The Mighty Oak: Survival Food and More

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mighty_oak_treeOak is a favorite tree of survivalists.  It’s strong, dense wood is favored for utility and for firewood.  Acorns, though most species need to be prepared by leaching, are an important survival food.  Plus the acorns, bark, roots, and leaves provide important herbal medicines. Native Americans used many species of Oak for medicine and food.  Mainly the part used for medicine is the inner bark. With this being said, the acorns have been considered medicinal food as well as staple food.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Oak is a far more versatile survival example than many realize. The uses of Oak are not limited to simple acorn consumption. For example, in The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra discusses acorn porridge as a common food for the treatment of tuberculosis and other wasting diseases.

Oak & Mankind

Acorns were a principal staple of our ancestors.  Talk of the Paleolithic diet has persisted long enough for real Paleolithic snacks to emerge among the over-priced, plastic-wrapped Paleo bars.  Yet in spite of the increase in grain-free snacks, cookbooks, and diet practices, I have not seen any increase in acorn use.  Though, a quick google search did turn up a few sites selling acorn flour.

The acorn was quite possibly one of the major foods that allowed our Paleolithic ancestors to start building agricultural society from hunting and gathering.  Largely, acorns are edible, though most species need to be leached and some are so astringent and bitter that they are considered inedible.  

food_acornsGenerally, acorns are leached of their tannic acid with cold water soaks or through slow cooking (while changing the water).  Some are sweet enough to be eaten raw or with relatively little cooking.  Early man learned to bury astringent acorns in bodies of water or to anchor in streams so that they could return later to the leached acorns and prepare food from them.  Enough acorns and our distant ancestors managed to hunker down for a winter… and the rest is history… until current times.  I don’t know how long it has been the case, but I just checked online and found a few companies selling acorn flour.  For years I had been saying that I hadn’t seen any for sale or in commercial products.  Until just the other day nobody ever responded saying they knew of acorns in mainstream commercial foods.

Acorns are one of my favorite foods, though I often don’t get around to them.  You have to find them at the right time (others are looking too and some of them, like the squirrels, take it more serious than me).  Once found they still need to be processed and leached.  Then cooked.  They can be eaten just like that, cooked into rice, mashed into pancakes, or dried and ground into flour.  The mash or flour can be used in just about anything.  It is very tasty.

Acorns as Survival Food

Although many animals eat acorns as they find them, a good number of the Oaks produce acorns too bitter and astringent for humans to eat without leaching.  The most efficient way to leach acorns if you are home or at a long-term camp is with cold water.  You’ll want to cook them (if possible) eventually, but you can save on fuel by doing the bulk of the leaching with cold water.

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

If you want to or need to speed up the leaching of acorns, you can do so by applying heat.  Just as with cold water leaching, when the water turns dark you should dump it and add clean water.  You might find it best to heat up a large vessel of water so that after you dump the tannin-rich water you can add hot water.  This will be quicker and will avoid any fixing of the bitterness from alternating between hot and cold.

Mushrooms that Grow with Oak

mushroom_Maitake_oakBesides the acorns as a potential staple food or nutritional side dish, Oak forests prove hospitable because of the large selection of edible mushrooms that grow with Oaks.  (Of course, the warning stands that there are non-edible and fatally poisonous mushrooms that grow with them as well.)  There are basically three different kinds of mushrooms: decomposers, parasites, and symbionts.  The subject is complicated by the various forms within these three categories and in that many mushrooms belong to more than one of the three.  Nonetheless, these basic groups are important to learning mushroom identification.  Decomposers break down dead material, such as a downed Oak or one that was killed by a parasite, so they are found on such material.  Parasites attack their host.  In the case of Oaks, they can take a while to succumb to the parasite and in many cases can grow for years before dying from the attack.  Parasites are therefore found on live, dying, and recently dead hosts.  Symbiotic species grow in association with their host.  In the case of mushrooms and Oaks, the fungus is attached to the tree roots underground so the mushrooms grow from the ground near the tree.

Edible species of mushrooms associated with Oak include all three of these types of mushrooms.  Two of the most abundant and well-known edible species are common in the autumn on Oaks – Maitake (Grifola frondosa, Hen-of-the-Woods, Sheep’s Head, etc.) and Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria spp.).  Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus spp.) is another abundant and delicious Oak parasite.  These three mushrooms (two of them are identified only by genus above because there are groups of closely related species known by the same name) are prolific enough to provide surprisingly large amounts of food.  Indeed, many mushroom hunters content themselves with only one of the three as a foraged ingredient for the table.  But they also miss out on many of the other fungal offerings under Oak.

Mycorrhizal (symbiotic) species include delicious edibles like Boletes, Chantarelles, and Milk Mushrooms (Lactarius spp.).  Chantarelles (Cantharellus spp.) are pretty well known and pretty easy to identify.  Also, closely related is the Black Trumpet (Craterellus spp.).  Boletes (Boletus spp. and other related genera) are perhaps more difficult to identify than Chanterelles.  Although there are many species of Chanterelle, there are a few obvious species that stand out.  The Boletes, however, are a very large group.  Although it is not really true, some people consider all Boletes to be edible (at least those without a strong bitter or spicy flavor).  Certainly, some are very prized.  Lactarius is a group with many non-edible and poisonous species, and many people avoid them.  However, there are some delicious species that grow with Oak, like the Voluminous Milky (L. volemus).

You might want to check out Macrofungi Associated with Oaks by Binion, Burdsall, Stephenson, Miller, Roody, and Vasilyeva.  It is over 400 pages on mushrooms associated with Oaks and includes information on edibility.  

Chicken-of-the-Woods

mushroom_chicken_of_the_woodsChicken-of-the-Woods (not to be confused with Hen-of-the-Woods, Grifola frondosa) is also known as Sulphur Shelf and Chicken Mushroom.  I avoid the name Chicken Mushroom because it also refers to another, and Sulphur Shelf is really only good for certain varieties.  It is called Chicken-of-the-Woods because it tastes like chicken and has a similar texture.  I have served it to folks who thought it was chicken, though I wouldn’t have done so intentionally – as some people do react to even the thoroughly cooked mushroom (she helped herself to the pan of leftovers).  As with most mushrooms, Chicken-of-the-Woods should be cooked, and with this one in particular it should be done thoroughly and with plenty of oil.  It has mixed reviews, but I think it is mostly due to it being harvested past its prime (which is common) or cooked improperly (it really does suck up the oil – be libral).  Many people love this mushroom, even if they generally don’t like mushrooms.  Plus, it often grows in abundance.  This is a very significant survival food.

Hen-of-the-Woods

mushroom_maitake_hen_of_the_woodsHen-of-the-Woods is another mushroom that can grow very large and in abundance.  It is also known as Maitake, Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head, and more.  In this case “Hen” refers to the appearance more than the taste and texture.  When found young (they can still be young and be quite large) they are quite delicious.  Hen-of-the-Woods should be cooked thoroughly to avoid digestive troubles.  It is revered as a medicinal as well as an edible, being used for the immune system to help with infections and cancer.

Mighty Materials

Although the modern world has largely forgot Oak as a source of food, its wood is still commonly recognized as a superior building material.  Used for hardwood flooring, furniture, and more.

Read More: The Survival Staff

Oak is also still used as an ideal material for martial arts weapons like the bo staff and for the handles of nunchaku.  It is very strong and makes a good choice when a superior and strong material is desired, such as for tool handles and sturdy furnature.

Oak as Fuel

fire_flame_facts_top_tenThough there is significant variety among the many species of Oak, it is generally a superior firewood.  It is dense and hard and has a high heating rating.  It does burn a little slow, which is one of its benefits, but it also doesn’t put out light as well as some other choices of wood (Hickory, for example, is also very hard but burns bright.  Lighter woods that burn quick will often put out more light.).  It can easily become smoky when not dried well or not tended to in the fireplace.  Of course, being dense means that it dries slow.  In my mind the classic “all-nighter” is a nice, large, dry Oak log placed on a hot bed of coals.

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5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster

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Written by Laura Johnson on The Prepper Journal.

Despite all of the unnatural intervention, there are some reality shows that preppers can get more from than strictly entertainment. These reality shows can help you prep for a disaster.

The post 5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Basic Essentials for Cooking Fish Off the Grid

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survival_bucket_of_fishFish are a nutritional powerhouse; with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a potent cocktail of nutrients that influence human brain function, optimize hormonal production, and even prevent aging! They’re also a camper or survivalist’s dream come true. Why, you may ask?  Fish go fin-in-stream with the most important resource – water! Whether you love the outdoors, want to be a little greener, or need to eat to survive, learning to cook fish using traditional “off-the-grid” methods is a useful addition to any culinary arsenal. There are a many techniques available to catch wild fish, ranging from building your own rod to catching with your bare hands, but this article is going to discuss how to best cook up your catch.

By John S., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

First, let us discuss the different types of fish meat. “Oily” or “fatty” fish are fish that are over five percent fat by weight, while lean fish are under five percent. Oily fish include anchovies, carp, herring, salmon and sardines. They are generally known for their moist texture and richer flavors. Lean fish include bass, cod, catfish, and perch. They’re known for being a little tougher and a little less flavorful. Your location will be a big factor in determining what types of fish are available to you. Study up on your local species to be best prepared to feed yourself, for fun or survival.

Baking on Smoldering Coals

survival_coals_fishOne of the best, and most basic, off the grid cooking techniques is baking on smoldering coals. While this method is useful for any kind of meat, it adds a certain smoky edge to fish that’s extremely delicious. Oilier fish are especially good when cooked with this method, since the hearty fats seal in a moist texture. Salt is a staple in every kitchen, and you may often hear people talking about bringing salt on outdoor excursions. This isn’t only for the taste, but it’s also especially useful in preserving food, so you should take care to keep some with you on all outdoor cooking excursions and during your survival practice.

Read Also: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit

As for leaner fish, they’ll bake best wrapped in foil or, in an emergency situation, large leaves will do the trick. The wrapping helps trap moisture in and steams the fish. Feel free to dress a coal-baked fish up with some lemon juice and butter if you’re cooking for leisure! It’s probably safe to say you won’t have these items handy during a survival situation, but in that situation, anything edible, and especially nutritious, will be delicious.

Pan Frying (if possible)

fish_survival_pan_fryingFrying the fresh catch in a large cast iron pan is also an option, if you came prepared with the pan and a little oil. If you’re frying for fun, a simple mix of flour, breadcrumbs and your favorite seasonings will keep well in a zip lock bag, is easy to transport, and makes for yummy treat. Even without the mix, the fish will be a great meal on it’s own; especially if you’re eating for survival. The biggest key is to make sure the oil is hot enough, a spit test should do the trick. Simply wet your fingers with some water and flick the moisture into the pan, if the oil “spits”, or jumps and bubbles, on contact, then you’re ready to cook.

You will need long tongs or a durable cooking spoon to flip and “fish” out the filets once they’ve fried to a light golden color. This method tastes great, even with only light salting, and works well for both types of fish. If no tongs or cooking spoons are in your repertoire, you can use a multi-tool or knife so long as you’re careful not to damage it, as you will need it for other important tasks as well. Worst case, there should be twigs and sticks around for you to use as cooking tools.

Building Your Own Smoker

Last, but not least, fish meat is fabulous fresh out of a smoker. Not only is it fresh, but smoking fish, or any meat for that manner, is optimal for survival-based situations because prolonged smoking results in dehydrated, well-preserved food that can be saved and stored for several days. Building, or finding, a smoker can be tricky, you just need to create a small space where a rack can hang above a fire and a ventilation system to bring the smoke up through the fish meat.

Related: Teach Them to Fish

Stacking appropriately-sized rocks is a good and, usually, convenient method of construction. Covering the vents with foliage can help trap in smoke and improve the cooking process, and burning clean, dry logs will provide the best smoky flavor for the food. While this process does take longer than the other two, the preservation effects of smoking could mean the difference between life and death, so it’s definitely worth learning about and practicing. For example, if you are in a survival situation and are having luck catching some fish, you may want to use a lot of that meat in the smoker simply for preservation, and then consume the meat at a later time when you may be running low on food.

Conclusion

survival_fish_filetLuckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to preparing fish off the grid using very little materials. Salt is perhaps one of the most underrated items in a survival situation, as it offers a convenient method of preservation. Adding other herbs, spices and extras will provide a welcome kick to your next camping meal, but of course, this may be out of the question in a survival situation. Lastly, Always make sure any fish you consume is thoroughly cleaned and cooked before consuming. This, combined with thorough cooking, will ensure you have a nice edible fish packed with nutrients to keep you going. Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re out in the backcountry or doing some camping, try cooking some fish with as little materials as possible, ideally using natural objects around you. Good luck!

 

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Survival Gear Review: Survival Guides to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains

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Waterford_Edible-Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_in_handSurvival Guides are a dime-a-dozen, but good ones, the real save-your-life guides are as rare as hens teeth. Luckily the two new plastic-covered foldouts from Jason Schwartz are an outstanding and necessary contribution to your survival kit that literally could save your life. For less than the cost of a box of American made ammo, you could outfit your survival gear with some to-the-point literature can make a difference when on an afternoon hike, or when the S really hits the fan.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Published in 2016 by the ultimate pocket guide company, the Waterford Press, these guides join an ever growing list of speciality reference booklets. “Putting the World in your Pocket” is Waterford’s motto, and it could be true given they’ve had over 500 publications with over five million sales.

Fast Food

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_knife_berriesThe two water-resistant guides under discussion are Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains, and Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Both guides are in the classic Waterford six-fold design leading to 12 individual vertically oriented pages. The full-color guides are printed on white paper and laminated heavily with factory-installed bends between pages.

The pictures are a godsend and make for fast field ID of plants. The brief descriptions confirm the identity and instructions follow for applying the part of the plant in the most useful form. Some are used as tea, some as topical, and some eaten outright.

The philosophy behind the guides according to their author is to, “provide a set of handy, yet realistic reference guides that will help hikers and backpackers lost in the Rocky Mountains forage for food, or treat injuries and ailments using wild plants and trees.” An assumption the author makes is that most survival situation are from three days to a week. This is reflected in the use of often low-calorie plants to get you to a better place and keep your spirits up.

Walkabout

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeIn my own testing of the guides, I wandered my million acre backyard and looked for both plants listed in the guides and to see if a plant was in the guide. In most cases the obvious plants were covered, while locating specific plants took some time. A suggestion, if space permitted, would be to mention common locations of plants if they exist. Like kinnikinnick, dandelion, and thistle on old roads where the soil had been compacted decades earlier.

Knowledge is Power and Power Corrupts

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press__neck_knifePoaching plants is easily as abundant as poaching animals. While the hunting laws don’t often address North American medicinal plants, there is the concern that someone with a little knowledge and a bunch of free time might pillage the local area of important plants. And in one rare case with the Curly-Cup Gumweed, there is a plant “species of concern” because it resembles a medicinal plant mentioned in the guide known as the Howell’s Gumweed. There is a very slim chance in a small region of the west that the more rare related species (Howell’s Gumweed) will be over harvested by an overzealous collector, but human nature is anything but predictable.

Related: Bushcraft Mushrooms

According to Schwartz, the highlighted plants were chosen for the wide distribution, easily identifiable traits, and ubiquitous presence across landscape and seasons. So with that said, you can take Rocky Mountains with a grain of salt. You will encounter most of the plants in these guides well outside the rugged terrain of the west, but not so much on the plains, east coast, or desert America, of course.

The Saguache County Colorado Sheriff’s Department found the guides so particularly helpful that they adopted them as essential equipment to have when backcountry survival might be an issue.

The Doctor Is In

Half the pages of the Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 18 plants of which seven are trees. The other half of the guide explains treatment options, medicinal preparations including infusions, tea, decoction, juicing as well as plant feature identification and author bio.

Half the Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 19 plants of which three are trees. And the reverse six pages of the over half include survival basics, 16 images of types of edible plants, the steps of the Universal Edibility Test, general plant preparation and eating practices, and a note on edible plant myths.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Each entry for a plant across both guides includes a description, the habitat, harvesting tips, preparation (in the Survival guide), and comments and cautions. I had to smile when reading about the Ponderosa Pine in the Survival guide. Jason Schwartz is a bushcrafter through and through. In the middle of the description Jason uses 15 words to explain baton. The baton, by the way and in Jason’s words is, “an arm’s length branch used as a mallet to pound the back of the knife.” Once a teacher, always a teacher.

waterford_tetons_wyomingHere’s the deal with these guides. They cost little and weigh almost nothing. They are filled with lifesaving options for when you really need them, and you don’t even need to read them ahead of time (but I would suggest it). And anyone living within 200 miles east or west of the Continental Divide should spring for the $8 apiece and put a set in every bug out bag and car or truck glove box. Better yet, head outdoors and familiarize yourself with the local edible and medicinal flora. You’ll thank me and Jason later.

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Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family

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carrots_foragingApiaceae, is known as the Carrot Family, the Hemlock Family, and the Umbel Family (after the old name “Umbelliferae”).  It is one of the most important botanical families for the survivalist to become familiar with.  Its diversity and importance are implied with common names for the family ranging from one of the world’s most important vegetables, the Carrot (Daucus carota), to one of the most famous and deadly poisons, Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  With medicinals like Angelica (Angelica spp.) and Osha (Bear Root, Ligusticum spp.), which have been revered around the world since the earliest records of herbal medicine, this plant family seems to have it all.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

This article follows Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family in a blog series on poisonous plants that began with 5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know.  The initial article outlined some basics of five major plant families with poisonous plants.  The article on Poison Ivy included some basics on botany and plant names, in addition to the discussion of the Poison Ivy family.  Here we will focus on Apiaceae.

Umbels & Aromatic Roots

umbel_flower_forageA characteristic of Apiaceae is the flowers being arranged in umbels, which is the source of an older name for the family- Umbelliferae.  The umbel flower is umbrella shaped, or bowl shaped, partially due to the divisions of the flower-top (the pedicels) arising from a single point.  The pedicels therefore, are like the ribs of an (upside-down) umbrella.  Many other flower-tops appear to be umbels, but are supported by a branching structure that does not stem from a single point (Yarrow of the Daisy Family, Elder and Viburnum of the Muskroot Family, and others).  Another distinct tendency in Apiaceae is aromatic roots.  Sometimes people will attempt to explain that Wild Carrot roots can be distinguished from Poison Hemlock and others because they smell like Carrots, but this is far too subjective.  Because it is standard that members of this family have aromatic roots, including poisonous species, many of them could be said to “smell like Carrots” in that they are similarly aromatic.

Read Also: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Apiaceae members also tend to have divided leaves.  There are many technical terms used to describe leaves and their arrangements on plants.  Plants in the Carrot Family tend to have leaves that are lacey or otherwise finely or not so finely divided.  The leaves of Carrots and Parsley (another genus that is used to name the family) are characteristic. Celery is also in Apiaceae.  It is a good example of another tendency in the family to have the visible vascular strands (“strings”) in the stem.

Categories of Plants in Apiaceae

As usual with nature, it is difficult organize Apiaceae by category since in reality there is much more of a spectrum (from delicious and nourishing to extremely toxic).  Our human minds, however, like categories,

The primary categories of plants in Apiaceae are:

Edibles

Medicinals

Toxic Medicinals

Fatally Poisonous

These oversimplified categories are complicated by plants like Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which is a well-known edible (at least used to be), but also known to cause rashes in sensitive people upon contacting the leaves of the wild plants.

Edible Members of the Carrot Family

One of the world’s best-known vegetables is the Carrot, Daucus carota, which is the domestic variety of the Wild Carrot, which is also known as Queen-Anne’s-Lace.  The root is usually much smaller than the domestic version, white in color, and quite fibrous, but it is indeed a Carrot.

Biscuit Roots (Lomatium spp.) were top foods of the northwest Natives.  I have never tried them, but apparently their starchy roots are good food.  The genus is certainly worth learning about for those living in the Northwest or travelling through (there are notable medicinal species as well), but there are concerns regarding population decline so learning about Biscuit Roots is more in preparation for emergency survival than for expanding your regular diet.

Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is also known as Goutweed, for its medicinal effect.  It is a common groundcover that was introduced from Europe.  It often spreads “uncontrollably” in landscapes and can be found persisting on old home sites.  It is cooked as a spring green, or potherb, when it can help rid the body of the uric acid build-up after a heavy meat diet in winter.

Though so many edibles and many culinary herbs belong to the Carrot (or Parsley) Family, you should approach this group with caution.  As there are many poisonous species.  Culinary herbs in the group include Parsley (Petroselenium crispum), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum – the seed is Coriander), and Dill (Anethum graveolens).  

Medicinal Members of the Carrot Family

carrots_stackedOf course, all members of the Carrot family are medicinal, just as it can be argued that every plant is medicinal.  There are many home-remedies that utilize Carrots.  Plus the greens and seeds have medicinal uses.  (While you could argue that it is not “medicinal” one of the best-known uses for Wild Carrot is as a morning after contraceptive).  There are also the toxic medicinals, which are described below, that are too poisonous for home-care use.  Here, we will look at the well-known remedies from the Carrot family.  It is an all-star line up.  

Osha and its relatives (Ligusticum spp.) are top medicinals.  A couple species are known to Chinese medicine and used extensively.  Garden Lovage is well-known to the western world, though somewhat forgotten.  And the Osha of the Rocky Mountains it one of our Nation’s most famous medicinals.  In fact, Osha is one of the few herbs that I have come to depend on that is not available in the wild or even in the garden of my area.  Osha grows in high elevations, usually over 9,000 feet.  It has many medicinal uses but is best known as an antimicrobial for lung and respiratory infections.  The Navajo call it Bear Root and consider it a cure-all for lung ailments.  It works remarkably fast, especially if used at the onset of a cold.  I like to chew the root or hold it in my cheek like chewing tobacco.  Once, when harvesting Osha with a friend in Colorado just after he had harvested his honey, we filled jars with roots and topped them with the fresh honey.  A very delicious way to take Osha indeed!  The roots softened in the honey and were then easy to chew.  Plus, the honey was infused with Osha.

dong_quiAngelica is a very important genus of medicinal herbs and worthy of its own article.  In fact, I have already written a paper on AngelicaBut that too only scratches the surface.  With a name like Angelica, its got to be good – or at least it was revered at some point.  Angelica archangelica is the main European species known to medicine.  It has been used for respiratory, digestive, and circulatory disorders, among others.  It is a common ingredient in “digestive bitters” as it is a quintessential aromatic bitter.  Bitter herbs are bitter (not just bad tasting, but bitter, like Dandelion).  Aromatic bitters are also pungent or are predominantly pungent but are similar medicinally to bitter herbs, particularly in that they benefit digestion.  The pungent aromatics are also generally good for moving mucus and blood, which is largely how Angelica species are employed in medicine.  The famous Dong Quai (A. sinensis) is a top herb in Chinese medicine for moving blood (treating blood stagnation) and nourishing blood (treating anemia and similar deficiencies).  It is especially used to treat menstrual disorders and injuries.   

Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium spp.) have been used for snake bites and as an antidote to poisons.  

Toxic Medicinals in the Carrot Family

Angelica_venenosaMany Angelica species belong in this category, as they are far too toxic to use for the uninitiated.  In fact, even those species above can have properties that are too strong and inappropriate at times, such as because of blood-thinning properties.  Most, if not all, Angelica species are blood thinning, especially when fresh.  However, they are most commonly used dried and because they are so commonly known and used I included them above. (The point about plants being more toxic when fresh is important.  Especially since many herbs in common use are mostly or only available dried, but when you are lost in the bush or otherwise seeking out herbs in an outdoors or end-times emergency you might only have access to fresh plant material.)

Deadly Angelica (A. venenosa) has poisonous properties (as you might expect from the name), yet the Iroquois employed it in poultices in the treatment of injuries.  Another, Poison Angelica (A. lineariloba) was used by the Paiute for pneumonia and spitting up of blood.  

See Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Sanicle species (Sanicula spp.) have some toxic properties, or some toxic species belong to the genus.  On the other hand, they were also used as poison antidote and for snake bites.  They are also known as Snakeroots (like Echinacea and Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga or Actaea).  It is not uncommon that snake bite remedies have some toxic properties.

Fatally Poisonous Members of the Carrot Family

david_-_the_death_of_socratesOne of the most famous poisonous plants and perhaps the most famous of Apiaceae is Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  It is the plant that killed Socrates.  Water Hemlocks (Cicuta spp.) are also very poisonous.  Cicuta douglasii has been called the most deadly plant in North America. Though they too undoubtedly have medicinal uses, they should be considered far too toxic to mess with.  It is said that a single bite of Poison Hemlock is enough to kill an adult man.  It is these deadly poisonous species that make this family dangerous.  Study carefully.

The common name Hemlock is shared with the basically non-toxic member of the Pine Family.  Herein lies the importance of scientific names.  Mentioning Hemlock often causes eyes to open wide in surprise, so well known is Hemlock as a poison.  When scientific names are used alongside the common, we can easily avoid confusion.  Conium and Cicuta belong to Apiaceae, while Tsuga belongs to Pinaceae.

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The Survival Staff

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survival_staff_inhandIn this “back-to-basics” article, we will look at a basic building material, tool, and weapon- one that can be used for shelter, a tool handle, walking stick, and the most basic and primitive weapon.  As a weapon, the more-or-less six foot staff is one of the most universal among many martial arts traditions, and often the first taught.  Shaolin, Wing Chun, Kobudo and other schools of martial arts teach staff “forms”, or choreographed practice sequences that have been passed down through the ages.  For basic utility, the staff can be used to carry firewood and water (by hanging bundles or buckets at the ends and carrying over one’s shoulders), and for other forms of transport (such as game, strung up between two people; or to craft a sled or skid).  Sturdy poles can be used to build tripods, lean-tos, and other structures you might need around camp.  A staff can also be used to make a spear or whittled down for a tool handle.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many articles online regarding various types of survival staffs that are basically types of walking sticks, perhaps of lightweight material, that have chambers to hold objects for survival.  There are many clever designs.  I do like the idea of such staffs, but wonder how well they will hold up.  For this article, we are discussing the primitive staff.  It might seem a very simple subject, but there are many considerations worth becoming familiar with, including wood selection, crafting tools and handles, building possibilities, self defense, and weapon-crafting possibilities.

Gathering Resources

survival_staffs_hemlock_and_white_pineAt my campsite in the Catskills there were White Pines (Pinus strobus) and Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) saplings about 10 years or so in age and thick enough to block visibility and make walking difficult.  Besides other considerations regarding location, it seemed fitting for a campsite to clear the thick trees that were already shading each other out.  Small trees a few inches in diameter can be easily cut with a hatchet, camp saw, or machete.  They provide material for building structures and for other craft.  The unused material dries relatively quickly to provide future kindling and firewood.  Plus, depending on the species of trees being felled, food and medicine can also be gleaned.  In the case of White Pine and Hemlock the needles and bark can be used to make “tea” for medicinal use, pleasure, or as a nutritional supplement.  Many tree barks have medicinal uses and sometimes leaves or other parts are also useful as food or medicine.  

Related: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Once felled, the branches can be removed from the saplings with a machete or hatchet.  A small saw can be useful.  I also like to have pruners in my pocket and some loppers nearby.  Though more time consuming to use, such tools can more cleanly remove branches if desired.  I like to leave interesting branches and crotches in case they are useful for some project later.  But for the most part the idea is to work the sapling down to a relatively uniform building material.  After the branches are removed the poles can be organized by size.  This process gives you lots of material to work with for shelter building and the like.

survival_staffs_red_cedarYou might consider removing the bark while the saplings are still green.  For one thing it is easier to remove than when it dries to the trunk.  You also may want to use it for making rope, baskets, and the like.  It can be used as lashing for certain things right away.  You probably can’t get nice sheets of bark from small trees such as you would want for bark baskets, but the possibilities with even small strips of bark are many.  In some cases you will be able to find a stand of smaller trees that died from being shaded out.  The wood might still be good quality.  The Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) pictured is good quality even though it died as taller trees outgrew it.

Use as a Walking Stick  

survival_staffs_cabinA primary use of a staff is as a walking stick.  My first mentor in the world of wild edibles and survival skills, Taterbug Tyler, used to walk with a garden hoe that had been cut down to just a small triangle left of the blade.  He claimed that he once saved himself from falling over a ledge by grabbing onto a tree root with the hoe.  Mostly he used it as a walking stick in the rugged territory we hiked through looking for Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).  The blade came in handy for unearthing roots and flipping over rocks.  It is a good tool and could be reproduced with the natural form of a hardwood staff.  

Another use for a staff as a walking stick is for crossing streams.  In certain territory you might have many streams weaving around, or you might need to repeatedly cross a stream that you are traveling along.  Even if you find logs and rocks to help you cross, a staff can help you maintain balance.  Without rocks to cross on a staff can be used like a pole vault to help you jump across what you otherwise could not.  For these reasons, it is useful to carry a staff.

As a Weapon

survival_staffs_cut_woodI am fascinated with the bo staff and like to go with just over six feet as a standard cutting length.  Particularly when Hickory (Carya spp.) or some other hard wood is found, it is an ideal size for a weapon as well as to begin making a bow or spear.  When cutting the trees down and into length, look for nice straight six-foot sections.  It is generally good to cut the trees where they bend in order to preserve straight sections and removed the crooks.

The staff has been a most basic striking implement since ancient times.  Needing to use a weapon against wildlife is an unlikely scenario, but not impossible.  Certainly, it could make you feel better to have some protection in hand.  There has been more than once when the sound of coyotes or something unknown has prompted me to pick up a stick.  Better yet is the feeling of knowing how to use it.  Most people should be able to wield a staff should an emergency arise and be able to perform basic strikes to protect themselves.  With training, the staff becomes an increasingly useful weapon, with several distinct benefits: there are reasons otherwise to keep it at hand, it is superb blocking instrument, any part can be used as the handle, and it can be used for a variety of strikes to virtually any part of the body.  It can be swung with great momentum.  It can strike low or high, as well as both in relatively rapid succession, and one can thrust with the end of the staff with the potential for damaging penetration.  For these reasons, the staff is a primary weapon of many styles of martial art.

Read Also: Low Profile Survival Weaponry

bruce_lee_bo_staffKobudo – the martial art of the Okinawan weapons (which is often integrated with Karate), Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Ninjitsu and many others have their study of the staff.  Learning the forms, or kata, of these arts is a way to learn special combat moves.  Becoming proficient with these moves not only makes the weapon more effective, but provides a healthful exercise that improves balance, coordination, circulation, immunity, and awareness, all of which are important in a survival situation.  Plus, study of the forms could provide a pastime during life in the wilderness.

Shelter and Selecting Wood

survival_staff_witch_hazel_shrubWhen selecting a location to set up camp one should consider finding a nice stand of relatively young trees or saplings that can serve as a source of materials.  Your lean-to could be positioned centrally to reduce expenditure of time and energy.  Of course, you also want to consider exposure to sun and other elements.  In the part of the world where I live you generally want your lean-to opening toward the south to increase sun exposure in cold seasons.  If there is a strong prevailing wind you will want to put the back of the lean-to toward it.  You can also look for suitable trees to support a lean-to before you chop them down.  

Of course, when gathering trees for utility, one should consider the various types of wood and their pros and cons.  Generally, hardwoods are prefered.  “Hardwood” usually refers to deciduous trees, even the softer ones.  And “softwood” refers to conifers, which are usually softer than hardwoods (though soft hardwoods are softer than hard softwoods).  Hemlock and Pine are both softwoods.  Particularly White Pine is soft.  Although both softwoods, Hemlock is much harder than White Pine.  The White Pine saplings that are staff size (naturally or whittled down) are quite weak.  They have certain uses, but would break far too easily under any significant weight or force.

White Ash (Fraxinus americanus)  has a low moisture level, even when green.  My freshly cut staff looked stouter than it felt, compared to the heavier woods (Witch Hazel, Iron Wood, Hickory…) I had been working with.  Regarding bushcraft, one advantage of a lower moisture percentage wood is that building materials have less time to rot.  If you are planning to turn the bush into a campsite there is a good chance you’ll be using some green wood.  If you are building with green wood, there is a good chance for mold to develop as the wood dries out.  Thick, heavy, damp wood will dry out much slower than something light like Ash.  In fact, Ash has so little moisture that it can be burned green.  As we all know, the drier the better.  The survivalist, however, should be aware of the low moisture content of Ash in the event of finding no dead wood.  Perhaps green would might be a better choice than soggy logs from the ground.  Regarding a staff, Ash has the interesting benefit of being lighter.  So, the strength of a green stick with the weight more of a dry one.  Ash is the primary wood for baseball bats as it has strength but receives the vibration.  Although not nearly the strength of Hickory, Ash is used in much the same way for bows and tools handles.

The bushcrafter should be aware of the various kinds of woods, including their benefits and weak points.  Although the basic staff (or bo) seems simple, it’s uses are many.

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Bushcraft Mushrooms: 5 Uses of Polypores and Other Mushrooms

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otzi_ice_man_mushrooms-2Mushrooms were among the earliest survival essentials of man.  Otzi, the Ice Man, had two mushrooms with him.  One, the Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius), used for firestarting and the other, the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), was quite possibly being carried for medicinal reasons.  The fire-starting and fire-carrying properties of Tinder Polypore and others like Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) have been well known since ancient times.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

As punk, dried Polypores can be lit and hold the ember very well.  It is for this reason that their benefits begin with the first spark of the fire, which will stay aglow easily on good punk.  Tinder Polypore, Artist Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), and others have a felty interior when the hard fruiting bodies are broken open.  These mushrooms are also called conks, shelf mushrooms, and bracket fungi and are perennial, developing layer upon layer, year after year.  This type of mushroom is very good for tinder.  The felt can be teased with your knife.  There are other types of shelf mushrooms that are not perennial.  Often, they will be more moist and fleshing, or otherwise maybe not the best for tinder… perhaps because of their texture.  Also, there are Polypores that aren’t shelf mushrooms.

polypores_bushcraft_1Polypores (many-pored, or many-little-holes) produce their spores in tubes that are usually under the “shelf” of the mushroom, though many species take on more of the form of the “cap & stem” mushroom.  They are common, seen even in winter because of the persistence of the perennial species and of the dried remains of the tougher annual species.  Even as I write this, I can count several species of Polypore on my eclectic assortment of firewood piled by the wood stove – dried, so even though the wood is punkier than desired the mushrooms will burn with it quite fine.  Earlier today I noticed a Polypore I am not used to seeing on a Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), along with several other species of Polypore that I see regularly.  I also saw the crumbled remains of an annual species that was edible in the fall.  In fact, now that I stop to think about it, that’s a lot of Polypores for a short walk along the road and through the woods!

Related: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It is especially the Polypores that are of interest to the bushcrafter and survivalist.  They are a pretty safe group for edibles.  Many are not considered edible because of toughness or taste, but the majority of poisoning is relatively mild.  Of course, many well-known “choice edibles” and some of the most sought after mushroom delicacies are Polypores.  They have medicinal uses.  Many of the most important herbal medicines come from Polypores.  They can be used to start fire.  Because they keep lit well and burn slow they can also be used to carry fire (potentially very useful without matches or a lighter on hand), and can also be burned for insect repellant.  The dried fruit bodies, or slices of them, can be used to maintain an ember when not feeding wood to the fire.  Polypores can also be used to make torches.  They can be made into charcoal.  They can be pounded into felt (another trait the Tinder Polypore is particularly known for).  They are great for storing fish hooks.  And I am sure there are countless other uses.  

Edible Mushrooms

edible_mushrooms_mycophilic-2Mushrooms are sometimes abundant and are very important survival foods.  It is an interesting thing that mycologists consider cultures to generally be either mycophobic or mycophilic – mushroom fearing or mushroom loving.  Some cultures favor mushrooms that most others avoid.  I have often wondered if this and the deep appreciation some cultures have for mushrooms is due to ancestors being repeatedly saved from famine by mushrooms, which has certainly happened throughout the ages.  

I myself have eaten massive amounts of mushrooms, especially Polypores like Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus spp.), Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa, Maitake, Sheep’s Head, etc.), and others that grow very large and are delicious.  Many times I have eaten more than one meal a day that consisted primarily of mushrooms.  I have often felt very revitalized when doing so, particularly during Morel (Morchella spp.) season when eating lots of Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus), Morels, and wild vegetables.  Mushrooms are very nutritious foods.  Since ancient times they have been revered for their rejuvenating properties.

The all too well known problem with mushrooms as edibles is that some are deadly.  Coupled with the fact that mushrooms in general are difficult to identify, eating mushrooms can  clearly be risky.  Do your research before starving to death so that you can be certain to take the time to seek out knowledgeable people as well as good books.  There are many excellent mushroom websites.

Mushrooms can be dried.  Though, it is a funny trick of nature that they tend to grow when there is more humidity and can be difficult to dry.  Those in the Rocky Mountains will have a much easier time of it than I do down in the Delaware River Valley between New York and Pennsylvania.  For off-grid sites, consider a solar dehydrator, such as passive solar using glass to trap heat.  For sites with electricity consider one of the many commercially manufactured dehydrators, or make one with a simple heating unit such as a light bulb.

Medicinal Mushrooms

polypores_bushcraft_3The medicinal properties of mushrooms have been getting increased attention lately, though they were well-known before the modern world.  Many of the medicinal uses of mushrooms pertain to first-aid care, so this subject is well worth learning for the survivalist.  If the notion of medicinal mushrooms seems strange, consider that out first antibiotic drug, penicillin, is fungal.  

Indeed, primary traits among the medicinal mushrooms are antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.  Polypores in particular, like Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) and Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis), are known for benefiting immunity and fighting off pathogens.  They are used for lung ailments, respiratory infections, systemic infections, cancer, and even auto-immune diseases.  As in the case with Otzi, ancient people all over the world have probably recognized the medicinal benefits of mushrooms.  Today they remain primary ingredients in herbal medicine.  Many cultures have long-held reverence for medicinal mushrooms.  China, for instance, has an extensive and ancient lore surrounding Ganoderma spp., called Lingzi, which means “Longevity Mushroom” or “Spiritual Mushroom” just as the Japanese name, Reishi, does.  For a well-researched reference on many species of medicinal mushrooms see The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers.

While Reishi is too tough and strong tasting to be eaten (rather, it is decocted into a “tea” or broth), many medicinals are good food.  Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is another name that seems to reflect a long-found reverence.  In Japanese it means “Dancing Mushroom”, which some say is because it was worth so much (so revered were such medicinal mushrooms) in ancient Japan that you would dance for joy upon finding one.  Or, perhaps if you were suffering from a life threatening illness that Maitake was known to cure you would have even more reason to dance.  Locally, Grifola is one of the most commonly picked mushrooms, known as Sheep’s Head or Ram’s Head – largely an Appalachian name.  American field guides and grocery stores (this one is also cultivated) usually call it Hen-of-the-Woods.  It is so abundant in certain Oak forests that people will often eat more than their fill and still have plenty to dry, can, or freeze.

Mushrooms even have antifungal properties.  If this seems strange, consider that you are protected by pathogens by your skin.  Fungus has no such barrier, but must still protect itself against pathogens… including fungus!  Fungus tends to prefer dark, damp, dirty areas where other fungus also likes to grow.  Much of the immune-boosting potential of mushrooms is explained in this way.

Many mushrooms, especially certain Polypores and the Luminescent Panellus (Panellus stipticus) can be used to stop bleeding.  The species name stipticus is from styptic, meaning that it is used to stop bleeding.  And yes, the common name is because it glows in the dark- at least the North American variety.

Fire-Starting with Fungus

polypores_bushcraft_6As already mentioned, mushrooms can be very good for “catching the spark” when starting fire with flint or maintaining the ember when starting with the bow drill and the like.  A nice dry piece of Polypore can be used in the middle of your tinder bundle.  Species with a felting interior, like the Tinder Polypore, can be fluffed into very nice tinder by scraping them with your knife to tease the fibers into fluff.  While it can obviously be very helpful to have nice downy tinder, it is not always necessary as even chunks of dried Polypore can stay lit with just a spark.

Transferring a “coal” from bow or hand drill methods is simply done by contacting the mushroom with the ember so that it keeps lit.  One might even use larger flat polypores underneath the fireboard so that the hot wood dust falls directly on the mushroom.

Polypores are like punk, meaning that they stay lit easy.  Punky wood (dry and rotten) might very well stay lit for hours from only a spark or ember, but generally wood requires sufficient heat to keep burning or it goes out.  Polypores can stay lit for many hours, often slowly burning from just a small ember until all the mushroom is burned up.  This has several uses.  Such as in primitive times, lit Polypores can be bound in leaves and bark so that the fire could be carried to the next spot.  I have also maintained embers in the firepit by setting in them a piece of Polypore during times when I did not desire to build up the fire by adding more wood.  Obviously, the standard rule is to keep watch on a fire at all times, but we are talking survival here.  Perhaps, you are lost in the woods with no fire-starting implements and need to spend the day hunting, fishing, or gathering mushrooms.  You certainly don’t want to lose your fire, but you don’t want to build it up either right before leaving.  It could be much safer to feed the embers with mushrooms than to pile on firewood.  

Also Read: How to Start a Fire With Your EDC Knife and a Shoelace

Mushrooms don’t have the tendency to burst into flame, even though they stay lit well.  In order to produce flame, hot pitch can be poured on the Polypore and then lit to produce a torch.  Alternately, clumps of pitch can be set or stuck (depending on consistency) on a Polypore and then lit.  The pitch will melt down into the mushroom and this makes good fuel.  

Polypores can also be made into charcoal in the same manner as making char cloth.  I have used the leathery Polypores, like Turkey Tail, as well as slices of thicker species like Tinder Polypore and Reishi.  I usually use tins, such as old Altoids tins, to fill with the mushrooms and then place on the hot coals until smoking ceases.  Then remove, let cool, and add to your tinder box for later fire-starting.

Fiber from Polypores

tinder_polypore-2Tinder Polypore can be made into felt.  This can be done by boiling and pounding the interior portion (which looks felty even when fresh).  A friend of mine has hats made of the felt, similar to that worn by the famous mycologist Paul Stamets.  I have also seen purses and other crafts from the felt.  It might be a stretch to consider making an outfit out of Tinder Polypores in a survival scenario.  Small pouches and such, on the other hand, could be very realistic and handy.

At the New Jersey Mycological Association’s yearly Fungus Fest they set up a paper-making station.  Violet Tooth Polypores (Trichaptum biforme) and other similar mushrooms are blended in water in order to produce a fibrous mush that is strained, pressed, and dried to produce a sturdy craft paper.  Violet Tooth Polypores work well for fiber extraction because they are thin, like the well-known medicinal Turkey Tail and other mushrooms that comprise the “leathery” group of Polypores.  

Taking Care of Tools with Polypores

polypores_bushcraft_2Pieces of dried Polypores can work great for storing fish hooks.  I like to slice the fresh mushroom into thick strips before drying them.  This makes them handy for decocting into medicine, for stashing in tinder boxes, and for piercing a selection of fish hooks into in attempt to keep a tackle box orderly.  It also makes them ready for making charcoal if, for instance, they are cut so that they fit into an Altoids box or some other vessel that can be used to make charcoal.  Have a line-up of fish hooks in a small rectangle of Polypore makes it easy to grab a few hooks to throw in your pocket or in your sack.  If it keeps dry, you’ll even have fire-starting material with you.  If it gets wet, just toss it – you have plenty more stashed away.

Apparently Birch Polypore can be used for stropping.  An alternate name commonly cited for the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) is Razor Strop.  I have never tried it, but the dried fruiting bodies certainly seem to be the correct consistency (usually leather is used for stropping).  

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The Unappreciated 10mm Auto

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glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_buffalo_boreThe 10mm auto is a fine cartridge that was created as a very real solution to a very real problem. Unfortunately the 10mm performed exactly as designed while predictable humans went and messed it all up. But before we start, if you are quite familiar with the 10mm auto and perhaps even happily own one, you likely live in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska or Texas. According to a contact at Smith & Wesson, the vast majority of 10s are sold in those states and thusly the vast majority of appreciation for the 10mm is found on those vast states. By the way, if you add up the entire populations of MT, WY, ID and AK, it is still less than one-sixth that of Texas.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Revolvers these days seem to jump from .22 to .357 without so much as changing shelves in the gun store. And then they go up from there to .41, .44 Mag, and onto the wrist-snapping .454, .460, .480, and a choice of .500s. While pistol cartridges, on the other hand, look like a bunch of inbreeds sharing the same clothes and bald heads. In fact it can be comical debating the differences between the .380 through the .40 like little kids acting tough in the sandbox. The .45 struts around like the big man on campus, but is actually just an old guy driving a sportscar. And then there is the 10mm looking like the giant blond Russian villain in a Bond movie. A huge side of beef that can throw a man across the room.

You’re The Man

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_cooper_bookJeff Cooper was instrumental in the design of the 10mm and as a .45 fanatic, Cooper’s standards, while socially abrasive, were high, and the 10mm reflects that quest for handgun perfection (yes, that’s a not-so-subtle nod to Glock). The original 10mm produced over 600 pounds of energy by firing a 170 grain jacketed hollow point at 1300 feet per second. For reference, a Buffalo Bore +P+ 9mm can generate about 500 ft-lbs of energy with a 115 grain bullet at 1400 fps (if your gun can handle it), while regular 9mm loads often carry less than 300 ft-lbs of energy. But for further reference, stuff some Buffalo Bore 155 grain into your 10mm and you can easily get 774 ft-lbs of energy. Even the 220 grain hard-cast bullet bear loads I use in my 10mm scream along at 1200 feet per second and still exceed 700 ft-lbs of energy. And that’s out of a gun not much bigger than my subcompact Glock 26!

Related: The Katrina Pistol

To handle a real 10mm cartridge (not that watered down FBI stuff) a new gun was needed and the Bren Ten was born. Unfortunately health problems prevented the Bren Ten from reaching puberty, heck it didn’t even reach kindergarten before going bankrupt, but in it’s short life it did become a meme for Miami cops just like the 24-hour five-O’clock shadow. However, the genie of autopistol power was out of the bottle. On a side note, the actual Bren Ten used on the Miami Vice TV show shot .45 blanks and was heavily chromed to show up better in low light scenes.

The generally accepted demise of the 10mm’s popularity is from a recoil level that is certainly more than the 9mm that many LEOs were qualifying with. The FBI was all hot and heavy for the 10mm when it arrived on the scene, and it is easy to imagine why the serious government shooters would be excited about what the 10mm offered. But for the vast majority of special agents and desk jockeys who draw down on paper as rarely as possible, the 10mm felt like Dirty Harry’s hand cannon. And don’t get them started on follow-up shots.

There was also another issue at work to shove the FBI in the direction of the .40 S&W and that was flat-out pistol durability. The 10mm is a much hotter load and all that bang takes it’s toll on hardware. Machining and metallurgy at the time was about as good as the music from the 1980s. But there were some winners in that decade with Guns N Roses and Glock among them. Unfortunately Smith & Wesson was not one of them. Smith produced a pistol named the 1076 and nicknamed the “FBI Pistol” after the bureau placed an order for 10,000 of them. But it only took 2400 of the pistols to arrive before the FBI canceled the order and moved on.

Tap Twice, They’re Small

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_compare_9mmThe initial attempts to dilute the 10mm cartridge into something you could drink all day long punched a hole in the auto-cartridge lineup. And the .40 S&W stepped in and saved the day. Or so we thought. Today the difference between a 9mm and a .40 is minor in the big picture, but the difference between a 10mm and everything less than a 10mm is significant. Not only does the 10mm punch much harder, but also carries that energy far down range. So much so that a real 10mm (not that wimpy FBI stuff in the white box) has more umph at 100 yards than a .45 has at the muzzle. Even more, if you walked into a bar, the 10mm would be drinking beer with the .357/.44 magnum crowd rather than with the parabellum and its friends sipping cocktails. In fact, the 10mm routinely beats the .357 in arm wrestling, and often ties with the .41 Mag.

Is That Real?

If you saw a foot-and-a-half long auto pistol with a bore big enough to plug with your finger sitting in the display case at the gun store, you’d probably think it was a fake handgun, or at least a one-off custom job. And it’s true that autopistol designs present very real limits on cartridge size and design, but that’s no reason to throw out a perfectly good caliber just because the Feds found it a little too snappy for their manicured hands.

Related: Project Squirrel Gun

The two things the 10mm has over the smaller rimless cartridges is a longer case and a bigger bullet. The larger case holds enough powder to launch 200 grains of lead over 1200 feet per second, and light rounds at over 2400 FPS! That’s rifle territory. So with the right driver behind the wheel, er I mean slide, the 10mm is a serious deer hunting round coming out the chute of an auto-pistol that some choose to carry inside their waistband.

For decades, the .357 was the minimum gun in black bear country and the .44 Mag at the bottom of the list for trespassing on grizzly land, especially in Alaska where everything really is bigger. So when you reduce bullets to numbers, the 10mm puts some outstanding points on the board. Delivering over 600 foot pounds of energy was Cooper’s goal for his super cartridge. You can always downshift the powder load or bullet weight for lesser tasks, but you cannot put more power where it won’t fit. History recorded that the 10mm was uncomfortable to shoot by the average G-men and G-women. So while the 10s were being emasculated leading to the so-called “FBI Load,” the .40 S&W jumped in bed with the Fibs. Before we knew it, the 10mm auto was a footnote and if it wasn’t for a rabid constituency of 10-lovers, it would have died. Luckily Colt Firearms was one of those 10-lovers and produced the Delta Elite in 1987. The Delta Elite was a 1911-esque design that surely pleased Jeff Cooper who probably appreciated the 1911 in .45 more than Browning himself.

Colt to the Rescue

glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_billboardThe Delta Elite is considered the first successful 10mm pistol but slow sales stopped production in 1996. Then at the 2008 SHOT Show, Colt announced the Delta Elite in 10mm would return. Overlapping the Colt timeline, Glock produced its first 10mm in 1990, a large frame named the Glock 20. But in a twist of fate, the Glock 22 (.40 S&W) was released first because the FBI flip-flop from 10mm to .40 S&W thus back-burnering the 20 for a few months. Six years later in 1996, the subcompact 10mm named the Glock 29 was released into the wild. And today there are two 29s (Gen4 and SF) along with a new long-slide MOS version named the G40. So in case you lost count, your local gun store could four distinct versions of Glocks in 10mm. And there are at least half-a-dozen other major manufactures producing 10mm pistols as well.

Ten is the New Ten

bear_countryToday, the cult-like following of the 10mm is being replaced by the mature appreciation of the cartridge that Colonel Cooper wanted. 10mm ammo is plentiful with bullets for self-defense, big game hunting, and even hard-cast bullets for the most dangerous animals in North America including grizzly and polar bears. It should be obvious that if your stable of survival-oriented handguns has increased beyond the traditions, them give serious consideration to the 10mm auto. In fact, think long and hard about the 10mm as a single solution for both defense and hunting when the World goes all ROL on you. And for the record, I think of Glocks like food storage; more is better and I don’t get rid of the old just because I got something newer.

Related: Glock 42 Review

Being essentially a .40 Magnum, the 10mm auto has changed from a choice between pain or power, into a fighting man’s cartridge that has the respectable knockdown energy and flat trajectory that lesser rounds can only dream of. So like the rattlesnake, yes it bites, but those new to the 10mm most likely just misunderstand it. And that is all about to change…again.

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Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

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hickory_nuts_acorns_food_storageWild foods are largely known as survival foods for emergencies or as novel delicacies to spice up normal kitchen fare.  In either case long term storage is not a primary concern.  In the event of a long-term survival situation you would want to store surplus food away as soon as you were feeling well-fed enough to have it.  If you were faced with fending for yourself for unknown duration while far removed from electricity and the globalized food network, you would want plenty of time to enjoy the beauty and quiet of your surroundings.  I figure the luxury would come only after many daily chores and activities, and only alongside a nice storage cache of food.   How could this be accomplished without electricity?

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Today’s food is riddled with preservatives.  Such chemicals are so commonplace that the average person might think nothing of it.  Certain items, like bread that remains soft longer than natural, have become everyday foods.  If you have made bread at home or purchase it from a bakery you know that bread begins to get stale very quickly.  For countless generations making bread was a daily or weekly task.  Even storage of flour would have been relatively difficult – bugs, mold, and rancidity were all very real problems, as they still are today.  Grains, however, in their whole form (better yet, unhulled form) will store rather well.  Once cracked or ground, seeds are dead and won’t germinate.  In their whole form, seeds are “designed to last”.  Of course, many do have short shelf-lives.  Gardeners often know which veggie seeds can be saved for years and which should be all planted rather than saved for a later season.  Some seeds have been proven viable after thousands of years.

Related: Choosing the Best Survival Food for Your Bug Out Bag

The storable properties of seeds is a major reason grains and beans became primary staple foods around the globe.  Likewise, roots, which also have the capacity to store energy, have been primary storage foods around the world.  Many roots will sprout leaves even after sitting in a root cellar through a whole winter, or in the fridge for longer than you intended.  This is a clear indication that the root still has life.  Once the root has died, however, it will begin to rot.

apples_food_storage_rotMany plant parts do not store away energy in the manner of a seed or perennial root.  Perhaps this is most obvious in fruits. Fruits are, in a certain way of looking at them, designed to rot.  The fruit carries the seeds and “wants” to be eaten in order to assist seed dispersal.  Consider the various berries, for instance.  When birds eat the fruits the seeds pass through their digestive system and get deposited, with a nice bit of fertilizer, in a different location.  (It should be noted that the term “fruit” has different uses.  In some context “fruit” might refer to the seed itself.  Here we are talking about the fleshy fruits that surround seeds, such as what is commonly thought of as fruit when considering the food groups, including things like Apples and Cherries.)  The nature of fruit is such that at the peak of ripeness it has already begun to rot.  So, while certain hearty fruits, like Apples, are well-known storage foods, many fruits are difficult to keep around.  Of course, as will be discussed later in this article, there are many ways to prepare fruits for storage.

If we consider the vegetative (the green, leafy) portions of plants we can see that they also do not have the same storage properties as the roots and seeds.  The nature of the stems and leaves is to grow, not so much to store energy for later use.  We know that cuttings can take root, which indicates that the living aspect of the plant remains even in the part that is removed.  (Compare this to the animal organism.  If you lost your arm, it wouldn’t so easily grow another person.)  But it doesn’t take long before the leaf or stem cannot survive after it has been removed.  The leaf quickly perishes.  With drying we can save much of the nutritive properties of vegetative plant parts.

Methods of Storing Wild Foods

There are few basic methods of storing wild foods.  As with most things, there are pros and cons of each storage method.

Root Cellar Storage – If lost in the wild, you may not have a root cellar per se – here we refer to the simple storage of whole roots and similar plant parts in some form of insulated chamber.  Just as a proper root cellar puts the plants below the ground for insulation, you might do the same with a hole or natural structure like a rock ledge.  The idea here is to get the food away from the freezing temperatures that could destroy them.  The same idea applies to high temperature in which the insulation prevents spoilage by keeping the food cooler than the outside air.  

Drying – This is one of the oldest food storage methods.  It can be easy with electricity.  Without modern electricity, drying foods well poses many potential problems.

Pickling – Though another ancient and relatively simple preservation method, pickling does pose distinct problems in a survival situation.  The challenges mostly related to having the appropriate materials like vessels and plenty of salt or vinegar.  

Pemmican – This preparation is a mixture of protein, fat, and fruit.  The ingredients are preserved through drying and preservation is assisted by the fat content.  

Submersion in Water – This method came to mind mostly in relation to acorns, which are submersed in order to leach the tannins and render edible.  It is a traditional method of storage to leave them underwater, besides that it is a method of leaching.  It might be worth considering such a method for other foods as well.  

Root “Cellar” Storage / The Cache

squirrel_food_eatingStoring foods in a root cellar or similar structure is one of the oldest and most time-proven methods.  Even animals like squirrels store foods in a cache.  Just recently I turned over a sort of compost pile that was composed of weeds and cuttings from the yard and garden and included a large number of sticks and twigs.  The thicker, woody branches provided a certain structure to the heap that the local red squirrels (not knowing my intentions to flip the pile) thought perfect for storing the Black Walnuts in, which were growing nearby.  The entire heap was full of Black Walnuts.

Caches of nuts and acorns that were stowed away by wildlife could be important survival foods.  One method of storage is to simply let the animals do their thing and make a note of where they have done so.  I suppose a main problem with such a method is that you might not be able to predict when the squirrels will return to their cache and remove the nuts.

It is possible to imitate the squirrels and store your own harvest of Hickory nuts, Black Walnuts, or acorns by mounding them up with leaves and other forest debris.  However, you might then find that your cache has been raided by some critter when you go to uncover it.  This could be very disappointing.

Native Americans regularly stored food by burying it in the ground.  I imagine this was often the only method available because of the nature of the camp and travelling needs.  As is often depicted in tales and stories of the semi-nomadic days of the Native, such caches would spoil relatively easily.  Mold would have been a common problem.

Much of the benefit of the root cellar is related to the ground remaining around 55 degrees at a certain depth.  That constant is generally not attained with the depth of a root cellar, but any depth provides more consistency than the outside air.  For this reason foods can also be kept cooler in the summer with this kind of storage just as they are kept from getting too cold in winter.

In the wild there are far too many variables for us to exhaust here.  Depth and insulation requirements depend on the conditions, timeline, and more.  The main point is that through burying or covering material various storage requirements can be attained.  One can consider natural rock forms and other natural formations that might lend themselves to cold storage.  Rocks and logs can be used to build up sides.  There are many possibilities.  The principle is that the earth is the insulation, potentially with the help of rocks and wood.

The cardinal directions apply (one should always have a good compass and pay attention to the movement of the sun and moon in relation to north, east, south, and west).  A north-facing slope, which receives less sun, will generally be cooler than the south-facing slope.  Water also affects the temperature changes of the area.  Such things are all taken into consideration of site and design.

One method of winter storage is to bury things in layers so that an assortment of foods are available each time you dig up a layer.  Leaves or straw can be used to keep your goods from direct contact with the earth and to provide insulation and marking for each layer.  Roots, certain fruits, and other storage foods can do surprisingly well if put away properly with consideration of temperature and humidity.

Drying

russula_food_storageDrying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation.  I have even seen squirrels drying mushrooms for storage (Russula spp.)  It is quite natural.  However, it can also be difficult.  Without proper airflow, temperature, and humidity, drying can be quite difficult.  In many cases drying of certain mushrooms, perhaps aging as well, could help remove mild toxins and help transform something usually avoided to an edible.

Air drying is easiest in dry climates and seasons.  Sufficient airflow is often an issue.  With increased humidity is an increased need for airflow.  If electricity is available, a simple fan can help.  Exposure to sun can help.  Certainly it is good to avoid areas so cut off from the sun that they remain constantly moist.  Too much sunlight, however, could be damaging and foods should be removed from exposure when they are dry enough.

A great way to utilize the sun is to construct a solar dehydrator.  There are many possible ways to do so, though I like the idea of the heat-trap channelling to a container with shelves and vents.  A simple design is like that of a small children’s slide.  The heat-trap is like a slide painted black with glass or plexiglass covering it.  As it heats up in the sun, the hot air is allowed to rise into the area with racks of plant material.  Vents can be adjusted to regulate the temperature.

Another method that might prove useful in a survival situation is to use fire to assist in drying.  Perhaps nice flat rocks used for the fire-ring can act as drying plates as they heat up by the fire.  Another possibility is to construct racks near a fire.

Of course, today many people simply use an electric dehydrator.  They come in several varieties.  They work quite well and can be used for preparing many different foods for storage.

Pickling

pickles_food_storagePickling requires salt or vinegar.  Some methods also require pressure.  Pressure is obtained through the old-fashioned plate and rock method, which is just that – a plate and a rock placed on top of the contents of the crock to provide weight, or by the mechanics of a pickle press. A major nutritional consideration of pickles and other fermented food is probiotics.  Probiotics help with digestion in general, which is particularly a concern during nutritional imbalances that might occur in a survival situation.  Probiotics also help recovery from certain illnesses, especially diarrhea and other imbalances that can affect the gut flora.

Pemmican

Pemmican is a method of storing protein, fat, and berries.  Animal meat and fat, such as from buffalo or deer, is mashed up with berries.  The items are dried to some degree before being ground together.  Then patties are formed and allowed to dry appropriately for storage.  Pemmican is considered to be an ideal survival food and was a staple food of North American Natives of cold areas.

Submersion in Water

acorns_food_storageOne time I held an acorn-shelling party.  Well, I like to call it a party, but more of a gathering set on shelling significant quantities of acorns.  In spite of protests from friends who had helped with the tedious task, I wanted to test out the primitive method of leaching the astringent tannins out of the acorns by leaving them in a stream.  My comrades we sure something would go wrong, and they were right.  Because of the time that it takes for the tannins to leach out of the acorns I had left them in the stream for quite a while.  Then, the stream froze and this enabled the squirrels to use the ice bridge as a trail to my stash of acorns.

Read Also: Emergency Foods From Wild Plants

Another traditional method was to dig the acorns into the mud below a body of water.  I have never tried it.  It would certainly help to avoid the problem I just described, and would avoid leaving them somewhere to get frozen in the ice. Though I have mostly regarded submersion as a method for acorns, I wonder about other potential.

An additional form of submersion is to submerse food in the snow or ice.  This has been practiced by arctic people and through winters since ancient times.  I imagine the drawbacks are similar to leaving acorns in the stream.  Though I wonder who might come around to find meat submersed in wintery insulation.  Freezing damages root crops and you would not want to subject your stored seed to that much above-ground moisture.

Preparation

Maybe this is all seeming a little nuts.  I did, after all, mention squirrels at least twice.  (Strange how similar we could be to the little critters.)  It has become my work, as an herbalist and educator, to learn the traditional practices of foraging for wild foods and I have spend a lot of time off the grid wondering how these things might be done, if food and electricity were suddenly unavailable.  In my opinion this knowledge should be kept alive as a matter of general responsibility.

While some of the above discussion relates directly to being separated from the civilized world, much of it can be adapted to the common kitchen.  Drying and pickling can take place right on the counter, and it should not be difficult to create a root cellar in even the modern kitchen or just outside one’s home.  Learning these things can reduce your reliance on electricity while increasing your food storage space at home.

 

5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know

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jimpson_weed_datura

dogbane_2The subject of poisonous plants is complex.  Conditioned by the grocery store, modern man often considers it a black and white subject, with things being either edible or poisonous.  Realistically, toxicity in plants is much more like a spectrum.  Some things are very toxic and some very safe, while most are along a spectrum of the in-between.  The subject is further complicated by variables such as dose and preparation.  Hence, the saying “the dose makes the poison”, as even water proves fatal in excess. (See “Water Intoxication”.)

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Often people ask, “Why are there poisonous plants?” or “Why would God create poisons?”.  While this could prove another very complex discussion, it’s sufficient here to point out that even the most poisonous plants have medicinal uses.  In fact, it is precisely the poisonous plants that have provided the most powerful and dramatic medicines- they are poisonous or medicinal because their chemical constituents are so strong.  So, everything has its place.  The survivalist should get to know the most toxic plant families to avoid accidental poisoning and to become familiar with the myriad uses of such plants.

There are certain generalizations that the botanist can make regarding the identification of plant families.  Likewise, there are generalizations that the forager and herbalist can make about the edible, medicinal, and toxic properties of plant families.  This is very useful for plant identification and use of plants for food and medicine.  However, while generalizing is useful for learning – it is not the full story and one must also learn the details.  The Carrot Family (Apiaceae), for instance, is one of the most poisonous plant families that also gives us Carrots, Parsley, and other well-known edibles.  The forager should know that the family in general is quite toxic.  But they must also learn which species are good edibles, which have medicinal properties that are also somewhat toxic, and which are fatally poisonous.  Learn the ends of the spectrum first- the most edible and the most poisonous.

One could argue that the safest method to learning about wild edibles is to learn the most deadly poisons first.  Then, one would know what to avoid to avoid death.  All other mistakes would be mild in comparison.  This is good theory, but in reality it is much more common and natural to learn a little bit here-and-there about edibles, medicinals, and poisons.  Still, the point has been made.

Because of the “spectrum of edibility” an exhaustive article on plant poisons would be very long.  For this post we will focus on five plant families of common occurrence and some of the most deadly plants.  This will be a good starting place for the subject.  The five families covered are the Poison Ivy Family (Anacardiaceae), the Carrot Family (Apiaceae), the Milkweed Family (Apocynaceae), the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae), and the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae).

Anacardiaceae – The Poison Ivy Family

poison_ivyAnacardiaceae is also known as the Cashew Family.  Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a complex species group that may or may not include what is otherwise known as Poison Oak.  They deserve mention here not only due to “poison” in their name but because these plants are among the most trouble to people spending time outdoors, some people anyway.  A decent percentage of people can react to the Poison Ivy oils and experience a troublesome, blistering rash.  Some people do not react, but must still maintain some respect for the plants as sensitivity can develop at any age.  People also lose sensitivity spontaneously or through desensitising protocols.  The best remedy for the Poison Ivy rash is fresh Jewelweed (Impatiens spp. or Touch-Me-Not).  The juicy plants can be crushed and rubbed on the exposed area.  You should learn Poison Ivy and its relatives as well as Jewelweed.

Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is another in the genus.  Sometimes when people get a bad Toxicodendron rash they will say it is Poison Sumac because of how bad the rash is.  However, because Poison Sumac grows in swamps and bogs it is much more rare to come in contact with.

Mangos (Mangifera indica) and Cashews (Anacardium occidentale) belong to Anacardiaceae, as do our Sumacs (Rhus spp.).  It is believed that eating these foods can help against Poison Ivy reactiveness.  People sometimes worry about consuming Sumacs because of Poison Sumac.  But Poison Sumac belongs to Toxicodendron and Staghorn Sumac and its close relatives belong to Rhus.  They are different plants.  Rhus species provide several edible and medicinal parts.

Apiaceae – The Carrot Family

Apiaceae is also known as the Poison Hemlock Family, the Parsley Family, and by its old name, the Umbel Family or Umbelliferae.  This latter designation has persisted since Apiaceae became official largely because it describes the flower type, the umble, which is characteristic.  To describe it here is slightly too technical (will save it for an article focused on this family alone), but perhaps you already know it.  Carrots (Daucus carrota), Angelica (Angelica spp.), Parsnips (Pastinica sativa), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), and Water Hemlock (Cicuta spp.) all have umble (umbrella-shaped) flowerheads.  Yarrow (Achellea millefollium of the Aster Family) and Elderberry (Sambucus spp. of the Elder Family, Adoxaceae) look at first to have umbels, but when inspected closely the stalks supporting the flowering parts arise in a branching pattern from the main stem while true umbles branch from a single node of the main stem.  That is, umbels come from one point.  

david_-_the_death_of_socratesPoison Hemlock, Water Hemlock, and the related species are very deadly.  Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii) has been considered the most poisonous plant in North America.  Poison Hemlock is infamous as the plant that killed Socrates, as it was used in ancient times as a euthanizing agent.  Umbel flower-heads should be a warning.  Eat and use such plants carefully to avoid confusing a desired species with a fatally poisonous one.  Even those that are edible can produce toxic parts.  For instance, Parsnip has been cultivated for generations as a delicious vegetable, but the above-ground portions of Wild Parsnip are well known to produce rashes in some people.

Like Parsnip, Wild Carrot is the wild version of the domestic vegetable (same species).  It is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables around the world.  Some people cook with the greens as well.  However, it is not considered safe to freely eat the greens or seeds in that there are some toxic properties.

Apocynaceae – the Milkweed Family

dogbaneApocynaceae is also known as the Dogbane Family, especially since Milkweed was formerly classified in Asclepiadaceae (the families have been merged).  I call it the Milkweed family because Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is a much more commonly known plant and because I often teach about the edible properties of it.  Dogbane (Apocynum spp.) is commonly known as the poisonous relative of Milkweed.  Besides the toxic properties of Dogbane, the survivalist should get to know the plant as an important source of fiber for cordage.  A common species A. cannabinum is sometimes known as Indian Hemp (which is referenced in the species name that refers to Cannabis) because it was a primary fiber plant.  

Ranunculaceae – the Buttercup Family

marsh_marigold_buttercup_familyIn spite of being named after a food, Buttercups (Ranunculus spp. ) are generally toxic.  One species, Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustrus) is a well-known edible (must be cooked properly), but the family should be treated with caution.  It would be another whole article (or should I say will be another blog) to discuss the range of toxic plants of the Buttercup Family, from the Common Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.) to the “most deadly plant” in the world – Aconite (Aconitum spp. ).  If you live in an area where Aconite or poisonous relatives like Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) grow, you should learn these plants.  Aconite is also known as Monkshood and Wolf’s Bane.  

Another member of the family is known as Baneberry (Actaea spp.)  In my area we have Red Baneberry (A. rubra) and White Baneberry, or Doll’s Eyes, (A. pachypoda).  It has created some confusion since Black Cohosh, formerly Cimicifuga, was included in the genus, and some concern since the common medicinal is not as toxic as the Baneberries.  

Ranunculaceae is also known as the Crowfoot Family.  Members of the family are quite common, especially in wet areas.  Often, they go unnoticed when not in flower.  It is worth learning the leaves, by which they get the name Crowfoot.  Even Ranunculus species can blister your mouth if chewed on.  There are also important medicinals in Ranunculaceae, like the famous antibiotic herb Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis).

Solanaceae – the Nightshade Family

This is one of the most famous and controversial plant families.  While there are still many more families to discuss (such as the Lily Family, Liliaceae) in our exploration of poisonous plant groups, it is fitting to close with such an interesting group.

Solanaceae produces deadly poisons (hence the name “Deadly Nightshades”), hallucinogens (like Jimson Weed and Belladonna), food crops (like Potatoes and Tomatoes), and other exceptionally interesting plants (such as Tobacco).

daturaJimson Weed (Datura spp.), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and other similar plants are very toxic.  They have been associated with Witchcraft, crime, and other dark and deadly affairs.  They are also important medicinals.  Before asthma inhalers these plants were often used in the same fashion, though inhaled as smoke.  Still today, we get crucial medications from these plants like atropine and scopolamine.

Although widely associate with Italian food, Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) first came from South America.  It is widely believed that they were first cultivated as an exotic ornamental and thought to be poisonous before they became a staple cooking ingredient and primary garden “vegetable” (it is the fruit, technically, that we eat from the Tomato).  Wood Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara, also known as Bittersweet) helps to show why Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous, as it has small, poisonous, red fruits that look very much like Tomatoes.  Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is still believed by many to be deadly poisonous, though it was once promoted as “Wonderberry” in seed catalogues.  Common knowledge of the plant has been growing due to the popularity of Samual Thayers’ Nature’s Garden in which he discusses Black Nightshade and similar writings.  But still, edibility is not always clear and many diets (such as macrobiotics and anti-arthritis diets) recommending the near complete avoidance of Nightshades.     

Knowledge is Power

So, understanding poisonous plants will take some time and study.  The investment comes with the reward of knowledge that could save a life through prevention.  So start small, with the study of plant families and the identifying characteristics of the most poisonous species.

Maybe you noticed the word “Bane” in the names of plants in these families.  That is an indication of poison.  Apocynaceae has Dogbane.  Runuculaceae has Baneberry, Bugbane, and Wolf’s Bane.  Asteraceae (the Aster Family) has Fleabane (Erigeron spp.) and the list goes on.  Throughout the lore of plants, include in their names, has been woven the knowledge of toxicity.  Such is its importance.    

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Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees and Their Relatives in the Northeast

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forest-trees-fog-foggyEvergreens are also known as conifers.  They make up the bulk of a group of plants called gymnosperms.  In my home area we have one conifer that is not evergreen: Larch or Tamarack (Larix).  You can also find the deciduous Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) under cultivation.  The broadleaf gymnosperm Ginkgo biloba is often planted, but this article will stick to the conifers (Pinophyta).  “Gymnosperm” means “naked-seed,” which means that the female part is exposed so that it can be directly pollinated by the male pollen that blows to it on the wind.  The angiosperms that are responsible for all the beautiful flowers like Tulips and Roses have female parts that are enclosed and must be reached by the male pollen through the complexity of the flower.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Recognizing a gymnosperm is relatively easy.  Look for the “Pine Trees” (or, more properly, the conifers).  But take note that while many refer to any conifer, or evergreen, as a Pine Tree there are really three botanical families represented in our area: the Pine, Cypress, and Yew families.  So, “Pine” means “Pinus” and “Pine family” means “Pinaceae.”  As this is my first SurvivalCache article on the subject, I am focusing on the area I know best- the Northeast (particularly that which is centralized in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania tri-state area, or the Delaware River valley) to discuss some species and introduce some basic botany and survival considerations.  For future posts I will discuss other regions of the country.

pine_varietiesThe Pine family contains several genera.  Pinus (Pine), Picea (Spruce), Abies (Fir), Tsuga (Hemlock), and Larix (Larch) are found in our area.  Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and some others (including non-indigenous Pine) can be found in cultivation.  I regularly use White Pine, which is partially due to it being more common in my area than the other Pines.  I also commonly make use of Hemlock, which is a primary tree of certain forests and the host of one of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, Ganoderma tsugae (Reishi).  This is a very useful plant family for the survivalist to get to know.

The Cypress family has Taxodium (Bald Cypress), Thuja (Arbor-vitae), Chamaecyparis (Atlantic White-cedar), and Juniperus (Juniper and Red Cedar).  There are many medicinal uses of species in Cupressaseae, but it should be regarded as less edible in general than the Pine family.  Thuja essential oil, for instance, is considered quite toxic.

Read Also: Natural Headache Remedies

The Yew family is mostly found in landscapes as our native Taxus (Yew) is over-browsed by deer.  English and Japanese domestic varieties are quite common under cultivation and sometimes naturalize (spread into the wild from cultivation).  Yews are toxic.  So, to avoid poisoning, the beginner should quickly learn the difference between Yews and the others, especially the Hemlock and Fir that superficially resemble Taxus because of the leaf (needle) arrangement.  The red “berry” of Taxus is edible, but not the seed (which is actually visible, indicating it is a gymnosperm, in the cup-shaped “berry”).  It is very common for poisonous plants to concentrate toxins in the seeds while producing an innocuous fruit.

The Pines and Yews have needles while the Cypress family has scale-like leaves.  (One exception to this generalization is Bald Cypress, which has needle-like leaves that alternate on deciduous terminal twigs.)  They are all needle-like in a way, but you will notice the scale quality in the Cypress family, such as with Juniperus or Thuja.  If you then learn to recognize the Yew needles (which are rare in the wild anyway), the remainder varieties of needles can be known as belonging to members of the Pine family.  

Pinaceae – Pine Family

pitch_pine_conePinaceae is the representative family of the gymnosperms, as the group consists of the most quintessential evergreen trees.  They tend to be pitchy (they have thick, sticky, aromatic sap), with a piney or citrus-like scent.  Their leaves are needles.  And they have the most quintessential cones (often called “pine cones” no matter what genus they occur on, even if the genus is of another family), compared to the berry-like cones of Juniperus and Taxus (Yew), for instance.  The cones have spirally arranged scales and the seeds have wings.

One of the easiest ways to get to know this family of trees is to get to know the individual genera: Pinus, Tsuga, Picea, Larix, and Abies of our area.  Cedrus and Pseudotsuga are native to other parts of the country.  Cathaya, Pseudolarix, Keteleeria, and Nothotsuga are native to China.                      

scotch_pinePinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine or Scot’s Pine) is the most widely distributed Pine.  It was brought here from Europe and can normally be found along driveways and cultivated lands.  It can be easily distinguished from the other common species by its orange-shaded upper bark and the light blue-green of its needles.  It has been used extensively in traditional European medicine and has also been used for pharmaceutical preparations.

The Ojibwa used Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) to to revive consciousness.  Arthritis, muscle pains, sores, wounds, and pains associated with colds and febrile illnesses have all been treated with various Pinaceae species.  Our most common native species, White Pine (Pinus strobus) and Pitch Pine (P. rigida) have been used extensively as wild food and medicine.  Pines were a primary dietary supplement for winter as a source of vitamin C and to treat coughs, colds, and fevers.

tsuga_canadensis_adelgesHemlock (Tsuga canadensis) has horizontally arranged needles with white stripes (giving a pale appearance on the underside) that are dark green above and have been important for survival in the Northeast similar to Pinus.  Hemlock is a common tree of stream gorges.  It hosts a species of Reishi (Ganoderma tsugae) and is being attacked by a devastating insect, the Wooly Adelgid.  The cones are quite small and persist so that they are often found dried but still on the tree.  The genus name is from Japanese.  The common name is shared with Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), which causes a deal of confusion in some circumstances.  Poison Hemlock, being in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) is not very closely related at all.

Balsam Fir (Abies ballsamea) is used for coughs, colds, cuts, and sores.  Its taste and aroma is quite pleasant.  I would use Fir species much more commonly, except they are not abundant locally.  Those in the Western states might readily fine useful and interesting Abies species nearby.  

Tamarack (Larix laricina) is used for stomach, colds, coughs, fatigue, sores, soreness, and infections; and as a tonic for general health, laxative, and diuretic.  Chippewa used infusion of bark for anemic conditions and poultice of inner bark for burns.

The various species of Spruce (Picea) have been used like others from the Pine Family for colds and other general uses.  The pitch in particular is favored as fire-starting material and for topical medicinal application, such as in the case of boils, infections, and cuts.

Cupressaceae  – Cypress Family

red_cedar_saplingRed Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) This is by far the most common representative of this family and genus in our area.  Common Juniper (J. communis) can also be found, but is not so common (despite its name) due to habitat loss and deer browse and is easily differentiated from Red Cedar in that it is a low-growing, spreading shrub.  Red Cedar is much more tree-like, though it can’t compete in our peak forests.  Sometimes you will find significant numbers dying in the shade of taller trees.  Healthy stands are found in old fields and similar locations.  They have dark blue berry-like cones.  

A Red Cedar sapling that died after getting shaded out by taller-growing trees.  The small, dead twigs are easy to remove to turn the tree  into a staff , handle, or utility pole.

TAXACEAE  –  Yew Family

yew_cross_sectionTaxaceae includes only three genera worldwide, only one of which, Taxus, which occurs in this country.  Of the nine (estimated) species of Taxus in the world, three can be found wild in the region- one of which is native: T. canadensis.  It is the only species found wild in the immediate area, but is suffering from deer overbrowse.  The most common place to find Yew is in hedgerows where it is commonly planted.  A friend cut down a hedge in Hawley, PA.  A slice of one trunk that I have here on the table has 47 growth rings and is only four finger-widths thick (see image below).  Particularly in the Northwest, Yew is a favorite wood for bows.  

Related: 10 Tips for When You Get Lost in the Woods

It is easy to recognize Yew by the bright red berries (arils), which (as it is a gymnosperm) are open on the end, exposing the seed.  The flesh of the fruit is the only edible part of the plant, but the seeds are highly toxic.  T. canadensis and Pacific Yew (T. brevifolia) are used to make a pharmaceutical drug Taxol that is used to treat cancer.  Natives used Yew to treat numbness in the fingers.  Yew species can be recognized by their lack of aromatic properties that are present in Pinaceae and Cupressaceae.

Bibliography 

The Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy A. Block

Iroquois Medical Botany  by James W. Herrick

Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada  by Henry A. Gleason & Arthur Cronquist

Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman

 

Natural Headache Remedies

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headache_human_normal_remediesHeadaches are a part of being human. Some people get them regularly, and others get headaches only rarely. Severity varies from person to person, as does the cause of the headache. Even when only mildly annoying, a headache can affect your ability to function fully and alertly.  If you’re in a situation where Tylenol, aspirin, or prescription pain medication isn’t an option, nor is doing nothing because you have to be focused on taking care of yourself and others, you need to know how to keep a headache at bay.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

Thankfully, there are quite a few natural remedies that can alleviate the pain of a headache. There are also many natural ways to keep headaches from becoming an issue at all, or at least to minimize your risk of being stricken with one. By employing preventative and natural measures, you can successfully reign in the annoyance of headaches without drugs.

Preventative Measures and Action 

hydrated_water_headacheFirst and foremost, stay hydrated. Water is the cure for so many ills, and headaches are no exception. Should you find yourself in a situation where water is scarce, be mindful of what else you are putting in your body to ensure it is not using up valuable water. Salt, alcohol, sugar, and caffeine will dehydrate you. While all of those can initially ease the pain of a headache, they can also put you in danger of further headaches after the initial easing of pain. If water is plentiful, it is the easiest remedy for a headache – and if it’s curing your headache, you’ll likely notice you have more energy and feel more alert as well.

Related: Emergency Foods From Wild Plants

Lack of sleep can be a contributing factor to headaches, as well. In an emergency situation, sleep may be hard to come by, but you should always get as much as you are able to. In fact, studies show that poor sleep contributes to migraines. Even if you don’t end up with a full-blown migraine, lack of sleep and the dull pain of a tension headache are a poor combination that no one wants to deal with. Forcing yourself to be awake does nobody any favors – go to bed early when you are able.

stretching_headache_reliefMild headaches can also be relieved with stretching. Stretching doesn’t require any resources, simply your own energy and a little bit of space. The first section of your body you’ll want to focus on is your shoulders. Are they lifted up and tight? Let them drop and let out a deep breath. You may notice a difference from just this as your muscles loosen up. A stretch nearly as simple is to straighten up your neck, look straight ahead, and then put your chin down. Look back up, then go left, right, then back, finally returning your chin to the front. Put your chin down on your chest again, and gently roll left to right, keeping your child down while doing this. Repeat until you feel loosened up. Doing these stretches relieves headache-causing pressure from your nerves.

Another way to relieve tension that requires no medicine and simple household objects is to bite down on something – a pen or pencil, for example. Doing so will cause you to use certain muscles that become tight, leading to tension headaches. You might feel silly trying this out, but that won’t matter if you can get rid of a tension headache without worrying about how to find pain relief medication.

Many common herbs and spices can also ease the pain of a headache. However, if you are planning on storing these be aware of how long they have been stored for. Many herbs and essential oils do have somewhat short shelf lives and may lose their efficacy. Be sure to store them properly to get as much use out of them as possible, too.

What herbs can help alleviate a headache?

chocolate_mint_headachesPeppermint is an herb with soothing qualities, and its scent can help to calm nerves and relieve tension, thus lessening your headache. You can boil some water with peppermint leaves and make a peppermint tea to drink (or, if you have them available, use ready-made peppermint teabags). You may also notice that the tea has a strong scent – that’s good, and you should breath it in as you drink the tea. Or, simply breathe in the scent of the steam from your hot tea without even drinking the tea. The strong scent of peppermint alone can relieve tension and ease headaches. You can also use peppermint essential oil to soothe a headache; just rub a small amount on your temples. Dried peppermint has a fairly long shelf life – up to three years, and the essential oil lasts about four years if kept in a cool, dry space.

Feverfew is a famous and oft-cited herb for combatting migraines. It can not only help to lessen the intensity of a migraine once it starts, but has also been credited with preventing the headaches before they start. If you are a regular sufferer of migraines, you might find it worth your while to get a supply of feverfew supplements to keep on hand in case you are in a situation where you don’t have access to your prescription migraine medicine anymore. Additionally, you can grow feverfew either inside (if you have a grow light or a very sunny window) or outside. It’s fairly easy to grow, so if you or someone in your family gets regular migraines it is certainly worth trying to keep a plant. It’s a perennial, so you won’t have to replant every single year, and you’ll have a regular supply of fresh feverfew leaves to help with headache relief. The fresh leaves from the plants can be chewed, about two at a time, to relieve and/or prevent headaches. Some people even include the leaves with their regular meals, in a salad or on a sandwich. Be cautious, though, as if you are new to using feverfew you will want to ensure you are not one of those who experiences swelling of the mouth area from chewing the leaves. Some people also have gastrointestinal issues associated with use of the herb, so try it out cautiously as you first begin using this remedy.

Read Also: Easier Gardening

Cayenne is a spice that you can put to good use as a headache remedy. Commonly available, this spice works to relieve headaches because it contains capsaicin, a pain inhibitor. Using cayenne as a natural remedy is easy enough – just mix a bit (about 1/2 teaspoon or so) with water to dilute the spice, then take a cotton swab, dip it in the mixture, and very gently dab the inside of your nostril with the swab. It’ll be uncomfortable, but as the slight burning sensation subsides, so will your headache. Like most other herbs and spices, dry cayenne pepper has a shelf life of about three years, and should be stored in a dry, cool place. If you have cayenne pepper older than three years, just test it out by giving it a quick sniff – if it doesn’t smell of anything, it’s lost its effectiveness, but if it still has a strong scent, go ahead and use it. You’ll be able to tell pretty easily if it’s still potent.

ginger_plant_headachesGinger is another go-to spice for pain relief. Using ginger to relieve your headaches is pretty simple – steep some fresh ginger root to make a tea, either by itself or with lemon juice. Chewing on some ginger might also help ease side effects of more severe headaches like nausea. You can also grow ginger at home, either outdoors if you live in a warm climate, or indoors in a pot or tub. Doing so will provide you with a supply of fresh ginger root to use not only for headaches, but for a variety of other ailments as well.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is can provide relief from many aches, pains, and ills. It has a longer effective shelf life than dry herbs and spices, as it lasts about five years at full potency. After that time, it’s still probably safe, just not as effective. Be sure when you’re storing it that the cap is always screwed on tightly and it’s in a cool, dry place. To use apple cider vinegar as a remedy for headaches, you have a couple of options. You can boil it with water, at about a 1:1 ratio, then breath in the steam from the concoction. If you want to trap the steam as you do this, drape a towel over your head to fully immerse yourself in the scent. You can also mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water and drink the mixture. Be cautious of how much apple cider vinegar you are using, as it is very strong and as little as two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water can be effective. To temper the taste of the vinegar, you can also add lemon, honey, or both to the mixture. Lemon has its own therapeutic properties that you might find to be beneficial, and if the headache is accompanied by a head cold, honey can help to soothe your throat.

Adapting to Your Situation

aspirin_old_ad_headachesIn the modern world, it is very easy to reach for an aspirin to cure your headache. If none is available, though, there is a plant found in nature that is nearly equivalent to aspirin in how it treats headaches – the bark of a willow tree. It’s active ingredient is salicin, and the bark is also useful in treating pains other than headaches, including lower back pain. If you live in an area where willow trees grow, identify one, cut a square of bark, and boil it to make a tea. But of course, as with any other herb or plant, if you are not completely sure, don’t ingest anything from it! You can also simply, but carefully, chew on the bark. Be aware that you are not swallowing any splinters of the bark, though – just the saliva that now has the salicin from the bark in it.

As you can see, nature is bountiful when it comes to headache remedies. While those who suffer from the most severe of migraines may not be able to fully feel the relief of modern prescription pain medications, there are ways to mediate the pain should there be no such medication available. For the more mild headaches that everyone gets, but that still interfere with the ability to fully function, simple steps like drinking more water, getting more sleep, and stretching can help to prevent and relieve the pain. Herbs and plants that are commonly available are highly effective in relieving headaches, and make a valuable addition to any medical storage and preparing you may be doing. While modern medicine has its perks, there are other options and with the right supplies and knowledge you won’t have to suffer even if you don’t have access to prescriptions and technologically-enhanced medical facilities.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

Emergency Foods from Wild Plants

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dandelion_edible_forageMany people start learning about wild foods from common field guides focused on the subject.  There are often plants mentioned as wild foods that are not abundant enough to supply much of a harvest (such as Spring Beauties, or Fairy Potatoes), not nutritionally rich enough to offer much to survival situations (such as the many greens, which have few calories), are not very tasty (such as bitters like Dandelion), or are difficult to harvest and prepare (such as tree bark).  Further, the limited season of many nutritious edibles (like Cattail pollen and acorns) keeps them unavailable for much of the year.  The forager naturally sorts through plants as he learns about them, more-or-less forgetting many while focusing on the “choice” edibles.  (Mushroom hunters in particular refer to the best edibles as “choice”.)

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For those who are learning about wild edibles to add to their daily diet or to harvest for restaurants, it only makes sense to focus on the best.  For the sake of preparing for end times, survival situations, and emergencies in the woods, however, one should learn as many edible plants as possible.  Perhaps many are not tasty or are time-consuming to harvest and/or prepare, but while these are very legitimate obstacles for every-day life in the “normal” world, you will likely enjoy even strange flavors when you are starving. The gathering of calories might turn into your top priority when there are none at hand.  In order to prepare for emergencies, it is well worth learning about the wild plants that the field guides deem “trailside nibbles” or “survival foods”.

Tree Bark

elm_treeA very important survival food is the inner bark of trees.  It is a common belief that the work “Adirondack” means “tree eaters”.  Maybe this is originally from the Mohawk word for porcupine, or maybe it was mostly derogatory referring to bad hunters (who had to, therefore, eat tree bark) but the truth is that Natives of the woodlands ate many tree barks.  My favorite is Slippery Elm.  I have prepared much of the powdered bark available through commercial herb distributors.  Cooked with Maple syrup it is a delightful breakfast “cereal” from the trees.  It is worth considering the powdered bark for emergency storage as an edible and medicinal.  Learn to recognize Elm trees and learn where they grow for emergency use and because they host the famous Morel mushroom. In my area they are found mostly along rivers.

Another tree I have consumed a bit of is White Pine.  While I was stripping bark from the logs for my log cabin, I chewed on the inner bark and prepared it as a “tea” (decoction- material is simmered, not just steeped).  I did not get around to grinding it to prepare as meal, as the Native Americans did with many of the barks they used as food.  It was enough work for my spare time to drag logs through the snow and carve notches in them.  Plus, I am still trying to figure out just how much of the evergreen trees are safe to consume.  Pines and their relatives have been important survival foods as well as winter foods, providing many medicinal and nutritional benefits.  However, there is concern regarding ingesting too many of the thick, resinous compounds in the pitch.  These agents give the evergreens many of their medicinal properties, but can gum up the kidneys if over-consumed.  Perhaps Native Americans knew things about preparing these barks that have been lost to the modern world.  When the end times come, however, we might be wishing we did our research.

Many other trees have edible inner bark, such as Poplar (though it was probably more often used to feed horses so that more desirable food could be hunted) and Ash.

Additional Foods From Trees

It is much more common today to consume the needles and small twigs of the evergreens by preparing as a tea, than to strip the bark and prepare as gruel.  By steeping the needles we can extract the vitamin C and many of the aromatic constituents.  For survival situations, I am sure thicker inner bark has more to offer nutritionally.

Read Also: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies 

black_walnutMany other parts of trees can be used as food and should be mentioned here, such as the leaves of Basswood (American Linden).  Of course, one of the most important wild foods from trees is nuts, such as from Hickory and Black Walnut (which is another important medicinal, being used for parasites and fungal infections).  We also have acorns from Oak and many lesser-known seeds such as Beechnuts from Beech.  Many don’t realize that sap can be made into syrup from more than just Sugar Maple, including other Maples as well as other trees like Hickory.  It is clear that the survivalist has much to learn about trees in preparation for emergency.

A major consideration for emergency food, are the winter caches of wildlife.  Squirrels and other critters store piles of acorns, nuts, and seeds, which can be found by digging through leafy brush piles and other areas conducive to storage of such foods.  

Roots

evening_primrosePlants store energy in two distinct places- roots and seeds.  There are many roots that are generally overlooked as edibles, but could prove life-saving in emergencies.  Evening Primrose, for instance, was once a staple vegetable of Natives.  Today, it is common to find along roadsides and is worth getting to know for roadside emergencies.  Like many edible roots (including Burdock and Wild Carrot), Evening Primrose is biennial and best harvested in the fall of the first season or the spring of the second.  During the second year the plants develop their flower stalks and the roots become tough in order to support the stalk and because they are on their way out (they will die after seed is produced, while the autumn of the first year they store energy for the next).  

Garlic Mustard, because of its pungency, is usually used as a condiment (like Horseradish) more than a vegetable.  When push comes to shove, however, you might overcome the bitter, pungent flavor, or figure out how to reduce it through cooking.  Yellow Dock is similar in that it is avoided largely because of its intense bitter taste, and because being perennial it will get tougher with age.  Yellow Dock species are quite common and I am very often told by budding wild food foragers that they began eating the greens.  Usually I assume that if someone is eating Yellow Dock they have not learned about the other, more palatable options, and I tell them so.  Often, when seeing them at a later time I am informed that they moved on from Yellow Dock to tastier greens.  However, concerning survival, Yellow Dock might be an option.

Strong flavors generally indicate that the plant is not suitable for consumption in large amounts.  Bitter, pungent, and sour flavors are commonly indicative of constituents that shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts.  There is a reason we appreciate these flavors in relatively small doses.  Likewise, there is a reason we like the sweet flavor – it is the mark of calories (food energy).  All our macronutrients are sweet, which includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.  Roots that are relatively bland or sweet, such as Evening Primrose and Burdock, are generally more edible.  Wild Carrot also has a bit of pungency, and although Carrots are staple food, many members of the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) are quite toxic.  It should not be assumed that because something tastes good it is edible.  It is said that Poison Hemlock tasted quite good to those who were able to tell us so before they died.  Cattails produce very starchy roots (rhizomes) along with many other edible portions.  

Cattail

Cattails were called “Nature’s Pantry” by Euell Gibbons, one of our nation’s first famous wild food experts.  The rhizomes store much starch, which can be easily extracted to used for porridge or baking.  The young shoots are edible as are the bases of younger leaves.  The best vegetable portion is the young flower stalk, including flower, while it is tender and still wrapped inside the leaves.  The pollen can also be gathered, which is very nutritious.

Because starch is very water soluble and due to the structure of Cattail rhizomes the rhizomes can be pounded in a bucket of water.  The starch is then suspended in the water making it possible to strain out the fibrous strands, joints, and peel.  It can then be left to sit so that the starch settles to the  bottom.  Maybe not the ideal form of carbohydrates to the modern man, but an abundant source of nutrition in a survival situation.  

The vegetable portion can be nibbled off the bottoms of leaves that are young enough to have a tender portion intact.  The young shoots at the end of the rhizomes can also be harvested.  In my opinion, one of the best wild vegetables is the flower stalk.  Many old books refer to treating it like corn on the cob.  This has led to the misunderstanding that one should eat the flower (the “cat tail”) off of the stalk.  However, it is the stalk itself, when tender, that is the delicious vegetable.  It can be found by peeling the coarser material away to reveal the tender part.  You can develop an eye for the ones with flower stalks developing by the way the plant elongates upward during growth.  It resembles corn on the cob because it can be cooked in the same way, which is also why it is a very convenient camping or survival food.  Simply pick the whole above-ground/water plant by pulling straight up so that it separates from the rhizome.  You can confirm that is has a flower stalk by observing the base.  If there is no stalk, you will only see the crescent-shaped overlapping leaf bases.  If it has a flower stalk you will see it’s round base.  Then throw the plants, green leaves and all, directly onto some hot coals.  Turn them until thoroughly cooked.  When done, simply peel back the tough parts to reveal a tender, cooked vegetable within.  

The pollen is gathered after the flowers emerge above the leafy portions by shaking the yellow powder from the plants into some kind of container.  It is very nutritious and should be considered an important emergency food and nutritional supplement.  Many other pollens, such as Pine, can be harvested as well.

Seeds

I have already mentioned seeds from trees above (in the section “Additonal Foods from Trees”).  Here we will consider seeds from shrubs and herbaceous plants.  Perhaps the best-known staple of our Northeastern woods is the Hazelnut.  Although, because wildlife love it Hazelnuts are often hard to come by.  Still, the survivalist should learn to identify the shrub.

Amaranth seeds, though small and covered by a tough outer layer, are edible and very nutritious.  Plus, the young plants are good as cooked greens.  Likewise, Lambsquarters, one of the best cooked greens from the wild, can also provide nutritious seeds.  

Jewelweed, which is well-known as the poison ivy remedy, has edible seeds.  They pop from the ballistic seed pods when ripe and disturbed (by wind or animal).  Pinched just right, the seeds can be released into your hand.  Small, but they taste just like Walnuts.  The young shoots of Jewelweed have raised concerns regarding their edibility.  I used to eat them when a few inches tall and after cooked, but I have not done so in years.

Vegetables

There are many wild vegetables.  It is worth learning the lesser-desirable species as well as those commonly sought after.  However, vegetables are not the focus of this article because in emergency survival situations we are often more focused on calories.  Although greens are nutritious, they are not calorie rich.  Still, in survival situations there might be need to focus on certain nutrients that are available from vegetative plant parts.  Many greens are high in nutrients that would be cooked out of other plant foods.  For this reason, it is important to include some lightly cooked or raw vegetables in the diet.

Related: Choosing the Best Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Dandelion, in spite of its strong bitter flavor, is a safe source of edible leaves.  They are high in calcium, iron, and many other nutrients.  The flowers are also eaten.  The root is too bitter to be a common vegetable, but is often dried and/or roasted for tea. Sorrel, including both Wood Sorrels and Sheep Sorrel, are edible and tasty, but shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts because of the oxalic acid content.  Oxalic acid binds easily with calcium making the calcium unabsorbable and potentially leading to other problems, like kidney stones.  Lambsquarters (mentioned above) is also quite high in oxalic acid, as is Purslane.  One should be aware of these things, as it very well may come into consideration in a survival situation.  Purslane has many nutritional benefits, most notably that it is high in essential fatty acids for a vegetable.  

milk_weedMany of the important vegetables must be cooked before consumption.  Those mentioned above with oxalic acid can be cooked to reduce the acid content.  (The old fashioned parboiling that is looked down upon today as destroying nutrition has its place here.)  Plants like Pokeweed and Milkweed are put through a couple changes of water to render edible because of their toxic properties.  Ironically, when this is done they become two of the best wild foods.  Some greens need to be cooked to a lesser degree, such as Winter Cress (Yellow Rocket or Wild Mustard).  It doesn’t require changing water, but it should be cooked thoroughly.  

Conclusion

The plants listed above are only a few of the many options in the wild.  There are choice edibles – those few species we seek after as even superior to domestic veggies.  There are the deadly poisonous – some so much so that one bite can be fatal.  Then, there is a large spectrum in between.  The vast majority of plants are somewhere between choice and deadly, and the vast majority of them are not consumed.  In an emergency that includes a food shortage, it could be very useful to know obscure edible properties of plants.

The survivalist should learn to identify the two ends of the spectrum first.  Obviously, anybody at all interested in the subject wants to know about the best edibles.  It is perhaps even more important, however, to first learn the most poisonous (watch for another article).  If you know the handful of deadly plants to avoid, you can more safely explore your options in an emergency even if you don’t know everything about all the plants at hand.  Then, the survivalist can continue to explore the vast world of wild edibles in order to prepare for any situation.   

Warning

In this article many wild plants are mentioned that might be toxic if prepared improperly, might have toxic parts even if other parts are edible, or might produce very real problems if consumed as part of a dramatically imbalanced diet (such as what might occur in a survival situation).  I only mention them here.  If you want to eat wild plants, ensure that you are thoroughly educated beyond what can be gleaned from a short blog article.  Read books, attend walks, and seek out knowledgeable foragers.

jumpingrabbit_foodFurther, this article contains speculation regarding possible survival foods.  Details regarding the situation, including climate, health conditions, and other aspects of the diet might make certain foods more-or-less inappropriate.  Several plants have been mentioned with some toxic or possibly some toxic properties.  If over-consumed as part of a diet deficient in essentials, some of these plants might be harmful, even if they can be regularly enjoyed as part of your regular diet.  Consider rabbit starvation, during which what many consider to be good meat (rabbits, for instance) possibly becomes worse than not eating at all.  The ideas expressed above are done so in the spirit of researching for possible survival scenarios.  At the brink of starvation it might just make sense to wander into the gray area of wild edibles and to risk consuming things that are not usually consumed.  In everyday life, however, it is best to avoid eating in such risky territory.

Photos Courtesy of:

Rich Bradshaw  
Julie Falk  
All other photos are in the public domain. 

Five Best Toothache Remedies

Click here to view the original post.

featured_barberry_japanese_toothache

syzygium_aromaticum_-_ko%cc%88hler-s_medizinal-pflanzen-030As is generally the case with any illness, we want to consider the cause of the illness as well as the most urgent manifest symptoms.  There are many possible causes of toothache.  Let us consider for this article one that is undoubtedly a major cause – infection.  Obviously, if infection is causing a toothache, we want to address the infection with antimicrobial agents.  Most of our toothache remedies have some antimicrobial properties.  Barberry (Berberis spp.) will be discussed in this article, though it represents others of the group that are also quite useful and most better-known; such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia spp.), and Goldthread (Coptis spp.).  Spilanthes is also a stellar antimicrobial.  It will be discussed here additionally because it has numbing and sialagogue properties – a perfect toothache herb.  Another classic remedy that must be mentioned is Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), usually used as essential (distilled) oil.  Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, or another cooking oil, can be used in a remedy called oil-pulling.  And the fifth remedy is the technique of shiatsu (acupressure).

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many additional remedies that can be found outside in various ecosystems.  It is well worth getting to know your local forests and camping areas in case the need arises to find a toothache remedy.  Toothache is some of the worst pain I have experienced.  It can keep a person awake at night and feeling very miserable.  If you are in the woods or otherwise away from medical care or even your home medicine cabinet, there will likely be many herbal remedies found at hand among the plant life. 

Trees in particular offer many toothache remedies.  Prickly Ash in certain areas is a helpful remedy.  More wide-spread are the conifers.  Pines, Spruce, Fir, and others produce resins that can be very helpful.  Myrrh is another tree resin well-known for treating toothache.  Willlows and Poplars as well are well-known pain relieving herbs.  Among the herbaceous plants there are things like the Mints, Yarrow, and other aromatic and/or antimicrobial plants.  A study in toothache remedies, however abundant they are, might best start with the five classic remedies mentioned above.

Barberry

japanese_barberryJapanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a common and hated invasive in my area.  Though not in every patch of woods, it is widespread and in many areas has taken over to the point that the growth of other vegetation is dramatically suppressed and walking is difficult to near impossible.  There are many other species as well.  Oregon Grape Root was formerly considered a member of the genus, but is now Mahonia.  The constituent credited for the antibiotic and other medicinal effects, as well as the yellow color of the roots and bark, is called “berberine” after these plants.  Goldenseal and Coptis (our native Goldthread as well as Huang Lian of Chinese herbal medicine and others – another name is Canker Root, which indicates use in mouth infections) are perhaps better known, but I focus on Barberry because it is invasive.  Barberry is also of interest as a wild edible.  The fruits are not highly sought after, but they are edible.  …

Toothache Plant

toothache_plantToothache plant is also commonly known by its genus name Spilanthes and by the name Eyeball Plant, for the flowerhead which lacks rays.  It is largely a tropical plant, where it often grows as a perennial.  In my part of the world, we grow Spilanthes as an annual.  I think of it as a quick-growing Echinacea analogue, as Echinacea takes several seasons to mature.  Like Echinacea, or Cone Flower, Toothache Plant produces a distinct tingling as well as an increased flow of saliva.  

If you are lucky enough to have fresh Toothache Plant growing (or smart enough to have planted it), simply pick a flower-head and chew it, or at least bite into it once or twice before stuffing it between your gum and cheek (or maybe under the tongue) near the troubled tooth.  

If you do grow Toothache Plant you can tincture it by chopping and soaking the plant (or just the flower heads) in high-proof alcohol.  After about four weeks (one moon cycle) you can strain the liquid off (perhaps by pouring through and then ringing out through cheesecloth) and store in a tightly sealed jar.  If dispensed from a one or two ounce bottle with a dropper lid, it is easy to drop from a few drops to half the dropper directly onto the trouble area.

Related: Survival Eating

The tingling effects from Toothache plant are quite immediate and strong in effect.  In fact, it can be overwhelming.  If you place too much tincture in your mouth or chew a bit too much of a flower-head, you might find your mouth producing almost more saliva than you can swallow.  Here-in lies some of the benefit, however.  Spilanthes helps to move the saliva and lymph and “wash out” the sick fluids around the tooth. Additionally, Toothache Plant is a distinct antimicrobial.  It quickly helps to resolve the infection that is at the root of the pain.   

Clove

cloveEven the Hagakure“The Book of the Samurai” mentions the protective and healing powers of clove.  Still today Clove is revered for its medicinal uses, and is known as a primary remedy for tooth pain.  Aromatherapists, herb shops, and distributors of essential oils have promoted especially the essential oil of Clove for toothache, and it is indeed a convenient remedy.  The distilled oil is liquid and usually sold in small bottles with a dropper.  Simply place a drop or two on your finger to apply or apply directly from the dropper onto the trouble area.  Clove is quite spicy and warming and will cause the tissue to burn.  Don’t use so much as to cause excessive irritation.  This burning sensation and warming of the tissue is in part what distracts one from the pain.  There is a numbing quality as well, and Clove has antimicrobial properties.

Clove essential oil can be mixed with other essential oils, like Tea Tree (Melaleuca).  Tea Tree is a wonderful antiseptic, though I am not real fond of putting it in my mouth.  It’s antiseptic properties are undeniable and for this reason I usually have some around, particularly for tick bites but also as a general antiseptic for cuts and the like.  Since you should have some around in your first-aid kit (I keep it in my truck, home, cabin, and even motorcycle saddlebags), it is well worth considering as a toothache remedy, especially mixed with Clove.

Clove oil or combination of oils can be mixed in with the oil used for oil pulling, described below.  It is also used in sword oils, for tending to the shinken or katana (sword).  So, depending on what type of survival situation you are preparing for, there are many possible reasons to have Clove oil around.  It can also be useful for digestive, respiratory, and circulatory problems, headaches, and in the treatment of injury.

Read Also: Eating All Your Veggies

Powdered Clove can easily be used by placing a pinch in the troubled area.  It can also be infused into oils, though you would want to allow more time for the oil to extract the medicine from the powder than when using the essential oil.  Even more time should be allowed if using whole Cloves.  Quite likely, you will want to grind them if you have only whole Cloves.  For storage purposes, whole Cloves might be prefered to the powder because of their longer shelf-life.  

Oil Pulling

oil_sesameOil pulling consists of swishing oil, such as Sesame oil, through the teeth and around the mouth in order to absorb the impurities of the mouth and gums.  Any oil will do.  Simply swish until your saliva has thoroughly been mixed with the oil and then some, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then spit it out.  Repeat for acute toothaches.  Practice daily to avoid toothaches or for minor ones. Sesame oil is a commonly used oil, partially because Sesame has been used to strengthen the bones and teeth.  Of course today using Coconut oil is very popular.  In many areas Olive oil will be the most available.  Grapeseed oil is good too.  For an active infection, you can consider adding small amounts of clove oil, tea tree oil, or other antimicrobial oils.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu (Japanese for “finger pressure”), or acupressure, is also very good for toothache.  There are some points locally – some in the jaw for any toothache, and of course some might be of particular focus according to which tooth is affected.  There are also some points around the base of the skull, neck, and shoulders that help, partially by releasing the tension that often accompanies, and contributes to, tooth pain.  There are also distal points that are located elsewhere on the body.

A primary distal point for toothache is between the thumb knuckle and metatarsal bone of the index finger.  There is more-or-less a muscular mound that when pressed will usually be quite sore.  The point and general area can be pressed or massaged.  

Most of the other relevant points can be  simply felt out by massaging the area of the jaw, occiput, neck, and shoulders.  Especially the joint of the jaw, the muscle there, and the area around the teeth should be palpated for soreness and pressed or massaged.  Likewise, the base of the skull, the neck (especially the muscles and along the spine), and the tops of the shoulders should be rubbed and palpated.  There is one point in particular worth mentioning (the rest have to be saved for an article specifically on the subject).  It can be found by working one’s fingers along the base of the skull.  Although everyone is built a little different, there is usually a soft, and sore, spot between a mound behind the ear and a mound at the back of the neck.  By treating this point with pressure or massage it is possible to relax the whole neck, jaw, and shoulders and bring great relief to the pain.

Photos Courtesy of:

Anna Hesser
Sara Rall
mwms1916
Lynda_2008
Nattu
Yukoinsunshine

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Click here to view the original post.

featured_barberry_japanese_toothache

syzygium_aromaticum_-_ko%cc%88hler-s_medizinal-pflanzen-030As is generally the case with any illness, we want to consider the cause of the illness as well as the most urgent manifest symptoms.  There are many possible causes of toothache.  Let us consider for this article one that is undoubtedly a major cause – infection.  Obviously, if infection is causing a toothache, we want to address the infection with antimicrobial agents.  Most of our DIY toothache remedies have some antimicrobial properties.  Barberry (Berberis spp.) will be discussed in this article, though it represents others of the group that are also quite useful and most better-known; such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia spp.), and Goldthread (Coptis spp.).  Spilanthes is also a stellar antimicrobial.  It will be discussed here additionally because it has numbing and sialagogue properties – a perfect toothache herb.  Another classic remedy that must be mentioned is Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), usually used as essential (distilled) oil.  Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, or another cooking oil, can be used in a remedy called oil-pulling.  And the fifth remedy is the technique of shiatsu (acupressure).

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many additional DIY remedies that can be found outside in various ecosystems.  It is well worth getting to know your local forests and camping areas in case the need arises to find a toothache remedy.  Toothache is some of the worst pain I have experienced.  It can keep a person awake at night and feeling very miserable.  If you are in the woods or otherwise away from medical care or even your home medicine cabinet, there will likely be many herbal remedies found at hand among the plant life. 

Trees in particular offer many toothache remedies.  Prickly Ash in certain areas is a helpful remedy.  More wide-spread are the conifers.  Pines, Spruce, Fir, and others produce resins that can be very helpful.  Myrrh is another tree resin well-known for treating toothache.  Willlows and Poplars as well are well-known pain relieving herbs.  Among the herbaceous plants there are things like the Mints, Yarrow, and other aromatic and/or antimicrobial plants.  A study in toothache remedies, however abundant they are, might best start with the five classic remedies mentioned above.

Barberry

japanese_barberryJapanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a common and hated invasive in my area.  Though not in every patch of woods, it is widespread and in many areas has taken over to the point that the growth of other vegetation is dramatically suppressed and walking is difficult to near impossible.  There are many other species as well.  Oregon Grape Root was formerly considered a member of the genus, but is now Mahonia.  The constituent credited for the antibiotic and other medicinal effects, as well as the yellow color of the roots and bark, is called “berberine” after these plants.  Goldenseal and Coptis (our native Goldthread as well as Huang Lian of Chinese herbal medicine and others – another name is Canker Root, which indicates use in mouth infections) are perhaps better known, but I focus on Barberry because it is invasive.  Barberry is also of interest as a wild edible.  The fruits are not highly sought after, but they are edible.  …

Toothache Plant

toothache_plantToothache plant is also commonly known by its genus name Spilanthes and by the name Eyeball Plant, for the flowerhead which lacks rays.  It is largely a tropical plant, where it often grows as a perennial.  In my part of the world, we grow Spilanthes as an annual.  I think of it as a quick-growing Echinacea analogue, as Echinacea takes several seasons to mature.  Like Echinacea, or Cone Flower, Toothache Plant produces a distinct tingling as well as an increased flow of saliva.  

If you are lucky enough to have fresh Toothache Plant growing (or smart enough to have planted it), simply pick a flower-head and chew it, or at least bite into it once or twice before stuffing it between your gum and cheek (or maybe under the tongue) near the troubled tooth.  

If you do grow Toothache Plant you can tincture it by chopping and soaking the plant (or just the flower heads) in high-proof alcohol.  After about four weeks (one moon cycle) you can strain the liquid off (perhaps by pouring through and then ringing out through cheesecloth) and store in a tightly sealed jar.  If dispensed from a one or two ounce bottle with a dropper lid, it is easy to drop from a few drops to half the dropper directly onto the trouble area.

Related: Survival Eating

The tingling effects from Toothache plant are quite immediate and strong in effect.  In fact, it can be overwhelming.  If you place too much tincture in your mouth or chew a bit too much of a flower-head, you might find your mouth producing almost more saliva than you can swallow.  Here-in lies some of the benefit, however.  Spilanthes helps to move the saliva and lymph and “wash out” the sick fluids around the tooth. Additionally, Toothache Plant is a distinct antimicrobial.  It quickly helps to resolve the infection that is at the root of the pain.   

Clove

cloveEven the Hagakure“The Book of the Samurai” mentions the protective and healing powers of clove.  Still today Clove is revered for its medicinal uses, and is known as a primary remedy for tooth pain.  Aromatherapists, herb shops, and distributors of essential oils have promoted especially the essential oil of Clove for toothache, and it is indeed a convenient remedy.  The distilled oil is liquid and usually sold in small bottles with a dropper.  Simply place a drop or two on your finger to apply or apply directly from the dropper onto the trouble area.  Clove is quite spicy and warming and will cause the tissue to burn.  Don’t use so much as to cause excessive irritation.  This burning sensation and warming of the tissue is in part what distracts one from the pain.  There is a numbing quality as well, and Clove has antimicrobial properties.

Clove essential oil can be mixed with other essential oils, like Tea Tree (Melaleuca).  Tea Tree is a wonderful antiseptic, though I am not real fond of putting it in my mouth.  It’s antiseptic properties are undeniable and for this reason I usually have some around, particularly for tick bites but also as a general antiseptic for cuts and the like.  Since you should have some around in your first-aid kit (I keep it in my truck, home, cabin, and even motorcycle saddlebags), it is well worth considering as a toothache remedy, especially mixed with Clove.

Clove oil or combination of oils can be mixed in with the oil used for oil pulling, described below.  It is also used in sword oils, for tending to the shinken or katana (sword).  So, depending on what type of survival situation you are preparing for, there are many possible reasons to have Clove oil around.  It can also be useful for digestive, respiratory, and circulatory problems, headaches, and in the treatment of injury.

Read Also: Eating All Your Veggies

Powdered Clove can easily be used by placing a pinch in the troubled area.  It can also be infused into oils, though you would want to allow more time for the oil to extract the medicine from the powder than when using the essential oil.  Even more time should be allowed if using whole Cloves.  Quite likely, you will want to grind them if you have only whole Cloves.  For storage purposes, whole Cloves might be prefered to the powder because of their longer shelf-life.  

Oil Pulling

oil_sesameOil pulling consists of swishing oil, such as Sesame oil, through the teeth and around the mouth in order to absorb the impurities of the mouth and gums.  Any oil will do.  Simply swish until your saliva has thoroughly been mixed with the oil and then some, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then spit it out.  Repeat for acute toothaches.  Practice daily to avoid toothaches or for minor ones. Sesame oil is a commonly used oil, partially because Sesame has been used to strengthen the bones and teeth.  Of course today using Coconut oil is very popular.  In many areas Olive oil will be the most available.  Grapeseed oil is good too.  For an active infection, you can consider adding small amounts of clove oil, tea tree oil, or other antimicrobial oils.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu (Japanese for “finger pressure”), or acupressure, is also very good for toothache.  There are some points locally – some in the jaw for any toothache, and of course some might be of particular focus according to which tooth is affected.  There are also some points around the base of the skull, neck, and shoulders that help, partially by releasing the tension that often accompanies, and contributes to, tooth pain.  There are also distal points that are located elsewhere on the body.

A primary distal point for toothache is between the thumb knuckle and metatarsal bone of the index finger.  There is more-or-less a muscular mound that when pressed will usually be quite sore.  The point and general area can be pressed or massaged.  

Most of the other relevant points can be  simply felt out by massaging the area of the jaw, occiput, neck, and shoulders.  Especially the joint of the jaw, the muscle there, and the area around the teeth should be palpated for soreness and pressed or massaged.  Likewise, the base of the skull, the neck (especially the muscles and along the spine), and the tops of the shoulders should be rubbed and palpated.  There is one point in particular worth mentioning (the rest have to be saved for an article specifically on the subject).  It can be found by working one’s fingers along the base of the skull.  Although everyone is built a little different, there is usually a soft, and sore, spot between a mound behind the ear and a mound at the back of the neck.  By treating this point with pressure or massage it is possible to relax the whole neck, jaw, and shoulders and bring great relief to the pain.

This post is for informational purposes only.  Please consult your local physician if you have a real medical issue such as a toothache. The author is not a medical professional and does not make any claim to be one.

Photos Courtesy of:

Anna Hesser
Sara Rall
mwms1916
Lynda_2008
Nattu
Yukoinsunshine

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

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Cold Weather: The Great Equalizer

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featured_cold_frost_winter

forest_cold_winterFor preppers, cold weather has to be the worst of the elements.   In some parts of the country we are just entering the phase of the harshest part of winter. It has been pretty mild in most cold zones, but Mother Nature being as she is, I expect that to change.  Remember, if you saw the Seattle-Minnesota NFL playoff game last year, the air temp on the field was at or below zero not counting the -10-20 degree wind chill factor. How would you like to be outside during a SHTF in that?

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

How do you prepare for and survive a bug out with outside temperatures in the teens or worse? It is the ultimate challenge in my mind. Cold has a way of sinking into the soul. Can you remember photos of the German Army marching in to Russia in WWII?   How about Valley Forge with soldier’s feet wrapped in mere cloth because no boots were available? I shiver just thinking about it. Cold can zap your spirit and take your life.

Structural Preparation

But like any other part of preparing for a SHTF, preppers can prepare for cold weather, too. First and foremost some kind of shelter has to be paramount. You simply cannot sustain yourself in zero temps huddled under a tarp cover. Even a cloth or nylon tent is sketchy. One exception might be a high quality outfitters wall tent with a good wood, propane, or gas stove inside. Protection from cold, wet and wind is essential to survive the winter months.

Related: Tarp or Tent Debate 

Better yet some kind of a fixed house, barn or structure. Doors and windows can be sealed and walls insulated. A wood stove or even a fireplace would generate some heat to stave off the penetrating impact of the cold. Kerosene or propane gas heaters could also be deployed. If you live or escape to where it could be cold, then plan now.

Camping trailers are an option, too, as a bug out shelter in addition to being available for regular recreational use.   If considering a trailer to tow, shop for one with good wall and floor insulation and a good heating system. Most likely a heater and cook stove will be fueled by propane, so plan for ample supplies for a long term stay if needed. Try to park and anchor a trailer out of prevailing winds with a tree line screen or other protective block.

Clothing Matters 

Obviously proper clothing is an essential defense against cold.  That cotton hunting outfit will not do. Forget the blue jeans for driving winds and snow. And don’t be fooled by some highly marketed super fabrics either. Many of them fail in the cold. Go for well insulated outfits and or wool. Wool from head to toe will provide better body heat retention than just about anything else, even when wet.

Read Also: It’s Winter – Don’t Go Hiking Without Proper Clothing! 

Though you’ve heard it many times until you’re dizzy, layering is still the best strategy. Use wicking layers against the skin and work out from there. Then, just like a wall thermometer, as you heat up or cool down, you can adjust by taking off or putting on layers. Don’t forget a good hat or beanie to stop body heat from escaping through your head. Use a scarf for the neck.

Get proper boots, and gloves, too. If there is a driving wind, then a protective facemask adds warmth and skin protection as well. Cold weather boots such as Schnee’s or Kenetrek boots with the wool liner inserts provide exceptional foot protection from the cold. Your boots should be totally waterproof and well insulated.

frost_tree_pine_winterSupplemental heat can also be added to the exterior of the body by using the chemical heat up pads that can be placed in gloves, boots or as body wraps. The ones that stick on the bottom of socks add an extra measure of warmth for cold feet. Place them on top of the toes and the bottom for even longer heat generation. There are battery operated or rechargeable boot heaters, too, but these require extra batteries or access to a power source to recharge them.

During super cold you have to eat right and hydrate more than you might think. Internal ovens  fed with protein foods with a good mix of carbs.   Cold weather will drag on your mind and body. Prepare ahead to withstand it and you will survive it.

All Photos Courtesy of:
John Woods

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Survival Gear Review: Vargo Titanium Wood Stove

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vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_sticks_hot

Most quality bug out kits give a hefty nod to a petroleum powered stove. Whether white gas, vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_sticks_hot-2compressed gas or fuel tablets, the common thread is the need for man-made fuel. Even the multi-fuel stoves are at risk when there is nothing to eat. Enter the mini-wood stove.  Vargo makes an impressive line of titanium products including the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove. Folding flat and weighing just 4.3 ounces, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does the same things a conventional stove does without the need for extra help. Add another half ounce for the hexagon-shaped velcro-closure pouch and two dozen wooden matches, and the kit still doesn’t break five ounces. 

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Fuel Load out

Using sticks, bark, and the essentially unlimited supply of fuel found in any forest, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will boil water and cook food better and faster than a small campfire. The shape and design of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove makes for concentrated heat and focused energy all in a tiny package. The stove has a five-inch diameter base that focuses the energy out of a three-inch chimney. The area of a circle is pi times the radius squared. So a five-inch base has about 19.6 inches of surface area, and the chimney has about seven inches of area. This means that almost three times the amount of burnable real estate heat is concentrated into the business end of this little wood furnace. Since pure titanium has a melting temperature of over 3000 degrees F, there is little chance that this alloy of Ti will ever soften during use.

Also Read: 15 Ways To Start A Fire

The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is a set of seven hinged panels all folding flat into a quarter inch high plane. One panel is the hexagonal base, and the others are the six triangular walls. Piano hinges connect all the panels, and one simple notch on the base provides support and alignment with a wall panel, and another spring clip on the base holds the whole thing together. A single panel remains movable as the door.

Black Pots Matter

Unlike other folding stoves, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is ultralight and folds together in mere seconds. The folding mechanism creates a solid furnace that supports pots and has a door to open when feeding is necessary, which, by the way, is very often. I’ve used other flat-folding wood stoves and was impressed with their efficiency, but not their assembly. This becomes especially important when it’s cold, dark, wet, and there is no flat surface in sight. Further, the stove will be caked with black carbon so the less it must be handled, the cleaner your fingers will remain.

Gas stoves are great when they have gas. Otherwise they are dead weight. Campfires are a vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_screws_cross_barswonderful morale building tool, but heavy on the smoke, smell, and evidence. Plus, most folks new to campfire cooking build way too big a fire and make a mess of things. Part of the dramatic efficiency of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is that it has a raised base with 19 hexagonal-shaped ventilation holes in it. The flow of oxygen into the base of this stove makes for a much hotter burn than wood sitting on the ground. This also means you must keep the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove sitting on its base feet in order for air to freely circulate under the stove. As the holes fill with ash or the stove sinks into the ground or snow, the efficiency will suffer tremendously. As such, keeping the base above ground is critical to a healthy fire. 

Wood Fired Afterburner

Up at the hot end of the stove, five of the six panels have a V-shaped notch about a half-inch wide and ¾-inch deep that allows flame to escape the stove and wrap up and around the pot. A sixth but smaller V-shaped notch is on the door. Since the top of the door is half an inch below the plane, the smaller door V actually corresponds to the bottom portion of all the other panel Vs. This makes for a level mount for wire or stakes but would prevent the door from opening. The top of the door is the largest vent. All these vents provide plenty access for pot-blackening carbon to coat the sides of your cookware.

The V-shaped notches also have another purpose. By placing small metal rods, tent stakes, or four-vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_cut_hatchetinch steel grabber screws across the top of the stove, you create a grill-like cap on the top allowing small containers to sit above the flames. Stainless steel water bottles may require this mod. If you prefer, you could just add a four or five-inch square of screen to use a grill surface. I don’t recommend a circle of screen due to all the exposed wires ends from cutting that shape. The more you add to this kit, the more you deviate from the lightweight simplicity you paid for.

Related: 5 Dollar Preps: DIY Fire Starter

If you’re adventurous, you could put the stove upside down inside a pot to make a small grill. You can cook meat and veggies right on the stove-top.  With the proper mods, this stove has the potential to be a very versatile addition to your survival kit. 

Feed Me Seymour

The success of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is dependent on a steady and endless supply of small lumber. The Vargo eats pencil-sized sticks like there’s no tomorrow so have a pile on hand before lighting up this hungry monster.

In reality, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does not burn wood much faster than a campfire, instead it feeds on a diet purely of high-surface area kindling. The interior of the stove is rather small so the fire burns hot and fast. The first time I took my Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove for a spin, it kept coming close to going out. I thought I could take a break from stoking it, but I was wrong. You only get a few minutes of downtime between feedings. And you cannot put a nice juicy log into the fire to make a big glowing ember. To put it simply, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is more like a blender where you keep adding sticks and they keep disappearing in flames.

Phase Changing

I was equally surprised at how fast a half-quart of water came to a boil on the Vargo Hexagon vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_centimeter_thinTitanium wood stove. The concentrated heat literally firing out of the titanium tipi went directly into the pot. Time-to-boil depends on your wood, starting water temperature, outside temperature, and the shape of your cooking pot or cup. Something in the 10-15 minute range is a normal boiling time. Other variables include altitude, quality of fire, lid use, and wind. If you double the amount of water, it seems to triple the amount of cook time.

This titanium stove gets sooty quickly. That’s one big difference between a clean-burning gas stove and a primitive tree-burning one. In fact, the stove becomes a pretty dirty thing to handle. Thankfully the black nylon pouch included with the stove keeps soot contained. 

Check Out: Gear Portable Military Wood Stove

Of course, this stove should burn about any fuel you can fit inside it. So fuel tablets, alcohol, and other dedicated burnables will work. However the opposite cannot be said for tiny tablet and alcohol stoves which have trouble digesting wood. If alcohol is a preferred cooking medium, Vargo does make a titanium alcohol stove that fits inside their wood stove creating an efficient windscreen and additional stove. 

Tinytanium

The downside of a small stove is that it is small. A small stove supports small pots with small water capacities. vargo_titanium_folding_wood_stove_ultralight_quart_cupUnder ideal conditions, you could balance a quart of water on Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove, but that’s pretty gutsy. Instead, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove works great with small pots and large metal cups. I use both stainless steel and titanium cookware, but always single-wall. The double-walled cups can explode if heated, so keep that factoid in mind.

The price of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is around sixty bucks or roughly three times the price of its stainless steel counterpart. So if weight is not an issue, you could buy three iron versions for the same price of one titanium one. The stainless version of the Vargo Hexagon wood stove weighs almost twice as much as the Ti version but both are considered light weight by reasonable standards. Well, actually the steel one is just lightweight. The titanium one is ridiculously lightweight.

Stained for Life

One use and the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will have permanent blackened walls and lightly rainbow patina. Live with it. You can get some of the carbon off by scrubbing the stove with sand or dirt after it cools. I’ve wire-brushed mine but it’s usually not worth the effort. The next time you fire up your stove, you will re-blackening it.

The simplicity of a campfire has always been its main attraction. So, adding a little titanium tech to the campfire concept is hardly a big step. The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove should be a welcome addition to any bug out bag or survival kit. The stove probably won’t make the difference between life and death, but it will do important cooking and boiling tasks much better than when in the open air. If time is critical and you need to keep a low profile, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is worth it’s minuscule weight in gold.

Vargo Hexagon Titanium Wood Stove is available on Amazon (Click Here)

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Doc Montana

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Could a jacket make unplugged life easier?

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CEO of SCOTTeVest Scott Jordan set his company up in 2000 with his wife with no fashion (or product design) experience. Photo by Thomas Hawk

Scott Jordan- no fashion or design experience. 

 

How much easier would hiking and camping be if you didn’t need a heavy bag. Of course, you can go on leisurely walks without a backpack, but we’re talking about long trips. Ones you couldn’t imagine without having handy a water bottle, your phone, even your laptop – if you’re trying to get somewhere remote. Well, two  innovative designs have made that a reality.

The “mobile clothing” brand SCOTTeVEST has designed a new jacket that might solve some problems: The Off-Grid jacket. The jacket is said to be perfect for someone who is on the go and the ultra comfy outerwear boasts 29 pockets in total, each tailored to carry a different item in your life.

Wondering why you would even need 29 pockets?  SCOTTeVEST’s, Luke Lappala explains “we have a pocket for everything”. And they really do: a small zip one for your wallet and keys where you can attach them so you don’t lose them, two big side ones for laptops, clear touch ones for your phone, a tablet sized one, a dog biscuit one, a water bottle sized one. The Off-Grid jacket comes with an RFID blocking pocket to keep your valuables safe. Lappala explains that the features will enable you to “stay ‘on the grid’ even while you’re ‘off the grid’. The jacket has been designed with weight distribution so the bulky items that may weigh a ton in your bag, will feel light in comparison. “All of our garments have a weight management system,” he said. “It’s how the pockets are laid out, how it’s stitched. [It] makes it feel more like a backpack rather than a jacket that’s hanging down on you.” The jacket is retailed starting at $215.

Baubax's boasts to be the 'worlds best travel jacket'

Baubax’s boasts to be the ‘worlds best travel jacket’

Baubax’s new jacket is very similar but the outdoorsy person rather than the “mobile” person would benefit more from it.

Featuring a neck pillow, eye mask, hand warming pocket, drink pocket, portable charger pocket, gloves, blanket pocket, earphones holders, phone pocket, iPad pocket and much more, it’s perfect for campers or people enjoying an outdoors lifestyle in cold weather.

The post Could a jacket make unplugged life easier? appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

In praise of the humble Hammock

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Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Yes, those things your grandma used to relax in in her garden with a nice book are the way forward when camping.

Hammocks can keep you warm and dry these days – off the big- infested floor and with waterproof covers.

Floor’s damp from rain? Not a problem. Suspended between two trees, you don’t have to worry about creepy crawlies getting into your sleeping bag or resting your head on an uncomfortable surface. Camping hammocks use taut, technical fabrics and are very stable so you’re unlikely to flip out of them. Not the best at setting things up? Not a problem, most of them are easy peasy, much less of a head scratcher than tents.

To keep the autumn chill off your back as you sleep, you can attach one of the fitted “underquilts” that most companies offer—an insulated sling that sits under the hammock. And of course, your sleeping bag and standard sleeping pad will provide extra structure and warmth.

To suspend your hammock, simply wrap “tree straps” around two appropriately spaced trunks. Because this flat webbing is wider than rope, it won’t damage the bark. And tempting though it may be, don’t hang your hammock more than a few feet off the ground. It will be easier to climb in and out if the hammock is lower, and in the unlikely event of a suspension failure, you won’t have as far to fall.

We have listed a few of our faves below for you to take a little peek at:

Eagles Nest Outfitters Single Nest Hammock
Price: $59.95
This one comes in 21 different colors, making it easy to coordinate with your personal style and mix match with the family. It is high strength and can hold up to 400lb, features 70D high tenacity breathable nylon taffeta and triple interlocking stitching. The hammock itself weighs just 1 pound and can be bunched up into a softball-size bundle. ENO attempts to reduce potential waste by using every bit of fabric available in production so it’s eco-friendly, yay!

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Classic
Price: $239.95
This light favourite was designed with utility in mind and was eve based on the design of World War II Army hammocks. If this one tickles your fancy, you can look forward to enjoying the following features: A mosquito net sewn right in; a sleeve to hold your sleeping pad in place; a Velcro-sealed doorway allows for easy entry; and an asymmetrical shape allows you to lie across the centerline for a flatter position.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Kammok Roo
Price: $99.00
Lightweight but massive (about 10 feet long by 5½ feet wide), this hammock is an all-enveloping cocoon of strong ripstop fabric. Although it’s intended to accommodate two people, keep it all to yourself. It’s wide enough to allow solo sleepers to lie fairly flat and slightly across the centerline. Its sturdy construction made it feel very stable, even if you’re moving around.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Tensile Trillium Hammock
Price: $250.00
This one is really unique and the perfect hammock for stacking for a multi-level outdoor living environment if you’re camping in a big group. Insulation layers will keep you toasty at night and it can hold a maximum of 800lbs. Set up time is only 8 minutes too!

You can find it here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

The post In praise of the humble Hammock appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Survival Gear Review: Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

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mountain_house_freeze_dried_food_packaging

The blockbuster movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day was released in 1991. That was 25 years ago. mountain_house_freeze_dried_food_packaging_survivalWhy that’s important is that even though T2 is like ancient history to many folks these days, there was a scene in the movie (at 1:25:20 to be exact) where the young John Connor and the T2 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) are digging around a weapons cache buried in the desert. There is a clear shot of the old Mountain House logo on a large box in the background just before the good Terminator discovers a Gattling Gun and delivers a priceless smerk to the camera.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlogSurvival Cache

That particular Mountain House freeze dried food that I’m sure was real, would have just hit its “Best By” date today. That’s right, Mountain House freeze dried food has a recommended Mountain House freeze dried food since before T2 hit the big screen. Some Mountain House freeze dried food today has a 30-year shelf life, but likely it’s way more than that. In fact that triple-decade number is more a “Taste Guarantee” than anything else. For details about determining the actual age and “best by” date of Mountain House freeze dried food can be found here.

Check Out: Quick Tips for Dehydrating Food

Memory Lane

Mountain House answered the call to provide better-tasting longer-lasting military rations for Special Forces fighting in the Vietnam Conflict. They won the contract and the rest, as they say, is history. Back then Mountain House was known as Oregon Freeze Dry and moved into the consumer market in 1968, and thus Mountain House proper was born.

Just south of Portland, Oregon is the town of Albany nestled in the Willamette Valley. That’s Will-am-it, not Will-a-met. Get that right and you will be almost golden. Pronounce it Or’-ah-gun and not Ore-E-gun, and you will be thought a native. Even better would be to drop an entire syllable making it “ore-gun” but that takes practice to avoid sounding confused. Similar to New Orleans truncated into Nor-leans. 

No matter how you pronounce it, Mountain House freeze dried food is made in Oregon and comes in foil packets that double as “food bags,” and #10 steel cans that are the most stable for long-term storage. Of the main factors that can affect food over the years, only temperature and time are the big ones. The other factors including humidity, light, oxygen level, and noisy critters are 

Freeze Out

Freeze drying is a simple process that combines Freezing and Drying. It basically an energy intensivemountain_house_freeze_dried_food_vacuum_package process where food is frozen solid and then placed in a heated vacuum where the water sublimates away. Sublimation is a process where a substance changes from a solid to a gas and essentially skipping the liquid phase. Dry ice is a popular example of sublimation where carbon dioxide goes from a solid to a gas. A common example of water doing the same thing is when wet clothes actually dry out even in sub-zero temperatures. Hang some wet mittens out on the line in the middle of winter. They will dry, but it will take a while and the temperature never has to rise above freezing.

A highly primitive but effective form of freeze drying was practiced by Peruvian Incas as long ago as 1250 BCE. Attempts at modern freeze drying were worked on during World War I, and the first freeze dried coffee appeared in 1938. NASA raised the bar further ultimately creating what might be the first freeze dried food most of us tried: freeze dried ice cream. As I recall from my childhood, strawberry was the first one I tasted.

Breakfast of Champions

In an nutshell, the freeze drying process removes 80% of the weight yet retains 98% of the nutritional value of the original food. And reversing the process is easy, just add water. The prefered method is to add a precise amount boiling water to the food, but in practice, you can be extraordinarily sloppy with your measurements and temperatures as long as your culinary expectations are somewhat forgiving.

Freeze drying might be simple in its process, but modern freeze drying requires about twice the amount of energy as canning. That’s a far cry from when the Inca’s laid out potatoes and meat on stones at high elevations where the food froze overnight and then heated up in the morning sunshine evaporating off its water and becoming loosely frozen-then-dried. 

Also Read: Survival Gear Review: Richmoor Hash Browns O’Brien

It seem little is immune these days from the freeze dryer. The list of foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert is astounding. Even more so is the fact that much of the nutritional content of freeze dried food is essentially unchanged. According to the Livestrong website.

Gary Stoner, Ph.D., and the American Institute for Cancer Research have found that the antioxidant phytochemicals found in fresh fruits is about the same as in their freeze-dried versions. However, mountain_house_freeze_dried_food_box_packagesboth Stoner’s research and the Chilean blueberry study found that ascorbic acid levels and the amount of polyphenol, a cell-protecting chemical in berries, were measurably reduced by freeze drying.”

The issue with ascorbic acid, however, is an issue. Ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C which is an important chemical that humans need and cannot produce on their own. As you all know, scurvy is a disease that results from a deficiency of vitamin C, and made famous by sailors and others who ventured away from land for extended periods of time. Luckily James Lind, a Royal Navy surgeon proved in 1753 that some simple citrus fruit would prevent scurvy. Case closed. But the jury is still out when it comes to protein activation in freeze dried food. Likely it’s a non-issue, but there are concerns about freeze drying medical products.

Freeze drying does not eliminate ascorbic acid from fruit, but it does reduce it by a statistically measurable level. That does not mean that there is no ascorbic acid left behind, but rather the noted decrease is not random.

Everyone Freeze!

Mountain House freeze dried food comes in two main package options; pouches and cans. The pouches and Pro Pouches are single meals that can be eaten straight out of the package. The regular Mountain House freeze dried pouches have nitrogen gas in them that causes the pouch to expand and contract in size depending on elevation. The higher the altitude, the lower the ambient pressure meaning the internal pressure inside the pouch causes the package to bulge out like a balloon. The Mountain House Pro Pouches are vacuum sealed meaning any extraneous gas is removed so the pouch volume is unchanged as the barometric pressure changes. And for those who might have forgotten their atmospheric chemistry, the nitrogen in the non-Pro Pouches is just nitrogen, and nitrogen, or N in chemical symbology, is 78% of the air we breathe every day so there are zero health effects from eating nitrogen, or breathing it.

Bug Out in 2047

At the time of this writing, any new #10 cans of Mountain House freeze food will still taste great until the year 2047 or 30 years from now. A #10 tin can contains 110 ounces and is about the size of a mountain_house_freeze_dried_food_number_10_cancoffee can because it is a coffee can. Tin cans got their start in France around 1810, but the USA didn’t jump on board with tin canning until about 1901 which was a good thing since some early canning methods introduced health hazards including sealing the lid with lead solder. The tin cans of today are marvels of storage. The metal, sealing methods and any can linings are specific to the contents of the can. And since Mountain House freeze dried food is nowhere near spicy salsa with extra jalapenos, so the very dry Mountain House contents don’t fight with the metal prison while serving its 30-year incarceration.

Related: Choosing The Best Survival Food For Your Bug Out Bag

Of course the cans do have a downside. A couple of them actually. First of all, they are large by mobile-standards. The volume of a #10 can is by definition fixed meaning it takes up the same amount of space whether empty or full, heavy or light, opened or not. Which leads to the second size issue: all or none. Once you open the can, the clock is ticking much faster on when the food will go bad. Just how fast is the clock ticking? About 1500 times faster! Mountain House recommends consuming the contents of an opened #10 can within a week, and that includes resealing the can with the included plastic lid.

A way to deal with the short life of an opened can is to either share the food and expect the same in return, or look for ways to supplement the canned food to limit its repetition as you consume a dozen meals in a row of Chicken Teriyaki.

Stay tuned for part 2 where calories, food choices, cooking techniques, can breeching, and storage suggestions will be addressed.

Photos By:
Doc Montana

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Superglue for scalp wounds

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sketch1469513109412

I will give you a warning here, the following is going to show injuries and wounds, if you are weak of stomach or vomit easily you may want to skip this one.

In a SHTF situation, or you just don’t have the money to go to the doctor,  there are ways you can take care of yourself in a medical situation. Superglue is used in hospitals and Dr offices in place of sutures (stitches),  the idea is to keep the skin together long enough to heal.

This video is specifically for head wounds involving just the skin, obviously if you cracked your skull,  or are missing a chunk of scalp, I don’t think superglue will be much help.

Before we get to the video,  a quick disclaimer, we aren’t doctors or medical professionals, no one here on this site are responsible for anything you do or try yourself as a result of seeing or reading anything here,  if you are injured,  it is best to go see a doctor,  call 911, or seek out reputable medical help.

 

The post Superglue for scalp wounds appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

When Should You Bug Out?

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There are many videos and articles out there that tell all about Bug Out Bags and what to do when you bug out, but have you thought about WHEN you should consider bugging out? Of course, we all have different opinions about these things. Jack from Black Scout Survival touches on a few things that you might not have thought of.

He tells about the acronym RED-OUT that he lives by and what it means. He touches on issues of hurricanes, riots, lack of resources and the fact that 20% of our population is on some sort of behavioral medication.

Below is a transcript of this video. If you like Black Out Survivals videos please do not forget to subscribing to receive more videos!!

When Should You Bug Out?

(Video Transcript)

Video By: Black Scout Survival
Please support their channel by subscribing here

Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 1 (Jack)
Duration: 8 min 27 sec

Watch More Black Scout Survival Here!!

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BSS: What’s going on guys? Black Scout Survival and today we are going to be talking about when to bug out and a lot of people do a lot of videos on bug out bags and all kinds of bug out stuff. But how do you know when it is time to bug out. You know what I mean? If you leave to soon, you could be making a mistake because it could be quickly over or it could be something like Katrina where if you stay you might end up everything or dying. Or becoming in a worse situation.

So there are a few things you need to consider before you bug-out or to know when to bug out. I first heard this acronym on a podcast. I can’t remember who came up with it but it is a very good acronym. I was writing down and taking notes when I was listening to this podcast 2 or 3 years ago. The acronym is RED-OUT. Basically we will through the list starting with R.

R- Resources, or lack of: So let’s say you’re in a situation and you run out of food in your house. You know you’re sheltering in place and you run out of food. Obviously you need to go. Go find better resources or there could be a place that has better resources and so you need to bug out there. Or you run out of resources at your home. Either or. So resources. Obviously you need these things to live so you need to bug out if you run out or bug out if there is a better place that has more resources than what you have or what you need.

E – Environmental Threat: Obviously that is a no-brainer. If you got a CAT 5 hurricane coming at you house you need to leave and go somewhere else. Now when we are talking about bugging out we are not talking about catastrophic end of the world disaster. Although we could be talking about that but also just common sense stuff. Like Katrina, a lot of people tried to stay and weather the storm and though wound up dying or losing everything they had.

So environmental, getting away, you know if you’re in Asia or Japan and pneumonia is coming obviously you need to leave. So basically, common sense. Environmental, if you’re going to be in danger by staying there.

D – Destination: The next thing is Destination. Bugging out if you have a bug out destination, if you don’t then why would you bug out because you don’t have any place to go. Living out in the wilderness is probably not ideal for a lot of you because you couldn’t sustain yourself out there. So why would you do that?

You need to have a destination obviously or if you don’t, then don’t bug out. You’re at your destination.

O – Overwhelming Force: The next one is overwhelming force. This could be getting attacked by people. Residential homes are not built to be impenetrable. Most houses are, if you have a brick home, it’s pretty tough but it’s not impenetrable. You have doors and windows and all that kind of stuff. You could knock it. If you have vinyl siding like these new houses you can take an axe and be in it in about 20 seconds if you wanted to. Probably 2 minutes if you wanted to just by hacking away at the house. So

So, houses are not built for that so overwhelming force. If you are obviously outnumbered or outgunned you need to bug out. Don’t stay there and basically wait for your death.

U – Unprepared for the situation: The next one is unprepared for the situation. So let’s say this is the first video you’ve ever watched on black scout and you never prepared for anything and something happens tomorrow and you have nothing. No supplies or anything. Well then obviously you need to bug out. If it is a hurricane or something like that you need to go ahead and get out and get to another area where you’re safer. Just like the overwhelming force, your house can’t with stand a CAT 5 hurricane. You need to bug out to a safer place.

Obviously, that is also looking at maybe medical. If you lack medical supplies and you need medical supplies or medical treatment to get those. Or lack of resources. The other thing is that 20% of the population so you really have to be aware of that. That once the grid goes down, a lot of people are going to be off their meds and stuff like that and it is going to be dangerous with crazy people off their medication. That is another thing to be aware of.

T – Threat Growing: The next thing is threat growing and if violence is imminent obviously you want to get out to a safer place. You don’t want to stand around in a dangerous place waiting to get jumped by a bunch of people. You want to get out and get away to a safer location. So looking at like the LA Riots, not standing around a riot area go ahead and get out. Bug out. Get away from the situation.

Like I said again, the bug out where a lot of people think only doomsday prepper type stuff, I’m talking about getting out of a situation. Riot and chaos in the neighborhood you go ahead and leave. And like in the LA Riots, the Korean neighborhoods were getting attacked and the stores were getting robbed. They wound up having to defend themselves with firearms in that situation. They sheltered in place but they were getting overwhelmed even though they had firearms. The other guys did to.

We are over populated for the most part all over the world and most homes and residence that you look at like the suburbs. A lot of people live in apartments, a lot of people are moving to cities. Cities are growing larger because that is where the jobs are and it so getting to where you have a large group of people so if something bad happens what do you think is going to happen when you have a large group of people and everybody is going nuts? So that is something you have to be aware of as well.

Basically what we are getting to with the Red Out acronym and everything else is you have to look at the risk verses the reward. Is it going to be worth your time to, I mean, is it going to be safer to bug out and the reward going to be better? Is trying to get the reward going to risk your life. So you have to look at these things.

Anyhow guys, I hope you enjoyed this video and make sure and subscribe for our channel because we try to put out videos every week. As always, thanks for watching.

This Transcription is available for copy under the Creative Commons By-ND license.  You may copy and re-post this transcription in its entirety as long as original links, affiliate links, and embedded video remain intact, including this CC notice.

The post When Should You Bug Out? appeared first on American Preppers Network.

NEW Australian Survival Forum.

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I have recently started a new Australian Survival forum. Please check it out, & if you join, please feel free to post ideas & suggestions for improving this forum if you see a need.
Thank you.
Regards, Keith.

Keeping on keeping on…programming updates, podcasts, and donations. SurvivalRing is STILL growing after nearly 20 years…

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I’ve spent some time today correcting some old code on SurvivalRing, including many of the news feeds. Some have died, some have changed, and several have been corrected or reformatted for easier reading. See all the feeds here… http://www.survivalring.org/feeds/ I’ll be resorting them and creating a better link tree, or in other words, putting all […]

Survival First Aid Basics: Skills and Gear to Keep You Alive

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survival first aid basics

With the current state of modern medicine, getting a cut, sprain, or broken bone is no longer the death sentence that our ancestors faced. With proper medical attention, you can get patched up and on your way in no time.

But what do you do if these medical systems fail, are destroyed, or are jammed with other survivors?

How will you make sure you or someone you love doesn’t die unnecessarily?

The best way to insulate yourself from this type of tragedy is to make sure you learn some basic survival first aid.

First aid is an invaluable skill set to learn and to help get you started we have teamed up with Dr James Hubbard of TheSurvivalDoctor.com.

Besides being a practicing doctor for the last 30 years, Dr Hubbard has also published five easy to understand books on survival first aid (see them here). In this article he walks us through some basic problems that are likely to occur in a survival situation and what you can do to save lives when it matters most.

What are the 3 basic 1st Aid skills you should learn for a survival scenario?

JH: The skill I most recommend learning is how to stop a wound from bleeding. Most of the time, applying pressure to the wound will work. Also know how to use a tourniquet.

Learn abdominal thrusts for choking. A person can die from choking within minutes, so even in normal times, when emergency services are available, this technique can save a life.

A third important skill is the skill of improvisation. Remember to use what you’ve got. If you don’t have the perfect medical equipment, you may be able to make it out of something common. For example, you can make a decent tourniquet from a belt or a T-shirt. I go over a lot of other ideas for makeshift supplies in the book.

But what about CPR?

JH: That is important to know, but a lot of people are surprised to learn that CPR is only going to keep you alive for a certain amount of time. So it’s most helpful if emergency services are on the way or if you have access to an AED—automated external defibrillator. A lot of public places and even some homes have them.

The longer you keep doing CPR without a defibrillator to restart the heart, the less likely the person is to survive. Experts say to do CPR until you’re completely exhausted. I agree, but in truth, after about ten minutes, the person is unlikely to survive.

Exceptions are victims of hypothermia and drowning. They’re likely to live longer, without irreversible brain damage, because they have lower metabolism—less need for blood and oxygen. Some people, especially children, have survived after multiple minutes—even an hour—of having CPR.

What’s your number-one piece of survival equipment?

JH: Besides my book, I’d say the brain—knowledge. You’re not always going to have the specific equipment you need. If you have knowledge, you can improvise.

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What are your top-five must-haves for a “go” bag?

JH: Vinyl gloves to protect yourself from infectious disease and fluids. I like vinyl because some people are allergic to latex. It’s better to buy too large than too small because you can always get a larger size on. And if someone else is using the gloves, they may have bigger hands than you. You could improvise by putting any type of waterproof material over your hands.

I like to keep some SAM Splints. They’re flexible splints that become rigid when you bend them. They’re so versatile, and you can use them for many types of sprains and broken bones.

Have some elastic bandages to use on sprains. They help with stability and with compression, which in turn can decrease swelling. With compression, watch the circulation though; your toes or fingers shouldn’t become numb or cold. You can also use an elastic bandage to keep a SAM Splint in place.

You’ll need bandage scissors or any type of strong scissors that can cut cloth, tape, and the SAM Splint.

And throw in some tape. Duct tape is my favorite. It’s a good waterproof, very sticky type of tape. However, any type of tape will do—the stickier the better. You can use it on bandages or to cover a wound after putting down some sort of cloth or padding. If you have to walk for help and your shoes are causing blisters, put duct tape in the shoes on the pressure points to relieve the friction. Duct tape does have latex in it, so it’s good to keep a latex-free option in case someone is allergic.

One reason I like these supplies is you can use most of them in multiple ways for multiple problems.


I live in a busy city and never go hiking; do I really need these skills?

JH: Yes. There’s always the risk you won’t be able to get medical care due to natural disasters, upheaval, or all kinds of other things.

A few years ago, there was an episode in England when some city dwellers, because of riots, were not able to get medical treatment in a timely manner. Ambulances were overwhelmed with calls, and it wasn’t safe to go into the streets and try to get to help. For unsafe times like that, the book also gives hints on when you really need to get to the doctor if that’s possible and when it can wait.

Even in ideal times, with emergency services just down a couple of streets, that first few minutes before they reach you can save a life.

What are some common household items you can use to treat a cut or wound?

JH: You can stop the bleeding by applying pressure with any clean cloth material, like a T-shirt. Wadded up, the material can apply deeper pressure than your hands would to a rough wound’s nooks and crannies.

You can clean the wound with drinkable water. Or many types of clean liquids will do.

And you can tape the wound with duct tape if the person isn’t allergic to latex. Not all wounds should be closed, but for those that do, a specific taping technique, which I go over in the book, can substitute for stitches if necessary.

What’s the main concern with broken bones and dislocations?

JH: The main concern is usually blood and nerve supply. If the bone is out of place, it can press on a nerve or blood vessel, and you could develop permanent problems. If blood flow is stopped, you could even lose the limb. In the book, I go over ways to check for these problems and try to fix them or minimize the damage, at least temporarily, if you’re unable to get professional help.

If you’re dealing with an open fracture, a main concern is infection. “Open fracture” means a broken bone has gone through the skin—maybe only briefly before going back in. This puts you at high risk for a serious bone infection.

How can you tell if someone has had a concussion?

JH: If a person has had head trauma—from either a hit or a jerk of the head or neck—and then has any symptom caused by that trauma, they probably have a concussion.

Many years ago, we thought you had to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion. Now that belief has changed, and we know there can be at least temporary brain damage with much less. For example, you might be dazed, have a headache, feel nauseous or dizzy, or have trouble sleeping. These are just some of the possible symptoms of a concussion.

What’s the first thing you should do if you get bitten by an animal?

JH: Get away from the animal!  If we’re talking about wounds: If it’s dangerously bleeding, stop the bleeding. Wash the wound out well with water.

Do not close it or get it sutured. Animal bites are especially prone to infection, and closing the wound will give those germs a nice breeding ground. Keep it open so you can regularly clean it and so your body can get rid of some of the germs.

With most normal wounds, cleaning with plain water will suffice. But for animal bites, there’s some indication that Betadine-type solutions work better when you’re trying to wash out rabies germs.


survival first aid basics

If you get bitten by an animal: FIRST get away from the animal, then do what you can to avoid infection.

What do TV shows and movies get wrong about CPR?

JH: The actors don’t press hard enough—because they can’t. You’re supposed to press the chest down about two inches, but you don’t want to do that on a living actor.

Also, the actors usually still do artificial respirations with the chest compressions. Today, it’s recommended that in most circumstances, when laypeople perform CPR, they only to do the chest compressions. Exceptions are when you’re performing CPR on children younger than puberty or on drowning or drug-overdose victims.

Also, in the movies and on TV, people come back to life just from chest compressions. In real life, that’s basically unheard of. It’s very, very rare. You do the chest compressions in order to keep the brain alive until you can shock the heart back.


survival first aid basics

Don’t do what the TV Doctors do. Especially this guy.

Where is the best place to be in a thunderstorm to avoid getting hit by lightning?

JH: In the inside part of a house—away from windows—or in a car. If you’re in the woods, there’s no great place.

Some experts have said to keep walking, so if lightning strikes you, hopefully one foot will be up and one down and you’ll be grounded. Others have said squatting on the balls of your feet, heels together, head down, hands off the ground, will help.


survival first aid basics

These theories are debated. I think the best idea is to stay away from metal poles and structures, and make sure you’re not the tallest thing around—or beside the tallest thing. Squat under a low-lying group of short trees.

People don’t usually die when they get struck. They sometimes have burns. There will be a boom that can cause hearing loss. They can have abnormal nerve troubles and are prone to get depression later on.

Can you really drink seawater, urine, and blood?

JH: Yes. It might help very short-term—meaning several minutes or so; it may get you out of a dangerous situation. But after that, it’s going to do more harm than good.

There’s too much concentration of chemicals in these fluids. Your body will try to dilute those out, so you’ll urinate more than usual. In turn, you’ll become more dehydrated.

Also, you’re putting toxins into your body. With urine, your body has just expelled those chemicals because it doesn’t need them. They’re not like a poison; they won’t kill you immediately. But they’ll be more concentrated in your body and will affect your kidneys in multiple ways.

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Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of skills we can learn to improve our chances of survival. If you are interested in this topic, start off with the basics and build your survival skill set from there. This is a skill that no one ever regrets learning. Always remember, Chance Favors The Well Prepared.


Further Reading:

Your Thoughts?

Is there a survival first aid skill you think everyone should know? Do you have a piece of first aid gear that is a must have for a bug out bag? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

The post Survival First Aid Basics: Skills and Gear to Keep You Alive appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Using the 80/20 Rule To Prep Smarter, Cheaper, Faster & Better

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I don’t know about you but I’m what the French would call “lazy”.

However, I like to think of myself as “efficient”.

By which I mean to say, I prefer to do the least amount of work for the most amount of return. Smarter people than me refer to this as the Pareto Principle a.k.a. The 80/20 Rule.

I don’t know if you read bolded words in a big, booming voice in your head but that’s how I meant it.

What is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 Rule states: You should aim to achieve 80% of the results with 20% of the work but the last 20% will take 80% of the work.

For example, let’s say that building a basic shelter, like a lean-to, takes you 30 minutes to set up. But making sure that it’s level, properly insulated, fully weatherproof, has a comfy pine straw floor, etc takes you another 2 1/2 hours. What you built in half an hour was basically all you needed but making it perfect is what took up ~80% of the time. Here is a quick example:

How Can The 80/20 Rule Help Me Survive?

I know, I know. You came here to learn about bug out bags and survival skills, not principles and rules and such. But bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this.

We can apply the 80/20 Rule to bug out bags as well.

If you’re on this site, you probably already know how important bug out bags are and why you need them. But raise your hand if you actually have one.

Now look up and see if your hand is raised. If not, read on. If it is, you can jump down to the Weight section.

Let’s start with what to pack.


Try to bring the minimum you need instead of the maximum you can carry

What to Pack

For a lot of people just getting into prepping, putting together their bug out bag is kind of overwhelming. Hell, I wrote a BOB checklist that had almost 100 items on it! And that still wasn’t everything.

Yes, you can go buy a $200 pack and drop another $500 in gear. And it would be totally worth it. But did you know that you can get 80% of the way there and 1107% more prepared than you already are without spending a dime?

If you’re like most people, you’ve got most of the supplies you need to survive already lying around your house. Because you’re surviving right now.

All you’ve got to do is put all that stuff in a bag.

Here’s a very basic breakdown of how this fits the Pareto Principle:

80% – Easy stuff you already own

  • Socks

  • Underwear

  • Shirts

  • Pants

  • Food

  • Water

  • First aid supplies (Click HERE to learn how to make your Bug Out First Aid Kit)

  • Medications

  • Flashlight (Check out our comprehensive Flashlight Guide HERE)

  • Lighter/Matches

  • Cordage (paracord is optimal but not everyone has some in their junk drawer)

  • Comfortable shoes

  • Pocket knife

  • Duct tape

  • Floss

  • Super glue

  • Tinfoil

  • Trash bags

  • Ziploc bags

  • Etc

20% – Need to buy

Sure, you’ll probably need to buy some items to be fully prepared but I bet you can survive for a while just on what you can put together in 30 minutes from what you already have.

Weight

Here is an article covering this topic specifically (click here to see it), but I will summarize here to make it easy on you.


bug out bag

A lighter kit will let you travel further and faster before exhaustion sets in.

Why should you care about your bug out bag weight?

  1. The weight of your pack is one of the main factors determining how far and at what speed you’re able to travel.

  2. A heavy BOB will cause you to burn more energy and sweat more, thus requiring more food and water.

  3. And when you’re tired and sore from lugging that thing across Kingdom Come, your morale plummets.


Bug Out Bag Essentials Button

Click on the button now to make your bug out bag list and see how much it will weigh!

But there are some very easy tricks you can do to get rid of a lot of that weight while still keeping 80% of the functionality.

First, comfortable shoes are a must when bugging out. But they don’t do much good if they aren’t on your feet. So either put them on or toss them but don’t take up precious space and weight with a pair of “just in case” hiking boots.

Second, water is important. But you don’t need to bring a week’s worth with you. Knowing how to find and purify water is an essential skill you should know anyways.  If you want to learn how, just Click HERE Now.

A bottle (16 ounces) of water clocks in at 1.05 pounds. So if you’re able to get rid of a spare bottle, you’ve just shaved a significant amount of weight off.

Keep a bottle or two with you (unless you don’t plan on being around a water source for a while) and ditch the rest.


long term water storage

Water is HEAVY! Bring a little and plan on foraging on the way.
Image credit Lisa Risager on flickr.

Third, while food is important, unless you’ve already gone through your original supplies and are forced to scavenge, stay away from cans.

The goal isn’t to have as much food as possible, it’s to have as many calories as possible.

Basically the opposite of your diet.

So focus on small foods that keep well and are high in calories (and protein, if possible). Things like:

  • Trail mix (there are some good recipes here)

  • Protein bars – I like these, they taste awesome and are long lasting.  I usually keep one in my EDC bag for a snack when I am on the run but they are well suited for a bug out bag also.

  • Coast Guard Survival Rations – These ones taste good and are very filling

  • MREs – Stands for “Meals Ready To Eat”, basically Army rations


bug out bag

MREs are light and provide plenty of energy when on the move

Fourth is shelter. If you plan on bugging out in a non-urban environment, shelter is pretty important.

There are two categories to focus on when cutting your shelter weight; what you’ve got and what it’s made out of. And what you can change or leave behind will be based very heavily (pun intended) on your specific situation.

For example, I live in a very hot, humid area. If I had to bug out, chances are low that I’d need a thick sleeping bag but they’re pretty high that I’d need something to keep the rain away.

So in my instance, I decided to ditch the typical tent and sleeping bag and instead went with a lightweight hammock and rainfly.

I’ve got a comfortable place to sleep and something to keep me dry (plus the hammock has mosquito netting which is essential in my region). And it all weighs less than 3 pounds.


bug-out hammock

Click On The Image to learn how to choose the right hammock for bugging out

So to lighten your load, you either need to switch out what you’re carrying, like trading a tent for a tarp or sleeping bag for a yoga mat, or buy lighter equipment.

There are “ultralight” tents and sleeping bags that weigh next to nothing but perform just as well, if not better, than their portly cousins.

If you go this route, make sure you choose your gear carefully, ultralight equipment can cost upwards of ten times the price of regular gear!


best lightweight tent

Click on the picture to see how to choose the right ultralight tent

Space

No, not the final frontier, I’m talking about room in your bag.

If you followed all the rules from the weight section, you should have quite a bit more room for other essential items.

Take a look at the largest items in your bug out bag and ask yourself if you really need them or if there is a smaller alternative.

Here are a few quick tips:

  1. Wrap duct tape around a pencil or your water bottle so you don’t have to carry a whole roll.

  2. Remove items from packaging, if possible.

  3. Attach your flashlight and knife to the outside of your bag (especially if your backpack has MOLLE webbing). This will free up space and make them easier to deploy in a hurry.

Now that you’ve cleaned out the excess, don’t go throwing more crap in there just because you can.

Leaving a bit of space might be a good idea, especially if you plan on scavenging along the way.

Personally, I would use that extra room for more socks and underwear.

You may laugh at that but let me tell you from experience, you do not want to walk numerous miles a day, for multiple days, without a change of socks. Or undies.

Plus they’re light, have a number of uses, and disposable if you find a cute snow globe at the gift shop.

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Wrap It Up

So that’s the 80/20 rule and some ways you can use it to improve your preparedness. Once you get used to thinking this way, you will see you will be able to apply it to nearly any aspect of life to get the maximum results with the minimum effort!

Your Thoughts?

Did you learn anything new? Were you able to apply any of these to your bug out bag? Got some more tips to add on optimizing your prepping?

Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About the Author:

Evan Michaels is the chief editor at Know Prepare Survive. When he’s not rambling about survival skills and bug out bags, he can be found hiking (or, as it’s called in Florida, walking), fishing, and just generally being a cool dude.

The post Using the 80/20 Rule To Prep Smarter, Cheaper, Faster & Better appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Education and what it can do for you…my story

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On this day 10 years ago, I received this recruiting letter from Columbia University. It was just one of several such letters I received from Ivy League colleges, after becoming the recipient of the 2006 All-USA Academic Team community college award. Even more came when I became the New Century Scholar for Wyoming for having […]

How To Survive An Active Shooter or Mass Shooting

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active shooter survival tips

Mass shootings and Active Shooter incidents have seen a steep rise in the US and across the world in recent years. To many people this is one of the most terrifying situations to imagine and prepare for. Most modern mass shootings seem to have an element of randomness and primal rage rolled into them which only serves to heighten anxiety. What can an average person do if they were in church, at work, and a shopping center or elsewhere when bullets suddenly started flying?

What is an Mass Shooting?

What is an Active Shooter?

Mass shooting refers to an incident involving multiple victims of gun violence The Congressional Research Service uses a definition of a “public mass shooting” if 4 or more people are actually killed. (source)

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. (source)

What Would YOU Do?

Given the massive increase in these incidents, it is something we should all think about and prepare to survive. I encourage everyone to sit down and have a serious think about what you would do if you were in an area that was under siege by an active shooter bent on doing the most damage possible. Would you run? Would you fight back? Would you barricade yourself in a “safe” place and wait for help?


The upward trend of Mass Shootings continues, sadly

Increasing Your Odds Of Survival…

To help answer these questions I reached out to Robert Richardson, an experienced prepper and author who has written about this topic on multiple occasions on his site Off Grid Survival. Robert was very helpful and gave us some practical strategies and tips for maximizing the odds of survival should you ever find yourself under attack from an active shooter.

What can a person do to prepare themselves for the possibility of being involved in a mass shooting?

The number one thing a person can do is realize that the danger is real; this alone already puts you ten steps ahead of the rest of the public, because at the very least you will start to become a little bit more aware of your surroundings and the possible dangers that exist.


active shooter survival tips

Active Shooter Preparedness Drills are becoming more common

Modern day shootings seem to have an element of randomness, what can a person do to reduce their chances of getting caught in the crossfire?

While this might be true in some cases, if you look at a vast majority of these shootings many of them have a couple things in common.

First, a vast majority of these shootings happen in what are known as gun-free zones. For me, I try not to frequent any establishment or area that limits my ability to defend myself. Most of these mass shooters want a large body count and they want easy victims; that’s the reason most of them target gun-free zones. They know they will meet little resistance.

Second, they tend to target events that will get the most media attention; large public events, grand openings, and opening night premiers are all higher-risk situations. I’m not saying you should live your life in fear, but you should be more alert in these types of situations.


active shooter survival tips

If a shooting occurs what is the first thing a person should do?

The first thing you should do actually begins before the shooting ever takes place. Whenever I enter a new place, I make sure I know exactly where my exit points are; that way should something happen, I know right where to head once the danger strikes.

And for those that think this is being overly paranoid, remember this one strategy can save you not only during mass shootings but also during threats like earthquakes or fires. You should always have an exit strategy.

When should a person run vs fight back?

You always want to make escape your number one priority; fighting back is a last resort option, but an option you must be prepared for. Remember this isn’t the movies; all it takes is one bullet to end your life so escape is always the best option.


active shooter survival tips

Should a person who decides to move to safety run as soon as the bullets start flying or hunker down and wait for an opportunity?

It really depends; it’s something that you’re going to have to decide at the moment, based on what’s going on – there really are too many variables to say for sure. But in general, hunkering down or sheltering in place is almost always a death sentence. I really hate when businesses or schools suggest that sheltering in place is an actual strategy for survival; it’s not!

Your number one priority is to get as far away from the danger as possible.

You Should ALWAYS Have An Exit Strategy



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If they decide to fight back, how do they identify their opportunity to strike?

Your best chance might be during a temporary pause, or when the gunman is reloading. It’s really going to depend on the situation, and you may never have a good window of opportunity. That means if you have no possible route of escape, you need to act. That is your window.


active shooter survival tips

Stat Shot: There were 372 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015, killing 475 and wounding 1,870.

How would you convince random strangers in the same area as you to rush an attacker?

It’s probably not going to happen; most people panic in this type of situation because they never prepared for the possibility. The best you can hope for is yelling “GET HIM!!!” or something like that and hoping others instinctively follow.

What if there is more than one shooter? What should I do differently?

More than one shooter definitely changes the equation, but again these things happen so fast that you really aren’t going to have the opportunity to change things up. You will have to be more aware of where the shooters are, but in general your options are about the same; escape if you can, fight back if you have no other options.


active shooter survival tips

If you had to hunker down how would you signal the outside world for help?

If you can quickly dial 911, without taking your eyes off the danger, then yes. And remember, when hunkering down there’s a difference between cover and concealment. You need to take cover behind something that’s actually going to stop a bullet. Real life is not like the movies, and things like chairs, cars, etc. are not going to stop a bullet.

What should you teach kids to do if there is a shooting at their school?

I would tell them the same things as I would an adult; your best chance is to escape. I don’t care what policy the school has in place, if they tell your kids to shelter in place inside a classroom they are wrong, and I would have some serious doubts about sending my kid to that school.

Make sure your child knows where the escape routes are, and if possible download a map of the school and show them where to go.

Robert’s article Protecting Your Children from Active Shooters & Mass Shootings covers this topic in detail.


active shooter survival tips

From an Active Shooter drill, too late to make a plan now…

How do we increase our level of Situational Awareness to be able to detect danger?

Part of it is just starting to make a conscious effort to look at your surroundings on a daily basis.

Take note of the types of people that are around you, what they are wearing, what your environment normally looks like, etc… that way if something odd happens you will instantly recognize that things aren’t right. And don’t be afraid to trust your gut, we have these feelings for a reason.

If you have kids, point things out to them when you’re out in public. Teach them what to watch out for, where exits are when you enter a business, and encourage them to look around at the world. Make them put down the electronic devices! If your face is staring at your phone you’ll never see anything!

What are some areas/events to avoid if you want to minimize your chances of being a victim of a mass shooting?

  • Avoid opening night events or premiers.

  • Avoid politically charged rallies or anything that has a planned protest around it.

  • Avoid high profile events like championship games etc…


active shooter survival tips

Top Priority: Know where your exits are

What big mistakes are we told to do by the media and authorities if we are faced with this type of situation?

The biggest mistakes, or downright lies and misinformation spread by the media, include telling people to shelter in place, and not mentioning the importance of carrying your own firearm protection. The simple fact is, these shooters want easy victims, and there is no way the police are going to be able to respond in time to save you. You can be a sitting duck, or you can even the playing field and give yourself a fighting chance.

You can be a sitting duck, or you can even the playing field and give yourself a fighting chance



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Conclusion

Active Shooter Situations are a cold, hard reality in modern day life. We need to face this reality and prepare for it like any other. As we see from Robert’s advice, there are a few simple things we can do to increase our odds of survival:

  1. Avoid high profile events if possible

  2. Know your exits whenever going someplace new

  3. Practice situational awareness to get a gut feeling of any situation

  4. If a shooting occurs evacuating the area should be a the priority

  5. Fighting back or sheltering in place are distant second options but may be necessary

  6. If you choose to fight back look for an opportunity where the attacker is distracted or reloading

  7. If you choose to shelter in place find something solid (preferably concrete) that you can hide behind and call for help

Further Reading

Robert has two articles on his site Off Grid Survival that cover this topic. They are great resources and if you want more info I encourage you to check them out:

Here is a fairly good instructional video on what to do if caught in an Active Shooter situation:

Your Thoughts?

Do you have any suggestions for how to survive an Active Shooter scenario?  What would you do if you were caught in the crossfire?  Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About Robert Richardson

Robert Richardson is the founder and head writer at OFFGRID Survival, one of the top emergency preparedness/survival websites in the world. He is preparedness and survival training expert with over 20 years of real-world experience, and a licensed ham radio operator with over 20 years of emergency communication experience. He is a hunter, fisherman, & extreme backpacker. He writes about his hunting and fishing adventures at monsterfishandgame.com

Robert Richardson is the Author of the Book: The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World. You can check it out on Amazon HERE.


Get more great survival strategies from Robert here.

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How To Teach Kids About Gun Safety

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gun safety for kids

When you own a firearm around kids, you NEED to take time to think about safety. There are no two ways about it, kids need to be kept safe. That doesn’t mean fear, however. And that doesn’t mean not owning a firearm. There are just a few things to teaching kids about gun safety that we will talk about.

1. Know the 4 rules of firearms

Rule #1 A firearm is always loaded.​

“Always” means…ALWAYS. We taught our children to respect a firearm as loaded, even when we were cleaning it. Any firearm they look at is loaded and ready to shoot. So, it’s important they think on those terms and treat firearms with that respect.


gun safety kids

People like this give responsible gun owners a bad name.

Rule #2 Never let your barrel point at anything you are not willing to destroy and take responsibility for destroying.

That is just another reason for rule #1, really and shows the consequences of not taking that seriously. Remember, you are 100% responsible for all shots fired, including those “unintentional” ones. Even at the range, you don’t point the firearm at anything you aren’t wanting to shoot at.​

Rule #3 Know what’s behind your target.

Simply put, what’s behind that deer, that duck, that target? That’s the main reason we wear orange or neon colors when hunting. It’s a signal that you are there to other hunters and to not shoot that deer you are standing behind. Imagine if the shot went through the animal, or just above or below it and hit the target BEHIND the intended target. That could be tragic. Know what’s behind what you are shooting at.


kids gun safety

In a well set up range there is no doubt that missed shots are not a problem

Rule #4 Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

This is very important, as accidents happen. If your finger isn’t on the trigger, the firearm isn’t going to go off. At the range, we teach our children that you don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have aimed, know what’s behind the target and taken a deep breath first. Taking a breath not only will steady the aim, it allows you to really see the target and have a better chance at hitting it the way you want to.


2. Keep it locked up and out of reach when not in use.

This is not only for their safety, it’s for those times when their friends are over. You can teach your kids to not touch a firearm without you present (as we have) but you can’t necessarily control how their friends will react. We use a trigger lock, store it in a locked cabinet and away from any ammunition.


3. Along those lines, we also chose not to make a firearm in the home a mysterious thing.

Our kids were part of our decision to own one, as well as part of the decision where to keep it stored. It made them less “curious” about the firearm, and less likely to want to play around with it. Of course, it’s still locked up when we are not at the range, and we go as a family often to practice.

Kids younger than 3 years old got ahold of guns and shot someone at least 59 times in 2015 according to The Washington Post

4. Practice with your kids at the range.

Often. We go at least bi-monthly to our local indoor range. Since we own a firearm, it’s not of any use to us unless we know how to use it properly. So, we practice. Our kids know how to load, aim and fire each firearm safely. My oldest son is actually a better shot than I am, and reminds me of that often, “An amateur will practice until they get it right, a professional will practice until they can’t get it wrong” is our mantra with firearms.


kids gun safety

Practice at the range can be a fun activity for the whole family

5. Allow your kids to help you clean the firearms after use.

They will garner a respect for them, as well as learn more about safe handling. It’s our kids’ job to clean all the firearms after the range, with my husband and I being there to guide and help them. If they are going to use it, know about it, they need to know how to care for it.  Check out the video below for some basic tips on cleaning firearms safely.

Conclusion

Keeping kids safe around firearms only requires you to use common sense and some basic standard measures. If you can’t follow them, then please don’t own one. Too many tragedies are caused by adults who didn’t follow the basic safety rules.

Your Thoughts?

Do you have any tips for parents who want to educate their kids on proper gun use and safety? How did your parents teach you to be a responsible gun owner? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!


About The Author

Heather Harris and her family live in Northern Indiana where they strive to raise 75% of their own food on their 1/5 acre. You can follow their crazy adventures at The Homesteading Hippy

The post How To Teach Kids About Gun Safety appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

14 Ways to Find the BEST Gear and Save Money

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COVER 4

We’ve all done it… bought crappy gear because it was cheap, marketed well, or we got emotional and made an impulse buy due to fear. To help out, here are 14 ways get the perfect gear, every time.

victorinox-swiss-card-lite-2Start Small – Getting started in emergency preparedness and survival stuff can be overwhelming and can leave you stone cold broke. So start small.  A great survival book or two, a knife, and a well thought out general survival and first aid kit are all good first steps. And writing out a simple survival plan will cost you nothing… except a bit of time.

10024811Focus – Focus on the most likely situation you may face. For instance: Most of us should prepare for a power outage, vehicle break down, or loss of income. Survival provisions can help you get through lean personal financial times.

35317211Learn to Improvise Developing the skills to turn something of no value (or that is designed for a different purpose) into something of value – especially in a survival situation – is a vital skill. [Creek Stewart’s New Book “SURVIVAL HACKS” is a good place to start].

yard-saleLearn to Bargain Hunt Surplus food stores, Second-hand shops, Yard sales, Ebay, Craig’s list. This is always, a time vs. money trade. It will take some time to find a deal, but you might save some big money.

SOL-survival-kit-2Versatility – Can each item be used for multiple tasks? Or is its primary task vital enough to justify it’s singular purpose? A quality poncho is a good example, since I can be used for a shelter, rain gear, ground tarp, water collector and a host of other uses. Killing two, three, or four “birds” with one stone will save weight, money, and increase your survivability.

IMG_0640Necessity / Priority – Ask yourself, “Does this item help satisfy a key priority of survival?” Meaning: is it really necessary? Or is it a luxury or optional item? Build your survival stash focusing on the disciplined acquisition of essential items first.

waitResist Impulse Buys –  It’s hard, but try to limit impulse buys. Here’s a simple tip… Give yourself 10 days before you make a big purchase. It’s also not a bad idea to talk over significant purchases with your spouse, parent or significant “other” to make the best decision, foster peace, and keep everyone on the same page.

19138328Durability – Ask, “Will this item last long and survive rough use?” As for me, I’ve learned my lessons. I’ll almost always pay more for proven reliability, quality and relevant craftsmanship that results in a better product… especially when I’m investing in key items such as a knife, water filter, or rucksack.

19825760Cost / Affordability – Cost is VITAL but is relative to every person and their budget. Weigh all factors against cost to make the best decision for you. Honestly, sometimes I just have to slow down and save my pennies to get the piece of gear I really need.

39175000Weight – Weight is important for anything you have to carry or transport. Not AS important if you don’t plan to mobilize. But keeping weight down gives you options and more versatility in the event that you do need to be mobile or carry stuff on your back.

Mini-CookStove2-520-girlVolume / Size – Volume can be as important as weight if you have to hit the road. We each only have so much room in a backpack, vehicle or home.

Cover SHot copyReviews / Recommendations – Select tried and true gear with good reviews and helpful user comments. The more reviews the better. Talk to people you trust and ask what they recommend. This reduces overall risk and the potential of you wasting your money.

85641102INVEST the Best Gear You Can Afford – In my perspective, good gear is an investment NOT an expense. Plus it may have the added value of being an essential barter item in tough times.

We all have a choice to make, purchase great gear and have it last for a long time… or cut corners and purchase cheaper stuff and risk having it break, fail or wear out when it’s needed most.

39059816Get Trained – In our way too busy lives, it seems like we are all looking for short cuts. And gear can be a short cut that’s gives a false sense of security, especially when it’s purchased devoid of knowledge, training and skill. 

Since knowledge weights nothing (to carry) costs a minimal amount to acquire (in dollars and time), and never wears out or breaks, I recommend that EVERYONE invest in a quality, yearly training that interests you.

For instance wife, she loves wild plants, and how to use them medicinally. So we invest in books, online and “live” training for her. Last year she also attended our Ultimate Survival Tips – LEVEL 1 Training to gain basic survival skills.

There are many basic survival, tactical, preparedness, books, and course available. Find one that suits your interests, needs, budget.

I you would like a comprehensive, condensed training in a wide diversity wilderness and urban survival skills, our Ultimate Survival Challenge – LEVEL 1 is the only affordable, family-friendly training in the USA that covers everything from primitive and urban survival skills to basic navigation, first aid, personal hand-to-hand self defense and a ton more – all in a condensed, 3-day format.

How To Harness Emergency Power From The Sun – On A Budget!

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So what’s your back up plan if the grid goes down?  Do you have one??  HOW will you power your tech during a bug-out, or what if you go camping for a week away from electricity?  What will you do?

A_5-Anker-Solar-Power copyWell, at less than $60 US… the 15 ounce Anker PowerPort, 2-Port, Solar Panel System provides serious power to keep your USB charged devices going.

Use the PowerPort Solar Panel to charge phones, tablets, and other USB tech directly from the sun… or store energy for later use or cloudy days by adding the 20,000 mAh Anker PowerCore Ultra High Capacity power bank (which you can also charge via USB).

Then PowerBank stores enough Power to keep my iPhone6 running for a week.  But Best of all, the Anker PowerBank only runs about $40 US.  Add the PowerPort Solar Panel for around $60 and you have a nice, lightweight and powerful solar power system for about $100.

Anker Solar Panels: http://amzn.to/1M0yTQU

Anker PowerCore: http://amzn.to/1M0yZIj

How to Power 12V and AC DevicesDSC02599

For serious off grid, emergency, adventure and bug out power you’ll likely need something that will charge USB devices, AS WELL AS 12 volt and AC powered stuff or rechargeable devices like cameras, radios, or laptop computers.

Meet the KING of packable, portable solar power – the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 with Nomad 20 Solar Panel. Charge the SHERPA from the SUN, Wall or Car. Deliver power through USB, Laptop Port, AC Inverter or 12 volt port. And it’s cool that you can daisy Chain Any Goal Zero Solar Panels together for faster charging.

I’ve used this system for almost 2 years and it’s fantastic. The only down side is that this puppy will cost you $350 to $600 US depending on the options you choose. But if you want to power more than just USB devices when power is scare… I have NOT found any more reliable or efficient gear for the price than Goal Zero. http://amzn.to/1MT8bnT

A_5-Anker-Solar-PoweBUnlimited USB Power for Less than $100

As mentioned above, for charging ONLY USB devices from the sun – check out the ANKER PowerPort Solar Panel and the ANKER PowerCore 20,000 mAh power bank – both can be had for around $100 US.

Dangerous Book for Men + 9 Gizmos and Gadgets – Volume 3

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v3-survival-kit-bug-out-zombie-gear-best-camping-gifts-christmas-ultimate-gear-knife-gadget

If you’re looking for the best survival gizmos and gear on the planet, you’ve come to the right place. INSIDE Volume #3 you’ll discover the King of Knife Sharpeners, Crazy Good Machetes made by people who use them to survival everyday, the Boss of Bug Out Beds, a Zombie that can help you stay alive and a lot more.

dangerous-book-for-menThe Dangerous Book for Men

Learn how to fight off an alligator, escape an ambush, land a small airplane and triumph over a myriad of (otherwise) disastrous pitfalls and perils using the Dangerous Book for Men. It’s a fun, entertaining and easy-to-read book that makes a great gift men and older boys. Cost is around $12 US.

Tactical Arrowheads for Your Altoids Tin – Survival Kit or Bug Out BagScreen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.52.05 PM

A perfect edition to any altoids survival tin or pocket survival kit – the Colt SPEAR Tactical Arrowheads are made from about 1.7 millimeter thick, black coated and sharpened, 8cr13moV stainless steel… include dual lashing holes and pack up small. Cost is around $20 US for the set.

DSC02590Survival Zombie

Finally a Zombie that Can Help You… Meet the WaZombie from Wazoo Survival Gear. This cute little keychain-ready guy is posable, has magnetic hands and feet to hold weapons (like nails) and conceals 6 survival items inside his paracord body.  Cost is around $50 US.

Now… if Zombies aren’t your thing but you’d like some everyday carry survival gear swinging from your keychain – check out the  Wazoo Companion or Woodchuck – each runs around $25 US.

Survival Zombie: http://www.wazoosurvivalgear.com/zombie/

Wazoo Companion: http://www.wazoosurvivalgear.com/companion-survival-keychain/

Wazoo Woodchuck: http://www.wazoosurvivalgear.com/woodchuck/

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.56.41 PMSleep Like a Baby While Camping or Bugging Out. 

If you’re tired of low quality sleep on cold, hard, uneven ground when you camp or travel… you’re gonna love the German Made Exped Insulated Pads… When resting on one of my Exped pads I sleep as well on the ground as I do in my bed at home.

Designed to make even side sleepers like me happy, Exped pads provide insulation between you and the chilly ground, have breath saving, low profile pumps built in, and pack down smaller than any other pads I’ve used. Cost is between $100 and $200 US depending on the option you choose.

SynMat 7 (3 1/2 Season, Comfortable Ground Sleeping): http://amzn.to/1RriO6T

DownMat 9 (Best for Cold Weather Ground Sleeping): http://amzn.to/1ZLT7Qu

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.57.34 PMSurvival Bandana

The Survival Metrics Head for Survival oversized triangular bandana has basic shelter, water, fire, food, navigation and signaling survival information printed right on it … making one of the most versatile survival items in your kit, even more valuable. Cost is around $20 US.

http://amzn.to/1RriRj6

IMG_5590editThe Boss of Survival MacheteLand

Ready to step up your game with a great machete made by people who actually use them everyday to survive?  Made in El Salvador, the Condor Golok Machete screams through clearing and chopping tasks like a boss… is made of tough 1075 high carbon steel, has a sweet wood handle and comes with a great leather sheath. It’s my favorite machete for clearing brush… and the cost is really reasonable at around $70 US. http://amzn.to/1RriVzg

But if you are looking for more of a heavy duty chopper – check out the Condor Bushcraft Parang at around $55 US or the village parang at around $65.

Bushcraft Parang: http://amzn.to/1ZLTbzP

Village Parang: http://amzn.to/1RriYv2

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.58.47 PMEliminate Nasty Water Borne Pathogens Steripen

Popular with international business travelers and tourists who want discrete – low volume water purification, the Steripen Ultra – USB Rechargeable Handheld water purifier uses ultra violet light to destroy water borne pathogens – including virus’ (that water filters alone don’t eliminate). To Use… Simply turn it on… follow the screen directions until you see the smiley face. Who said purifying water can’t be fun? One USB charge lasts about 50 treatments. Street Price is around $80 US.

http://amzn.to/1Rrj1Hh

DSC02606Pocket Knot Cards

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t know your knots, tie a lot… but this strategy can fail you in the back country… Fortunately the Pro-Knot Outdoor Knot cards have you covered until you get up to speed on essential knots. I’ve found the Pro-Knot cards helpful because they contain, 20 of the most useful utility knots, on six, credit-card sized, waterproof cards that fit in a pocket, pack, pouch or survival kit – AND make it easy for me to practice my knots anywhere. Cost is only around $5 US.

http://amzn.to/1ZLTkD8

IMG_5619editSurvival Multi-Tool – Leatherman Signal

It’s no secret that my favorite multi-tool of all time is my vintage – 13 year old leatherman wave… But another Multi-Tool has caught my eye recently… The Leatherman Signal. It’s more of a survival multi-tool that includes pliers, a saw, can and bottle opener, an awl, screw drivers, a mini-diamond sharpener, a replaceable ferro rod with emergency whistle, a mini carabiner, and a pocket clip. Cost is right around $100 US.

http://amzn.to/1UDvDOe

Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool:

http://amzn.to/1Rrj4To

IMG_5649editThe King of Knife Sharpeners

If you have a boatload of dull survival, kitchen or utility knives around your house… and want to get them sharp fast… the Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is your ticket to razor sharp blade bliss. Just follow the step by step directions to bring you dull blades back to life. Just be careful… it’s addicting. Cost is around $70 US.

http://amzn.to/1RrjaKQ

 

 

See the YouTube Video HERE!

3 Ways To Solve Your Long-Term Water Storage Problem

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long term water storage

Water is one of the essential elements of life. Without water, there is no survival. Ensuring you and your family have access to clean, drinkable water in the case of emergency or disaster should be at the top of your survival planning list. There are many ways to ensure access to clean drinking water in an emergency, one being long-term water storage. The most ideal situations for emergency long-term water storage are when you are planning on bugging-in or sheltering in-place and need to stock up or when trying to decide what supplies are needed for the bug-out location you’ll be evacuating to.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics for storing water long-term and examine the three options for long-term water storage.

Survival Water Storage Basics

In a crisis situation, having access to clean, drinkable water – and enough of it for your entire bug-out crew – will be key to surviving. Whether you plan on bugging-out or sheltering in-place, here are the key fundamentals you will need to know to ensure you’re storing water properly for the long-term and will have enough to last you through the crisis.


long-term water storage

How Much Water To Store

According to the U.S. government, the ideal amount of water to have stored is one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days. The average person needs ¾ gallons of fluids for drinking each day and up to ¼ gallons for hygiene and sanitary purposes. If you’re located in a hot environment or have children, nursing mothers, or people that are ill in your bug-out crew, you will need to store more water. Following those guidelines, a family of four would need to store twelve gallons of water to ensure survival over three days. If you consider the amount you would need for any amount of time beyond that, you can see how quickly your water needs can add up.


long-term water storage

Your long-term water storage should allow for at least 1 gallon per day for each member of the family.

Ultimately, the decision of how many days worth of water you decide to store for survival will be based on the type of emergency you are planning for. For instance, long-term water storage for an emergency expected to last a few days is quite simple, whereas planning for an extended period or stockpiling for a large group can get quite complicated. Before beginning to prepare your long-term water supply, take some time to consider how much you will need, for how many people, and for how long before getting started.

Storing Survival Water

The best place to keep your emergency water is in a cool, dry place. Basements are a great choice, although it is prudent to split your supplies up in different areas of your home in case one area becomes flooded, damaged, or otherwise unaccessible. A good practice is to ensure there is water stored in every closet of your home, or at least in one closet on each floor.


long-term water storage

If you live in an area where flooding is a high risk, storing the majority of your water supply above ground is prudent.


long-term water storage

Conversely, the basement is a safer place to store water in areas at high risk for tornadoes.

How Long Can Survival Water Be Stored

As long as the containers have been properly sanitized, water that has not been commercially bottled should be safe to drink for up to six months. Commercially bottled water will typically have a ‘use by date’ printed on the bottle that will provide guidance on how long it will be safe to drink.

Things To Be Aware Of

When choosing containers, avoid any plastic containers that are not safe for food or anything that contains BPA. Containers that have had fruit juice or milk in them should be avoided as fruit sugars and milk proteins can’t be fully cleaned out and create an ideal environment for bacteria growth when used for water storage. Plastic is a much preferable choice to glass as glass is heavy and can break. Water is also very heavy, make sure to use proper lifting technique, such as lifting at the knees, when transporting it.

If you’re ever in doubt about the safety of your water, boil and treat it with purification tablets (such as these) before drinking. Each year, waterborne pathogens kill approximately 3.4 million people, better to be sure and stay alive!


long-term water storage

Water purification tablets kill bacteria and viruses, and are especially important when harvesting water in nature. Click the image to view Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets on Amazon.

Three Options for Long-Term Water Storage

There are three options for proper long-term storage of water: buy pre-bottled water; collect and sterilize containers and fill them up; buy purpose-made containers and fill them up.

Buying Your Water Supply

Purchasing cases of bottled water is by far the easiest solution for building an emergency water supply, but also one of the most expensive. However, when employing this option, money can be saved by buying large, water-cooler sized jugs (although these can be quite heavy to carry around).


long-term water storage

Image credit Steven Depolo on flickr.

In terms of purchase options, they’re abundant. You can buy cases of bottled water at almost any local grocery store, Costco, or even HERE on Amazon. While simply purchasing bottled water is the easiest option, it’s also the most expensive and takes up the most space. If you need to buy a large supply, you’ll need to buy shelving to properly store your emergency water. If you stack bottled water too high, the lower cases can get crushed.

Bare Bones DIY Solution


long-term water storage

Jugs like these can be sanitized and used as long-term water storage containers. Image credit Lisa Risager on flickr.

For this long-term water storage solution, you will need to collect plastic bottles, such as those used for soda. You will need to sanitize the bottles and fill them on your own, so this is the most time consuming of all the options, but also the most cost-effective. If you have some extra time and need to save money, this is the best option. Review the following instructions for properly sanitizing and filling your own long-term water storage containers:

1. Clean out your containers using soapy water, ensuring they are well-rinsed and all soap is removed.

2. Add one teaspoon of unscented household chlorine bleach to one quart of water.

3. Pour the solution into your containers and shake the bottles until the solution has touched all surfaces (make sure the cap is on while you’re doing this so that it gets sanitized as well).

4. Rinse out the sanitizing solution.

5. Fill your containers with tap water (only if the tap water has been commercially treated, such as a city’s water supply).

6. If you’re using non-treated or well water, add two drops of unscented household chlorine bleach to the water and let it stand 30 minutes before drinking.

7. Screw the caps tightly on your containers, being careful not to contaminate the insides with your fingers when closing.

8. Your emergency water storage containers should be able to store water for at least six months after being treated this way.

The Happy Compromise Solution

For someone needing a large volume of water and not wanting to deal with the hassles of sanitizing or storing dozens (maybe hundreds) of soda bottles, this is the ideal option. The happy compromise is the best option for storage with the least hassle. It involves buying purpose-made, food safe, water storage containers (check out the Water Brick, our personal favorite) and filling them with water yourself. While this option costs a bit more than the DIY solution, it costs much less than buying water bottles from the store.


long-term water storage

The Water Brick is our preferred option for the following reasons:

● Holds 3.5 gallons, which is a large volume but not so much as to make them too heavy to carry

● There is a handle which makes them easy to carry

● Water Bricks are stackable and take up as little space as possible, making shelving unnecessary

● There is a large opening, making them much easier to clean than soda bottles

● The large opening also makes these containers viable for storing dry food, documents, or even ammo (try doing that with a soda bottle!)

● They are food grade and BPA-free

The time-saving features of this option come from the ease and speed of the sanitization process. Basically, you will purchase the appropriate amount of containers (Water Brick or otherwise), sanitize as above, fill them up, and forget about them! To illustrate the convenience of the sanitization process, consider that it would take seven standard two liter soda bottles to make up the same quantity as one Water Brick. Which process do you think is faster?


long-term water storage

The interlocking design allows for greater stability when stacking multiple Water Bricks.

To learn more about Water Bricks and to get your own, CLICK HERE NOW.

To make the process even easier on yourself or to avoid handling bleach, simply purchase water purification tablets or drops (such as these). However, the container will still need to be properly sanitized.



More Resources for Successful Long-Term Water Storage

If you’d like to learn more about preparing your long-term water supply for an emergency or disaster, check out these helpful resources:

Surviving a Drought: Learn How To Harvest Water From Natural Sources

Bugging-In vs. Bugging-Out: How To Decide in an Emergency

Going Off the Grid: How To Make Your Home Self-Sufficient

Conclusion

Having access to clean, drinkable water (and lots of it) is something many of us living in first world countries take for granted. But in a crisis or emergency situation, finding safe drinking water will become a priority for everyone. When water stops running and stores sell out of water bottles, having a prepared supply of water on-hand at your bug-out or bug-in location will be an invaluable asset.

Whether you choose to buy your water ready-bottled or bottle your own, always remember that the most important factor is to ensure you have enough. Think carefully through how many people will potentially need to access the water (including pets, if applicable) and how long your supply will need to last. A little planning and forethought ahead of time can save much aggravation, and maybe even lives, down the line and ensure you have an effective long-term water storage solution.


long-term water storage

Don’t forget to include pets in your long-term water storage plan, about 1 ounce of water per pound of your pet’s weight.

Your Thoughts

Do you have a water storage solution that you like, or know of an innovative way to purify your water supply? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

The post 3 Ways To Solve Your Long-Term Water Storage Problem appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

How I read for free

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Let me preface this by saying I don’t only read for free. On average, I spend about $25 per month on Audible ($15 for a membership, plus two extra Boxcar Children mysteries with the membership discount) and at least $40 on eBooks through Amazon. While this might seem like a ton to some people and nothing at all to others, I would absolutely be spending much more if I didn’t take advantage of free ways to read.

It’s simple to get books for free if you’re willing to do one little thing: write a review.

Reviews are not everything to writers, but they are important. Reviews are one of the best ways people discover new books. For indie authors, this is even more important since writers who independently publish through Amazon or Kobo don’t have the power and money behind them that a large publishing house offers.

So what makes a good review?

Saying what you think about the book.

Your review does not have to be:
long
in-depth
a book report
something that took you an hour to write

Honestly, it just doesn’t. And there are some authors who would protest this, but to be honest, just a brief “I loved the characters in this” or “this book really helped me to declutter” can mean the world to a writer.

And they’ll let other readers know that the book is good (or not), which can translate into more sales for the author.

So as long as you’re willing to write a review, you can get freebie books on just about any topic imaginable. While review copies are almost always digital, you can get print copies, too.

Here’s how.

Pitch authors directly
The fastest way to get a copy of a book you really want is to contact the author directly. You can usually do this through an author’s social media account: Facebook or Twitter. Let them know you want to review your book and ask if they would provide a copy for review. Not all writers do this, but most indie writers do and are happy to send you a copy. If an author has a publishing contract, they may not be permitted to give out copies, so don’t be too upset if they turn you down.

Also, to increase your chances of a “yes,” send a link where you have already reviewed a book, whether this be on Amazon or your own blog. Many writers, myself included, are nervous when it comes to new reviewers we haven’t worked for. Why? Some reviewers promise to review a book and never do! Unfortunately, this can ruin it for the rest of us! If you have already reviewed a book, send the link to the author so they can get an idea of what to expect.

Most of all, remember that you are never obligated to leave a 5-star review. Never. Just because you get a review copy does not mean you should lie in your review.

As a side note, if you have any interest in reading one of my prepper or minimalism books and you’re willing to leave me a review, please shoot me an email at thenerdysurvivalist(at)gmail.com. I am always looking for new reviewers for any of my published works and am happy to send you a copy if you’ll post your thoughts on Amazon!

Join NetGalley
Netgalley.com is a great resource if you like fiction books. I joined this site a few months ago and it’s very easy to use, but you do need to have an eReader app on your phone or tablet. I use the Kindle app on my phone and this interface is very simple. You request the book you want, and when the publisher or author approves you, they’ll send the book to your device. This helps reduce pirating (since you can’t share the file with your friends), but it also makes reading really simple. When you’re finished, you post your review on the site and anywhere else you like.

Book Look Bloggers
This is a Christian organization, which makes it perfect if you want to review Bibles (yes, that’s a thing), Christian literature, or homeschool materials. Unlike many websites, Book Look will send hardcover and paperback copies of some books. You have to apply and need to have at least 30 subscribers to your blog. (This can be Twitter followers or Facebook fans.) Apply at booklookbloggers.com.

Kindle Free Books
Finally, the simplest way to get books for free – that you don’t have to review! – if through Amazon Kindle’s top 100 free books each day. The top 100 books that are free change hourly! Additionally, you can browse individual categories to find free books on prepping, minimalism, or parenting. I check this regularly and have found some great books by my favorite authors on their freebie days.

Do you read for free? What’s your favorite way to find free books?

How we use AUDIBLE in our homeschool

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Last year I clicked a link from someone’s blog and ended up at Audible.com. I had heard of the site – mostly on YouTube – but had never checked it out.

When you join Audible (you can use your Amazon account), you get a free one-month trial that includes a free book. I was sold! I downloaded The Complete Chronicles of Narnia for free and started listening with my kids.

I was instantly hooked.

So here’s the deal on how Audible.com. works and how you can use it in your homeschool.

Audible.com offers a couple of options. First, you can sign up for a monthly subscription. This is what I do. It’s $14.95 per month and you get one “credit” each month that you can use to download an Audiobook of your choice, regardless of price. I usually use this credit on a super-expensive book, like Harry Potter (which is usually around $30-40 per book) or a collection of stories. This month, we got the Addie American Girl books.

You also get a membership discount of 30% on books purchased without credits, as well as access to members-only sales and discounts. I’ve gotten books for $1 just for being a member and insane discounts on other books. For example, one weekend Audible had a “50% off the first book in a series” sale and some books in my wish list were applicable for the discount!

In our homeschooling, we listen to a lot of audiobooks. While you can get quite a few books for free on YouTube and other streaming sites, I like Audible because I can download everything to my phone or my kids’ tablets and they can listen offline. My kids will listen to an audiobook while they play video games and while they’re winding down at the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong: we still read plenty of regular books out loud. Both of my kids enjoy reading stories with me, but they both really enjoy the voice acting of Audible books. I especially like the wide range of books and how many new phrases and words my kids learn. Every day we have something new to discuss, whether it’s the phrase “No ‘i’ in ‘team” or the word “parched,” there is always something new and interesting we can explore through books.

We like to read books that:
-are related to the lessons we’re studying in each subject
-feature strong kid characters
-explore new ideas
-involve history or culture in some way

Some of our favorites so far have been:
-Samantha’s books from the American Girl series
-Nancy Drew
-The Boxcar Children
-Indiana Jones

If you’re interested in audiobooks for your kids (or yourself!), you can get a one-month free trial at  Audible.com. It’s super easy to cancel if it’s not for you and you get to keep the book.

Do you have a membership already? What do you think?

* Note: this post contains affiliate links. Any income earned from purchases made through this blog are used to keep the site running 🙂

Homemade Cleaners Round Up

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One of the best things about researching different homemade cleaners and recipes is learning to be self-sufficient.

Now that I’m living abroad, I can’t get many of my favorite cleaning products. Strangely enough, even bleach is difficult to find. Most bathroom products here that I’ve found don’t contain it, which means it’s even more important for me to know how to make my own cleaners.

There are plenty of different recipes you can use. Whether you’re making your own cleaners to improve your health or to be more eco-friendly or just to save money, making your own cleaners can be quite beneficial.

Here are five easy recipes I found this week on Pinterest:

1. Homemade Leather Cleaner
2. Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner
3. Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution
4. Soft Scrub & Mold Killer
5. DIY Stain Remover

If you’re looking for even more, check out Pinterest or these blogs for interesting, simple recipes you can try at home.

Remember that the most complicated recipes aren’t necessarily the best. My all-time favorite all-purpose cleaner is just vinegar, water, and essential oils. I use this all the time here in Taiwan and it works wonderfully to clean just about anything.

Prepper Post Roundup

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Don’t have time to look for great posts this week?

No problem.

Here are a few of my favorite prepper posts this week. Check them out, then leave me a comment and tell me what you thought!

Bug Out Vehicle: What Do You Do If You Can’t Drive?
Prep for SHTF has an interesting post on how to handle being unable to drive. This post is designed to help in an insane situation where you need to leave the city you’re staying in. Think zombie apocalypse, horrible weather, long-term power outage, whatever. I know from personal experience that when you’re in a bad situation and you want to get out of town, sometimes by the time you decide to leave, it’s simply too late. This post shows you what to do.

8 Survival Uses for Cheesecloth
Another Prep for SHTF post this week that was really interesting. Cheesecloth: what can you do with it? More importantly, how can you use it in prepping? Prior to this post, I had never considered using this for a survival tool.

The Myth of Serving Sizes in Packaged Emergency Food
Backdoor Survival has an interesting guest post on survival food. If you’re a prepper who likes packaged foods, you might not be stocking up as much as you think you are. Find out what you need to know to be truly prepared in this post.

21 Items to Stockpile for Pandemic Survival
Modern Survival Blog has an interesting post. This is actually an older one from 2014 that I found linked from a newer blog, but the information is still pretty valuable. Whether you’re concerned about a virus going around or the possibility of a future outbreak, consider what you should have on hand to survive.

What I wish I’d brought

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It’s been almost a year since my husband and I gave away all of our stuff, packed a couple of suitcases, and caught a plane for Taiwan.

Before we moved, I read a lot of posts on things people wish they’d brought when they moved abroad. Things like crockpots or knives, measuring cups or blankets. I read posts on towels and why you shouldn’t trust the ones you buy overseas (um, okay?) or why you really, really, really need to pack Christmas decorations.

Luckily, I ignored most of that garbage advice and packed things I felt were appropriate for our family and our particular needs. Now, as I look back over the last year, there really aren’t many things I wish I had brought that I didn’t.

To sum up, here’s what I brought:
5 everyday outfits per person, including socks, underwear, and shoes.
1 dressy outfit per person.
A handful of books, including homeschool books
Important tax documents (since I’m self-employed)
Flash drives with all of our family photos and my novels on them
2 tablets
2 cell phones
1 travel battery charger
2 laptops
Snacks
Medications
A quilt my mom gave us as an anniversary gift

We ended up with 2 large suitcases, 2 small suitcases, 1 duffel bag, 3 backpacks, 1 purse, and 1 shoulder bag. This was for four people for an undetermined amount of time. We knew we wanted to come for a few years, but weren’t sure exactly how many.

Now, I knew a few things about traveling abroad, like I might not be able to get children’s Tylenol, which is true. In Taiwan, at least, kids are taught to swallow pills at a very young age, so medication literally goes from liquid for babies to capsules for toddlers. That said, it wasn’t a big deal because when my son needed medication he couldn’t swallow, the pharmacy ground up the pills for us. Very simple, very easy, very not-a-big-deal.

The only thing, after all this time, I wished I had brought was an extra pair of curvy-girl American-hips flare jeans. That’s it. Maybe an extra pair of flip-flops, ’cause I wore mine out really quickly. That’s it, though. And BTW, most stores offer international shipping. If you’re a Wal-Mart girl, like I am, you can mail stuff to a friend or relative’s house and ask them to kindly mail those parcels to you.

A lot of things we use all the time in the U.S. aren’t really necessary or needed here. Microwaves, for example. Anything you buy can be heated in the microwave at Family Mart or 7-11, so you don’t really need one for your home. And it’s cheaper to eat at convenience stores than to buy microwave meals, so you might as well eat there, if saving money is your goal. And while I get the appeal of buying a crockpot, it costs me $9 USD to buy a big, cooked dinner for my family, so I’m not saving any money by cooking at home.

There have been times when I’ve purchased things online that I couldn’t get here, but again, it wasn’t really a big deal and didn’t make me “wish I had brought” anything. We chose Taiwan because it is modern, and while it’s not even close to being like home, it’s not so bad that I needed to bring that many items from home.

Gray Man Theory: The Art Of Blending In During Disaster

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gray man theory

The concept of concealing your preparedness by blending in with the crowd during an emergency is behind the gray man theory. While it is generally referred to as the ‘gray man theory,’ this theory can of course be applied to anyone, man or woman, of any age, who needs to blend into a crowd amidst a disastrous situation to conceal the fact that they have survival skills and/or are carrying tactical gear.

When you think of ‘blending in with the crowd’ it’s generally a negative, right? Nobody wants to be just like everyone else, you want to be unique, to stand out – that is, until there’s an emergency and you’re the only one prepared. As a prudent prepper, you’ll be ready when disaster strikes, but what will everyone around you be doing? Panicking, most likely. In states of panic, people become desperate, and desperation can lead people to do whatever it takes to stay alive – at this point, you certainly don’t want to be singled out as the one person who is prepared for survival.

gray man theory

Disappearing into a crowd is an extremely useful survival skill.

Why Use the Gray Man Theory?

There are lots of advantages to blending in with the crowd when disaster strikes. For starters, by not drawing attention to yourself, you’ll be able to move more quickly and easily through the crowd without alerting others to the fact that you are prepared to handle the situation.

Also, by blending in and appearing to be among the unprepared, you are less likely to make yourself a target of those in desperation who may try and take your survival gear off you by force. The gray man theory is really about protecting yourself and your family by concealing the fact that you are indeed prepared to survive in the face of disaster.

gray man theory

The gray man theory allows you to use the herd to your advantage.

Executing the Gray Man Theory

The best way to not leave a lasting impression is to not leave any impression at all. This is the concept behind the gray man theory and it sounds simple enough, but execution can be challenging. In this article we will cover the basic concept behind the gray man theory and provide some key tips and tricks for effectively making yourself ‘invisible’ in a disaster scenario.

gray man theory

The Benefits of Being a Gray Man (or Woman)

In a true disaster situation, your primary objective will be to move yourself and your loved ones as quickly as possible to a safe place – be that your home or bug-out location. In a disaster, everyone around you will have the same goal – get somewhere safe – but the majority will not have a sound plan in place, leading to frantic behavior and desperate attempts for survival.

In this situation, disappearing into the crowd and not drawing attention to yourself or your state of preparedness can greatly increase your chances of survival.

gray man theory

How many of these people look prepared to handle a crisis situation?

As most around you will be unprepared for disaster, you will no doubt feel the urge to help those in need. However, your number one priority needs to be your own survival and you should only help others if you can do so without endangering yourself.

By blending in, or becoming a gray man, you will be less likely to be approached by others seeking assistance and, more importantly, less likely to be targeted by opportunists looking to prey on those with the forethought to pack essential items for survival situations.

Steps to Becoming a Gray Man (or Woman)

The ultimate goal of becoming a gray man or woman is to camouflage yourself into appearing as though you are just part of the crowd so as not to allow others to identify you as a potential gold mine of supplies or information. By exuding confidence and preparedness, you will draw in opportunists who will attempt to capitalize on your resourcefulness to the detriment of your own survival.

To conceal the fact that you are prepared with survival gear and skills from others, there are four key areas you will want to focus on: how you act, how you move, how you look, and how you carry your gear.

How You Act

The key to acting like a gray man is to appear average and non-threatening. Be careful about what you say and to whom you say it – being known as strongly antagonistic or too outspoken about your political beliefs can lead others to make assumptions about you and mark you as a prepared individual.

Maintain conversation topics within the norm of the group. If small talk seems to be the normal thing to do, engage with others so as not to draw attention to yourself.

While a good understanding of your surroundings is paramount in a disaster, be careful to play down any attempts to scan areas for escape routes or possible problems with security. This type of behavior will be noticed and lead people to question what it is you’re looking for, or worse, what it is you’re trying to protect.

gray man theory

The gray man theory relies on not leaving an impression. Eye contact stimulates the brain to form a memory so keeping your eyes averted can help you remain unnoticed.

One important skill to learn in adapting a gray man persona is how to maintain your privacy without appearing overly private or obviously standoffish. When speaking with others, keep eye contact to a minimum as someone is more likely to notice you if they look in your eyes. Even brief eye contact when passing on the street can form a connection, making you more memorable than those around you.

How You Move

Knowing the local landscape can be a tremendous advantage as the better you know local streets and landmarks, the better able you will be to navigate them and alter your route to avoid troublesome areas. When moving, appear as much as possible to go with the flow, walking with purpose but not urgency. Any rapid motion will draw attention to you and raise suspicions as to your motives.

gray man theory

An integral part of the gray man theory is the ability to move through a crowd without drawing attention to yourself.

When navigating a crowd, make gradual progress – cutting through a sea of people at sharp angles will draw attention to your movements and make you appear suspicious. Whether you are perceived by others as a savior or threat, either one can slow you down.

Unless it would impede your own safety, always appear to follow the herd. For instance, if everyone around you turns towards an explosive sound and gasps, join them. You don’t ever want to be the one person who is unaffected by an out-of-the-ordinary event.

gray man theory

Follow the focus of the crowd – notice the woman standing with her back turned? According to the gray man theory, in a SHTF scenario, this behavior could raise suspicion. Photo via Intel Free Press on flickr.

If you need to break away from the crowd, try and make your exit alongside a small group of people, keeping enough distance so that they know you’re not with them but close enough that you don’t appear to be alone, which makes you appear less vulnerable.

When observing your surroundings, be as discreet as possible. Leverage your peripheral vision as well as decoy objects, such as a piece of paper, to give the impression your attention is focused on the object as you survey the area. If appropriate, wear reflective sunglasses that hide your eyes allowing you the freedom to scan rapidly without drawing attention.

gray man theory

Sunglasses on a sunny day are a good choice for obscuring your face. At night, they would have the opposite effect, drawing attention as something out of the norm.

If you need to engage in activities that will make noise and draw attention your way, try to take advantage of predictable noises to help mask the sound of any breaching you may need to do. Predictable noises include ‘white’ noises that people are accustomed to hearing and therefore raise little suspicion.

gray man theory

You can take advantage of distractions to make small moves toward your destination.

For instance, wait for a loud bus to pass before climbing into a dumpster or synchronize busting a window with a loud siren. If you need to get into a building, choose a door near a noisy HVAC condenser. These preparations may take a little bit of extra time to execute, but those few moments of patience will ensure your activities go unnoticed and may just save your life.

How You Look

It goes without saying that when trying to appear less prepared than you are, camo prints or other outwardly tactical-looking clothing are not the best choice, unless of course you are in a situation where that type of dress is the norm, such as a hunting trip. While you don’t have to dress head-to-toe in gray, subtle color choices blend best into crowds and make it easier for you to move unnoticed.

gray man theory

Which is the first person that you notice? Bright colors are easy to track through a crowd.

Ideally, you will want to keep any tactical gear concealed. This means packing your pockets and bags strategically to allow for quick access to key items. Reflective objects and bright colors will draw visual attention so ensure items such as your knife are tucked inside your clothing or bag, not hanging from your belt.

Avoid having any reflective materials or highly visible colors on your clothing and accessories, as well as any large text or memorable insignia. Any focal points can draw attention to you and hinder your attempts to blend in.

gray man theory

Even if this officer were in civilian clothing, the shiny handcuffs and holster would be highly visible and leave an impression on passersby.

If possible, carry an additional item with you that can change your look instantly, such as a hat, sunglasses, or jacket, as this can be quite helpful. If someone does happen to peg you as a target, you can use the item to slip under their radar as they scan for you in a crowd.

One last word of caution – be mindful of the way you smell. Yes, smell. Believe it or not, scent is a major memory trigger, so when trying to blend in, try not to have a noticeable scent about you.

How You Carry Your Gear

The simplest solution to carrying your gear unnoticed is to find a discreet bag that blends well with your typical daily routine. Backpacks and messenger bags commonly seen on commuters are good choices as these tend to be less obvious. You can also find pocketbooks with compartmentalized interiors that can make it quick and easy to access your gear.

gray man theory

There are many options for a tactical bag with a low profile that can fit into your typical style without drawing attention.

Another good choice that lends itself well to blending is a jacket or vest with a streetwear outward appearance but hidden storage on the inside. Pockets, specifically cargo pockets, are excellent for storing gear but may not be the most ideal choice in some situations, such as an office with a dress code.

Belts are an excellent item to consider as gear can easily be attached to one, as long as your shirt or jacket provides concealment. Some belts also come with integrated survival tools, such as paracord, firestarters, multitools, and whistles.

best tactical pants

For your footwear, consider a type of tactical boot that offers a storage compartment – this can work perfectly for concealing a folding knife or multitool. For more information on tactical boots consistent with the gray man theory, CLICK HERE.

If your daily wardrobe limits your body storage options, consider adding leg and arm straps (or bands) to hold vital items you do not want to store in a bag.

gray man theory

Armbands can be used for keeping important documents safe and with you at all times. Click the image to view this military ID armband on Amazon.

Conclusion

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster or in a post-apocalyptic scenario, the ability to conceal yourself as a gray man can be an extremely useful survival skill. The last thing you want is for all your time and effort put into prepping to be for naught by having your supplies taken off you by someone less prepared and more desperate.

To improve your gray man abilities, observe the way people dress and act as you go about your day – what stands out, what makes various people noticeable? This can help you hone in on the objects and behaviors that draw attention.

Combining this knowledge with the four key steps to becoming a gray man will put you well on your way to being able to ‘disappear’ into any crowd and increase your chances of survival when disaster strikes.

Your Thoughts

Do you have any thoughts on the gray man theory? Have you experienced a situation where you needed to conceal your preparedness? Let us know about your thoughts and experiences in the Comments, thanks!

The post Gray Man Theory: The Art Of Blending In During Disaster appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Speculations On Civil Unrest And How To Protect Your Survival Preps

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survival preps

Note: This article was contributed by Cory from survivethewild.net.

Being a prepper has many great benefits, you have abundant food storage and supplies, you have a bug out bag ready for any situation and you have knowledge that could mean life and death when the SHTF.

But all of these things could make you a target to those close to you who see the abundance of supplies and knowledge you have.

So we’re going to go over the threats that are likely present to your survival preps right now, whether you live in the suburbs of Los Angeles or the rural dirt roads of Killeen, TX. There’s always someone that wants what you have, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Also we will take a glimpse into the future of the dangers that could be avoided. No one knows for certain how life will be once the SHTF, but we can make accurate assumptions based on what we know now.

Present Threats to Your Survival Preps

survival preps

Threat #1 Neighbors

While this may not be a big concern if you live out in the sticks, if you live in the city you’ll have people within arms distance no matter where you turn. Which means that eyes will be on you and what you’re doing, whether with intent to get what you have or just out of curiosity.

Neighbors aren’t in themselves a bad thing, community is what we all desire and if you have the right community then great. Just know that if you let your community become aware of your survival preps, then you have put yourself on their list of “resources”, and they’ll likely come knocking your door down when it all goes down.

survival preps

You’ve worked hard to build up survival preps for your family. Be cautious of letting others know about your preparedness efforts. Image via Bob on flickr.

Ways You Can Avoid This                             

  • Unload your preps or more valuable supplies at night
  • Store survival preps away from your home in a bunker or storage unit
  • Convert nosy neighbors to helpers that assist you, this could be dangerous, but pay off in a big way
survival preps

Living in close proximity can make it even more difficult to keep your survival preps on the down low, but your neighbors can also be your allies if you play your cards right.

Threat #2 Isolation

It’s true that there’s safety in isolation, but that goes for the perpetrator as well.

If you do live in the rural areas then you will need to be on your guard more so than people living within the city. Not because there’s more people, but for the fact that there’s less people which can be witnesses.

survival preps

Choose your level of isolation carefully when planning your bug-out location.

Think about it, if someone were to get past your defenses and use mildly silenced weapons to take you and your family down in a blaze of gun fire at night, there probably wouldn’t be anyone to stop them or witness it.

Isolation may be a great defense, but it’s a double-edged sword.

survival preps

Ways You Can Avoid This                

  • Don’t go for complete isolation, a few densely wooded acres is enough to feel secluded
  • Establish relationships with those closest (geographically) to you and have nightly check ins. This can be an excuse to build lasting relationships to prevent cabin fever.

Threat #3 Burglars (Greedy Preppers)  

This sounds like a pretty small factor to a prepper. I mean, you’re someone who’s got plenty of ammunition and know how to take care of a simple burglar. But as is the case in life, it’s not always that simple.

There are preppers in the community who would much rather take from those who’ve spent the time storing food and make plans, rather than do it themselves.

And unfortunately these people are a very real threat, mostly because you’re fighting an enemy who is reading from the same playbook as you essentially. Which means that you’ll need to get a little crafty in your defenses.

survival preps

Stay one step ahead by taking security measures to protect your survival cache. Image via *sax on flickr.

How To Avoid

  • Maintain a constant state of awareness as to who’s around your property or neighborhood. Whoever seems out of the norm should be documented, and if needed, approached with caution.
  • Don’t make your routines noticeable, this will make you an easy target because they can predict when you won’t be home and then take your stuff.
Drones-For-Preppers-Intro

Drones can be programmed to perform perimeter surveillance flights. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Threats After The Grid Goes Down

survival preps

A lone stranger can mean big trouble for your bug-out group.

Threat #4 Marauders    

Now don’t expect some greased up motorcycle riding bandits that wear tire clothes and have wild hair. That would make life too easy if all the bad guys were that easy to spot. No when the grid goes down we’ll all be cautious, and the marauders often more so to hide their intentions.

A marauder doesn’t always have to be someone who comes in guns blazing, a more biblical approach is what should be expected. They’ll appear weak and defenseless, left by their friends and starving alone. Then when you let your guard down they’ll take all you’ve got.

How To Avoid

  • Any new comers to your group should be extensively vetted for signs of untrustworthiness. It would be a good idea to have “morality tests” in place to find out the true colors of the new comer in situations where they feel no one’s watching.
  • Don’t accept newcomers to your group, this may be harsh but it will keep you safe. Be careful though, if you hurt someone’s feelings in a lawless world there’s not much to stop them from seeking an apology in the middle of the night…

Threat #5 Insurrections Within The Group

Let’s face it, no one will ever be the perfect leader, and there will always be someone who either thinks they can do it better or just wants the power. Either way, there are bound to be times when your leadership is questioned and the possibility of an insurrection emanates.

Now this decreases a bit if you’re traveling with family. The dynamics of a household that was brought up for this exact scenario will keep their cool a lot better than a suburban family that’s had all they’ve worked so hard for stripped away in a matter of days. It’s these people that will likely turn on each other in a desperate attempt to regain some sense of getting back to what was normalcy.

survival preps

Life after disaster is tough enough. Preparing your family now to work as a team will contribute to your survival success.

How To Avoid

  • Start working with your family now to lay down the laws of how things will be, and set systems in place that provide justice within the group. As well there needs to be checks and balances, a dictatorship isn’t any fun.
  • Make a decision that if you bring strangers into your fold that they know that it’s your way or the highway.

Threat #6 The Governors

survival preps

In the absence of organized government, people will likely resort to intimidation tactics in order to gain power and improve their rank.

This is a Hollywood term given to people who might build a colony or safe haven that “rescues” travelers. But instead of rescuing them, they’re relieved of their lives and supplies for the good of the colony.

This idea was made popular in the tv show “The Walking Dead”. And to be honest it’s something that many have considered a negative likelihood for the post SHTF times. And you need to know how to deal with it so that you can properly take care of your family.

How To Avoid

  • Avoid going into situations like these all together, true there may be some camps that are good, but you only get one chance to make the wrong mistake.
  • If you stumble upon one of these camps take time to observe it from a distance, note if newcomers are made a part of the community or if just what they brought makes it to the community.

Conclusion

I hope this has been a learning experience for you, and while this is a pretty heavy and somewhat depressing subject to talk about, I’m glad that you’re taking the time to learn about the dangers we’re facing now and in the future! With this knowledge I hope you use it to guard your family closely.

If you liked this article, please feel free to come visit us as well over at survivethewild.net. Thank you, Chris for your generosity in letting us come and spend time with your amazing readers.

Your Thoughts

Do you discuss your prepping efforts with your neighbors and friends? How do you decide who to tell about your survival preps? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Speculations On Civil Unrest And How To Protect Your Survival Preps appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Back to Basics Living Bundle: Over 60 ebooks, online courses, planners and more!

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600x400Bundle-DealSkills and knowledge trump gear and miscellaneous stuff when it comes to survival, and this brand new Back to Basics Living Bundle will provide you and your family with hours and hours of great information related to many different areas of being prepared.

WHAT IS A BUNDLE? With the popularity of ebooks and online courses, “bundles” have become a hot trend. A bundle is simply a collection of related ebooks, online magazines, e-courses (online classes) and, occasionally, collections of podcasts. You pay a single fee for access to the entire lot and then can download it to as many computers and other electronic devices as you wish.

This Back to Basics Living Bundle is impressive. When I first took a look at the ebooks and contributing authors, it was a “Wow!” moment. There is so much great information in this bundle and best of all, it’s not just for preppers. There’s something for everyone with more than 60 ebooks, an online magazine included, 2 excellent planners (one for food storage and the other for homeschoolers), and 6 online classes! The price is $29.97, if you want to jump in right now! (Downloads are all available immediately upon payment.)

Interested in learning more about healthy eating?

Ridding family diets of GMO ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, and other unwanted ingredients has led millions of  us to overall better  health. What you’ll find in this bundle are these ebooks:

  • Homestead Cooking With Carol
  • Cooking With the Seasons: Winter Edition from Herbal Academy
  • Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruit and Vegetables
  • Empowered Eating

Switching From Store-Bought to Homemade

This has been a trend I’ve been promoting on the blog for the past year or more. In my home, we’ve switched to homemade condiments, seasoning mixes, salad dressings, personal care products, and even salad dressings! The Back to Basics Living Bundle provides even more suggestions for making this change with these ebook titles:

  • Off the Shelf: Alternatives to the Condiments, Toppings, and Snacks You Love
  • Whole Wheat Bread Making
  • DIY Face Masks and Scrubs
  • The Complete Guide to Natural Cleaning
  • Pickling Primer
  • Homemade Beauty Essentials

On a tight budget?

I don’t exaggerate when I say the bundle has something for just about everyone! Too many of us are having to tighten up the budget more and more each year. In this bundle, there are some excellent resources:

  • From Dirt to Dollars: A Guide to Selling at Farmers’ Markets
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Cooking
  • The Debit Card Envelope Budget
  • Six Dollar Family (From Six Dollars to Six Figures)
  • Handmade Gifts From the Kitchen

Love organization and planners?

I was thrilled to see one of my favorite food storage planners in the bundle — the one from Jodi and Julie of Food Storage Made Easy!  It typically sells for $14 and is much more than just a planner. Jodi and Julie have included plenty of their best tips for getting started with food storage and keeping track of what you have.


60+ ebooks, 6 online courses and more for #homesteading, #prepping, #healthyliving. $29.97 thru 1/24.…
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Homeschoolers will have access to My Color Coded Homeschool Planner from blogger, Jennifer Osuch, and getting organized will be easier with printables and family/household schedules from these ebooks:

  • “Get Your Life Back” Home Organization Bundle
  • Easy Peasy Chores
  • Family Systems: How to Automate Your Housewife Life

Honestly? For $29.97 — take my money already!!

Preppers — You’re included, too!

Reader, Elizabeth, asked me, “I am looking for ebooks that would be useful to have on hand in a post-event, no power situation.  Would you say these would qualify, or are they more for pre-event planning?”

I read through the list of ebooks and online courses and found plenty that will help preppers now and after a worst case scenario. By the way, you’ll have the option to buy a USB flash drive containing all the ebooks and other materials. If you choose to spend the extra few dollars for that, store that flash drive in a Faraday container to protect it from something truly catastrophic, such as an EMP or coronal mass ejection.

For Elizabeth, there are several books ideal for preppers:

  • The Everyday Carry Guide
  • Prepping Crash Course
  • The Complete Book of Preppers Lists
  • Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan — with printables
  • Protein Power — ebooks with tips for raising chickens, rabbit, and fish
  • …and then all the homesteading and gardening ebooks and courses.

There are so many resources that you’ll want and need to pace yourself. I recommend downloading everything to the computer(s) you use the most and then, if your electronic devices are networked, upload one or two ebooks to a tablet, ebook reader (Kindle), or your smartphone. Print out the planners and printables that will be most helpful to you and add them to your files and/or binders. Organization is a major key to being prepared.

Once the bundle is purchased, you own these books and resources.

I do hope you’ll take advantage of this bundle. Knowledge and skills are the one area of preparedness that you’ll never lose and they can never be stolen.

Click here to read more details and purchase the Back to Basics Living Bundle!

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Short- & Long-Term Survival Preparedness Info You NEED To Know

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survival preparedness

Note: This article was contributed by Richard Beck from TheOutdoorsPro.com. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

Within your lifetime, you may encounter many different kinds of situations where you will need to rely on your own survival preparedness. Therefore, it is essential that you have the skills to survive on your own. Some of these situations include snowstorms, earthquakes, EMPs, nuclear, and many others. Being prepared for these situations is the first important step in survival.

72-Hour Bug-Out Bag

The first thing that you will need is a 72-hour bug-out bag for each member of your family. This bag should be kept with the family member at all times. If you have a child, and you do not live extremely close to the school, then you need to leave it at a friend’s house very near the school.

survival preparedness

Your family bug-out plan should include a safe place for your kids to go near their school, in case you are delayed in getting to them.

As the name suggests, this bag will help the person survive during the first 72 hours. Even assuming that it is safe to go outside, the government and other charities have admitted that it will take them that long to get organized and on site.

survival preparedness

Your bug-out bag should be packed and ready to go at all times.

There are numerous things that need to be in your bug-out bag, but the two most important things are food and water. While that may seem obvious, there are at least five other things that you should keep with you at all times.

Family Bug Out Bag

Food and Water

survival preparedness

While they do not need to be gourmet, your survival meals DO need to sustain you until you can secure an alternate food source.

Numerous governments around the world are stockpiling food. Imagine the very real scenario where you cannot go to the store and buy what you need. For example, you may be ordered to stay in your current location.

Even if you are brave enough to head out, if there is no electricity, you cannot buy gas to get you to the store nor will stores be able to get gas to transport groceries. Therefore, you need to be buying extra food until you have a year’s supply of food, A great place to start, however, is to develop 30 days worth of food.

survival preparedness

Dehydrated meals are a lightweight option for stocking your bug out bags. Just add boiling water to these Mountain House dinners and you have a hot meal. Click to view on Amazon.

While you can survive for a short time without food, although you may not want too, you cannot survive without water. Everyone needs to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. Since you may need to be physically active during this period, you may need to drink even more water.

survival preparedness

Carrying two water bottles per person will minimize having to stop and harvest water frequently.

Additionally, if a survival situation occurs during the summer you will need more water. Water can be extremely heavy, therefore, you need to know where to find water including how to drain water from all pipes in your home and how to collect rainwater. You also need to learn how to purify water.

Drought-Prepping-Intro2

Click here to learn clever ways to harvest water from natural sources, as well as how to make it safe to drink.

Finances

survival preparedness

Without currency, you will need to learn ways to barter for items you need.

If you are used to running to the ATM to get money, they will not work when the electricity is down. As recently seen in Germany and Puerto Rico, you may not be able to get your money out of the bank or be able to get it out in very limited supplies.

Therefore, the modern survivalist needs to keep a minimum amount of cash on hand as you may be surprised what it buys you during a bug-out situation. Additionally, make sure to make a copy of all your important legal documents and keep them in a safe at home. During an emergency, you may have to prove who you are and that you belong in an area before you are even allowed to enter an area.

survival preparedness

It’s a good idea to have photo identification for all members of your bug-out party, especially in the event that you need to cross international borders.

Communication

Communication is a survival essential whether you find yourself in an urban setting or in the outdoors. If you are starting to forget what it was like to live without a smartphone, or never knew, then stop for a moment and realize that during an extreme emergency, you may not be able to use any phones at all.

survival preparedness

It may be hard to get a signal in remote areas or cell phones may be useless, as with an EMP event. Your survival preparedness plan should include alternate means of communication.

Additionally, depending on the situation, most radio stations and most television stations may be off the air. You will still, however, need to receive information from the outside world such as how to take shelter, what happened, and what officials are recommending that you do about the situation. Therefore, everyone should have a hand-cranked AM/FM radio. If you live in North America, then use this radio to get information from the Emergency Broadcast Network.

survival preparedness

Emergency weather radios are a vital source of information during a disaster. The Eton Scorpion II has a handcrank, solar panel, and DC adaptor for multiple power options. Click the image to view on Amazon or CLICK HERE to learn more about emergency radios.

Secondly, you should consider becoming a licensed ham radio operator and connecting with others in your area that are already a part of their emergency network. For over 100 years, the American Radio Relay League has been active in almost every disaster helping people get the information that they need the most. If you are not ready to fully participate as a ham radio operator, then at least get a good battery operated scanner and learn where they broadcast in your area.

best emergency weather radio

Shelter in Place Vs. Bug Out Location

The next decision that you will need to decide is what your best bet is on location. There may be times when you have no choice, but to stay where you are at the moment. If that is your home, then you need to have supplies ready to create a quarantine room.

Many people are making the choice of moving permanently to a bug-out location. When choosing to buy property for a bug-out location, you need to consider which area is right for you. Many people are buying in remote mountain area because of the abundance of natural resources and the water supply.

survival preparedness

The ideal bug-out location varies depending on your current location and how you plan to meet your individual needs.

Others are choosing to buy bug-out locations in the plains because food can more easily be grown there. Whichever decision you decide is right for your family, you need a comprehensive plan including knowing at least three routes to get there. While many people use GPS to get them everywhere, chances are in a survival situation, GPS is not going to work.

survival preparedness

Planning several different bug-out routes ahead of time will assist you in making the best choice when the time comes. Be aware of flooding or other obstacles that may make a route impassable.

Therefore, you need to get maps of any area that you may be traveling through. While it is important to have great road maps, you may also need detailed topography maps because you may want to avoid the highways. If you decide to purchase a bug-out location, then it needs to be within one gas tank of your current location. Incidentally, you should already be filling up your car every night with a full tank of gas. For more bug-out vehicle tips, CLICK HERE.

Power

survival preparedness

Are you prepared to handle life without electricity?

If a disaster knocked out the electrical grid within the United States, experts say it would take at least a decade to rebuild that grid. Therefore, you are going to need to learn to rely on your own resources to create the power that you and your family needs.

There are at least eight different ways that you can generate energy at home or in your bug-out location. The one that is right for you depends on many different factors including what things you are likely to have present in your environment. Some common choices include solar, wind, water, and steam, but you cannot wait until after an emergency occurs to get started learning to harness these forms of electricity.

survival preparedness

Solar panels are one way to increase the self-sufficiency of your bug-out location.

Self-Defense

During an emergency, you may not be able to rely on emergency services to provide even the most basic levels of protection. Therefore, it is essential to know how to protect yourself and your family. The first step in doing this is deciding which method of self-protection is right for you. Remember that you may need to kill someone or be killed.

survival weapons

While a gun may not be the right choice for everyone, if it is the right choice for you, then there are many different choices including Mighty Barret and AK-47s down to 9 mm handguns. There are many advantages and disadvantages to each one, so make the choice that makes you the most comfortable.

Never purchase a weapon that you have not been properly trained to use. If you are likely to have children around, then make sure to teach them how to safely leave a firearm alone and how to tell someone when they see a firearm improperly stored.

Medical Needs

In addition to protecting yourself, you may very well need to take care of your family’s medical needs. Again, remember that ambulances may not be operational and hospitals may not be a safe place to go. At a minimum, you may need to know how to control bleeding and treat wounds.

In order to prepare for survival, you need to build a great first aid kit. You also need to know how to treat more advanced injuries. Since medical care may be set back a long way during some survival situations, it is often best to study older medical guides and know what medicine plants to grow and use.

survival preparedness

Your first aid kit should include bandaging, medications, and medical tools for handling common injuries. Click the image to view this kit on Amazon.

Survival Forums

If you are fascinated by this topic, then there are several forums that you can check out that have great information on them. They also make a great place to ask your questions and have them answered by people who have spent a long time coming to their opinions. These include:

Concluding Thoughts On Survival Preparedness

It is not a question of if you will need survival skills, it is a case of when. Almost everyone will experience a survival situation at some time in their lifetime. Most will be caused by natural events like hurricanes, floods, snowstorms and fires. Others may be centered around man-made events caused by nuclear attacks or EMP events. The steps you take toward survival preparedness today will increase your chances of withstanding these events and rebuilding your life afterward.

About The Author

Richard Beck is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, bushcraft and many other activities in the wild. For more information about all things related to the outdoors check out TheOutdoorsPro.com.

Your Thoughts

Which aspects of survival preparedness do you find most challenging? What resources have you found most helpful? Share your experiences in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Short- & Long-Term Survival Preparedness Info You NEED To Know appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

How To Barter When Money Fails In A Post-Collapse Society

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how to barter

There’s little doubt that, once the dust settles, the post-collapse life is going to be tough. Most of the conveniences we take for granted today will be hard to acquire, regardless of whether or not money will still be worth anything. People who want them will say and do anything, people who sell them will come up with all sorts of strategies and you need to be prepared because, no matter how prepped you are, it’s still likely you’ll end up in desperate positions. That is why it is important to know how to barter.

how to barter

Without currency to set value, how will you get the things you need? Image via epSos .de on flickr.

In what follows I want to give you a few solid bartering and negotiation tactics and techniques that will help you get food, water or medicine when you’ll need them most. However, if you truly want them to work for you, you have to practice them. Reading them just isn’t enough, that’s why included a special section at the end where I suggest how you can do that.

Top 10 Barter Items To Stockpile

Item Why It’s Great For Bartering
1. Bandages First aid items are very valuable, especially care for larger wounds since they will require more dressing and frequent changes.
2. Batteries AA and AAA are popular sizes for flashlights, headlamps, radios, and numerous other electronics. Batteries inevitably run out so these are a surefire need after SHTF.
3. MREs Food. Need we say more? Keep in mind that someone desparate for food is very vulnerable and use caution when negotiating a deal.
4. Duct Tape
Infinite survival uses, including splinting a broken bone, repairing a tent, fletching an arrow, and marking a trail. An entire roll of duct tape should yield a high value in a trade.
5. Zip Ties
Versatile and strong, zip ties are great for hanging gear, securing shelter, fixing clothes and shoes, and more. It’s easy to carry a large number of them and separate into smaller bundles to trade.
6. Fish Antibiotics
Fish antibiotics can be purchased OTC and contain the same ingredients as human antibiotics. For more information on types and dosages, check out Fish Antibiotics For Humans: A Safe Option For Your Survival Kit?
7. Condoms
In addition to contraception, condoms have many survival uses such as carrying water (up to 2 gallons!), waterproofing gear, even a slingshot for hunting small game. They are also lightweight and easy to carry.
8. Water Purification Tablets
Since each tablet treats 16 oz of water, one bottle contains many bartering opportunities. Or trade the whole bottle for a larger item you need.
9. Waterproof Matches
Fire is essential to survival so waterproof matches can be a great bartering tool. You can also carry extra capsule lighters, such as the Everstryke Pro to add long-term value to your trade.
10. Button Compasses
Small and inexpensive yet very useful, especially in the absence of GPS or cell phone navigation. They can be used to find the way back to camp, locate family and friends, or to migrate to a new area.

Click the images to view on Amazon.

How To Barter After Disaster

how to barter

Trade wisely to conserve your resources and obtain the things you need.

Forget About Meeting The Other Person In The Middle

For some reason, many negotiations end before they begin. One of the parties gives a number, the other gives another and they both know they’ll agree to the sum of their offers divided by 2.

how to barter

Don’t settle for less than your fair share.

You can do better than that. The reason this happens is because they’re not taking into consideration other factors such as how bad one party needs what the other has to offer. Another thing you can do is find out as much as you can about your opponent beforehand.

The more you know about them and their situation, the more leverage you’ll have. And if you can’t find out much about them, it’s best to avoid doing any kind of post-SHTF deals. Those could be dangerous, anyway.

Start With A Lowball Offer

If you can do this and your opponent doesn’t turn around and leave, you just saved yourself a lot of money (or whatever you are using for currency). Starting really low means that the other party will eventually have to settle for a much lower price than if you’d started with something more reasonable.

Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away From A Deal

Everything is a number’s game. Just because you need what the other person has to offer, this doesn’t mean you have to take it. You might find 5 or 10 other guys out there that will gladly take your deal and give you what you need, you just need to have the guts to end the negotiations and look for them.

how to barter

Convenience is tempting but don’t be afraid to shop around for a better trade.

Most people don’t see it this way, though. They might say:

What? You mean I have to go through the pain of finding someone else, especially since I have this guy right here who can give me what I need?

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The reason you don’t want to do it is because it’s painful to think you have to spend more energy to find other people. But that’s the thing. If you can train yourself to do it regularly, if you allow yourself to play the numbers’ game, walking away from bad deals will become second nature.

how to barter

It can be hard to walk away but your opponent is counting on that fact. Maintain the upper hand and avoid bad deals. Image via DieselDemon on flickr.

Throw In A Bonus

People love things they can get for free. If you feel you’re close to closing a deal but still not happy with it, how about giving away a small bonus? Maybe something from your get home bag that you already have plenty of at home. You never know what the other person needs besides your money or bartering items, this is why due diligence and talking to them are a must.

how to barter

If your opponent looks hesitant, try sweetening the deal with a bonus item. Image via Ino_Paap on flickr.

Say “No” To Lowball Offers

We talked about giving really low offers but what if someone does that to you? This puts you in a weak position so the best way to counteract it is to simply say:

No, this isn’t an offer I might consider. If you can come back with a more decent offer, I’m open to negotiation.

If they like it, fine. They’ll give you a more reasonable first offer. If they don’t, like I said, there’re plenty of other guys who might be interested in the deal.

The More You Tell, The More You Sell

What I’m trying to say is, the more arguments you bring in your favor, the better you can justify the price. Particularly in the absence of money (read: bartering), it’ll be hard to put value on things. This is why thinking and then stating every possible reason that works in your favor will bring you one step closer to what you want, how you want it.

how to barter

Be creative in how you talk up your item by explaining all of its uses and features in detail. Image via US Army Africa on flickr.

Make Small Concessions

If you started with a really low offer, there’s no better way to seal a deal than to give your opponent more than his new expectations. Of course, you shouldn’t do that if you think you can get a better deal but if you really want to wrap things up, making a small concession might bring the negotiations to a quick and happy ending.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any other survival skill, you shouldn’t wait for the end of the world to put into practice bartering and negotiations. You need to do it beforehand because when you’re desperate for food or water, your emotions will get in the way.

Some of ways to practice bartering and negotiations, include:

  • simulations with your family,
  • playing poker (it allows you to read people and develops your greed),
  • going to a flea market (you’ll find plenty of cheap things that you may need for your stockpile),
  • start a business (and negotiate every little thing with your supplies and partners)
  • …and, provided that you have something to offer that you yourself produce (honey, veggies etc.), try bartering them for other things.
how to barter

Going into a deal with confidence takes practice. Learn it now in the comfort of a flea market without the pressure of survival on the line!

Conclusion

Just keep in mind that everything in this world is negotiable, you just need to have the right mindset. Understand the value of your own items and give a detailed explanation when trading. Know how to barter for the things you need and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. Teach it to your kids too, studies show that the sooner, the better.

Your Thoughts

Can you remember a time when you successfully negotiated or bartered and got a good deal? Use the Comment section below to share your story, thanks!

The post How To Barter When Money Fails In A Post-Collapse Society appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

How to get your crap together

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I wrote recently about why people don’t move overseas. I’m convinced that the single greatest reason people don’t move overseas is fear. They’re afraid of disappointing their moms, their friends, their churches. They’re afraid they’ll ruin the lives of their children or that they’ll be making a mistake. They’re afraid.

Unfortunately, if you want to live your life the way you want, at some point you’re going to have to get over your fear. This might mean that you disappoint people you thought were important and it might mean you do make a few mistakes, but you’ll never know whether or not you’ll succeed until you try. If everyone in the world who was afraid they’d mess up never tried, nothing would ever get done.

Here’s how you can get your crap together and move overseas, simplify your life, or become a better prepper.

Read
Reading a book like Gorilla Mindset is a great way to start. Even though this book is geared toward men, I really enjoyed it and I am definitely all girl. You should read books that motivate you. I have several prepping books available on Amazon, as well as minimalist living books. These things are important to me, so I write about them. I also read about them. When I’m not writing, I am almost always reading. I read books I agree with and books that I hate. I read lots of different opinions and viewpoints and then figure out what works best for me. If you want to be brave, read books on bravery. If you want to stand up to your family, read books on boundaries. (“Boundaries” is a great book.) If you want to move overseas, read books on how it’s done. If you want to simplify, read minimalism books.

List
What do you want? What are your goals? Write them down. When they’re written down, you’ll have a better chance to really explore what you want. Sometimes seeing things in print makes it seem more serious. Sometimes it makes things seem more attainable. If there’s something you want, write it down, then create a list of steps. Figure out exactly what you need to do to make this thing happen. For example, if you want to publish a book next year, where do you start? Maybe you’ll write one chapter each week. Maybe you’ll write 2,000 words a day. Maybe you’ll join a writer’s group. How you reach your goal doesn’t matter. What matters is that you reach it. Write down your goals and create a plan.

Act 
Finally, you just have to do it. You have to jump. You have to try. When we decided to move overseas, we had quite a few people think we were insane. A lot of people thought we wouldn’t go through with it. My husband didn’t have a job when we left for Taiwan and we didn’t have resident visas. We left, trusting that everything would work out and that even if it didn’t, we’d be okay. We have our faith and we have each other. Even if our entire plan to move overseas completely failed, we’d survive, and we’d know that it was okay because we tried.

Whether you want to prep, downsize, declutter, move, or learn a new skill, you just have to put yourself out there.

The idea that you might fail is horrifying, but failing is better than not trying. Failing is better than being too scared to even risk anything. If you spend your entire life avoiding risks, you’re never going to live.

Today, figure out what you want. Where do you want to be in a month? In six? In a year? What do you want to be doing? Maybe you want to be self-sufficient or have a savings account. Maybe you want to be minimalist. Maybe you just want to downsize. No matter what your goals are, remember two things: 1) They aren’t stupid. 2) You can do it. You have to be willing to work hard, to try your best, and to ignore the haters. They’ll always be there. Prove them wrong by succeeding when they think you won’t.

Handy gadgets when you’re on the road

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Only Carry-On

Only Carry-On

Its vacation time – and here we are – on the road again…and wanting to travel light.

We thought we would share with you a few items that fit in a small rucksack and will improve your life and increase your chances of making friends along the way.

One thing is for sure – clean people are more socially acceptable – especially when arriving in a strange area for the first time. The Scrubba Wash Bag – Buy it from Amazon.com is a great way to make up for the fact that you are secretly sleeping in your car.

This magic bag promises to help you stay cleaner and therefore more welcome. You simply push the sweaty and smelly clothes you slept in, into the bag, add some warm water and detergent, lock the bag and rub it for 15 minutes and tada! clean clothes for the road. Check it out.

Offering a cup of quality coffee is a great way to break the ice – but it can set you back $3 a pop – or more in cities.The MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker is a compact travel mate for the coffee-lover on the move. The tiny device fits in the pocket and does not need electricity or battery (let alone a Wi-Fi connection). It relies on the user pumping it to brew a strong cup.

Fancy ingratiating yourself with something stronger? Tabletop Moonshine Still allows you to practise the science of booze-making anywhere. It will bulk up your bug-out bag but at $180 its a great deal – included is a half-gallon still, piping, an ice bucket , all made of the non-reactive Type 304 stainless steel that’s used in premium cookware , as well as a packet of turbo yeast and instructions. It’s straightforward to set up, requires no running water or complicated cooling systems, and yields roughly 7 to 12 ounces of hard alcohol per batch of low strength solution.

With all those new friends you will be wanting to take some selfies to email them later and/or upload to your social media. But carrying a fancy DSLR camera around is both a magnet for thieves and an extra heavyweight item. A pair of Photojojo’s magnetic lenses for only $30 can turn a smartphone into a fancy camera. The collection has six lenses, but we recommend the wide angle/macro lens and the telephoto (2x), and each is crafted out of solid aluminium and outfitted with thick, high-clarity glass.

Happy Travels. Happy Holidays!

The post Handy gadgets when you’re on the road appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How Tactical Fitness Prepares Your Body For Survival

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tactical fitness

Note: This post was contributed by Garry Bowman, writer for 911gear.ca. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

Fitness has a new category now-Tactical Fitness. The fitness programs for Military, Police, Fire Fighter, and Special Ops have all been clubbed under one category known as Tactical Fitness. This has become so popular that training associations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) have a certified program for Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC).  

So, this new category will see an upsurge unlike other concepts, such as boot camp workouts, which have lost their ground over time. The following article highlights this new genre of fitness along with a fine line difference between the tactical fitness and regular fitness.

tactical fitness

What Is Tactical Fitness?

tactical fitness

Tactical Fitness is more about work and not workouts. It is not designed for having a good workout but for facing real life situations like lifts, carries, crawls, runs, rucks, swims, and mobility, even situations which demand logical and innovative thinking.

It makes use of non-traditional tools and equipment for carrying up unbalanced loads. Tactical Fitness is more about handling life and death situations for you, your buddy, or anyone whom you are trying to help. And such situations not only demand physical fitness but mental alertness and readiness to act and not react in stressful situations.

tactical fitness

Tactical fitness demands you to be a team player as well. You need to coordinate not just between your body and mind but also with your buddies to handle the situation.

Better your workout, better you will be at the real-time situation.

Building Blocks Of Tactical Fitness

tactical fitness

Tactical fitness is not just about a healthy heart, blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight, but you need to be a master of the following elements of fitness as well:

  • Speed and Endurance – It includes running and gradually improving pace.
  • Vigor and Power – It includes lifting of various equipment, gear, and even people.
  • Flexibility and Mobility – It includes moving over uneven terrain and between the obstacles.
  • Muscle endurance – This includes moving yourself and gearing up, over, under, and through space.
  • Old Man Grip – This includes holding gear, climbing over the mountain or rope.
  • Other Skills – This includes learning to swim, river crossing etc.

Incorporating these elements into your daily workout routine will better prepare you for real situations. Systems like TACTFIT Commando and Girls Gone Strong offer structured workouts based on tactical fitness. Read on for more information on these programs and to find out how to get started now.

tactical fitness

Difference between Tactical Athletes and Traditional Athletes

tactical fitness

Although you will attain a level near to perfection with these fitness elements, it is natural to have weaknesses. So, you need to determine the weaknesses and work upon them to achieve an excellence in them.

Being a Tactical Athlete and getting trained for all of these elements is not going to land you among the strongest or fastest persons in the country, but you will develop a good level of strength, endurance and stamina- all of which come into play in survival situations.

tactical fitness

An advanced Tactical Athlete can easily do 20 pull-ups and dead lift twice his body weight of 200 pounds and still can run for several miles.  Even after such exceptional numbers, a Tactical Athlete may still be beatable by a cross country runner but maintains an upper hand in strength events.  

tactical fitness

There are many fitness elements that are not even in the dictionary of a normal athlete but a Tactical Athlete is a master of all those fitness points.

Training of a Tactical Athlete

tactical fitness

There are particular stages of training for a Tactical Athlete. The aspiring candidates have to be exceptionally good to grab a chance for these public service professions. The typical fitness tests includes: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile runs, and sprint or swim test.

Growth Cycles of Tactical Athletes

tactical fitness

Training and active-duty scenario are entirely different worlds in a career of a Tactical Athlete. The training years prepare you for jobs that demand running, swimming, diving, lifting, etc.

tactical fitness

Maintenance programs include conditioning programs that make you strong, fast, well-conditioned and flexible. Learning about periodization is the key to arrange workouts that can help you to cope with the demands of job -country, overseas or your community.

Therefore, tactical fitness is about winning real-life situations which can be a matter of life and death for someone.

Where To Get Started

Finding an effective tactical fitness regime that fits into your busy life can be challenging. Below are training options for men and women that maximize results in a manageable amount of time, so you can stick with it and achieve your goals.

TACFIT Commando

The TACFIT Commando system by Scott Sonnon packs a full body workout into just 20 minutes per day. Using only your body weight as resistance, you can improve your strength and agility without the need for expensive equipment or gym memberships. And because the workouts can be performed anywhere, it is easier to keep up your program even when you travel.

tactical fitness

Click to transform your workout into tactical training with TACFIT Commando TODAY!

The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training

Specifically designed for women, The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training by Girls Gone Strong is a step-by-step system to help you actualize your fitness goals. Develop a strong and healthy body without spending hours at the gym. The workouts are aligned with the Minimum Effective Dose approach and you progress at your own pace to keep yourself challenged.

tactical fitness

Click to get started with The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training TODAY!

About The Author

Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at 911gear.ca, the finest dealer of tactical gear in Canada. 911gear.ca also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Your Thoughts

Are you ready to motivate? What are your fitness goals? Share your prepper workout tips in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post How Tactical Fitness Prepares Your Body For Survival appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Why Every Prepper Should Read Gorilla Mindset

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If you’re active in the #gamergate crowd on Twitter, you’ve probably heard of Mike Cernovich. He’s the creator of Danger and Play and the author of a book called Gorilla Mindset. He’s also a world traveler, an entrepreneur, and a really all-around interesting guy. I read Gorilla Mindset last month after going to a webinar hosted by Mike Cernovich and Vox Day. The book was incredibly informative and it’s one I think every prepper should read.

Here’s why.

1. The author practices what he preaches
 I think the most important thing to know about this book is that while the author is confrontational and opinionated, he’s transparent. He doesn’t hide who he is or lie. In fact, he’s very active on both Twitter and his blog talking about the importance of honesty. While many authors write self-help books, a lot of them make the mistake of caring more about money than actually helping people. I like Mike’s book because he took the time to host a free webinar with Vox (which I attended) that provided a lot of useful, tangible ways to improve myself. I also like his book because Mike admits that he isn’t perfect, yet he learns from his mistakes and shows readers how they can, too. Another reason this author is worth reading is that he reaches out to veterans. Long-time readers will remember that my husband spent 10 years in the Air Force, so the fact that Mike gave free copies of his book to veterans is very important to me and shows that he cares about his readers and in getting this information out there.

2. It’s not just for men
I do not have a penis. I also read and enjoyed Gorilla Mindset. I’m a conservative Christian wife and mother of two and I thought this book was awesome. Many books written by females, especially self-help books, make the mistake of convincing women to love ourselves “as-is.” I like that Gorilla Mindset showed me real, tangible ways I could improve myself that didn’t involve any sort of “body love” campaign. While I get that many women love these types of campaigns, I would rather develop the skills I need to improve myself, rather than try to convince myself that I’m fine. Anytime my kids struggle with something, I remind them that they can always get better. The same is true for myself. If I’m not happy with my weight, I need to eat healthier and work out more. If I’m not happy with my book sales, I can market and promote and write more books. I do not have to live life being unhappy, but I also have to be brave enough to take a stand and move forward.

3. You’ll learn how to live the life you want
If you’re a prepper, you have goals for your life. Maybe you want to learn how to garden or how to shoot. Maybe you want to make your own bullets or learn about holistic medicine. You might want to live off the grid or become self-sufficient. Maybe you want to homeschool your kids so they can focus on developing life skills. Gorilla Mindset can help you reach your goals by showing you how to refocus your energy and how to refocus your mind. If you constantly come up with excuses and reasons why you can’t do things, you’ll always find a way to avoid success. Instead of being afraid of achieving your goals, this book will give you the skills you need to become a better prepper, parent, spouse, and person.

I recommended this book to my husband and when my kids are older, I’ll suggest they read it, too. Any man or woman can benefit from the skills Mike shares in his book. This book is all about bettering yourself by improving your mindset. Since reading this book, I’ve found that I am more committed to my work, dedicated to improving myself, and more sure of the fact that my thinking really impacts my ability to succeed.

Happy yuletide greatings from Wyoming…

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As this year rolls to a close just a couple of weeks from now, it seems to be one for the record books. Not so much for SurvivalRing, but pretty much life, health, disease, pestilence, terrorism, treason, crime, racism, graft, corruption, etc…you know the drill…the American Dream. I’ve been freakishly lax in posting new things on […]

Cold Weather Survival Gear & Tips For Battling The Snow

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cold weather survival gear

Winter can be a beautiful and highly enjoyable season with lots of holiday celebrations and exciting sports; however, if you live in an area where snow is inevitable, winter presents some unique threats to your survival you need to be prepared for with appropriate cold weather survival gear.

The temperature drop itself can be a huge threat. In the cold, your body will need to work harder and require more calories and warmth to sustain itself. Additionally, basic survival activities such as harvesting water, gathering food, and lighting a fire become increasingly challenging when faced with snow-covered ground.

cold weather survival gear

Be prepared for winter survival scenarios that can leave you out in the cold.

However, the best reason to prepare yourself and your family with cold weather survival gear is that you need not only be prepared for bugging out, but also for the chance that a major blizzard could leave you stranded in your home without power, or worse, out in the elements. In this article, we will address the challenges and threats you could possibly face this winter and provide some key tips and recommendations on cold weather survival gear to help you be prepared.

Maintaining Core Body Temperature

For your body to function properly, it must maintain a temperature of 98.6℉. If your body deviates from this temperature, there are built-in mechanisms that kick in to help restore the core temperature and warm you up.

cold weather survival gear

Typical outward signs that your body is working harder to keep you warm include shivering, teeth chattering, and goosebumps. If your body goes through prolonged periods of exposure to cold temperatures, your heartbeat will decrease and blood pressure will slow, reducing the delivery of oxygen to your organs.

This will effectively cut off your extremities from heat sources as body warmth is focused on vital organs (at this point, your hands and feet will turn purple, becoming tingly and then numb; for more information, please click on this link). These changes can severely affect your ability to think and move, becoming life-threatening in the worst-case scenario.

cold weather survival gear

Hypothermia isn’t only a concern outdoors. Without electricity, your home can become dangerously cold.

The best way to protect yourself against the cold is to dress in layers. Three layers are best, beginning with a thermal layer, then an insulating layer, and finishing with a shell or outer layer.

What to Look For in Thermal Layers

cold weather survival gear

For the most effective thermal layer that will keep you warm and dry, look for the following fabrics:

  • Synthetic polyester blends. These fabrics will wick moisture away from the skin and are lightweight; they include rayon, nylon, polypropylene, and spandex. An added benefit is that they move well with you due to their stretchy nature and can fit tightly under other layers without restricting movement.
  • Merino wool. This fine-fibered wool will not cause itching as traditional wool does and evaporates moisture within the fabric to help keep you dry. It is naturally antibacterial, unlike synthetics, which makes a big difference when you will need to wear your thermal layers for an extended period of time.
  • Silk. Silk fabric can be treated to enhance wicking and is very soft, however it typically requires washing after each wear, making it an unfavorable choice for survival conditions.
  • Cotton. While cotton is a soft and comfortable fabric, it also retains moisture, which is not only uncomfortable but also works against keeping you warm as evaporating perspiration will actually cool your skin.

In terms of fit, look for a close-fitting thermal layer, as this lends itself well to adding on additional layers. Ensure that the arms and legs are long enough that they completely cover your wrists and ankles, and that the waist and shirt overlap in order to protect your back when squatting or bending.

Thermal Layers For Men And Women Key Features    
Carhartt Men’s Base Force Performance Super Cold Weather Crew Neck Top
• Heavy knit Polyester-Spandex fights extreme cold
• Wicks moisture away from the skin and resists odors
• Crewneck and droptail back lock in body heat
Carhartt Men’s Base Force Performance Super Cold Weather Bottom
• Heavy knit Polyester-Spandex fights extreme cold
• Wicks moisture away from the skin and resists odors
• Long, fitted rib-knit cuffs prevent riding up at the ankle
Rothco ECWCS Poly Crew Neck Top
• 100% Polyester with ultra-soft fleece lining
• Tiny air pockets trap heat close to the skin
• Same Extended Cold Weather Clothing System used by U.S. Armed Forces
Rothco Gen III Level II Underwear Bottoms
• Highly breathable Polyester-Spandex grid-fleece with moisture-wicking technology
• Microban fabric ideal for long-term use
• Level II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System used by U.S. Armed Forces
The First Outdoor Women’s Thermal Underwear Set
• Polyester-Spandex fabric with suede lining for added comfort
• Fabric resists pilling in high friction areas
• Athletic seams on shirt and pants for ease of movement
Duofold Women’s Heavy Weight Double Layer Thermal Shirt
• Double layer Polyester-Spandex blend designed for extreme cold
• 4-way stretch and princess seams provide a contoured fit that moves with you
• Anti-microbial fabric ideal for long wear
Duofold Women’s Heavy Weight Double Layer Thermal Leggings
• Double layer Polyester-Spandex blend designed for extreme cold
• Flatlock seams prevent skin irritation
• Drawstring for an adjustable fit
Sportown®Women’s Odor-resistant Merino Wool Base Layer Shirt
• 100% Merino wool is extra soft against the skin
• Moisture wicking technology keeps you dry
• Lightweight and designed for active use

Click on the images to view current pricing on Amazon.

What to Look For in Insulating Layers

Once you’ve established a solid thermal layer, your next layer should be made of insulating material such as wool, fleece, or down. Wool, and some types of fleece, will still insulate when wet, however down is best in dry conditions as it loses its insulative qualities when wet. In extreme conditions, there is always the option of adding additional insulating layers.

Insulative Layers For Men And Women Key Features
Columbia Women’s Fast Trek II Full-Zip Fleece Jacket
• 100% Polyester with four-way comfort stretch for mobility
• Full zip doubles as a jacket in warmer weather
• Zippered pockets on front and sleeve for keeping gear close at hand
The North Face Womens Glacier 1/4 Zip
• Polartec Micro fleece dries quickly to keep you warm
• 1/4 zip allows for ventilation during rigorous activity
• Lightweight and great for layering
Minus33 Merino Wool Women’s Sequoia Midweight 1/4 Zip
• 100% Merino wool with interlock knit construction to trap heat
• Flatlock seams make for a low profile when layering
• 1/4 zip allows for ventilation
Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Front-Zip Fleece Jacket
• 100% Polyester filament fleece is soft yet rugged
• Standing collar provides extra neck protection
• Zippered pockets ideal for hand warmers
The North Face Mens TKA 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip
• Ultra-soft TKA 100 fleece insulates against the cold
• Reverse-coil 1/4 zipper reduces bulk around the collar
• Thin and comfortable for layering
Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Isolation Midweight 1/4 Zip
• 100% Merino wool with interlock knit construction to trap heat
• Flatlock seams make for a low profile when layering
• 1/4 zip allows for ventilation

Click on the image to view current pricing on Amazon.

What to Look For in a Shell or Outer Layer

The ideal outer layer for cold weather survival is breathable, allows for movement, and protects against the elements such as wind, rain and snow. Breathability is key in order to allow perspiration to evaporate, otherwise, it will condense on the inside of your shell and cause you to feel colder. Good options for lining that allow for air circulation while keeping you warm include Gortex and eVent.

For outer fabric, look for something treated with weather proofing, such as teflon, as this will keep out wind, rain and snow to keep you dry and retain body heat. Also opt for a hood in your cold weather survival gear to provide protection for your neck and head – some hoods even have a built-in brim to keep rain and snow off your face, helping to prevent frostbite.

cold weather survival gear

Protect as much skin as possible from exposure to the cold air.

While heavy, bulky winter coats are a great source of warmth, they do little to allow for sufficient movement to perform survival tasks. Look for an ‘athletic fit,’ which will typically be trimmer and stitched to accommodate arm movement.

Finally, don’t neglect your legs, they need protection too! When looking for a cold weather survival snow pant, the same favorable qualities you would look for in an outer shell apply: breathability, mobility, and wind/water proof. Additionally, look for plenty of pockets so you’re able to keep cold weather survival gear close at hand.

Outer Shell Layers For Men And Women Key Features
Arc’teryx Men’s Theta AR Jacket

Arc’teryx Women’s Theta AR Jacket
• 100% Polyester is rugged and durable
• Reinforced to add support to high wear areas
• Gore-Tex shell is light and breathable with side vents to cool off during exertion
• High collar keeps heat in and protects the neck
• Hood is roomy enough for a helmet but cinches for normal wear, with brim to shed rain
• Athletic fit eliminates bulk and longer length provides extra coverage from wind and snow
Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator Hooded Jacket Men’s

Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator Hooded Jacket Women’s
• 20D Ripstop Nylon shell is water repellant and designed to handle tough outdoor use
• Filled with Q.Shield Down treated to maintain insulating performance even when wet
• Compresses easily for packing due to stitch-through quilting
• Dual draw cords at the hem lock out cold air and adjust easily on the move
• Side zip pockets for warming hands or stashing gear
The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket Men’s

The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket Women’s
• Durable ripstop Polyester treated to be water resistant and block out wind
• Tight weave is abrasion resistant on the exterior and brushed on the interior for comfort
• Insulated body, hood, and sleeves provide superior warmth in harsh conditions
• Four zippered pockets with interior headphone slit perfect for listening to an emergency weather radio
Arctix Men’s Mountain Snowboard Shell Cargo Pants

Arctix Women’s Mountain Snowboard Shell Cargo Pants
• Waterproof, breathable nylon construction with reinforced seams and abrasion resistance
• Zippered hip pockets and velcro cargo pockets for holding tools
• Articulated knee for improved mobility especially when squatting by the fire
• Boot gaiters have grippers to keep them tucked into boots

Click on the image to view current pricing on Amazon.

Using Hand Warmers For Maximum Effectiveness

For those who participate in winter sports, hand and foot warmers are most likely a very familiar item. In everyday use, they make activities such as skiing or sitting in a football stadium much easier on your body, and in survival use, they prevent frostbite and lack of circulation to extremities. In terms of value, they are relatively inexpensive and can provide hours of heat without adding unnecessary bulk or weight.

Hand warmers work by using the exothermic reaction of oxidizing iron and forming rust. When sealed, the lack of air (oxygen) prevents the process from starting. After opening the package, shake it vigorously to allow air to enter the breathable cloth and mix with the iron, this activates the reaction and starts the production of heat. Once activated, place your warmers in an enclosed space, such as gloves, boots or pockets, trapping the heat and allowing it to build up continuously.

cold weather survival gear

Your hands are one of your most important survival tools! Keep them warm and protected.

Hand And Foot Warmers    
HotHands Hand Warmers 15 Pair Value Pack
Heat Factory Premium Hand Warmer, 40 Pairs
Zippo Refillable Handwarmer
HotHands Adhesive Toe Warmer 6 pair Value Pack
Grabber Foot Warmer
Little Hotties Adhesive Toe Warmers, 30 Pairs

Click on the image to view current pricing on Amazon.

The Benefits of Wearing Snowshoes

cold weather survival gear

If you’ve ever had to trek through deep snow, you know how laborious it can be, but an additional concern in a survival situation is that it increases the risk of frostbite to your feet. With snowshoes, not only can you keep your boots above the snow, but also you conserve energy as it takes less effort to walk.

This can become of the highest importance in a situation where you find yourself stranded and need to walk to a nearby town or make your daily commute on foot due to a snowstorm.

cold weather survival gear

Stash a pair of snow shoes in your car in case you get stuck and need to continue on foot.

Snowshoes For Men, Women, And Youth Key Features
Chinook Trekker Snowshoes
• Aluminum frame is curved for ergonomic comfort
• Dual ratchet bindings adjust for a perfect fit and quick-release heel strap makes removal easy even with cold hands
• Heavy-duty crampons provide grip on slopes or icy areas
• Includes carry bag with mesh panels for ventilation
Alps Performance Light Weight Snowshoes
• Frame is designed for maximum floatation in heavy snow
• Aluminum tubing with TPU-85 plastic engineered for heavy use in cold temperatures
• Heel and toe crampons prevent slipping
• Bindings are situated to eliminate pressure points
MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe
• Toothed frame with lateral crampons sustains 360 degree traction
• Ergo Televator heel lifts reduce calf fatigue when ascending and can be activated using a pole grip
• Modular tails (sold separately) can be added for deeper snow conditions
• PosiLock bindings contour to any boot for a secure fit every time

Click on the image to view current pricing on Amazon.

Cold Weather Survival Gear & Tools

There are two major obstacles you will come across in winter that will impede your survival activities: clearing snow and starting a fire.

Clearing Snow

cold weather survival gear

You can never truly understand the importance of having snow removal gear on-hand until you’ve been through a situation where you needed it and it wasn’t there. On a personal note, this author will never forget the time I landed at the airport at night only to discover an unexpected blizzard had completely covered my car in over a foot of snow.

It was early in the season for snow, so having not expected it, I was left without any scraper or brush and had to use my bare arms and hands to clear the snow from my car. Now, I travel with snow removal tools year-round!

For stocking your bug-out bag, a folding shovel works great. Not only is this a compact tool, it also has multiple uses including clearing a spot for a fire, digging a shelter, and collecting snow to melt for drinking, among many other essential tasks.

Starting a Fire in the Snow

cold weather survival gear

When it comes to fire starting implements, if you have one, you have none. Carrying multiple means of starting a fire and packing them separately is a measure of precaution that most preppers live by.

In terms of firestarting tools, lighter fluid is not ideal in extremely low temperatures and tools such as Ferro rods or flint will be much more reliable.

cold weather survival gear

In heavily packed snow, you can create a bed of bark for the fire to rest on.

For collecting firewood, start as early as possible, avoiding waiting until dusk if possible, as you will need a fair amount to keep the fire burning all night. Pine trees are good to scout for as they naturally shelter their undergrowth and there are typically plenty of dry dead branches beneath dense evergreen that can be collected for firewood with little effort.

cold weather survival gear

The denser the foliage, the more protected the base will be so look for evergreens that have thick lower branches.

However, obtaining larger dry logs can prove a bit more challenging, so it’s always prudent to carry a hatchet or tomahawk with you as these tools prove immensely helpful in cutting through thicker wood.

Even if the outside is damp, a fallen tree can provide enough fuel for one night if you can split the logs and cut away the damp portion to use the dry, inner part for firewood.

Once the fire is burning large and hot, you can add the occasional green log, which doesn’t produce as much heat as dead wood, but does burn much longer.

cold weather survival gear

Collect a pile of wood about six feet long by 3 feet high to ensure you have enough to last the night.

An excellent option for quickly and easily starting fires in windy, cold conditions is the Everstyke Survival Lighter. Click here to read more about this essential cold weather survival tool and how you can get your very own!

cold weather survival gear

The Everstryke Pro combines both a fuel-based system and flint and steel striker, so you can spark a fire under any conditions.

Harvest Water Safely in Cold Conditions

Yes, snow and ice are made of water, but there are still some unique obstacles to navigate through in obtaining life-saving, clean drinking water.

Harvesting Directly From Snow

Clean snow, such as fresh snow scooped directly off branches or brushes, is considered reasonably safe to consume. The part you’ll want to watch out for is that consuming snow (which is frozen) will result in lowering your core body temperature, making your hard work to preserve your body heat all for naught. If possible, boil the snow before drinking it and bring the water down to a consumable temperature by placing your drinking container in the snow.

Harvesting From Lakes, Rivers and Streams

The challenge with harvesting from an iced-over body of water is the danger that you may fall in and have hypothermia set in. Hypothermia is life-threatening and can be triggered by something as simple as submerging your feet in cold water, which can cause a significant drop in body temperature and increase your risk for frostbite.

When conducting survival activities around frozen or partially-frozen bodies of water, it’s always best to put safety first. One way to avoid coming too close to the edge is to carry cordage with you: throw a rock or log to make a hole in the ice within reach from shore, then tie your water bottle to a length of paracord (make sure it is secure so you don’t lose your water bottle!), then safely submerge the water bottle from solid ground and reel it in when it is full.

Before drinking, be sure to filter, boil, or treat your water as Giardia bacteria can survive in very cold temperatures, even ice!

cold weather survival gear

Keep a safe distance from icy rivers and always purify water – even ice contains harmful bacteria.

To be able to drink your harvested water safely without having to worry about bacteria or contamination, consider packing Lifestraws in your bug-out bag. These ingenious tools make it easy to turn harvested water into safe drinking water. Click here to learn more about Lifestraws and find out how to get your very own!

cold weather survival gear

Conclusion

Survival is challenging, but the additional threats posed by cold weather make survival activities extra challenging in winter, including maintaining your core body temperature, starting a fire, and harvesting water. However, with the proper knowledge and the right cold weather survival gear, you’ll be prepared to survive anything nature throws at you!

More Great Cold Weather Survival Gear

Your Thoughts

What is your most essential winter survival tool? What other winter survival gear do you pack? Tell us in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Cold Weather Survival Gear & Tips For Battling The Snow appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Encyclopedia of homemade tools website review

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I am always on the lookout for websites where you can learn about DIY, I recently found a fun site all about homemade tools, this site is a repository of links to other sites, they and their readers add more and more links. They refer to themselves as an encyclopedia of over 22,000 homemade tools.

I found it because they had linked to some of my DIY pages (with links back to the original post), I was happy enough for them to include some of our ideas, sharing the wealth (knowledge) is all good.

You can find the site here
http://www.homemadetools.net/

Give them a look around, be sure to bookmark the site so you can return later. They say:

We find homemade tools across numerous forums, and organize them in one place, always with full credit to the original builder and site. HomemadeTools.net is updated multiple times daily with new homemade tools.
Browse homemade tools by category!

See all homemade tools in over 150 different categories, including Woodworking, Metalworking, and Automotive.

If you are into DIY, then this is the place for you! Be sure to check out their other “build” sites linked from there, I think the one about 4×4’s and cabins have lots of good information.

web statistics

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What Bug Out Vehicle Gear Should YOU pack?

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bug out vehicle gear

Note: This article was contributed by James Smith. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

While having the most reliable and dependable vehicle to get you to your bug out location should be high on your list of needs – the gear that you bring with you in your vehicle is much more likely to mean the difference between extreme hardship and preparedness.

When packing your bug out vehicle gear it’s important to consider that your car may be a home on wheels of sorts for some time. In a SHTF situation you will not be able to go shopping or seek medical attention and may even get stuck while you’re out driving.

bug out vehicle gear

Wrench-in-plan situations could include having to go off-road (or take an alternate route) to avoid a bottleneck, getting lost, camping overnight, getting injured or just something going wrong with your vehicle itself.

Needed bug out vehicle gear and considerations can be broken down into a few categories that I discuss in more detail below:

Tools and Equipment

bug out vehicle gear

Your bug out vehicle gear should include a tire iron or socket wrench for changing the tires, as well as other tools for maintenance and repairs.

You will want to make sure that you have the basic tools needed for minor repairs to your vehicle and other belongings. This can include vehicle replacement parts, tow cables, rope, straps, jumper cables and duct tape. Additionally a fire extinguisher for emergencies may come in handy. Other indispensable items include a shovel, multitool, 12-volt emergency power, and heavy gloves.

bug out vehicle gear

bug out vehicle gear

Shelter and Clothing

Fuel should be treated as a finite resource so you will not want to run the engine any more than is necessary for driving. While it is tempting to crank the heat when parked, a better option is to pack extra layers and bedding to keep everyone warm. Ensure that you add a roof top cargo carrier to your vehicle and pack your extra weather appropriate clothing, shopping bags, hiking boots/shoes, and hand warmers.

bug out vehicle gear

All of these things that will help you stay warm and beat hypothermia should you get stuck and take longer to get to your bug out location. Plan to include a tent, tarp, and sleeping bags in your bug out vehicle gear if it will take you some time to reach your ultimate destination.

bug out vehicle gear

You probably won’t have access to these along the way so it’s extra important to conserve fuel in your bug out vehicle.

Fire and Lighting

Always carry multiple flashlights and various lighters, matches and strikers. These items are essential for warmth, preparing food, and sterilizing water. You will also need to be able to see to access gear, make repairs, read maps, and scan the area for danger.

Flashlights and fires make excellent distress signals that are visible over long distances, should you need to send out for help. A tactical flashlight, such as the Nitecore P12 Tactical Flashlight (pictured above), offers extra features for breaching and self-defense.

Signaling and Communication

To communicate with others and receive whatever transmissions are being sent, be sure to pack up a radio and batteries or a reliable wind-up radio, a cell phone or prepaid phone with car adapter, portable CB radio, two-way radio, and whistle. Of course, make sure you know how to use them, and spend time practicing as much as possible.

best emergency weather radio

Navigation

bug out vehicle gear

Digital navigation can be very useful but often not as reliable as a printed map.

One of the most important things to stock in your bug out vehicle is proper navigation gear. Be sure you know both where you are going and all of the possible ways to get there. Prepare for unexpected detours and pack up a GPS device, paper maps (both road and topographical), and a compass.

Water

Plan to keep plenty of extra water inside your vehicle – enough for you and your family to get to your bug-out location then add on a few extra liters or gallons person. It’s helpful to have a durable yet pliable water container/bladder that can be collapsed when not in use and be sure to carry water purification tablets and durable metal cups.

bug out vehicle gear

The wide fill port makes it easy to fill and to clean the Camelbak 100oz Antidote Reservoir. Click the image to view details on Amazon.

Food

Pack and carry extra food at the rate of 2500 daily calories per person. Pack up a stove and basic kitchen as well. If you have a knack for it – and live in an area where it would be useful or practical – consider packing up a fishing kit as well.

bug out vehicle gear

The Emberlit Stove uses wood so you don’t need to worry about storing fuel. It also folds flat, making it a great addition to your bug out vehicle gear. Click the image to view on Amazon.

First Aid

A proper and complete first aid kit is essential, and there are plenty of pre-packed ones on the market. They range from basic small first aid kits that include wound dressing and cleaning supplies –to more elaborate medical kits that also include blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, splints, scalpels, and suture kits. Get what you believe is best for your family’s budget, but remember that it’s always better to err on the side of being over-prepared than under.

Also, don’t forget the toilet paper, feminine hygiene products (if needed) and any important prescription medications. Ideally though, you should work on weaning yourself of medications as soon as possible – the last thing you want in a SHTF situation is to go off your meds unwillingly and under-prepared.

bug out vehicle gear

Pre-made car kits are a helpful (and economical) starting point for building your bug out vehicle gear. This kit from TopGear includes jumper cables, work gloves, basic first aid, and much more. Click the image to view a full list on Amazon.

Safety and Protection

Pack up flares and a good multipurpose knife. Road flares are made to burn in inclement weather, and they are easy to get going, don’t require the same finger dexterity that a finger and match does, and they burn for a really long time. If you are stuck in a dire emergency that you can’t work your fingers to light a fire flares would do the trick – and they work nicely as a torch as well.

bug out vehicle gear

A multipurpose knife is a must-have in any vehicle bug-out bag.  One top choice would be a KA-BAR Full-Size, Straight Edge – a true war-horse of a knife that many United States Marines call their one and only.

Extra Bug Out Vehicle Gear Considerations

Depending on your route and possible hiccups native to your unique location and geographical area you may want to consider any additional water and land specific needs. These might include packing up life jackets, life rafts, paddles, off-road tires, ice scrapers, wrenches, or snorkel kits.

Conclusion

Planning ahead for any unforeseeable situations can save you a lot of headache figuring out what to do to solve the problem in the moment. Being well prepared with the bug out vehicle gear you need will give you the peace of mind that your whole family deserves.

About The Author

James Smith is a survivalist, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques. He has extensive knowledge about different survival kits and other survival supplies which he loves to share with others by writing blog. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

Your Thoughts

Is a bug out vehicle part of your survival plan? Do you have one stocked and ready to go? (We’d love to see photos!) Share your tips and ideas in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post What Bug Out Vehicle Gear Should YOU pack? appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Amazon Prime and Audible books

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With the holiday season well underway figured I would share a couple of resources I highly recommend. I use both of these quite frequently.

 

Amazon Prime is the first. I have been a member for the last several years. What I like about Amazon Prime is for most any item I purchase I get free 2-day shipping. Combined with the great prices I really like this. Prime members also have access to thousands of movies and TV shows which can be streamed. I utilize this service all the time on my Roku boxes.

Right now you can try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days. Go HERE for more information or click the banner below.

 

 

The second is also part of Amazon – it is Audible books.

I have “read” over a dozen books in just the last 3-4 months. I do this by listening to books on my way to work, the grocery store, during trips, or out running errands. So far I have been very impressed with the way the narrators change their voice for each character. It is like a movie for your mind.

I listen using different devices including my cell phone, Kindle Fire, and sometimes on my computer.

If interested in trying Audible books go HERE or click the banner below and get two free books for trying it out.

 

Have a good rest of your week.

Rourke

 

 

 

Dealing With Diseases After SHTF

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diseases after SHTF

Apart from preparing, planning and thinking for an SHTF situation, have you ever wondered what the most likely threat is for people? As common sense suggests, when people know a SHTF situation is eminent today or sometime soon, they will go mad stocking food and water and prepare survival tools and kits. But there is something more than this – diseases after SHTF. Even the most prepared survivalists can be faced with illness in the aftermath of disaster.

Doctors are the people who first come into our minds when it comes to any condition like this, but in a disaster situation, the doctors would be facing the same survival challenges and after all they won’t be leaving their families.

In the aftermath of disaster, people might fear for starvation the most, which can lead to death, but in actuality the real reason that increases the probability of mass deaths is even worse. Can you imagine a situation where you have prepared enough for your survival and have a very-well planned strategy for defense too? The tools, the stocked food and water, everything is enough to keep you alive – starvation does not seem crucial here. If you have thought over it, the bigger threat is of contracting diseases after SHTF!

It is likely that people might not put much thought into it so here are the details that will help you keep aware of and prepare for disease after SHTF.

Common Sources Of Diseases After SHTF

diseases after SHTF

You made it this far- now learn how to protect your loved ones from diseases after SHTF. Image via Mitch Barrie on flickr.

Water Sanitation And Poor Hygiene

The clean drinking and tap water that we use in our daily lives to fulfill human requirements is taken for granted by everyone. Imagine a situation where public water supplies cease to function – inevitably, there will be a rise in deadly disease then.

diseases after SHTF

Without purification methods, improvised water supplies can easily become contaminated. Image via SuSanA Secretariat on flickr.

When proper sanction becomes no longer a simple thing, here is when you should fear for lives. Water supplies will be contaminated in a SHTF situation causing an outbreak of typhoid, diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis and diphtheria. People might not know what to do then and this is one of the reasons why you are advised to keep a water purifier kit.

diseases after SHTF

Flooding poses an even greater risk to sanitation.

Diseases Caused By Insects

The best place to breed for insects is dirty and contaminated water and what can be better for them when you are facing SHTF disasters. I guess they would be the least bothered creatures on Earth then. Sounds funny, but is as dangerous as threatening the people’s lives.

diseases after SHTF

Small but deadly! Mosquitos are responsible for spreading severe diseases, such as Malaria and West Nile Virus.

Mosquitos, bugs, fleas, ticks, midges, rats and flies – almost like non-existent creatures could play the role of being the biggest creatures in a SHTF disaster by making you sick and that too, to such a severe extent that if not treated properly, people may die! Malaria, Lyme’s disease, Murine typhus, West Nile Virus and other contagious and life-threatening diseases spread like fire in the woods.

diseases after SHTF

Avoid camping near swamps and marshes, if possible. These areas attract insects.

It is important to have the knowledge beforehand and learn to keep clean drinking water and food. An insect repellant, non-prescribed anti-biotic medicines and hygiene accessories are therefore recommended to keep in a kit of emergency survival supplies. In areas of high risk for insect-borne diseases, be sure to include a mosquito net in your bug-out bag.

diseases after SHTF

Sleeping under the protection of a mosquito net is an effective way to prevent contracting insect-borne diseases. Image via Christian Haugen on flickr.

Respiratory Diseases And Infections

Respiratory infections and diseases are a major concern as they spread really quickly in disastrous situations. Cold, cough, flu and sore throat can still be treated through non-prescribed medicines (recommended to keep in a first-aid kit) however it becomes more threatening as there are certain bacteria and viruses that are drug-resistant. In a situation where all you can do is carry your own self safely; non-prescribed medicines will be of no use and won’t cure them.

diseases after SHTF

The flu virus is highly contagious and difficult to contain when living in close quarters.

These bacteria and viruses cause upper respiratory tract diseases such as bacterial pneumonia. It could be a major reason for massive death –imagine the unlimited food and water you’ve stocked, would it be of any help? Of course not, so is the reason why diseases are a bigger concern in the aftermath of SHTF.

diseases after SHTF

Dealing with diseases after SHTF will be challenging without access to modern medicine.

When fighting for their survival, survivalists live in groups with their families that increase the chances of transmission of air-borne diseases and infections from one person to another. Infants, elderly, and immune-deficient people are more susceptible to catching infections. The simplest example can be, you cough and then use the water-bucket that is shared, the other person uses it and here’s how he catches the disease.

diseases after SHTF

Take extra care to prevent infants from exposure to illness and disease.

Practicing good hygiene, like covering your cough, washing hands frequently, and avoiding shared utensils whenever possible will help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. If a member of your group becomes ill with a respiratory infection, it is best that they rest and limit interactions with others until they recover.

diseases after SHTF

Ah-choo! Catch your sneeze or cough to minimize airborne pathogens.

Wounds And Infections

In a SHTF scenario, it gets extremely crucial to take proper care of wounds and infections as tetanus shots and antibiotic medicines aren’t available. To clean them, you of course won’t be able to rely on other sources of water too being unsure about its contamination. Infections lead to conditions like sepsis and gangrene.

diseases after SHTF

One thing you can prepare is a well-stocked first aid kit for tending to injuries.

Prevention is better than cure and here would be the time to practically implement it. A simple wound in such a situation can lead to long-term disabilities, chronic wounds, infections in bone and unfortunately Death! Having knowledge and learning medical skills before such disastrous situations can help survivalists save their lives. Learning about medical emergencies, cleaning and sterilization will also help prevent infections.

diseases after SHTF

Important essentials for cleaning and bandaging wounds.

In order to be able to address wounds and injuries, you will need a well-stocked first aid kit. It should include bandages, antiseptic, and tools to help you quickly tend to injuries and prevent infections. For help with planning your first aid kit, CLICK HERE.

Food-Borne Diseases

While food plays an important role in your survival, it can also be a source for harmful bacterial infections. It is better to skip a meal and continue to look for food than to consume something that is questionable. Food-borne diseases can be deadly, especially without access to immediate medical intervention.

Foods that come from animal sources, such meat, eggs, and dairy products, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Also, cross-contamination can occur with other foods, such as produce. In a survival situation where sanitation is compromised, it can be difficult to maintain cleanliness and thoroughness when cooking. Do not consume undercooked meat or eggs! The resulting infection can cause fever, diarrhea, and cramps lasting several days. Depending on the person’s health, this can become very severe.

Another danger may be lurking in your pantry. Food-borne botulism can be contracted from canned foods that are not processed properly. Untreated, botulism can progress into paralysis of the arms, legs, torso, and even respiratory muscles. To help prevent contracting this disease, boil canned foods for ten minutes before consuming. For more information on canning safety, CLICK HERE.

canning safety guidelines

Conclusion

Your strategy for health is a major component of your survival. Dealing with diseases after SHTF requires planning ahead by educating yourself about disease prevention and treatment. Be aware of sources of contamination. Know how to recognize symptoms and do not dismiss them – even mild symptoms can be a sign of a more serious problem, especially when resources are limited. And always pack a first aid kit in your bug-out bag!

Your Thoughts

Can you think of any other diseases that may arise post-disaster? Are you taking extra steps to prepare for disease after SHTF? Tell us about them in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Trouble Within: Why Pest Control Is Key to Your Survival

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Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. That’s the survivalist’s mantra. When gathering and storing resources for your family’s protection, it’s important to always have one eye on the worst case scenario. It’s also important to be realistic about where the biggest threats to your safety can come from. An attack can happen […]

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Safety Guidelines for Canning Your Own Food Supply

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canning safety guidelines

Learning to preserve food through canning is a great step towards self-sufficiency. By canning your own food supply, you can prepare a stockpile of survival food for your pantry, develop your cooking skills, and use all of your harvested produce.

Canning is a great way to store healthy, homegrown food; here is a quick list of the benefits of home canning:

  • A simple, time-tested concept that has a wealth of how-to and recipe resources available
  • Less expensive than purchasing factory canned goods
  • Better for long-term storage than aluminum as glass decreases the risk of leaching chemicals
  • You can incorporate your own recipes, ingredients, and food to ensure your family will enjoy the meals and that there are no harmful additives – only the wholesome, organic ingredients you have selected
  • Preserves surplus from home garden harvests to reduce waste
  • Saves freezer space and is actually superior to freezing in that food will not spoil if the power goes out
canning safety guidelines

Imagine a pantry full of your favorite home-cooked foods! Image via thebittenword.com on flickr.

As with any food-related project, the key to success with canning lies in following the proper canning safety guidelines. By following the proper canning safety guidelines to keep your canned food safe, you will ensure that your hard work is not wasted and that your healthy, homemade food supply keeps for as long as possible.

In this article, we will cover the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of safe canning practices so that you can rest assured your canned food is safe for your family and can all enjoy the many benefits of home canning.

Why Canning Safety Is A Top Concern

Whether canning for survival or recreation, canning safety guidelines should be your top priority. If bacteria, even in small amounts, is present in canned goods, it can result in foodborne botulism, which is caused by consuming the toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The repercussions of foodborne botulism can be quite nasty with worst-case untreated cases resulting in paralysis of the arms, legs, torso, and even respiratory muscles.

Early symptoms include blurred vision, slurred speech, dry mouth, and muscle weakness; however, symptoms may take hours to appear, with most appearing 18-36 hours after consumption. By the time you realize canned goods are contaminated, your whole family may have already consumed the toxic food.

While the spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria are present on many foods, they remain dormant and harmless unless the right conditions exist – conditions that are precisely those present in canned goods – with the bacteria thriving in areas with moisture, low acidity, less than 2% oxygen, and a temperature between 40-120℉. This is why it is essential that you follow proper canning safety guidelines when canning for survival or recreation.  

For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of botulism, please read this article from the CDC.

Quick Canning Safety Guidelines Reference

canning safety guidelines

Canning Safety Guidelines – Make Sure Your Food L.A.S.T.S.

To ensure your canned goods are safe, you’ll want to address the following areas: Lids, altitude, size, time, and storage.

Lids

A tightly sealed lid is a must for canning safety; in order to preserve freshness, food must remain vacuum sealed. To ensure a vacuum seal, process your filled jars in a hot water bath or pressure cooker/canner and then allow them to cool. Once the jars have cooled to room temperature, check the seal and examine the jars for any leakage.

Before canning, carefully inspect the rims of the jars you will be using for any chips or imperfections. Defective jars should not be used; however, they don’t have to go to waste – they can be repurposed as a vase for fresh herbs or as an LED lantern.

canning safety guidelines

Jar lids that come pre-treated with paraffin are for one-time use only; do not reuse the disks after they have already been heated. The heating process used in canning deforms the paraffin to create a seal, and once deformed, it will never be effective at sealing again. However, the metal rings or bands can most definitely be reused as long as you purchase extra paraffin-coated disks.

canning safety guidelines

The silicon gasket in this Tulid Mason Jar Lid is removable for ease of cleaning. Click the image to view on Amazon.

There are reusable lid kits available that consist of rubber or silicon gaskets to create a seal. Given proper care, they can be used many times; however, ensure they are BPA-free.

Canning Jar Lids Key Features
Ball Regular Canning or Mason Jar Lids, 8 dozen
• Single use lids work with standard mason jars and rings
• Value pack includes 96 BPA-free lids
Tattler Reusable Regular Size Canning Lids
• Gasket rings and lids are dishwasher safe and reusable
• BPA-free material also resists acid corrosion
Tulid Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lids (Pack of 3)
• Reusable lids fit wide-mouth Ball and Kerr mason jars
• BPA-free and dishwasher safe with writable surface for labeling

Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.

Altitude

The altitude at which you are boiling your canned foods is important as altitude affects boiling time and temperature. At high altitudes, boiling temperature is lower and therefore more time is needed during the boiling phase as water will not exceed its boiling temperature no matter how high the burner is set; starting at 2,000 feet above sea level, adjustments will need to be made. For more information, please read this article from the United States Department of Agriculture.

canning safety guidelines

The pressure dial on the Presto Pressure Canner allows you to carefully monitor each batch. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Size

When choosing jars for canning, look for jars that are tall, thin, and hold a smaller volume. As it is extremely important that all of the contents in the jar reach the desired temperature, taller, thinner and less voluminous jars will ensure uniform heating. If your jars are too wide, the outer contents will overcook or the inner contents will not get properly sterilized, resulting in a loss of food and effort.

canning safety guidelines

Using smaller jars also helps reduce waste when you are ready to consume your canned goods as you can adjust portions. Once a can is opened, it will need to be consumed and any leftovers will need to be refrigerated. If the power goes out, throw away any leftovers. Well portioned jars will help avoid excessive leftovers and reduce waste.

Canning Jars  
Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jar 8 oz. 12-Count
Ball Regular Mouth Quart Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
Kerr 1 Pint Canning Jar Regular Mouth 12-Count
Jarden Wide Mouth Ball Jar, 32-Ounce, Case of 12

Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.

Time

The time involved in processing while canning will depend on the type of food you are canning as processing time is a function of the acidity of the food. Highly acidic foods (those with a pH of less than 4.6) will require a shorter processing period (anywhere from 5-85 minutes depending on the type of food) as they naturally inhibit bacteria.

canning safety guidelines

Once processed, carefully remove jars from the water and allow to cool. Image via thebittenword.com on flickr.

Conversely, low acid foods (those with a pH of more than 4.6) will require a longer processing time that can range from 7-11 hours and must be at a temperature of 240-250℉.

Always make sure that you carefully follow the instructions for your pressure cooker to ensure you have the correct time and pressure settings for your recipe, and make sure to set a timer to keep track of cooking times.

Pressure Canners Key Features Capacity
Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker
• Extra large capacity fits bigger jars and batches
• Full range pressure meter allows for precise readings, especially helpful at high altitudes
• Heavy-gauge aluminum heats evenly and resists warping
23 quarts
All American Pressure Cooker/Canner
• Processes 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars at once
• Metal to metal sealing system using tightening screws with no gaskets to replace
• Processes at 5, 10, and 15 PSI with an automatic overpressure release
21.5 quarts
Granite Ware Pressure Canner and Cooker/Steamer
• Smaller size great for homes with limited storage space
• Durable hard anondized aluminum construction
• Secondary backup safety valve sounds whistle alarm while releasing excess pressure
12 quarts

Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.

Storage

When it comes to storage, you’ll want to consider two factors: Storage conditions and shelf life.

Storage Conditions

After following proper canning safety guidelines while preparing your food, ensure the temperature of wherever you are storing your stockpile of canned foods is kept at a steady temperature, somewhere between 50-70℉. Avoid storing your canned food in areas that border heating vents, electronics, or any other devices that emit heat, as higher temperatures can affect the integrity of the seal, causing food to spoil.

You will also want to store your canned food in an area with low humidity and dark lighting. Low humidity is best for maintaining the metal lids as it prevents them from rusting and darkness is preferable as sunlight should be avoided completely – UV rays will degrade nutrients and can cause spoiling.

canning safety guidelines

Another consideration is the integrity of your storage shelving. It would be a shame to go through all the proper canning safety guidelines and properly preserve your food only to lose it due to faulty shelving or stacking. Always make sure that the shelf you are using is secure and that the weight of the cans is equally distributed. Rather than piling unsteady stacks, opt for single-layer storage and additional shelves to avoid the risk of your cans toppling over. For more ideas on storing your food preps, CLICK HERE.

Shelf Life

Generally, home-canned foods have a shelf life of one year. High-acid foods, such as tomatoes or vinegar, can typically last for 12-18 months while low-acid foods can last anywhere from 2-5 years (but this is typically for store bought versions).

When deciding whether or not food is safe to eat, always err on the side of caution. Look for things such as mold, discoloration, leakage, bulging lids, and putrid smells as an indication that the food has spoiled and should be discarded. If you find even one jar that has spoiled, make sure to check all the others from the same batch in case there was a problem with the canning process. When in doubt, throw it out – never taste food to determine whether or not it is safe to eat.

canning safety guidelines

To keep yourself organized, make sure you mark each lid with the canning date and organize your shelves so that the oldest canned food sits at the front and the newest at the back.

While it may be tempting to stockpile as much canned food as possible, a better strategy is to stockpile 1-2 months worth of food and then rotate out the older jars as you add new ones. By following this process, your family will become accustomed to eating the canned foods, but more importantly, you will prevent waste and ensure your supply stays fresh. If you want to build a supply that will last beyond several months, add more new cans than what you will consume.

Additional Canning Safety Tips

Choosing Food

When choosing food to can, always start with high quality, fresh ingredients. Ensure all foods to be canned are thoroughly washed and any seeds and stems are removed. For most recipes, you will be instructed to peel certain ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, and fruits.

canning safety guidelines

Timing

Always ensure you allow enough time for yourself to complete the canning process from start to finish. The less time your prepared foods spend exposed to air, the better. When filling your jars, make sure to fill them individually and close the lid before moving on to the next jar as this will minimize air exposure.

canning safety guidelines

The Presto 7 Function Canning Kit includes a timer for keeping track of cooking duration. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Air Bubbles and Heating

Get rid of any air bubbles by tapping the jar to move all air bubbles to the top – you do not want to trap air in the contents as this will rot the food. Before heating, make sure to leave about 1” of headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the heating process. Always keep a clean rag on hand to wipe the rim and threads of the jars so that no food can become trapped in the lid.

canning safety guidelines

Cooking Your Canned Foods

As an extra precaution, never consume your canned foods directly from the can. Boil your food for at least 10 minutes before consuming in order to kill any bacteria and destroy any toxins that may be present.

Helpful Canning Accessories

Canning Accessories Key Features
Bellemain 6 Piece Canning Tool Set
• Stainless steel tools have vinyl coating for improved grip
• Jar lifter allows you to safely remove jars from hot water
• Includes wrench for easily opening canned food lids
Presto 09995 7 Function Canning Kit
• Funnel fits in both regular and wide mouth jars
• Lid lifter is magnetized for removing lids from hot water
• Includes timer for keeping track of cook time
Norpro Small Canning Rack
• Keeps jars off of the direct heat and allows water to circulate for even cooking
• Vinyl grip handles fold flat for easy storage
• Holds 2 quart jars or 4 pint/halfpint jars
• Fits most pressure canners (8.25 inch diameter)
JarBox Canning Jar, Pint, Semi-Clear
• Stores and protects canned food
• Easily organize jars by contents, or plan a few day’s meals
• Stackable and transportable for moving or sharing
Ball Jar Sure Tight Band Tool
• Be sure lids are tightened properly with less strain on wrists
• Also serves to unscrew rings, with integrated lid lifter for opening jars
Mirro 9605000B Stainless Steel Canning Accessories Food Press with Wooden Pestle Cookware, Silver
• Mash and strain fruits and vegetables, remove skins
• Stainless steel press seats in rack for convenience
• Pestle is shaped to fit for effectiveness

Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.

Conclusion

There are myriad benefits to canning your own food, including the ability to enjoy fresh, healthy foods year round and moving yourself closer to self-sufficiency. Canning is a tried and tested process that reduces waste and costs less than store-bought canned goods. However, the importance of practising canning safety guidelines while preparing your canned foods cannot be understated. Safety is of utmost importance, but when canning safety guidelines are followed, you will be rewarded with healthy, delicious meals that you and your family can enjoy year round.

If you haven’t canned your own food before, why not give it a try? Now that you know how to can your own food safely, it is the perfect time to give it a go and see if canning will work for your family as a means to develop a more self-sufficient household.

Your Thoughts

Do you plan on making canning part of your prepping plan? Are there any aspects of the canning process that intimidate you? Have you had an experience canning food on your own? We look forward to hearing from you in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Prepper Travel 101: Traveling During Bad Weather

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Traveling on your own or with small kids is tough enough.

Throw bad weather into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Last year, I trekked from Colorado to Kansas and back again seven times. I made the 12-hour (each way) road trip with my kids and a car full of CDs and snacks, and I hit several insane storms, including:

  • a hail storm
  • a blizzard
  • an ice storm
  • a tornado
  • a thunderstorm
You know what’s not fun?
Traveling with kids and getting caught in a storm! 
Prepping beforehand saved me and my kids a lot of stress. While I still ended up at roadside motels a couple of times, prepping for the worst meant that my kids and I had food to eat while staying at those motels, that we had extra clothes ready, that we had hygiene supplies, and that we had all of our regular medications on hand.
Since my kids are young and bouncy and love to have adventures, prepping also meant I had bandages and first aid supplies on hand when one of my son’s got hurt.
I know a lot of people are scared to drive by themselves or worry about driving with kids. “What if something bad happens?” is a question I’ve gotten a lot.
Well, something bad did happen.
Several times.
And you know what?
Everything was okay.
One of the reasons I write The Nerdy Survivalist and why I write the eBooks that I do is to help other moms develop the confidence they need to make tough journeys. While dads and nonparents are always welcome to read anything and everything I write, my primary motivation is to help other moms who might not know that yes, they can do it!
Driving alone with kids is tough, but you can make difficult journeys even with small children. You don’t have to let your husband’s working hours, deployment, or dislike for your family (ha!) mean that you can’t go on a trip or have a fun experience. 
I was a military wife for 8 years. Trust me: I get the work hours. There were plenty of times when I had to decide whether I would skip out on an adventure because my husband couldn’t make it. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I sucked it up.
If you do decide to travel, though, understand that there will be bad weather sometimes. All the planning in the world won’t save you from freak thunderstorms or random weather anomalies, especially if you drive an unpredictable highway like I-70, which I did.
One of the most important things you can do before you leave is to prep for bad weather. Here’s what I like to do.
  • Pack rain ponchos for each person
  • Bring liquid HEET for the car in case of a snowstorm
  • Pack a scraper for the windows
  • Include one pair of gloves for each person
  • Pack a warm blanket in case the car breaks down during a storm or the hotel room we crash in doesn’t have heat (This happened to me. The front desk gave me a space heater, but I was glad for the extra blanket.)
  • Read up on how to handle hail while driving and learn the safest ways to navigate driving in the rain
  • Tell someone what route I’m taking and check in at periodic intervals
  • Have an extra charged phone battery with me
  • Bring extra snacks for each kid AND water bottles
  • Pack at least one to two days’ worth of medication MORE than you think you’ll need
  • Pack kitty litter or sheets of cardboard to put under the tires if it snows or there is too much sludge to drive
Remember that there will always be something you didn’t plan for. There will always be random things that happen that catch you off guard. This is okay! It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom or that you didn’t do your best in prepping. Just try to keep your head up and remember that even though things can get tough, you can get through whatever weather-related situation you find yourself in.

Surviving in Water: Use What You’ve Got!

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Most of the content you’ll find on this blog and in my books is geared toward moms and dads who need ways to prepare for storms and natural disasters they’ll face with their kids.

There’s a reason for that: it’s what I face most often in my life.

As a military family, we moved frequently. Now, in the civilian world, we move just as often. Each new place we live brings with it new adventures, but new dangers, as well.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from living in different places is to expect the unexpected.

While most of my planning goes into facing power outages while trying to keep my kids busy, I firmly believe that it’s also important to plan for other bad situations you might find yourself in.

For example: water.

If you’re not comfortable with treading water or being afloat in water, now is the time to start working on that fear. If you’re landlocked, you might not need to know about this, but for the rest of us, it’s a good idea to have some swimming skills. (And even if you are landlocked, it’s still a good idea to have some water skills in case you need to rescue someone.)

I came across a really cool, informative video today on Facebook. It’s all about how you can use your pants to create a makeshift life preserver for yourself.

Have you ever heard of this?

I definitely hadn’t.

Check out the video here and make sure you let me know what you think! Is something you’ve tried before? Do you think you could show your kids how to do this?

#114

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happyToSurviveI got a pretty exciting email today! The Nerdy Survivalist was included in the top 250 prepper websites on Happy to Survive! Check out the link above to view the list. There are a ton of great, informative sites out there to help you prep.

Thank you to Happy to Survive for including my website in your compilation! I’m pretty excited to be featured!

You’ve Bugged Out…Now What? A Step-By-Step Guide to Survival After Bugging Out

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survival after bugging out

It’s one thing to have everything you need prepared and ready to go in case of disaster; it’s quite another to know exactly what to do and to stay calm under pressure. In a disaster, what you do in those first crucial moments has a lasting impact on your long-term survival. However, preparing for survival and actually surviving are two very different things. To improve your chances of survival after bugging out, we’ve prepared a list of priorities to help you plan your long-term survival strategy and ensure you’re ready for life off the grid.

Priority #1: Securing the Area

Once your party has all arrived to your designated bug-out location, the first thing you want to focus on is ensuring the area is still a safe place to spend the night. Check out your perimeter and, if you haven’t already, sketch out a rough map of key area features. Find a decent vantage point that allows you to get your bearings and view the surrounding area, making note of any bodies of water, visible trails, roads, and train tracks.

survival after bugging out

Carefully assess whether it is safe to remain at your chosen bug-out location.

Another important sign to look for is evidence of other travelers; you chose your bug-out location because of its desirable features, perhaps other bug-out parties have as well. Key indicators to look for include man-made items along the trail to your bug-out location, rising smoke, and bright colors indicating tents or tarps. Additionally, listen carefully for footsteps and voices, especially if you fled a nearby disaster.

At this point, simply having knowledge of any persons nearby and being able to keep tabs on them without divulging your location will suffice until you have addressed the second priority, assessing health. However, if you have the means, consider setting up a trip wire around your camp before settling in for the night. Using glowsticks and mousetraps, you can build a simple, yet very effective, security system such as this one.

Priority #2: Assessing Health

Assessing the health of your bug-out crew is of utmost importance; skipping a full evaluation can lead to severe problems down the road so make sure your assessment is thorough. In a survival situation, overlooking or ‘braving through’ a condition can threaten your long-term survival – as such, all injuries should be accounted for and treated accordingly. If the size of your bug-out crew permits, this assessment can be performed at the same time as your perimeter search.

When assessing the health of your crew, you’ll want to look at both physical and emotional health:

Physical health

Even minor cuts can become a major problem if they become infected, so making sure everyone in your party has arrived unscathed is an important step. Of equal importance is immediately tending to any cuts or wounds crew members may have suffered to increase the chances of quick healing. If you’ve determined there are no pressing medical issues, scan everyone for minor injuries and ticks. Additionally, once you take off your packs, be sure to properly stretch in order to alleviate any soreness, and drink water to replenish lost fluids.

survival after bugging out

Your survival after bugging out greatly depends on your health and that of everyone in your group.

If there are any injuries, prioritize treatment based on severity, starting with the least severe. While it may be tempting to treat the most severe injury first, tending to those with minor injuries first will then allow them to assist with others. Also, patching up small cuts can prevent passing blood borne infections. However, sequencing for treatment is always a judgment call; if a member of your crew is having difficulty breathing or experiencing severe bleeding, they should be tended to immediately.

To assist in situations where bug-out crew members are injured, we recommend adding CPR and first aid training as a measure of preparedness. Additionally, always keep a first aid manual with your bug-out gear as this will help when trying to administer treatment under stress.

Emotional Health

The emotional toll of bugging-out can be just as debilitating as physical injuries, and many mental effects won’t manifest themselves until you’ve reached safety. As the adrenaline cools and the reality of what you’ve just endured and the fact that you may never go back to your old life start to sink in, fear and anxiety can take over.

survival after bugging out

Many people will start to wonder about the safety of loved ones and friends not in the bug-out crew and stress about their whereabouts; additionally, for those in a disaster situation, there may be extreme images that play through crew members’ minds. This can be a lot to take in at once, keeping everyone calm and minimizing discussions of the events will help your group focus on the tasks at hand. Arriving was an important step, but there is still work to be done in order to survive.

Bugging-out with children can present its own set of emotional challenges. If there are children in your bug-out party, make sure you designate a caretaker adult ahead of time who is able to comfort them and display a positive attitude. Older children can be kept busy with tasks such as gathering firewood or kindling and retrieving other items to help with camp.

survival after bugging out

The better prepared your children are ahead of time, the better they will be able to handle the rigors of survival after bugging out. The way you carry yourself and your demeanor makes a huge difference as even very young children can pick up on your stress level; by maintaining a level head and staying calm, you will benefit everyone in your crew.

Priority #3: Attempting Communication

Once you have secured the area and all injuries have been stabilized, your next priority should be to find out what’s going on by pulling out your emergency radio. Emergency broadcasts will provide you with current information and potentially the extent of the damage in a disaster scenario. This information will help you to better assess whether or not to stay at your bug-out location as you will be aware of potential impending threats (such as bombings) or the scope of a natural disaster.

best emergency weather radio

If cell phone use is an option, you may be able to check in with loved ones to help alleviate some anxiety. However, should you be unable to reach anyone, don’t panic. Communication lines are often overwhelmed in the aftermath of a crisis; you can always check again later.

survival after bugging out

If your cell phone is still working, preserve battery by only turning it on a few times a day for short periods.

Priority #4: Setting Up Camp

There is no guarantee of what time of day or year it will be when you bug-out; the more you plan ahead and establish roles, the smoother the process will be.

To properly set up camp for survival after bugging out, you will need to choose spots for your fire and shelter, assemble your fire and shelter, make arrangements for hygiene, and safeguard your food rations against wildlife.

Fire and Shelter

There are many options for bug-out shelters; carefully assess the weather and conditions in your particular locale to choose which type is best. To learn about simple shelters you can build, CLICK HERE. Whichever means you choose, try and utilize natural structures for shelter and concealment, and locate the fire pit centrally in order to keep everyone warm.

survival after bugging out

No tent? No problem. There are lots of ways to build a simple shelter.

After establishing the locations for your shelter and fire, it’s time to start building your fire; this way, you can use the light from the fire to continue building or setting up your shelter. As a prudent measure, you should include at least two means for starting a fire in your bug-out bag; however, should you run into problems, here are six ways to make fire without matches.

survival after bugging out

At night, the light of the fire is less visible if you recess your fire pit.

One consideration for setting up your fire is whether or not it is visible from far away; if giving up your location puts you at risk, try to keep the fire small and obscured by brush (at a safe distance) or possibly wait until after dusk when rising smoke will be less visible.

Hygiene

Designate an area to serve as a bathroom that is downhill and 200 feet away from your main camp area and any water source. Digging individual catholes will work for smaller groups over a short period of time, but for a larger group a latrine may be your best option.

To build a latrine, dig a six-foot trench that is about eight-inches deep and use every inch from one end to the other, covering waste with soil as you go. When all the space is used up, you will need to choose another location as concentrating too much waste in one area decreases the decomposition rate and attracts wildlife.

survival after bugging out

Once the immediate needs have been met, you can start planning for long-term survival after bugging out.

Food Preservation

Another big attraction for wildlife: Food. Make sure to secure your food rations out of reach of animals. For a simple bear bag method, tie a 10-inch stick to the end of a rope and toss it over a high branch and then tie a bag with your food supply (and any other items that might smell tempting to animals) at the other end. Hoist the bag at least 15-feet off the ground and then secure the end to the trunk of the tree with the stick.

survival after bugging out

This branch was ideal for our bear bag because it was high off the ground and away from other branches.

survival after bugging out

Close up view of how the bear bag strap was secured to a nearby tree trunk.

Priority #5: Finding a Water Supply

If you’re wondering why finding a water supply is lower on the priority list, we assumed that you bugged-out with a 72-hour water supply as well as a means of purifying found water. If this is not the case, you may want to improve your bug-out preparedness or move finding a water supply up to a higher priority.

When choosing your bug-out location, you undoubtedly chose somewhere near a body of water; however, no matter where your water comes from, always be sure to purify any water obtained in nature to prevent contracting a parasite. If there is no water source near your bug-out location, or it is unsafe to approach existing water sources, there are several ways in which you can harvest water from nature.

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Intestinal parasites, such as giardia, can have devastating effects. Always purify drinking water!

Different ways to harvest water include tapping into trees and plants (think sap), collecting condensed water in a transpiration bag, and digging for water in geographical low points by looking for key indicators such as lines of shrubs. For more details on these and several other ways to harvest water from natural sources, please CLICK HERE.

Drought-Prepping-Intro3

Priority #6: Rationing Supplies

When bugging-out, the supply of food you have on hand no doubt consists of MREs, high-density protein bars, dehydrated foods, and other items that are light and easy to carry. While these can be great sources of nutrition, try not to deplete your supplies too quickly – survival is not a three-meals-a-day holiday.

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Ration your packaged food to last as long as possible to give you enough time to figure out a food source. Image via JaseMan on Flickr.

To get an idea of the amount of calories each of the members of your bug-out crew will need per day, check out this table that details the minimum daily caloric requirements for men, women and children. 

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Keep your energy up with high-calorie protein bars. Image via Richard Masoner on Flickr.

While children may have lower daily caloric needs, they will suffer from lack of calories sooner; feed children more frequent ‘meals,’ but keep those meals small. When rationing food supplies, keep in mind that you have not yet secured an alternate food supply, which brings us to the seventh priority: Finding food.

Priority #7: Finding Food

The time to start looking for food is as soon as possible, not when your supplies are low. You never know how long it will take you to find a food supply and should it take some time for success, your food supply may run out. There have been entire books written on how to scavenge for food in the wild, and we here at The Bug Out Bag Guide have covered the topic several times, including in our article Bushcraft Skills: Foraging for Food.

Foraging for Plants

One of the easiest ways to forage for food is to look to the plants and foliage all around you. Plants do not provide the same caloric value of meat or fish, but they do have a variety of nutritional benefits. Make sure to study your local edible plants and learn how to identify them in the wild before bugging-out.

Hunting Game

Small game can be caught quite successfully in forested areas by setting traps. In particular, squirrels and rabbits tend to be abundant and can be easily caught using simple snares. Always ensure you mark the location of your snares on a maps and check each one frequently; a struggling animal will attract attention from predators who may steal your meal before you even know it’s there.

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A deadfall trap is a simple yet effective way to catch small game.

Traps, such as funnels or corrals, can also be set to catch fish by placing the traps along the bank of a stream. Depending on your skill level and the type of weapons you have available, hunting for larger game may also be an option.

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Inlets lend themselves well to building a corral for trapping fish.

Remember, the greater variety of methods you have in place for finding food, the more likely your chances of catching it!

Priority #8: Defending Your Camp

Once you’ve put in the hard work of getting your family to safety and ensuring you have the supplies needed to survive, it’s time to focus your attention on keeping your family, gear and supplies safe from predators and thieves.

survival after bugging out survival after bugging out

Be prepared – you never know who might stumble into your camp!

The first step in defending your camp is to set up a watch, ensuring someone is on the lookout at all times. Additionally, you can use thorny brush to build a fence around your camp to keep both human intruders and predatory animals out.

We also mentioned setting up a perimeter fence around your camp in order to keep intruders out; now is the time to decide what to do about it. If the intruder is an animal and you are equipped to take it down, that could be an easy dinner for your crew; however, with larger game, unless you have a suitable weapon at hand, you are better off to try and scare it away than risk injuring yourself.

Your group will also need a strategy to handle human intruders. Each situation should be evaluated reasonably; arming yourself with weapons and defensive tactics to protect against attackers is a smart move, but not every person you encounter will be out to get you.

Final Thoughts On Survival After Bugging Out

The most important thing to remember after bugging-out is to stay positive and calm. Keeping a level head will help you to better handle all the tasks necessary to establish your bug-out camp. Foster communication and cooperation within the group so that you work together as a team and always be open to new and creative ways of completing tasks. Having your main tasks prioritized beforehand is an excellent way to ensure you’ve covered all the critical bases and that you are not expending unnecessary energy.

Your Thoughts

Do you agree with our prioritization of tasks for survival after bugging-out? Is there anything missing that you feel should be addressed immediately after bugging-out? Do you have any tips to share from your experiences setting up camps? Share your thoughts and questions with us in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post You’ve Bugged Out…Now What? A Step-By-Step Guide to Survival After Bugging Out appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Cross Train for Preparedness

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cross train for preparedness Everyone has their gear of choice. What will do you if that gear breaks or suddenly isn’t usable? This is why you need to cross train for preparedness.

Cross Train for Preparedness

You have your knife. You have your tent. You have your way that you like to do things, and I get that.

To be truly prepared, we need to go outside of our comfort zone and work with other gear, unfamiliar equipment and different techniques than we normally use.

Why do we need to mess with the unknown? Because we need to be ready to tackle the unknown if situations change.  The best way to face these challenges is to have experience with different gear and techniques.

Use a Variety of Gear

Let’s say you work with the same knife, or the same type of knife for all your bushcrafting or camping needs. What happens when the world has gone crazy and you lose that knife. A knife is a knife, right? Normally I’d agree, but depending on the shape of the blade, the grind and the handle materials, it could be awkward and unfamiliar for you.

Maybe you always shoot the same type of rifle. You spend hundreds of hours with a AR15, but suddenly in a situation you find yourself with a HK G3 or an AK-47 in your hands, are you comfortable and competent enough to pick it up and put it into action right now? Sure you could figure it out, you’re a smart cookie; but what if you don’t have time to figure it out? What if the time you need it is as soon as you grab it?

Drive an car with an automatic transmission? Learn to drive a manual. Are you awesome on a motorcycle? Take some laps on a moped.

If you use an awesome modern ham radio transceiver, find someone with an old school radio and try your communication skills on that.

Fish with worms. Fish with lures. Fish with insects. Fish using bobbers. Tight-line fish. Trot-line fish. If you can use it to fish, try to fish with it. Then make your own fishing pole and fishing gear out of whatever you can find and fish with it!

Soda tab fishhooks

Be familiar with different tents, backpacks and even things like camp shovels. Use them in the day, use them in the night, use them in the rain and in total darkness. Figure out how they work, what makes them better or worse, and how to perform upkeep and maintenance on them. Be as broad as you can. Borrow, trade and lend gear if you must.

Use a Variety of Techniques

Don’t always start your fire with the same tools.

Don’t always build the same type of fire. You may be safe with a campfire one night, but the next time you may need to use a Dakota Fire Hole, or build a smokeless campfire.

Try different knots with various types of cordage, I think you’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn about how knots and friction can work between different styles and types of cordage.

Do things in the rain and the dark. You’ll be surprised by how different it is, but you’ll also be surprised with how quickly you’ll start to adapt.

Don’t limit yourself. Look at things that you use every day and swap them out for a different type of item. You may surprise yourself and realize that you were good with Item A, but you are a total bad-ass with Item B.

Your mind and muscle memory are your key tools, if you have experience across a broad array of gears and techniques, you’ll find your problem solving skills, adaptability and intuition much stronger and much faster. You don’t know what you’ll have when SHTF or how long things will last, so being ready to move forward quickly with whatever you have or can get your hands on will be essential.

Then, whatever you find in your surroundings, will be your tools! You got this!

 

 

 

The post Cross Train for Preparedness appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Introducing Home Aquaponics: A DIY Way To Build An Endless Food Supply

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home aquaponics

Food is one of the must-have essentials for preppers, as without it, you will not survive for too long. Building stockpiles is a great way to ensure adequate food for short-term emergencies, but in the long-term, even the most robust stockpiles will run out. The best solution is to find a source of healthy food that will never run out – this requires growing your own food.

When contemplating growing their own food, most people imagine it requires lots of land, daily watering, laborious tending, and a constant battle with pests – generally, conditions and labor requirements most of us won’t have access to in a bug-out scenario.

There is an alternative to outdoor gardening and agriculture; it’s an option that can produce an endless supply of organic, chemical and GMO free food in any space with minimal labor requirements. This ‘magic’ system? It’s called aquaponics, and every prepper should ensure they are familiar with it.

What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an innovative combination of aquafarming and hydroponics. It involves creating a simple, self-sustaining ecosystem of plants and fish that yields an indefinite source of both fresh, healthy vegetables and protein for you and your family.

How It Works

The process works by virtue of the nitrate cycle. The waste from the fish is broken down in the water by nitrogen fixing bacteria and converted into nitrates and nitrites; too much nitrogen in the water will kill fish, but these particular forms of nitrogen are usable by plants as food.

The water from the aquarium is pumped into the hydroponic plant bed where the plants remove the nitrogen from the water; the filtered water is then cycled back into the aquarium. The basic premise is that the fish fertilize the plants while the plants clean the water for the fish.

home aquaponics

The system is completely self-sustaining except for the requirement of adding food for the fish and the occasional water chemistry maintenance. The only other time you will need to interact with your aquaponic system is when it’s time to harvest all the ripened vegetables.

Benefits

The best part about a home aquaponics system is that it can be built to any size to suit your living space and consumption requirements, so even in a small space your survival plan can include an option for growing your own food source. Once it’s set up, you can essentially forget about it; there’s no need to water as the water is constantly being cycled.

This also makes it a highly efficient system as both water and fertilizer are cycled and not lost back into the ground. Despite its low maintenance, an aquaponic system provides a high yield crop as plants are constantly receiving needed water and nutrients. It’s the perfect system for those with busy lifestyles or working families.

The following is a quick list of some additional benefits of home aquaponics:

  • Easily alternate plants for added variety
  • No weeding – the bed is raised above the ground and does not contain soil
  • Produces organic, chemical-free, and non-GMO produce – much cheaper than buying organic at the supermarket
  • Helps decrease intake of preservatives, artificial coloring and flavoring, and refined sugar with fresh fruits and vegetables available daily
  • As a self-contained system, it is not susceptible to pollution, drought, or natural disaster, and does not affect or disrupt the natural ecosystem in the way that agriculture does
  • Easier and less hassle than a traditional outdoor garden with no bending required to weed or harvest, no digging, etc.
home aquaponics

Imagine having fresh organic produce every day without having to go to the market!

Getting Started

The Basics

When setting up a home aquaponic gardening system, you will need five basic elements: tank, grow bed, growth medium, plumbing, and power source.

Tank

The tank should be made from an opaque material, such as plastic, in order to block out the sun and prevent algae growth. For a small system, a deep Rubbermaid bin works well.

home aquaponics

You can see the algal growth in this tank due to its position in direct sun.

Grow Bed

The grow bed can be built out of wood for structure and lined with plastic for water tightness.

Growth Medium

The growth medium should be lightweight and have a good water-to-air ratio for water retention. The most commonly used growth medium is some form of clay formed into uniform pellets: Round pellets allow for air and water to circulate in the space between the pellets, with an 8-16mm diameter representing a good range.

Some brands come pre-rinsed and ready to use right out of the bag; look for those with a neutral pH as this will help prevent the growth of mold and fungus.

home aquaponics

Expanded clay pellets allow for optimal hydration and aeration in the growth bed.

Another option is to use crushed rock, but be cautious of rock containing limestone as it will leach minerals, affecting the pH of your system. A rock medium is much less expensive than clay pellets, but also heavier, something to consider if you plan on moving your system around.

A combination of the two can be used to save costs and still reap the benefits of clay; simply use a layer of rock at the bottom of the grow bed and top it with a layer of clay for planting.

Plumbing

The water in your aquaponics system will circulate via an electric pump, through either pvc or vinyl tubing. Regulators adjust the flow to meet the biological needs of the system.

Power Source

You will need a power source to power the plumbing system; this power can come from a traditional electrical connection or, for a completely self-sustaining system, from solar cells.

Setting Up Your Home Aquaponics System

The best part of any home aquaponics system is its versatility to fit any space requirement. If you start off small, you can always expand your system as your needs grow, or scale back if required.

When setting up your system, you will want the tank to sit lower than the grow bed, or directly below it, allowing water returning from the grow bed to be gravity-fed back into the fish tank. Rocks can be used as substrate, but stick to a large enough cobble that it will not interfere with the pump. Stay away from typical aquarium gravel, as it is usually too small and can clog your system.

home aquaponics

This aquaponic system circulates water from a single fish tank through two growth beds.

For the garden bed, ensure you locate your system in a place that receives adequate sunlight to support the plants. Remember, it is a drought-resistant system as the plants have constant access to water and nutrients, so full sunshine is fine.

As a contained ecosystem, you can set-up your aquaponic system anywhere that is convenient. If you live in a mild climate, it’s feasible to keep your system outside year-round on a deck, patio, or lawn. For colder climates, an outdoor system can survive winter in a climate-controlled greenhouse to continue food production through the colder months.

home aquaponics

Some fish, such as these tilapia, can thrive in high density tanks. This makes them ideal for smaller set-ups.

Small systems can function well indoors as long as they receive sufficient sunlight – either natural or using a grow light. There are even countertop systems available; these are great for growing herbs in the kitchen.

For a fantastic, informative video series on building and maintaining your own aquaponic system, click here.  

Customizing Your Aquaponic Garden

Choosing Your Fish

When first starting a system, you may want to use feeder fish, such as goldfish, to establish the water chemistry as they are inexpensive to replace. After establishing the correct water chemistry, you can then upgrade to edible varieties of fish.

The ideal fish should be a species that breeds well in captivity, grows to a decent size, is edible, and something your family will enjoy. Also, your chosen fish needs to be a freshwater fish as a marine environment is not suitable for plants and the water will be shared.

When stocking your tank, very young fish called ‘fry’ are cheapest but will take longer to nutrify the water as they produce so little waste; fingerlings, fish that have developed scales and working fins, are more expensive but will take less time to balance the water chemistry.   

Recommended species

There are many types of fish that will work well with a home aquaponic system. Goldfish and koi are hardy, ornamental, cold-water fish that breed well in captivity but are not particularly desirable to consume. It’s probably best to stick to species that are edible – and enjoyable – as this will provide maximum enjoyment for your family.

home aquaponics

Tilapia: A popular choice as they breed well in captivity, are large in size, and hardy in terms of water conditions. They typically prefer warm water, so you may need to set up a heat source in the tank. Tilapia eats plants and duckweed, which can be grown right in the tank, or high quality fish food can be used. Nile tilapia are commercially farmed and produce a white meat with a mild flavor that is low in fat; they typically reach plate size in four months.

home aquaponics

Crappies: These are good-tasting, smaller fish, that are hardy and easy to raise. However, it will take two years for them to mature to reproductive age and the tank cannot be stocked with larger fish as they will eat your crappies.

home aquaponics

Trout: These fish have a fast growth rate, are suited for cold water, and follow a carnivorous diet that includes insects, molluscs, worms, and feeder fish (you can choose to breed these yourself or purchase pelleted food). The downside for trout is that they are less hardy and require very pristine tank conditions.

home aquaponics

Catfish: The channel catfish (pictured above) and blue catfish are the most common varieties used for consumption, as they are fast-growing and a good source of vitamin D; however, catfish must be skinned before eating as they do not have scales. As they are bottom-feeders and large enough not to be prey, they typically cohabitate well with other species.

home aquaponics

Carp: These fish are adaptable to environmental changes and breed well in captivity. Typical species raised in fish farms for consumptions are the bighead carp, grass carp, mud carp, and crucian carp (pictured above).

home aquaponics

Largemouth Bass: These hardy, cold-water species are popular as gamefish. The flavor of the younger (smaller) fish is preferable to larger fish due to the difference in diet; this means that they can be consumed before they are fully grown. A carnivorous fish, the largemouth bass feeds on shrimp, insects, and small fish.

Compatibility / Multiple Varieties

When it comes to mixing the variety of species in your aquaponic system, be aware that some species of fish can co-habitate while others prefer a monospecies environment. When cohabiting, be sure to choose fish with the same requirements for temperature and water conditions.

Choosing Your Plants

You should choose the plants for your system based on their nutritional benefits and your family’s tastes, as well as their compatibility with your water conditions. Plants that require a pH much higher or lower than 7 are not suitable, as highly acidic or basic water does not support fish life.

home aquaponics

Some plants are naturally faster growing, such as beans. It is good to have a variety in your garden so you will always have ripe vegetables to eat.

Leafy plants, such as lettuces and herbs, do quite well in aquaponic systems and are the easiest to grow. Fruit-bearing plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans, will require a higher nutrient concentration and therefore do best with a well-stocked aquarium.

Subterranean plants can be grown, however, the hydroponic substrate makes it difficult for the root vegetable to achieve typical shape. The end result is that you can grow healthy potatoes and carrots but they may not look as you would expect them to!

Plant-to-Fish Ratio

Balancing the plant-to-fish ratio in your system is the biggest challenge; it is essential that you have the right amount of plants to filter the waste for your fish, as well as enough fish to supply adequate nutrients to your plants. The water ratio is 1:1 for water in the grow bed and water in the tank. The general ratio of plants-to-fish is four plants for every pound of fish, but this may need adjusting depending on the species of fish and types of plants.

In order to properly maintain the water chemistry and achieve a healthy system, a water testing kit is a must. Once you have it figured out, the system can be expanded to increase the food supply by simply adding another grow bed and adjusting your tank water volume. You can also add multiple tanks of fish for variety.

Different Types of Aquaponic Setups

There is no ‘right’ way to set up a home aquaponics system; in fact, a successful system can be set up in many different ways. The following are examples of different types of setups you can try yourself, or use for inspiration to create your own:

home aquaponics

This growth bed is made primarily from gutters and downspouts instead of a traditional bed.

 

home aquaponics

Separating plants into pots works well in this larger system. The turbulence of the gravity-fed water return system helps to keep the oxygen level up.

home aquaponics

A decorative approach to home aquaponics that requires more complex plumbing but also takes up very little room. The columns are filled with growth media and the plants grow out the slit toward the sunlight. The fish tank can be concealed or displayed next to the vertical growth bed.

Need Help Getting Started?

Aquaponic systems can be daunting for beginners; they sound complicated and many first-timers find it difficult to know where to begin. Setting up your own home system is actually quite easy if you start out with the right knowledge.

Click here for a complete guide on everything aquaponics – it will teach you how to get started, how to maintain your system, and how to make crucial improvements and adjustments to accommodate your family’s changing needs.

home aquaponics

Click the image to learn more about the home aquaponics video series.

Conclusion

A home aquaponic system is a viable, sustainable solution to an endless food supply and a positive step toward developing a self-sufficient home. The versatility of the system, along with its efficiency, make it a good choice for any household as it can provide a dependable source of food (both protein and vegetable) in almost any space and climate.

While the concept may seem daunting at first, many resources and studies exist to help get you started and maintain your system. Once it’s up and running, you’ll have a dependable, cost-effective source of food you can rely on.

Your Thoughts

Do you have experience growing food with an aquaponic system? Do you have any questions about home aquaponics gardening? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Introducing Home Aquaponics: A DIY Way To Build An Endless Food Supply appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Teaching Your Kids to Prep: Resources

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One of the most valuable gifts you can give your children is knowledge. Teach them how to prep, why they should prep, and what it takes to prep. Teach them to budget for prepping and to carve out time in their schedules to learn new skills. Teach them how to know when a storm is coming and how to handle it if they’re caught unprepared. Teach them what you know so that someday, when you’re gone, they’ll be able to survive.

Here are several resources you can use to help your kids learn how to prepare for storms and emergencies. Remember that as with any new skill, prepping takes time and practice. The more resources you can utilize to teach your kids, the better off you’ll be.

Prepping With Kids (The Prepper Life Book 5) – This is a book I wrote last year on prepping with kids. It includes ideas for helping your children learn to prep, as well as information on specific things you need to consider when you have children.

Ready.gov – The Ready.gov site has a lot of information for both kids and adults, but their kids section is pretty fun to explore. Your children can select their state from a map and find out about recent disasters in your area.

House of Blog – Check out this post, as well as other parenting blogs, for information on prepping with kids. Read the post with your littles. Ask them what they think about the information presented and if they have any more ideas they would add. You might be surprised at how creative your kids are when it comes to prepping!

It’s also a good idea to consider taking a first aid course with your kids. You can find these offered by the American Red Cross in your area, as well as at community colleges and community centers. You and your child will learn basic survival first aid, which could save your life – and theirs – during an emergency.

10 Things Every Prepper Should Carry While Traveling

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Most preppers want to travel at some point. If this is you, don’t be caught off guard while you’re away from home. There are 10 important things any prepper should take while traveling, regardless of where your destination might be.

1. Copies of your important documents. This includes passports and ID cards. If you lose your passport or it becomes damaged, you’ll need a copy to use as identification in the meantime.

2. Baby wipes or body wipes. These come in handy for just about anything. Whether you need to clean up spills or wipe your hands, baby wipes are a “must” for any prepper.

3.SteriPEN Freedom Portable, Handheld UV Water Purifier for Travel. If you use a water purifier at home, you don’t have to stop just because you’re traveling. SteriPEN is a small, portable water purifier you can use on-the-go.

4. Sewing kit. You can get one of these inexpensively at your local Dollar Tree, craft store, or online through Amazon. A sewing kit can be used to repair clothes, remove a splinter, or numerous other ways. Our first month in Taiwan, we quickly discovered it was one of those important things we forgot to pack!

5. Protein bars. If you need a snack while you’re traveling, having protein bars on hand can be really helpful. Also, keep in mind that not every country sells protein bars, so consider packing a few before you leave.

6. Batteries. Always bring extras. You can get extra cell phone batteries online or at your local phone store, but try to bring at least one extra with you in case your phone dies and you need to call for help.

7. Water bottle. You’re going to get thirsty while you travel. Bring a water bottle.

8. Portable battery charger. We got the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E3 Ultra Compact before our trip and I LOVE it. Even now that we’re settling in, I use it all the time. This works great for charging cell phones, tablets, and video games. Basically, anything with a USB charger can be charged with this.

9. Ponchos. You can get small, cheap ponchos to carry in your bag. They won’t take up much space, but you’ll be glad to have them should you get caught in a storm.

10. Flash light. Seriously. Pack one.

What’s on your must-pack list for traveling?

Prepper Travel 101: Part 1

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In the next few months, I’ll be releasing several new books. This has been a slow year for me, and there are several reasons for that.

Firstly, I’ve been focusing on my personal clients. In addition to writing prepper and minimalist books, I also create websites for other people. This takes up a lot of my time and unfortunately, it currently pays better and more regularly than eBooks. (This isn’t always the case, but it is at the moment.)

Secondly, I’ve had to decide how I’ll deal with the Kindle Unlimited 2 fallout. Amazon is one of my favorite websites to use as a customer, reader, and author, but with the changes to Kindle Unlimited, I’ll be pulling all of my books from the program. I originally loved KU because it enabled readers to easily and inexpensively discover new authors. As an author, I loved it because the pay was fairly solid and decent. With the new changes, which were designed so that novelists made more money than short story writers, everyone has suffered. Even my lengthy books have taken a pay cut and as a result, I will no longer be participating in the program.

Finally, we’ve been moving overseas! In the next few months, you can expect a book on traveling with kids, moving abroad with your family, and a book balancing minimalism with prepping. (Can it be done? I’ll show you how!)

Surviving a Drought: Learn How To Harvest Water From Natural Sources

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surviving a drought

Imagine, your mind a complete fog, your body unable to lift itself due to extreme dizziness, and nausea and cramping so bad you can barely move. This is what happens to your body after only three days without water – it’s called dehydration. While symptoms and severity can vary, the chances of survival after three days without water are slim.

In civilized society, droughts are thought of more as an inconvenience than a threat; however, in a disaster scenario, the threat of a drought – especially in times of extreme heat – becomes much more real when clean drinking water is a scarce resource.

No matter how thorough your prepping, there is a limit to the amount of water you are able to store. In a long-term survival situation, sooner or later, you’ll need to find a natural water source suitable for drinking. The good news is, even in the driest of times, there are always ways of harvesting water both above and below the ground.

In this article, we’re going to take you through the various methods you can use to harvest water in the wild, teach you to identify and find signs of water, and show you ways to purify harvested water so it’s suitable for drinking.

3 Key Methods for Harvesting Water

surviving a drought

When the pipes run dry, will you be able to harvest water from natural sources?

Solar Still

A great way to extract water straight from the ground is by using a solar still. To build one, you will need the following:

  • Collection bucket (this can be any type of wide-brimmed container to collect the water; basically, anything water-tight. In a pinch, even a plastic bag will work, as long as it can be secured so it will not tip and spill the water)
  • Large sheet of plastic
  • Rocks
  • Long straw (optional)

Once you’ve collected your items, choose a sunny spot and dig a wide hole; at the base of the hole, dig a fitted spot large enough for your collection bucket to rest in. If there is any leafy, green vegetation around, place it in the hole around the opening of the bucket; this will enhance your water collection rate by drawing moisture from the plants as well as the air.

Next, lay the sheet of plastic over the top of the hole and use your rocks to secure it firmly in place. Place a small stone in the center of the plastic to create a low-joint point, just above the top of the bucket to allow condensation to collect and drip into the bucket. Even in the desert, a solar still can collect up to a quart of water per day. To access the water without disturbing your still, use a long straw or piece of tubing.

surviving a drought

Solar Still Design. Make sure the plastic sheet overlaps the edge of the hole enough to lay the rocks.

Rainwater

Although water falling from the sky may seem like a lottery win to someone suffering from dehydration, be aware that rainwater is not technically safe for drinking due to pollutants in the air (such as arsenic) that make their way into the rainwater. There are ways to purify this polluted water to make it safe for drinking; several strategies are discussed later in this article.

If you are in the wilderness, collecting rainwater is as simple as setting up as many containers as you can. Be sure to place your containers in unobscured locations in order to obtain rainwater directly from the sky, and not water that has dripped off plants.

surviving a drought

Water dripping off plants can contain debris and pollutants, so collect rain away from foliage.

Harvesting rainwater from your home is accomplished by setting up rain barrels below your roof gutters to catch the runoff. However, be aware that in addition to pollutants, water from roofs will also typically have bugs and bird feces and not be particularly suitable for consumption.

There are some barrels available with built-in filtration systems that will remove solid waste; allowing the rain to rinse the roof for about 10 minutes before connecting your barrel will also help decrease the amount of debris and contamination.

Plant Sources

If there are green plants, there is water to be harvested. There are several ways to extract water from plants, just be sure to choose the non-poisonous ones!

Transpiration Bag

Plants take up water in the process of photosynthesis and during transpiration, water is one of the by-products released into the air. To capture this water, place a clear plastic bag over the end of a leafy branch and secure it with a cord. Within a few hours, several ounces of water will be available.

Before consuming water from natural sources, we recommend purifying it for safety. For a great visual demonstration on setting up a transpiration bag, take a look at this YouTube video:

Directly Off the Leaves 

Plants have many adaptations for surviving a drought. In desperate times, plants that have leaves with a natural cup shape can be a source of water. The leaves specifically grow in that shape to funnel rainwater towards the trunk and act like a natural scoop. Look for plants with leaves growing directly from the base of the stem or trees that have clusters of leaves growing out of the trunk. The Traveler’s Tree can hold several pints of water this way.

surviving a drought

Plants are good at storing water to survive a drought. A refreshing drink may be waiting in the leaves.

Tapping Into the Trunk

In a tree trunk, xylem transport water from the roots to the leaves in a vertical fashion; this water can be collected similar to how sap is collected from maple trees. To do this, you will need a strong, tubular stick about the diameter of your thumb (alternatively, a hollowed out length of bamboo works as well) or a drip stick; a means of cutting a notch and hammering in the drip stick; and a collection reservoir.

surviving a drought

Sap is simply sugar water and it can save your life.

Sharpen the tube at one end and gently tap it into the trunk at a 70 degree angle – you do not need to drive it in more than a few inches – and set up a collection reservoir below to catch the dripping water. Your collection reservoir can be a plastic bag, large leaf, or, ideally, a bucket. Collection will take a while, but the water collected is safe to drink. For a great instructional video on the drip stick method, check out this YouTube video:

From the Roots

While the roots of plants do contain water, it is quite a laborious task to extract it. To harvest water from plant roots, start by cutting a large root and stripping the bark. Then, use rocks to mash the root into a pulp, this will produce droplets of water and the root pulp can be pressed into a collection container for consumption. If you happen to be bugging-out in Australia, blood woods, water trees, and desert oaks are known for a high yield of root water.

surviving a drought

The inside of a barrel cactus can also be mashed and drained to yield water.

Bamboo Plants

Bamboo plants serve as a great source for water as they store it in the cavities between their joints. When looking for bamboo plants, look for those that are most yellow as these typically have more water. Once you’ve found a piece of bamboo, tap and listen for a low thud, indicating it is not hollow, then locate a section with water, cut a notch just above the lower joint, and collect the water that runs out. While this water is safe to drink directly, we recommend purifying in order to protect against disease.

Vines

While vines can be a source of water, caution must be taken in choosing which to use as those with milky sap tend to be poisonous. If there is no milky substance in the vine you chose, proceed by cutting a deep notch in the top of the vine. Then, cut off the tip of the vine to allow water to flow and continue to work your way up the vine, cutting sections and collecting water until no more water flows. It’s important to notch the topmost part of the plant first, otherwise it will respond by drawing all the water in the vine back towards the base of the plant.

Surviving A Drought By Extracting Water From the Air

It is possible to extract water from the air, and World War: Water, a must-have survival resource, will teach you how. Click here to order your copy!

Searching for Water – 4 Key Signs You Must Look For

surviving a drought

Surviving a drought involves knowing how water behaves in nature.

Growing Vegetation

Even if the landscape you are looking out at seems barren and devoid of water, take a closer look for small trees, bushes, or clusters of tall grass. If this vegetation is growing in a line, there is likely to be an underground stream sustaining it. To confirm, dig a small hole at the base of a group of plants.

Following Insects and Birds

Following insects and birds can lead you directly to water. Bees in particular need fresh water to survive and will typically build their hive no more than a few miles from a fresh water supply; should you find a hive, immediately start looking for other signs of water.

surviving a drought

Signs of life can lead you to water if you know how to read them.

Mosquitos, as pesky as they might be, are good to follow as they breed in pools of standing water. The mason fly can lead you to underground springs as it uses mud to build and therefore seeks out moist soil for this purpose.

Another reliable water indicator is wild pigeons; after feeding on grain all day, they seek out water at dusk. Pigeons that are flying low and swift are typically headed towards a watering hole, while flying from tree to tree is a sign they are returning from the water hole. The added weight of water in their stomach slows them down and causes them to use more caution to avoid predators. Carefully observing the activities of wildlife is key for finding signs of water.

Following Animal Tracks

Grazing animals need to drink in the morning and the evening to digest their diet of grass. If you come across a hoof print, look downhill to locate where their water source might be. You may be lucky enough to find more tracks to follow, but also look for snapped twigs, scat, scraped bark, and other signs of larger animals.

Often the path to the water hole is heavily trodden and clear of obstacles; the careful eye can pick up signs of wear on the ground indicating the trail.

surviving a drought

Mark any animals signs you find and carefully scan the area for more.

Terrain Indicators

The ground itself can serve as an excellent roadmap in locating water. Water obeys gravity, flowing downward, and therefore your best chance of finding water is to seek low ground. Walking parallel to a mountain gives you a good chance of finding an outlet of fresh water, or at least a dry stream bed.

While a dry stream bed itself is of no use to someone who’s parched, there may be water accessible beneath the surface. The ideal stream bed to investigate will have dark green vegetation along it, but any vegetation is still a good sign. Examine the stream bed for dark patches of earth or dampness, the outer side of a bend, or natural depressions in the dirt – these are ideal places to dig.

surviving a drought

A stream like this may not look like it has much water but with a little digging, it can be your key to surviving a drought.

Underground water can be harvested by digging a seep – a hole two to three feet in diameter and at least one foot deep. After digging your seep, groundwater should slowly start to seep into the hole, and by lining the bottom with rocks, you will prevent much of the sediment from stirring up.

Fresh groundwater is considered safe to drink but we always recommend sterilization as it’s better to be safe than sorry; additionally, leaving your hole unattended may invite wildlife to share in your water supply so purification is a must.

Essential Water Purification Techniques

If you’ve been able to harvest enough water to drink using your drought survival skills, there’s still the problem of purifying to ensure it’s safe to drink. The following are our suggestions for the best water purification techniques when surviving a drought:

Filtration

To filter water, pour it through a bandanna to get rid of any sediment. You can layer charcoal, sand, and dried grass in a sock or another piece of fabric, then pour murky water through it and collect what seeps through in a container; you may need to repeat this a few times to achieve clear water. It’s important to remember that this water will have sediment removed, but not microscopic contaminants such as bacteria and viruses.

Gypsy Filter

If you happen to come across a pool of water but have no means of purifying it, dig a hole deeper than the pool about one foot away from its edge; this will cause water to flow in. The initial water will be muddy and should be discarded, but eventually, after being drawn through the layers of sediment between the pool and your hole, the water will be filtered.

DIY Charcoal Straw Filter

To build a charcoal straw filter, first find a hollow reed or other tube. Then, stuff in some dry grass followed by a layer of crushed charcoal and top it off with more dried grass to hold the charcoal in place. Pack it firmly, but not so tight that air can’t be pulled through, and then, using it as a straw, draw water up through the filtering layers.

Steripen

A Steripen uses UV light to sterilize water. Before treating, water should be filtered and clear. Once your water has been filtered, turn on the steripen and stir in your water until the indicator light turns green. The UV light targets the DNA of microorganisms, rendering them unable to reproduce and thus unable to infect you. A steripen is 99.9% effective at destroying pathogens.

LifeStraw

When it comes to surviving a drought, a LifeStraw not only filters water, but also removes 95% of the bacteria as well. They are easy to use, very portable, and allow you to drink directly from the water source without having to pre-filter or sterilize. Each straw filters up to 1,000 liters of water.

Boiling

To boil your water, first remove any sediment and bring your water to a rolling boil for one minute (three minutes at altitudes above 5,000 ft.); this will kill any pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Allow the water to cool and transfer any water for storage to a clean container that can be tightly sealed.

UV Purification

UV purification can be accomplished using clear plastic PET bottles or glass containers. First, filter your water to get rid of sediment, then fill the bottles and seal tightly using a lid or improvised material. Second, lay the bottles out in the sun for six hours (or two days if the weather is overcast) to allow the UV rays from the sun to kill any bacteria. The water can continue to be stored or consumed straight from the bottle.

surviving a drought

If nothing else is available, you can use the sun to purify your water.

Unscented Chlorine Bleach

Unscented chlorine bleach can be used to disinfect water using the following ratios:

Water Chlorine Bleach
1 Quart 2 Drops
1 Gallon 6 Drops
8 Gallons 1/2 Teaspoon

Water purification ratios for chlorine bleach.

 

Add the bleach to the water and allow to sit for 30 minutes. There will be a slight chlorine odor, and if there isn’t, repeat the dosage. Allowing the water to stand for a few hours in a clean container will reduce the taste and smell of chlorine.

Purification Tablets

Purification tablets are similar to using chlorine but easier to carry with you; one tablet treats two quarts of water. To use, simply drop a tablet into your water and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Perfecting Your Drought Survival Skills

Now that you know the basics of harvesting, finding, and purifying water to survive a drought, it’s time to take your knowledge to the next level. In order to be fully versed in drought survival skills, there are two resources you need to be familiar with. The first is The Bug Out Bag Guide’s Survival Skills article, which builds on the information in this article to provide a holistic guide to surviving in the wild.

The second, a resource no prudent prepper should be without, is World War: Water, a fascinating read that discusses the oncoming drought our world is facing and presents novel harvesting methods to ensure you don’t run out of water. Click here to get your very own copy!

surviving a drought

Click the cover image to find out how to harvest clean filtered water right out of the air!

Conclusion

The devastating effects of dehydration are something no one wants to be faced with; it is essential for your survival that you learn water-harvesting techniques to sustain yourself during a drought. Remember – the human body can only survive for three days without water, and what a grueling three days they are!

To build your water-harvesting knowledge, consider researching local plant life in your area to find out which types are likely to be the best sources for water. Also, remember to ensure your bug-out-bag is stocked with plenty of supplies that will allow you to purify any found water. While you may (literally) be so thirsty you could die, safety first; always protect yourself from illness and never consume water without first treating it.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever harvested for water in a drought? What was your experience like? Share your comments and stories with us in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Surviving a Drought: Learn How To Harvest Water From Natural Sources appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Are You Fit to Bug-Out? An Essential Guide to Prepper Fitness

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prepper fitness

Why Fitness is an Integral Part of Disaster Scenario Preparedness

“Look at the abs on that woman scrounging for food!” Said no one, ever.

Improving your survival fitness doesn’t mean perfecting your body to fitness model standards, it means conditioning your fitness level to enable your body to handle the various physical tasks that will be necessary in a disaster scenario – and it’s just as important as any other aspect of your prepping plan.

While you may have stockpiles of food and water, a bug-out-bag packed and ready to go, and a bug-out plan tweaked to perfection, none of that will matter if you get out into the wilderness and literally can’t hack it. Conditioning yourself to sustain the grueling physical requirements of surviving off the grid will substantially increase the chances of survival for even the most prepared prepper.

prepper fitness

You don’t need to be a body builder to be fit to survive.

Prepper fitness is not about aesthetics or running an extra mile on the treadmill, it’s about gradually increasing your body’s ability to handle the various tasks that your survival will depend on during a disaster scenario.

Improving your survival fitness is something you can start now that will continue to pay dividends down the road and can actually make up for deficiencies you may have in other survival areas. For instance, tasks such as hunting for food, digging a well, or even defending yourself against attackers, can all be augmented with improved physical strength.

To maximize your survival fitness, take a look at your bug-out plan and consider all the activities involved in its execution. In this article, we will examine common scenarios likely to arise in a disaster situation and provide daily workouts to help you achieve your prepper fitness goals. However, before beginning any physical training, it is always best to check with your doctor to ensure you’re in good health and able to safely follow the fitness routine.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Prepper Fitness Guide

Walk For Your Life

Walking is an easy, healthy way to begin conditioning your body for endurance – and it’s something you can do with the whole family!

Not only is walking useful for building up your physical endurance, but also conditioning yourself to walk several miles at a time can be essential for reaching your bug-out location. How many miles do you and your family walk on a daily basis? The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week; if you’re just beginning, start walking for 30 minutes, 5 times per week.

As you get stronger, start to increase the distance you cover as well as the difficulty of the path you take, gradually choosing rougher terrain and steeper inclines to better prepare you for the realities of bugging-out. 

Carry Your Weight

Once you’ve conditioned yourself to walk the distance required to your bug-out location, the next milestone is to ensure you can walk the the distance while carrying your bug-out bag, or other necessities, during a crisis.

prepper fitness

Don’t be intimidated by lifting weights – your bug-out bag will help you get in shape!

Don’t exhaust yourself – start slow by carrying your bag only partially packed a couple times per week. Work your way up to carrying the bag fully packed, all the way to your bug-out location. This also serves as a great exercise to determine if there are any non-essential (especially heavy) items that can be removed from your bug-out bag.

Learning to trek with gear doesn’t have to be an onerous exercise – make a weekend of it! Plan weekend camping trips with your family, gradually increasing the difficulty of the trail you follow to your campsite. Eventually, your entire family will be ready to trek through the woods at a moment’s notice – and you’ll have some fun doing it!

Make a Run For It

While you always hope that in a bug-out scenario walking will suffice, there may be times when you and your family are forced to pick up the pace – whether to cover more ground quickly or to evade threats. Best to start early in training your body to endure bursts of speed as well as longer intervals.

Sprint training can easily be worked into your existing walking routine by adding vigorous sprints at 5 or 10 minute intervals. Sprints are a great way to kick up your heart rate and condition your body, but they also put added strain on your joints and muscles; always stretch well before and after attempting this type of exercise routine.

prepper fitness

Picking up the pace in your survival fitness routine will better prepare you for disaster.

Eventually, you can turn your walk-sprints into a jog, and then a full-fledged run. Running for only 75 minutes per week will do wonders for your cardiovascular health and adds the desirable benefit of helping to trim down excess weight – introducing a running element to your fitness routine is definitely a win-win!

Strengthen Your Chances For Survival

Cardio training is essential for getting you to your bug-out location, while strength training is necessary to help you combat obstacles that may get in your way, as well as surviving the general increase in activity that accompanies living off the grid.

prepper fitness

The world may look very different in the aftermath of a disaster. You never know what obstacles will stand in your way.

If you’re curious as to what level of strength is necessary, it really depends on your particular situation, locale and bug-out crew – are you able to clear an obstacle from your path such as a downed tree (likely in a rural bug-out) or vehicle (likely in an urban bug-out)? Can you lift your children up and over your head? If you were hanging, are you able to drop one hand and offer it as help to someone else? Situations such as these require a strong and developed core.

prepper fitness

There’s a reason push-ups are used in military and athletic training – they work!

The good news is – you don’t need expensive equipment or gym memberships to build a sturdy core. There are plenty of exercises you can do right in your own home using your own body weight as resistance – push-ups, sit-ups, and squats are some great examples. If you prefer a little more guidance and structure, try Run, Prepper, Run! by Dan F. Sullivan to help build your core strength, as well as many other aspects of prepper fitness.

In addition to structured workouts, try taking up a sport to build your prepper fitness. You can typically start at any level and there are generally options for playing sports indoors and outdoors for year-round access. In terms of getting a full-body workout, rock climbing provides an outstanding experience.

Be Flexible

When building physical fitness, never neglect flexibility! Having flexible joints is essential to preventing discomfort and injury while performing the many tasks a bug-out will require of you, such as crawling through a tunnel or squatting by a fire.

prepper fitness

An exercise ball is a great tool for flexibility training.

Building flexibility can be as simple as adding stretches to your fitness routine or, for even greater flexibility, pursuing a flexibility-oriented activity such as yoga. For those just starting out, a great stretch to include in your workout is the toe-touch:

The object of the toe-touch is to stretch the backs of your legs by bending at the waist. Begin with a stance placing your feet shoulder-width apart (feel free to use a countertop or table to support your upper body and assist with keeping your back straight). Once you can easily bend at a 90 degree angle, swing your arms towards the floor and hang there – but don’t bounce! With each exhale, move yourself deeper into the bend.

prepper fitness

Just a few poses a day can really improve your prepper fitness level.

Yoga positions are also excellent for both conditioning and enhancing flexibility. For legs and obliques (the muscles that run up your sides), try warrior stances; for the shoulders, lower back, and hips, alternating cat and cow positions will do the trick; a downward facing dog position will help lengthen your spine while providing a solid stretch for your arms and legs. For further yoga positions, check out this helpful video series.

Take to the Water

Having solid skills in and around the water is essential for bugging-out. At the very least you, and everyone in your crew, should know how to swim as well as be familiar with water rescue techniques and how to steer a boat with paddles.

The ability to swim not only opens up your bug-out plan to alternate routes, but can also be a life-saving skill. Especially in the case of a natural disaster, there could be severe flooding that forces you to evacuate using a raft; additionally, in the course of bugging-out, a family member may fall into a river or other body of water – do you have the skills to rescue them?

prepper fitness

A flood is not the time to learn basic water survival techniques.

For adults who have never learned to swim or have a fear of the water, rest assured you are not alone. Plenty of organizations, most notably the YMCA, offer both youth and adult swim lessons that will teach you the basics such as how to tread water, back float, and free-style swim.

For those that are comfortable in the water, consider augmenting your water survival skills by taking a lifeguard certification class, which can provide you with the knowledge needed to assist others to shore, whether they are conscious or not.

prepper fitness

This lifesaving skill is a great one to add to your survival fitness goals.

Learning some basic steering skills for watercrafts, particularly with paddles, can also save you tremendous hardship in a crisis situation. This is definitely not a skill you want to try and pick up on the fly.

prepper fitness

Canoeing is great exercise, too!

You can learn the positioning required to stop, turn and propel a boat quickly by taking a weekend and trying it out with a rented or borrowed canoe. For some essential pointers, check out this video.

Defend Yourself

No matter what the reason for bugging-out, there will always be a need to know self-defense. In the case of civil unrest, the need is obvious, but even in the case of natural disasters, you will undoubtedly need to protect yourself and your family against those who are less-prepared and desperate enough to take your supplies by force.

Depending on your size and build, hand-to-hand combat may not be the most ideal form of defense, but there are ways in which you can maximize the power behind your punches no matter how mismatched the fight. For smaller people, power can be amplified by targeting the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, knee and legs of your attacker; you can also learn different ways to free yourself from an attacker’s hold.

Martial arts offers great training for preppers of any size and has the added benefit of building both self-defense and fitness capabilities. Best of all, it’s an activity the entire family can do together to build the positive attributes of self-discipline, strength, and defensive skills.

Final Words on Prepper Fitness

When it comes to building endurance for prepper fitness, every little bit helps. Much like stockpiling food, if you add a little to your survival fitness regime every day, your conditioning will continue to grow. Even fitting in a half-hour walk every day will make you better prepared than those who don’t – and you’ll be surprised at what you’re able to accomplish when you stick to your goals!

If you’re serious about prepper fitness, then Dan F. Sullivan’s ‘Run, Prepper, Run! survival fitness training program is a must. CLICK HERE NOW to visit the training program and learn how ANYONE can improve their physical fitness to bug out!

prepper fitness

Click on the book to learn more about prepper fitness.

Your Thoughts

Do you find it challenging to add fitness into your prepping? Do you have a survival fitness regime you’d like to share? Share your experiences in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Are You Fit to Bug-Out? An Essential Guide to Prepper Fitness appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Ingenious Ways to Save Money Prepping

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Ingenious-ideas-intro

Note: This article was contributed by Dan F. Sullivan of SurvivalSullivan.com. To learn more about Dan you can see the About the Author section at the end of the post.

Let’s face it: if we were to buy every survival item we read about online or in books, we’d have to spend dozens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on preps. That’s a lot of money!

Prepping and living frugally go hand in hand and it was only a matter of time after I started prepping myself that I started to look for ways to minimize my expenses. In what follows I want to give you nothing but ways to save money prepping, starting with the obvious ones (that you may already know) and finishing with the ones that may surprise you.

Use Coupons

save money prepping

All that clipping can really help you save money prepping. Don’t forget to look for coupons online, too.

What a shocker, right? Everybody knows about coupons but, the fact of the matter is, you can only buy certain categories of products that are also relevant to survival. Look for:

  • hygiene products
  • Ziploc bags (these will be very hard to find post-collapse, by the way)
  • batteries (for your flashlights etc.)
  • pet food
  • insect repellents

Couponing is an art and it has its own tips and tricks that are out of the scope of this article. Here is one that delves a little deeper into couponing for preppers.

Buy in Bulk

Another obvious tip but here’s the not-so-obvious part. Start your bulk buying efforts with things you know you’ll consume anyway in a reasonable amount of time. What I mean is, it makes more sense to buy a lot of floss instead of a one year supply of beans because you can start using it instead of just looking at it. This is a great way to get your feet wet with bulk buying.

Rotate Your Stockpile

The subtitle should actually read: make survival food part of your daily diet. That way you’ll never throw away a single ounce of food that could expire if you don’t eat it in time. In fact, a lot of survival foods do expire before you expect them to, particularly if they’re not stored right.

This, of course, has the side benefit of you and your family getting used to survival food, trying out different brands, comparing prices, taste and so on.

save money prepping

Preparing meals from your stockpile helps keep it fresh and get your family used to the foods.

Buy Raw Ingredients Instead of Whole Foods

There are numerous advantages to that and the downside is obvious: you need more time to get all of them and more time to cook. Other than that, buying ingredients is great because:

  • you save money (you don’t get charged for the actual making of the product)
  • it’s healthier because you don’t get many of the preservatives and additives found in most foods
  • and, most of all, raw ingredients have a much longer shelf life than the actual cooked foods

Raw ingredients also allow for versatile cooking. You can change the seasoning and add new ingredients to a dish to pack in more nutrients and cater to your family’s tastes.

Monitoring Your Food Supply

When investing in stockpile of food, you will want to protect your investment. Take into consideration the shelf life of your preps and start collecting those that will last the longest. The most common are rice and beans and for good reasons. They are inexpensive, have long shelf lives, and are relatively easy to store. Here are general guidelines for basic foods and how to store them in order to make them last as long as possible.

Food Item Form Average Shelf-Life Beyond “Best Buy” Date To Increase Shelf Life
White Rice
(instant and regular)
Dried 4-5 years for best nutritional value
Indefinitely if kept dry and cool
Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Brown Rice Dried 6-8 months
8-12 months if refrigerated
Because it is a whole grain, the extra nutrients and fats cause it to spoil more quickly than white rice
Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Beans Dried 2-3 years before vitamins begin to degrade
After 5 years, vitamins are completely gone, though protein and minerals are still present
Indefinitely ok to consume if kept dry and cool
Store in vacuum sealed mylar or #10 cans
Keep temperature low
Beans Canned 1 year Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Meat Dried 2-3 months
The higher the fat content, the sooner jerky will go rancid
Store in original packaging in the freezer
Meat Canned 2-5 years
Must be stored below 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Fruit Dried 6-12 months
1-2 years if refrigerated
Indefinite in the freezer
Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Fruit Canned 1-2 years Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Vegetables Canned 1-2 years Keep temperature low
Avoid moisture
Pasta Dried 1-2 years Store in original packaging
Avoid moisture
Cereal
(boxed)
Dried 6-8 months
Presence of dried fruit may decrease shelf life
Store in cool, dark place
Avoid moisture
Cereal (steel cut oats) Dried 2-3 years Store at a steady cool temperature
Avoid moisture

Because of the broad range for most foods, it’s important to also know what to look for to make sure the food is safe to consume. Watch out for cans that appear bloated or rounded on top. This is caused by gases released during decomposition and means that the food is spoiled. Also avoid cans that are rusted or leaking because once the seal is lost, the food will spoil.

save money prepping

Proper storage techniques will help your bulk foods stay fresh longer and help you save money prepping.

In dried foods, like grains and beans, check for insects, mold, and fungus. Color and smell are also good indicators- if you open a can and see brown spots or catch a whiff of an ammonia-like smell, do not consume the contents. Spoiled food should be discarded immediately and the container cleaned thoroughly to prevent spreading to other parts of your food supply.

Save Money Prepping With Brand Research

Just because a brand is reliable and has lots of reviews, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better deal somewhere else. There are always small brands that offer competitive prices as a way to get a slice of the marketplace. All you have to do is find them, do your due diligence and get the one with the best price / quality ratio.

save money prepping

Make sure you compare equal quantities when looking for the best deals. Also, many sites offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount.

Research can take a lot of time but, hey, if you don’t have the money, you have to compensate for that with time. Fortunately, you can do most of this online.

Focus On Your Skills

If you already have your 3 week emergency food supply, maybe it’s time to consider upgrading your skills or fitness level instead of going for a 3 months’ supply. These will be extremely important when disaster strikes and it’ll give you a chance to “delay” spending more money.

save money prepping

Working on your outdoor survival skills is time well spent.

Honing your camping skills, like fire-making, shelter building, and outdoor cooking can all be done in your backyard at little to no cost. Put down the matches and try different ways of starting a fire from natural materials. For six fire-building methods to practice, CLICK HERE.

Spending a day in the backyard building a shelter is a fun way to teach your kids this important skill. There are many types of shelters that are simple and provide protection from wind and rain. Top off the day with cooking dinner over an open fire and you will have practiced three major survival skills without spending a penny.

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Click to learn more ways to increase your self-sufficiency!

Make Things Instead of Buying Them

I’m talking about things around the house such as chicken coops, solar panels, fences, safe rooms, nightstands, furniture – you name it! This can be really fun, particularly if you involve your children.

save money prepping

Get out your tools and start building!

The same goes for home repairs. Learn the basics of carpentry, plumbing, and electric work through hands on experience in your own home or helping out friends and family. Take advantage of opportunities to acquire new skills by volunteering in your community.

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Practicing home repairs will keep your skills sharp.

You should also keep in mind these DIY skills are going to be golden post-collapse when everyone’s going to want to fix their homes.

Barter With Other Preppers

Well, as long as everyone’s buying in bulk, why not trade stuff so you can all be more prepared? You can increase the variety of your preps while still taking advantage of bulk prices. This will also be a very good lesson about how bartering works.

Trading skills can also help you become more prepared. Maybe your neighbor is great at canning vegetables and you’ve mastered building a Dutch oven. You can both benefit from each other’s knowledge. Learning from someone with experience can shorten the time it takes to acquire a new skill.

Lending a hand

Trading skills and services is a great way to save money prepping and get work done while you do it.

Do It Right the First Time

If you’re afraid to make mistakes or if you want to be prepared for a 3 day emergency ASAP, you’d have to make a lot of compromises: buying MREs, getting a backpack with a non-metallic frame and on and on. When you avoid buying overpriced stuff, you save money long term because you’d eventually have to buy the real deal sooner or later (not to mention a quality tool can last you a lifetime).

Do Your Shopping Without Your Car

This will obviously save you money on gas, it will help you lose weight as well as tone up. Tip: instead of carrying your groceries home in bags, put them in a backpack. This will be excellent practice for when you’ll be bugging out with your BOB.

Be Realistic (And Creative)

Don’t lose sight of the goal: to prepare your family for survival during a crisis situation. That may mean making substitutions for expensive items or repurposing items you already own. Garage sales can be a gold mine of camping gear and other useful preps. Keep an eye out for businesses that may be getting rid of unwanted items that you can repurpose. A little creativity can go a long way.

A great resource for ways to save on prepping is Prepping For Pennies by Dave Steene. Dave is a survival expert with 30+ years of experience in the field and multiple books published on a wide variety of preparedness topics. This book covers detailed ways to save on food, energy, and other resources. Click the book cover below to learn more.

prepping for pennies

Your Thoughts

Well, those were it. Can you think of more ways to save money prepping? Let us know in the Comments section below so we can build the biggest money saving list pertaining to survival there is! And if you’re looking for something a little more structured, I strongly suggest your read my article on the basics of prepping right here.

About the Author

Dan F. Sullivan runs SurvivalSullivan.com. He describes himself as:
My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to friggin’ war!

The post Ingenious Ways to Save Money Prepping appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Going Off the Grid – How to Make Your Home Self-Sufficient

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making your home self-sufficient

In past articles, we’ve shown you what habits to pick up and which to break in order to make yourself more self-sufficient – now it’s your home’s turn. Making your home self-sufficient will not only increase your preparedness and chance of survival in times of crisis, but also will help you save on household costs such as electricity and water – win/win!

In a survival situation, your ability to power your home without reliance on a power grid, municipal water, or other external resource will greatly increase your chance of survival as many of these resources will no doubt be unavailable. While most people will have to learn to do without, you’ll be able to keep powering essential home elements (such as your lights and water supply) with your self-sufficient homestead, giving you a substantial advantage in the race for survival.

In addition to being prepared for the chaos of a survival situation, having a self-sufficient home can save you money over the long-term by cutting down on your energy and water costs. Additionally, the experience and knowledge gained while installing self-sufficient systems in your home will stay with you and could be of great value in a future scenario that may involve starting from scratch, i.e. a bug-out scenario.

With a plethora of technology options emerging everyday as well as myriad age-old methods, taking the first step towards making your home self-sufficient can be daunting and overwhelming, especially for beginners. Not to worry – we’ve gone ahead and done the hard part for you! We researched the most popular solutions available and provide analysis to help you choose the best for you in the areas of energy, heat, water and composting – key elements in developing a truly self-sustaining homestead.

Self-Sufficient Energy Sources

When looking for self-sustaining sources for energy, solar and wind options offer great, renewable choices; however, these options may not be feasible for some preppers and as such, we’ve provided information on popular backup power options.

making your home self-sufficient

Any step you take toward making your home self-sufficient is a step in the right direction.

Solar

Solar power has seen its popularity soar as it has become more affordable and accessible to homeowners over the years. Provided the right conditions exist for capturing enough sunlight, solar is an incredibly viable system for powering your entire home. Solar power works by using solar panels to capture the sun’s rays to harness energy.

Generally, there are two ways to install solar panels: rooftop and standalone.

Rooftop Panels

With rooftop panels, positioning is everything. You want your panels facing within 90 degrees of direct sunlight and, ideally, have full access throughout the day. This ‘perfect’ location will of course change seasonally (with the movement of the sun) and therefore it is best to calculate where the ideal location is for each month of the year and average out the results. (For a hand with this calculation, use a solar angle calculator, such as this one or this one.)

Another consideration when installing rooftop panels is the amount of shade your roof receives and the angle of the pitch. If a portion of your roof is shady, this will decrease the amount of energy that can be harvested; as well, the angle of the pitch on the panels must be between 30 and 50 degrees, therefore necessitating an incline frame if you have a flat roof.

Before installing any panels, ensure the structure is sound enough to support the weight of the solar panel system and that roughly 300-500 square feet of unobstructed roof space is available.

Standalone Panels

If rooftop panels won’t work for your particular situation, perhaps your property is better suited for the installation of a standalone structure. The standalone panels can be stationary or fitted with a solar tracker that follows the movement of the sun for maximum power absorption.

Standalone panels can also be fitted with either single or dual axis trackers: single axis trackers tilt to improve the angle of incidence of the panels, while dual axis trackers can both tilt and pivot, increasing the amount of captured energy by up to 25%.

making your home self-sufficient

Positioning solar panels for maximum energy production may require a standalone system.

Professional vs. DIY

Professionally installed solar systems are an excellent option for providing your home with a self-sustaining energy source; however, they are expensive. It can take many years before a homeowner recoups their investment in solar power through energy bill savings.

If the investment in solar panels to power your entire home is beyond your financial means, consider trying out some smaller scale systems, as solar panels can also be used to charge batteries, light your walkway, or power a garden irrigation system.

If you’re handy with a soldering iron, there is even a DIY solar panel you can try out.

Wind

Wind energy can be harnessed through turbines, which offer an emission-free power source and can generate sufficient energy to power a moderately-sized home when ideal conditions are met.

Before installing a wind turbine, the first thing you need to do is check your local zoning regulations to see if you can legally install one. Next, ensure your property is situated in an area that receives enough wind to be able to produce sufficient energy to power your home. A qualified manufacturer can help you determine the exact output needed, but most homes require anywhere from 2-10 kW; typically, a property as small as one acre can be powered by a small turbine.

making your home self-sufficient

Making your home self-sufficient with renewable energy is a big investment but it can pay off in the long run.

In general, the average height of a wind turbine is 80 feet, with towers ranging anywhere from 30-140 feet in height. The height of your turbine will impact its productivity, especially in wooded areas where the treeline can cause an obstruction. The diameter will usually be somewhere in the 12-25 foot range.

At a cost of $10,000-$70,000, wind turbines are a steep investment and can take up to 30 years to pay off through energy bill savings. Additionally, on a day without any wind, you won’t have any power and will need a backup system. In order to deal with this deficiency, some wind turbine owners choose to remain connected to the grid.

making your home self-sufficient

For those who prefer to remain completely off the grid, excess energy captured on productive days can be stored in batteries for use later. Solar panels also act as a complementary energy source for off-grid wind turbines.

If you’re not quite ready to make the investment but like the advantages of wind turbines, you can build one yourself at a much lower cost.

Alternative Power Sources

If neither solar nor wind energy will work for your home, you can purchase a backup power system as a means of making your home more self-sufficient in the case of a power outage or disaster scenario.

power grid failure

Generators

In the aftermath of recent storms and power grid failures, backup generators have proven to be a reliable means for keeping households running.

When choosing a generator, there are two numbers to keep in mind: the steady-state wattage (the amount of energy required to keep an appliance running) and the surge wattage (the amount of energy required to start up an appliance).

In terms of lights, these numbers are generally the same, but in the case of something like a refrigerator, the surge wattage is nearly twice the steady-state wattage. Take both these numbers into account when deciding which appliances you want to backup in the case of a power outage.

Tesla Powerwall

While not available just yet, the Tesla Powerwall has the potential to drastically change world energy consumption; currently, interested buyers can reserve a Powerwall online with the earliest expected delivery date in late 2015.

The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable, lithium battery that is powerful enough to provide energy for your entire home. The battery charges itself while energy costs are low (typically overnight) and then takes over as the main power source when costs are high, substantially lowering your energy costs. As such, the Tesla Powerwall can serve as a backup power source as well as be used in conjunction with solar panels to store captured energy for future use.

Self-Sufficient Water Systems

Securing an independent water supply can typically be very tricky, especially if you are hooked into your municipal water system. Drilling a well is one of the more obvious choices, but is not always an option. If you are able to drill a well, consider having the pump powered by solar or wind energy in order to have a 100% self-sustaining water system.

If drilling a well isn’t an option for you, here are two alternatives you can try:

Rain Water

Rain is a renewable resources and can easily be collected using free-standing barrels or by linking directly to the gutter system of your home. Unfortunately, the water collected is not safe for drinking, but it can be used for other purposes such as watering your lawn, helping keep your water bill down.

Water Storage Tank

A water storage tank can hold enough drinking water to sustain a short-term bug-in; however, you need space for it. If you are planning to bug-in in an apartment without room for a storage tank, you can opt for a sealed bathtub liner that can be filled during an emergency.

Self-Sufficient Heat Sources

Depending on the climate in which you live, having the ability to heat your home during a power outage or crisis scenario can very literally be a life-saving modification.

The simplest and easiest way to install a self-sustaining heat source in your home is through a wood-burning stove, but geothermal energy systems are also an option.

Wood-Burning Stoves

If you’ve never owned or operated a wood-burning stove system before, start out small by only installing one stove until you’ve had a chance to master it and work out the kinks; after you’ve got a solid handle on how it works, start expanding by adding additional stoves to other rooms in your home.

Modern stoves can be quite efficient and offer features that make it easy to regulate temperature and air intake. As it is a closed system, many models can even be left safely overnight to burn without causing worry.

making your home self-sufficient

Even when the power is out a wood-burning stove can keep your home warm.

Maintaining your wood-burning stove as a heat source requires keeping a constant stockpile of fuel stored in a dry and accessible area. Additionally, keeping your chimney clean is imperative to ensure proper functioning and safety.

Geothermal Energy Systems

Geothermal energy systems use the existing heat energy given off by the earth below the frost line, making these systems very effective at heating or cooling homes in any climate. It works as a closed loop system, piping water from your home deep down into the ground, then back up again to your home.

As the earth’s temperature is a steady 50 degrees F, cold winter air can be heated up and hot summer air can be cooled down: air circulates through ductwork and passes over water coils, where it is heated or cooled before being circulated through the home. This system includes a compressor to enhance the heating or cooling effects by compressing or expanding the refrigerant.

While the system is effective, it is also expensive, with a return on investment time frame similar to that of solar panels (10-15 years).

Self-Sufficient Composting

Granted, composting is not a direct energy producer, but it is a great way to conserve resources by turning lawn debris and food scraps into rich soil that can be used in your garden. In turn, your garden can then become a source of healthy food that fuels your body. Composting is inexpensive and easy to do, whether you’re working with hundreds of acres or only a couple square feet – there’s really no reason not to compost!

making your home self-sufficient

Outdoor Composting

The most basic composting structure can be made using a single sheet of wire mesh by wrapping it in a cylindrical shape and supporting it with wooden stakes. This simple yet effective design provides easy access to the soil at the base of the composter, as you need only remove the stake and open the structure at its side. It’s also very easy to relocate should you change your mind, and inexpensive to expand if you’d like to increase your compostable output.

making your home self-sufficient

The next step up from a mesh structure is to build a composting box, which isn’t terribly more complicated. The frame can be constructed from wood and then lined with mesh wire at the side. Pallets lend themselves well to the job as they are a good size already and have slats that will provide ventilation while keeping in your waste material. Additionally, some designs will include a hinged gate on the upper half of the front panel to allow for easier access to the soil.

Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting – or adding worms to the process – is a great way to increase the decomposition rate while also reducing odour; this makes it a convenient option for composting kitchen scraps and apartment composting.

To set up a vermicomposting system, use two plastic bins of the same size to create the perfect environment for the worms. Drill holes in the recessed areas of the inner bin to provide for aeration and drainage, making sure the holes are small enough so that the worms won’t fall through.

For the lid, cut out a square and line it with window screen to allow oxygen as well as light to enter, which will help to orient the worms (who are photosensitive) by driving them down into the decaying material. Placing a few rocks or wooden spacers in the bottom bin keeps the bins from getting stuck together and permits further aeration.

making your home self-sufficient

The next step is to place the bin with the drilled holes inside the other bin. Placing a layer of peat, newspaper scraps, and wet cardboard makes a nice, healthy base for the worms by keeping their skin moist. Each day, add your scraps by burying them amongst this bedding. Ensure you rotate the location so that each day you are burying the scraps in a new area. Additionally, cutting up large pieces into smaller chunks will help them to break down quicker.

As the worms process food, they will produce castings (aka droppings), which will collect in the bottom of the bin. The castings are similar to dark coffee grinds in appearance and packed with nutrients in a form that can easily be taken up by plants. This concentrated fertilizer will help you to grow healthy, productive plants at least as well, if not better than, with chemical fertilizers and without all the negative drawbacks.

Final Thoughts On Making Your Home Self-Sufficient

With a little effort, you can make your home self-sufficient by developing self-sustaining systems for power, water, heat and composting. The investment you make in making your home self-sufficient will not only pay off in a disaster scenario, but also in the more likely event of a power grid failure and through savings in energy costs.

The best part about developing a self-sufficient system for your home is that once you have the knowledge and expertise in building such systems, you will always have it. This could turn out to be a life-saving skill should you find yourself in a bug-out or INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) scenario, and you will be better equipped than most to rebuild or start over in the aftermath.

Your Thoughts

Have you taken steps towards making your home self-sufficient? If so, what obstacles did you face, i.e. land, financial, etc., that made self-sufficiency a challenge?

The post Going Off the Grid – How to Make Your Home Self-Sufficient appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Preparing for an EMP Attack – Can Faraday Cages Help?

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faraday cages

An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, may sound harmless enough but its effects can be devastating. An EMP is essentially an intense burst of energy (for instance a lightning bolt, which is simply a highly concentrated EMP event that is very localized) that, depending on size and intensity, could potentially wipe out electrical and information systems across vast areas.

EMPs can occur naturally, as with lightning and a case we will explore later in this article, as well as through man-made sources such as nuclear or radio-frequency (non-nuclear) weapons. In order to properly prepare for such a phenomenon – whether to defend against Mother Nature or technological warfare – it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what exactly an EMP is in order to properly prepare yourself to defend against it.

faraday cages

Modern day reliance on the power grid leads many preppers to classify EMPs as a serious threat.

The following article will teach you the basics in understanding what an EMP is, how it can be caused, and the short and long term effects. This article also explores Faraday cages and how they can work to protect you against EMPs, discussing the features that are most important and various types you can purchase and build yourself.

What is an EMP and How is it Caused?

An EMP – whether natural or man-made – is a burst of energy with the power to knock out electrical power. The lasting effects of an EMP can range from minor inconvenience to potentially sending the world back to a pre-communications technology ‘dark age,’ so to speak.

Man-Made EMPs

The largest man-made EMP threat looms from nuclear weapon detonation. In what is referred to as the Compton effect (named after physicist Arthur Compton who first theorized of the effect), the theory follows that when a nuclear bomb explodes, the explosion releases electromagnetic energy which binds to molecules in the atmosphere and releases bonded electrons.

These free electrons then interact with Earth’s natural magnetic field creating a current that is powerful enough to decimate electrical currents over a large expanse of area.

faraday cages

As devastating as a nuclear explosion is, the resulting EMP can reach even further than the physical destruction of the blast.

In 1997, Gary Smith, then the director of Applied Physics Lab at John Hopkins University, testified in front of the House National Security Committee that a nuclear detonation at 300 miles above the surface of the Earth could carry enough impact to knock out electrical power to the United States as well as most of Canada and Mexico (click here for source article).

faraday cages

Lights out across the continental U.S.? A disturbing prospect.

However, nuclear weapons are not the only ones capable of generating an EMP; more localized sources of energy such as radio-frequency weapons or non-nuclear EMP devices can also wreak havoc.

Instead of drawing energy from a bomb explosion, these devices use concentrated microwave energy to cause disruptions in electronic equipment and destroy data. While these devices deliver a non-lethal pulse, the damage to electrical systems is no less devastating than with a nuclear detonation.

Naturally Occurring EMPs

faraday cages

The energy of lightning bolts is concentrated and terminates when it strikes the ground.

In addition to lightning, EMPs can also occur naturally as a result of geomagnetic storms. While these occurrences are infrequent, a geomagnetic storm in 1921 affected the United States as well as parts of Europe for two days, closing the New York City railroad system and burning telegraph lines in Sweden.

The cause was later attributed to a group of sunspots that were 1.9 billion square miles in size. Today, a storm of this size would affect over 100 million people and cause widespread panic and chaos due to society’s heavy reliance on electronic devices for everyday life.

faraday cages

Geomagnetic storms can produce an aurora borealis effect, or “northern lights.”

Despite the increased vulnerabilities present in modern times due to the prevalence of electronic devices in managing day-to-day activities, a future natural EMP event will likely come with advanced warning thanks to the benefit of space-monitoring stations.

A solar event would take hours, or even days, to reach Earth’s atmosphere, providing enough warning to safely stow electronics and turn off power systems (while shutting down power will not completely immunize systems against damage, it certainly can reduce the risk).

EMP Damage

EMPs, regardless the source, have the potential to inflict immediate and long-term damage. Depending on the intensity of the pulse, EMPs can start electrical fires, incapacitate power grids, and shut down power sources for refrigeration (causing loss of food and medical supplies), water and sewage services, security systems, and phone and Internet (this would affect financial institutions and ATMs as well as land, sea and air transportation).

faraday cages

Daily productivity would come to halt for many people in the aftermath of an EMP.

Additionally, any cars relying on high-tech computer systems (basically any model manufactured in the last 20 years) would be disabled and back-up generators could experience malfunctions or be ineffective if the existing equipment is damaged.

Recovery from an EMP is dependent on the size of the affected area and location, but could potentially take many years.

What is a Faraday Cage and Can it Protect Against EMPs?

The good news is, you can protect your electronic equipment from an EMP event. A popular method of EMP-proofing is to use a Faraday cage, a protective container equipped with a conductive outer layer that is typically made from aluminum.

faraday cages

Simulators can be used to test the effectiveness of Faraday cages in diverting incoming energy.

These contai