatever you believe, one thing is certain – the upcoming election will be the most important one in the last century as it relates to gun control.

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How to Reliably Communicate Off-Grid

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Those vast open landscapes, however, expose an area that most preppers pay little attention to normally, which is how to communicate over those vast areas of land and communicate off-grid completely when needed.

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Why Every Survivalist Needs a Pair of Binoculars

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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 James Petzke. 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. When you are scouring lists of equipment to prepare you for any […]

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The Most Scarce Commodity in the Apocalypse

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

It is the contention of this article that the one commodity that will be in the shortest supply, and one that people will most likely be short on from day one is…

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