Review: Dr. Jacob’s Naturals

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I’ve recently become obsessed with Beauty Boxes and subscription boxes because I love getting small, new, interesting products to try out. The result of this new obsession is that I’ve been focusing on getting healthier and developing healthy skincare habits. I’ve been paying closer attention to not only what goes into my body, but what goes on it.

Dr. Jacob’s Naturals is a company that offers a line of products designed to help you take your skincare regime to the next level. In order to facilitate this review, I received three products:

  • Almond Honey Liquid Castile Soap
  • Lavender Castile Liquid Soap
  • Lavendar Bar Soap
I’m going to admit that the first thing I noticed about these products was the scent. If you like essential oils or just lavender in general, you’ll be in love. I chose to gift the bar soap to my mother. She loves lavender and was very pleased with the bar soap. She also has sensitive skin, so she appreciated this particular soap.
We’ve been using the liquid soap at home and I’ve been quite pleased. It leaves my hands feeling clean, but soft and refreshed. There’s no dry skin here!
If you enjoy looking for new products and trying new things in your household, you can use FREESHIP20 to receive free shipping on orders of $20 or more from Dr. Jacob’s Naturals.

Games: 7 Days to Die

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If you like Z Nation, Zombieland, Just Another Day in the Zombie Apocalypse, or anything else zombie-related, you’re going to love 7 Days to Die. Grab a cup of coffee, forget about sleep, and settle in because I’m going to introduce you to one of the best games you’re going to play this year.
I was first introduced to 7 Days to Die a few years ago by my husband. He’d discovered it and thought it was interesting, so I bought a copy and we played together.
Talk about addicting.
Two years later, it’s still one of my favorite games of all time. If you like creative games that afford you a lot of flexibility, you’re going to LOVE 7 Days to Die. It’s basically Minecraft + The Sims + Zombies = Awesome.
Here’s what you need to know.
In 7 Days to Die, you’ll create your character. This is a really straightforward and fun process. You can even choose from a selection of predesigned characters if making your own isn’t really your thing.

I like this part of the game because it really does let you personalize your gameplay if you want to. You aren’t stuck with a boring avatar or someone you don’t feel is an accurate reflection of yourself. With 7 Days, you really get to decide how you’ll look while you survive the zombie apocalypse. Oh, and you’ll definitely survive.

I’m going to tell you how.

When you start your first game, you’ll be given a series of quests in the game. These quests are designed to help you do your very best. I like the quests because it means you aren’t walking around struggling. If you’ve never played before, you’ll be given a series of practical things you can do to start playing. For example, you’ll learn how to create a bedroll. This is important because once you place it, that becomes your respawn point if you die.

This screenshot was taken early in the morning. As the sun rises, I’ll be able to see more clearly!
In this screenshot, you can see my quest items on the upper right-hand corner. Note that I also have a section that tells me how hungry and thirsty I am, as well as what my health is at. The endurance bar is an important section, too, because it lets me know if I’ll be able to run away from zombies. You use endurance when you do tasks like run or chop down trees. If I can’t fight a zombie for some reason and need to run away, endurance is a must.
7 Days to Die has a simple premise: kill zombies and survive as long as you can. At the seven day mark, a horde of zombies will come attack you, so make sure you’re ready. You’ll need to have a sturdy base, as well as traps and lots of weapons. The zombies will attack you at night, which means you need to be even more prepared since night-time attacks can be tricky and difficult to deal with.
If you get a couple of friends to play with you, you can easily assign each person a role. One person can build, one can gather weapons, one can gather food and other supplies, and someone can attack the zombies while you’re all working together. There are a ton of options for gameplay, especially if you get a couple of buddies to play with you. That said, you can enjoy this game even on your own. 
Check out the 7 Days to Die Live Action Trailer!
If you’ve been looking for a new zombie game to play, I’d highly recommend 7 Days. It’s one of my favorites. You can expect:
  • An incredible world to play in with different landscapes and terrains
  • Different weather that adds an element of challenge to the game
  • A huge variety of different zombies to defeat and scavenge from
  • Different cities and buildings you can explore and find supplies in
  • Lots of crafting options, including recipes you can unlock
  • A never-ending experience of survival
  • A variety of game-play options – you can adjust the loot levels, number of zombies, and game difficulty 
  • A chance to play by yourself or with friends
  • Different skill sets you can develop
I’m a busy mom and writer. I don’t have a ton of free time to play games, so for me, games that are highly story driven can be really difficult to find time for. I like 7 Days to Die for a number of reasons, but a huge benefit is that you can stop at any point. You don’t need to wait for a save point or a specific time or go to a special place to log out of the game. If your kids need you, you can log out and then easily sign back in later and continue from the same place.

Look! I found a spooky cave! What do you think I’ll find inside?


Real-world skills
If you’re a prepper, survivalist, or just love being outdoors, you’ll appreciate how many real-world elements are present in 7 Days to Die. For example, if you’re in a hot area in the middle of the afternoon, your body is going to start to overheat! You’ll need to drink water or find shelter right away in order to keep surviving. Similarly, if your character gets too cold, you could experience hypothermia. This is an interesting aspect of the game that adds an extra challenge and encourages real-world problem-solving skills.

Teamwork options
I usually play 7 Days on my own, but I love how easy it is to play with friends. This encourages a ton of teamwork. You can gather friends and play on different servers or create your own. Then you can build a base together, gather supplies, and defeat the horde as a group. Having other people to help you survive can be a really fun and interesting experience.

Crafting abilities
I really enjoy crafting games. They’re super fun. If you’ve never played one, you’re missing out! With crafting games, you gather a variety of supplies and then create something else. This is fantastic when it comes to surviving in the world of zombies. For example, if you get infected with the zombie virus and don’t have antibiotics, but you have the right supplies, you can make antibiotics! Similarly, if you don’t have bottled water, but you have access to a lake and a bunch of bottles, you can fill them with water and boil them for sanitation. Then you’ll be able to survive because you’ll have access to drinking water.

I found a campsite to explore. I can break down the logs for extra building materials, too, and I might be able to find some good supplies in the tents and vehicle.


Where to buy
If you’re interesting in 7 Days to Die, check out the official website or visit Steam to get your copy!

Do you enjoy zombie games, movies, or television shows? Which one is your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Pole Dancing: 3 Things You Need to Know to Get Started

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Shortly after my son was born, I had the chance to take a pole dancing class.

I jumped at the opportunity.

I’d taken aerobics classes before and I’d taken dance classes before, but nothing prepared me for how I was going to feel walking into that very first pole studio.

That first class was small. There were only six students, but there were three instructors, so we had a ton of one-on-one instruction throughout the duration of the course. The first day, we focused on spins and stretching and continuity, but then we moved into climbs and holds, and I realized I’d never be able to go back to the way things were.

Pole dancing classes are an incredible way to lose weight, develop strength, tone your body, and meet new women who will be supportive and encouraging. If you’re concerned about people being catty or mean, you don’t need to be. Pole dancing studios are one of the most supportive places a woman can hang out. Being a pole dancer isn’t about competing with your classmates and trying to outperform each other. It’s about encouraging each other to grow and learn and be all that you can be.

If you’ve been thinking about taking pole dancing classes, there are a few things you need to know before you get started.

Take classes 

First off, you can study pole dancing online if you want to take classes at home. There are a ton of great ways you can learn how to dance without having to visit a studio. One of the coolest things about living in the ageo f the Internet is that no matter what you want to learn, there’s a video for it.

If you prefer to study pole dancing in a studio, that’s fine, too! I’ve danced both at home and in studios and while I love to dance at home, dancing with other women is really fun and relaxing. There’s something special about being able to just relax and forget about your worries while rocking out with your friends, even if its just for an hour or two.

Keep in mind that when you dance at a studio, you’ll need to make sure you follow their dress codes. If you aren’t sure what to expect, just call ahead and ask. Typically, you’ll wear shorts and a comfortable shirt to start. Most beginners dance in bare feet, but you may choose to wear heels when you get more comfortable. Typically, pole studios require that your shoes have a heel that’s at least a quarter-inch wide. Stilettos may look pretty, but they can be dangerous to dance in if you’re new to the sport. Get comfortable dancing first and then you can move on to the fun shoes later!

Get a pole

I bought my first dance pole when I completed my first pole dancing class. For me, it was a great investment because it meant I could dance as much as I wanted to at home and I had plenty of time to perfect my moves. While dancing at a studio is a ton of fun, sometimes you have to share poles with other students and you’re always on a time limit. Having a pole at home means you can do the same spin thirty times if you need to.

Even if you don’t have a lot of space in your home, it’s possible to use a pole at your house. You can purchase a removable pole that you can put up when you’re ready to work out and then take down later before your company comes over. This is also a great choice if you rent your home and want something you can easily take down when you’re ready to move out.

Take your time

Like any skill, learning to pole dance takes time. Be patient with yourself! You might not have perfect spins right away. It might take you a little while to learn each routine. You might even struggle when it comes to learning inversions. None of that matters. The most important thing is that you’re having fun, doing your best, and learning! Some pole dancers learn inversions and climbs within weeks or months of starting classes. For others, it takes a little longer. Never compare yourself to anyone but you. Are you doing better than you were your first day? Are you doing better than you were last week? That’s all that matters. When it comes to pole dancing, personal progress should be your goal. 

Have you ever tried pole dancing? Did you take a class? Leave me a message and let me know!

Books About Bravery

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As a parent, raising kids who are brave, courageous, and strong is important. Whether you have boys or girls, toddlers or teens, it’s vital that you talk with your kids about standing up for themselves, being brave, and facing their fears. 
One of my favorite things about books is that they provide a safe, neutral way to talk with your kids about difficult topics. Bravery is one of those topics. While it seems like a simple thing to tell your kids to be brave, the truth is that learning how to put that bravery into practice can be tricky. Sometimes kids don’t know exactly how to apply the concept of courage to their lives, which is where books come in.
Stories provide a way for kids to see other children (albeit fictional ones) facing hardships and overcoming those problems. 
If you have younger kids (elementary age), here are several books you can read with them to start talking about the concepts of bravery, courage, and fear.


1. Sheila Rae, the Brave


2. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread



3. Dad and the Dinosaur


4. Oh So Brave Dragon: A Picture Book


5. Lionheart
Have you read any of these books with your youngsters? If not, check out Amazon to buy a copy or visit your local library to read for free.

8 Homeschool Blogs You Should Be Reading

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When I first started homeschooling, I couldn’t get enough of homeschool blogs. Although I was homeschooled as a kid, I loved reading about the different ways people choose to home educate. Some parents swear by curriculum, some love unschooling, and quite a few opt for a mixture of the two. There are ideas, free printables, lesson plans, and interesting curriculum resources on homeschool blogs, and I loved exploring these ideas when my kids were little.

Now that they’re older, I’ve found that I still love to read home education blogs. I love seeing what other families are doing, how they’re using the Internet to supplement their home education, and how they’re teaching their kids about interesting and complex topics.

Whether you homeschool for educational, religious, or personal reasons, it’s important to read as much as possible about home education so you can find the latest and greatest resources, exchange ideas, and learn new skills that will help you in your homeschooling. The more information you have, the better off your kids are going to be when it’s time to start teaching them about new and different ideas.

Have you been looking for some new reading material? Reading home education blogs offer a great way to connect with other moms, find new ideas, and to discover new information about home education. Here are a few fantastic homeschool blogs that you should be reading!

  1. Blog, She Wrote not only has a great name, but also has tons of resources for new and experienced homeschoolers alike.
  2. Homeschool Encouragement offers a variety of resources and lots of information for parents. It’s also a great place to get a little boost if you’re feeling down.
  3. Free Homeschool Deals is the place to be if you’ve been wondering how you can possibly afford to home educate your kids.
  4. Fantastic Fun and Learning is an informative site to find ideas and activities for kids. Whether you want something educational or just something fun, you’ll be able to find something great for your little ones.
  5. Confessions of a Homeschooler is the place to be if you’re looking for giveaways for home educators or for encouragement in your homeschool journey.
  6. Amongst Lovely Things isn’t just a homeschool blog, but it has a lot of information for organizing your school area. It’s also a fantastic site to visit if you need a little cheering up.
  7. Simply Living For Him is a really sweet blog with lots of ideas for every part of your home.
  8. Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus has tons of information for new home educators, as well as tons of great resources for online learning.
Do you enjoy reading homeschool blogs? Did I catch any of your favorites? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Fantasy Books for Middle Grade Readers

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As a writer, it’s probably not surprising that my kids love to read. We spend at least two or three hours each day listening to audiobooks and then an hour or two on top of that reading. Yeah, we love books around here. That said, sometimes finding new, interesting fantasy novels for middle-grade readers can be tricky. Once you’ve finished the books you love as a kid, where do you go?

Recently, I asked some of my writer friends on Facebook for suggestions on great fantasy novels for middle-grade readers. I got some fantastic recommendations and have been having a lovely time enjoying these stories with my kids.

Are you looking for new books? Check out my list and let me know what you think!

1. The Shadows

This house is keeping secrets . . .

When eleven-year-old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy—but it isn’t until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there’s something darkly magical afoot. Then Olive finds a pair of antique spectacles in a dusty drawer and discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside the house’s spooky paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily sinister. But in entering Elsewhere, Olive has been ensnared in a mystery darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. With only the cats and an unusual boy she meets in Elsewhere on her side, it’s up to Olive to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) is a story about an 11-year-old who moves into a new house, but nothing is as it seems. This story is really interesting and has a decent pace. We’ve been reading a few chapters each night before bed, but each chapter ends on a cliffhanger so sometimes falling asleep after reading can be tricky! If you like this story, there are four more books in the series, so this is a great one to start if you plan to do even more reading.


2. A Hat Full of Sky


Rats! They’re everywhere: in the breadbins, dancing across tabletops, stealing pies from under the cooks’ noses. So what does every town need? A good piper to lure them away.

That’s where Maurice comes in. But he’s only a cat (though one that talks), so although he has the ideas, he needs rats and someone to play the pipe. Who better than the kid to play the pipe? And Dangerous Beans. And Peaches. And Hamnpork (who doesn’t really like what’s been happening since The Change; all a rat leader really needs is to be big and stroppy, thinking is just not his thing). And Darktan. And Sardines. And all the others in the Clan.
Then they arrive in Bad Blintz, which is suffering from a plague of rats, and find there are NO rats anywhere (though the two resident rat catchers seem to have plenty of tails to show, at 50 pence per tail).
Someone else has had ideas, and Maurice is not pleased.

A Hat Full of Sky: Discworld Book 32, (Discworld Childrens Book 3) is a Terry Pratchett novel set in the Discworld series. This is a standalone book, so you don’t need to read the other stories in the series in order to read it. We read this one and then moved on to some of the other Discworld books, which both of my kids really enjoy. 
If you’ve never read Pratchett’s writing, you’re missing out. Terry writes books that both children and adults can enjoy, so while this is technically a book designed for youngsters, there’s fantastic character development, world building, and poignant thoughts you’ll be able to enjoy in this one.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

3. Crenshaw

Crenshaw

In her first novel since The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary. This title has Common Core connections.

Crenshaw was added to my to-read list when several of my author friends suggested it. Katherine Applegate is one of those writers who manages to suck you into her world in a seemingly effortless way.

“Imaginary friends are like books. We’re created, we’re enjoyed, we’re dog-eared and creased, and then we’re tucked away until we’re needed again.” -Katherine Applegate, Crenshaw




4. A Snicker of Magic


Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.


A Snicker of Magic not only has an incredible cover, but has an incredible premise, as well. What do you do when you move somewhere new and nothing is what you expect? What do you do when your entire life changes and you have to find a way to make sense of the world around you? As a family that recently moved from one side of the globe to the other, I like these types of books because my kids can really relate to the feeling of being thrust into a new world you aren’t quite expecting.

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Have you read any of these books with your kids? Which one was your favorite?

Subscription Boxes for Homeschoolers: Little Passports

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Subscription boxes.
Chances are you’ve heard of them. You might even subscribe to one. Maybe you get a makeup subscription box or a snack one, but have you considered using subscription boxes in your homeschooling?
My family primarily uses IXL for our homeschooling right now. We’re a bit eclectic since we have such an emphasis on Chinese and Japanese learning for our kids, but IXL is the primary math/language arts program we use. In addition to that, I like to supplement our homeschooling with things like reading and, you guessed it, subscription boxes.
Little Passports is a box we found out about several years ago. It’s got a huge emphasis on teaching your kids about life in different states and even different countries. When you subscribe, you’ll basically receive an all-encompassing lesson plan and lesson each month. It makes homeschooling with unit studies and topic studies very simple, so if you’re a busy mom who doesn’t want to worry about over-planning, this might be perfect for you.

In addition to a US-based subscription box, Little Passports also has a world geography box, a box specifically for younger kids, and a science box. They also have a ton of great information for homeschoolers and parents on their blog. For example, this post on 9 ways to say thanks around the world can be a great post to share with your kids as they learn about new places!

One of the most important things my kids learned while we were traveling was how to say “thank you.” When you go to a new place, even if you aren’t fluent in the language, just being able to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language can make traveling much easier. It also shows a huge amount of respect to the people you’re speaking with, so I love that Little Passports has these resources for parents. (So even if you aren’t interested in subscribing, check out their blog! There are tons of free articles you can enjoy and learn from.)

For more information about Little Passports, visit their website. Then leave me a comment and tell me what you thought!

  
Have you ever used a subscription box program to homeschool? Tell me about it in the comments!

Survival Tools You Shouldn’t Be Without (For Moms)

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When it comes to prepping and survival tools, there are a ton of options available. Any prepping website you go to is going to have a list of items you simply must have, and while none of these lists are necessarily wrong, it’s important to remember that each list is written with a different demographic in mind. Someone who lives in a cabin in the woods is going to have a different idea of what prepping looks like than a mom with little kids who lives in the suburbs.

I’ve got two kids. I don’t live in the suburbs, but I do live in a small town. I’m not wandering off into the woods on a regular basis, but there are some emergencies I may have to deal with in my daily life:

  • Sick kids throwing up in the car
  • Flat tire in a random store parking lot
  • Car breaking down on the side of the highway (with no cell service)
  • Freak ice storm while I’m inside the grocery store and have to deal with when I come out
  • Kids getting sick because of the heat
For possible problems like this, I like to have emergency supplies in my car. I’m a minimalist, so I don’t like to have a lot. I don’t need an entire year’s supply of freeze-dried bananas in my trunk or anything like that, but I do want to have enough items on hand that I can use should something happen while I’m out with the kiddos.
Here are my go-to survival tools for cases like this:
  • Wet wipes. Do you know how many times I’ve had to use wet wipes in random situations? Keep a box in your car. You’ll probably use them before the week is over, I swear. 
  • Towels. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve got a puker, and when he pukes, he pukes everywhere. Having an extra towel (just one) in the car has been a life saver on more than one road trip.
  • Blankets. I like to keep one small blanket in the trunk. Again, I don’t need to have a lot of things, but blankets come in really handy when it’s cold out and the kids just can’t get warm or if the heater in the car stops working randomly.
  • Gloves. If you have a local dollar store, pick up an extra pair of gloves and keep them in your car. They’re great if it gets really cold when you’re already out or it starts snowing when you’re away from home and you need to clean off the windshield or anything like that.
  • Ice scrapers. ‘Nuff said. My local store sold out of these quite quickly, but you can easily get them online. Wal-Mart usually has a display up front during the winter time, but check in the automotive department to get one for less. (I’ve seen them for $1-$3 back there.)
  • Back-up phone battery. Okay, so I need to preface this by saying you shouldn’t leave an extra phone battery in your car when it’s hot out, but I’ve found myself in situations where my phone battery died randomly and I wasn’t able to contact anyone. I keep a spare phone battery in my wallet now for cases like this. And yes, this only works on older phones that have removable batteries.
  • Battery charger. A cheap portable battery charger can come in handy if your phone dies while you’re out and you need to call for help or contact anyone.
  • Battery-operated fan. If your kids get overheated easily, consider picking up a small, battery-operated handheld fan they can use when it’s particularly hot out. This helps my little one on long car rides and even when we’re at home and having a hard time cooling off the house.
Do you have emergency supplies in your car? What are some of your must-haves?

Review: Fire Starter Flint (Survival Hax)

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Whether you’re a mom or dad, live in the country or the city, like to camp or prefer not to, it’s important to practice personal safety and to learn how to survive in emergency situations. While I’m not someone who thinks we all need to learn how to live “off the grid,” I do believe that it’s a good idea to be prepared for emergencies that can arise, especially when you’re traveling with kids or in a remote area where you can’t simply call for help.

This week, I got a new product I think is a great addition to any bug-out bag or emergency car kit. It’s a 6” Fire Starter Flint with Waterproof Tinder Holder and Whistle from Survival Hax. This is a small, versatile tool with several benefits that anyone can use. Check it out.

As you can see, there are a couple of things included with this:

  • Ferro rod
  • Paracord lanyard
  • Tinder holder
  • Emergency whistle
  • Hex wrench, bottle opener, striker, ruler
If you like versatile items that have multiple uses and benefits, you’ll enjoy this. When I first got this product, I was under the impression that it was just for starting fires, so I was surprised when there were other items included, as well.

Everything arrived in this small box. As you can see, there’s quite a bit there, but it’s small. I like this because you can easily put it in your bug-out bag or car kit. If you’re a busy mom like I am, having survival and emergency items that are small is especially important. Who really wants to haul around kids and a huge bug-out bag? (And a diaper bag, and a stroller, etc.) I have a small emergency kit and this fits right in with my other items.

This is my favorite part of the flint kit. It’s a hex wrench, rule, bottle opener, and striker all-in-one. I can never seem to have enough bottle openers, and this is something I think a lot of people tend to overlook when it comes to emergency prepping. You might have 37 cans of food, but what happens when you can’t actually open them?

I also love the emergency whistle. It’s small, easy to carry, and you could honestly slip it in your pocket or the front pack of your emergency kit. It’s also super loud. My kids had a great time testing this out today. My ears did not have as much fun.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this product. I love that everything has multiple purposes. For example, the paracord lanyard can be taken apart and has five feet of usable rope. The bottle opener also can be used as a ruler if you need to measure something. Multi-use items are very important to me because it means I can save money by only buying one item and it means I don’t have to haul around excess stuff. As a minimalist, this is a win-win for me.

If you’re interested in the fire starter flint, you can purchase this directly from Survival Hax or on Amazon. I’d also like to offer a coupon code to my readers! If you choose to purchase the starter flint through Amazon.com, you can use promo code SH50FIRE to save 50% on a single flint or 60% if you buy two!

Author’s note: I was provided with a complimentary flint in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed within this post are my own.

Ready to talk about puberty? Here’s what you need to know

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Are your kids behaving strangely?
Are they more emotional?
Are they smellier than usual?
Are they sleeping a lot?
Are they growing constantly?
Congratulations, fellow mom! You might be the parent of a child going through puberty. As the mom of two little boys who are quickly sprouting into young men, I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about body changes, emotional changes, and what’s going to happen in the weeks, months, and years to come. While I’m certainly not an expert on parenting or puberty, I can tell you that there are a couple of things I’ve learned from all of these talks.
First off, stay calm. Everyone goes through puberty. Everyone sprouts hair. Everyone develops new feelings and has new experiences. You don’t need to panic or freak out when it’s time to talk with your kids. They’re going to go through puberty no matter what, so you might as well be cool about it. Staying calm means they will, too.
It’s also important to be honest. Never lie to your kids. Use proper terminology when you’re speaking about their body parts and give realistic explanations when they ask you questions. Don’t get too goofy or silly when you’re talking. It’s important to give your kids the information and the tools they need to know when it comes to growing up. While it’s fine to crack jokes sometimes, don’t use this as a way to mask nervousness.
Finally, get some resources. I like Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys. It’s a simple, easy-to-understand book that’s perfect for my kids, who are eight and 10. We read this together, but I also leave it easily accessible so that if the kids have questions they are too embarrassed to ask, they can look up information in the book. While many puberty books dive into sexual relationships as part of the guide, this one focuses on body parts, changes, and staying healthy. I loved that there are sections on hygiene, too! 

Have you talked with your kids about puberty? What are some of your favorite resources? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Review: Mystery Tacklebox

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If you think nothing sounds quite as relaxing as spending an afternoon on your boat, you may find Mystery Tacklebox to be just what you need to add extra lures to your collection and mix up your fishing experiences. Mystery Tacklebox is a subscription service that sends you a box of surprise fishing supplies each month. There are several boxes available ranging from $14.99 and up. This can also be used as a gift for friends or family members who enjoy fishing, so if you find that it’s difficult to get birthday or holiday gifts for the fisherman or woman in your life, this could be just what you need.

This month, I had a chance to check out Mystery Tacklebox. While it’s obviously too cold for me to go fishing and try out my new lures, I did have a good time checking out the different items that arrived in my box. My Mystery Tacklebox came in a fun, informative box that had a full explanation about both the service and the supplies. This way, I could easily learn what came in my box in case there was something I wasn’t already familiar with.

After I read about everything in the box, it was time to take each item out. My box came with quite an assortment of different items, which was pretty fun to see. If you have a collection of lures already, you might enjoy mixing things up with new, carefully selected items you haven’t already tried.
 

Coupon Alert!! 

If you’re interested in trying this out, make sure you use a coupon to reduce your costs on your first box! I love using promo codes and coupons while shopping online, so I’m happy to have the chance to share this one with you.

Use code USFAM10 to save $10 off your first Mystery Tacklebox. Visit Mystery Tacklebox to learn more. 

Have you ever subscribed to anything? What did you get? Do you know someone who would enjoy Mystery Tacklebox?

Author’s note: I received a complimentary box in exchange for a fair and honest review of Mystery Tacklebox. Opinions expressed within this post are my own.

SHTF Christmas… What was It Like…?

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Just this last week I completed an interview with Daisy from the Organic Prepper Blog. It was on a timely subject with Christmas being here, so thought I’d share it here as well.

 

 

Have you ever thought about what an SHTF Christmas would be like after an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it event? I’m not talking about a minor issue that just affects a few people, but a full-on disaster that changes everything.

Today, we have a first-hand look at what a post-collapse holiday is really like. I interviewed my friend Selco, of SHTF School, and his answers are really food for thought.  I have learned more about long-term survival from Selco than probably anybody else and have based a lot of my own plans on things I’ve learned from him. For most of us who write about preparedness, it’s research and theory. For Selco, it’s real life.

This interview is in his own words.

I read over the answers to his questions at least a dozen times and thought about how fortunate we are. Even our most difficult times here, in our society, would have been the height of luxury during the war in Bosnia.

But will we always be this lucky?

First, give us a little bit of background. What was going on? Please describe the circumstances in Bosnia during this time.

War in the Balkan region (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia…) started during the 1991 and went on until 2000 (if you include war at Kosovo and NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999), but historians mainly narrow it to a period of 1991-1995 if you do not count Kosovo war and NATO bombing. In some literature, you’ll find the name “Yugoslav Wars“ which is same (all above-mentioned Balkan countries used to be states in Federation of Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija or roughly translated to English it is “country of south Slavs“).

…Yugoslavia (as a socialistic-communist country) founded after WW2 in 1945, and stop to exist in 1991 with the start of the wars. Shortly prior the war socialistic system (communistic) fell apart as a part of bigger events (fall of Soviet Union, fall of Berlin wall…) and democracy came, together with democracy, rivalry between states that wanted to stay in the Yugoslavian union and states who wanted independence raised sharply, that resulted in riots and small and isolated fights, leading to full use of Yugoslavian army (JNA) which was 4th largest military force in Europe in that time.

Wars had all features: Independence fights, aggression between states, civil war, genocide, re-alignments, or switching of allegiances as the operational situational changed, backing up from foreign forces (Such as US and NATO)… through periods of it  you could say that it was an ethnic war or even religious in parts, but in the essence it was war for territory and resources between factions who were in power, based on personal gain of wealth and influence only.

I went as a civilian and later as a soldier through the whole period of wars, I was in different regions during that period. Harder period of those wars (because of numerous reasons) happened in Bosnia, and one of the main “feature“ of that period were “sieges“ of a couple of cities that lasted from few months to a couple of years.

Some of those sieges were complete, in terms that everything normal stop to exist in city- electricity, water, police, medical services and everything else that makes normal life, every normal service. Death from sniper or shelling was an everyday thing, but also death from gangs because law stop to exist, or death from malnutrition, lack of medicines or simply lack of proper hygiene.

I found myself in one of those sieged cities. I lived like that for a year and I survived.

Every day, for almost a year, for me was a constant fight for survival, I was constantly either trying to defend myself or to look for resources, for usable water, food or simply firewood. We scavenged through the destroyed city for usable items because everything was falling apart and we have to “reinvent“ things in order to survive, like the best way to stay warm, to stay clean and safe or simply to make home medicine for diarrhea or high blood pressure.

When Christmas rolled around, it was obviously very different than any other holiday people had ever experienced. Can you tell us the usual Christmas traditions in Bosnia BEFORE this all happened?

As said, I grew up in Yugoslavia, which was socialistic and communistic country. One of the thing in that country and system was that religion was not forbidden, but it was strongly, let’s say “advised“ that religion is way down in the list of life priorities.

On the other side, it was strongly “advised“ that we put aside our differences (we had many different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, and a couple of main religions) in order to build one “ethnicity“ – Yugoslavian. As the result of that all different religions kinda know each other very well, and people from different religions celebrated more or less or know all religions.

Christmas for most of the folks was very much connected to the New year holiday (again something that is connected to the official socialistic system) and it was just like everywhere in the world I guess, holiday of presents and gathering of family. For example, going on midnight mass was matter of being together with family and friends, and meeting each other-not so much matter of religion not too many “real“ religious people).

I was a teenager more or less, but my memories of that holiday prior the war are: peace, good food, family gathering and presents, and of course Santa.  It was huge and “mandatory“ thing that kids gonna get big presents then.

I’m sure that then, everything was very different. What were some of the changes? How did you celebrate?

Everything was different when SHTF, yes. Living was hard, comfort was gone and everything was stripped“ down to the bare survival. Lot of small commodities that we usually do not think about (we take it for granted) was simply gone because of obvious reasons (the whole system was out) but also because simply life becomes full of hard duties, to finish simple tasks and obtain resources becomes hard, dangerous and time-consuming.

Celebrations become rare and not so happy and big (not even near) but in the same time they become more precious and needed too.

Get-togethers (family) become even more important because people lean much more on each other between group or family, simply because they needed much more support – psychological. too – than in normal times.

A lot of religious people lost their faith when they saw family members dying. On the other side lot of people found God in that desperate times – as an only hope.

Being together with family members for small “time off“ become almost like small rituals, like a ritual of finding inner strength and support in order to push more through hard times.

Yes, religion was a big part of it, but it was not only about religion, it was about finding strength in you and people close to you – family, and sharing it between each other.

Without access to storebought presents, what kinds of gifts did people give?

It could be divided in two groups:

Things that help you in the new reality:

All kind of things that helped you to solve all kind of problems that SHTF brought. For example, people who were skilled in handcrafting used to made cigar holders out of wood and bullets casing, it was very popular for smokers and the reason for that was because cigarettes were rare, and people usually smoked bad tobacco rolled in bad paper and good cigar holder (as a combination of cigar holder and pipe) was essential for smoking that stuff.

It was small thing but really important if you were a smoker in that time.

Another example was small handmade stove. It was made from thin metal, and in some cases it was portable. Point was that kind of stove needed really small amount of wood ( fuel for fire was important and hard and dangerous to get in urban settings) to make it really red hot and cook something quickly or boil water.

So cool and usable kind of inventions.

Things that connect you to normal

In this other group were all kind of things that connect you to the normal (prior SHTF) life. It was not only cool and nice to have those presents, but also it was important psychologically to taste something that actually makes you feel normal again.

For example after living for months through collapse, one simple bottle of beer could make you feel human again, and it would somehow gave you strength.

Sweets (Candy), beer, spice, or even few songs that someone play on guitar for you were precious.

What did you do for the children at Christmas to make it special?

Kids were somewhat “forgotten“ in the SHTF times. Quite simply not many people paid attention to them other then keeping them safe from dangers.

People did not have enough time to take care about their needs.

During the holidays people usually wanted to give some kind of joy for them, or to “keep the spirit“ of holiday alive for them.

In majority of cases it was very poor imitation of holidays in normal times, for example I remember that making pancakes (jam was made out of tomato juice and very expensive sugar) was considered alone like a holiday. Special food, or attempts to make some special food, for kids, were usual holiday presents for kids in that time. Today that kind of food would look ridiculous and not even edible probably, but in that time it was precious.

What did families serve for Christmas dinner in Bosnia during this time?

Traditionally for Christmas and New Year holidays in this region here, we ate huge amounts of meat, and drink wine, so people during the collapse tried to keep that tradition.

Again it was mostly unsuccessful in terms of normal, but in that time having hot stew kind of meal from MRE was considered holiday dinner, and actually it was very very tasty and a “holiday spirit“ dinner considering what we usually ate.

Wine was out of the option most of the time but hard alcohol was there.

In general, were people happy and joyous to find a chance to celebrate, or was it grim and depressing because it was so different?

General picture looked like this: we were cold, more or less hungry, dirty, tired and unsure in future, but yes we appreciate feeling of getting together for holiday and we were trying to keep “spirit alive“.

Truth is that sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

But generally yes, psychologically it was important, it had its place, it had a sense to get together, take some time to try to feel normal again, to remember that we are still humans.

Definitely those moments were not bright and happy, like in normal times but on the other hand those moments were appreciated and were much more real than in peacetime.

Do you have any holiday stories you can share from this time? (Doesn’t matter if they are happy stories or sad – I’d really like to show the reality of post-collapse holidays.)

It is big thing (I guess just like everywhere) to leave presents under the tree for Christmas and New Year here.

It is custom here to buy big bags (kids motifs of cartoons, fairy tales and similar) and fill it with favourite snacks, sweets and toys of each kid and leave that bags under the tree (we did not had custom of socks and similar, we had those bags, to literally translate the name would be “kid package“).

Of course, it was out of the question to have the bags and sweets and toys in the middle of SHTF.

My uncle in that time came into an opportunity to make a deal with local small “warlord“ or gang leader if you like.

The deal was about giving some weapon for food (the guy had a connection with outside world) and my uncle “made a condition“ on the whole deal with the term that he will give a weapon for food but the additional deal was that he also need 3 “kids packages.”

In that time and particular moment, taking into consideration with what kind of people he was making a deal it was like he was asking a serial killer, to his face, to sing a gentle lullaby, and my uncle said that those guys simply could not believe what he asked.

Everybody was looking for or offering weapon, drugs, violent contract deals or even prostitutes from those people but he was looking for “kids packages“.

But they indulge him, and my uncle said that he thought they indulged him simply out of the fun, and out of the fact that it is gonna be a very interesting urban legend that someone could obtain kids packages in that time.

The guy even wrote down the list of sweets and toys that my uncle asked from him.

I think those sweets and toys when they came were one of the most unreal items in that time and place, but they were worth the effort.

It really gives you something to think about.

What a reality check. And how fortunate we are. Our version of “things were really tight this Christmas” is laughable in comparison to what is described above. I can’t thank Selco enough for sharing his stories with us.

I’ve often recommended prepping with things like cake mix, birthday candles, extra Christmas cards, and items that support your family traditions, and after reading what Selco had to say, I believe it’s even more important. You can’t overstate the psychological aspect of being able to provide that sense of normalcy.

More information about Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Read more of Selco’s articles here: https://shtfschool.com/blog/

And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-boot-camp/

————————————————————–

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com

She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menarie.
You can find Daisy on 
FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Review PLUS Coupon: Satori Reader

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The creators of Human Japanese have another incredible website called Satori Reader. Those of you who love Japanese, learning, and reading are going to really enjoy this one.
I think one of the hardest things about learning a language is finding ways to keep things interesting and exciting when it comes to studying. It’s important to mix up the ways you study so you don’t become bored, stressed, or anxious. When you feel bored, studying becomes a chore and then you don’t want to do it. The end result, as we all know, is that you don’t study as much as you should and you don’t reach your goals.
Well, here’s one way you can avoid that study fatigue and keep pushing forward to learn more Japanese and expand your understanding of the language.
Satori Reader is a subscription-based website filled with tons of great features and stories designed to help introduce you to new information about Japanese and to reinforce the vocabulary and grammar you already have. Stories are added on a regular basis, so you aren’t going to be stuck with repetitive or dull material. No matter what type of content you like to read, you’ll be sure to find something that works for you!
When you first enter the website, you’ll find an easy-to-use dashboard that offers a couple of really cool features.
First off, there’s a list of recent articles. Have you ever read something great on the Internet only to lose it? You don’t have to worry about that with Satori Reader. Your most recent articles will appear on your dashboard, so you can easily review them again and again. I like this because sometimes I’ll learn a word and want to quickly see it in context again. This enables me to navigate back and find the thing I’m looking for.
Another fantastic feature on your dashboard is that there’s a spot to track your usage. Lately, I’ve been working hard to make sure I’m studying on a daily basis. If you want to ensure that you aren’t falling behind in your study goals, you can check the usage on this handy chart.
Once you’re ready to start reading, you’ll have a wide range of articles and stories to choose from. In my own studies, I’ve found that focusing on a variety of learning methods is a great way to avoid burn-out. If you’re doing something interesting and learning at the same time, your study time will fly by and you’ll quickly find you’re improving dramatically.
When you find a story you like, there are several cool features. 
First off, you can click on any word and find the dictionary entry for it. Yep. That’s right! This means you aren’t going to have to be looking stuff up on a different website in order to fully enjoy the story. 
You can also add these words quickly to your study list. There’s a spaced repetition section directly on the Satori Reader website that offers both English-to-Japanese and Japanese-to-English cards for you! This means you don’t have to create your own individual flashcards on other programs, but if you prefer to study on your phone or on another application, you can easily export your flashcards directly from Satori Reader.
Finally, you can listen to the stories on Satori Reader, so you won’t just be improving your reading when it comes to Japanese comprehension. You can also make sure you’re understanding the way each word sounds when it’s spoken aloud.
If you’re interested in trying Satori Reader, you can sign-up directly on the website. My readers can use this special promo code to save 20% off the first three months of membership OR 15% off an annual subscription. Simply enter LJLRQZEGMW at check-out to receive the discount!
You can find out more or sign-up for a membership directly at satorireader.com.
Have you ever used Satori Reader? Let me know what you thought! 

GRAPHIC: USA vs North Korea – Military Comparison

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With “Rocket Man” getting bolder and North Korea’s missiles getting better with each launch, I have seen more concern about the possibilities of Nuclear War.  We recently published an article entitled, “Nuclear Attack Strategies: Knowing How They Think Is Half the Battle,” that gives some insight into the possible “thinking” behind North Korea’s and other nations nuclear weapon’s stockpile.  But the concern still remains.  It would be helpful to see a visual military comparison.

This Infographic, provided by Hunting Mark, compares the military of the United States vs. North Korea.  It is a good visual of where the two countries stand militarily.

– Todd

The USA vs North Korea

 

 

This strategy involves a weak opponent challenging a stronger opponent, hence the name ‘asymmetric’ meaning ‘unequal’. The idea is for the smaller country to intentionally escalate a conflict to the point that they use a small (maybe battlefield) nuclear weapon in apparent defense of their country or interests against the larger “aggressor”. Ideally, the smaller country could destroy a carrier group or remote island military base as an example of their willingness to use their weapons. Then, they hold their larger weapons in reserve and tell the larger country and the world, “you might destroy us, but we will make sure and take out one or more of your major cities”. The smaller country hopes that the larger country will not be willing to sacrifice millions of their citizens to take out a small country (or dictator). So, the larger country reaches a stalemate with the smaller country. This strategy becomes even more effective if the smaller country can locate their limited warhead inventory onto ships, submarines or even smuggle them into the larger country.

 

Source

Peace,
Todd

 

Review: Human Japanese

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This past summer, I had the chance to visit Disney Sea in Tokyo, Japan. While we were there, we attended a show where Ariel sings a song from The Little Mermaid. As I watched the world’s favorite mermaid sing one of the most fantastic Disney songs ever, I realized that I wanted to be able to do that.

I wanted to be able to sing in Japanese.
I wanted to be able to speak Japanese.
So, instead of sitting around hoping I’d magically learn how to do this, I started studying.
Japanese is unlike anything I’ve ever studied before, and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I’ve been studying Chinese for years, but starting a new language from scratch is completely overwhelming. There’s just so much information that it’s tough to know where to start.
This week, however, I had the opportunity to try out a Japanese learning program called Human Japanese. (Check out their website here.)
Human Japanese is a program you can use on your computer or phone and it presents the Japanese language in a way that’s perfect for beginners. 
I tried out the desktop version and I really enjoyed how easy it is to use. I tend to prefer studying on my phone because it’s so portable, but I actually really liked having the full screen for studying Japanese.
The introduction on Hello Japanese is pretty solid. It goes through a great description of the different methods you can utilize for learning Japanese and it talks about what to expect from the program. As you can see, the right-hand side of the screen makes navigating through the program really easy and there is an XP bar which means THIS IS JUST LIKE A VIDEO GAME, YOU GUYS. I am definitely one of those people who will do just about anything if it means I’m going to get XP for it, so Human Japanese didn’t disappoint.
 Human Japanese includes:
  • Chapters
  • Explanations of grammar and vocabulary
  • Summaries for each chapter
  • Quizzes
  • Highlighting and note-taking abilities
  • AND MORE
Getting Started: Chapter One
In Chapter One, Human Japanese begins to dive into the Japanese language. What makes Japanese unique? How is it different from English? How does studying Japanese through the Human Japanese program work? I love the break-down here because for some people who are complete newbies, like me, figuring out where to start can be tricky.

When I walked into Chinese class on my first day, I realized there would be no English spoken. My teacher taught primarily through immersion and expected us to figure things out. For learners like me, this can be a stressful way to learn. Human Japanese isn’t like that. Instead, chapter one explains what to expect, how to pronounce things in Japanese, and how to understand the difference between the way things are printed in English versus Japanese.

I want to point out that Human Japanese is taught in a way where you feel like you’re conversing with an old friend. There’s definitely this understanding that one person is teaching you, which I really enjoy. As I worked through this lesson, I felt like I was being taught by a good friend, rather than someone who didn’t know or understand me. It’s a great feeling and it definitely takes away some of the pressure that often accompanies learning a new language or skill.

This chapter offers some fantastic explanations of basic pronunciation. For example, there’s a great explanation of stress modulation. Do you know what this term means? I didn’t! After working through Chapter One, however, I feel like I have a pretty solid understanding of what it means and how it will affect me as I continue to study Japanese.

Checking Your Progress
With Human Japanese, you’ll be able to quickly assess how well you’re doing with each lesson. If you feel like you’re struggling and need to repeat a section, you can easily do this. I love that it’s so simple to review sections and go back and forth as needed to make sure you’re really understanding the material.

You can also take quizzes to check whether you’re getting the vocab down correctly! Don’t shy away from quizzes when you’re studying. In language-learning, it’s really important to make sure you’re getting everything down completely. Sometimes when I’m studying, I’ll feel like I understand the material, but taking a quiz will show me just how far I have to go.

The quizzes are in a great format and the word or phrase you’re being tested on IS pronounced clearly, so even if you’re struggling to read, you can work on your listening as you take the quiz.
Closing Thoughts
I’m still a new Japanese learner, but I’m really enjoying Human Japanese and would recommend it for anyone who wants to learn Japanese from scratch. If you’ve never studied Japanese before or you know just the basics and really want to solidify your knowledge, you’ll love this program.

Where to Buy

If you’re interested in checking out Human Japanese, you can find this on the Human Japanese website or directly on Amazon.
Have you tried Human Japanese? Are you thinking of trying it out? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Author’s note: I was provided with a complimentary copy of Human Japanese in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Five Places to Home School Away From Home

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Looking for some fun ways to spice up your days? Instead of sitting at home, take your home education with you wherever you go. Here are just a few fun places that you can home school your kids away from home.

1. The park
Do you have parks close by? Why not pack up a picnic lunch and go learn about nature? You could opt for a playground and get in some PE time or head to a National Park and learn about America.

2. Museums
Children’s museum, science museums, or history museums can all be fantastic places to learn. Ditch the textbooks and instead have a great time exploring museums and learning from the exhibits. Don’t forget to check Amazon Local and Groupon for discounted rates.

3. The zoo
Learn about science, nature, and history at the zoo. Try to visit on a morning when the zoo is having a presentation so that your kids can learn more in-depth about feeding and caring for animals.

4. Grandma’s house
Love to travel? Why not grab your books and head to Grandma’s house for a few days? You could also try visiting friends in other states. Your kids will get to enjoy a road trip and learning about different cities.

5. The lake
Grab your fishing poles and head to the lake. You could learn about catching your own food, but this also offers a great opportunity for teaching your kids how to camp and survive outdoors.

Top Tips – Items to Stockpile

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I’m constantly seeing articles with titles like“ things that gonna disappear when SHTF“ or“ things that you need to stock up when SHTF“, better still, “Top 10/50/100(!) Items to stock before SHTF” or something in that way.

And then, in the article, author goes with huge number of items that will be gone when SHTF.

These articles, like many, are not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, but it can be used more as an reminder what amount and number of things we are dependable on in everyday life, other then a list what to buy for SHTF. Unless of course you just happen to have a spare $20,000 to immediately to buy everything on the list.

It is so obvious that when SHTF, electricity will be most probably gone, but does that really mean that you need to run today and buy a generator and huge amount of fuel?

Maybe there are smarter, cheaper things to store, more usable and more „desirable“ (for trade) when SHTF….

And again you need to think about difference between what you really need and what would be really nice to have. Necessity vs. Comfort.

I am not saying it is wrong to buy a special bug out vehicle, only for when SHTF, I am saying that I want to give advice about what to store and that items anyone of you can store.

I had always opinion that millionaires do not read my blog (if you do, please feel free to click on my ‘donate’ button, over there on the right hand side of this page ;), so my advice is aimed at the people who need to take care about every dollar, and who need to invest in a smart way for future SHTF.

Here I will write about two items only that you can and if possible need to store, and reasons why.

Antibiotics (In inject-able format)

Of course, antibiotics are like „must have“ items for the time when SHTF.

It is not unknown item for preppers storage, but still there is maybe slight misunderstanding about antibiotics.

I know there are thousands of pages about „fish antibiotics“ out there, and I can only say that if you can not buy antibiotic in better forms then buy that one and have it.

But you need to know that sometimes, actually when SHTF very often only real antibiotic is Penicillin in a form of injections.

There are numbers of reason for that, like severity (prolonged time) of infection, needed levels of antibiotic in blood…etc

You really really need to know that very often „attacking“ infection with „fish-mox“ for example or even real Amoxicillin  will be like you are pissing on the forest fire in order to put it out.

It is useless.

 

I just took this photo, it is „one round“ or one dosage of PNC for a fully grown adult, it covers huge spectrum of infections, (of course you would need several shots), it is small, easy to store and easy to carry.

One „full treatment“ of several vials + water for dilution can fit into your jacket pockets and in your pants pocket you can fit needed syringes and needles.

When SHTF, in those pockets you have the means to save somebody’s life, yours, or your own kid, or simply you can trade it for really cool items.

Now imagine that you have big stash of these.

It is hard to get it there where you live probably, I understand that, but simply I do not believe that it is impossible.

You are preparing for end of the world, for chaos, for violence… I just can not believe you can not try to look for the info. where you can get these without prescription and cheap.

Try!

You can store it only for trade, but you can learn how to administer it too.

Procedure for administering PNC (and other injections) can be taught too, and actually it is pretty simple ( I will be teaching this as a module in our new, soon to be released, course).

There are possible complications, possible mistakes of course, and I am aware it is illegal for non medical personnel to administer injections of PNC, but again, you need to think outside the box – it is better to have something and to learn some technique and then never use it, than to not know it and be in dire need of use of it.

Invest in reading about antibiotics; types, allergies and substitution, and ways of applications. Buy a Nursing drug reference book, and find some nurse or medic who is willing to show you how to do it, you do not need to fly to me in Croatia only to learn that particular technique. That said, this and the other things I will be teaching in that course will be worth it…

Condoms

Yes, other item are condoms.

I watched a video about a week ago, about what condoms can be used for in survival situations, and actually I liked the video.

I did not know lot of those uses mentioned.

But here I am talking about best survival use for condoms, and it is what they are meant for actually.

Maybe you think that sex will stop to exsist when SHTF, but actually it is not true.

Sex was there in my SHTF, actually it will be there always, it is natural, and it is in human nature to be there.

Now one more thing will be there when SHTF, and it will be much bigger problem then in normal times –  sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s, especially in prolonged period of collapse, it is simply again thing of human nature, lack of hygiene and medical care etc.

So after some time condoms will be valuable.

And again, they are small, easy to carry and store, and cheap as of right now, today. It is not a huge investment to buy 1000 condoms and store them somewhere.

So as a conclusion, it is not about what things will be gone when SHTF, it is about what of those things make sense for you to have, what you can afford to stock today, what will „pay off“ the most when SHTF…

But most importantly – again it is about thinking out of the box.

Out of interest, what items have you been stockpiling for ‘trade’ and such? Let me know in the comments below. More importantly let me know WHY you are stockpiling these things…?

 

2017’s Best Holiday Gifts for Preppers

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Baking pies?

Hanging wreaths?

Cold weather?

Must be holiday season!

If you’re like me, you love the holiday season for a number of reasons: decorations, hanging out with family, and eating. Best of all, in my opinion, is the chance to come up with creative and interesting gifts to give the special people in my life. Coming from a family of preppers means that many of my gifts this year are prepper-themed. While finding the right gift for the prepper in your life might seem tricky, the truth is that there are a number of fantastic prepper-themed gifts to fit any budget. Check out these ideas.


1. A complete first aid kit
The First Aid Kit By Renegade Survival for Camping and Hiking or Home and Workplace offers a complete first aid solution for the prepper in your life. Best of all, it comes in an incredible bag that’s easy to transport and store. Finding the right first aid kit can be tricky, but this one offers a number of items that are perfect for any prepper.

2. A backpack for bugging out or traveling
This Military Tactical Assault Pack Backpack has a lot of features that any prepper is sure to love. Backpacks are a great choice when it comes to prepper gifts since most preppers can never have enough! I’m still in the process of creating a bug out bag for my car, but I’ll probably choose a durable backpack for it since backpacks offer a simple way to transport important survival items easily.

3. Gardening tools
One thing that tends to get overlooked when you’re reading prepper guides are gardening tools. Most preppers have at least some interest in gardening, so why not help them out with some gardening supplies? The Vremi 9 Piece Garden Tools Set offers a great starter set for newer gardeners who might not have all of the supplies they need to create a fantastic garden.

4. A sleeping bag

Most preppers love to camp, which means a sleeping bag is a solid choice. Sleeping bags can be used regularly for camping and outdoor gatherings, but also make a good addition to bug-out and survival gear supplies. I like this Sleeping Bag, but there are plenty of choices to fit your needs and preferences. 

5. A tent

Again, preppers love to camp! Why not select a Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent for the prepper in your life? The right tent provides a simple space to sleep while traveling, but can also provide some security if you plan to bug out at any point. When you’re shopping for the right tent, make sure you select something that’s big enough for the person you’re shopping for. If he or she has a family, make sure you select a larger tent with plenty of space for everyone.

6. Flashlights
If you’ve ever survived a tornado, hurricane, or long-term power outage, you know one of the first things to disappear from store shelves are flashlights. That’s why a J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight – The Original 300 Lumen Ultra Bright LED Mini Tactical Flashlight is a great choice for preppers this holiday season. Consider gifting a flashlight along with plenty of batteries for the prepper in your life. Flashlights are one of my favorite gifts to give (and receive!) because they’re small, portable, lightweight, and inexpensive.

7. Prepper Books
Never underestimate the value of a good book. This year, why not give books to the prepper in your life? Even if he or she has been prepping for years, sometimes prepper guides can be a fun way to find inspiration and new ideas when it comes to survival. Here are just a few choices you can consider.

   

Have you considered these gift ideas before? Did any stand out? What are you planning to buy the prepper in your life this holiday season? Leave me a comment and let me know!

How to Teach 2nd Grade Math Without Going Crazy

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If you’ve been scratching your head trying to remember whether > means “greater than” or “less than,” this is the pots for you.

I know firsthand just how tricky teaching 2nd grade math is. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources available that will help you educate your 2nd grader without going crazy.

Whether or not you used a boxed curriculum, there are a few things that you’ll want to make sure your child masters during his 2nd grade year.

Here is what your child should learn in the 2nd grade:


-Greater than/less than
-How to use a thermometer
-How to use a ruler
-Adding more complex numbers (100s, 10s, etc.)
-Subtracting those same numbers
-Mastering counting to 100 by 10s, 5s, and 2s.
-Basic geometry
-Fractions (what is “half”?)
-Basic money identification (quarters, nickels, etc)
For even more skills that your child should learn in the 2nd grade, check out this list on IXL.

Still want a bit of guidance when it comes to teaching?

No problem!

This post is designed to help you teach 2nd grade math while keeping your cool. If you’re uncomfortable with numbers or you have a difficult time teaching math, your child will pick up on it. He’ll become even more frustrated than he was before. In order to teach math in a way that is fun, relaxing, and educational, check out these resources an tips.

Greater than/less than:


Math is Fun has a helpful chart for remembering which sign means “greater than” and which means “less than.” To simplify it even more? The arrow points at the smaller number!

You can also watch Allie the Alligator with your child for teaching greater than/less than.

How to use a thermometer


For a science and math combined lesson, check out this tutorial that discusses how you can make your own thermometer using household items.

You can also check out Step Into Second Grade and check out this teacher’s classroom project. You can create your own thermometers during an art lesson!

How to use a ruler


Visit Education.com’s free ruler printable worksheet. You can print out your own ruler and let your child measure items on the page. Don’t stop there, though! Measure other things around your house. Need some ideas? Try measuring your doorknobs, your fridge, your child’s hand, or even your pets!

Adding more complex numbers (100s, 10s, etc.)

Visit PreK-8 for some free downloadable worksheets that you can use for teaching addition.

Education.com also has a printable that you can ues.

Watch a YouTube cartoon that explains how to do double digit addition.


Subtracting those same numbers

Read the lesson on double digit subtraction at Cool Math 4 Kids. They break things down and make it SUPER easy to teach your youngster!

Check out this YouTube video that easily explains to children how to subtract from the ones column and then the tens column.


Mastering counting to 100 by 10s, 5s, and 2s.

There is a fantastic song on YouTube that shows how your child can count to 100 by 5s.

This song shows how you can count using 2s, 5s, or 10s.

Not a singer? Practice counting with your child in the car, before bed, or even while you’re eating breakfast.

Basic geometry 

Soft Schools has free geometry worksheets that you can download to use in your home school!

K-5 Math Teaching Resources has several activities that you can do to teach geometry to your student.

Fractions (what is “half”?)

Get your free worksheets to teach fractions at Math Fox. They have a huge selection of worksheets that you can easily print off to use at home.

Math-Salamanders.com also has free worksheets for talking about fractions.


Basic money identification (quarters, nickels, etc)

Check out this YouTube video for teaching about U.S. currency.

You can also check out this video on how to make your own free money game.

Looking for even more tips on keeping your cool while you teach? Check out How to Home School Your Child Without Going Crazy.

Living on $30 a week and other ways to save money

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Maybe you’re tired of overspending.
Maybe $30 a week for a household budget won’t work for your family. 
Maybe you’re just one person and that’s a reasonable goal. 
Maybe you’re really into coupons, but you want to figure out how you can save even more.
One of the most important parts about running a household is learning how to minimize the amount of money you spend and figuring out exactly how you can start to save money. In today’s blog post, you’ll find an assortment of resources designed to help you start minimizing the amount of money you spend and helping you learn how to save.
Whether you’re living on a single income, you’re trying to save for a specific goal, or you just want to be more conscious with your budget, there are several important things you need to know about saving money.
First off, keep in mind that saving money takes time. It’s not something that’s going to happen after a single day of not spending. You’ll need to give yourself reasonable goals and the time to reach those goals. While it would be great if saving money happened overnight, it doesn’t really work that way.
Also understand that sometimes, there are going to be setbacks. Maybe you’ll start saving up and in a few weeks, your car will break down. This can make saving a bit more difficult, but not impossible. Just keep going. Do your best, and even when stuff happens, try to stay focused on your goal.
Finally, remember to constantly re-evaluate your goals. Can you save more? Can you save in different ways? Are there some areas of your budget you haven’t balanced, but need to? Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate the goals you’re setting and how they’re working for your family.
If you’re ready to find out more about saving money, here are some fantastic resources I’ve rounded up. Some of these are free blog posts and a couple of them are books. Check them out, and then leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

20 Ways to Save Money When Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Winter is Coming: Here’s What You Need to Know

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The first cold front of winter has arrived.

After spending 2 1/2 years living in a tropical climate, I’m incredibly thrilled to be spending this winter in a place that’s cold. There’s just one problem: our furnace isn’t working.

As we wait for the repairman to arrive, I’ve got a couple of thoughts running through my head about prepping for winter. Obviously, I’m a little behind on winter preps. After all, I didn’t realize the furnace was going to give me trouble until it was too late. Luckily, I am a prepper, and spending a night or two without heat hasn’t been a problem.

Here’s why.

I plan to not have electricity. 
When I prep, I don’t necessarily follow a list or guideline developed by another writer. Don’t get me wrong: having information from other preppers and writers is absolutely fantastic, but lists are just general ideas. Each family is completely different and each family’s circumstances are different. Because of this, the way each person preps is going to vary.

One of the first things I think about when I’m planning how to prep for each season is, What if I don’t have electricity? Many preppers plan activities to do if they’re stuck at home, but not everyone thinks about how they’ll manage without a microwave, without a computer, without a stove. When I’m planning how I’ll prepare for winter, I aim to figure out ways to eat that don’t require electricity. I find ways to get around my house without lights. I even figure out how we’ll stay warm without the furnace.

I plan to not have a car.
Although I do have regular access to transportation, this could change at any time. All it takes is one misplaced tree branch to put an end to driving, so when I’m prepping, I plan to be stuck on foot. When it comes to winter prepping, this means that each person in my family has warm winter gear available. If there’s an emergency, there won’t be time for one last trip to the store. We also keep sturdy backpacks available in case we need to evacuate the area quickly.

I plan to use what I have available.
Finally, I plan to make use of what I have on hand. This means I keep a well-stocked pantry, but it also means I use that pantry. I don’t buy random cans of veggies because they’re on sale. When I buy something, I learn how to cook it and use it. Ideally, I’ll learn several recipes for each product I purchase. I also plan to have easy snacks and meals available that don’t require heat or cooking in case we do lose electricity.

When you plan how you’ll prep for winter, it’s important that you consider your personal lifestyle, as well as how you’ll take care of your family if the things you normally rely on (like electricity and your car) are no longer available. Something as simple as keeping extra blankets on hand can make a huge difference in how your family handles a power-outage.

Review: Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium

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The Kansas City Aquarium offers a fun, educational way to spend an afternoon. If you’re looking for a place you can take your kids when it’s too hot or cold to be outside, the aquarium provides an exciting place you can go to learn about sea life and underwater creatures.

Parking and arrival:
Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium is located at Crown Center in the same building as LegoLand, so make sure you check out my review on LegoLand for specific parking and ticketing information. The biggest thing to remember is that getting to SeaLife is very easy. We don’t live nearby, but had no problem locating Crown Center and finding parking.

Adventures:
Once inside the aquarium, you’re free to walk around and explore. There are signs throughout the aquarium that offer fun and interesting facts about the creatures. There are also shows and educational talks you can listen to. We missed those, but did have a chance to talk with several employees during feeding time for the fish and sea creatures, which was really fun. We learned all about how the diets for each fish are planned. There are also a couple of places where you can touch star fish, crabs, and sea urchins!

Additionally, there’s an entire room that’s wide open for kids to play in. There’s a Lego castle where kids can add and build their own Lego creations and add them to the castle. There’s also a space where you can crawl through a little tunnel and watch the fish from below.

Favorite bits:
My favorite part about visiting the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium was learning about different underwater creatures. My family and I have been to many aquariums throughout the US, and we love to see how each center has different creatures and fun facts. I also have to point out that the staff members were super nice and friendly to us. Each person we encountered was very helpful and offered interesting information we didn’t know before.
I also loved that there are several places in the aquarium where you can stop and rest if you need to. For moms that have small children who are nursing, this makes it easy to feed your baby while you’re at the aquarium. Seniors may also appreciate that there are places where they can sit and rest on their journey through the aquarium and won’t have to stand and walk the entire journey.

Planning:
Plan to spend at least two hours at the aquarium if you go! There’s plenty to see and a lot to learn.


Have you been to this aquarium? What did you like best?

Please note: I was provided tickets to Sea Life in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not paid or otherwise compensated for my review. Opinions and pictures are my own.

Coupon Mystery Tackle Box

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We’ve been talking a lot about holiday gifts for preppers, survivalists, and parents in general.

If you haven’t heard of subscription boxes before, let me give you a quick rundown. Subscription boxes are similar to magazine subscriptions. You agree to pay a set amount of money each month, and in return you get a product. In this case, you’ll get a package of lures and other items to help you with your fishing. You’ll get a package every month with different items.

If you have a fisherman in your life – or if you yourself love to fish – this could be a fun, useful, and affordable way to try new lures. 

Here’s what Mystery Tackle Box has to say:

Mystery Tackle Box is the #1 fishing tackle subscription service offering anglers and fishing enthusiasts a fun and affordable way to discover new fishing lures, learn new techniques and catch more fish! If you, or someone you love, enjoys fishing, get them a Mystery Tackle Box Subscription today. You’ll enjoy a monthly box full of new and innovative fishing lures and products, content on how to use everything, plus stickers and special offers. Visit http://mtbfish.com/holidaygiftUSFAM to learn more!

My Readers Get $10.00 Off Your First Mystery Tackle Box
Save $10 with promo code USFAM10. Good until the end of the year.

I’ll be reviewing Mystery Tackle Box in the months to come, so make sure you check back for more information to hear my thoughts on this service. As of right now, I haven’t tried them, but I’m already thinking this could be a great gift for my dad or grandfather since they both love to fish.

Do you enjoy fishing? Would someone in your life like this? Leave me a comment and let me know!

24 Ideas for Gardening With Kids

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One of the most entertaining ways to spend time with kids is by gardening together. I love that gardening is something fun, helpful, and educational we can do together. Not only does gardening produce something valuable, but it teaches my kids real life skills they can use for years to come. If you’re a prepper, survivalist, or just a parent who wants their kids to learn valuable real-life skills, why not try gardening together? Here are some fantastic ideas you can use to garden with your kids: no special skills required!

1. Thumbprint art painted flower pots
This is a cute, fun project you can do with your kids! Create adorable flower pots for your personal garden or to give away to family members and friends.

2. Create a play garden
If your kids are interested in playing outdoors, why not create a play garden together? This website features a ton of different ideas you can incorporate to use in a personalized garden for your kids.

3. 20 school garden ideas for autumn and winter
This blog post has some incredible ideas for autumn and winter fun. You can use these with your kids at home or even in a classroom.

4. Create a garden rock caterpillar
This is a cute, simple project you can do with your kids. Consider spending an afternoon making garden rock caterpillars together that you can place in your garden. Like the painted flower pots, these also make sweet gifts.

5. Visit Kids Gardening together.
This is a really interesting website with a ton of great resources for kids about how to garden. If you’re starting from nothing and your kids have no prior gardening experience, this website provides a solid starting point.

Remember that no matter how long you’ve been gardening for, gardening with kids is its own experience. Maybe your kids will love gardening and maybe they’ll hate it, but try to focus on the fact that this offers you a great chance to spend time together and get to know your kids in a new situation. Furthermore, gardening will help your kids learn determination and planning. No matter what projects you work on together, they’ll be able to see that hard work really does pay off.

Have you ever gardened with your kids? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The Nerdy Survivalist

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Author’s note:

This blog is no longer updated and is available here for historical purposes only.
If you are interested in prepper and minimalist books for parents and families, feel free to check out my collection of available works on Amazon.
You may also be interested in The Nerdy Survivalist Facebook page, which contains regular updates with cool new prepper tools and information on keeping your family safe, informed, and educated.
Thank you!

A Prepper’s Friend – Ways to Use Plastic Buckets

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This is a guest post.

Buckets: Cheap and Sturdy Storage

 

Most modern packaging is made of cardboard or lightweight plastics that work well for reducing shipping costs, but won’t hold up for long term storage. Specialized storage vessels that are sturdy enough to protect their contents against moisture, oxidation, or animals are harder to find, but you may already have one type of versatile storage container in your garage or basement. Plastic buckets for Preppers is a great find!

Plastic buckets arrive in our homes holding paint, cleaning solutions, and food, but with a little knowledge and planning, they can be used for so much more than just storing their original contents. A quality plastic bucket is impact-resistant, temperature resistant, and with the right lid, can create an airtight seal. If you want to find quality buckets without having to clean the original contents out of them, check out Affordable American Containers.

Read more to find the perfect buckets for your needs and learn four unexpected ways you can use plastic buckets to protect your belongings and prepare for emergencies.

Identify food-safe buckets

 

If you’re planning a bucket storage project that doesn’t involve food or potable water, any sturdy plastic bucket will work. It’s helpful to know, however, when your bucket is food-grade. Buckets that are not food-safe can leach chemicals into the items they store, so should only be used for non-edible items.

Food-grade plastic can be identified by the recycling number on the bottom. Any item labeled with a 1, 2, 4 or 5 is technically food-grade, but you also need to check to see if they are “food-safe”. Food-grade plastics are made of high-density polyethylene that is very stable and won’t degrade in sunlight or extreme temperatures, but they may have been treated with a dye that compromises the bucket and could leach into your stored food or water. Or, it may have been originally used for materials like cleaning liquid that compromise food safety.

In addition to the numbers, look for the label “food-safe” or an image of a fork and cup, microwave lines, or a freezer-safe snowflake. Any one or combination of those indicators mean a bucket should be safe to store edible materials.

4 Versatile Ways to Use Plastic Buckets

 

1. Emergency Water Filter
In an emergency situation, access to clean water can be the difference between life and death. With four 5-gallon food-safe buckets and some easy to obtain supplies, you can build a large water filter to provide clean drinking water for your family without electricity or chemicals.

For this project, each bucket works as a filter chamber, with each chamber trapping smaller sets of impurities as gravity pulls water into the bottom bucket. The bottom bucket will catch and store
water that is safe to drink even when you don’t have access to power to boil water.

To build the filter system, drill 1″ holes in the bottom of three buckets, and 2″ holes through the lids. Cover the holes with a few layers of window screening and glue it in place with a strong epoxy, then glue a ceramic wall tile over the screening, shiny side up.

Prepare each bucket with a different grade of filter material: the top is gravel, the middle is sand, and the bottom or last filter bucket is filled with activated charcoal. Stack your buckets in a tower with the last empty bucket on the bottom to catch the clean water. When you pour water in the top, it will slowly filter through the increasingly smaller gradients, getting progressively cleaner. The first few rounds may come out cloudy as some loose dirt from your gravel drains away. Soon enough, the water will appear in the bottom bucket clean enough to drink. For more see the Hillbilly Water Filter.

Editor’s Note: This video below is not the exact build as described above, but it is the same concept.

 

2. Bucket Garden
Many people use pots to grow plants, but buckets take container planting to a new level. Bucket gardens allow you to grow food even if you don’t have a large yard, and unlike pots, big buckets are ideal for vegetables with large root systems. Keeping plants isolated in buckets even decreases pest problems and lets you control crop watering more precisely to maximize your garden’s yield. Using buckets to grow vegetables gives you more options to save money on food, and is a great way to prepare for a food shortage. Bucket planting means your garden is portable, too! You can bring plants in during harmful storms or shift them to just the right sunny spot.

Start your bucket garden with 5-gallon food-grade buckets. You don’t want any nasty chemicals leeching out of the plastic into the veggies you will eventually eat. Make small drainage holes in the bottom using a drill or hammer and nail. Layer the bottom with small rocks or gravel to help prevent root-rot and top off with organic planting soil mixed with homemade compost. Water whenever the soil feels dry or your plants look droopy.

Some plants grow better in buckets than others. Try these bucket-loving plants for a vibrant portable garden:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Small melons
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Bush beans

For More  see the Gardening Link Bomb

3. Preserve sensitive materials
Storing delicate items in plastic buckets is ideal because food-grade plastics are designed to protect against the same conditions that damage paper. If you use a well-fitted lid to create an airtight seal and include oxygen absorber packets in your bucket, you can cheaply and effectively keep light, moisture and oxygen from damaging items like photos, electronics, newspapers and even receipts!

Prepare your items for storage by cleaning them. Wipe electronics with a microfiber cloth, and try to handle photos with gloves or tweezers. Many photo albums or storage sleeves are made of plastic that degrades in heat or with age, releasing harmful chemicals that can damage your items. Take any paper or photographs out of storage cases and remove any ordinary plastic, tape, paper clips or cardboard covering or frames, unless are labeled “acid-free”.

Before you seal your items into the storage bucket, you need to include a desiccant to maintain a stable environment inside the seal by absorbing moisture. You can buy desiccants online or collect them from food and goods like medicine or leather shoes. These tiny packets absorb moisture that normally damages paper or electronics over time. The amount of moisture in the container will determine the amount of desiccants or silica gel packs you need, so look at the size of your bucket and how much empty space you’ll leave inside. 

4. Bucket shower or sprinkler
Buckets are great at holding water. Exploit this natural strength and upgrade your bucket into a water dispenser for places where you can’t use plumbing. Modify any clean 5-gallon bucket by drilling a 2” hole on the side, near the bottom. Use a hose bib attachment that screws through the hole to create a multi-purpose spigot on your bucket.

Need to bathe outside or without power? Just attach a standard shower head to the hose bib. Hang the bucket from the ceiling or a high tree branch using a rope and two pulleys to offset the weight of the water. Simply fill your bucket with a mix of cold and boiling water, then hoist the bucket and turn on the spigot for a warm, gravity-powered shower. You can also create a sprinkler system. Instead of a shower head, attach a hose. When your bucket is raised and the spigot is open, gravity will pull water from the bucket and allow you to use the hose.

See my outdoor sink build – click here!

Brilliant Buckets

 

With just a modest plastic bucket, you can save money and decrease your need for electricity. I the case of an emergency, having plenty of food-grade and food-safe plastic buckets can provide you with clean water, homegrown food, safe storage, and even a morning shower.

 

Aaron Chakraborty is a contributing writer and media specialist for the Affordable American Containers. He regularly produces content for a variety of emergency prepping and safe storage blogs, based around educating people on life-saving prep techniques and producing sustainable emergency food.

 

Peace,
Todd

 

The Best Deal on Sun Oven Around!!!

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I received special permission from Paul Munsen, over at Sun Oven Intl., to pass a long the link to the free webinar we recorded on July 18, 2017, and also the SPECIAL offer he has extended to Prepper Website readers.

Here is the link and the special offer!

If you have any questions, please let me know.

 

You get a lot of value in this Sun Oven Offer!

A close up! Comes with pots, racks, dehydrating racks, turkey rack, wapi for water pasteurization, CD of recipes with award winning software, bread pans, and a stove and fuel discs for rainy days!

Sun Ovens fold together and have a handle for easy carrying and moving around.

Sun Ovens are built in the USA!!!!

 

Peace,
Todd

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The Solo Prepper Resource Run

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The Solo Prepper Resource Run James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below! To build a home of self-sufficiency and preparedness one of the most important things you can do is to include all of those involved in the technology, skills and procsses that allow you to live that lifestyle. In other words, you want … Continue reading The Solo Prepper Resource Run

The post The Solo Prepper Resource Run appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Old Guys…

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old-man

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Travel Safety Tips

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Summer is here!

Are you planning on taking a road trip or family vacation? Remember that prepping doesn’t just apply to surviving the apocalypse. It’s important to take precautionary measures even when you’re taking a trip.

Before you take off on your family vacation, here are a couple of things to think about.

Plan your route
Even if you plan to use GPS on your vacation, make sure you plan your route out ahead of time. Print directions and maps from your computer in case you find your GPS isn’t working. Sometimes when you’re driving through long, wide-open stretches of road (I-70, anyone?) or large cities, GPS becomes unreliable. Have a backup plan.

Bring chargers
Whether your kids love to play on their Nintendo DS game systems or their tablets, consider packing a portable battery charger. You can also use this for your cell phone. I like this one:
Anker PowerCore 10000, One of the Smallest and Lightest 10000mAh External Batteries, Ultra-Compact, High-speed Charging Technology Power Bank for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and More

I purchased this battery charger before my family moved overseas. We had 17 hours of flying, so I wanted to make sure we’d be able to use all of our devices. I’m happy to say that two years later, I still use this every day and it works just as well as it did when I bought it.

Stay hydrated
One of the biggest dangers with traveling during the summer is dehydration. Drink plenty of water each day and pack water bottles for your kids to drink on the trip. If you’re busy having fun, you might not notice you’re becoming dehydrated until it’s too late. Stay aware and in charge on the journey.

Prepper Post Round-Up

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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.

The Prepper Schema: Getting the Knowledge You Need to Prep

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Sam was looking forward to the evening.  Earlier he had spent time cleaning up the backyard and setting out the new fire pit.  His friends were coming over to sit around the new fire pit, share some adult beverages and reminisce about old times.  Sam even had all the ingredients to make smores if the evening permitted.

John and Pam arrived just in time and everyone went out back, coolers in tow, to sit around the fire and enjoy the cool crisp evening. Karen, Sam’s wife, shared her excitement about having a fire pit that they could sit around on evenings like this.

The nice stack of wood sitting close to the fire pit ensured that they could keep the fire going well into the evening.  Sam arranged the big pieces of wood, placed a firelog in the middle and lit both ends.

Sam’s excitement quickly eased as he realized the firelog wasn’t going to catch the bigger logs on fire.  John, being the nice, quiet friend, just stood back to see what would happen.

“This firelog is a dud,” exclaimed Sam.  “I can’t believe this!  I don’t have any gas or charcoal starter to get these big logs started,” he said.

Noticing his friend’s frustration, John spoke up.  “You need to start your fire off with smaller pieces,” he said.  “Big logs will sustain the fire for a long time, but you need smaller pieces to get it started. Do you have a knife or a small ax,” he added.

Sam retrieved a hatchet from the garage.  “This used to be my dad’s.  I’ve never used before” he mentioned.

John took the hatchet and felt the edge.  “It will do for tonight.  But you’ll have to sharpen it,” he mentioned.

John took the hatchet and stood a small log on its end.  He placed the hatchet on the top end and then used another log to hit the hatchet. The hatchet started to split the bigger log into two pieces.  John repeated this over and over until he had various sized pieces.

John gathered the pieces together in different sized stacks.  He had a stack of pieces the thickness of toothpicks, the thickness of pencils and the thickness of his thumb.  He also had a few bigger pieces than that, but these were starting to resemble big pieces of wood, Sam thought to himself.

John asked Sam if he had a cotton ball and some Petroleum Jelly. Sam hurried into the house and came back with a package of cotton balls and a big tub of Petroleum Jelly.  “Smear some Petroleum Jelly all over a cotton ball really good John,” Sam said.  John complied.

Sam laid down two big logs in the center of the fire pit.  He placed the cotton ball on top, in the center.  He then started stacking the stacks of wood on top of the cotton ball from the smallest thickness to the biggest.  He left a small opening where a match could get in. Sam realized he was making a teepee type structure with the wood.  After laying some bigger pieces onto the teepee, John asked Sam to light the cotton ball with a match.

Sam struck a match and ignited the cotton ball.  The cotton ball caught the smaller pieces of wood on fire, which caught the bigger pieces of wood and in no time, the fire pit was roaring!

“Where did you learn to build a fire like that,” asked Sam.  “My grandfather used to take me camping when I was younger.  We used to build fires like that all the time,” John responded.

“I guess you’re never too old to learn new tricks, especially how to make fire,” Sam said.  “Yeah, no more wasting money on those firelogs for you,” John laughed.

Knowledge is Important!

Although many of you reading this article know the process described above in making a fire, you can bet that something like this scenario gets played out often.  Many people out there just don’t know how to build something as simple as a fire.

But in all fairness to the “Sam’s” out there, everyone needs to learn at some time.  Whether that is when you’re young with a parent on a camping trip or older trying to get your first fire pit fire going, the basics of fire craft need to be learned.

And that’s the way it is with everything in preparedness!  We all need to start somewhere!  We all need to have a basic understanding of the theory, concepts, and basics of preparedness. This is why learning and obtaining knowledge is so important.

Build On What You Know

For example, there is a reason you don’t start off doing Calculus in elementary school. Elementary school is the place where students learn the basics.  They start building their schema (knowledge).  They work on math skills all the way through their education, adding to their schema in elementary and middle school.  Their prep time in learning the basics of Math gets them ready to finally take Calculus sometime in high school.

If you don’t have a basis of understanding of preparedness, it’s harder to make the jumps in realizing what you really need and how you need to prepare to be there for yourself and your family.  Without some knowledge, you will make mistakes, waste time and money getting prepared.

Although many in the preparedness community will warn you about sitting in front of the computer all day vegging out on preparedness and survival information, there are some steps you can take to obtain the knowledge you need.

Three Awesome Ways to Gain Preparedness Knowledge

Save Stuff from the Internet – In the article, Your ePreparedness Binder – Saving Stuff from the Internet for SHTF, I share how to save PDF’s and videos to a flash drive or external hard drive. There is so much information out there!  As you visit websites and Youtube, what if you created a bank of preparedness materials that you could access at any time, even if the internet goes down.  How valuable would PDF’s and videos be in that case?

Include ebooks in your  Digital Library – Preparedness authors write some great stuff! Prepper Fiction is something that most are familiar with.  But there are many preparedness authors writing very helpful books on preparedness in a multitude of categories.  One way to obtain many ebooks for a great price is to take advantage of the Prepper Bundle when it goes on sale.  Currently, you can get 27 ebooks and 3 e-courses from preparedness authors from around the internet.  It is a $300 value for only $29.97.  But it only comes out twice a year for a limited time.  You have to purchase it while it is out.  The current Prepper Bundle is available until Monday, June 12, 2017.

Download Free Content – There are many “out of print” books that have been made available digitally.  There are also websites that have a TON of materials already curated for you.  One such website is Pole Shift.  It has over 14 gigs of materials.  Another website where you can download materials is Preppers Info. AND, if you’re looking for some old Boy Scout Handbooks, check these out!

The Warning

Now the warning…  Get knowledge, learn, grow…  But don’t neglect to practice the skills!  We prepare because of an uncertain future.  When that uncertain future happens, we need to be ready to act!  It definitely won’t be the time to stop and consult PDF’s, videos and ebooks!

Set a plan to learn and practice one new skill a month.  For example, one month, work on various ways to start a fire.  You might use something like the cotton ball and Petroleum Jelly, but you might try to do it with just what you find in nature.  Then, go on from there.  Learn multiple ways to purify and filter water.  Then practice canning.  Then… You can always take a few hours on the weekend to increase your skill level in preparedness!

Do you know of any great resources to share to build knowledge and skills?  Share them below in the comments.

Peace,
Todd

Your Own Prepper Website! 8 Ways You Can Make Your Mark in the Preparedness Community!

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Starting Prepper Website was one of the best decisions I  ever made.  I saw a need in the Preparedness Community and I acted to do something about it. Prepper Website has been a real blessing to me and my family in so many ways.  I am truly grateful for everyone who has supported Prepper Website and my other sites throughout the years.

Like I’ve said before since I scan hundreds of articles a day to find the best to post on Prepper Website, I’ve noticed many great websites come and go.  The sad thing is all their great content seems to disappear off the internet.  I recently wrote an article, Do Dead Preppers Tell Tales, to address how someone who is interested in finding an article from the TAG Cloud that “seems” to not be there, can find it.  But, that requires a link.  There are so many articles out there that go to Prepper Heaven because no one has their links.

The fact is that new preparedness websites need to come in and take their place.  This opens up a great opportunity for those who want to start their own Prepper Website!  I want to share some of these great benefits with you in this article!

REASONS TO START YOUR OWN PREPPER WEBSITE

You Learn More When You Teach (write) – When someone “wakes up” and realizes how fragile our world is, they start to learn as much as they can to prepare for an uncertain future.  There is a lot of content out there to learn, but nothing will ever take the place of someone able to learn a skill and then teach it.  In fact, this is a teaching strategy that good teachers employ.  They know if their students can learn something, and then teach it to someone else, that they will really learn and own that content.  When you research, experiment, and write your own articles, you tend to learn that content or skill better than just reading it on a blog somewhere.

You Build A Tribe – As you build your audience, you’ll also build a tribe or followers who will stay with you.  Preparedness can sometimes be a lonely endeavor.  In a recent Prepper Website poll, 47 percent said that when it comes to their preparedness, “It’s just me and my immediate family – spouse, kids.”

Preppers are always looking for ways to connect.  Some of the preparedness sites out there really take the time to engage with their readers through the comment section.  Sites like The Survivalist Blog, Ask A Prepper and American Preppers Online have a great following.  Having a tribe helps others not feel so isolated as they prep for the future.

You Can Earn Money – Now I want to be careful here.  Having a website doesn’t mean you automatically start earning money.  You need to build readership.  And as your website becomes more popular, you will be able to make money in affiliate sales and advertisements.

Affiliates – An affiliate is a group or organization you partner with to sell a product or products.  As you do, you earn a percentage of everything that is sold.  The best affiliate, in my opinion, is Amazon.  When someone reads an article that has a product from  Amazon linked to it, then they go to  Amazon and purchase it, you get a small percentage.  It doesn’t cost the reader anymore.  The percentage that you receive is already averaged into the price of the product. The beauty of it is that if someone goes to Amazon off of your affiliate link, but purchases another item, you still get credit for that purchase. NOTE: A word of caution.  You don’t want to fill up your articles with affiliate links.  In fact, I often skip over articles that look like all they have done is insert affiliate links on every line.  You don’t want to have one big linkfest article.

Advertisements – You can also earn money when someone with a business or product approaches you to place their ad on your site, or you approach them to get their advertisements on your site.  In order to have this, you have to have a website that is bringing in traffic.  Advertisement money is something that can be a consistent monthly income for you.

STARTING YOUR OWN PREPAREDNESS WEBSITE

Get a Domain Name and Hosting – There are some free options for hosting, but if you’re going to be serious about this, you need to have your own domain name and hosting. Take some time to think about your name.  You’ll want to make sure that you can get your domain name and the same or very similar name on social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The hosting company that you go with is important.  When I started out, I chose GoDaddy because they were a big company and they had very good prices.  But, you get what you pay for.  GoDaddy’s support sucks and they rarely admit they have done anything wrong.  I recently switched Ed that Matters over to EMWD (affiliate link).  This hosting provider starts you off with a free domain name and hosting for a little more than $100/year.  There are some big advantages here.  First, the support is great.  They answer support tickets pretty quickly.  But more importantly, they offer free SSL certificates on all their hosting.  That means that your address will be HTTPS instead of just HTTP.  HTTPS is more secure (notice the green SECURE lock at the left of the address bar).  Google has said that they are going to start penalizing sites that don’t have the HTTPS in their search rankings.  Like I said, I moved Ed that Matters about two months ago and I plan on moving Prepper Website later this month.  Prepper Website is bigger so I need all hands on deck when this one is transferred.

You Need a Website Platform – After you have your domain name and hosting setup, you’ll need a website platform.  I use WordPress.  Wordpress is so easy to use and there is tons of help online, including websites, Youtube videos, and Facebook groups.  With WordPress, you have access to free themes and a whole host of plugins that can be configured to do what you want.  It truly is a great platform to use!  If you choose to go with EMWD, they will install WordPress for you after you submit a simple ticket.  They make it so simple!

Start Writing Content – This is important.  What I have found is that preppers will gravitate to sites with great content!  This usually means that you will go a little deeper than surface type articles.  The best articles, the ones that are most valuable to preppers, are those that actually describe how to do something.  General overview information is good.  Preparedness theory is good.  Opinions are good.  But what preppers really want to know is how to do something.  One site that does this very well is Survival Sherpa.  Todd’s site is not the only site, but it is one that just immediately comes to mind. Sites like Survival Sherpa will make you want to get out there and try “it” for yourself!

Like I mentioned earlier, when I started Prepper Website, I saw a need and filled it with one site that would link to the best content out there.  If you notice a need and start to fill it, it will benefit you too.  Two needs that I currently see in the preparedness community are websites that cater to older preppers and websites that focus on wilderness survival/bushcraft.

The demographic research that I have done is that a great number of preppers are older.  They see the writing on the wall and desire to be prepared just like everyone else.  But they are dealing with barriers that younger people won’t have to deal with.  If a few sites would start to target these older preppers, I feel that it would be a great blessing to them and the preparedness community.

There used to be a bigger emphasis on wilderness survival in the past.  It’s not as prevalent anymore.  Yes, you can find an article here or a Youtube there, but I feel a site that is dedicated to just wilderness survival and bushcraft skills would be very popular.

GET NOTICED

Write for Others – One of the things I did when I started Prepper Website is to start writing articles for other sites.  This would seem counterproductive, but it does work.  When you do this, you are providing a great article for another site to use and you are linking to your own articles and websites within that article.  It is a win-win.

Now with that said, I will say that many people are starting to do this.  It is a backlink strategy.  The problem is that there is a bunch of CRAP out there!  I usually delete 4-5 offers a week of people who want to write guest posts for me.  I have become so disenchanted with these types of emails that I delete them without even reading them.  They are usually all the same, a form email.  When I do respond, it is usually met with disappointment because I get an article with no real depth.  It is usually a 500-word article with no real content.  A 13-year-old could do better!

So I’m writing this to tell you to not offer CRAP!  If you do offer content to another site, write an AWESOME article!  That will get you more respect and traffic than you realize.

Get on Prepper Website – Another way to get noticed is to start showing up on Prepper Website.  There are two ways to do this.  The first is to let me know that you have started your site.  I will grab your RSS Feed and start monitoring your feed for great articles to link to on Prepper Website. The second way is to ask me to display your article in one of the categories on the bottom of Prepper Website.  For example, if you are a Preparedness website, I would put your website listing under Preparedness.  And if you choose to link to Prepper Website or place the PW graphic on your site, I will place asterisks beside your listing, moving you up in the category.  Here is more information about that – CLICK HERE.

Get on The Prepper Website Podcast – Yet another way that I try to help Preparedness websites is to read their articles on The Prepper Website Podcast.  Allowing me to read your articles brings attention to your website.  I always mention your website and link to your site from the show notes.  If I use your article, I will tag your Twitter and Facebook social media accounts when I push out the episode on my social media accounts.  For more information – CLICK HERE.

Get on Top Prepper Websites – Another way that I want to bless the Preparedness community and where you can promote your website is through the Voting Website – Top Prepper Websites.  This site is a place where the Preparedness Community can vote for your site and rank you up higher.  But the other side of it is that preppers visit TPW and then usually link to other sites, even the newer, smaller ones.  You can register your site by clicking on one of the empty fields at the bottom of the page.  If there are no empty spots, send me an email.  Sometimes websites register because they want the traffic, but they don’t follow the rules and don’t place the voting link on their site.  In that case, I delete them.  I try to do a good job of catching everyone, but some get by or remove their links later.  Again, I have no problem deleting them when they don’t follow the rules.  😉

Get Involved with Other Preparedness Bloggers – There are groups out there that can help provide advice and help with link sharing.  Many of these preparedness bloggers are just like you and want to help others learn while they learn themselves.  Every niche has these groups, but you’ll want to get with a group of preparedness bloggers and website owners for sure!

Learn to Make Graphics – You don’t NEED to do this, but it helps.  When you post your articles on social media, you will want to be able to display a nice looking graphic.  There are FREE websites online that will help you to do this.  Websites like Canva, PIXLR Express, and PicMonkey are easy to use.  If you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop but don’t own it, you can use a FREE site called PIXLR Editor.  And if you are looking for FREE high-quality graphics to use, you can get them at Pixabay.

FINAL WORD

If you are preparing for an uncertain future, if you are planning and trying to help yourself and your family prep, then you have something to offer to the Preparedness Community.  You are learning and growing as a prepper.  You have ideas and opinions that are beneficial.  Let the Preparedness Community know what you have to offer.  You never know how doing this will wind up being a blessing for you, your family and others.

Peace,
Todd

Do Dead Preppers Tell Tales?

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Life is fragile!  We are born, try to live life to the fullest and then somewhere along the line, we give up the ghost.  You might think I’m talking about human life here.  I’m not!  I’m talking about the life of Prepper, Survival, Homesteading, Bushcraft, You Name It…websites.

In the years I’ve run Prepper Website, I have seen many good and great websites close their doors.  This is not something new.  I wrote about it way back in August 2014 in The SAD Way of Preparedness Websites – Possibly An Analogy of the Preparedness Life!  

The truly sad things about seeing a site close their doors is that all the great content that they created, the articles, videos, graphics are lost!  For many, this might not be so evident.  But for someone who follows a lot of websites, it is!  AND, it is even more apparent when someone goes to the Prepper Website Tag Cloud to research or look up a certain topic, clicks on a link and finds that the website is gone!  Yes, it is truly sad when a website closes their doors and lets their content go to the happy prepping hunting ground in the big sky above!  Or…is it?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, there is a website called The Way Back Machine.  It archives websites from the internet.  I recently used TWBM to link to an article that was on my Gardening Link Bomb article.  The article was from the Farm Dreams website and about Natural and Organic Pest Control.  I needed some help in my garden, so I desperately wanted to reread this information.  A simple search on TWBM’s website and there it was!  I was able to link to TWBM’s version of it so others could benefit from it too!

Instead of trying to walk you through how to do this in written form, I created a short video to show you how to utilize TWBM and the Tag Cloud on Prepper Website.  Check it out!

 

Peace,
Todd

 

 

Full Circle…?

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defense

 

I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.

I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.

And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.

It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.

After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.

I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.

But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.

Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.

So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.

Changing From “Before to Now”

Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…

When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.

For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.

Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.

And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.

I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.

On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.

Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.

Or to put it really short:

When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…

You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.

For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.

Value Of The Things

Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.

I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.

What that means?

By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.

In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately  bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.

It means when times come I am READY  to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.

Are you ready for that?

Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?

Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?

Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.

Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.

Life is precious, things are just things.

Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.

I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…

I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.

I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.

And you know what? I bought all the things again.

Things can be obtained again, life can not.

Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.

Faith

One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.

And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.

Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.

So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.

You need to have something!

But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).

Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)

Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialized Bug Out Bags (And What’s Inside Them)

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bug_out_essentials_stuff‘Bug out bags’ are put together to be grabbed in a hurry. Their use stems from the bags issued by militaries to their soldiers in field situations, and it should contain everything you need to sustain yourself in an emergency situation for at least 72 hours. Ideally, every member of your group or family should have their own bug out bag with their own supplies: The more you have as a group, the better your chances of survival will be.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Most bug out bags are aimed at meeting the most basic survival needs: That is, they contain a bit of everything for when you need to grab and go, but what if you have some more specialized needs, for example access to technology or your family’s important documents stored separately?

Here’s a look at some specialized bug out bags to go with your main kit, customized for more specific needs. (Note: Most of these are just as useful for camping or hiking as they are for grabbing in an emergency.)

Oh, yeah, and take a look at this link on YouTube for what Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory keeps in his

#1: The Medic Bag

1_med_bagThe medic bag contains your group or family’s medical supplies. Include a laminated card with each member’s details and medical history; be sure to list their full name, blood type, next-of-kin with the most recent contact details and their allergies. Your kit should also contain antibiotics, painkillers, alcohol, bandages, stitches, burn gel and/or cream, clean wipes, surgical scissors, a scalpel, cotton wool, a syringe (and the knowledge to use it!) and any other medical supplies you would normally keep in your first aid kit or might come in handy where you’re going.  Prescription medication (for chronic conditions) can be arranged in advance with your doctor or pharmacist.

#2: The Bag of Documents

Your family’s important documents can include birth certificates, passports, doctor’s reports, financial information and wills; this is by no means an exhaustive list. We highly recommend that documents like these are always kept organized neatly in the same place, with several digital backups. Consider backing up your information on DVD or Blu-Ray to keep in your bag of documents. Store hard copy documents in plastic sleeves. Make sure your bag can withstand elements like water, and make sure you don’t store your documents with (or next to) anything that can catch fire or explode.

Related: Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

#3: The Chef’s Bag

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdThere’s likely someone in your group or family who’s been appointed the head chef, and a chef – especially one on the road – could do with some decent tools. The chef’s bag is customized to hold all the tools a chef might need in the field, and this will be up to personal preference. Be sure to ask them what tools they simply can’t do without. Many tools have a portable version. Take a look at the Glamping Fold Up Pan and the Camp Chef Knife Set. The chef’s bag should also contain other chef’s essentials like their most used spices and utensils.

#4: The Hiker’s Bag

The hiker’s bag should be taken if you’re planning on going on a hiking trip. Practicality is your main goal here, and you’re looking to cover all of the bases. Take enough food to sustain yourself on the walk and for a while after should you get stuck, take along your first-aid basics, a knife, a fold-up walking stick, plenty of water and purification tablets, a map and compass and a fire-starter kit. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, just the basics.

#5: The Mechanic’s Kit

The mechanic’s kit is great for keeping in your car by default, and it’s essential if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for a while. Put simply, it’s for fixing things. A wide variety of things. The mechanic’s kit should contain the most portable tools you can find – a simple online search on Amazon will give you hundreds of options for portable tools – and odds-and-ends like wire, cable ties, glue, duct tape, rope, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Keep documents like your car’s repair handbook (or, say, a general book on DIY and car repair) with this too: Digital backups are available, will take up much less space and can be handy should anyone else who isn’t as handy end up with the mechanic’s kit.

Check Out: Fortifying Your Home

#6: The Herbal Healer

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeAncient human groups consisted of hunter-gatherers, and modern humans are no different. The herbal healer’s bag is for the gatherer or natural healer, and should contain everything they need to gather, preserve and prepare herbs. Take this along for a hiking trip or when you go out to gather herbs, plants or fruits. A sharp, versatile knife is essential; some cords and clothespins (useful for drying), containers and bags for collecting samples; gloves; a fold-up camping shovel; seeds for starting a garden; plant nutrients; an empty spray bottle; sanitized water and wipes (for various and fairly obvious reasons); alcohol (for tinctures and sanitization). The herbal bag will likely also contain a collection of common herbs that have already been collected: These are up to you. Again, a disc with your library of plant books (with pictures for identification) should go with your kit.

#7: The Tech Junkie’s Kit

Don’t discount the usefulness of technology in a survival situation: As a journalist working online, I realize the value of connectivity. The tech junkie’s kit should be exceptionally well-padded and contain a laptop that can withstand some damage (laptops like the Sony Vaio are small yet durable), replacement cables, an additional camera (of higher quality), blank DVD’s, spare parts, an operating system on DVD (should you need to re-install your system on the go), a power bank or solar power kit, a screwdriver kit, a USB dongle (yes, even if you have a router), a mouse, backup batteries, a backup celllphone and a signal strengthener. (At the very least.)

What do you have in your bug out bag? Have you learned to add anything from yours by reading this article? Use the comments to let us know your thoughts.

5 Steps to Developing a Better Urban Survival Process

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5 Steps to Developing a Better Urban Survival Process James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! We all know about grey man and the idea that we should merely bugout of any major metro area in the event of a disaster. These are good pieces of advice but I think it’s time we … Continue reading 5 Steps to Developing a Better Urban Survival Process

The post 5 Steps to Developing a Better Urban Survival Process appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

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

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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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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zyon_pack_bug_out_bag_essentials

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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cattails_food_edible

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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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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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)

Photos By:
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.

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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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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.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

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.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

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.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

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.

The post How To Survive An Active Shooter or Mass Shooting appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

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!

700x470Bundles-Are-Like[1]

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!

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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!

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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 […]