Emergency Lighting Under 9 Bucks

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Emergency Lighting Under 9 Bucks Affordable emergency lighting is now at your fingertips! The Luna LED Light is an awesome, very cheap prepping item I would highly recommend to have not only for the home, in case of a power cut, but to keep in a bug out bag and for camping! As you can see …

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Trayer Wilderness Cookbook – Volume 1

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After reading and reviewing How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle, I could not wait to see what kind of recipes Tammy Trayer would cook up in The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook Volume 1. It is good to Read More …

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Solavore Solar Oven – Pic Review

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One of the big topics that has been consistent in preparedness over the years that I have run Prepper Website, is food.  People know how important it is to eat!  A few days of going hungry and you start to really lose energy and even the ability to focus and think straight.  Couple that with stress and expended energy to deal with your situation, eating isn’t a want, it is a need!

When it comes to preparedness cooking, you need options!  There might be times when you don’t have time to build and maintain a fire.  There might be time when you need to conserve your fuel.  There might be time when an open flame gives away your activities and your position.

One option for preppers is a solar oven. Until recently, I had only read about them and seen videos.  However, I now have some experience using the Solavore Sport Solar Oven.

The Solavore Sport Oven was shipped neatly packaged with clear instructions for setup.  Make sure you do read the instructions carefully and just don’t go to town removing the film on the lid that kind of looks like an anti-scratch plastic for shipping! It’s there for a reason. I almost made the mistake of ripping it off!  The solar oven comes with the solar box, clear lid, reflectors, two black pots, a temperature gauge and a WAPI.

My main concern and real trial was if the solar oven would cook the “usual” stockpile of food that preppers would store.  For me, that would include rice and beans.

My first attempt failed!  I waited for a sunny day, according to weather.com.  I started early in the morning and set everything up.  However, I lost the sun halfway through the day.  So, this is something that needs to be kept in mind if you’re cooking during an emergency situation.  You will need a backup plan to possibly finish cooking your food if you lose the sun behind clouds.

My second attempt worked!  Again, I waited for a sunny day. I set the Solavore Sport out before I left for work.  The cool thing is that I didn’t get back home till after 7 p.m.  The sun was already setting and the box was cool (January in Houston, TX).  The temperature gauge didn’t even register!  I thought I had another fail on my hands.  When I lifted the lid, I could smell the rice and beans.  I brought the pots inside and took a bite!  Everything was done to my satisfaction.  I made a bowl of rice and beans, added a little  Tony’s to it and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up.

Solar ovens don’t burn food.  So, you can leave your food in your solar oven all day and not worry about it burning.  There are so many things that you can cook with a solar oven. Solavore has recipes you can try – savory and sweet.

My advice is that you experiment and try cooking with your solar oven when you don’t need it, so you will know how it works when you do need it!  The beauty of the Solavore is that it is so lightweight and sturdy.  You can use this all year long, just as long as you have sun.  And, you don’t have to wait for an emergency!

You can purchase the Solavore Sports Solar Oven on the Solavore site.

Check out my pics below as well as videos that I have linked to by my blogging friend, Anegela @ Food Storage and Survival.  Especially pay attention to her video on the WAPI.  I think this is a BIG selling point for solar ovens.

This is a pic from my first attempt. You can see I had a ton of sun, but I lost it 1/2 way through the day. I also think I put in a little too much water. You’re supposed to put in 25% less water than you normally use in a recipe.  I didn’t read that part during my first attempt!

Second attempt. Setting up the rice and beans.  A lot less water!

Pic of the Solavore Sport Solar Oven. This pic was taken early in the morning before I left for work.

Already cool because the sun was setting when I took the pots out of the oven, however, the rice and beans were fully cooked!

A little Tony’s! I was just missing some cornbread!

The Solavore Sports Oven comes with the oven and lid, reflectors, two pots, a temperature gauge and a WAPI.

WAPI = Water Pasteurization Indicator. If you haven’t seen one of these in action, check out the video below.

 

 

Do you have any experience with a solar oven?  What is it?  Would you consider purchasing one for your preps?

 

Peace,
Todd

One Socket to Rule Them All! Tools for the Apocalypse!

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I’m of the belief that when the poop hits the fan, tangibles are going to be very important. The money in the bank will be worthless.  But if you have something in your hands that is of value, well, you will be in a much better spot!

As a prepper, I believe you should have food, water, medical supplies, a means to defend yourself, etc…  You should have an emergency fund.  And, if you are able, having some precious metals is good too!

But one other thing that I think is important is having good tools, specifically non-power tools. Think about it.  If you have tools, not only can you fix your things, but you could find work fixing other people’s things.  Good tools might be worth their weight in gold in a poop hit the fan scenario.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make wise purchases when it comes to tools.  I definitely don’t want to have a bunch of dollar store or inferior tools if I ever really need them.

So with that, I would like to share with you a tool that I recently purchased that seems to be a good choice.  It is a socket that can fit any nut and more.

I recently used it to change out the headlamp bulb in my wife’s vehicle.  I have to say that it worked just like it was supposed to.  And, it looks and feels like a very solid socket.

The socket is made by Blendx.  The tool is  the BLENDX 7mm to 19mm (1/4″ – 3/4″) Ratchet Universal Socket.  On Amazon, it has 25 reviews with 4.5 stars.

This socket will replace many other sockets since it can fit anything between a 1/4″ to a 3/4″ nut.  It will also grab other types of fasteners that need to be turned (see video below).

The socket is created with 54 small spring loaded rods inside.  When you push the socket down around a fastener, it grips around it and allows you to turn the socket.  It comes with a 3/8″ adapter.

Shown above with the Stanley Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver.

The socket only costs $9.99.  It is made in China.  I know many frown on the fact that it is made in  China.  But like I said above, it has good reviews.  From the Blendx Storefront page on Amazon, “BLENDX is a Professional Online E-commerce Brand offering trendy Outdoor Products and Home Gadgets.We have Overseas R&D center in Shenzhen, where’s the core of the Chinese manufacturing industry. By taking this advantages, BLENDX provides you various kinds of great products at the lowest possible prices.”

If you would like to purchase the same type of tool from another country, the Gator Grip runs under $39 and is made in the Czech Republic.

The video below is of the Gator Grip version.  But the Blendx version will work exactly the same.

 

Do you have one of these sockets?  How has it worked for you?  And, which tools do you believe would be important for a SHTF situation?

Peace,
Todd

Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle – Review

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How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle by Tammy Trayer I would first like to thank Tammy for her willingness to share this information with the public and for allowing me to review her work. I Read More …

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20 Survival Principles From the Classic Book, Lucifer’s Hammer

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lucifer's hammer

A classic noven in the TEOTWAWKI* niche is Lucifer’s Hammer, published in 1977, by veteran science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The story line is a classic end of the world scenario. A previously-unknown comet is discovered only months before scientists realize it is on a near-collision course with Earth. Naturally, virtually no one in the world is prepared when the comet breaks apart and strikes the Earth in several places. As the story continues, it focuses on the struggles of survivors, building into an exciting, good vs. evil finish.

Lucifer's Hammer cover

Lucifer’s Hammer cover

Within this 600+ page story are 20 valuable, often universal lessons and principles worth examining

Things in the sky can be unpredictable

This story is based on a comet that crashes into earth; but there are other, more plausible hazards from space, foremost being electrical storms generated by the sun that can wreak havoc with our electrical grid as described in this article.

Leaders lead

A U.S. Senator from California is one of the heroes of the story when he takes on the executive role, comparable to that of a Governor, when all other government structure fails. Even though he is hampered by a heart defect, he maintains the respect and loyalty of the group of people that gravitated to him. As a natural leader, he steps up in a crisis to do what he does best.

Be careful who you trust

The millionaire amateur astronomer who first discovers the comet, has a caretaker maintaining his mountain observatory. It’s stocked and ready to go as his personal bug out location. When disaster strikes, the caretaker and some friends decide they need the property more, and turn the owner away at gunpoint. The astronomer had placed all of his preparedness eggs in that basket, and was turned away with nothing but the vehicle he was driving.

Love may have to wait

Romance becomes much more complicated when your social circle shrinks. Within the Senator’s tight-knit survivor’s group, two alpha-males seek the attention of the Senator’s beautiful daughter. For political reasons, one of the men is strongly advised not to pursue her in the interest of keeping the group together. Personal relationships are difficult to cultivate and maintain in a big enough crisis.

Denying what’s in front of you can get you killed

One of the more memorable characters is a rural mail carrier who gets caught mid-route by the comet strike. Even in the face of extreme rainstorms caused by the comet, he presses to finish his mail route and is almost washed away. Salvaging as much of the mail as he can, he presses on and is shot at by predatory teens. He eventually accepts the dangers of the new world and obtains a pistol for self-protection. Realities may change and they may change drastically. Survivors will be those who can accept and adapt quickly.

Impending doom can embolden bad people

A paroled rapist realizes that even if he indulges his homicidal sexual fantasies, he won’t be held to trial. He unleashes his urges on a young woman and is arrested for her murder. Later after the comet strike, he is the recipient of “frontier justice” from a jailer who releases lesser criminals but can’t bring himself to let the rapist go. This is a lesson to add self defense and home defense to your list of prepping priorities. Learn self-defense through martial arts (learn how to choose the best dojo), as well as teaching everyone in the household to use a firearm safely and accurately.

The right vehicle can save your butt

In 1977, the do-all, off-road truck was the International TravelAll, equivalent to today’s Chevy Suburban. In Lucifer’s Hammer, the TravelAll lived up to its reputation by getting characters through floods and mud, pulling down trees, and being reliable all the time, every time. In the real world, having a tough, reliable vehicle is just as important. This article shares tips for getting your vehicle ready for the end of the world, and it’s not as expensive as you might think.

Lucifer's Hammer

The ultimate 70’s off-road vehicle

You don’t have to know everything, you just need to know where to find it

Dan Forrester, Ph.D., is an Astrophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California when the comet strikes. He has the foresight to conceal reference books that turn out to be important in getting accepted into the Senator’s survival group. Later, these books become key in defending the good guys and restoring civilization. It also inspired me to get the books, How Things Work, Volumes 1-4, which are difficult to find, but a very good substitute is The Way Things Work Now and, for homesteading and rural basic skills, the Foxfire books.

Politics are a big part of disasters

As Lucifer’s Hammer progresses, comet survivors look to existing remnants of government to guide them. The lesson? Strong politicians and their supporters will have more influence over what happens following a disaster than they did before the disaster. Face time with politicians at all levels or campaign contributions before the disaster go a long way.

Adversity Forces You to Grow Up Fast

Several of the characters in the book have sons in Boy Scouts. The parents’ plan to send the Scouts up into the mountains for their safety backfires when the kids have to take on adult roles. While somewhat immature, the boys had the skills they needed to survive and survive, they did. Survival skills should be taught at all levels, and this list provides a good place to start.

The Keepers of Secret Knowledge are worth their weight in gold

Engineers, physicians, mechanics, machinists…these will be the modern-day alchemists who will salvage the remnants of the disaster and start to rebuild. Guards at roadblocks had lists of desired skills that could pass through to safety. Others were out of luck. The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm is a must-read for more information in this area.

Medical problems before become severe after

Dr. Dan Forrester, savior of the good guys has Type 1 Diabetes, a dangerous affliction to have in a post-disaster situation. He eventually loses his source of insulin and dies. However, all may not be lost in our more modern era. Read this article written by a prepper mom with a Type 1 child for practical tips to prepare for such an event. For the rest of us, it’s vital to become as healthy and physically fit as possible now, both as a prep for future hard times as well as a way to improve quality of life.

Hard decisions will have to be made

As it often happens in a sudden disaster, needs outstrip resources very quickly. Both the good guys and bad guys have in-depth discussions about available food, restrict adding new outsiders, and predict the severity of the winter soon to come. Do they feed strangers now, just to watch their own children starve later? Moral dilemmas will become one of the most difficult aspects of surviving, as Survival Mom explains in this BuzzFeed article.

Those with skills will fare better

This one is distinct from the “Keepers of Secret Knowledge” because it relates to everyone. Can you ride a horse? Drive a car with manual transmission? Use a two-way radio? Defend yourself with a handgun/rifle/shotgun? Have prior military or law enforcement experience? You will fare better than others if you said yes to one or all. Check out the section, Skill of the Month, for some ideas to build your skill/knowledge repertoire.

Civilization is fragile

Few businesses are able to maintain large inventories of items, including food. Our modern computer-managed inventories and just-in-time reordering means that when a sudden disaster hits, stores run out of items quickly. After about 12 hours, we are back to 1930’s level society, or worse.

Disabilities are magnified

When society is reduced to day-to-day survival, many with emotional or mental disabilities exceed their ability to cope and succumb to their disorders. The inability of many persons with disabilities or access and functional needs to pull their own weight can subject them to the cruel calculus of survival. Families with loved ones in these circumstances should consider and plan now how they will continue caring for them. One example of a family with an adult Down’s syndrome child is detailed in this book.

The Art of the Deal is real

Successful survivors must have the gift of gab…the ability to sell one’s self and trade valuable information for food or protection is vital. Persuasion is a skill worth its weight in gold and the ability to trade and barter, priceless.

Be prepared to use what you find

You can’t open a soup can or wine bottle without an opener or a drain a gas tank without a siphon hose; opportunities may present themselves along the way and some planning and forethought can make a difference.

Information is valuable, and organized information is priceless

In our everything-is-available-on-the-internet world, something as simple as a paper road map can be incredibly useful post-disaster. Annotating that map with notes about bridges out or roads blocked consolidates multiple sources of info in a more valuable way. Collecting detailed maps of your area and surrounding states is an inexpensive prep.

The Road is not where you want to be

Every society needs a justice system with consequences for violating rules. In Lucifer’s Hammer, the good guys hanged those who were sentenced to capital punishment; short of hanging, the next most severe punishment was being banished to The Road. Being evicted meant you were no longer able to share food, protection, and fellowship with the good guys. The Road almost surely guaranteed slow starvation and death from lack of food or from marauders.

The Most Important Lesson

Lucifer’s Hammer is just a story, one that The Survival Mom and I both enjoyed. You have the opportunity to write your own story, for the most part. Have a plan, stock your home, have some way of protecting yourself, and you and your family may live happily ever after.

*The End of The World as We Know It

Here’s Lisa’s video review of Lucifer’s Hammer.

lucifer's hammer

PIC REVIEW: The Survival Shovel by Survival Hax

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One of the perks of running Prepper Website is that I get offers to review preparedness products and books.  I turn a lot of offers down, but I was happy to check out the Survival Hax Survival Shovel.

Before I actually opened the package, I did see a review by Zac from An American Homestead on the Survival Shovel.  Zac’s review isn’t a positive review.  At one point, the shovel breaks at the point where the shovel meets the handle.  But, in all honesty, Zac swings the shovel like a madman! 😉  To counter, Amazon shows 40 reviews with a total 4.5 stars.

It definitely isn’t military grade. The shovel costs just under $27.  It breaks down and fits into its own pouch.  The handle is hollow, which allows you to store small items, possibly tinder, since the top unscrews to reveal a ferro rod.

For this pic review, I will say that I don’t have a lot of “hard” dirt in my backyard.  I have a lot of garden beds.  So, I took the opportunity to dig out some ginger.  I know…not really putting it through a workout!

The shovel made quick work of getting to the ginger.  I feel it will dig through most dirt in a camping scenario.  I would not use it to try and go through roots or dig huge trenches!

If you are interested in this shovel, check out the Survival Hax website.

Survival Shovel – Packaging

Survival Shovel inside of the provided pouch.

Shovel components – notice the end screw top which holds the ferro rod.

The shovel locks in place by turning the big orange knob. Notice the ferro rod.

This was the point of failure in Zac’s video.

In the dirt

If you could smell the ginger…

Peace,
Todd

Survival Gear Review: The Timahawk Part 2

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Timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_axe_chopping-2

Timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_pry_bar_on_log-3A handful of edge is a beautiful thing. The convergence of steel is one of the most useful things in a survivalist’s kit. It is the tool that builds all other tools. It is the tool that makes shelter, prepares food, and provides defense. So it’s no surprise that a variety of steel edges are in the bug out loadout. But within that variety are found the problems of weight, of cost, of space, and of necessary performance. With smaller tools the problems are minor, but with bigger heavier tools, carrying more than one is usually out of the question.

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

Enter the Timahawk. By combining several tools into one heavily evolved design, Tim Ralston has made a bit of survival history with his pair of self-named Timahawks. The shorter version called the Tactical Timahawk has made an appearance here, but the longer handled full-size Timahawk still needs an introduction.

Ralston’s Masterpiece

Timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_pry_bar_hanging_on_tree-2At 64 ounces, the Timahawk is a formidable piece of hardware on its own. Four pounds of striking steel with every end a business end makes for a highly adaptable tool. But let’s take a closer look at the edges of the Timahawk. The most obvious feature is the broadhead axe face with full beard. A bearded axe was a popular design back in the medieval era when an axe was the Colt Peacemaker of the time.

Related: The Tactical Timahawk

Having a beard on an axe pushes the tool more more towards being a weapon. The beard provided a protected handgrip as well as a hook that was used to strip away a foe’s shield or weapon. I find the beard works as advertised as well as making for a strong hook for various camp duties like holding up a lantern and remaining accessible but out of reach of the little ones. The beard also generates a much larger cutting surface without the extra weight of a fully cheeked axe head.

Face Plant

Timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_pry_wood_chopping_closeup-2The overall cutting surface of the axe is about six inches in a straight line. Three and a half of those inches are the beard leaving plenty of strength onboard for serious chopping. Bending or breaking quarter-inch thick 4130 steel not only exceeds normal use of the Timahawk, but also exceeds normal human strength.  Opposite the sharp crescent and beard is an adz which is nothing more than a stone-age carving tool that is simply a short blade turned sideways. It works great for digging, scraping, and a lever for breaching. The two-inch wide adz is not much of a weapon compared an axe proper, but it will certainly do damage. The adz can also be somewhat sacrificial surface when you need to strike steel-dulling materials like rocks, brick and metal.

Read Also: Fail to Prepare Fail to Live

Two well-defined hand placement points with finger grooves are forged into the design. A vertical grip is found behind the axe-face beard, and another similar handhold is on the top of the axe head halfway between the bit and the adz. Basically the two grips are 90 degrees rotated from each other, while the traditional main handle grip of the Timahawk is just downstream from the beard grip.

The main gripping surface on the Timahawk is actually two scales of 18-inch long recycled hard black plastic held in place by four evenly spaced stainless steel screws. The scales ovalize the flat metal backbone of the Timahawk making the handle about 1.25 inches wide, by about one inch thick.

Pry Baby

Timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_pry_bar_delimbing-2Rounding out the southern end of the Timahawk is a two-and-a-quarter inch wide combination prybar face/nail puller. The tailend of the Timahawk flairs out an additional half-inch on each side looking similar to a chisel or moulding pry bar. As a weapon, this far end has some advantages over the adz even though they are of similar size. Remember those gripping handles? Well with one fist wrapped around the top handle and the other on the plastic scales, you can operate the sharpened nail puller with precision and the full force of your body. Like a pry bar from hell.  I actually have a prybar I carry on some wheeled adventures. It is a 24 inch Snap On pry bar. It works for for opening and moving stuck or heavy things, and some rough engine mechanicing. Having a serious pry bar along for ride is always a good thing, but a single dedicated pry bar is a another heavy piece of gear. So combining tools, while a violation of “two is one and one is none,” you can also look at it as “one is two and two is good.”

Here To Help

Luckily the bright orange powder coat gives the impression that the Timahawk is here to do good. No skulls, or barbed wire, or lightening bolts. Just good old American made EMS camouflage. Nothing to see here so move along.

With three sharp ends, the Timahawk ships in a completely encasing padded nylon case. A full-length zipper opens and closes the works, while three different sized pockets cover one entire face of the case. The opposite side contains an 11-inch MOLLE ladder with four included snap attachment strips of webbing. Two carry-strap attachment D-loops are sewn in at the top and bottom of the case separated by about 22 inches. Of course, a 1.5 inch shoulder strap is included.

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Krav Maga Tactical Survival Unboxing

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Krav Maga Tactical Survival Unboxing

This week I had a mystery package to open. I usually know what I’m opening. This time I had forgotten about being sent a book on Krav Maga. 

Krav Maga is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces. It has been tested and used around the globe for sixty years. 

I have taken a few martial arts over the years. Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and have had an interest in Krav Maga for several years. 

From all my research it seems to be the best to quickly and safely end street fights. It was designed for that. 

It also seems that the learning curve is not as high. In some martial arts it takes a long time to be able to apply your skills. 

This book is filled with full-color photos to help explain the techniques. 

I can’t wait to start practicing with Couch Potato Mike. 

I do want to state that I do not believe you will be able to become a master with a book. But this is an excellent primer. Finding a qualified local instructor is definitely the way to go. 

 

 

 

 

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs What you wear and the gear you use can be much more than just a preference on how you look. Using quality gear has been a hallmark of the military and law enforcement for a long time. It is easy to see why, since gear reliability can be …

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The Unappreciated 10mm Auto

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glock_29_sf_10mm_bug_out_survival_hunting_gun_pistol_2

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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Prepper Food Storage Review – Valley Foods

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When outside companies ask me to do a review of their products, I sometimes have just a little bit of trepidation. For example, what happens if the company sends me their product and I do not like it? That could lead to some awkward moments. So I have tried to be selective of what products I […]

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Haven Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

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Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

 

A while back I got in Haven by  J.D.G. Perldeiner from prepper Press. I was pretty excited to read Haven from the description.

Haven is set 198  years after a cataclysm that wipes out most of mankind. The people that are left live a very primitive life.  

All around them is evidence of their ancestor’s great achievements. Cars that will never again run. Light bulbs that remain dark. And medicines that they have no idea how they work. 

The Monks of Haven treasure knowledge above all. They fight to keep their library from falling into the wrong hands. 

Tiber the Novice is sent on a quest with others from Haven to a nearby Duke. They are going to ask for help in an upcoming attack by the Grotons. 

The Good 

I love fantasy novels. My favorite genre of books is fantasy. If you look at the bookshelf behind me in my YouTube videos then you will see my collection. 

Haven attracted me because it seemed to fit my favorite format. A young person going on a quest. A coming of age story with swords. 

Young Novice Tiber fits the bill in Haven. You follow his journey to help save his home. 

I love the world the J.D.G Perldeiner has created in Haven. In many ways, it reminds me of Europe after the fall of Rome. 

Rome brought technologies throughout Europe that broke and sat unworking. Imagine an English peasant looking at a thousand-year-old aqueduct with no idea how it was built. 

 

The Bad

For this book, the author decided to show how language changed in almost 200 years. 

If you tried to have a conversation with someone from 1816 you would have some real issues. I just looked up American slang words from the 1800’s. And I can tell you bottom fact language changes. 

The book does have a glossary in the beginning. I skimmed this quickly. Mostly I skipped it. I wanted to get into reading the book. 

That was a mistake. 

The Haven made up words are so dense that it destroyed my concentration. Even without the glossary, I could cogit (Haven word for understanding) most the words. 

But when it got so thick with words my reading speed ground to a halt. 

I would go from enjoying the book to confused and annoyed. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have to say Haven is not a book for everyone. But It might be for you. 

Unlike many prepper books you are not beaten over the head with info. In fact, you have to look for survival tips in this book. There are some.  

For me, the language killed this book for me. I would get into it for a while then hit a chunk of Haven made up words. This ruined the experience for me every time. 

If you enjoy a good quest story, languages, and prepper fiction then this book is for you. 

If you are not going to really read the glossary, in the beginning, you will not enjoy This book. 

 

 

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Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

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Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

Haven Prepper Fiction Meets Fantasy Novel

 

A while back I got in Haven by  J.D.G. Perldeiner from prepper Press. I was pretty excited to read Haven from the description.

Haven is set 198  years after a cataclysm that wipes out most of mankind. The people that are left live a very primitive life.  

All around them is evidence of their ancestor’s great achievements. Cars that will never again run. Light bulbs that remain dark. And medicines that they have no idea how they work. 

The Monks of Haven treasure knowledge above all. They fight to keep their library from falling into the wrong hands. 

Tiber the Novice is sent on a quest with others from Haven to a nearby Duke. They are going to ask for help in an upcoming attack by the Grotons. 

The Good 

I love fantasy novels. My favorite genre of books is fantasy. If you look at the bookshelf behind me in my YouTube videos then you will see my collection. 

Haven attracted me because it seemed to fit my favorite format. A young person going on a quest. A coming of age story with swords. 

Young Novice Tiber fits the bill in Haven. You follow his journey to help save his home. 

I love the world the J.D.G Perldeiner has created in Haven. In many ways, it reminds me of Europe after the fall of Rome. 

Rome brought technologies throughout Europe that broke and sat unworking. Imagine an English peasant looking at a thousand-year-old aqueduct with no idea how it was built. 

 

The Bad

For this book, the author decided to show how language changed in almost 200 years. 

If you tried to have a conversation with someone from 1816 you would have some real issues. I just looked up American slang words from the 1800’s. And I can tell you bottom fact language changes. 

The book does have a glossary in the beginning. I skimmed this quickly. Mostly I skipped it. I wanted to get into reading the book. 

That was a mistake. 

The Haven made up words are so dense that it destroyed my concentration. Even without the glossary, I could cogit (Haven word for understanding) most the words. 

But when it got so thick with words my reading speed ground to a halt. 

I would go from enjoying the book to confused and annoyed. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have to say Haven is not a book for everyone. But It might be for you. 

Unlike many prepper books you are not beaten over the head with info. In fact, you have to look for survival tips in this book. There are some.  

For me, the language killed this book for me. I would get into it for a while then hit a chunk of Haven made up words. This ruined the experience for me every time. 

If you enjoy a good quest story, languages, and prepper fiction then this book is for you. 

If you are not going to really read the glossary, in the beginning, you will not enjoy This book. 

 

 

Subscribe to the show

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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SurvivalHax.com Self Inflating Mattress

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Over many years and after having many friends recommending them, I have thought about getting a self inflating mattress. Thankfully, the folks at SurvivalHax.com were gracious enough to let me review theirs. To begin with, Read More …

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Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Review The Light Your Weapon Needs

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Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Review

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Review

 

I have never been a weapons light guy. No idea why not. Maybe it was simply for lack of having used one. With the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie (Amazon Link) things might have changed. 

Used to be there were little choices in firearms lights. You had Surefire lights and junk not to be trusted. Surefire was the standard in high-quality lights. And they charged for it too. 

Then companies Like Olight and Foursevens started to innovate. Whereas the Surefire rested on its laurels and overcharged. 

That is why I have never owned a Surefire. And why at this time Olight is my top pick for all my flashlight needs. 

Let’s get into the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie and why you might want to add it to your preps. 

 

Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie Stats

  • Applicable on MIL-STD-1913 and Glock sized rails.
  • IPX6 Waterproof .
  • Uses a single CR123A battery delivering an output of 450 lumens and a beam distance of 106 meters
  • Switch on/off silently. Push forward directly or hit the side of the switch to activate
  • Heavy duty stainless steel lever making it easy and fast to attach and release
  • Hardened glass coated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides allowing for 99% light transmission rate for maximum clarity

 

The Good 

I’ve talked about it before. When it comes to lights Lumens are king. It is always better to have more lumens available than less. In my review of the Olight H1 Nova, I went on

In my review of the Olight H1 Nova, I went on about how great it was. A large part of that is the 500 lumens it packs. 

The Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie packs 450 lumens. You can easily move around in the dark with 450 lumens to see by. You don’t want to be trying to move around a dark house with a weak light. 

Shining the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie into the eyes of a home intruder will give you a major advantage. In my testing, I immediately closed my eyes and had spots dancing in my vision for a few minutes. 

Turning the light on and off is easy. The button depresses without too much force. I don’t want to struggle to turn on my weapons light while holding my firearm.

There are no crazy modes to mess you up with. Press one side of the tail cap to come straight on. Press both sides for strobe mode. 

The Bad

The Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie will eat batteries. It will eat 1 CR123 battery every 60 minutes to be precise. And CR123 batteries are not cheap. 

I would highly recommend rechargeable batteries and a charger. 1 hour is plenty of time for a home sweep. But if you want to train with the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie, and you should, then get rechargeable batteries. 

I did my testing of the weapons light mounted on my AR15. And it mostly worked great. 

Turning the light on and off where I had rails to mount it to was awkward. If I had rails on my heat shield I would be better. Or if the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie had a remote switch to mount near the trigger. 

 

Conclusion

I think that the Olight Pl-1 II Valkyrie is a great weapons light for any handgun. The mounting and ease of use paired with the 450 lumens are great. 

I think it is decent for an AR15. Unless you can mount it right by your hand so you can activate it without moving your hand. In which case, it would be a great addition. 

Do you run a weapons light? Which one do you use? Let me know in the comments!

 

I have an Ebook on  Paleo Pumpkin  Recipes I worked really hard on for you. I would love for you to make some recipes from it and enjoy them. 

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Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

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Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

The fine folks at Survival Hax sent me this self-inflating sleeping pad for review. Although sleeping pads are not as cool as some other BOB items they are one of the most important. 

When I began building my first Bug Out Bag many years ago a sleeping mat was one of the first things I ever bought. For a very important reason. That reason is maintaining core body temperature and staying alive. 

If you sleep on the ground or in a hammock without insulation beneath you will rapidly lose heat. Conduction is the method you loose heat on the ground. 

When you come into contact with another surface heat transfer will occur. Transfer to a solid object will occur much more effectively than in air. 

So to achieve the first rule of survival we have to prevent this heat loss. Sleeping pads are an effective way to accomplish this. 

The Stats

Let’s break down the stats on the Survival Hax sleeping mat. 

  • Weight: 1.7 Pounds
  • Width: 19.6”
  • Length: 70.8”
  • Thickness: 1.6”
  • Material:  Exterior 75D polyester pongee coated PVC Interior Polyurethane (PU Foam)
  • Packed Size: 10.6 x 5.9”

 

 

Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

Survival Hax Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Review

The Good

The Survival Hax sleeping pad has several good things going for it. 

It packs up smaller than any other sleeping mat I have owned. It is small enough to actually fit inside a pack. All of my other sleeping pads have to be strapped to the outside of my pack. 

The Survival Hax self inflating sleeping pad is the firmest pad I have tested. Most of the self-inflating ones tend to be pretty soft. With this one, you can manually blow in it before closing the valve to get a bit firmer. Just be careful not to overinflate. 

It inflates and deflates quick and easy. No messing around with a pump. 

 

The Bad

The Survival Hax sleeping pad has some room for improvement. It is small. Like really small. To translate the inches to feet 70.8 inches is 5.9 feet. To quote a comedian I heard once Manhood starts at 6 foot. 

Being 6’1 myself this comes up a little short. Meaning either my head or feet will have to hang off. With a pillow or wearing boots, you could solve this. 

Also at 19 inches wide it is pretty narrow. Big and tall guys will not have a good night. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Survival Hax self-inflating sleeping pad is not for everyone. And that’s Ok. For most men, this pad is simply way too small. 

If you are a tiny man, a child or a woman then this just might be what you are looking for. If so I do envy you being able to carry such a small packable sleeping mat. 

 

What do you use for a sleeping pad? Closed Cell or self-inflating pad? Let me know in the comments. 

 

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MSR Whisperlite vs Esbit Pocket Stove

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msr_vs_pocketstove

katahdinOne recent fall weekend my wife and I went to hike Maine’s Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park. It was a gorgeous hike, as you can see in the image. The hike wasn’t for sissies, however; that or we’re just old, but we hiked for about 8 miles and 8 hours before we were back at our campsite and ready to eat a little Mountain House for dinner. Yes, we could have packed a full grill and made a meal fit for royalty, but that means packing the grill and a whole lot of effort. After a full day of hiking? No thanks. Mountain House is fast, easy, and it tastes good. Besides, I wanted to test a new stove, the Esbit Pocket Stove, to see if it would have a place in our camping/emergency gear. Could a disposable, light, tiny stove heat the water we’d need for food and drink? It could be life changing! Well, not really, but it could certainly change our approach to some hiking/emergency situations.

msrflameJust in case it didn’t go well, I’d brought our standard hiking stove, the MSR Whisperlite. Most people are familiar with the MSR brand of stove, the Whisperlite being the most common. They’re solid, time-tested, with simple mechanics. They can be a little messy at times, particularly when starting them, and you have to carry liquid fuel, but they work. I’m not sure one brand in this style of stove is any better than another. Jetboil seems like another nice brand, particularly if you like using propane. Propane is cleaner and can be set to simmer. The Whisperlite-type stoves can burn multiple fuels, however, better for survival situations.

pocketstoveflameLet’s get back to the Esbit stove, though. I’d never heard of this thing, but it seemed to have potential. “Use for cooking, boiling water, making hot coffee or tea,” the package reads. It’s made in Germany, which has a reputation for producing decent products. The box contains a foldable “stove” (a foldable, metal frame to hold a small pot of water or pan) and 6 half-ounce fuel cubes. The burn time, it claims, is approximately 12 minutes per half-ounce cube. The fuel cubes are stable, non-toxic, and they light easily with a match or lighter. The manufacturer claims that, depending on conditions, one cube will bring one pint of water to a boil in approximately 8 minutes. Not bad! The exterior conditions on that weekend were nothing short of beautiful. Figuring how the package also says the stove works well at altitude, I figured we were all set with “depending on conditions.” We had ideal conditions.

If you’re sensing this is shaping up to be a David versus Goliath matchup, you’re probably right. I’m not so naïve as to think a ten dollar, solid fuel, disposable pocket stove has a fair shot against an eighty-five dollar, white gas-fueled camping stove. The difference in construction and power between the two stoves is obvious. It’s clearly not an apples-to-apples matchup. Still, it was an interesting experiment for me. If the Pocket Stove did what it said it could do, there would be a whole range of situations I’d prefer to have a Pocket Stove over an MSR Whisperlite or comparable stove. When, exactly? I’d use a Pocket Stove over an MSR in any of the following scenarios:

  • Flying overseas. We had a recent trip to Iceland. The airfare there was reasonably priced, but once you’re staying there, everything is expensive. Gas is expensive, beer is expensive, souvenirs are expensive, and dining out is very expensive. We packed our MSR Whisperlite with an empty fuel bottle that we filled there. The plan was to hit the grocery store and cook anything easy from the stove to save money. It’s the scenery you’re after in Iceland, after all. The first day there we searched Reykjavik for Coleman white gas, a bottle that we used little of by week’s end. A solid fuel Pocket Stove would have been much more convenient and we could have packed it on the plane.
  • Day hikes. Here in New England, it’s not uncommon for us to make a day trip to a local mountaintop. It’s nice to do it not bogged down with weight/gear. It’s also nice to have a hot cup of coffee or tea at the top, and maybe a hot lunch if it’s late season hiking. I don’t know how much the Pocket Stove weighs, but it’s barely anything. The MSR and its bottle of fuel have weight, weight I’d rather leave at home.
  • Emergency kits. The Pocket Stove is tiny and easy to slide into an emergency kit for your vehicle or backpack. No worries about liquid fuel, and less costly to purchase if you’re only buying a stove for just-in-case purposes. One of these Pocket Stoves, a small pot, a few Mountain House meals, and you’re in good shape.
  • Bug out bag. Theoretically, your bug out bag (BOB) only needs to get you from point A to point B. Hopefully that’s not a great distance to travel, and if you’ve got to do it on foot, the less weight and size your stove has the more weight and room you have for other items. The Pocket Stove seems more suitable to a BOB.

The more I think about it, the scenarios above are exactly the types of situations I use my Whisperlite in, so the Pocket Stove—if effective—could prove to get far more use than the Whisperlite.

So what are the Pocket Stove’s advantages?

  1. Lower cost
  2. Lighter weight
  3. Smaller size
  4. Stable, solid fuel
  5. Fewer moving parts

The MSR, of course, has its own advantages:

  1. Gas power
  2. Multi-fuel
  3. Larger, more stable cooking platform
  4. Made in the U.S.A.

stoves-on-tableSince 80% of my entire stove use is to boil water, either for drink or to add to dehydrated food, the test was simple: see how each compares when boiling one pint of water. I lit the stoves and they were off to the races!  I know, I know, the MSR fuel canister looks awfully close to the Pocket Stove flame. I just moved the can there for the pic… *ahem.* This Whisperlite always takes a little tinkering to get it going, but the Pocket Stove fuel was easily lit with a lighter. However, you can see the significant difference in the flame. The Whisperlite has a healthy roar to its sound. The Pocket Stove’s solid fuel is more like a dancing flame than the Whisperlite’s burner.

The Whisperlite’s bendable windscreen is a great benefit. Not only does it help reduce wind hitting the flame, but it reflects the heat back toward the burner and up the sides of the pot for greater efficiency. The Pocket Stove has no such screen, making it more susceptible to wind. There was another problem, however. The Pocket Stove’s flame is very low to the surface level. Needless to say, it caught the picnic table on fire in the process.  Sorry Baxter State Park officials!

boiling_stoves_msr_esbitBut soon we had reached full boil… well, the MSR did.  Your can see here the MSR was at a full, roiling boil. It took 4.5 minutes—fast! You can also see here where the Pocket Stove’s lack of windscreen left the flame blowing out the side resulting in poorer efficiency. Mind you, this was by no means a windy day. The air was quite still. Conditions were ideal.  That said, Esbit claims it takes 8 minutes to reach boil, which is still fast, so we kept it going. Except, the fuel cube burned out at 7.5 minutes, despite Esbit’s claim that each cube will burn for 12 minutes. I stuck my finger thermometer in the water and it read slightly warmer than lukewarm.

pocketstoveflameonsideI attributed the failure to burn to the flame blowing out the side rather than sitting fully under the pot. I moved the stove to the ground to save the picnic table, lit another cube, and surrounded it with the Whisperlite’s windscreen. That still didn’t seem to help.  The second cube eventually burned out and after 13 minutes and 20 seconds sitting over the Pocket Stove’s, flame the water was finally hot enough for tea, but still not boiling.

Sadly, this little stove failed to live up to the claims. The only purpose I can recommend it for… is… well I guess I can’t recommend it for any purpose. I took the remaining fuel cubes and tossed them into the campfire to watch them burn. The foldable stove I threw in the trash. I guess you could use the fuel cubes for emergency fire starters, then the unit goes from being a cheap stove to becoming an expensive set of fire starters. You can do better than that. Esbit could do better, too.

Don’t buy the Esbit Pocket Stove. Save your money and splurge on an MSR, Jetboil, or similar quality camping stove. You won’t be disappointed.

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 apocalyptic.

All Photos Courtesy of: Derrick Grant

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

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Colter Functional Bandana

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It was a pleasure to receive two new versatile pieces of everyday carry from Colter USA. Their bandana is 100% cotton and the two that I have are Know Your Knots and Stargazer. Regardless if you know Read More …

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Olight H1 Nova The Best Headlamp You Can Get

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Olight H1 Nova The Best Headlamp You Can Get

Olight H1 Nova The Best Headlamp You Can Get

Olight H1 Nova The Best Headlamp You Can Get

 

The great folks at Olight contacted me to see if I wanted to review two new lights by them. I did an unboxing and first thoughts video Here. Today will be focused on the Olight H1 Nova.

After a few weeks of testing On the lights, I am ready to share my thoughts on the Olight H1 Nova Headlamp. 

Guys if you haven’t given your Christmas list to your ladies read this first. You’re gonna want to revise that list. 

Olight H1 Nova Features

 

  • 500 Lumen max output using CREE XM-L2 LED (NW/CW) paired with bead lens, creating clearly divided focus, floodlight with a smooth transition
  • Powered by CR123A (included) or RCR123A (16340) rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Magnetic tail cap allows it to be attached to any ferrous surface for hands-free work when being used as a standard light
  • Low profile silicone switch located on the head of the headlamp for easy location and operation

The Good 

There is so much good about the Olight H1 Nova. Let’s start with the most important factor of a headlamp. The almighty lumens. 

This headlamp packs an amazing 500 lumens max mode. 500 lumens. Let that sink in. That much light coming from a light that’s only 2.3inches long. And it weighs 1.7 ounces. 

The Olight H1 Nova has five brightness settings. 2 lumens on the lowest, that last for 15 days. The 500 lumens  last for 3 minutes at full power then tapers down in brightness for 170 minutes to 180 lumens. 

The headband is soft and comfortable. I have had some headlamps that are scratchy. There is just no reason to have an uncomfortable headband. 

The Olight H1 Nova comes with a high quality carrying case, extra o-rings, and a clip. With the clip, you can transform the headlamp into a pocket flashlight. 

The headlamp is IPX-8 certified. At this time IPX-8 is the highest level of waterproof and dust resistance. The Olight H1 Nova is completely waterproof. 

The Bad

There is not much bad about the Olight H1 Nova. The silicone strap that attaches the light to the headband could be a failure point. 

It could get weakened if you take the light in and out many times. Or get snagged on something. Even though I doubt it since it is very low profile. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, I can say without a doubt that the Olight H1 Nova is the best headlamp I have ever owned. It has all the features that I want in a headlamp. 

For me, brightness will always be the most important feature on a light. The brighter the better. More light is always the solution. With 500 lumens on max, it is way brighter than everything else I have owned. 

 

This is my pick for the headlamp you need to have. I’m in love with it  and so will you be. 

 

I have an Ebook on  Paleo Pumpkin  Recipes I worked really hard on for you. I would love for you to make some recipes from it and enjoy them. 

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The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife: When Quality Really Matters

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fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_chopping

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_closeAs knife designs evolve they have to overcome the traditions and stereotypes of the past. In an effort to drive knife sales, manufacturers have produced more versatile, creatively inspired blades. While this has yielded a multitude of blades, some manufacturers have missed the mark entirely with poorly designed, gimmicky knives. Others, like Fällkniven, produce modern blades that are just as useful as traditional blades. In 1984, Fällkniven opened its doors to the world and pushed blade technology to new limits. 

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

There seems to be very few constants in knife making these days. I can think of two constants: human strength and cutting capacity. The ideal blade isn’t too dull, flexible, or blunt. If you will, the ideal blade is a ‘Goldilocks Blade’. Beyond that, there are few rules. With this being said, there are many traditions and these must be properly navigated in order to innovate.

The Hunted

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_blade_profileSince the mid-1980s the Fällkniven Knife Company has served the needs of those who might find themselves floating to earth under a parachute, or working their way back home after a crash landing. The Fällkniven F1, also known as the Swedish Pilots Knife, is a small package of cutting dynamite. With the F1, hunting is on the menu, but the menu is quite large with many vegetarian options. I carried the F1 in my hunting kit, but often found myself looking around for something better when it came to hunting tasks and game processing. Fällkniven, in usual fashion, answered the call.

Read Also: Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife, or PHK, is a gorgeous upswept-point blade of mildly larger proportions than dusty traditions would specify. Frankly, the moment I saw the design of this blade, I knew it would be good. There was just something so right about it. It carried forward the belly of a skinner with the rigidity of a wilderness blade while offering the user more control. The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife has an upsweep-drop point which seems like it could be an oxymoron, but in fact it’s the best of both worlds. Perhaps it is the best of all worlds.

The potentially contradictory blade shape of upswept-drop point is an irony of iron that really works. Traditionally upswept designs are elegant but small slicers are arguably more effective. When the blade exceeds the distance between palm and index finger, the whole hand must move beyond the grip. This motion compromises safety and is simply inefficient. It’s a dangerous move that requires practice especially when done quickly or blindly. On traditional larger drop point blades, the tip of the blade rides below the index fingernail meaning it’s easier to poke a hole into the skin or membrane during a slice. The pros can drag the tip precisely like a surgeon’s scalpel, but anything done in the field or elements is risky. And the more blood and sweat in the mix, the more likely the game won’t be the only one skinned. However, on the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife the upswept drop point allows fairly precise driving even from the back seat. The thick spine provides firm control and the added length in front of the fingertip is user friendly.

Iron Maiden

The iron coursing through the veins of the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife blade is a 3G laminated steel scoring a 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC). The tang is a broad protruding one that, like Fällkniven’s survival blades, pops out the back of the grip completing the solidity of this package. A single grommeted hole graces the far end of the kraton grip allowing a lanyard to be attached.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_archeryBut with change comes controversy. If mildly noticeable deviations from the blade norm raise eyebrows, then drawing your PHK from the sheath will leave mouths agape. Without knowing it, most survivalist and hunters are carrying on a tradition that began long ago. The camo-clad crowd spouts “two is one, and one is none.” Big blades and little blades have been complementing each other for millennia. Big jobs are for the big knife and small jobs are for the small knife. A further refinement of this concept did develop further prejudice and that is with the sacrificial blade and the primary blade, or the Pawn and the King, if you will. In hunting circles, there is the hunting knife that is cared for, babied, and often rides safe and warm in the hunting pack instead of on the belt. Then, there is the working knife that does all the daily maintenance and dirty jobs far below the noble duties of the king. I admit that I practice this bit of favoritism, but in terms of survival, the OO knife (double-oh knife), or Only One knife concept is very real when the hunting gear must be high speed, low drag.

Traditions Change

I think hunting knives began to evolve when hunting moved from an out-the-backdoor activity to a pseudo-military expedition into the untamed wilderness. There’s not a lot of hardware to carry when popping a Bambi off the back porch. You gut the beast right there donating the innards to the predators that keep the place clean and tidy. Afterwards, you drag the carcass back home and string it up on a tree to cool. When ready, you head to your  kitchen for some meat and bone-specific cutlery. 

All is fine and dandy until you are miles into the woods and your quarry might not go down willingly like the whitetail snacking on your hedges. Enter the big hunting knife. When money and carry-weight is tight, items seem to gain more uses. Military knives moved from BDU belt accessory to top-tier hunting wardrobe. The knife needed to run triple-duty as a camp knife for those lifetime adventures in the national parks, off-grid hunting expeditions, and self-defense.

Like all evolutionary change, as one critter specializes, another pops up to capitalize on the available niche. So as the hip-hugging hunting knife moved away from the detailed work and more towards bigger cruder jobs, little knives moved in like tiny mammals taking over the mini-landscape left behind as the dinosaurs grew bigger. Then, when the mighty asteroid dirtied up the place 65 million years ago, the little furry warmbloods made their move. And here we are, more or less.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdSpecialized knives started to weigh down the hunter who might actually carry a combat blade for general outdoor use, a razor-sharp cutting knife, a skinning knife, a bone saw, and perhaps even a hunting hatchet to split open those pesky big game rib cages and detach bony limbs. What drove this equipment frenzy was the search for exactly the right tool for the job, and not the best tool for many jobs. While at home, you can have all the specialized tools and blades you want. Carrying them on your back and belt is a different story. Especially when you know you will need to use the knife for many other non-hunting chores and rarely for the chore it was designed for.

Small is Big

In a strange twist on a perpetual theme, there was a movement that started out with good intentions but ended up causing a mess. That movement was fueled by the belief that the better a hunter you were, the smaller the knife you needed. This was the opposite of the Bowie and Tennessee Toothpick persona. Imagine Rambo whipping out his Spyderco Ladybug. Maybe let’s not. The issue rose to epic proportions when a hunting knife could be mistaken for a scalpel complete. Of course, another knife was needed for regular camp tasks, and an even larger blade was carried for the traditional forest duties. So add to the growing pile of knives the sharpening tools and extra blades necessary to keep the knives in the fight.

Further Reading: Three Excellent Survival Knives for Under $100

But the same evolutionary rules that lead to the population explosion of knives can also lead to extinction. Blades were staying home and hunters were squeezing more performance and specialized jobs out of knives obviously not designed for such work. As the proverbial pendulum began a healthy swing back towards center, so started another renaissance of sorts with hunting knives. The short ones got a little longer, thin ones got a little thicker, the pointy ones got a little more dropped, and knives of all kinds implemented the full belly of the skinner.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_carvingTaking advantage of this enlightenment in hunting knives was none other than Fällkniven. By creating an obviously unique take on the philosophical concept of a hunting knife, the Fällkniven PHK has hints of many different blades from Samurai Sword, to Tanto fighting knife, to skinning blade, to wilderness knife, to survival blade. In fact, the PHK is like a piece of contemporary art that assumes the preferences of the viewer as much as standing on its own. In other words, the PHK does it all, and most things well. At five millimeters thick, the PHK blade shares a level of strength uncommon to traditional hunting knives. And its blade length exceeds the hunting industry standard by about an inch. Further, the attention Fällkniven gave to hygiene is something more in line with the butcher shop than the killing field. The stainless steel and kraton grip clean up nicely and provide few homes for bacteria.

In general, the PHK guts like a gutter, skins like a skinner, chops like a chopper and slices like a slicer. It does none of these things quite as good as a blade specifically designed and dedicated to such tasks, but the PHK is well within the margin of error for modern task-specific cutlery. Adding to this list, the Fällkniven PHK also worked great as a minor clever as it crunched through upland game bird wings and legs with skill and finesse. The full belly rolls smoothly through all things aviary, and breaks the bones of any fish you can lift. But big game is another story. Processing hundreds of pounds of animal requires some seriously edged firepower so pushing eight inches of blade length around a carcass is a task well within the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife skill set.

Photos Courtesy Of:

Doc Montana

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Survival Gear Review: Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle

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epic_ultimate_featured

While everybody else is storing gold and silver, I am finding the best ways to invest in what I believe is going to be the currency ofepic_water_straw_standing the future: clean water.  I highly recommend assessing your own situation and finding ways to store and purify as much water as you can. For home situations, purifying water isn’t too difficult. Sometimes though, we are forced to move from our base of operations. In this case, you need a way of purifying dirty water while on the move. The Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle claims to provide a solution to this issue so we checked it out.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Thorough Filtration System

Systems for cleaning water can range from a few dollars for water purification tablets to hundreds of dollars for stand-alone systems. While the more expensive systems might be nice to have, I wanted to find a reasonably priced, mobile system. I found the Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle for $59; right in the range of how much I want to spend. The Epic Filter can produce up to one hundred gallons of drinkable water. On a per gallon basis, this is a solid investment. Moreover, the Epic Filter has been EPA certified to remove the following:

  • 99% of unpleasant taste, odors cloudiness, silt sediment and chlorine.
  • 99% of heavy metals, Aluminum, Asbestos, Cadmium, Chromium 6, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Radiological Radon 222
  • 99% Toxic chemicals, Arsenic, Trihalomethanes, Chloroform, PCB, PCE, Detergents, and Pesticides( DDT)

Seems impressive, doesn’t it? According to the product materials, the bottle kills contaminants with an ‘iodinator’.  From what I’ve gathered, the iodinator dilutes just enough iodine to kill bacteria without affecting taste.  Just remember to read the instructions and follow all steps. A water-born disease is a heavy price to pay for negligence.

Also Read: Weighing the Options For Drinking Water

There are four parts to this water bottle. The plastic bottle body, the straw, top, and the filter. The Epic Filter can be unscrewed and fitted with new, affordable filters. When the filter is new, there is a sticker on the bottom of the filter that must be removed before use. I took the filter out and tripled rinsed the bottle before getting the filter wet. The instructions say to fill the bottle up and squeeze water through the filter and out of the top. It recommends to carry out this step two times.

Testing It Out

The bottle itself is somewhat soft and easy to squeeze. Initially you have to squeeze the bottle a few times as the filter is soaking upepic_water_filter the water and traveling up the straw section. The first time that I filled up the bottle I used tap water. Some reviews I read stated that there was a terrible iodine after-taste and that the bottle leaked water from the top. I shook the bottle vigorously and squeezed while the flip top was closed. No water escaped from the bottle. I then opened the flip top and shook the bottle. Only a few drops escaped from the flip straw.

Finally, I squeezed the bottle and sucked up a mouthful of water. In order to better judge the quality, I spit the water out after swishing for ten seconds.  I detected no iodine taste. People are concerned with taste so I wanted to be sure about this taste test. I allowed the water to sit in the bottle and filter for one hour and took another drink. Again, I detected no level of iodine or any other substance.

Related: The Platypus Collapsible Water Bottle 

I next wanted to test how well the filter filtered out chlorine. I used non-scented bleach. When purifying water with bleach, use five drops of bleach per liter of water. I decided to add four drops of bleach to the bottle. After taking the screw top off, it was easy to detect the smell of bleach. I screwed the lid back on and squeezed the bottle.  I could not detect a bleach smell or taste.

Extra Features and Final Verdict

The bottle comes with a koozie wrapped around the middle of the bottle with stats on the effectiveness of the bottle. I think this is a nice touch for those unfamiliar with the product. On the neck of the bottle is an adjustable wrist strap so that you don’t lose your bottle while dipping it into water sources.

I have been using this bottle for about a week now and I am extremely happy with this system. I found it interesting that there is a noticeable taste difference between unfiltered tap water and Epic filtered water.  For the price of the bottle, gallons filtered, filter refills, and ease of use, I am happy with my Epic Ultimate Travel Bottle.

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Solo Stove Pic Review & The Top Lit Updraft Method

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Solo Stove recently sent me a Solo Stove Titan and Solo Stove Pot 1800. I fired it up a few times and wanted to share my observations with you through pics.

As I did a little research before receiving it, I learned that the Solo Stove is a one piece wood gasifier and should utilize a Top Lit Updraft (TLUD) system.  This is very different than you see Solo Stoves reviewed on Youtube.  In fact, the only really good example on Youtube that I found of TLUD is a Permies video. Most people who review the Solo Stove, use it like a tin can stove.  They build the fire at the bottom and start adding fuel.  This doesn’t utilize the Solo Stove the way it was supposed to be used!

TLUD works like this:  You fill the Solo Stove up with wood, really stack it in their good!  You then start a fire at the top of the wood stack.  As the fire gets going, the wood underneath, gets hot and produces gas.  This gas goes up the inside chamber of the Solo Stove and gets burned.  This makes for a very efficient, hot and smokeless fire.

The Solo Stove uses a lot of wood.  You’ll have to keep feeding it while you are cooking or heating up water.  But as you’ll see below, these are small chunks of wood.  So you really could do this with twigs and small sticks, whatever you find on the forest floor.  It is a small stove that will heat up your pot quickly.  I went from cold tap water to boiling water in 5 minutes, as you’ll see.

The only thing negative I have to say about the Solo Stove was getting it started.  This is not really the Solo Stove’s fault.  This was my fault.  But I purposed to not use anything else than what I could find outside.  I used dry grass/straw as my tinder.  I realized that I was trying to pack it too tight.  Once I got the grass started and then added to it by dropping it on top of the already lit fire, it caught quickly.

The Solo Stove Titan and Solo Stove Pot 1800 are solidly built!  These two pieces will go through a lot of abuse!  You can purchase the set on Amazon.

Below you’ll see the PICS I took  I added captions to each pic.

The bottom of the Solo Stove Titan. The grate allows for gas to channel up the side chamber.

The bottom of the Solo Stove Titan. The grate allows for gas to channel up the side chamber.

Notice the wholes at the top. This is where the gas comes out from the bottom. You'll see how they resemble jets of fire in another pic.

Notice the holes at the top. This is where the gas comes out from the bottom. You’ll see how they resemble jets of fire in another pic.

This pic serves to let you see how tall the Solo Stove Titan is. That's a Mora standing up next to it.

This pic serves to let you see how tall the Solo Stove Titan is. That’s a Mora standing up next to it.

Starting to stack the wood at the bottom.

Starting to stack the wood at the bottom.

Stacking more wood. The tighter you get it in there, the longer burn time you'll have.

Stacking more wood. The tighter you get it in there, the longer burn time you’ll have.

Smaller pieces towards the top of the wood stack.

Smaller pieces towards the top of the wood stack.

Dry grass and wood at the top. Having a little trouble getting it stay lit!

Dry grass and wood at the top. Having a little trouble getting it stay lit!

Realized I need to keep dropping dry grass on the top to get it to catch.

Realized I need to keep dropping dry grass on the top to get it to catch.

The stove is going now. I added the cooking ring.

The stove is going now. I added the cooking ring.

Placed the Solo Stove Pot 1800 on the cooking ring with two cups of water. Started watching my clock at 11:12.

Placed the Solo Stove Pot 1800 on the cooking ring with two cups of water. Started watching my clock at 11:12.

As I watched the water, I added more chunks of wood in the space provided.

As I watched the water, I added more chunks of wood in the space provided.

After two minutes, I start seeing signs that the water is boiling.

After two minutes, I start seeing signs that the water is boiling.

Check out those jets! That's the gas coming out the top chambers.

Check out those jets! That’s the gas coming out the top chambers.

After 5 minutes, my water is boiling!

After 5 minutes, my water is boiling!

You can see coals and embers at the bottom, but the fire is pretty much gone at this point.

You can see coals and embers at the bottom, but the fire is pretty much gone at this point.

However, about 30 seconds after adding 5 small chunks of wood, the fire comes back to life!

However, about 30 seconds after adding 5 small chunks of wood, the fire comes back to life!

The bottom of the stove after the fire is allowed to burn out.

The bottom of the stove after the fire is allowed to burn out.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 has convenient oz and ml markings on the inside. It also comes with handles that allow you to pick it up when it is hot, comes with a cover and has a three point carrying handle that stays in place.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 has convenient oz and ml markings on the inside. It also comes with handles that allow you to pick it up when it is hot, comes with a cover and has a three point carrying handle that stays in place.

The Solo Stove Titan nestles nicely inside the Solo Stove Pot 1800. The Solo Stove and Pot come with carrying pouches. This helps to make sure the inside of your pot doesn't get dirty!

The Solo Stove Titan nestles nicely inside the Solo Stove Pot 1800. The Solo Stove and Pot come with carrying pouches. This helps to make sure the inside of your pot doesn’t get dirty!

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 with the cover on and before I put it back in the pouch.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 with the cover on and before I put it back in the pouch.

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Watch Your Back: A How To Guide To Better Situational Awareness

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Watch Your Back: A How To Guide To Better Situational Awareness

Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life is an amazing how to guide to better situational awareness. 

I was blown away by this book.  I have practiced situational awareness most of my life.  Always the guy you can’t sneak up on.  

Moment catches my eye.  Odd noises attract my attention.  Hell I can generally tell who is coming by the sounds they make or smell.  

Watch your back by Roger Eckstine will take what you know about situational awareness to the next level.  Maybe several levels actually. 


Gas Station Safety

For the most part I never thought much about gas station safety.  I  kept an eye out for shady people.  

In watch your back there is a whole chapter to gas station safety.   And there are some great tips in it.  

He goes over everything from not getting your debit card info stolen to not being robbed or attached .  

Active Shooter

Watch your back ends with a huge chapter on terror attacks and active shooter situations. It seems that both are becoming more common.  

Watch your back gives solid advice on how to prepare for active shooter events.  

It covers what to do during an incident .  How to fight,  how to keep the shooters from getting to you and how to escape if need be.  

Many of you are saying you would just pull your sidearm and deal with it.  What if your at work without your weapon? 

What if you are severelyoutnumbered and outgunned? Have a plan.  

Conclusion

I feel that situational awareness is the cornerstone to any survival plan.  Period. Watch your back will help you develop your situational awareness skills.  

I felt like some of the info was a little too far.  Borderline paranoid. But many will say that my normal situational awareness actions are paranoid .  

So pick and choose what you can do and what’s most important your safety and that of your family.  

It’s Fall and that means Pumpkin Spice! Check Out My Ebook On Paleo Pumpkin  Recipes

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Keto CaNa Review Get The Focus And Energy You Need

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Keto CaNa Review Get The Focus And Energy You Need

Can you get the benefits of being in ketosis without eating a ketogenic diet? With Keto CaNa you can. What is Keto CaNa from Keto Sports and Why would you want some?

You have heard me talk about how being in ketosis is the best for survival. Being in A state of ketosis is optimal for long term and short term disasters.

Hell, it is healthiest to be  in ketosis most the time. I advocate going in and out of ketosis. This more closely mimics the way our ancestors would have lived. 

Being in ketosis you have more energy and focus than a system with excess glucose. This I believe is an evolutionary adaptation. Without food, the body begins to convert stored fat into ketones for the brain and body to run on. 

The brain runs exceptionally well on ketones. Which makes sense that the brain would want to work better when starving. 

What is Keto CaNa

Keto CaNa is an Endogenous ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in powdered sodium and calcium salt form. Basically, It is pure ketone bodies. The same as what your body will produce in ketosis or a fasted state. 

In humans, hydroxybutyrate is synthesized in the liver from acetoacetate, the first ketone produced in the fasting state.  BHB can be used as an energy source by the brain when blood glucose is low.

Why Would You Want To Take Keto CaNa

Well, you might not want to be in Ketosis all the time. I think you should but maybe you are not willing to give up pizzaa. By taking Keto CaNa you can gain the health and performance benefits while still consuming carbohydrate. 

You might want to take some on a cheat day to minimize the effects of bad food. I’m going to be giving that a try. 

Or you might want to get some to add to your preps. It is a high octane fuel source for your brain and body. You can start taking it during an emergency situation to be on your A game. 

I know that during an emergency I want to be thinking as clearly as possible. Have enough energy to deal with the extra physical demands. Beta-Hydroxybutyrate decrease oxygen demand. So you can hold your breath longer and run more efficiently. Seems like benefits to Escape and Evasion to me. 

 

It is definitely a great product. I felt my brain kicking ass the first morning I took it. Keto CaNa was very impressive. I felt awake and alert. I found in comparable to modafinil in many ways,  Would highly recommend this as a prep. 

 

 

 

It’s Fall and that means Pumpkin Spice! Check Out My Ebook On Paleo Pumpkin  Recipes

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Survival Gear Review: Backpacker’s Pantry Persian Peach Stew With Chicken

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rsz_backpackers_pantry_persian_chicken_featured

I recently got a few samples of Backpacker’s Pantry freeze-dried meals to review, and I was very excited to try them FM0   FC000111000:zzzzzz0 914b 078043874441663838014c0 bac1c8104 fe1 b40 e6 da5 889 f2 b30 4c3 fb bc3 59f104 c24 63c10d d40 856116 ef5 bbc11f112d104b11610a4 deeout, because Backpacker’s Pantry is one of the few large-scale freeze-dried meal producers to not just feature, but promote and develop a large variety of gluten-free and/or organic ingredient options.  Backpacker’s Pantry, based out of Boulder, Colorado, offers a huge selection of meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks.  Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, no nuts, no soy, low sodium – it’s all there.  A huge selection of different meals is available for people or families with dietary restrictions, or selective diet through personal choice.  I was particularly excited to try these out, because my wife is viciously gluten-intolerant.  This makes life tough not only for her concerning her daily diet, but also for the guy who gets to try to stockpile and save long-term food supplies.

By Drew, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Trying to find a variety of foods that can keep over the long haul is definitely a challenge, and I’ll take all the help I can get; so color me tickled pink to see some decent gluten-free options available.

Oh, Garceau…

When rooting around in the box of sample meals, the first Backpacker’s Pantry meal I came upon that was gluten-free was the Persian Peach Stew With Chicken.  The combination of flavors sounded interesting – definitely different – so  I pulled it out of the box and read the package.  The ingredient list was straightforward, with no 26-letter-long names of made-up ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, no preservatives, no “other natural flavors”.  There are two servings per package, each 290 calories, with 9 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 47 grams of carbohydrates, and – the Achilles heel of freeze dried food – a heavy dose of sodium at 660mg.  Everything looked on the level and up to snuff, so I decided to take the meal for a test drive.

Related: The Survival Food Pyramid

Upon opening the package, you’ll find the standard-issue oxygen/moisture absorbing package, as well as a small package of organic extra virgin olive oil (a new one to me), and the dried contents of the meal. When you’re ready to whip up the meal, be sure to pull out the oxygen absorbing package out of the meal before installing the olive oil and 2 cups of boiling hot water, right in the packaging the meal comes in.  Reseal the package and set aside for 13 minutes.

There is a note on the package that states “rehydration time doubles every 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Our directions are set for 5,000 feet.”  Since my homestead elevation is about 400 feet above sea level, I went with the standard 13 minute cook time.  If you live/bug out at above 5,000 feet elevation, you’ll want to adjust the cook time accordingly, lest you have crunchy rice.

peach_persian_stewRelated: Role of Freeze Dried Food in your Food Storage

Once the timer went off, I opened the package to find that the long grain white rice actually looked like rice, and all the rest of the food had nicely reconstituted from nondescript-looking chopped matter into a delectable-appearing meal.  The aroma was promising as I dumped some of the contents into a bowl for its taste-bud audition.

And you know what? Backpacker’s Pantry Persian Peach Stew With Chicken was surprisingly good!  The peach flavor hits quickly, along with a hint of cumin.  But the flavor medley plays nice with the rice and chicken, and the meal is really not bad considering 13 minutes ago it had been completely dried out and sealed in a package meant for long-term storage.  Granted, it’s not homecooked, but it’s every bit as good as any off-the-shelf seasoned rice meals you can pick off the shelves at your local grocery store.  The rice was a bit mushy and the small cubes of chicken were rather devoid of taste – to be expected, but all things considered, I was pleasantly impressed, especially compared to other freeze-dried meal packets I’ve tried.

Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can give to the Persian Peach Stew With Chicken is that my uber-picky 16-year-old son tried the meal and approved.  Normally you couldn’t get him to eat rice if his life depended on it, but he actually said that he would eat this anytime as a side dish to a main meal.  He was surprised when I told him it could be considered to be survival food, and said we should keep some on hand for camping chow.  My wife wasn’t available for the sampling, but I’ll make sure she tries the next gluten-free sample from Backpacker’s Pantry.

Further Reading: Mountain House Freeze Dried Food Review

Overnight gastrointestinal implications were nil – while everyone has different gastrointestinal reactions to freeze-dried foods, I did not suffer any “morning-after” races to the toilet like some preservative-sodden offerings do to me.  The high sodium levels (probably combined with the tasty Narragansett Lager I had with the meal) made me a little parched the next morning, but otherwise there were no personal ugly side effects.  Always a bonus, especially when toilets are a long ways from camp or the tree stand.

All things considered…

The Backpacker’s Pantry Persian Peach Stew With Chicken definitely would be a great addition to a bug-out bag, or your long-term storage plans.  It isn’t available in #10 cans (yet), just 5.1 ounce freeze-dried vacuum-sealed foil packages.  The food quality was very good (say 4 out of 5 stars compared to other freeze-dried foods), uniquely tasty with its peach flavor, and has good amounts of protein to help keep you moving when you’re on the trail. The one-half package serving size was acceptable, but if you’re on the move or expecting lots of sustained movement for the day, you might want to chow down on the whole package. The price tag per pouch is a touch higher than other freeze-dried offerings, but I’d rather pay a couple more bucks and know that I’m not getting lambasted with preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients.

I’m looking forward to trying a couple of the other packages in the sample box; maybe the Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes for breakfast? Keep an eye out for further reviews of Backpacker’s Pantry products by the SHTFBlog/Survival Cache crew.

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Brushfire Plague: Retribution Review: An SHTF Novel With Consequences

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Brushfire Plague: Retribution

Brushfire Plague: Retribution

Brushfire Plague: Retribution Review: An SHTF Novel With Consequences

I missed out on reading the second Brushfire Plague Novel. The first one was a good read. As I talked about in that review. When asked if I wanted to review Brushfire Plague: Retribution (Amazon Link) I jumped at the opportunity. I even overcame my slow reading to get this out today. I’m sure authors and writers want to wring my neck at times.  But I did finish it and let’s see what I think about it. 

 

Brushfire Plague

So what’s all this about? Well, you can snatch up a copy of the First novel for .99 cents right now. Or you could also read my review on the first novel. Basically, A virus spreads and kills about 20% of the population. The novel shows the virus spread and the damage it causes. 

The main character Cooper Adams loose his wife in the first novel and have to survive in this news world with his son and best friend. Gangs run wild and there are constant fights for them vying for power. The government is in shambles. 

 

 The Consequences

Being a leader figure trying to spread the truth of the plague takes a toll on Cooper and his son. The constant violence and evil seen daily have an effect on Jake, Coopers son. You can see the emotional toll on the characters in Brushfire Plague: Retribution. As you can imagine surviving the horrors of a collapsed society will scar you emotionally. Cooper and his friends are not an exception. How long can you hold on to your humanity in the face of true evil?

The Good

Brushfire Plague: Retribution has some really good action scenes. R.P Ruggiero, the author, has really grown since the first book. I remember the gun fights were so unrealistic. I like to assume he took my advice and looked into how gun shots actually impact people. You can also see tactical movement by the characters in the book. You see realistic strategies on fighting armed threats in a grid down scenario. 

The Bad?

I wish I R.P Ruggiero, had included a recap in Brushfire Plague: Retribution. Since I didn’t read the second book there were events I didn’t know about. I had to just keep reading and collect clues as to what happened. Luckily the story was good enough on its own and filled you in on the need to know info. 

This is a good series to add to your prepper fiction collection. Especially since you can test the waters for less than a buck. If you are like me you can’t get enough of SHTF novels. 

 

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Survival Gear Review: SIG SAUER MPX-C 9mm REVIEW

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I was fortunate enough to be able to have some trigger time recently with a Sig Sauer MPX-C 9mmsig_sauer_mpx_firearms_9mm_modular carbine.  It wasn’t nearly enough time – probably 200 rounds over a couple of days – but it was enough to form an opinion on Sig Sauer’s next-generation pistol caliber carbine.  It was also enough to help me learn about the limitations and viability of the 9mm carbine as a tool in a SHTF-type environment.  I wasn’t able to run any drills or courses, unfortunately.  However, I was able to collect some ballistics information and run a few different types of ammo through ‘er, and found some interesting tidbits of information along the way.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

A Quick Overview of the MPX

The Sig Sauer MPX family of guns is a modern take on the submachine gun class of firearms that started with the Best submachine gunThompson “Tommy” gun, and has since evolved into well-known guns such as the German WW2 issue MP40, the Israeli Uzi, and the ubiquitous Heckler & Koch MP5.  These pistol-caliber carbines are defined by smaller frames than their rifle-caliber counterparts, light, quick-handling characteristics, fast rates of fire in full-auto versions, and mild, controllable recoil.

The Sig Sauer MPX, on first glance, appears to be a conglomeration of an AR-15 and an MP5.  Take the upper/lower receiver design of an AR, along with the AR’s charging handle, control placement, and general order of operations, then combine with a short magazine well and collapsible stock from an MP5, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what an MPX looks and feels like.  All of the MPX’s controls are fully ambidextrous – including the magazine release, charging handle, and bolt stop – usually rarities from the factory on an AR platform.

Read More: AR-15 Magazine Management Strategies 

The operating system is still gas-operated, even with the comparatively low-intensity 9mm round.  It’s a short-stroke best home defense gunsgas piston system that sports an auto-regulating gas valve that allows the MPX to theoretically run all weights of projectiles, from target subsonic ammo to full-tilt +P loads without a hitch…and should also allow the use of a suppressor with minimal hassle.  A nice design feature – especially since many of those who purchase 9mm carbines will do so to run them with a suppressor.

The Sig Sauer MPX platform sports an innovative free-floating rail with keymod attachment points, that interfaces into the upper receiver with a slick groove setup – and it is completely removable with no tools required.  Once one pushes out the forward takedown pin, the rail is unlocked and is free to slide forward and off the gun.  ost AR type handguard rails are clamped on the barrel nut with set screws in some fashion or another; the MPX’s system is slick and clean with no extra hardware needed.  Rest assured that it is solid enough for a sighting system to be mounted; at the range I pulled the rail off the gun and reinstalled several times between magazines, and the sights’ point of impact remained unaffected.

Speaking of the sights, The Sig Sauer MPX comes standard with Sig Sauer’s line of folding iron sights, but the full-length picatinny rail in the top of the rifle, combined with the keymod accessory mounting points, allow you to mount your choice of optics, red dots, lasers, flashlights…you know the drill.  Overall, the Sig Sauer MPX-C that I tried did not leave the user wanting or needing to modify the gun with aftermarket go-fast gadgets; the gun already comes ready to rumble once you add your accessories.  It ought to; the MSRP of this little beast is just a bit over $2,000.  Luckily, if you can find them on the open market, they usually bring between $1,600-$1,800.

The Sig Sauer MPX-C model I was able to test had a 16-inch overall barrel length, the last 2 inches or so of which was 9mm Submachine Gun Reviewa three-pronged flash hider.  The stock was a metal-framed collapsible unit that retracted fully to the back of the receiver, as well as having an intermediate length and a fully-extended length, for a total of three positions.  However, one quickly notes that this is not a collapsible in the fashion of an AR-15, where the length of the buffer tube dictates overall shortest length. The MPX-C’s stock rails slide forward to nest in grooves built into the upper receiver, and the buttplate rests solidly against the back of the receiver when collapsed fully; this makes for a very short resulting 28.5 inch overall length on a full 16-inch-barrelled rifle.  With the stock extended, the MPX-C measures in around 33 inches long.

The MPX also comes in much shorter and alternate configurations, some of which you’d need tax stamps for.  For further information on other MPX setups, you can visit their MPX site here. The rumor is that the MPX platform is made to be modular, with easy-to-change barrel/bolt setups, so one can swap the 9mm barrel out for a higher-horsepower .40 S&W or .357 Sig setup.  I didn’t test this personally, but it makes sense, with the increasing demand for modularity in the firearms world today.

Shooting The MPX-C

I only had the Sig Sauer MPX for a couple of quick range visits, so like I said, I can’t give you a full, strong overview of the system, with multiple different loads including handloads, across a spectrum of distances.  I was able to run three different loads through the MPX: Federal American Eagle 115 grain FMJ, PMC “Bronze” 115 grain JHP, and Sig Sauer’s own Elite V-Crown 124 grain JHP, the defense round I use in my carry guns.

Once I got to the range, I deployed my gear and let the others at the range “ooh” and “aah” all over the MPX.  The rifle does draw a crowd, and when handling the gun and admiring the fit, finish and the overall quality the gun exudes, well, I must say it deserves every bit of drool and coveting that is a consequence of its very presence.

Also Read: Survival Gear Review Talon Grips

Once show and tell was over, I stuffed one of the two 30-round translucent polymer magazines full with the little Best 9mm Home Defensecartridges, seated the magazine, and pulled back the charging handle to find my first surprise: the charging handle only pulls back maybe two inches before it stops, fully extended.  Of course, because of the short length of the 9mm cartridge, this makes sense once one subjects a few brain cells of thought to the matter.  However, when one is used to a 5.56/.223 AR platform and the much-longer charging stroke, the short MPX charging handle yank catches you off guard at first.  This short charging stroke is just one of the ways Sig Sauer reminds you that they engineered this platform from the ground up to be made for pistol calibers.

I shouldered the rifle, and happily peered through the standard flip-up sight picture.  And I squeezed the trigger.  And squeezed.  And pulled.  The second surprise of the day came from the vicious, gritty trigger pull of a $2,000 rifle.  What the hell?  Expecting a fine-tuned machine and discovering a heavy, ugly trigger pull wasn’t what I’d come to expect from Sig Sauer – especially at this price point.  I ended up inadvertently yanking the trigger and the round nose-dived into the lower edge of the target, 25 yards away.

Surprise number three came as soon as the trigger decided it would actually go off: BRIIINNNGGGGGG.  The Sig Sauer MPX fired the round and cycled as it should, but the cool-looking, probably-maybe-effective three-pronged muzzle brake rang like a tuning fork that had been tapped on a steel plate.  And it didn’t stop immediately; I had to reach out and physically grab the muzzle device to make it cease and desist the F sharp or whatever the hell note it rang.  I pulled the magazine, jacked the round out of the chamber, so I could safely inspect the muzzle brake – and I noticed that just cycling the action of the MPX made hell’s bells ring again.  Interesting – and I was rather taken aback that this was a feature that Sig Sauer let roll out the door.  I checked the brake – it was pinned and welded properly and legally.  I don’t know if this is the way all factory MPX muzzle brakes work, but I know this one did – and damn, was it annoying.

I ripped off the rest of that one magazine just to have some fun, but then put the MPX away for the afternoon to focus on the guns I brought with me that had nice trigger pulls, and the only noise they made was “bang”.

Nurse, SCALPEL!

At day’s end, the owner of the MPX met back up with me, and we retired to my man cave to see what we could do best 9mm gunabout the trigger pull.  He’d agreed it was pretty miserable; but he just wanted it smoothed out – no reduction in weight of pull.  We stripped the gun into its main components – upper receiver, bolt and spring assembly, lower receiver, and rail.  I dived into the lower to see what made it tick…

…and I was tickled pink to find out that the innards of the MPX’s fire control group are identical to an AR-15.  That was a shrewd move on Sig’s part – if you want to drop in a Timney or Geiselle other such aftermarket trigger group, you just need to find the standard AR-15 parts…no proprietary parts searching, or waiting for the aftermarket to adopt the particular platform…if the aftermarket adopts it at all.  Probably helps with inventory on Sig’s end, too, since Sig Sauer offers a full line of AR type rifles, as well as their new MCX rifle.

I pulled the basic fire control group out of the MPX’s lower, and treated the appropriate parts and areas to a nice loving 2500-grit polish.  A liberal coating of bearing surfaces with TW-25B grease (I love that stuff) completed the package.  About 45 minutes and an adult beverage later, I re-assembled the MPX’s lower and was pleased to find a nice, smooth trigger pull that weighed, by my guess, about 6-7 pounds.  There was zero grittiness, and the pull was acceptable and useful for a MILSPEC type trigger.  I didn’t touch any springs or remove any metal other than what was polished, so the trigger pull weight was largely unaffected.

Second Time’s a Charm

We hit the range again a few days later to finish sighting in the MPX and to do some more testing. I couldn’t do Best 9mm Rifleanything about the musical muzzle device (he will be swapping it out down the road for something that will interface with a suppressor) but with the trigger straightened out, we felt we could try our hand at some accuracy testing.  I brought my chronograph and EDC Sig P320 Compact along too, because I was very curious to see how much velocity the 16” barrel of the MPX was worth over the 3.9” barrel of the P320 compact.

We dialed the gun in using the American Eagle 115 FMJ ammunition, since he has a readily available supply of this fodder.  We sighted the rifle in at 50 yards per the owner’s wishes.  The windage was spot-on from the factory, with just the front sight needing to be adjusted.  My Real Avid AR tool came in handy to get the front sight to the desired elevation, and we were soon in business.  Offhand, we were consistently getting 2” five-shot groups at 50 yards with the American Eagle ammunition.  From the bench, we were able to tighten it up and pull in regular 1 ½” groups with the stock iron sights.  Accuracy was very good; I’m sure if one was to run several ammunition makes with varying bullet weights, you could find a load that performed better.  But the owner was very happy, and that’s what counted in this particular instance.  100-yard offhand fun shots at milk jugs were a hoot, with every shot connecting offhand once we got the “Kentucky windage” dialed in for the added distance.

We ran a few PMC “Bronze” 115 JHPs (I only had one box with me) to test function, group size, and velocity.  The MPX fed the more open hollowpoint with nary a burp, though group sizes opened up to about 2 ½”  at 50 yards, benched.  I borrowed a few Sig V-Crown Elite 124 grain JHP rounds from my Sig P320 carry magazines for function, group, and velocity as well.  These turned in the best group (just over 1 inch across, a ragged 5-shot hole) and functioned beautifully as well.

Overall, my time spent behind the trigger of the SIg Sauer MPX-C was thoroughly enjoyable. The gun shot quite well with open sights, and we had zero malfunctions over about 200 rounds.  Not much of a long-term test, but one hell of a promising start.

Check Out: Buying SHTF ammo

Is a 9mm Carbine Worth It?

So, after having run a full-sized 9mm Sig Sauer MPX-C for a little while and having crunched some performance numbers out of the ammunition to compare a 9mm carbine to a 9mm pistol, I personally have to wonder if the 9mm carbine is worth the added bulk.  The performance gains over the handgun just weren’t as high as I’d thought they would be.  I’ll get into this further in another article – but for those of you like myself, who geek out over such things, I present the following data:

Federal American Eagle 115 grn FMJ:

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,321 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 446 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,113.3 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 317 ft. lbs.

Difference: 208.31 fps / 129 ft. lbs.

Difference per inch of barrel length: 19.65 fps/12.17 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

PMC Bronze 115-grain JHP

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,238 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 392 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,052 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 283 ft. lbs.

Difference: 187.67 fps / 109 ft. lbs

Difference per inch of barrel length: 17.61 fps/ 10.2 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown 124-grain JHP

Sig MPX average muzzle velocity: 1,315 fps

Sig MPX average muzzle energy: 476 ft. lbs.

Sig P320 average muzzle velocity: 1,105 fps

Sig P320 average muzzle energy: 336 ft. lbs.

Difference: 210 fps / 140 ft. lbs

Difference per inch of barrel length: 17.35 fps/ 11.6 ft. lbs per inch of barrel

For comparison’s sake, a 62-grain M855 5.56mm bullet, traveling at 2,900 feet per second out of an M4 carbine, Best 9mm SMGgenerates 1,158 foot pounds of energy.  There are other factors to consider (muzzle blast/volume, magazine size, ammunition availability/expense, controllability under rapid fire, weight/added size of an AR or similar carbine), but this is something to consider when weighing the purchase and consequent utilization of a 9mm carbine vs. a 5.56mm carbine for a SHTF gun.

The other issue a potential purchaser would run up against is cost and accessories: When a new Sig Sauer MPX will run you $1,800, and then use proprietary magazines, you have to look long and hard at the system.  If the MPX ran with P226 or c, I could see some definite appeal and justification on the price – you could stock one type of magazine for your carbine and your sidearm.  But it doesn’t, so you can’t.  This is a logistics conundrum you would have to figure out for your own SHTF/survival setup if you want to integrate a 9mm carbine into “the plan”.

For yuks ‘n’ giggles, I priced out a build using a Palmetto State Armory 9mm billet lower that accepts Glock 17/19 magazines.  If you want to buy a pre-assembled upper and a pre-assembled lower through PSA, you can have a bare-bones 9mm carbine that feeds from Glock magazines for between $650-$900, depending on the configuration you like.  You could upgrade to a couple Magpul accessories and throw an Aimpoint T-2 on top of it, and still have enough money left over from your Sig Sauer MPX fund to take the wife out someplace nice for dinner.

If you wanted to go higher-end than PSA and you have the ability to assemble an AR from parts, you could do a ground-up build using the PSA billet lower and high-end aftermarket parts to the tune of $1,200, no optics.  Just something to consider, especially if you’re running a Glock.

I’m not trying to downplay the Sig Sauer MPX, but rather show that there are other options out there that will to the same thing for less money.  However, what you will not have is Sig Sauer’s stellar customer service, unreal build quality, superb reliability, and the smug satisfaction that you have the best of the best protecting you.  Your call.

Wrapping It Up

I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent with the Sig Sauer MPX-C.  It is a thoroughly thought-out platform, Best SMGdesigned to be the very best at what it does within its envelope.  And the gun certainly does that; the MPX is beautifully made, very accurate, and from what I could tell from my experience, flawlessly reliable, even with gaping hollowpoint ammunition.  If I decided I needed a 9mm carbine for my arsenal and I had the money to buy and support it (extra magazines, spare springs/parts/bolt) I wouldn’t think twice before reaching for my wallet.

Where the Sig Sauer MPX-C would really shine is running with a suppressor and subsonic ammunition.  A fast, light, quick-handling carbine that is quiet is definitely an arm that would be the pride and joy of any survivalist/prepper’s arsenal.  This would go doubly if you lived in an environment where you would be indoors much of the time or clearing houses/apartments or other similar tight spaces.  Even without a suppressor, the blast of a 9mm carbine is timid compared to a 5.56mm carbine or shotgun if you have to pull the trigger indoors.

However, even for a high-end system that will run you towards $2,000, it does have a couple caveats – that miserable trigger and the singing muzzle brake.  Replacing these parts with items that are equal to what SHOULD have come on a firearm with this price tag could set you back another $300 or more – then you add in the price of a few extra magazines ($60 a copy) a high quality optic (at least $300 before mounts), and suddenly you’re sneaking up on 3 grand without even blinking.  Considering that you could build/purchase two extremely badass AR-15s for that price tag, you have to think long and hard about your situation and whether or not the Sig Sauer MPX is the perfect fit for your situation.  If it is the perfect fit and money is no object, you can truly do no better.  It’s worth every penny if you have the niche to fill and the dough to spend.

Questions or Comments – please make them below!!!

All Photos By Drew

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Review – Fuel 100 Electro-Bites

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For the latest review, I wanted to continue the thought of both endurance athleticism and nutrition. As a former powerlifter, I realize that endurance athletes need nutrition at a different time than sprint based or performance exercises. Electro Bites fills the gap for long term endurance and replaces the gooey gel based supplements as well … Continue reading

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Review – Glutathione Rapid Boost (GRB)

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With my new exercise regiment, I require certain boosts of energy with both quick bursts as well as endurance type of energy. To give a little understanding to my regiment, I utilize a mix between Spartan Race training and Crossfit. It is during some of my training sessions that I need the quick boost that Rob … Continue reading

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Review – Original Glutathione Formula

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In an effort to become more physically prepared, I have started a fairly strict regiment of exercise, diet, and supplementation. While exercise and diet, or rather eating plan is set, supplements are something I am still testing to determine what works best for my body and daily activity. The one requirement, is it has to … Continue reading

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Survival Gear Review: The Tactical Timahawk

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Crovel Tim Ralston

Few things turn on a survivalist like a new piece of kit that has tremendous potential. And two oftimahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_tree_punching them just landed in my bug out loadout. Cutting to the chase, they are Timahawks. ‘Timahawk’, you ask? Yes Tim-a-Hawk. The designer Tim Ralston got to choose the name so it only makes sense. Had I created the tool, it would be the Docahawk. You’ve got to admit that Timahawk sounds better.

 

By Doc Montana, from Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Modern Middle Age

Although the Timahawk is a modern take on a multipurpose survival tool, it traces its roots to medieval times when survival really did depend on skill and edged weapons. Ripping a page from the battle axe manual, the Timahawk put a contemporary twist on a bearded battleaxe.

Like a hornet, the bright orange color is a warning that messing with this axe will cause injury or death in every state including California. But seriously, there is so much more to this tool than it’s overt muscle. The Timahawk is an everyday survival tool that moonlights as a weapon.

timahawk_tomahawk_survival_hatceht_bugoutAs a war axe, the Timahawk contains the necessary features to fight old-school as well as provide a platform for necessary day-to-day survival tasks. I have to admit that I was skeptical about yet another heavyweight survival implement, but this turned out to be different. In the past, combination tools from the Leatherman forward have given those with a survival bend more of an advantage than the sum of their parts, but as the tools got larger, the differences got smaller. Axes, hammers, pry bars, and breeching tools were somewhat the same so a combination of those similar metal ends was useful but not exciting. Enter the Timahawk.

By combining a powerful curved battle axe with a bearded edge, with a heavy steel handle with a welded adz, the Timahawk quickly rose to the top of my heap of multipurpose heavy tools. Philosophically speaking, the Timahawk can replace many of the big tools freeing you up to carry more smaller, more precise tools. This is an important consideration since with a Timahawk and a neck knife, you could rule the world…or at least your little bug out slice of it.

Check Out: Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

Blunt Force Precision

I won’t sugarcoat this and say the Timahawk is a precision device for fire starting and minor defense. No, the Timahawk is a brute force weapon that has plenty of gross motor skill options for breaching, pounding, chopping, stabbing, and digging. In a nutshell, the Timahawk is the big stuff that you can carry while running.

As a battle axe, the beard or extended lower blade aspect, forms a hook that in ancient times was used to yank away the shields of foes during hand-to-hand combat. By latching onto the unfortunate foe’s defensive tools, the bearded axe would pull down and expose the fleshier parts of the adversary. As a deadly side note, the beard also made a wonderful horizontal impalement tool complete with a knife edge.

There are two versions of the Timahawk, a 27” 4lb version that steps on the toes of axes, and a  15.5” “Tactical” version that weighs three pounds. The heads on both versions are exactly the same but the handles and grip ends are different. Part 1 of this review will focus on the Tactical Timahawk, or the shorter version.

At three pounds, the Tactical Timahawk weighs about 1.2 pounds more than the industry standard hatchet, namely the leather-handled Estwing Sportsman’s Hatchet. That’s about one-and-a-half times as much, meaning the Tactical Timahawk is a formidable tool that is only two inches longer than the Estwing.

The Tactical Timahawk and it’s big brother the Timahawk proper are both made of pre-hardened 4130 steel. Compared to many of the knives I review, 4130 is an uneventful metal in the 41xx family of steels. It is a workhorse steel that wears the moniker “aircraft steel” when used for such things. It is a strong, dependable alloy with great properties for big jobs including crankshafts and roll cages, two things that when when I think about it might make a heck of a survival tool somehow. Maybe Tim has some ideas? Anything for preppers with the name “Crank Cage” has potential in my book. For reference, a similar steel known as 4150 (with just a little more carbon) is one of the few steels cleared for duty by the US Military in M16 and M4 carbine barrels.

It Adz Up

The Tactical Timahawk has a six inch curved cutting blade that chops, slices, and dices like any good battleaxe. A two-inch adz blade runs perpendicular to the grip and primary blade. An adz is a carving tool that dates back to the stone age. It also happens to be a formidable digging and breaching tool, but I doubt there was much to breach 8700 years ago, let alone structures to breach into.

My experience with an adz, or adze as Tim likes to spell it (both are correct), comes from mountaineering and ice climbing. Today the adz is a working tool for digging and carving when things are calm. For those with forestry timahawk_tomahawk_little_small_tacticalbends, an overgrown adz is found on the famous Pulaski Tool named after the great Edward Crockett “Ed” Pulaski who is a US Forest Service Ranger credited with saving all but five of his 45-man team during the Great Idaho Fire of 1910. Taking no crap, Pulaski held his men face down in a mine tunnel at gunpoint until the fire passed. Five souls and two horses were lost, but it was a major credit to Polaski to restrain panic while applying his knowledge and science of forest fires. The “Pulaski Tunnel” still exists and is listed on the Registry of Historic Places for those who would like to vacation into my neck of the woods but over in Idaho just a few clicks west of my bug out usual stomping ground. And as far as Pulaski tools go, yes I have one as does anyone else around here who dabbles with living off the land.

The far end of the Tactical Timahawk contains a pointed butt with a sharpness angle of 70 degrees. The unhoned 5/16” thick steel is a blunt instrument at best. But blunt is exactly the personality you want when you need to call to action the base of the Tactical Timahawk. And given the grip and handle of the Tactical Timahawk for just such a butt-end announcement, there is little to argue about when push comes to breach.

Barehanded the 5/16” steel fights both directions so wearing a glove is a good idea. However, if you are in a life or death situation, a comfortable grip is for sissies. The same holds true for the punching grip of the bearded main Timahawk blade.

Bug Out Loadout

The never ending quest for the perfect bug out loadout just got easier. The Tactical Timahawk, at only three-and-a-half inches more than a foot makes for a serious contender for title of best bug out battle axe.

Also Read: 2o Things You Need In Your Get Home Bag 

One of Tim Ralston’s missions in life is to combine multiple tools in one. The Tactical Timahawk is brought to you by the creator of the Crovel (crowbar and shovel), a Nax (knife + axe), the X-Caliber (multi-caliber gun), and many timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_glock_26others from firearms to aggressive tools to watches. So the Tactical Timahawk was a natural progression, and tip of the survival iceberg, so to speak. Or perhaps the tip of the survival spear.

Real World

Using trees as aggressors, the Tactical Timahawk put a serious dent into any and all foes that got too close to me. It removed limbs, gouged holes, and punched debilitating slices into any bark that invaded my space.

The battleaxe is an evolved tool that provides both offensive and defensive aggression. When on the attack, the Tactical Timahawk force multiplies through mass, sharpness, and blade size. Rolston even sells the Tactical Timahawk as something you can throw. As one who has spent much time throwing conventional metal tomahawks, I’m not sure I could find the balance of the Tactical Timahawk without practice so if you intend on using Tactical Timahawk as a projectile, practice first since the disproportionately shaped head will throw off (pun intended) your usual rotation, and the adz is not much of a sticker. But at three times the blade size than a regular “hawk” you will have more rotation angle to consider a successful hit.

Related: 10 Tips For When You Get Lost In The Woods 

The adz is a two-inch horizontal blade that runs perpendicular to the main blade. Adzes are great at carving, precision chopping, and digging. In winter, the adz on an ice axe is used to chop steps, carve ice ledges, and flatten the tent space. Opposite the adz on an ice axe is a pick used to support weight or arrest a fall. But it should be obvious that the pick has little use during a bug out except for those who also pack zombie fantasies in their BOB.

As a digging tool the Tactical Timahawk lacks the volume to make a major dent in soil anytime soon, but if that soil is filled with rocks and debris, the Tactical Timahawk’s adz garners the same advantage the made the Pulaski tool rock the fire lines.

The scales (handle covers) on the Tactical Timahawk are recycled plastic. They are too smooth for my taste but that is easily remedied with a little rough sandpaper.  I also added a paracord lanyard through the thankfully included quarter-inch hole in the base.

Something included on the larger Timahawk but not on this one is blade cover.  When the  Tactical Timahawk is timahawk_tomahawk_axe_pry_bar_estwing_sportsman_axe_comparewaiting for use, like an angry rattlesnake or a bored kitten, it’s six-inch blade sits ready to attack anything that comes close to it. So a leather or Kydex sheath would be a welcome feature. And a place to start designing would be to pay attention to Pulanski covers which have endured years of trial and abuse. My Pulaski has a simple vertical/horizontal strap that covers the blades with mundane effectiveness.

The Tactical Timahawk’s beard has functions beyond those of the fighting kind. The balance point on the Tactical Timahawk’s handle is at the lowest point of the beard. This means the Tactical Timahawk will hang just fine on its beard hook. Whether on branch or rope, the Tactical Timahawk will grab on to anything that fits in the one-and-a-quarter inch channel between handle and blade with little chance of falling off.

The Tactical Timahawk aggressively attacks the single handtool space in the bug out bag. Classic hatchets like the Estwing and my favorite, the Gransfors Bruks, provide an effective bushcraft-level tool, but fall short when addressing the downside of mankind. For those darker events, tools such as the Tactical Timahawk are the best option. Maybe the only option.

Stay tuned for part 2, the full-sized Timahawk: An Epic Tool for good and bad times.

Photos By:
Doc Montana

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Keto Chow Review Finally A Keto Meal Replacement Shake

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Keto Chow

Keto Chow

Keto Chow Review Finally A Keto Meal Replacement Shake

I love it when I find a cool product. Keto Chow Is definitely a cool product. For years I have looked for a meal replacement product that is keto friendly. Think Slim Fast only not full of sugar and crap. When your busy and on the road having a keto meal replacement would come in handy. 

When I first saw the product soylent I thought “SOYLENT IS PEOPLE! IT”S PEOPLE!”. Hopefully, you get that joke. After looking over the ingredients in  soylent and the macro nutrient profile I had no interest. It is just more carb-laden junk. I could save money and get some  Atkins frozen meals or shakes. Although they are low carb they are not the best. 

Keto Chow

I was on the /Keto Reddit one day and came across Keto Chow. There was a Redditor asking if anyone had any recipes for keto chow. I decided to hit them up for some review samples. The recipes are still a work in progress.  I am working on a snickerdoodle cookie. Since keto chow is similar to protein powder I should be able to make a protein cookie. 

What Is Keto Chow? 

Keto Chow is a powdered food. Like the previously mentioned Soylent, it is intended to provide all your nutrients in a drink format. Unlike the other meal replacement powders, this one will get and keep you in ketosis. I have already told you why what is ketosis

I normally like ingredient list to be short. The shorter the better. As a complete meal replacement, Keto chow can’t have a short list. Most of the ingredients though were vitamins. Magnesium citrate, Vitamin D3, and Potassium Citrate to name just a few. In fact, it has a multi-vitamin blend in there. You will not see micronutrient figures like this on a Slim Fast can. 

 

How To Prepare Keto Chow?

In a Mixing container add the following for one meal. 

  •  13ml (2.6 tsp) of flavorless oil
  • 50ml of heavy cream (or just 79ml or 1/3 cup of heavy cream)
  • 50g of the Keto Chow powder, then fill the bottle to 16 ounces.
  • Shake it up until all the powder is wet.
  • Let it hang out for 10 minutes and then mix it again.
  • Stick in your fridge, it needs a few hours (overnight is best).

 

I was sent Chocolate Peanut Butter, Snicker Doodle and Cookies and Cream. On their website, there are many more flavors. So I have not exactly followed the directions. The directions were  modified to my needs so far. I made Keto Chow  bulletproof coffee for the road. I put 50g of cookies and cream Keto Chow in my blender with 2 cups of coffee, 4 tbsp of grass-fed butter and 3 tbsp of coconut oil. A dash of stevia. Blended the heck out of it. Poured it into my travel cup and drove to my GF’s house. 

How Does Keto Chow Taste?

It  tasted great. The coffee bitterness might have subdued the sweetness of the cookies and cream flavor. Which is fine with me. It really filled me up. I didn’t eat for several hours  after that and not a big meal. I had plenty of energy and no hunger. In fact, I was stuffed. For a healthy road meal, it did amazing. 

The snickerdoodle is my favorite flavor. I made up some this morning and it was tasty. This fall weather goes great with snickerdoodle cookies. I only remember getting them as a kid during the holidays. 

 

In  Conclusion

In you want a healthier food powder then Keto Chow is it. I have not seen anything that even comes close. The macro nutrient profile is spot on. The micronutrients on off the scale. With it you could easily drop some of the vimentin’s you take. If you need a healthy easy keto meals on the go Keto Chow is for you. Go check them out. 

 

P.S Yes this is YouTube Tuesday and there’s no embedded video. The upload is going slow and will be here https://youtu.be/RTjyZZAaOE4 as soon as it finishes. When I wake up I will embed it. 

 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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Indivisible: Come and Take It A Great Realistic Take On A Collapse

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Indivisible: Come and Take It

Indivisible: Come and Take It

Indivisible: Come and Take It

Indivisible: Come and Take It

 

Troy Grice emailed me recently saying that he had just finished writing Indivisible: Come and Take It (Amazon Link). Additionally  he wanted to know if I was interested in reading it and reviewing it. Well of course! The first one Indivisible: And Justice For Some was a great read. If only I wasn’t such a slow reader. 

 

Synopsis

The nation boils in a cauldron of economic collapse and civil war. Isolated and under siege, the president withdraws into the security of his flying bunker while attempting to implement his Amero Plan to save the union and restore order. Assistant Treasury Secretary Maiden Lane, her loyalty strained by serving two masters, finds herself in peril beyond the government’s zone of control. Jimmy Marzan is separated from his company during a firefight and rescues an orphaned boy on the desolate road leading back to his unit. And Jess Clayton defends her home and young daughter from repossession and armed looters.

The Good

I always struggle with book reviews and spoilers. I hate spoilers. Also, I hate being too vague and not actually telling you anything. The struggle is real. 

The action in Indivisible: Come and Take It, is realistic. It’s not the main theme of the book though so don’t expect firefight after firefight. Troy does a great job of making the violence gritty, realistic and horrific. He does not romanticize violence and war. You almost want to turn away. You feel sorry for some of the characters killed on both sides of the struggle. Just like any war the Government and those that want to be Powerful throw away lives to support their cause.  In at least one case I felt the violence was completely justified. I would be surprised if anyone disagreed with me. When you come to a  black van you’ll know why.

Indivisible: Come and Take It  has characters with personalities. My biggest gripe in fiction is unrealistic, boring or fake characters. Nothing throws me out of a story faster than bad characters. Like an army soldier that breaks his leg and drops not a single F-Bomb. Troy’s characters are all

Troy’s characters are all unique. Not cookie cutter plot devices to move the story along. You have an emotional response to the characters in Indivisible: Come and Take It. Like Mae Lane, she’s a cunt. I hate her. Marzan is cool. He is not your typical action hero. He has flaws, he gets scared and makes mistakes. Basically, he’s human. 

The Bad

Indivisible: Come and Take It had me a  little confused. I thought this might have been the third book in the series not the second. Troy wrote a book that was not in this series, Oath Keeper, in between Indivisible: Come and Take It and the first one. In my review copy at least there was no recap in the beginning. Which to be honest I usually skip. With Indivisible: Come and Take It, the story jumps ahead some time after the first one. Which further lead me to think It was the third book in the series. 

Early in the book, some soldiers find a body. It is a big deal to them case this guy was important. I have no idea who he is. Maybe I forgot from the first book.  Also It just seems like there are some major plot points that happened in between books. While I enjoyed the hell out of the book but  I was confused often. 

 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion Indivisible: Come and Take It is not your typical collapse novel. Much like real life the government does not just shut down in collapse. When a government is dying it will become more and more totalitarian. Your rights will diminish. While In it’s death throws the ruling regime will make every attempt to stay in power. Ultimately At the cost of lives and freedoms. 

Troy shows in a realistic way what a collapse could look like. Full of government corruption.  With the bankers and politicians still in bed with each other as the country implodes.  The bankers will still show up to collect the mortgage even though the grid is down.  Definitely worth picking up and reading. I even finished it and I’m the slowest reader ever. 

 

Have you read the Indivisible series? What do you think the collapse could look like? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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Why Should You Get The MicroSoft Towel For Your Pack

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Fox Outfitters MicroSoft Towel

Fox Outfitters MicroSoft Towel

Camping Towels

Most camping towels suck. The Fox Outfitters MicroSoft Towel (Amazon Link) does not. Campers and especially ultralight campers are picky. We want all of  the functionality of a home item with 1/3 the weight. Which means that compromise has to be made somewhere. In this MicroSoft Towel review we will see how it compares to other towels on the market.

The compromise made by many camping towels is comfort. You get a lightweight absorbent towel that feels like sandpaper. The material used wants to stick to your skin. Even more so when wet. Unlike a cotton towel that glides across wet skin easily.

So Why don’t we just bring a normal cheap cotton towel? For a few reasons. A cotton towel that is thick enough will weigh too much to backpack in. Yes you could get a really cheap thin one. But don’t! I remember showering at a friends house once that had the thinnest towels ever. Like a giant ass rag. It filled with water and became useless with more than half my body left to dry off. That towel ended up just moving around the water. I had to use my  shirt to finish drying off.

Another reason to not get a cotton towel is drying time. It will take forever for a cotton towel to dry. If it does where you are. If you are in a very humid environment then your cotton towel will probably not get completely dry. Which means than you will have to keep it hanging in a sunny place with good air flow 24/7 just to combat the moisture. I would prefer to use it, hang it up a while then pack it back up.

 

 

Bullet Points

  • SUPER SOFT QUICK DRY DESIGN
  • COMPACT & ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT 
  • EASY HANG SNAP LOOP
  • PERFECT CAMPING & SPORT TOWEL 

Fox Outfitters MicroSoft Towel

How does the MicroSoft Towel stack up? To review a camping towel there are three main factors to judge it by. Weight, How fast it dry’s and comfort. I could have also included how well it packs up. However I will talk about packability with the weight.

 

Weight

I weighed my MicroSoft Towel and the dry weight was 5.9 oz. For the size I have, a medium 20×40, That’s a respectable weight. If you are a true ultralight hiker or camper then that might be too much. You could always try the small or extra small to save ounces. For me I prefer to have the larger size. I don’t like to try to dry off on a tiny square of material.

I’m not the best at folding things so that might be a factor in how the MicroSoft towel packs for me. I was able to fold it down to about the length and width of my palm but it was as thick as a dictionary. If you unfold a few times it will lay flatter and thinner. I prefer to have it be thinner but be longer and wider. It will pack better that way for me. If you toss it on the top the other stuff in your pack it won’t take up any space.

Fast Drying

In my tests of the MicroSoft Towel it never took more than an hour to dry. I didn’t stand over it will a stopwatch to time the exact time. I used it to shower with then hung up to dry. Outside with a high temperature it will dry faster. If you are using it to wipe off sweat then it will dry before you have to wipe again.

If you are hiking and don’t have time to  stop hang the MicroSoft towel  on your pack with the hang loop. It can dry while you’re on the move.

Comfort

Comfort is often the biggest compromise with pack towels. I have used some that are extremely abrasive. You should not be afraid to dry off with your towel. Drying your face with some is like shaving with a razor that is long overdue to be changed. You know where it just rips out the hair?

With the MicroSoft towel there are no worries of sandpaper towel. It is by far the softest camping towel I have ever used. It does not suffer from sticking to the skin either. When you are drying off it will glide over the skin. With it you can dry off like normal. No inventing new ways to dry off because the towel sticks to you and is painful to wipe with.

 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion I really like the MicroSoft towel. It has a good balance of what I look for in a pack towel. It is large enough to be useful as a towel. This towel is really soft and comfortable. I would say that it’s softness is really the star of the show. I would not care how light it is if it feels like chainsaw on my face. The weight is light though. Coming in at under 6 oz for a towel this big is impressive. Lastly the fast drying time is the deciding point in why the MicroSoft towel is so great. Go grab one and find out for yourself.

 

Do you use a camping towel? What do you use? What do you like and not like about it? Let me know in the comments!

 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Review: AKA “The Mandal”

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Mobility is important but so is being comfortable.  While wearing flip flops isn’t exactly optimal neither is sporting a dedicated full hiking boot while in warmer temps.  There has to be a good solution, a hybrid of sorts which would allow one’s feet to breathe but also be sturdy enough to navigate some decent terrain or even jog through broken glass and jump a fence (think worst case scenario).  Enter the Keen Newport H2, referred to by many as the mandal.

Keen Newport H2

Keen’s in action while in a river

I’ve had my Keen’s for 6 months and have worn them in a tropical rainforest, in the rocky mountains, in pools / waterfalls, everyday around town wear and have even jogged in them (long story).  They are a great all around sandal/shoe hybrid which allows one to recreate while still providing a decent amount of support and protection for the feet.  Here’s the rundown.

The Good.

  • Closed in toe box just like a regular Keen hiking shoe which is great for protection, unlike a standard sandal which leaves the toes exposed.
  • Great fit all the way around, no sliding around while wearing them.
  • Sole is great, nice grip for moving around over land or in a stream on slippery rocks.
  • Good arch support, definitely not an afterthought when producing this model.
  • Webbing material which the sandal is made of dries easily after getting wet.

The Not So Good.

  • It’s a sandal and therefore your foot is not entirely closed in while wearing it, as such if you are on a dusty trail little rocks can get inside and get under your feet which can be annoying.
  • Not the most fashionable sandal ever, pretty ugly as a matter of fact.
  • You will drop over $100 for a pair of these so they aren’t exactly cheap.

The Bottom Line.

I purchased the Keen’s because I was looking for a good warm weather shoe/sandal which would still allow for good mobility while not sacrificing comfort.  They have exceeded my expectations and have proven to be one of my favorite pair of footwear.  If you are in the market I highly suggest checking them out at your local retailer.

 

 

Streamlight Siege

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You guys remember Hydrox cookies? If you couldn’t pop for real Oreos, you bought Hydrox. Much like how if you’re on a budget, you don’t buy Frosted Flakes but rather the generic store brand ‘Frostie Flakes’ or some such (Slogan: “Theyrrrrrrrre….okay”.)

To me, Streamlight has always been the working-class version of SureFire. Yes, Streamlight has, as I read it, been around a tad longer than SureFire but SureFire gets the rep as the ‘high end’ tacticool product. (Interestingly, Hydrox came out before Oreos, as well.)

20160731_142828I’m kind of a gear snob, but I’m a pragmatists even more. A few years ago Streamlight came out with a product that, as far as  I know, has no comparable version from SureFire…the Streamlight Siege. (Although, to be fair, Eveready and a few others make a similar product but I don’t believe it to be as rugged and well thought out as the Streamlight product.)

The Siege is an LED lantern for area lighting. Nothing remarkable about that, but as you look the product over more closely you get the idea that it was designed for a very particular demographic….we happy survivalists.

20160731_143108The Siege runs on three D-cell batteries….one of the most common sizes of batteries around. Just about everyone has a couple D-cell MagLites floating around the house or car..the Siege takes advantage of that common battery. If you really want to streamline things, there are battery adapters that allow you to run one size of battery in devices meant for a larger size. Most often we see this with adapters that let you run AA-batts in devices that were meant for D-cells. But, my logistics revolves around three battery sizes (AA,D, and CR123) so I have plenty of D-batts laying around. (Interestingly, it seems like virtually the only thing I have that runs on D’s these days are flashlights. The days of radios and other devices running on D-batteries is coming to a close. )

20160731_142908The light source for the Siege is four white LED’s, and a fifth red LED. Holding down the one control button toggles between red or white. When the white LEDs are selected you have a choice of three brightness levels, starting with the highest. When the red LED is selected you have one brightness level, but double-clicking the button puts the red LED into SOS blinky mode.  The plastic ‘shade’ of the Siege diffuses the glow of the LEDs and is removable if you want more harsh lighting.

The top and bottom of the Siege has rugged rubber ‘bumpers’ making the light pretty resistant to being dropped, knocked over, or just banged around. Theres a foldaway clip on the underside of the light for hanging it upsidedown when you have the shade removed, and there’s a bail handle on the other end to hang it from whatever is handy when you do have the shade on.20160731_143039

The non-skid tread on the bumper-like bottom of the light keeps it from sliding on slick surfaces and provides an excellent grip for unscrewing the base to change batteries.

Light output on low is enough to illuminate a room so you don’t trip over anything, on high it’s bright enough to get things done but you’ll still feel like you’re in a power outage. Where this light seems to really shine (as it were) is as an emergency ‘area light’. When the power goes out its the light you turn on and stick high up in a corner of the room, hang in the stairwell, or put in your emergency gear storage area. It’s an awesome emergency light for when the power goes out and you need some light to get your gear together or start up your secondary systems (generator, transfer switch, etc.)

I haven’t beaten the crap out of it yet, but it has rolled off my desk a few times, and once bounced out of the truck….seems to still be doing just fine. Your mileage may vary. Personally, I’ve been very pleased with mine and will be getting three or four more as spares/backups/loaners.

They’re available at the usual sources, like Amazon, but once in a while you can find an outdoors-gear vendor having them on sale. Even at regular price, though, they’re a good purchase.

Sunjack 14w + 8000mAh Battery Portable Solar Charger

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SunJack 14w + 8000mAh Battery Portable Solar Charger Product Review Some of the latest trends we are seeing today is solar powered gadgets. While this is an old technology, harvesting the sun as a renewable resource is on a steep incline when it comes to personal use. By using today’s science and technology, this is where … Continue reading

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Ghost Run Day By Day Armageddon 4 Review And Giveaway

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GhostRun

GhostRun

 

Ghost Run

This Ghost Run review almost didn’t happen. Or at least this soon. I have a love hate relationship with my spam filter. Yes it saves me from weeny pills but it catches important things too. In the case being emailed by a major publisher about the newest release of my favorite zombie series it was wrong.

 

Ghost Run takes part in a ravaged Southern U.S dominated by hordes of Undead. While on a supplies run the main character picks up a distress call. The possibility of a cure makes him abandon returning to safety. With no turning back he leads a one-man rescue mission. Success means hope for all of humanity. Failure means the eventual end for all and joining the ranks of the undead.

 

 

 

 

Day By Day Armageddon

Day By Day Armageddon, A series that sucked me in seven years ago. It was the first book I got on a Sony Ereader Christmas gift. The Ereader long ago died but the love of the series has not.

The books are wrote from first person perspective. With the exception of the third book you are reading the journal entries of the nameless main character. He begins to write in his journal that was a Christmas gift as the pandemic begins. For him it quickly becomes a coping mechanism. Much of the books he is alone. The journals are a stand in for a buddy to talk to and unload on.

 

The Good

There is so much to like in Ghost Run. I have to agree with J.L Bourne it is my favorite. About 95% of the book Kilroy (The main characters nickname) is alone. Not counting his faithful robotic dog.

You get to hear all the rambling thoughts of a man on a suicide mission through hell. You can see the lapses of sanity. The tricks of imagination playing with him. The talks with the moon. The pop culture references to a time that’s dead. The drive to suffer through it all to make the world better for his baby daughter.

Like any zombie or SHTF novel there are some survival tips in Ghost Run. Some great nuggets of info. You are not beat over the head with them though. It is not a survival manual. It’s a diary of a survivor.

If you came looking for zombie killing action this is the book for you. There is plenty of realistic zombie killing. The bayonet scenes were some of my favorite. So was the pee grenade.

The Bad?

Ghost Run is the final Day By Day Armageddon book. Probably. This is very bittersweet for me. I always hate endings. Like any good ending the future is not set. There are still a million stories to be told. More journals to be written.

The main character has both the best and worst luck in the universe. He gets beat to hell like Bruce Campbell in an Evil Dead movie. Then has amazing fortune. All extremes no middle ground. Makes for great stories. With all the bad luck you feel good when he gets a break.

My only real complaint with Ghost Run was that the ending seemed rushed. Which is almost a J.L Bourne trademark. Almost like he excitedly writes then notices he’s at the end of the page count and has to wrap up. I do the same with podcast. I felt dread when I was 15 pages from the end of Ghost Run. I was worried we would be left hanging. Or the ending would be bad and send me into a rage. The ending was satisfying. Not wrapped up nicely. It reminded me of the ending of Terminator 2. Driving down the road into an unknown future

“No fate but what we make.”

 

Want to win the first three books? Me and a few other bloggers are giving away sets. I’m not going to set up an elaborate system to do it. They are always a hassle. I ask that you share the blog post. Facebook, twitter, reddit or anywhere you want. Then just send me and email (James @ Survivapunk Dot Com) With you name and shipping info. First person gets the prize.

Day by Day Giveaways!

Thursday and Friday of this week, bloggers will give away one bundle (one copy each of books 1-3) in the Day by Day Armageddon series. See the schedule below. You may enter all the giveaways, but you can only win once. U.S. only.

 

Thursday, July 21st

 

Friday, July 22nd

 

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Streamlight Sidewinder cont.

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When I was a kid, I loved playing with flashlights. One time I came across a military anglehead flashlight and I was a bit perplexed. All the flashlights I had played with previously were basically tube-shaped with the light coming out of one end of the tube. The GI flashlight was bent into an L-shape and holding the flashlight to get the beam pointed in front of you wasn’t as natural a movement as with the other kind. So…why the awkward design?

Of course, as a little kid it didnt occur to me that when your hands are full (as with a rifle or gear) you needed to hang the flashlight on your webbing and for it to point straight ahead the flashlight had to be in that L-shape.

Nowadays there are several ‘wearable’ flashlight for this sort of thing. A few years back I purchased a Streamlight Sidewinder. It’s been part of my casual everyday carry gear for a while now and it’s worth remarking on how it’s held up and how satisfied I am with it.

The Streamlight Sidewinder is, basically, a 2-AA battery flashlight with four different colors of bulb, and four settings of intentity, with a swivel head. That’s the short version. Longer version is that I’ve found it to be an immensely useful small flashlight. Many times I just drop a little 1-AA light in my pocket and go with that, bur for a more dedicated kit or layout of gear, the Streamlight is my go to.

First off, it’s available with four different color LEDs. You can do white/blue,red/IR or white/blue/red/green. I went with the IR model since you never know when you’ll need to have that sneak factor working in your favor.

The light has one knob with a push button that controls all functions. Push and hold to turn on, and continue to hold to cycle through four levels of brightness. Double-click for flashing strobe mode. Twisting the knob, rather than pushing it, selects which LED is active. There’s a tactile index point so you can select LED’s in the dark.

20160715_184035The Sidewinder has a captive battery compartment lid, which I think is an awesome touch and a sign that someone really sat down and put some thought into this thing. No need to worry about losing the battery compartment lid in the tall grass or in the dark if you’re changing batteries. There are also tactile indicators for battery polarity so you can, literally, change batteries in the dark or with your eyes closed.20160715_183954

The Sidewinder clips to your webbing or whatever using a spring metal clip on the back. In addition to the clip, there is an attachment point for a lanyard or keeper so your light doesn’t go missing if you take a tumble.

The base of the unit is flat, and in conjunction with the adjustable angles head allows you to set the light on a flat surface and point the beam where you want it. One disadvantage is the range of motion for the swivel head…if you have the unit seated on your webbing or otherwise on your shoulder/chest the head doesn’t swivel down enough to light the ground at your feet…it’ll light the area directly in front of you, but not directly beneath and in front of you. This can be remedied by carrying the light upsidedown on your person, but be careful it does’t slide off your gear and get lost.

It’s an excellent light for what it’s designed for – navigation and detail stuff. It’s not the sort of thing you use to light up a field or spotlight something, but for trotting down trails in the dark, navigating pitch black interiors, or examining things where you need both hands free, it excels. As of late, I’ve been spending time in a library facility two stories underground. I notices their emergency lighting is virtually non-existent, so this is the light I take with me in my bag…just in case. I can wear it on the shoulder strap leaving me both hands free to open doors, move obstacles from my path, etc, etc.

They aren’t cheap. In fact, they’re kind of expensive. But mine has held up virtually undamaged over the last several years and I have confidence that if I secure it to my bag and leave it there, it’ll always work no matter how wet things get or how much rough handling it experiences.

There are a few clip-to-your-gear lights out there using LED’s, and I have tried a few of them (and found them wanting) but so far the Sidewinder gets my nod for being the best one out there that I’m aware of.

Keep Cool With Only 12 Volts

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Keep Cool With Only 12 Volts Save money and keep cool with only 12 volts… Introducing the Endless Breeze Box Fan! As you all may now, I have been building a man cave / tiny house / awesome shed from scratch! It has not been easy and as it’s pretty much finished now, I have …

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Off-grid cooking method – Here is one we recommend

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Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy! No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. […]

The post Off-grid cooking method – Here is one we recommend appeared first on Plan and Prepared.

Primal Professional Review

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The Primal Professional

The Primal Professional

I originally talked about the Primal Professionals way back in December of 2012 when I interviewed the creator Mountain Chang. I think I heard about them on the Robb Wolf podcast. I immediately loved the idea of a minimal dress shoe. My work would flip out if I showed up to work in my Vibram Five Fingers. The retail management world just isnt ready for them. My feet though could not handle the 12 hour days on concrete wearing traditional dress shoes. Someday’s I would come home limping from feet pain. I knew I needed something. Are the Primal Professionals the something I was looking for? Let’s find out.

Since I got these shoes for review, lots of exciting things have happened over at the Primal Professional. They’ve rebranded to Chronology. Their Resole and Restoration program, which gives your shoes a second life, is up and running.
    They’ve joined 1% for the Planet, a network of businesses that pledge 1% of their sales to nonprofits that are protecting, restoring, and improving the planet we all live in (notable 1FTP members include Patagonia and Paleo Treats). 
    They’ve added some cool new features, like elastic laces that turn the shoes into functional slip-ons. They just received version 3 of their continuously improving shoes. They’re now taking preorders (save $50) for version 4 on http://chronology-lg.com/. They will be made by a new shoemaker, and include a new Oxblood color. 

 

The Search

I look for a few things when It comes to a good shoe. I like a flat shoe with little to no arch support. I like them to have a minimal heel drop, how much taller the heel is over the forefoot, in the shoe. For example my beloved Chuck Taylor’s have a 4mm drop, compared to most running shoes with a 12mm heel drop and Vibrams with 0 drop. The Primal Pro’s also have zero drop. I also like lot’s of room for my toes to wiggle. I’ve had shoes with a tight toe box and had my toes cramped up and blistered. I’m not interested in that while standing for hours. My previous pair of work shoes, that lasted, was an ugly black loafer that  didn’t have a pronounced heel. They also had a giant toe box. I think it was a Clark shoe, maybe. At the 2 year mark they blew out and I decided it was time to take the plunge.

Primal Professional

Primal Professional

Primal Professional

All the things I look for in a shoe, the heel drop, wide toe box, minimal padding are in the this shoe. The shoe looks great too. Mountain plunged into the world of style to develop a stylish shoe. I chose the ZETONE Plain-Toe Oxfords model that does not have the extra toe cap on it. I get a little extra toe room that way and I prefer the sleekness of the Zetone. The shoes are made here in the US which was another reason I chose them. I choose to support US quality when I can. That quality shines through too on these hand crafted full grain cowhide leather.  These shoes unlike all the cheap ones I’ve bought over the years are  resoleable. I like to try to buy items made for life instead of a year or less.

Comfort And Fit

I had a issue with my shoes being delivered. My work schedule is crazy and they, Fedex kept delivering when I was at work. I had them hold them and picked them up on lunch one day. Walking back into the store with them on was like having an epiphany on comfort. A coworker asked how them felt and my first response was “They are like wearing kittens”. My toes were free to wiggle and my whole foot was flat and firmly pressed into the floor. I felt grounded. At the end of the day my feet felt great from running around on the hard concrete for 8 hours. I was slightly worried the minimal padding would be a mistake there. I was wrong they are still comfortable now months later. The leather is very supple an moves and bends well in the active environment I work. To me the shoe feels warmer than others. Usually after wearing to longer than 8 hours I notice some sweatiness.

Primal Professional

Primal Professional

Final Thoughts

Yes these are expensive. My feet are important though. The quality and fact that they are  resoleable means that it is the last pair of dress shoes I’m ever buying. You can support foreign slave labor shoe markers with shoes that might last a year. Or you can buy American quality for life. This is, as far as I know, the first and only minimal dress shoe on the market. I know the market is there and others will eventually pop up. If feet health is important to you and your forced to wear a dress shoe check out the Primal Professional minimal dress shoe.

The post Primal Professional Review appeared first on Survival Punk.

10 Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

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10-Uses-for-Diatomaceous-Earth-@MamaKautz

I am super excited to share 10 Uses for Diatomaceous Earth with you today.

Before now I had only heard of DE, but never used it. I asked my FaceBook ‘fans’ what they thought. Here is what they said:

Danielle S. says “In my smoothies (yep, I eat it!). In the garden for various reasons.”

Deborah W. says “We sprinkle it on dog food and chicken feed. Seemed to keep the flies down. Flies were terrible where we lived in CO”
Guess what I am doing right now?

Alicia V. and Joy E. both agree the hen house is the place for Diatomaceous Earth. Keeps dust mites down and is great for their dust bath.

I decided to use it in our chicken coop.

Before diatomaceous earth in chicken coop @MamaKautz
All nice and clean. Make sure you aren’t spreading just on a messy, poop filled coop. That is totally counterproductive.

Diatomaceous Earth in Chicken Coop @MamaKautz
I spread it in their coop and also their run, which is about 15×15. The 2 pound bag was plenty to do both areas.

Don't spread diatomaceous earth on a breezy day Note to self: don’t spread diatomaceous earth on a breezy day.

 

I did not feel the need to wear a mask or anything. I have read that you SHOULD, and gloves…so do your research, don’t follow my example. Unless of course you like to live on the edge.

OK. That is 5 things you can do with Diatomaceous Earth. Here are 5 more because I did say 10 uses for Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (Now that I can pronounce it I love writing…er typing it.) Diao-Tum-A-Shush

Food Storage

I had NO IDEA you could use it in your food storage buckets. I found this little ditty, by TexasPrepper2, on YouTube. It’s worth a watch for a little education.

Internally

Again, no idea! You can make capsules of it, just like my essential oil veggie caps, and take it internally. Of course ONLY FOOD GRADE. I know, I would like to say this goes without saying, but there is somebody out there that would read this and use the wrong kind, then blame me for not telling them. So, I told ya.
The purpose of using DE internally would be to detox your body of icky stuff. You don’t want to take too much too fast or you will feel gross. If you don’t have any gel caps you can mix 1/2 tsp in honey or throw it in your smoothie or juice that you just freshly made. (Did you know we started juicing? No? Well, I will have to share at a later time)

Sprinkle on Pet Food

Helps keep flies away. Excellent idea for summer!

Sprinkle on your Dog or Cat, or other critters

Helps keep fleas and flies off of them. I would use this cool mason jar contraption to sprinkle it on them. Again, my preference. Also safe to use in their bedding.

Deodorant and Toothpaste

I make my own deodorant. I read you can use diatomaceous earth in it. I am SO making some. Just replace the baking soda with diatomaceous earth. Here is my recipe for deodorant and one for toothpaste.

This list really is endless! I am going to stock up on diatomaceous earth for our preparedness supplies.
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It doesn’t cost you extra to use them, so thank you.
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of any product regardless of if I were paid in addition
to receiving the free product. You can trust me.
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15 Best Fire Starters for Preppers & Hikers for 2016

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Along with shelter, water and food, fire is one of the core 4 essentials you need to survive in the wilderness, in the event of a natural disaster or in a SHTF situation that leaves you exposed in the elements. In a survival situation, away from the conveniences of modern life, you must have a way to cook your food, stave off predators, act as a light source and even help you prepare tools.

2016 fire starters feature

Making fire without the assistance of modern tools can be difficult though, as you must find the right materials, in ideal conditions to allow you to start the first spark and build an adequately sized fire. Fortunately, you do not have to rub rocks together in order to get a fire going. With the following fire starters, you should be able to build a perfect survival fire in no time with minimum hassle:

#15) Gerber Bear Grylls Fire starter

Bear Grylls fire starter is a device with a Ferrocerium rod and metal striker. It comes with a waterproof storage compartment to keep the tinder dry when not in use. The lanyard helps to keep each piece secure while you are using it. The fire starter comes in a kit that contains the starter, lanyard, rod and emergency survival guide. A whistle is included in the rod for use during emergencies. Small and compact, this fire starter is portable and easy to use. However, users have complained that the chord it comes with is too short to wear around the neck.

gerberbear fire starter

 

#14) E FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar

This fire starter makes use of a compact aluminium rod that can be scrapped to create shavings for starting a fire. It comes with a black flint striking rod and serrated metal striker. To use, you simply use the serrated metal striker to create shavings, place the shavings on tinder (dry leaves, twigs, grass etc) and strike the flint to create a spark. The fire starter comes with a bonus compass, is easy to use, and provides enough aluminium shavings for up to 100 fires. Its main disadvantage is that the magnesium rod is a bit difficult to scrape so it might take you quite a while to get the shavings you need to start a fire.

SEFS374 fire starter

SEFS374-1 fire starter

 

13) Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

This fire starter was designed by the Swedish military to provide instant fires regardless of the attitude. It has an alloy rod, stainless steel striker that produces a 3,000º C spark, ergonomic handle and emergency whistle. Advantages include ease of use, 12,000 strikes and the ability to work in wet conditions. The spark that appears when you strike the rod can also be used as emergency lighting. Customer complaints about this product include a too short strap and low sounding whistle.

light my fires weed
light my fires weed 2

 

#12) Ultimate Survival Technologies Spark Force Fire starter

The Spark Force is a flint based fire starter that comes with a striker built into a detachable cap with a lanyard to prevent accidental sparks. The fire starter creates sparks in all weather conditions allowing you to start fires even in adverse conditions like rain and snow. The protective casing it comes with makes it easier to carry around. The Spark Force’s main disadvantage is that you have to strike the rod several times before you can get a good spark going.

ultimate survivals tech spark

 

#11) Dimples Excel 6 in 1 Extra Large Size 133g Military Instant Waterproof Windproof Magnesium Fire Starter

If you are looking for a great multi-feature and multipurpose fire starter, the Dimples Excel 6 is as good as they come. This extra large ferrocerium rod comes with a mini ruler with a serrated edge, emergency whistle, bottle opener and a 108 inch woven, paracord lanyard. This fire starter is weatherproof, durable and fireproof and comes with a lifetime guarantee from excel. The main disadvantage of this product is that weighing in at 133g; it is much heavier than other fire starters.

dimples excel 6 in 1

 

 #10) D-FantiX Anti-corrosion Magnesium Fire Starter Kit Survival Flint with Compass + Long Chain Camping Equipment Edc Gear

This pen shaped fire starter is made of a high grade aluminium rod that comes with a multifunctional striker that can be used as a ruler, saw, compass and bottle opener. It has a long chain to help you keep the striker and rod together. It’s highly compact to ease portability and can be used in all types of weather. It is anti-corrosive, fireproof and water resistant. The alloy rod is thicker than most to provide greater sparks and make it easier to start a fire. Unfortunately, customers have complained that it does not create enough sparks in damp conditions.

d fantix fire starter

 

#9) Uberleben Zünden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel with wood handle, 5/16″ thick Ferro Rod Fire Starter for Survival

The Uberleben Zunden Bushcraft Fire Steel is a premium fire starter that comes with a wooden handle and a thick Ferrocerium rod. A braided nylon lanyard, concave toothed scraper and free 3 ply tinder come with this fire starter to help you get started with fire building. Customers love this product for the great organic feel of its handle, durability and ability to create large sparks. Its major downside is that it requires a mighty stroke to get the sparks going but the great number and size of sparks more than make up for this.

uberleben zunden trad-2

uberleben zunden trad

 

#8) EggDeal survival New Black Steel Flint Magnesium Stone Fire Starter Safe and Durable Survival Kit

One of the simpler designed and more effective products on the market, the Eggdeal fire starter comes with a magnesium flint rod, green striker and black carrying lanyard. It is great for people who are just getting started with fire starters due to its basic features and cheap cost. The sparks created can help you start a fire in as little as 30 seconds and its small, compact nature makes it easy to carry. The major disadvantage is that the striker might not produce enough sparks but this can be mitigated by using the edge of a knife.

egg-deal-steel

eggdeal-steel-1

 

#7) Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch

The flint on this particular fire starter is spring loaded, allowing you to retract it once you are done lighting your fire. The carbide striker is highly effective and allows you to get as many as 4000 strikes. The fire starter itself produces three times as much heat as other options and has been shown to work in rain and other adverse weather conditions. It comes with a safety button to prevent accidents. The one disadvantage that customers have found is that the rod keeps falling out of the casing.

ultimate survivals tech blastmatch

 

#6) Dimples Excel Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter with 500 lb (227 kg) Paracord Lanyard (2 Pack)

This 2 pack kit comes with two 5” ferrocerium rods, two 2.5 inch steel strikers and 2 woven paracord lanyards. These fire starters work in all weather conditions and come with extra long rods to allow for the creation of more sparks. The ergonomic handles are ideal for holding even when your fingers are too frozen to handle other fire starters. This product comes with a lifetime warranty.

dimples excel mag

 

#5) Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter, Glass Breaker, Tactical Keychain

This 4-in-1 fire starter is made up of an aircraft grade magnesium and tungsten flint rod that is accompanied by a flint striker, glass breaker, tinder compartment and tinder cotton ball. The high quality alloy ensures a high quality fire, customers have access to a lifetime warranty and also have the option of picking the colour they want i.e. coal black, charcoal grey or pearly champagne. This fire starter can be a little big and may not suit people who are looking for something they can hang on their key chains.

core survival

core survival 2

 

#4)  Pernix Magnesium Survival Fire starter

One of the more lightweight options on the market, this fire starter packs a punch with regard to the number of sparks (12,000), is waterproof and is made of military grade material. It can function in all types of weather conditions and comes with a lifetime warranty. The major disadvantage is that the lanyard tends to break shortly after purchase.

pernix starter

 

#3) The Friendly Swede Keychain Fire Starter with Whistle (2-pack)

The friendly Swede fire starter is a lightweight, pocket size fire starter that comes with a braided lanyard and emergency whistle. Each pack comes with one orange and one black fire starter, each with an aluminium rod in a plastic casing along with a striker. The smallness of this fire starter makes it easy to carry around your neck or inside your pocket. The two main cons are that the sound on the whistle is very low and the rod sometimes falls out of the plastic casing.

friendly swede key

 

#2) Alpha Encender Fire starter

Preppers, campers, hunters and other outdoorsy types will be happy to learn about the existence of this efficient and affordable fire starter. It comes with a magnesium rod, metal striker and lanyard that helps to hold the two together. The main pro for this product is its simplicity. Simple design, efficient working and easy portability.

alpha encender-2

 

#1) SurvivalSPARK Emergency Magnesium Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

This is the best rated fire starter on the market today thanks to its user friendly features and affordable price. Made up of a magnesium striker and metal rod, it comes with a lanyard and compass and is known to provide up to 15000 strikes. It also has a loud quality whistle which can be heard over several miles, while the lanyard makes great tinder for starting fires. On the whole, many users report no cons with this product but the compass is a bit on the small side and tends to wander a bit if air bubbles are trapped inside.

survivalspark

survival spark-2

 

The post 15 Best Fire Starters for Preppers & Hikers for 2016 appeared first on Geek Prepper.

15 Best Fire Starters for Backpackers & Preppers for 2016

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Along with shelter, water and food, fire is one of the core 4 essentials you need to survive in the wilderness, in the event of a natural disaster or in a SHTF situation that leaves you exposed in the elements. In a survival situation, away from the conveniences of modern life, you must have a way to cook your food, stave off predators, act as a light source and even help you prepare tools.

2016 fire starters feature

Making fire without the assistance of modern tools can be difficult though, as you must find the right materials, in ideal conditions to allow you to start the first spark and build an adequately sized fire. Fortunately, you do not have to rub rocks together in order to get a fire going. With the following fire starters, you should be able to build a perfect survival fire in no time with minimum hassle:

#15) Gerber Bear Grylls Fire starter

Bear Grylls fire starter is a device with a Ferrocerium rod and metal striker. It comes with a waterproof storage compartment to keep the tinder dry when not in use. The lanyard helps to keep each piece secure while you are using it. The fire starter comes in a kit that contains the starter, lanyard, rod and emergency survival guide. A whistle is included in the rod for use during emergencies. Small and compact, this fire starter is portable and easy to use. However, users have complained that the chord it comes with is too short to wear around the neck.

gerberbear fire starter

 

#14) E FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar

This fire starter makes use of a compact aluminium rod that can be scrapped to create shavings for starting a fire. It comes with a black flint striking rod and serrated metal striker. To use, you simply use the serrated metal striker to create shavings, place the shavings on tinder (dry leaves, twigs, grass etc) and strike the flint to create a spark. The fire starter comes with a bonus compass, is easy to use, and provides enough aluminium shavings for up to 100 fires. Its main disadvantage is that the magnesium rod is a bit difficult to scrape so it might take you quite a while to get the shavings you need to start a fire.

SEFS374 fire starter

SEFS374-1 fire starter

 

13) Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

This fire starter was designed by the Swedish military to provide instant fires regardless of the attitude. It has an alloy rod, stainless steel striker that produces a 3,000º C spark, ergonomic handle and emergency whistle. Advantages include ease of use, 12,000 strikes and the ability to work in wet conditions. The spark that appears when you strike the rod can also be used as emergency lighting. Customer complaints about this product include a too short strap and low sounding whistle.

light my fires weed
light my fires weed 2

 

#12) Ultimate Survival Technologies Spark Force Fire starter

The Spark Force is a flint based fire starter that comes with a striker built into a detachable cap with a lanyard to prevent accidental sparks. The fire starter creates sparks in all weather conditions allowing you to start fires even in adverse conditions like rain and snow. The protective casing it comes with makes it easier to carry around. The Spark Force’s main disadvantage is that you have to strike the rod several times before you can get a good spark going.

ultimate survivals tech spark

 

#11) Dimples Excel 6 in 1 Extra Large Size 133g Military Instant Waterproof Windproof Magnesium Fire Starter

If you are looking for a great multi-feature and multipurpose fire starter, the Dimples Excel 6 is as good as they come. This extra large ferrocerium rod comes with a mini ruler with a serrated edge, emergency whistle, bottle opener and a 108 inch woven, paracord lanyard. This fire starter is weatherproof, durable and fireproof and comes with a lifetime guarantee from excel. The main disadvantage of this product is that weighing in at 133g; it is much heavier than other fire starters.

dimples excel 6 in 1

 

 #10) D-FantiX Anti-corrosion Magnesium Fire Starter Kit Survival Flint with Compass + Long Chain Camping Equipment Edc Gear

This pen shaped fire starter is made of a high grade aluminium rod that comes with a multifunctional striker that can be used as a ruler, saw, compass and bottle opener. It has a long chain to help you keep the striker and rod together. It’s highly compact to ease portability and can be used in all types of weather. It is anti-corrosive, fireproof and water resistant. The alloy rod is thicker than most to provide greater sparks and make it easier to start a fire. Unfortunately, customers have complained that it does not create enough sparks in damp conditions.

d fantix fire starter

 

#9) Uberleben Zünden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel with wood handle, 5/16″ thick Ferro Rod Fire Starter for Survival

The Uberleben Zunden Bushcraft Fire Steel is a premium fire starter that comes with a wooden handle and a thick Ferrocerium rod. A braided nylon lanyard, concave toothed scraper and free 3 ply tinder come with this fire starter to help you get started with fire building. Customers love this product for the great organic feel of its handle, durability and ability to create large sparks. Its major downside is that it requires a mighty stroke to get the sparks going but the great number and size of sparks more than make up for this.

uberleben zunden trad-2

uberleben zunden trad

 

#8) EggDeal survival New Black Steel Flint Magnesium Stone Fire Starter Safe and Durable Survival Kit

One of the simpler designed and more effective products on the market, the Eggdeal fire starter comes with a magnesium flint rod, green striker and black carrying lanyard. It is great for people who are just getting started with fire starters due to its basic features and cheap cost. The sparks created can help you start a fire in as little as 30 seconds and its small, compact nature makes it easy to carry. The major disadvantage is that the striker might not produce enough sparks but this can be mitigated by using the edge of a knife.

egg-deal-steel

eggdeal-steel-1

 

#7) Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch

The flint on this particular fire starter is spring loaded, allowing you to retract it once you are done lighting your fire. The carbide striker is highly effective and allows you to get as many as 4000 strikes. The fire starter itself produces three times as much heat as other options and has been shown to work in rain and other adverse weather conditions. It comes with a safety button to prevent accidents. The one disadvantage that customers have found is that the rod keeps falling out of the casing.

ultimate survivals tech blastmatch

 

#6) Dimples Excel Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter with 500 lb (227 kg) Paracord Lanyard (2 Pack)

This 2 pack kit comes with two 5” ferrocerium rods, two 2.5 inch steel strikers and 2 woven paracord lanyards. These fire starters work in all weather conditions and come with extra long rods to allow for the creation of more sparks. The ergonomic handles are ideal for holding even when your fingers are too frozen to handle other fire starters. This product comes with a lifetime warranty.

dimples excel mag

 

#5) Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter, Glass Breaker, Tactical Keychain

This 4-in-1 fire starter is made up of an aircraft grade magnesium and tungsten flint rod that is accompanied by a flint striker, glass breaker, tinder compartment and tinder cotton ball. The high quality alloy ensures a high quality fire, customers have access to a lifetime warranty and also have the option of picking the colour they want i.e. coal black, charcoal grey or pearly champagne. This fire starter can be a little big and may not suit people who are looking for something they can hang on their key chains.

core survival

core survival 2

 

#4)  Pernix Magnesium Survival Fire starter

One of the more lightweight options on the market, this fire starter packs a punch with regard to the number of sparks (12,000), is waterproof and is made of military grade material. It can function in all types of weather conditions and comes with a lifetime warranty. The major disadvantage is that the lanyard tends to break shortly after purchase.

pernix starter

 

#3) The Friendly Swede Keychain Fire Starter with Whistle (2-pack)

The friendly Swede fire starter is a lightweight, pocket size fire starter that comes with a braided lanyard and emergency whistle. Each pack comes with one orange and one black fire starter, each with an aluminium rod in a plastic casing along with a striker. The smallness of this fire starter makes it easy to carry around your neck or inside your pocket. The two main cons are that the sound on the whistle is very low and the rod sometimes falls out of the plastic casing.

friendly swede key

 

#2) Alpha Encender Fire starter

Preppers, campers, hunters and other outdoorsy types will be happy to learn about the existence of this efficient and affordable fire starter. It comes with a magnesium rod, metal striker and lanyard that helps to hold the two together. The main pro for this product is its simplicity. Simple design, efficient working and easy portability.

alpha encender-2

 

#1) SurvivalSPARK Emergency Magnesium Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

This is the best rated fire starter on the market today thanks to its user friendly features and affordable price. Made up of a magnesium striker and metal rod, it comes with a lanyard and compass and is known to provide up to 15000 strikes. It also has a loud quality whistle which can be heard over several miles, while the lanyard makes great tinder for starting fires. On the whole, many users report no cons with this product but the compass is a bit on the small side and tends to wander a bit if air bubbles are trapped inside.

survivalspark

survival spark-2

 

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15 Best Fire Starters for Backpackers & Preppers for 2017

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Along with shelter, water and food, fire is one of the core 4 essentials you need to survive in the wilderness, in the event of a natural disaster or in a SHTF situation that leaves you exposed in the elements. In a survival situation, away from the conveniences of modern life, you must have a way to cook your food, stave off predators, act as a light source and even help you prepare tools.

2016 fire starters feature

Making fire without the assistance of modern tools can be difficult though, as you must find the right materials, in ideal conditions to allow you to start the first spark and build an adequately sized fire. Fortunately, you do not have to rub rocks together in order to get a fire going. With the following fire starters, you should be able to build a perfect survival fire in no time with minimum hassle:

#15) Gerber Bear Grylls Fire starter

Bear Grylls fire starter is a device with a Ferrocerium rod and metal striker. It comes with a waterproof storage compartment to keep the tinder dry when not in use. The lanyard helps to keep each piece secure while you are using it. The fire starter comes in a kit that contains the starter, lanyard, rod and emergency survival guide. A whistle is included in the rod for use during emergencies. Small and compact, this fire starter is portable and easy to use. However, users have complained that the chord it comes with is too short to wear around the neck.

gerberbear fire starter

 

#14) E FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar

This fire starter makes use of a compact aluminium rod that can be scrapped to create shavings for starting a fire. It comes with a black flint striking rod and serrated metal striker. To use, you simply use the serrated metal striker to create shavings, place the shavings on tinder (dry leaves, twigs, grass etc) and strike the flint to create a spark. The fire starter comes with a bonus compass, is easy to use, and provides enough aluminium shavings for up to 100 fires. Its main disadvantage is that the magnesium rod is a bit difficult to scrape so it might take you quite a while to get the shavings you need to start a fire.

SEFS374 fire starter

SEFS374-1 fire starter

 

13) Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

This fire starter was designed by the Swedish military to provide instant fires regardless of the attitude. It has an alloy rod, stainless steel striker that produces a 3,000º C spark, ergonomic handle and emergency whistle. Advantages include ease of use, 12,000 strikes and the ability to work in wet conditions. The spark that appears when you strike the rod can also be used as emergency lighting. Customer complaints about this product include a too short strap and low sounding whistle.

light my fires weed
light my fires weed 2

 

#12) Ultimate Survival Technologies Spark Force Fire starter

The Spark Force is a flint based fire starter that comes with a striker built into a detachable cap with a lanyard to prevent accidental sparks. The fire starter creates sparks in all weather conditions allowing you to start fires even in adverse conditions like rain and snow. The protective casing it comes with makes it easier to carry around. The Spark Force’s main disadvantage is that you have to strike the rod several times before you can get a good spark going.

ultimate survivals tech spark

 

#11) Dimples Excel 6 in 1 Extra Large Size 133g Military Instant Waterproof Windproof Magnesium Fire Starter

If you are looking for a great multi-feature and multipurpose fire starter, the Dimples Excel 6 is as good as they come. This extra large ferrocerium rod comes with a mini ruler with a serrated edge, emergency whistle, bottle opener and a 108 inch woven, paracord lanyard. This fire starter is weatherproof, durable and fireproof and comes with a lifetime guarantee from excel. The main disadvantage of this product is that weighing in at 133g; it is much heavier than other fire starters.

dimples excel 6 in 1

 

 #10) D-FantiX Anti-corrosion Magnesium Fire Starter Kit Survival Flint with Compass + Long Chain Camping Equipment Edc Gear

This pen shaped fire starter is made of a high grade aluminium rod that comes with a multifunctional striker that can be used as a ruler, saw, compass and bottle opener. It has a long chain to help you keep the striker and rod together. It’s highly compact to ease portability and can be used in all types of weather. It is anti-corrosive, fireproof and water resistant. The alloy rod is thicker than most to provide greater sparks and make it easier to start a fire. Unfortunately, customers have complained that it does not create enough sparks in damp conditions.

d fantix fire starter

 

#9) Uberleben Zünden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel with wood handle, 5/16″ thick Ferro Rod Fire Starter for Survival

The Uberleben Zunden Bushcraft Fire Steel is a premium fire starter that comes with a wooden handle and a thick Ferrocerium rod. A braided nylon lanyard, concave toothed scraper and free 3 ply tinder come with this fire starter to help you get started with fire building. Customers love this product for the great organic feel of its handle, durability and ability to create large sparks. Its major downside is that it requires a mighty stroke to get the sparks going but the great number and size of sparks more than make up for this.

uberleben zunden trad-2

uberleben zunden trad

 

#8) EggDeal survival New Black Steel Flint Magnesium Stone Fire Starter Safe and Durable Survival Kit

One of the simpler designed and more effective products on the market, the Eggdeal fire starter comes with a magnesium flint rod, green striker and black carrying lanyard. It is great for people who are just getting started with fire starters due to its basic features and cheap cost. The sparks created can help you start a fire in as little as 30 seconds and its small, compact nature makes it easy to carry. The major disadvantage is that the striker might not produce enough sparks but this can be mitigated by using the edge of a knife.

egg-deal-steel

eggdeal-steel-1

 

#7) Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch

The flint on this particular fire starter is spring loaded, allowing you to retract it once you are done lighting your fire. The carbide striker is highly effective and allows you to get as many as 4000 strikes. The fire starter itself produces three times as much heat as other options and has been shown to work in rain and other adverse weather conditions. It comes with a safety button to prevent accidents. The one disadvantage that customers have found is that the rod keeps falling out of the casing.

ultimate survivals tech blastmatch

 

#6) Dimples Excel Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter with 500 lb (227 kg) Paracord Lanyard (2 Pack)

This 2 pack kit comes with two 5” ferrocerium rods, two 2.5 inch steel strikers and 2 woven paracord lanyards. These fire starters work in all weather conditions and come with extra long rods to allow for the creation of more sparks. The ergonomic handles are ideal for holding even when your fingers are too frozen to handle other fire starters. This product comes with a lifetime warranty.

dimples excel mag

 

#5) Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter, Glass Breaker, Tactical Keychain

This 4-in-1 fire starter is made up of an aircraft grade magnesium and tungsten flint rod that is accompanied by a flint striker, glass breaker, tinder compartment and tinder cotton ball. The high quality alloy ensures a high quality fire, customers have access to a lifetime warranty and also have the option of picking the colour they want i.e. coal black, charcoal grey or pearly champagne. This fire starter can be a little big and may not suit people who are looking for something they can hang on their key chains.

core survival

core survival 2

 

#4)  Pernix Magnesium Survival Fire starter

One of the more lightweight options on the market, this fire starter packs a punch with regard to the number of sparks (12,000), is waterproof and is made of military grade material. It can function in all types of weather conditions and comes with a lifetime warranty. The major disadvantage is that the lanyard tends to break shortly after purchase.

pernix starter

 

#3) The Friendly Swede Keychain Fire Starter with Whistle (2-pack)

The friendly Swede fire starter is a lightweight, pocket size fire starter that comes with a braided lanyard and emergency whistle. Each pack comes with one orange and one black fire starter, each with an aluminium rod in a plastic casing along with a striker. The smallness of this fire starter makes it easy to carry around your neck or inside your pocket. The two main cons are that the sound on the whistle is very low and the rod sometimes falls out of the plastic casing.

friendly swede key

 

#2) Alpha Encender Fire starter

Preppers, campers, hunters and other outdoorsy types will be happy to learn about the existence of this efficient and affordable fire starter. It comes with a magnesium rod, metal striker and lanyard that helps to hold the two together. The main pro for this product is its simplicity. Simple design, efficient working and easy portability.

alpha encender-2

 

#1) SurvivalSPARK Emergency Magnesium Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

This is the best rated fire starter on the market today thanks to its user friendly features and affordable price. Made up of a magnesium striker and metal rod, it comes with a lanyard and compass and is known to provide up to 15000 strikes. It also has a loud quality whistle which can be heard over several miles, while the lanyard makes great tinder for starting fires. On the whole, many users report no cons with this product but the compass is a bit on the small side and tends to wander a bit if air bubbles are trapped inside.

survivalspark

survival spark-2

 

The post 15 Best Fire Starters for Backpackers & Preppers for 2017 appeared first on Geek Prepper.

X-Shot Sport Review

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In the world of modern technology, we are always trying to get a leg up. X-Shot Sport actually helps expand our capabilities allowing us to do just that. While I have seen “selfie sticks” with their trigger or push button mechanisms, I have not seen one that allows me to do exactly what I need … Continue reading

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Paleo Meals To Go Review

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  With both work and pleasure, I am on the go almost constantly. Between running to catch a flight, hiking a trail, camping in the mountains, or coaching softball the one thing that suffers the most is my diet. Paleo Meals To Go has answered my prayers. I started following the Primal Blueprint in 2013 … Continue reading

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TacLace Review

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In today’s environment, it is wise to find things that make your life easier and sometimes even faster. TacLace enables me to do just that. Even though the Minutemen started sometime around 1645 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as Training Bands for rapid deployment, they were better known to be around the time of the American … Continue reading

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Twins of Prey II: Homecoming

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I have previously read W.C. Hoffman’s Twins of Prey and was very pleased with the story. I thought the skills the twins were using were believable and put to good use. You can read the review here. However, when it comes to sequels, I do not set my bar very high because I believe that … Continue reading

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SkyTech Laser Pointer Review

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Recently, I was approached by SKYTech to review one of their personal lasers. While I did not know where to begin or what to do with a SKYTech laser pointer, outside of giving presentations, I accepted. For full disclosure, it did not come with batteries or an instruction manual other than the letter stating, watch … Continue reading

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The 8 Deadliest Threats to our Homeland BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

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failures of imagination

Imagining the worst. You’ve done it. I’ve done it.

We’ve imagined a shooter walking into the darkened theater as we’re enjoying a Marvel movie with the kids. We’ve imagined the airplane on take-off suddenly plummeting to the ground.

Whatever the scenario, for sure, there’s no lack of imagination on our part. If you’re a Survival Mom reader, chances are you are very aware of threats that endanger our homes, families, and lives.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with many decision makers in our government, and Failures of Imagination by Michael McCaul highlights this sad fact.

Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the 9/11 Commission Report, observed, “The most important failure was one of imagination.” Collectively, the best and brightest among military, national security, law enforcement, and government agencies at all levels, simply did not recognize the potential threat of coordinated airplane hijackings — and 2,977 moms, dads, sons, and daughters lost their lives.

The deadliest threats

Failures of Imagination highlights 8 threats that are neither outlandish nor impossible — threats that, McCaul assures us, have been actively considered by terrorists.

These 8 threats are:

  1. A “decapitation strike” on America’s political leadership at the U.S. Capitol
  2. Detonation of a “dirty bomb” smuggled into Texas across the Rio Grande
  3. A foreign agent connected to China tampering with an American presidential election
  4. A shooting rampage at the Mall of America the day after Thanksgiving
  5. A devastating and debilitating attack on the East Coast’s power grid as part of a wide-ranging cyber strike
  6. Radicalized “black widows” releasing a deadly strain of smallpox at Disney World
  7. A jetliner explosion over downtown Los Angeles — on Oscar night
  8. Russia invading the Baltic states, neutralizing the NATO Alliance, and threatening the American coastline

To anyone keeping up with the headlines, these events, although extreme, could easily be featured on tonight’s 6 o’clock news. Many of us have become numb to yet another terrorist attack, but even for those not interested in hearing about terrorism, terrorists and enemy nations continue to focus their malignant attention on all of us.

An attack on Mall of America

The feature that makes Failures of Imagination highly readable and entertaining are the short, fictionalized vignettes of each attack. Through the eyes of victim and attacker alike, we see the event played out as though it were a novel, but then, each scene switches to a real world analysis of the attack in an EYES ONLY report to the President.

I’m no fan of shopping malls, and shopping in general, actually, but I’ve visited the Mall of America, and this particular attack caught my eye. I’ve never forgotten the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya back in 2013.

Chapter 4, Black Friday, introduces the reader to a fun loving father and son team whose passion is roller coasters. They travel around their country seeking the biggest and fastest coasters, with their final, tragic destination being the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge at the Mall of America. Coinciding with this long-anticipated visit is the arrival of another cast of characters, American Somali terrorists. Radicalized by members of a Minneapolis mosque, this group of well-armed, well-trained gunmen, driven by intense hatred for all things American, target shoppers randomly, killing 267 and wounding 1,191.

This particular vignette was riveting because it traced the journey of an American born and educated man, Omar Othman Ali, from his life as a cab driver, barely making ends meet, to becoming the mastermind of the mall attack. Hundreds, and probably thousands, of other Muslim men in America make a similar transition, which is unsettling, too say the least.

The EYES ONLY report provides an assessment of damage, current state of affairs in the Minneapolis area, and then McCaul provides in depth information, answering the questions, could it really happen and what can we do to stop this?

His proposed solutions include:

  • Catch more foreign fighters in the United States.
  • Catch more foreign fighters abroad.
  • Shine light on the “Dark Web”. Ironically founded and still funded by the United States, the Dark Web is where much of the planning by terrorists occur without much danger of being discovered.
  • Use conventional military resources to target commanders.

Something for everyone

Based on my readers’ responses to past book reviews, I know that apocalyptic fiction is very popular. For those readers, you will completely enjoy the fictional dramas that open each chapter. The stories, although brief, captivated my attention. These are very well written.

For readers who enjoy military strategy and current events, the non-fiction portions of each chapter provide plenty of analysis and strategizing. There will likely be both old and new information here but the creative format is fast paced and challenges the reader to put their own imaginations to work. McCaul says, “We need to imagine the worst in order to prevent it.”

Visit the official website of Failures of Imagination and enter this giveaway to win one of 10 copies!

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failure imagination FB size

 

 

DPx Knife MEGA Review

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DPx Knife Review

This is not your ordinary review, it is a MEGA Review!  I recently had the opportunity to test out not one, but three, survival knives from DPx Gear and use them in a real-world scenario. The three knives I’m going to discuss in this mega-review are as follows:

DPx Knife Review

Left to right: HEST Original, HEFT Assault 4, and HEST II Woodsman

I’m familiar with the DPx line of knives from reputation, as this company is known for its focus on hard-use knives designed by experienced, military personnel and adventurers, however, this was the first time I had the opportunity to try them out under real survival situations.

According to their website, DPx knives are tested and used in locations including Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Burma. From the get-go, I was excited to see if these knives could perform up to expectations.

DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife Review

DPX Knife Review First Impressions

From first glance, I knew these were superior quality knives. Simply by looking, I could tell there was serious craftsmanship that went into their assembly; these were not some cheap trinkets that would fall apart after a year of use.

DPx Knife Review

Left to Right: Leather sheath, HEST II Woodsman knife, HEFT 4 Assault knife, Nylon sheath with Kydex insert, HEST Original knife, Kydex sheath.

Picking them up, each felt solid in my hands and had a full tang. Examining the blades, they were very sharp out of the box and much thicker than other knives of this size, indicating superior quality and an ability to handle abuse.

Additional details setting these knives apart from less expensive alternatives included well thought-out jimping, storage space in the handle, a hex driver, a wire breaker, and a bottle opener – for a little reward after a hard day’s work!

DPx Knife Review

Cracking one open with the HEST Original. Cheers!

Blade Steel

I was really excited to check out the HEST II Woodsman and the HEFT 4 Assault as both are made from Niolox steel (the HEST Original is made from 1095 high carbon steel, but more on that later), a relatively new blade material that I had never had the chance to use before.

DPx Knife Review

Testing out the 1095 high carbon steel blade of the HEST Original while preparing to build a fire.

Originally developed for the food processing industry (think large scale, factory-based food processing), Niolox came about as processors were looking for something that would deliver superior edge retention, resist corrosion, and last for thousands of cuts and slices before needing replacement. Using this material to fabricate knives is a no-brainer, what I was truly curious about is how this new material would fare against the old, reliable 1095.

DPx Knife Review: Testing Process

I decided the best way to test these knives out was to take them into the elements and see how they stacked up against real-world tasks. Myself and two other experienced outdoorsmen went on a weekend camping trip (this is where we went if you are even in Australia), each one taking one of the knives.

DPx Knife Review

All three blades sank into a large cuttlefish bone we found on the beach.

We didn’t have a set plan of exactly what skills we would test the knives with, but decided that we would simply keep the knives on us and use them as the need arose. Over the course of the weekend, the knives were tested out on the following tasks:

  • Cutting rope
  • Batoning branches
  • Shaving wood to start fire
  • Gathering mollusks to practice scavenging skills
  • Pounding tent stakes
  • Preparing food
  • Cutting open boxes and packages
  • Light digging
  • Sheaths tested for usability, ease of deployment, and comfort

DPx Knife Review: HEFT 4 Assault

Best Use: This knife is ideal for bugging-out or bushcraft. It was by far the largest, heaviest, and most heavy duty of the knives. A real ‘workhorse,’ this knife is good for medium to heavy duty tasks around camp.

DPx Knife Review

Click the graphic to view the DPx HEFT 4 Assault on Amazon.

What I Liked: 

First off, I like that this knife is made of Niolox steel and it provides good form and balance (balance is right where your index finger sits, which results in excellent control). Another perk is that the jimping is also wire stripper and makes for an excellent grip. The G-10 scales are removable, so there’s space to wrap paracord around your knife or store items inside. There’s also a bottle opener that works competently (more on that below).

DPx Knife Review

As for the blade, it was very thick which made for great batoning and prying.  I was really impressed when by accident, I jammed the knife into a rock and the tip did not snap, due mainly to the thickness of the blade, strength of the Niolox steel, and probably a bit of pure luck!

DPx Knife Review

Harvesting limpets with the HEFT 4 Assault.

DPx Knife Review

Limpets are related to clams and are a great source of protein!

The blade also proved to be quite resistant to corrosion as it was exposed to seawater and then sheathed for 48 hours, with no visible rust. The Niolox passed this corrosion resistance test with flying colors. Additionally, the nylon sheath is nice and streamlined with a pocket that can hold a sharpening stone, fire starter, compass, or anything other small tool, and it also has a molded kydex insert.

DPx Knife Review

In terms of use, batoning through tree limbs was a breeze, due mainly to the thickness of the blade. Versus other, thinner, knives, the .19” thickness gives the blade a hatchet-like cross-section, an indispensable quality for bushcraft.

DPx Knife Review

Note the thickness of the spine, which provides a solid striking surface for batoning.

Cosmetically, there were no nicks in the edge after an entire weekend of use but there were some scratches on the blade coating. This is not something that particularly bothers me, my gear is meant to be USED so if it’s not a little scratched, it’s not useful.  However, if you’re a collector or enjoy displaying your knives, this may not be the one for you.

DPx Knife Review

Last but not least, the craftsmanship is top-notch. This knife is made for DPx in Italy by master bladesmiths at LionSteel.

Minor Cons:

As I mentioned before, the bottle opener worked but could be better. It was not as useful as a ‘church key’-type opener, which admittedly would be impractical on a knife, but it’s nice to have in a pinch. Another issue (that applies only to lefties), is that the kydex molding of the sheath makes this a right-hand draw knife. If you were truly motivated, you could pull out the molded liner, but it’s pretty snug.

Final Thoughts on the HEFT 4 Assault:

I absolutely loved this knife. It’s the perfect size for all but the most heavy-duty of tasks.  You are not going to want to use it to take down a tree, but for the other 95% of the functions you’ll need for bushcraft, survival and camp, this knife is up to the task. If you like the idea of this knife but want it larger, you’re in luck – it has a big brother, the HEFT 6.

A big plus for this knife is the jimping. It really bit into my thumb and gave me serious confidence that my grip would not slip. Also, the Niolox steel more than lived up to expectations and truly impressed me. The edge held its sharpness after a long weekend of use, the steel did not corrode despite being submerged in seawater and wet beach sand, and the tip did not break after an accidental plunge into a rock (oops!).

DPx Knife Review

Well-designed jimping provides a more controlled grip.

If you’re looking for a quality knife and have the budget for it, or want to upgrade your existing knife, this is a good choice. If for some reason you try it out and it doesn’t meet your expectations, I would still recommend purchasing a knife made from Niolox steel.

DPx Knife Review: HEST Original

Best Use: This is a great choice for backpackers or people who want to carry as little weight as possible. It’s fully functional for light to medium tasks around camp and would suit someone looking for a high functioning knife at a reasonable price without sacrificing on quality or someone who wants a quality knife but isn’t prepared to splurge on Niolox steel.

DPx Knife Review

Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST Original on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Of the three knives, this was by far the lightest and the micarta handle provided the best grip. It was very sharp out of the box and the 1095 carbon steel is easy to sharpen and holds a razor’s edge; it’s also less expensive than many other types of steel. The flat pommel made it great for striking and pounding while the partial serration was good for cutting rope and prepping food.

DPx Knife Review

The knife has a slim profile, even with the sheath, and the kydex sheath came with multiple carry options, including paracord and belt clip, and can be carried either vertically or horizontally. It’s made in the USA, can be carried on the right or left side, and in a pinch, the pry bar would work well to break glass.

DPx Knife Review

The versatile kydex sheath can be secured horizontally (shown) or vertically.

Minor Cons:

While the 1095 steel is light and inexpensive, it is not as corrosive resistant as other steels and had to be washed after exposure to seawater (I learned this from past experiences with this material rusting). It’s also worth noting that the blade is powder coated to help protect everything but the edges of the blade from corrosion.

DPx Knife Review

The partial serration on the HEST Original blade was useful, especially for cutting open fruit and preparing foods.

Final Thoughts on the HEST Original:

DPx Knife Review

This is a very good, basic knife with a well thought-out, quality sheath. I enjoyed the flexibility provided by the partial serration and the micarta handle provides a solid grip even in wet conditions. There’s good balance in your hand – this knife feels good to hold. It’s a great option for someone looking for a quality, entry-level knife that will last for years to come.

DPx Knife Review: HEST II Woodsman

Best Use: A good knife for light to medium tasks around camp. It looks good enough to give as a gift, such as to groomsmen or on special occasions. 

DPx Knife Review

Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST II Woodsman on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Aesthetically, this was by far the best looking knife of the three with a really nice leather sheath that looks good and feels nice. It’s also made from Niolox, which is a fantastic steel as mentioned in the HEFT 4 Assault section above.

DPx Knife Review

The size and shape of the blade make it a well-balanced knife and it’s the perfect size for use around camp or all-day carry without it being noticeable. For the size of this knife, it has a very thick blade at .19”.  For comparison, the popular ESSE 3, has a blade thickness of .125”. The flat pommel made it easy to pound tent stakes into rocky ground. And as a knife that is made in Italy by master bladesmiths, the craftsmanship is top tier.

DPx Knife Review

The flat pommel allows for pounding tasks, like driving tent stakes into the ground.

Minor Cons:

Due to its sheath design (vertical mounting, right side draw), this knife can only be carried one way – this is by no means a deal-breaker, but if you intend to hang it off the molle points on your pack or vest, you will need another sheath.

DPx Knife Review

The vertical leather sheath is high quality, though it does not accommodate left-handed access.

Also, the fact that it is right-hand carry only is a negative for lefties.  Lastly, the wood handle provided good grip retention (and looks awesome) but is not as “grippy” as micarta or G10.

Final Thoughts on the HEST II Woodsman:

This is a really nice looking blade that I would be happy to give (or receive!) as a gift. As with the HEFT 4 Assault, the Niolox steel exceeded my expectations. For a multipurpose knife, the HEST II Woodsman has great balance and blade shape. As compared to the other two knives in this review, the HEST II Woodsman is a good compromise on size and cost.

DPx Knife Review

Note the integrated hex wrench and wire strippers on the HEST II Woodsman.

DPx Knife Review: Conclusion

DPx Knife Review

All three of the knives reviewed – the HEFT 4 Assault, HEST Original, and HEST II Woodsman – are all really good knives and it’s obvious that there was substantial attention to detail given to their designs. All were clearly made with the intention to be used, hence the focus on design as well as testing. Each was well-made and included clever add-ons such as bottle openers, pry bars, and hex wrenches. Any one of these knives will serve its owner well for a very long time.

For an experienced outdoorsman, these are easy to recommend, and are differentiated enough that each appeals to its own target users. DPx offers variations on all three of these models, so if you’re looking for a particular blade shape, finish, or handle combination to suit a particular need, you’re sure to find it.

If you do select one of these knives, I do recommend choosing one with a Niolox steel blade, if at all possible.  Niolox steel had a good edge, great corrosion resistance, and exceeded my expectations in testing.

Your Thoughts

Do you have any questions about the features or performance of these DPx knives? Are you interested in seeing more MEGA reviews like this one? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Valley Food Storage – Review

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One of the things about preparedness is it is tough to determine what food to store. Recently, this question was simplified when the folks from Valley Food Storage reached out to me to review some of their products. Given the choice of the three shipped, I selected the Irish Pub Style Cheddar and Potato soup first. This … Continue reading

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Skytech Laser Pointer Review

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Skytech Laser

skytech lasers

 

Skytech Laser

I got a Skytech Laser, a high powered blue laser pointer,  to play with recently. Which almost didn’t happen. Recently I began checking my spam filter daily because I have it set pretty strict. While going through It one email caught my eye. It was a Skytech rep offering a laser for review. I absolutely want a laser to play with. To be honest I was pretty upset with the spam filter.

Skytech lasers thought, correctly, that lasers can have a few uses for survival. They also mentioned that some lasers can start fires. My mind jumped to pyromaniac dreams and I quickly replied. This laser sadly does not burn stuff. I tried really hard too. Even on the highest setting and using a fresnel lense.

No burning but there are still many uses to be had with this laser pointer. I have had fun testing this. So has Bjorn the Cat. He loves it. His resume now includes catching the blue dot.

Lets get into some survival uses for lasers.

 

Getting Help

One of the best uses for lasers in a survival situation is to signal for help. Using a laser, especially at night, is smarter than screaming. Paired with a whistle and your chances of being seen and rescued is much higher. I have tested the Skytech laser at night on trees in the distance. It isn’t a tightly focused laser and spreads out into a large circle. This is both good and bad.

The good being that a bigger blue light is more easily seen. At those far off distances the weaker laser shouldn’t blind your would be rescuers.

As you know a laser can seriously damage a persons eyes. I would never point a laser directly in anyone’s eyes. Especially when not in a survival situation. At distances to get the attention of help though It should be fine.

The bad part being that the distance is reduced by not being tightly focused. So long range signaling is not really possible. I tried to find out how far you could expect  a laser pointer to reach out. Like many things in life it depends. It depends on atmospheric conditions. It depends on the batteries. It just depends.

One guy in Tokyo  got a laser to go 12 miles. Others have got cheap ones to go a kilometer. It you point it through  you can get it to go further. Still better than a flashlight at night for signiling.

 Finding your Way back

The SkyTech laser didnt come with instructions so I didn’t know it had three modes. They have an instruction video on YouTube. There is a low, High and strobe modes. At night time if you have to leave camp you can set the laser to strobe from your camp to where you are going. With the spread it should be pretty visible. I definitely like backups to things. So If you set up both a laser and a flashlight in beacon mode you will certainly see one. Two is one one is none.

I still want a laser to make fires. That would be another tool in your survival belt. Though this Skytech laser is a $20 laser and the burning ones are a few hundred. So not really practical to  recommend a $200 fire starter. A $20 signaling device to compliment a mirror though I can recommend. A mirror for day time rescue attempts and lasers for night time. Or If you like to spoil your cat.

Once again I did an unboxing video. Check it out.

 

 

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RZ Mask Premium Breathing Protection Review

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RZ Mask

RZ Mask

 

RZ Mask Premium Breathing Protection Review

 

Today I’ll be reviewing the RZ Mask Premium Breathing Protection. I generally hate to wear breathing protection masks. Especially those cheap paper ones. You know  the ones with the rubber band type attachment. They fit terribly. If you breathe too hard you push it off. The metal nose piece is always either too snug or too loose. Then It might cut you.

Not to mention that you’re just re-breathing the same stale air. With all that said it’s no wonder I never wore them. Last year when I was insulating the tiny house I went without breathing protection. I also spent the next few weeks coughing up a lung.

If only There was a better solution.  With The RZ Mask from RZ Industries there is.

 

 

RZ Mask

There are two different types of RZ Mask. The M1 is made from Neoprene and is best for mild to cold climates. The M2 (The one I have) is made from a mesh moisture wicking material. It is designed for mild to warm temperatures. The Mesh of the M1 will keep your face cooler.  Each mask has two one-way discharge valves for condensation. This keeps your face dry and prevents fogged up glasses or goggles.

The RZ Mask can use 3 different types of filters. The F1 filter consists of two layers. An outer particulate layer that filters down to .1 microns. The inner layer is an active carbon element and is effective towards fumes, odors, and organic chemicals. Combining the two technologies has been laboratory tested to be 99.9% effective.

The F2 filter is the HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) Filter. It is made up of 2 layers of particulate filters. Like the F1 it filters down to .1 microns. Unlike the F1 it does not contain an internal active carbon element. The HEPA particulate filter promotes 40% better breathability than the F1.

The F3 filter is the premium filter. It combines the HEPA with the active carbon element. With it you get the .1 micron size filtration. The filtration of fumes, odors and organic chemicals from the carbon element. You also get the 40% better breathability from the HEPA filter. It’s the best of both worlds.

M2 RZ Mask

M2 RZ Mask

Survival Uses

I can think of hundreds of uses for an RZ Mask. Had I had this when I was doing the insulation I would not have kept taking it off due to being uncomfortable. When I was sanding my plywood walls before staining. When Cleaning with heavy chemicals. Heck cleaning the cat litter box.

The RZ Mask packs up tiny in a carrying case. You can keep it in you go bag or glove box. During many disasters, like a house fire or an earthquake, the air is not safe to breathe. You need breathing protection that works and that you will use. If you have a ton of cheap paper ones you are no better off than pulling your shirt up over your face.

In my testing of the RZ Mask I found that it fit very well. The Nose piece worked great. It held it without causing pain and uncomfortable. The valves did a great job of venting out the stale air. Even though I have the M2, the mesh mask, It kept my face warm in the 30°F weather. Here in TN that’s still cold. The air I breathed in from both my mouth and nose was fresh and not as cold.

I would recommend an RZ Mask for winter camping. Especially winter hammock campers. Usually you face and feet are the only cold parts of a proper winter camp. With ski masks you end up with condensation, that sometimes freezes.

They make several designs and colors. Realtree camo, skulls and more. The RZ Mask should have a home in your BOB, Get Home Bag or car kit. I definitely like it over a ski mask for cold protection and for breathing protection.

Here’s an unboxing video of the RZ Mask.

 

 

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Solar Puff Review

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One of the greatest things about what I do is to review effective “gadgets”. The Solar Puff LED Light from Solight Design is no exception. This is a very effective tool for your kit. You may be asking, what makes it so effective and I am glad to tell you. Part of it is because … Continue reading

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For Us The Living – Book Review

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Recently I was given a free review copy of “For Us The Living: Judgement Day” by R.A. Peters. While there has been a move to do less and less book reviews, I still like a good story and definitely a good book. The main problem I have is, like most movies, there is nothing new … Continue reading

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Permaculture Playing Cards

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Permaculture Playing Cards

                 Permaculture Playing Cards

I saw recently that Paul Wheatons Permaculture playing cards have been updated. I never got around to doing a proper review before. Time to rectify that. If you have happened to listen to our earlier podcasts you will know that we used to read one permaculture playing card.  Couch Potato Mikes organizing system failed though.

I’m sure all of you know what permaculture is right? No? Google defines it as such:

 

per·ma·cul·ture
ˈpərməˌkəlCHər/
noun
  1. the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

Which is a wholly lacking term. Geoff Lawton defines it as a design science. Learning permaculture allows you to design systems, like garden, in a more holistic way. I’m a permaculture fan more so than an expert. Getting a deck actually taught me a lot.

 

How To Teach Permaculture

 

How you to teach something to people that aren’t already hungry for it? You try to explain it to them and they think you’re crazy. Give them a book like Gaia’s Garden? A great book to be certain. I’ve read half of it in 4 years.  No they will look at all the pretty pictures and move on. They have learned nothing. You can send them great links. To places like Permies. The link will be added to the to read later list or skimmed and forgotten. No a new solution was needed to trick people into permaculture.

 

 

Permaculture Playing Cards

Paul labored over the cards to make them perfect. Packed with tiny tidbits of permaculture wisdom to subconsciously work itself into your brain. Cards like rocket mass heaters, chickens, bees, wildcrafting and my favorite cast iron.

That artwork on the cards is great. They all seem like Peter Max art, only toned down. A very whimsical style. You can’t help but to get drawn in by them. All the details keep you studying the card. After you find out that Paul hide names of the Kickstarter backers and other important folk you will look even harder.

Great Stocking Stuffers

When I backed the kickstarter it was $20 a deck. A bit pricey but well worth it to me. I love my Permaculture Playing Cards. They have been well used. Paul is now selling them 6 decks, a half brick, for $42. Much cheaper at about $7 a deck and the more you get the cheaper. Amazon has single decks for $9.95. That though does little to spread the word of permaculture. Get a few and give them out, use them and enjoy them. I sure have.

 

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LuminAID PackLite

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LuminAID PackLiteThe LuminAid PackLite 16 is an inflatable lantern that is recharged by the sun and store in a compact package!

LuminAID PackLite

In the full interest of transparency and honesty to my readers, I was given a single LuminAID Packlite for testing. After using the PackLite on a couple of outings and during a very oddly-timed power outage at home.

To be really really transparent, I probably should also tell you that I was so impressed that I purchased a second one.

2 Luminaid Packlites

The LuminAid PackLite 16 is an inflatable lamp. It provides up to 16 hours of LED light and is recharged via light itself (like the sun). It folds up into a compact size that makes it easy to clip to your backpack for recharging on-the-go.

I’ve used this to light up my camp site and for hanging from my ridgeline, above my hammock at bed time. It has never failed me. It provides sufficient light to perform all the task of setting up and breaking camp, for finding items in my pack and to read by, after crawling into my hammock or sleeping bag. It has held up to billowy wind and surprise storms without any ill effects. I also had the pleasure of using it, during a power outage, to navigate my home and provide light to my family.

Because it proved itself reliable and very hand in nasty conditions in the field, I now make sure that I take one of these family trips, especially if we’ll be staying in a hotel. If the power goes out, or there’s an emergency, this lantern will light the darkness for us!

 

[See image gallery at www.geekprepper.org]

Operation

Inflate, then turn it on. The PackLight has four modes: high, medium, low, and blinking. All of which are activated by pressing the red power button. Repeated pressing will cycle through the modes, in that order.

Construction

The LuminAID’s inflatable body feels like its a high quality vinyl, which feels less like plastic and more like rubber. The vinyl is very pliable and should prove to be resistant to cracking or splitting.

It uses a single LED paired with a high quality battery. The battery charges pretty quickly (average time around 7 hours in direct sunlight). The LuminAID can shine for between 5 – 6 hours on its brightest setting, and did not dim noticeably during that time. On the low setting it ran for more than 12 hours, before I gave up, shut it off and went to sleep.

Additional Features

The Packlite 16 has features that indicate a high standard of quality and design.

luminaidinfo

  • It has a small flap that snaps shut to fold the lantern into a compact package.
  • It has a LED light that indicates charging status – Charging (red) or Fully Charged (green).
  • Waterproof design. The electronics (solar cell, charge controller and battery) is completely sealed in vinyl. As long as the inflation valve is closed securely, no water should get in to the LED light. It floats when inflated and being in the rain for hours caused it no problems.

 

Through Luminaid’s “Get Light, Give Light” program, they distributes these lights to individuals around the world who a source of inexpensive light or don’t have access to electricity  You can help them support this effort with your purchase!

If you’re looking for a reliable, lightweight lantern to use as a camp light or for an emergency light, this is a great choice. I recommend this lantern for anyone who needs to cut the weight and bulk of a traditional lantern and its batteries from their pack weight!

 

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Cheap Handguns: 25 Quality Semi-Autos under $400

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The recent terror attacks, as well as the general insanity that consumes this great nation, has left a staggering impact on our citizens…we’re scared.  Gun sales have soared (recent article) and people everywhere are…

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After The Crumble Review

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After the crumble

                After the crumble

Today I review After The Crumble. A new book review James? Yes finally. I was sent after the crumble in between a move or two. It got put on the back burner. Also I was a slow reader. I fixed that. I used this book to train on some speed reading techniques. Which will help me get these reviews out much faster.

“Our future has crumbled. In the late 2020s, the grid finally flickered out for the last time, succumbing to attacks from a newly formed Resistance, fuel scarcity, and general entropy.
It is now the year 2037 and many have died, with the few that managed to escape death solely concerned with their daily survival. Gavin Collier is one of those lucky few, but survival alone isn’t enough for him anymore.”

 

After the crumble

The story begins with Gavin searching for a  Bichon Frise dog he heard rumors about. While the world has gone to hell he wants a fancy dog for breeding purposes. This leads to him getting into some trouble with bandits. He decides to take them on alone. He does succeed in killing them all but gets injured in the process.

He manages to make it to a small town where a doctor he knows patches him up. The doctors young and beautiful niece helps to get Gavin back to health. They quickly fall in love and pan to marry.

The story has characters relate how the crumble came. How the “Machine” became too big and unsustainable. The end was sped up with help from rebels. The rebels did eco terrorist acts and attacked the government however they could. Destroying technology, atms, power stations etc. All in an attempt to hurry the crumble.

After the crumble follows Gavin, Lea and his family through their farming and bandit fighting.

The Good

I liked the positive spin on living after a disaster. Many novels set during this time are bleak. People are just surviving. No one has dreams anymore. They just move through life. In After the crumble you see people picking up the pieces. Pursuing their dreams. Doing more than just what needs to be done to live. Laughing and loving.

A few of the characters were well developed. Gavin had a lot of personality. He had interests, pain and pride. He also dropped a lot of pop culture references. Star Wars and Conan. Many used to make points the character has. Sometimes he comes off a little preachy but so do I.

Each chapter begins with a little factoid on things leading to the crumble. I like the way they progress up to the most recent events. Many of them you may already know.

 

The Bad

This book had a few issues with me. Things that didn’t seem to make sense. Like after getting attacked and killing a boy Gavin starts smoking a joint. I certainly have nothing against marijuana. I do not think It wise to compromise your senses after a violent encounter with more possibly coming. Then the whole taking on an entire bandit encampment alone.

Gavin I thought was a well developed character. Some of the others though I don’t really know anything about. I didn’t feel like I got to know them.

When Gavin goes off on one of his lectures everyone just agrees with him. When I go off on lectures about breast milk, vaccines, or eating toxic shit people lose their minds. A little push back would have been realistic to me.

Some may be put off my Gavins theories on religion or of God. I don’t see how they could be offensive. The Godspark was kinda interesting. Like the kind of conversation had under the moon with maybe too many drinks.

Then there was the weird mystic stuff that crept in later in the book. To be it threw a monkey wrench in the book. Seeing auras and godspark in people. For a book grounded in the facts that could lead to the collapse to then plunge down that rabbit hole seemed odd. I like magic in my fantasy books. Here it felt out of place.

 

Conclusion

If you want to read a prepper book that shows doing more than just surviving. A book that has some humor and pop fiction. A little magic thrown in too. Then After the crumble might be the book for you. In fact if you really want it I’ll send you mine. I live in a tiny house I can’t keep everything I review. Be the first to send your shipping address to me James at  Survivalpunk dot com. Enjoy.

 

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Review – TRW Black Tea

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Although I am primarily a coffee drinker, I was asked if I would be willing to try some special black tea. Reluctantly, I agreed after being assured it was strong enough to match the way I like my coffee. And they were right. TRW Fair Trade Imports, provided me with a 2oz. Brew Kit which … Continue reading

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Ready Set Solar Review

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I won this Ready Set Solar set in an instructables.com contest, and have waited months to get this in the mail. From their site: “The ReadySet is a renewable energy system that charges from solar panels and can power lights, radios, cell phones, tablets, and even Wi-Fi hot spots. The ReadySet’s intelligent battery can charge […]

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That is a Hot Ash Stove – Gear Review

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I was able to spend some productive time with the folks from Hot Ash Stove. They are currently on Kickstarter which ends December 1, 2015. What I was able to see and discuss at the meeting was very informative. For starters, this is not an ultralight wood stove. This is a portable Rocket Stove. This … Continue reading

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Everstryke Pro Review: A Compact Waterproof Survival Lighter

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everstryke pro reviewWhen I was growing up, my parents taught me that the three basic things I would need to live are food, clothing, and shelter. As I grew older and began to learn more and more about outdoor survival preparedness, I revised that list to include the three absolute necessities for outdoor survival: Shelter, water, and heat.

I’m going to leave solutions for shelter and water for another time and focus this review on how to establish a heat source with one product in particular: The Everstryke Pro fire starting kit.

everstryke pro review

Everstryke Pro Review

At its essence, the survival life Everstryke lighter is a capsule lighter, which is basically a miniaturized kerosene candle with its own starting mechanism. In order for the Everstryke Pro to be effective, a source of fuel must be supplied, but I’ll elaborate more on that in a second.

I’ll begin my Everstryke Pro review with a general description of the product. Closed up, it’s slightly larger than a .44 magnum cartridge and includes a clip for attaching to your gear (such as the zippers and clips featured on the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag). In total, it weighs about as much as the aforementioned round of ammunition.

everstryke pro review

Shown next to a .22 LR, you can see how compact the Survival Life Everstryke is.

everstryke pro review

The capsule length is about 2 inches, including the housing for the clip.

The top of this survival life firestarter screws off, revealing the wick and striker wheel, which throws sparks quite profusely and makes this a great tool for igniting tinder, even in a long-term survival scenario with no fuel.

everstryke pro review

Unscrew the cap of the Everstryke Pro lighter to access the striker wheel and wick.

The main lighter housing features an O-ring at the base of the point where the cap screws down, keeping the wick from getting waterlogged if it happens to be immersed in water, making this lighter waterproof. In fact, you can CLICK HERE to see a video of the Everstryke Pro being submerged into a FISHBOWL for an hour and then being taken out and lit with no problem at all. The nice, quality case and O-ring also help keep fuel from evaporating.

everstryke pro review

The black O-ring seals out water and prevents fuel from evaporating.

How To Fill A Capsule Lighter

The striker and wick are mounted on a hollow cylinder that fits inside the lighter housing, which, when you remove it and flip it upside down, reveals foam that you saturate with fuel to feed the wick, as well as a screwdriver-adjustable flint.

everstryke pro review

The hollow cylinder slides out for refilling with fuel and adjusting the flint.

everstryke pro review

The foam is shaped to seat around the flint, which can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver.

everstryke pro review

The foam (on right) pops out, revealing the wick.

To fill the lighter, remove the internal cylinder, take lighter fluid (the sort you use for charcoal barbeques) and carefully fill the housing halfway – it doesn’t take much. Then, slowly re-insert the internal cylinder. The foam should sop up the fuel, and in short order, the wick should get wet with fuel; the lighter is now ready to use. However, as with any reliable lighter, use caution when filing it.

everstryke pro review

Adding fuel to the housing.

To avoid getting lighter fluid all over the place in the event of an overflow, fill your Everstryke Pro lighter over a sink or outdoors. Always ensure you wash your hands and give the lighter a wipe-down before attempting to light it.

Field Testing The Everstryke Pro Lighter

I tested out this product under two real-life conditions: The first, lighting a wood stove at a shop I’m painting; and the second, burning trash in an incinerator. After testing it out for a few weeks, I found it to be a fairly capable fire starter with one clear advantage over matches in that the wick creates a flame that is wider than your typical match, giving you a better chance of igniting tinder or kindling.

everstryke pro review

Provides a wider, steadier flame than a match and won’t burn down to your fingers.

For those accustomed to butane lighters, this unit can seem reticent to light, at most taking up to about a dozen strikes to light the wick. However, this is about on-par with flint and steel fire starting kits, and doesn’t include the hassle of collecting fine tinder to light it.

One potential disadvantage, especially for those who live as far north as I do, is the potential for fuel to evaporate at colder temperatures. The butane found in disposable cigarette lighters has a temperature limit of around -0.5℃. This may be problematic for the heavier fuel used in the Everstryke Pro, although this would affect any lighter of this type, including a Zippo.

everstryke pro review

The Survival Life Everstryke fits easily on a keyring and unclips for quick access when needed.

It yields a sizable flame, about two to three times that of a match, and, of course, burns longer. It’s modestly weatherproof, maintaining a hot flame in light snow and a moderate breeze. Of important note is that, much like a Zippo, the Everstryke Pro lighter may not light the very first time you strike it. This is a function of a reliable lighter that uses lighter fluid instead of a butane-based, BIC-type lighter. Slower ignition time is just one of the trade-offs made when choosing a refillable lighter over a disposable one.

everstryke pro review

Had to give it dunk to see for myself.

everstryke pro review

After being submerged for 10 minutes, no water had leaked into the cap and it was ready to light.

Summing It Up

everstryke pro review

Click the image to order your FREE Everstryke Pro Lighter.

As a concluding point for my Everstryke Pro review, its compact size, simple design, and affordability make it a useful addition to any EDC, camping, or survival kit.

Click Here To Get Your Everstyke Pro Lighter Today!

Your Thoughts

How many sources of fire do you currently have in your bug-out bag? Are you interested in seeing more reviews like this? Tell us in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Review of Mark Goodwin’s “Perdition” from the “Days of Noah” Trilogy

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The dust is still unsettled in France from the attacks of last Friday.  Probably the dust is also unsettled for many targets that find themselves in the bombing crosshairs of the French’s armed services.  Allow me pose a couple of questions that lead into my book review of Mark Goodwin’s Perdition.

  1. What if the attacks on France had been us in the USA?
  2. What if instead of forming aggressive retaliation against the enemy, the attacks were blamed primarily on the intolerance of Christians?
I think it is totally plausible that Christians could end up being blamed for attacks on our nation.  This is similar to the premise that I read in The Days of Noah.  This is the third and final book in the series.  Reviews of the previous two books can be found here:
As I am an Audible subscriber, I am thrilled to hear the voice of Kevin Pierce in this final book.  His voice is easy to listen to and Pierce seems to get into character which makes this a fun listen.  It is fun to become attached to Goodwin’s characters, but, it isn’t all fun.
What’s not fun is dealing with the character’s struggles and grappling with some of the deep ethics questions that weave their way into the scenarios that Goodwin has set forth.  Though I found it difficult to mentally reconcile some of the issues, I realized that with that difficulty also comes necessity.
Goodwin pours out scene after scene that deals directly with a desperate people in the midst of dark economic, spiritual, and social struggles.  It is my opinion that many of the issues presented in this series would be sugar coated by other authors, certainly not all other authors, but some.
Continuing with an amazing amount of research and thought-provoking content, Goodwin’s Perdition rises forth as the final book in the series.  The book begins by picking up with the firefight where the previous book, Persecution, left off.  There is no downtime between the last sentence of the previous book and the first sentence of Perdition.  That being the case, I probably should have taken a few minutes and did a last chapter refresh before diving in.
This is not an independent book and isn’t intended to be.  One should know where the characters left off before jumping on board.  But, even with that being the case, I was quickly reminded of who was who and was able to jog my memory, even though it had been a few months since reading the previous book.
One of the best aspects of The Days of Noah series is the perspective of the author.  You cannot read any of these books and escape the truth of God’s word.  From Biblical research to character development, Goodwin’s passion for the Lord is readily apparent.
If you are looking for a light-hearted read, then you had better pass this series by.  The Days of Noah trilogy by Mark Goodwin will shake some of your beliefs to their core, cause deep consideration of tough social issues, and will likely bring conviction into various areas of your life.
Conspiracy, Persecution, and Perdition:  Fiction with a purpose.
—–

Contour Camera as a Dashcam

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I recently bought a contour camera so I could take some videos of things normal camera’s could not do – like an underwater shot of a glock firing while submerged. When I got the camera I was pleased, but the audio quality just isn’t good enough to use as a go to camera for all […]

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Gear Review – Uberfire – Fire

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In the world of survival, the biggest challenges are to focus on the four main categories: Fire, shelter, water, and food. Each category can be a challenge in itself and the order in which each is obtained can be crucial to life and limb. After doing some research, I wanted to ensure I could reduce the risk … Continue reading

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Book Review: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Survivor Jane

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is a great question to ask if you are new to preparedness or “prepping”. The question itself causes one to think of the different options, whether manmade or natural, that could possibly affect one’s future. I was honored upon receiving a personal email from Survivor Jane asking me to review … Continue reading

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Survival Resource – Mission Statement

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Hello everyone, my name is Dustin and I’d like to welcome you to The Survival Resource! I created TheSurvivalResource.com as a casual, but smart minded source of solid and unbiased survival information.  Whether you’re looking for gear ideas, book reviews, or just good information…it’s provided here.  It’s a source for anyone who wants to learn … Continue reading Survival Resource – Mission Statement

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Prepper Budget Carbine Review – Hi Point 40 cal carbine

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I am always on the lookout for quality firearms. I fully believe that when it comes to firearms, you generally get what you pay for. So I do not mind spending a bit more if I know that I am getting a well built, reliable firearm. And if there is a chance of getting a […]

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National Museum of the Air Force

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One of the things I like about my job is the ability to play hard after working hard. My recent trip was no exception. This time I was able to spend a couple of hours in the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. While I was informed that two hours would be plenty … Continue reading

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Columbia Sportswear Conspiracy Razor OutDry Shoes

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Columbia Sportswear’s Razor OutDry shoes are a lightweight waterproof multi-sport shoe designed to handle your outdoor adventures. These shoes are built for flex, traction and mobility.

How do they perform? Let’s look at the features and then get to the straight talk:

SONY DSC

Looking Sharp after months of use!

Features

  • Style – low profile
  • Upper:
    • Welded textile/mesh
    • OutDry waterproof technology
  • Midsole:
    • Techlite – super cushion, high energy return
    • 3mm drop/offest
  • Outsole:
    • Omni-Grip Rubber
  • Weight: 11.1 oz per shoe
  • MSRP:  $130 CAD$110 USD

Columbiashirt

Testing:

These shoes have taken me backpacking with 50+ lb packs full of kids gear, hiking, walking, fishing and even for a week in Ecuador (in South America).

 

What do I think?

The Conspiracy Razor OutDry offers a lot in a lightweight, flexible and waterproof multi-sport shoe. It shows that brands are getting that for most of our outdoor activities we can leave the clunky hiking boots behind in favour of agility, without worrying about wet socks or poor traction.

First off, the shoe is very comfortable. It provides a great, comfortable fit that eliminated any need to break the shoe in. Even with a 50+ pound pack and steep incline I didn’t suffer sore, tired feet or blisters.

Secondly the lacing stays put. One of my pet peeves is having to re-tie laces. Even with a single knot the lacing stays secure even on long hikes.

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Omni-Grip

Thirdly the traction is phenomenal. The Omni-Grip rubber and traction pattern give you multi-direction anti-slip on even smooth surfaces.

The OutDry serves its purpose well, preventing water from penetrating the textile upper. As always, there’s a compromise with some breathability. That said, I never felt like I had clammy or damp feet.

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Columbia Conspiracy Razor OutDry

Although there are no signs of breaking yet, I worry about the single piece textile upper. The typical flex points are showing creasing after a few months. There’s no serious damage yet, so I may be over reacting, but I will be watching them for wear.

Columbiashoes

Conclusion

The Conspiracy Razor Outdry is a great lightweight shoe for all your outdoor activities from strolls in the park, to bike rides to backpacking trips and summer peak bagging. We were very pleased with the comfort of the shoe, even after long and active days. The waterproofing performed really well and the traction is very impressive. The price is on the higher end (most likely due in part to the technology in it). We’re really happy with how they performed, and look forward to wearing them through the wet season.

Have you had a chance to get out in Columbia footwear? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Columbia Sportswear provided these shoes for review free of charge. All opinions are our own and reflect the advice we would give to family and friends.

Bugout Coffee Review

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Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to do a review on Bugout Coffee. I was not able to accomplish this as quick as I would have liked simply because just as the package arrived, we were packing up the house to move.  I am thankful to both Jay and Jenny Blake for allowing … Continue reading

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Salazon Salted Dark Chocolate Bars – Review

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Is there anything better than chocolate when on an outdoor adventure?… besides bacon I mean. Well we had the chance to try so samples of some of the best chocolate I’ve tasted in a long time. Delicious dark chocolate with just the right amount of salt that comes in a variety of flavours. We are hooked on the quality and flavour: not too sweet, not too salty, just delicious.

We were sent the Trail Series of bars – carefully tailored for the outdoor adventurer.

What is Salazon?

Salazon is organic, fair trade dark chocolate sourced out of the Dominican Republic that has been salted with solar-evaporated sea salt.

What is the Trail Series?

The Trail Series is 3 different 2.75 ounce salted dark chocolate bars. Each supports one of three different scenic trails in the USA: The Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. They do so by donating 2% of their gross sales to the different trail associations.

We received two of each:

  • 57% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Caramel – Certified Organic and made with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa beans
  • 57% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Coffee – Certified Organic and made with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa beans
  • 72% Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almond – made with Certified Organic chocolate and Fair Trade Certified cocoa beans

Salazonchocolate
Salazon has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for its Caramel bar, the Pacific Crest Trail Association for its Coffee bar, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition for its Almond bar. The packaging for each bar depicts actual scenery captured on the trails.

The bars themselves are pretty awesome to stare at too. They cry world explorer with their eclectic map.

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Testing / Testers

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The bars were shared between our explorers (junior and adult). We tried to be fair to them and to you by trying them at home, before the trip as well as on the trail.

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What did we think?

Fantastic! These were all incredibly delicious!

The Salted Caramel had just the right level of Caramel. There are nice sized pockets of soft caramel that weren’t too sweet or overpowering. They complimented the dark chocolate very well, without making it taste artificial.

The Salted Coffee was the same. There was an excellent balance of flavours here.

The Salted Almond bar is a much higher cocoa content (72% instead of the 57% of the other two bars) and it was a good choice. It’s more savoury than the other two. The almond pieces, like the caramel are distributed well and add a refreshing crunch to the bar.

Due to the higher cocoa content, we didn’t have problems with melting. Well, there was one exception to that. One of the bars was carried against someone’s back in their backpack. The result was a bit deformed, but it in no-way took away from the deliciousness of the bar.

Conclusion

You won’t go wrong with these delicious salted dark chocolate bars. They are delicious and refreshing as a trail snack, or even as a late night snack at home when the kids have gone to bed. On top of being delicious, organic and fair trade (as well as being part of the Rainforest Alliance), 2 percent of the gross sales of these bars is donated to the support of  the Triple Crown of American Scenic Trails. You’re enjoying fantastic quality chocolate and you’re helping to keep these amazing trails open and enjoyable for future generations.

At $4 MSRP (Less if you buy more), these bars are more expensive than energy bars, but a fair price for the high quality chocolate that you’re purchasing.

I strongly recommend keeping your eye out for these bars and definitely recommend you give them a try!

Free EDT Multitool Review

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edt multitool

Here at BOBG headquarters, we’re as interested as anybody in saving a few bucks on gear. Considering how many food and tool preps we’d like to carry and to set aside, it can be tough to justify the cost of all the gear. Luckily, we have a few staffers that excel in finding freebies and hot deals. One of the free survival tools he recently found is the EDT mini multitool. If you’re into free tools, take a look at the EDT multitool review below!

Where to Get ‘Em

The folks over at SurvivalLife.com are a great source for free survival tools. They mix it up with handcuff keys, multi tools, fire tools, and even a pocket Bill of Rights. As is the case with any free stuff, their items can be hit or miss. This EDT multitool is pretty fairly in the hit category. To get your free EDT multitool, CLICK HERE.

The EDT Multitool

The EDT mini multitool is set up in the traditional folding configuration with a set of pliers inside the butterfly style handles. On the end of one handle is a carabiner clip that operates equally well whether the tool is open or folded closed.

On the end of the opposing handle is an exposed miniature Phillips-style screwdriver head. This screwdriver winds up snugly against the back side of the carabiner when the tool is closed, preventing it from digging a hole through a pocket or bag.

edt multitool

Clip it to your belt loop, MOLLE strap, or keyring for quick access.

Both of the utility tools included in this little gadget are designed to open while the handles are folded closed. On one side is a small 1.5” knife blade, and on the other is a serrated bottle opener. Both have spring indents that help keep them from folding shut during use.

edt multitool

Unlike many folding tools, the EDT Multitool blade and bottle opener can be accessed from the folded position.

Durability

This tool is pretty stoutly built. Everything is screwed, rather than riveted, together. It’s constructed entirely of metal; even the handles are aluminum that has been painted in a digital camo style pattern. This does put the tool at a bit of a weight disadvantage, bringing it about equal to the weight of two Classic model Swiss Army knives.

edt multitool

The framework is very sturdy, though you can see the paint starting to wear after use.

Functionality

The pliers are definitely the best feature of this tool, other than the price. These spring-assisted pliers are well-constructed, closing snugly and evenly all the way to the tip.

In the last two weeks, these pliers have been used to pull a couple of splinters during a big fence building project, squish a few ticks, pry out one bent 16 penny nail, and pull back the sheathing during a repair on an extension cord that got caught up in an electric trimmer. The pliers have held fast and done their job throughout.

edt multitool

The pliers really stood up to the test, performing well on intricate jobs.

The blade is functional, in that it cuts things that aren’t terribly difficult to cut. When new, it was extremely troublesome to open the blade without a small pry lever. The high pivot tension combined with no thumbnail slot makes for a rather inconvenient combination.

After a little bit of twisting with the appropriate sized Torx bit, though, it got to a point where it could be opened reasonably safely yet not close without warning. Once that little fix was done, the blade was serviceable. It wasn’t sharp enough to cut thread or trim fingernails easily, but could sharpen sticks and open bags of concrete well enough.

edt multitool

Compact in size, the EDT Multitool proved a useful addition to my survival gear at an awesome price – free!

The bottle opener is about as useful as the blade; if one pays close attention when setting the tool on a bottle cap and makes sure to pry carefully, the bottle usually opens before the cap splits on the bottle.

In two weeks, no screws of an appropriate size showed up that Phillips-style driver fits, but surely it would do the job; it’s a screwdriver. As an aside, there may be an alternative use for this little driver. In a pinch, this screwdriver could probably be used as a glass breaker with the tool opened halfway.

edt multitool

After 2 weeks of field use, there was some evidence of wear and tear around the edges but the tools themselves held up.

Summing it Up

All in all, the EDT multitool is worth about what you’ll pay for it. If you’re looking for a handy set of folding pliers that hang on a small carabiner, you’re in luck. If you want a free multitool that will serve as a make-do until you can dig up a real multitool, you might be a little disappointed.

edt multitool

Click the image to get your free EDT Multitool!

Your Thoughts

Have you got any free gear that met or exceeded expectations? What is it, where did you get it, and how is it holding up? Enlighten us in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Advanced Tactical Hip Bag Vs. Maxpedition Jumbo EDC Bag

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advanced tactical hip bag

Note: This review was contributed by one of our readers. Jeremy from Alaska compares his previous EDC bag from Maxpedition to his newest one, which is made by Rothco for The Bug Out Bag Guide. To view pricing and purchasing options in our store, CLICK HERE.

concealed carry

Introduction

I carry concealed on a very regular basis, but sometimes there are situations where on-body carry is just not practical for me.  So, I take the next available option:  off-body carry in a “man-purse.”

Now, set aside your reservations for this, because I understand most, if not all, the disadvantages to taking this approach.  This review is for those who take this option.

advanced tactical hip bag

About two years ago, I bought a Maxpedition Jumbo EDC, and found it quite adequate to the task for my every day carry needs:  from handgun, holster, and reloads, to first aid kit, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, handheld electronics and accessories, water and a few snacks.

EDC List

Learn how to pick the best EDC flashlight

However, the Fastex clasp over the main lid broke which, paired with a couple of minor annoyances I had with that bag, gave me good opportunity to look for a new bag.  Since Maxpedition’s “tan” is actually a greenish-tan better suited for the Army’s digital sage pattern, I sought something closer to the coyote tan of my other gear.

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag

Bug Out Bag Guide offered the perfect replacement.  I wound up paying about $15 more than I did for the Maxpedition, but just out of the packaging, it seems to have been well worth it.

advanced tactical hip bag

Overall Layout

Now, both bags follow largely the same layout:  The main bag partitioned into a rear compartment for handgun & holster, and the main compartment itself.

advanced tactical hip bag

Outside the main bag are four smaller external compartments, one being open-ended, cinchable, and able to be further secured by a velcro tab much like you find on some rifle magazine pouches. There are three other zippered ones on the top, front, and the opposite side.

advanced tactical hip bag

advanced tactical hip bag

The main lid extends over the front to secure the main compartment and cover the aforementioned front compartment, which itself features an extra open pocket.  The lid has a zippered pocket, too, and a strip of velcro long enough to accommodate two flag-sized patches, or nametape, etc.

advanced tactical hip bag

Both offer a padded shoulder strap that can quick-release with its Fastex buckle, and is anchored to one end of the main bag that features a small area of MOLLE/PALS webbing for attaching a small gadget pouch (radio, etc).  Both bags also offer breathable cushioning on the bag’s back.

advanced tactical hip bag

But, it’s the details that set the two apart, and all in all, I think the bag offered by BOBG is the better of the two.

The Details

Concealed Handgun Compartment

I carry a full-size HK USP45 (one of the larger service semiautos).  The Maxpedition accommodated it and a Bianchi Black Widow holster just fine, with room to spare for an extra magazine.  BOBG’s offering does it at least as well.  Both also feature velcro backing on one side of the compartment, to help further secure handguns in holsters.

Main Compartment

Both bags feature enough space to fit a military-issue IFAK (enclosed in its case) with just a tad more room to fit in, say, a pair of sunglasses in their case.  The compartment of both have a mesh pocket on one side, and a regular pocket on the other.

Where they differ most significantly is how they keep out dust and moisture, given the gaps left open by the lid.  The Maxpedition does nothing to keep small loose items from spilling out, but the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag (henceforth referred to as “ATHB”) has a liner you can cinch closed to prevent that as well as block dust and moisture from getting in.

advanced tactical hip bag

Neither bag is completely waterproof, but BOBG’s bag does feature a moisture-resistant lining (the sort you find on the lid of old-school ALICE packs) on practically all of its interior surfaces.

The underside of the Maxpedition has a single loop of webbing to hold the main compartment’s strap in place.  The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has two more to either side.

Exterior Compartments

advanced tactical hip bag

Both are comparable, including the MOLLE webbing on the side compartment.  The Maxpedition is a tad roomier on the side compartments (for example, you can fit three USGI 30-rd M4 mags into the open pocket while the ATHB can fit only two), and offers paracord attached to the zippers (to make them easier to grasp while wearing gloves). It also features a strip of webbing in the front compartment for a flashlight, multitool, pens, etc.

Best Tactical Pen

The Advanced Tactical Hip Bag instead has a zippered mesh pocket and a clip lanyard.  The ATHB also offers another pocket inside the other side compartment (the one with the MOLLE webbing) that can fit a full-size double-stacked pistol magazine.  Furthermore, the ATHB’s top zippered pocket features MOLLE webbing, something the Maxpedition lacks.

advanced tactical hip bag

Strap

Both feature an adjustable strap that runs through a shoulder pad, secured by velcro, and permanently sewn into one end of the bag (behind some MOLLE webbing), and fastened by a quick-release Fastex buckle on the other end of the strap.  The Maxpedition strap is sturdier, and has a plastic D-ring above the MOLLE webbing, while the other end features another section of velcro for another patch.

advanced tactical hip bag

However, the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag has a metal clip (almost like a miniature carabiner), and yet another Fastex-secured small pouch for a knife, multitool, flashlight, cellphone, pistol magazine, and a sleeve for a pen.

advanced tactical hip bag

I wore my Maxpedition on pretty much a daily basis, taking it to work, hiking, etc.  I’ll be happy to submit a review on this bag after a couple months’ worth of use.

UPDATE: After Using The Bag For 2+ Months!

Two months owning the bag, and I still like it very much.  Here’s a follow-up review I had promised.

I discovered a way to free up the main compartment by moving my rip-away IFAK to the outside.  I secure it by sticking it on the loop strip on the external flap and running a carabiner through the top pocket’s center MOLLE loop with the other running through the IFAK’s top handle (see attached photo).  It makes opening the flap (and accessing the front pocket) a little more cumbersome, but it works until I can get something on the order of AR500’s EPIK just to use with this bag.

Also, while the thinner main strap might be something of a compromise, I figured recently that it might be a good thing if you find yourself having to cut it away.

Overall, the bag has survived a few hikes and two months of nearly daily use.  I have thus far been very satisfied with it.

Your Thoughts

Was this review helpful to you? Have you experienced similar challenges with finding the right gear for your needs? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Liberty Revolution 12 Gun Safe – Review

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With gun safes, bigger is often assumed to be better. Buy bigger than you think you’ll need they say…you’ll outgrow it within a weekend.

That’s all well and good, unless size, weight and logistical considerations make a giant, 700 pound gun safe impractical.

Many of us have limited space for a gun safe…and if you’re married, the “allowable” spots you can put a safe dwindle dramatically. Or, maybe you’ve got a tight doorway or stairs to get up. Maybe, for privacy reasons, you want to move the safe into place by yourself. Or maybe you move frequently.

Yep, there are lots of circumstances that might put you out of the market for a big ol’ Liberty Fatboy or similar, big 600 pound, refrigerator-sized traditional gun safe. If none of the above circumstances apply to you and you’ve got a big ol’ gun safe sitting in the corner, hats off to you.

The Liberty Revolution 12 is compact and well made.

Personally, most of the above considerations applied to me. Limited allowable space–a corner in a small walk-in closet. Stairs, move frequently, wanted to be able to move it into place myself, too.

I’m also more of a utilitarian gun owner versus a collector, so I don’t have mass quantities of guns to store. I don’t need a giant gun safe at this point, so that’s good.

So I went in search of a smallish, closet-friendly safe. Each major safe company has one or two of these in their line-up–usually rated for 10-14 guns and sometimes marketed as “entry-level” gun safes.

Unfortunately, these safes are also usually designed like entry-level gun safes – cheap construction, minimal fire protection, no-name locks, lousy interiors and bottom of the barrel in terms of actual security.

Of course, even “Residential Security Container”-rated safes are only rated to withstand 5 minutes of prying with hand tools, but most of the closet-friendly safes are probably closer to 30 seconds of prying.

After lots of comparison shopping and looking at the offerings from every single major safe maker, I decided on the Liberty Revolution 12.

A few things pushed me over to the Liberty. One of them was this video, which shows the strength of the Revolution’s locking bar design versus more traditional safes locking mechanism:

While it’s not impervious, the Revolution is tougher than competing safes in the same size class.

It also met the other requirements I’d set out for myself: made in the USA, available locally, at least 30 minute fire rating, S&G mechanical lock.

The Liberty brand name and the lifetime warranty they offer for every safe was icing on the cake.

The Liberty Revolution safes were on sale during Black Friday of ’14 at Gander Mountain, so I woke up early and braved the crowds to save a little cash. Cost was just over $400 out the door. Regular pricing is closer to $500, which is still fair in my opinion.

With the help of one of the employees, I was able to load it into the family tactical minivan. With the help of my wife and a dolly, we got the safe up our garage stairs and into position without too much trouble or injury. Two average strength men with a dolly could move it up a flight of stairs without problem or breaking much of a sweat.

I’ve now owned the safe for 7 months and access it several times a week. Luckily, have not had to put its burglary or fire protection to the test (nor do I plan to). I’ve had absolutely zero problems with the safe and am thus far very happy.

It’s not particularly spacious, but it does what I needed it to in the space allowed. I think around an 8-long gun capacity would be a decent assessment for what could fit into the safe without too much trouble. Lock has functioned well, finish has held up flawlessly. No problemos at all.

My one knock against the safe–which is almost universal for gun safes — is the one-height-fills all barrel rests. They’re designed for a height that would be appropriate for a hunting shotgun or rifle, not an AR or a home defense length shotgun. Not a deal breaker, but wish safe manufacturers would figure this one out.

If you’re in the market for a quality closet-sized safe, the Liberty Revolution 12 is tough to contender to beat.