Thrift Tips for Stretching a Buck in a Tough Economy

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How to Survive a Layoff

Don’t panic. With a little “belt tightening” and a realistic plan, you will make it through this…

Being laid off, under employed or just watching your paycheck buy less and less at the store has become a reality in most homes. As businesses are downsizing, more and more work gets sent overseas and energy prices continue to sore, what can you do when you realize your income is not able to comfortably sustain your family?

Here are several practical tips…

Don’t Panic
First, in any survival situation, and trust me, being laid, under employed or broke half way through the month off can be a very real survival situation… Rule #1 is “Don’t panic.” So: step back, take a breath, sleep on it, pray and trust that you are going to make it through this.Store Up Some Food

Plan Ahead and Network
This is where having gone to the ant and observed their lifestyle comes in handy (Proverbs 30:25 & 6:6 – The Good Book).  It is a really wise rule of thumb to be prepared for what you think may never happen.

In our home, we have a decent stock of food that we lay by for the possibility of joblessness – which we actually have lived through multiple times.

Little Blessings From Others…
One winter, at the beginning of our years of wedded bliss, before we had  chance to think through anything wise, we wound up jobless with two little ‘uns.  That winter stands out in my mind as precious because we were fed almost entirely by a friend who was a delivery person for a food supply company…

People would reject a bag of flour that had a tear in it or cans that were dented.  He had a ministry of feeding many needy people like us with surprise deliveries of this food which would otherwise have been thrown away.

So, in our need, God supplied. Over the years, we’ve done a lot of networking and bartering.  Someone else might raise what you need and perhaps you have a skill you can trade for something. Or vice-versa.  Bartering is a great American tradition and it knits people together in a way passively forking over greenbacks can not.

Seek Out Local Resources and Encouragement
We have a wonderful Mennonite community and country store near us through whom we can order bulk foods.  They never look to profit on this, only to serve and it has been such a huge blessing in being able to order large quantities of food to stretch our budget and lay things aside at the same time.  Another place we are extremely fond of is a local surplus food store.

Bulk food is still affordable when you have a good source...

Bulk food is still affordable when you have a good source…

They resell those dented cans and just-expired foods at amazing prices so that we come home with a lot of food for not much output.  I’ve been to a store like ours in another locale and it was a rip-off.  So make sure you’re actually getting a deal.

Roadside Stands Can Be a Fun Surprise

Roadside stands are a great value

Roadside stands are fun and are often a great way to stretch a buck…

Folks who run roadside stand often go to produce markets and then bring their haul to reasonably resell. Roadside stands usually offer a great value when compared to grocery stores…

But better yet, find the wholesale produce market!  But be ready to process all the food you’ll buy there!  It’s an auction-like atmosphere, a lot of fun and a way to get semi-locally grown produce in bulk quantities.  Make sure you have your stamina that day because you may have to wait until the end for what you really want to get.

So search your area for resources like these.  Ask around…people who are thrifty are everywhere, you just have to find them!

I learned about the produce market from one of these folks!

Find Encouraging People in Tough Times
Look around  for people to whom the almighty dollar is in its proper place – at the bottom of their priorities.  These are the people who will keep your spirits from plummeting during hard times because they understand what is really important (people) and will reach out to help others.  This is where churches are supposed to shine, but unfortunately, impersonal, demeaning, mismanaged government programs have  usurped this privilege… and honestly, at times the church has fallen short, some being more occupied with things like “building programs” than building people.

But there are still some great, others-minded churches out there, and some wonderful loving folks who go to them. If you need help, seek them out.

Do It Yourself – Canning, Dehydrating & Freezing
Having a garden and canning, dehydrating and freezing what you grow is also an invaluable way to stretch a food budget.  It also allows you to have things laid up for that rainy day or week or month or year.

Canning
Our traditional way of “putting up” food for the future is a laborious but rewarding venture. However, as I learn more about nutrition (other posts to come), I am realizing that canning will give me food on my shelves, but its nutritional content is minimal, having been processed with heat for long periods.

Canning is a great way to preserve food

Canning is the traditional way to preserve food… but dehydrating is easier.

Dehydrating
Dehydrated foods keep indefinitely if dried properly.  Dehydration uses a very low heat and air circulation to lock in nutrients and enable you to have what is called, “living foods” kept on your shelf.

So dehydrating is MUCH better than canning from a nutritional perspective.

Because you’re not dependent on electricity to preserve your “goodies” after they’re dehydrated, it is better than freezing.

  • Get my article on dehydrating – Coming SOON!
  • Here’s the food dehydrator that I use – Click Here

Freezing
Freezing is also a better way than canning to preserve nutrients, but with freezing, you have a dependency on electric – which can go bye-bye at any time.

Make Your Own Laundry Soap!!!
Did you know that with a few basic very inexpensive ingredients you can make your own laundry soap?  I’ve been making my own for a few years now and it works great!

The Clothing Budget – What?
Well, we’ve been married about a quarter century and we’ve never had the prescribed clothing budget that you see in all the ‘how-to-make-a-budget’ books.  In fact, we’ve never had most of their categories!

Save money on cloths - go to a thrist shop

Going to Thrift Shops can eliminate the need for a clothing budget…

I can count on one hand the times I’ve purchased new clothing (excepting underwear, of course!).

I simply cannot bring myself to drop the amount of hard-earned money called for to buy things new.  Seems like bad stewardship to me for the purpose of vanity.

So, yeah – we shop at the exclusive places like Goodwill and Salvation Army.  I actually find it fun!  You can often find something that appeals to your fancy in a way you’d never imagined and it’s like a scavenger hunt/ surprise party every time you go!

Remember: Always try things on – even at a thrift shop, why waste money on things that don’t fit right?

Sometimes I look longingly at people who have wonderful store-bought clothes in just the right style I wish I could wear, but I really do pretty good at the thrift shops.  And if you’re clever with a needle, you can jazz up a simple second-hand tee shirt quite amazingly!

“My Secret” Resource For Everything!
I cannot write an article such as this without celebrating the age-old yard sale!

My “secret” resource for almost everything…

Oh my, if you look through my house, almost everything in it has come from a yard sale or was a gift.

You simply cannot tell that we have only two pieces of store-bought furniture. I have had many compliments on our eclectic décor and we have never been without what we need- in large part, due to yard sales.

Homeschool your children?  Yard sales offered us a plethora of low cost resources and teaching aids.

We always had a craft table full of fun things to make and do – compliments of other people cleaning out their craft supplies.

I still rely on my $50 23-cubic-foot Montgomery Ward deep freeze I got years and year ago when it was already old.

Outfits can be put together for a couple dollars. And one year I got a whole new wardrobe of brand new shoes that some lady who had a shoe fetish was getting rid of!

All of my canning supplies – yard sales.  Yard tools – yard sales.

Christmas, birthday, baby and bridal shower gifts – yard sales (think ahead!). I’m pretty sure people looked forward to seeing what would be in my shower bags because I always found such unique and wonderful things!

You don’t have to be a skinflint and can, in fact, be very generous, when you learn the art of yard saling.

One Last Tip – Take 21 Days…
Every time you go to spend any amount of money, no matter how small, ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”  If it is a need, ask: “Is there any other way I can meet this need without spending money?”

Resist impulse buys - wait 21 days

Resist impulse buys – wait 21 days

If it is a large purchase – a great rule of thumb is to wait 21 days to a month.  Sit on it.  Train yourself against impulse buying this way.

At the end of the time period, you will likely have moved on and your marriage may even benefit from this frugal, selfless practice!

Okay… Just One More tip: Leverage the Internet for Bargains…

And NEVER, EVER… purchase anything on the Internet without first doing a Google search for the name of the company you are going to buy from, followed by the words, “coupon code.” You’ll be amazed at how much you can save scrounging for a few minutes trying coupon codes.

Oh, and check Amazon before you buy online. We purchase most of our non-food necessities through Amazon because we get free shipping and find that we usually save 10% or more verse other online shops or local retail stores and we save gas and time shopping. Plus our credit card info is in one place and not spread about.

The internet is loaded with resources on how to do all sorts of things like make your own electricity,  find ways to fuel your car cheaper, heat your home for less, decorate on a budget, use simple ingredients like a gourmet, etc.,etc.  (I think my husband has some links to this kind of stuff around this site, too.)  And these are just a few of a plethora of ways to stretch what you have.

Just make sure you get all your info together in hard copies because well, who knows how long the internet will last?

Until next time…

~ Carin

How to Start a Fire with Firesteel and a Knife

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How to Use Firesteel

Using firesteel in a survival or emergency situation can be tough. Here’s how to properly use a ferro rod and knife to start a soul-warming, life-saving blaze – every time…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

using firesteel

 

First, you’ll need some REALLY DRY tinder (this is the fine stuff) because this is ONE of the MAJOR keys to SUCCESS. Dead grass or weeds, fine, dry wood shavings, twine pulled apart, dryer lint or cotton balls all make good tinder.

Next you’ll need a campfire all set up and ready to go – I recommend a teepee fire for beginners – we’ll talk more about this in a minute.

You’ll need some comfortable leather gloves and a ferrocerium fire steel rod such as the Bear Grylls, Schrade and Exotac rods.

And last but not least, you’ll need a fixed blade knife.

Set Up Your Tee Pee Fire

using firesteel
Now… set up your tee pee fire with your dry tinder on a dry surface like sticks or a rock, and add kindling. Then top it off with some larger sticks for fuel.

Your Survival Knife

using firesteel
Next we’ll need our knife. Just about any sturdy fixed blade knife with a 90 degree / squared-off AND UNCOATED spine.

The Bear Grylls knife is a popular one with those just getting into survival land. With its included ferro rod and well-designed, notched, coating-free striker area on the spine toward the handle, it’s a perfect knife to start with.

Ferro Rod

using firesteel
Now… If you are using a new ferro rod (like the one that comes with the Bear Grylls knife, you’ll need to remove the dark rust-inhibiting coating from the portion of the rod you are going to strike.

To do this, angle the spine of your blade and scrape off a good bit of the coating. It should throw a nice shower of sparks.

using firesteel

Bonus Tip
Most beginners make the mistake of striking the ferro rod by pushing the knife over the rod and toward the fire… This often results in TOO MANY sparks falling short of the tinder, AND by pushing your knife out toward the fire you run the risk of knocking your fire over as your hand travels forward… which is really frustrating.

So Here’s the Right Way to Do It

using firesteel

With gloves on, hold the knife firmly with your strong hand, spine side facing down and the edge facing up.

Brace your hand on the ground close to your tinder for support. This hand will be stationary during the process.

Now grip the ferro rod with your other hand and bring it under your knife spine tilting it at about a 45 degree angle to the blade.

To generate sparks, pull the ferro rod toward you while it rubs against the edge of the knife spine.

Bonus Tip2

Problems? Here’s What to Do
If after a minute or two you can’t get a fire, your tinder is probably too wet or may not be the proper material.

So, if you have a choice, find new tinder. If not, keep trying. It might take up to 20 minutes to get a fire going in wet or humid situations.

ONE Last thing…

vaselinecotton
Since practice makes perfect… Here’s a simple way to practice using your ferro rod and knife without starting an entire camp fire.

Grab a cotton ball and add a small dab of petroleum jelly…This will allow the cotton ball to burn much longer.

To prepare your cotton ball tinder… Simply pull it apart a bit, expanding it to two or 3 times its original size, so it literally catches the sparks.

Then follow the steps we talked about earlier… AND with a strike or two… You should have a nice little practice fire in no time.

using firesteel

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Will You Survive Doomsday? A Quick Guide…

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Preparing for Disaster – Especially the End of Our Modern World as We Know It – is NOT a Pleasant Thought and CAN Seem Overwhelming. So to Simplify Things – Here is a Great Visual Guide from the National Geographic Channel to Help YOU, “Be Prepared – Because You Never Know…”

Here’s the Best Book on PRACTICAL Disaster Preparedness

Watch Ultimate Survival Tips on Carbon TV Online (it’s FREE)…

Doomsday Infographic-Nat-Geo

 

Backyard Survival Herbs: Coltsfoot – Remedy for Coughs

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coltsfoot
Long ago, was a plant known as Filius ante patrem, which means ‘the son before the father’ because its golden flowers appeared and withered before the leaves would ever be seen. With its tufted yellow heads and later-appearing, decoratively lobed, hoof-shaped leaves, coltsfoot was (and is today) a treat to the eyes and spirit when it exploded into color along the roadsides and pathways declaring that spring had come!

Apart from being the initial burst of color after a long monochrome winter, coltsfoot, or Tussilago farfara L.,as it is now classified (a distant relative of the sunflower) also provides essential healing properties that can serve you year-round. The term ‘tussilago’ in the name refers to its cough-dispelling properties and explains one of its alternate names, Coughwort.

coltsfoot

The Europeans have long approved and popularly used it as a remedy for coughs, though, in Germany, a limit has been put upon coltsfoot usage of 4-6 weeks/year due to the liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids present- definitely something of which to be aware. Often it is combined with mullein, marshmallow or white horehound for the treatment of coughs. I have read that early Americans wrapped those with whooping cough in blankets that had been soaked in an infusion of coltsfoot. Not sure how that would work…

As noted above, the flowers appear first and should be collected before they fully bloom and dried carefully out of sunlight. The leaves then appear and can be used fresh until they die in the fall, but before then, you can collect and chop some up before drying to store for winter.

coltsfoot

 So How Does Coltsfoot Help Coughs?

Well, inherent in the plant are constituents that cause expectorant, antitussive,demulcent,anticatarrhal, pectoral tonic and diuretic actions. Let me explain each of those: expectorants support the body in getting rid of excess mucous in the respiratory system; antitussives suppress coughing; demulcents are rich in mucilaginous content which soothes irritated and inflamed tissue; anticatarrhals basically help your body get rid of snot buildup, wherever in the body that is happening; pectorals are general healers and strengtheners of the respiratory system; tonic herbs reinforce and strengthen the body’s systems, either individually as needed or overall; and a diuretic gets you urinating which can help eliminate toxins. (Just remember to rehydrate!) Some people have used a tea for the diuretic properties to help with cystitis, which requires the system to be thoroughly flushed to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection and restore balance to the bladder environment.

Now it also has emollient qualities, which make it a great herb to add to skin soothing, softening or protective preparations. It’s like the internal action as a demulcent, but externally. Fresh leaves can be crushed in your hands and then applied to abscesses, boils or festering ulcers.

A nice tea recipe for coughing would look like equal parts of coltsfoot leaf, white horehound or marshmallow leaf and flower and mullein leaf. (About a third cup dried or a half cup fresh herbs) Put your herbs in a nice teapot meant for infusing herbs or just into a glass jar. Then cover with boiling water and let steep a good half hour, even longer but not so long your tea is so strong you can’t drink it! 30-45 minutes is a good window. Then just sip on your tea as you have need throughout the day.

coltsfoot

In olden times, the leaves were dried and smoked, sometimes along with the dried root to alleviate bronchial spasms. To me, this seems counterintuitive, but I include it just for the historical aspect. Pliny, a first century Roman naturalist, recommended the dried leaves and roots of Coltsfoot to be burnt -optimally on cypress charcoal, and the smoke drawn into the mouth through a reed and swallowed, as a remedy for an obstinate cough, the patient sipping a little wine between each inhalation. Mmmhmmm….I think I will stick to the tea, thank you anyway, Pliny!  To your health and enjoyment of God’s creations! ~Carin

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Disclaimer: Of course we claim no responsibility for your experience with these herbs.  Everything we share is for information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional or medical advice. Do your own research!  Always consult a professional. Be wise. Consider always the chance of an allergic reaction. We are all unique in body chemistry.  We are NOT a medical professionals by any means, however we have saved our family a boatload of annoyance and money by being resourceful and using what is right at our feet – literally. See full disclaimer here.

5 Key Survival Disciplines to Prepare You Now – for “Then”

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Ultimet Survival Tips-Survival Plan

You can determine your chances of surviving any critical crisis, emergency or catastrophe by developing what you WILL need *then* – NOW. How? By increasing your “survival probability” quotient through the habits, attitudes, and mindset you choose today. Let me explain…

Have you watched some of the survival shows on TV where you just know that the person with all the mad survival skills is going to be the one to crush it….and how rarely that is the actual outcome? It isn’t just practical survival skills that matter but what is going on in your head and how you are accustomed to approaching life!

Habits don’t get developed easily. On the other hand, habits die hard – which is a good thing when you are thrust into an unexpected survival or crisis situation with some great habits established.

Let’s look at some lifestyle disciplines – or habits- you might want to develop.

#1 – Intentionality

Ultimate Survival Tips-Survival Plan-IntentionalityOne of the best choices you can make when considering how to live out every day is to choose to live intentionally. So MANY people live in a random fashion as if the forces of life are out of their control. Then, frustrated and maxxed out, they disappear into the oblivion of hours of media input only to emerge, rubbing their eyes and wondering where all their time and energy went and feeling depressed because nothing of personal significance seemed to get done that day beyond the “must-do’s” of life. I know the New Year’s resolution thing is widely bashed but *whatever* time of year it is when you realize you are living “less than”, is a GREAT time to sit yourself down and get intentional. Assess the past. Where did you fail? Where did you grow? What did you totally rock? Why? What is one area of your life that most needs for you to get a plan and be intentional? Nations are not won without a strategy nor relationships, jobs and daily events.

In a survival situation, you would most likely be entering into a big unknown – a situation where all elements may be completely foreign. Without a habit of intentionality and the ability to make a plan, you would surely succumb to the pressures and stresses of the unknown.

#2 – Focus

Ultimate Survival Tips Survival Plan Focus
Have you ever tried to communicate with a child who simply is not “able” to be still enough to hear what you are trying to communicate? My response is usually to get on their level and say, “So and so, I want you to stop and look into my eyes with your eyes.” Inevitably I gain a moment of their focus and a piece of calm enters into the chaos.

We live in a culture where we are literally bombarded (!!) with sensory stimuli on every side and our jobs and relationships are ordered to play into this paradigm of chaos. Cell phones and computers are requirements for life to carry on! Aaauugghhh! How many of us have said we want to run away from it all? I have! How can we accomplish the incredibly important goals of our intentionality if we are lost in the swirl of the chaos around us? It is so important to determine what it is we want/need to accomplish and be able to set those goals as our priorities for living even when that means that good things get pushed to a lesser priority. It’s hard stuff. “The sun’s scattered rays are too weak to start a fire, but once you focus them with a magnifying glass, they will bring paper to flame in seconds.” “If everything is important, nothing is.” and so on….Let’s look into the eyes of our own souls and determine what it is that we will intentionally focus on this coming year and determine to walk in that place of purposeful calm in the midst of everything else clamoring for our attention.

In a survival situation, you have to be able to assess priorities based upon your specific scenario. Do you get shelter taken care of first,or fire or food or water? Trying to do everything without a plan and a focus just might cost you your life. Having developed this skill in your day to day living will set you up to operate in a survival scenario with composure and confidence – a quality that may also bring others around you out alive.

#3 – Self-Control
Ultimate Survival Tips-survival-plan-self-control
We all want what we want when we want it. Isn’t that something we are cultivated to believe is our right and inheritance in this world? Yikes. McLife, as it were. I will refer to children again as I use the example of childishness lack of self-control and the reasons why a good parent will train a child to develop self-control. A child without self-control is unruly, usually self-centered, unable to think past the present want or demand, hurtful, lacks the ability to think about consequences of their actions on themselves or others around them, are high-maintenance, cannot say no to things that are not good for them that they want, and the list goes on….

Well, guess what? All those things are true of adults who lack self-control as well! As the list above highlights – developing self-control not only is a benefit to ourselves, but a great benefit to those around us as well. I like to use food as a means of continually developing my self-control because it’s an area where I can get to feeling really entitled, so I know it’s also an area that should really be kept in check. I will decide to do a month of raw foods only or a year of no sugar or grains or whatever I feel is something that will also benefit my health conditions at the moment. So not only do I develop a personal discipline of being able to say no but it is also something that is bearing exponential benefits in my life as I feel better and function better, etc. It might be something different for you, but a good question to ask to determine where you can develop some more self-control is: Where do I feel entitled, like this is my right to enjoy such and such? Ouch.

Now there is another angle to self-control dealing with the deeper realm of our inner man: If you deal with anger or other emotional manifestations of a lack of self-control, may I encourage you to read David’s page on The Ultimate Survival Tip? There are some areas of our lives where we really need what only God can give to help us change. As a Christian, self-control is considered a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s refining power in our lives.

So why would self-control be important in a survival scenario? Being in a habitual pattern of doing without is such a key when you must do without. Knowing you *can* flourish without the things you think you must have is very liberating.

#4 – Flexibility

Ultimate Survival Tips-Survival Plan-Flexibility

 

When I did my student teaching in an elementary school umpteen years ago, I got very high marks for my ability to be flexible with unforeseen changes in the day. I think being a parent also trains you in this discipline. Considering flexibility as a discipline seems a bit like an oxymoron, and allowing yourself to be interrupted seems contrary to intentionality and focus, but think of it this way – life happens. Are we going to fritz out when it does? Or are we going to be able to adapt our intentionally planned focus to be able to flow with the things we cannot control – because, let’s face it – life is full of things we cannot control! So the key here is not throwing out our intentionality or our focus (or our self-control!) but adapting them into whatever scenario we are forced to live within. These are the little mini-survival scenarios of life, people. Leaning into the wind and putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to head toward that goal. This is where the guts of life are developed. Who hasn’t had the unspeakable thrown at them when they least expected it? Do we curl up in a ball and give over on everything we are pressing toward? I think of the palm trees left standing after a hurricane. Deep roots hold them fast in those crazy winds.

The ability to hold one’s wits about oneself and continually revise a plan toward a goal is key in any survival situation. Being in an unfamiliar circumstance in every way will surely require the ability to be able to adapt to the unexpected.

So these are just a few things I am thinking about today as I look over my past year and into the one coming, seeking to live purposefully and redeem the time, but there is just one more I want to add which is, I think, perhaps the most important and that is….

#5 – Thankfulness

Rehearsing the things around you that are GOOD is such a “super vitamin” for being able to thrive in a difficult circumstance. And there are *always* things to be grateful for! When you make a practice of looking intentionally for these things daily – even multiple times a day if life is really hard- it is like reestablishing a plumb line for your emotions and mental health.
Have you ever been around someone who is continually critical, condemning or complaining? It just sucks the life right out of everyone around them. It is toxic. Simply put, you cannot survive very easily with such toxicity either coming from your own heart or someone else’s with whom you have to share space. A person like this in a survival scenario can be more lethal than a crouching predator. If *you’re* that toxic one, shut that voice up with speaking out those things that are good and keep it up until that toxic root is dug out completely and the desire to complain is neutralized.

Good Luck and Best Wishes as you enter into a season of endless possibilities! ~Carin

Winter Clothing Guide: How to Dress Warm – For Cold Weather

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WCK-cover-a

Well, I don’t know about you, but I hate freezing my butt off when it’s cold outside! Now add a worst-case scenario, and you could DIE out there, so it’s important to know how to dress for extended exposure to the frigid cold. Fortunately, it isn’t as hard as it might seem… especially with the addition of new clothing technology and a common sense approach.

Here’s How It Works..

Your body is a furnace that continuously generates surplus heat (when it is working properly), so all we need to do is use scaleable layers of the right clothing to PRESERVE the heat your body creates and maintain a comfortable micro-climate between your skin and outer layers of clothing- adding layers when you get cold and removing layers when you get too warm.

Layer #1: Sub Base Layer

Winter Clothing Kit

Sub-Base Layer Moves Moisture Away from Your Body

I’ve found that a snug pair of briefs and a long sleeve or sleeveless top made of nylon or polyester that is breathable, dries quick and pulls sweat away from your body works great. Short sleeve shirts tend to bunch up and be uncomfortable under thermals.

Under Armour and Exofficio brands are durable and have worked well for me and are great for year-round use, travel and bug-out bags because they wash out easily and dry quickly and can be reused without laundering.

Both brands make great sub-base layer products for the ladies,too.
Under Armour – Boxer Brief:
http://tinyurl.com/Boxer-Brief-WCK

Under Armour – Sleeveless Shirt:
http://tinyurl.com/UA-Shirt-WCK

Exofficio Briefs:
http://tinyurl.com/Exofficio-Brief-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Cotton Retains Moisture that Can Dangerously Lower Your Core Temperature

Cotton Clothing Warning

Cotton clothing is terrible for active extended exposure to the cold. Why? Because when you sweat or get wet from snow or rain, cotton absorbs moisture, loses its insulating properties and draws heat from your body instead of retaining it.

That’s bad news…
AND a sure fire recipe for hypothermia!

 Merino Wool is Best - It's NOT Scratchy and Keeps You Warm - Even When Wet

Merino Wool is Best – It’s NOT Scratchy and Keeps You Warm – Even When Wet

NEXT Up… We Need Socks… Wool Socks

AND not just any wool socks… I prefer Merino Wool Socks.

Merino wool is warm and softer than other wools so it’s NOT scratchy…. I hate scratchy wool!

Plus Merino wool is tough, wicks moisture, is breathable and naturally elastic, so my socks stay up in my boots.

 

Layer #2: Base Layer

We used to call these Long Johns or Thermals… NOT anymore.

Long sleeve top and bottoms made out of breathable yet insulating polyester like my PolarMax Base Layer are lightweight, roomy, warm and comfortable down to almost zero degrees Fahrenheit. But for extreme cold, I pull out my military issue polypropylene thermal top and bottoms.

Winter Clothing Kit

Your Base Layer is Essential to the Whole Equation of Staying Warm on the Coldest Days

Extreme Cold Base – Top:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-Top-WCK

Extreme Cold Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/E-Base-Bottom-WCK

PolarMax – Double Base – Top:
http://tinyurl.com/PolarMax-Top-WCK

PolarMax – Double Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/PolarMax-Bottom-WCK

Heavyweight Merino Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-CWC

Now We Need Some Pants…

Winter Clothing Kit

Wool or a 60%+ Polyester Blend Works Great – But I Prefer Wool

Durable, water and wind repelling pants made of wool or at least 60% polyester work great.

5.11 or Proper Tactical pants work really well over your base layer… but for extreme cold it’s hard to beat my military surplus winter wool trousers. Oh yeah!!!

And don’t forget your belt and multi-tool.

60% + Poly – Tactical Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Tactical-Pants-WCK

Surplus Wool Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Wool-Pants-WCV

Fleece Lined Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Lined-Pants

Paracord Belt:
http://tinyurl.com/Paracord-Belt-WCK

Multi-Tool:
http://tinyurl.com/Multi-Tool-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Layer #3: Core Layer

For tops, I layer two 100% poly fleece pullover shirts… a thinner one closer to my body and then a thicker one on top. And tops with 1/4 zippers on the front are helpful for regulating heat.

Fleece Pullover – Light:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Shirt-WCK

Fleece Pullover – Heavy:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Pullover-WCK

Keep ‘Em Loose
Make sure your core layers are NOT too tight because what really keeps you warm is having pockets of warm air between each clothing layer.

Layer #4: The Outer Shell

Winter Clothing Kit

A tough, insulated, water and wind repelling jacket is what you need.

For moderately cold temperatures, my tactical softshell jacket with hood works great and is very durable.

BUT when the temperature goes south of freezing I’m wearing a jacket with an outer shell that is highly water resistant and totally blocks the wind. Your coat must be well insulated to keep your core heat in and I think a hood is essential.

For extreme cold… nothing beats a down parka.

Tactical Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/Tactical-Jacket-WCK

Free Country Insulated Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/WP-Jacket-WCK

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System – Coat
http://tinyurl.com/Mil-Tec-ECWCS-Jacket

Down Parka:
http://tinyurl.com/Parka-WCK

How About Ski Pants?
Although ski or 100% polyester pants may seem like a good idea, they can be pricey and also run the risk of melting when they come in contact with a spark or flame.

Winter Clothing KitBONUS Tip – How to Become Waterproof
To add a tough, scaleable, wind and waterproof outer shell for extreme weather protection… I recommend the Helly Hansen Impertech Jacket and Pants… just make sure you size them large enough to fit over all your winter clothing.

Helly Hansen Impertech – Rain Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/HH-Jacket-WCK

Helly Hansen Impertech – Rain Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/HH-Pants-WCK

Boots
To keep your feet happy, I recommend comfortable, rugged, insulated, waterproof boots, that are not super bulky.

Winter Clothing KitThey need to keep your feet warm and dry and be able to stand up to hard extended wear if needed.

My current favorite all purpose winter boots are my Rocky Men’s Core Hunting Boots with 800 grams of Thinsulate… They are tough, warm, waterproof and SUPER comfortable to wear all day… but there’s a lot of choices out there… so you’ll have to try some boots on and find what works best for you.

NOW for your Feet Neck, Head and Hands…

Neckwear
Now around my neck I usually wear a polyester BUFF headwear scarf as a base layer to wick moisture and add a layer of cold resistance… Winter Clothing KitAnd then as an outer layer I add either a polyester neck warmer – like my vintage turtle fur… or a Shemagh Scarf Wrap.

Both are good options… but the Shemagh is my favorite due to the many ways it can be wrapped and used for neck, face and head protection… the downside is that the Shemagh is made of cotton… so it will be useless if it gets soaked.

BUFF Neck Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Buff-Neck-Base

Shemagh Scarf:
http://tinyurl.com/Shemagh-WCK

Neck Fleece:
http://tinyurl.com/Neck-Fleece

Winter Clothing Kit

Goofy Looking and Ridiculously Warm, this Natural Sheep Skin “Bomber” Hat is What Rides on My Head on the Coldest of Days. Nothing Else Even Comes Close

Headwear
Next… You gotta… Cover your head…

As a base layer for keeping the old NOGGIN’ warm, I recommend a simple fleece watch cap in addition to your insulated coat hood. Together they will offer scaleable protection from the cold and wind.

But for extreme cold… nothing beats my sheepskin bomber style hat.

Fleece – Cap:
http://tinyurl.com/Watch-Cap-WCK

Bomber / Trapper Hat
http://tinyurl.com/Bomber-Trapper-Hat

Winter Clothing KitGloves
Last, but not least, we need some tough and warm, water-resistant gloves. For maximum warmth, I can’t find anything better than a durable pair of insulated mittens, but for a versatile, glove made to work AND keep your hands warm, the Carharts Insulated Work Gloves are worth a look. I’ve been really pleased with them so far.

Carhartt Cold Snap Gloves:
http://tinyurl.com/Carhartt-Gloves

Leather Mittens:
http://tinyurl.com/Mittens-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Sun Glasses


One last final touch are sunglasses to protect your eyes from light reflecting off the snow and from bitter winds. I prefer tactical shooting glasses that provide maximum coverage.

So, there you have it… a simple, scaleable system that can keep you warm if you ever have to survival in the cold. Be Prepared and Stay Safe! ~David

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HERE’s a Bonus List of Arctic and EXTREME Cold Clothing Upgrades to ADD to Your Standard Cold Weather Clothing Kit:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-Top-WCK

Extreme Cold Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/E-Base-Bottom-WCK

Bomber / Trapper Hat
http://tinyurl.com/Bomber-Trapper-Hat

Heavyweight Merino Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-CWC

Muckluck Boots – Military Surplus (Don’t forget the liners):
http://tinyurl.com/Muckluck-Boots-WSC

Baffin Arctic Boots:
http://tinyurl.com/Baffin-Arctic-Boots

Balaclava – Extreme Face and Head Protection:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Face-Prote…

Arctic Mittens:
http://tinyurl.com/Arctic-Mittens

Arctic Expedition Parka:
http://tinyurl.com/Expedition-Parka

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System – Coat
http://tinyurl.com/Mil-Tec-ECWCS-Jacket

Arctic Expedition Pants
http://tinyurl.com/Expedition-Pants

Anti-Fog Snow Goggles:
http://tinyurl.com/Anti-Fog-Goggles

DIY – 14 lb – Bug Out Bag – Survival Kit – Get Home Bag

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IMG_9141

Everyone needs a versatile, portable Bug Out Bag to throw in a vehicle, everyday carry or grab to “get out of Dodge” on a moments notice.

So after months of testing and research, I came up with this base Bug Out Bag kit that you can assemble and customize to meet your needs.

It’s only 14 lbs (or 6.3kg) and contains the core gear that can form the essential foundation of any bug out bag you build… and should help you get through a 72 hour crisis with ease.

Here’s What’s in this Kit (click each item for more info):

UTG Tactical Messenger Sling Bag

Tactical Sunglasses

Kleen Kanteen 40 oz. Single Walled Water Container

Coast HX5 130 Lumen Focusing Flashlight

Sabre Pepper Gel

Leather Work Gloves

Shemagh Tactical Scarf

GSI Stainless Steel Cup

Scouring Pad

SOL Escape Breathable Bivy

MSR Dromedary Hydration Bag – 4 liter

SOL 2 – Man Emergency Bivy

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

55 Gallon 3mil Trash Bags

42 Gallon 3 mil Trash Bags

Mora Companion Knife

Best Glide Ultimate Adventurer Survival Kit

Duct Tape

Schrade Compact Pocket Carry Diamond Sharpener

MRE – Meals Ready to Eat

Kind Bars

Earl Grey Tea

Titan Type III Paracord

Monocular 10x Tasco

Regular Bandana

Survival Bandana

Coleman Biowipes – 30 Count

Bear Grylls Headlamp

Silky Pocket Boy Folding Saw

Silva Compass

Sharpie Fine Marker

Esse Navigation Cards

Compass Holder Neck Lanyard

Neck Lanyard ID and Money Holder

Pistol Sock

Pocket Preditor Slingshot

.38 Caliber Slingshot Ammo

UPGRADES:

Condor Urban Go Bag – Backpack

Snugpak Stratosphere One Person Breathable Bivy

Snugpak Jungle Bag

David’s Personal Outdoor Gear (from this video):

Cool Guide Hat

Tactical Jacket

Rough / Tough Pants

Gore-Tex 9″ ICS Waterproof Boots

DIY – Survival / Bug Out – Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

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DIY Survival Food Kit

In a survival or emergency situation you’re going to be burning calories fast – so food will become a critical need to maintain your morale, stamina and most importantly, your core body temperature.

But you can only carry so much food, and it runs out quickly if you don’t have the right tools to catch dinner on your own.

So let’s build a modular, everyday-carry, survival FOOD kit – that will allow you to cook, hunt, trap and fish and is designed to clip onto a bug-out bag, slip into a pack, throw in a vehicle or keep close by… just in case.
______

Here Are the Core Item’s You’ll Need for Your Survival Food Kit:
!.  A MOLLE Compatible 4-inch by 10-inch pouch
2. A GSI Outdoors Stainless Steel Cup / Pot
3. A Stanley Camp Cook Kit
4. A 4-ounce Stove Gas Canister
5. A Compact / Lightweight Burner
6. Some Emergency Food and Spices
7. A Fishing Kit
8. A Mini Sling Shot…
9. And a Few Other Items that We’ll Talk about in a Minute
Our Pouch…

DIY Survival Food Kit
First… to store, transport and protect this kit I’m using the Condor Water Pouch (just like the one I used in my recent survival water kit video).

It has a large main compartment that will hold our cooking gear and emergency food, and a smaller front pocket that will hold our fishing, hunting, trapping and survival gear.

Let’s start by assembling our cooking supplies…

Our Cup…

DIY Survival Food Kit
First, I’m using the GSI stainless steel 20-ounce cup (which holds over half a liter). It’s durable, has flip-out handles, is designed for using over an open fire or on a camp stove.

Our Cooker…

DIY Survival Food Kit
Next we have the Stanley Stainless Steel Adventure Camp Cook Set that holds nearly a liter when filled to the top (although it’s rated for 24 ounces)… AND because it’s single- walled, it can be used for boiling water, making stew and cooking whatever you like in the back country.

It has volume marks on the side, a flip-out locking handle and a vented lid that can also be used as a strainer.

DIY Survival Food Kit

This set comes with 2 nested 10-ounce (or 296 ml) cups that we’re NOT going to use in this kit… so we’ll set them aside.

Now, inside our cooker we can fit a 4-ounce gas canister, which is fuel for our mini-cook stove as well as 3 individual packs of peanut butter, that contain about 190 calories in each pack. Peanut butter also makes a great bait for trapping squirrels.

DIY Survival Food Kit

We also have…
6 Water Purification Tablets
2 – 18 by 18 inch pieces of heavy duty foil for cooking
A salt and pepper shaker
A container of sugar
Soap for clean up
And 2 ounces (or 60 ml) of oil for cooking

DIY Survival Food Kit

With all of this stuff inside, place the cooker lid on top and snap the handle in place to hold the lid tight.

Next, we have a small scrubbing pad to put in the GSI cup.

And check this out… this cooker nests perfectly in our GSI cup…

and our cup and cooker combination all fits right in our Condor pouch! Voila!

DIY Survival Food Kit

_______
To Further Complete This Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit

I found an affordable and compact burner that easily attaches to our stove gas canister and has fired up every time without a hitch. It comes with a protective nylon pouch and is sized to fit snugly inside the pouch, on top of the Stanley cooker pot.

Then add a few tea bags and some coffee beans wrapped in small zip lock bags… the coffee beans can be chewed for a quick caffeine boost… but you might like to add chocolate or something like that.

In the pouch lid I was able to fit about 2 servings of high protein instant oatmeal
AND below this… about 7.3 ounces (or 208 grams) of Trail Mix, both in heavy-duty quart sized freezer bags.

DIY Survival Food Kit

You can add whatever nutritious and packable food you like.

_______

Now let’s take a look at the Hunting, Fishing Trapping and Survival Items that go into the front pouch.

Eating Tools

DIY Survival Food Kit
First, we have a stainless steel, 3-in-1, knife, fork and spoon kit – similar to the one I used in Boy Scouts. It’s durable and fit this kit better than any of the other spork type utensil sets that I own.

Fire Starters

DIY Survival Food Kit
Next we have a lighter which I taped up so it doesn’t accidentally discharge all the gas.

And for a fire-starting back-up, I’m including the Exotac Ferrocerium FireROD with a waterproof tinder compartment and a cottonball that I’ve loaded in there.

Now We Need a Knife

DIY Survival Food Kit
I chose my Old Timer 44OT pocket knife because it’s small, has 4 blades and is great for food preparation, processing game and small bushcraft chores. I can also use one of the extra blades to strike the ferro rod to start a fire.

A Light is Always a Handy Tool

DIY Survival Food Kit
And I don’t have much room… So I chose the super small LED Maglite Solitaire. It takes only 1 AAA battery so I was able to fit a spare.

Fishing Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit
For a fishing kit… I decided to use the Uncle Flint’s Survival Fishing Kit II which includes a nice variety of gear for catching just about any freshwater fish. They even include a list of all the components in this kit so you can replenish the kit after use AND it’s all packed into a durable tin that fits just right in the front pouch of our food kit.

Snare Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit
Also from Uncle Flint’s Survival Gear, I picked up 2 Small and 1 Large Cable Snare, with salt for bait and a useful instruction sheet. Then I added enough 24-gauge wire for 2 or 3 squirrel pole snare sets.

Hunting Kit
And last, but not least, I wanted a sling shot for hunting small game to be in this kit. So I came up with a Good, Better and Best sling shot solution for you to choose from.

First… for a Good Solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
You can grab a ready to go, tubular sling shot band with pouch (for a few bucks) and improvise a sling shot in the back country.

For a Better Solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
I found the accurate, affordable and small Top SHOT slingshot from Pocket Predator – I’ve added an extra band with pouch and sealed it all in a heavy duty freezer bag for storage in this kit.

And for the BEST solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
I picked up the Pocket Predator SERE takedown sling bow / sling shot. Mine is made of Black G10.

The SERE assembles quickly, using a pin, and is easy to shoot.

Converting the SERE to a sling bow is a snap. Simply insert the arrow rest pin (that stores in the handle butt) into the top hole.

DIY Survival Food Kit

Now I can accurately shoot the three-piece takedown arrows (with expanding broad heads) that I’m taking along.

The SERE all packs up small in a freezer bag (with an extra band) and fits nicely in this kit.

To carry Slingshot ammo, I’ve repurposed 3 Chap Stick containers – filling two with .38 caliber and one with .44 caliber ammo.

DIY Survival Food Kit

Bonus Tip
If you want to pack more slingshot ammo, and feel more confident with your slingshot shooting than your trapping skills, you could eliminate the snare kit and substitute 150 rounds of .38 caliber steel or lead shot.

Regardless of what sling shot option you choose… all the survival, snare, fishing and hunting gear fits into the front pocket of this pouch.

DIY Survival Food Kit

NOW… If you choose to take arrows along… one, 3-piece takedown arrow should fit nicely through the MOLLE webbing… on either side of the pouch, leaving some extra room for paracord.

 

We’ve just taken a look at a modular, add-on, hunting, fishing, trapping, survival food kit that you can build for bug-out bags, vehicles and home emergency kits that can help you keep calories flowing into your body when you need them most.

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MSK-1: The Ultimate All-Purpose Knife that Could Save Your Life

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Website - MSK-1 Cover

When I launched the MSK-1 (Multi-Scenario Knife) on Kickstarter – May 16th, 2016 – All I knew was that Jeff Freeman and I had poured everything we had (for TWO years) into designing, building and testing – what ended up being a very special, all-purpose, survival knife. Now it was time to release MSK-1 to the world… but I had no idea if anyone else would feel the same. So, if I am honest, I was a bit nervous as I clicked, “Post Campaign.”

Support Began Immediately

I posted the MSK-1 Campaign on Kickstarter at around 2:00 AM EST to make sure everything was working properly. To my surprise (as I was still working on the campaign content), people were starting to mysteriously find the MSK-1 and pledge. This was all before I had even told anyone it was live. That was the “ahh haa” moment when started to understand the power of crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter.

Since the Kickstarter launch on May 16, the outpouring of support and encouragement for this project had been humbling, sweet and more than just a little overwhelming.

Ultimate Survival Tips Knife – Crushes Kickstarter Goal

Our original goal was to raise $15,000 – which was met in less than two days. With the help and support of many, MSK-1 has now raised over $100,000 being over 600% funded with 16 days to go in the Kickstarter Campaign (as I write this). That’s nuts! It’s been crazy ride for sure. See “live” stats for the MSK-1 Kickstarter campaign below…

Having exceeded our goal, MSK-1 (and the MSK-1 Mini Neck Knife) are going into production, so MSK-1 is available for Pre-Order now!

DISCOVER the “Rest of the Story” and Pre-Order MSK-1 Now – on Kickstarter…

See What Knife News Has to Say About MSK-1

knife news screen shot

 

If you would like to be part of the team that is bringing MSK-1 to the world – you can pledge to this campaign starting as low as $2.

Thank you for your help and support!

Warmest Regards,

David Sig-150px small

Founder / Owner

Ultimate Survival Tips

Wild Violets: For Beauty, Nourishment and Healing

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Wild Violets

Who isn’t entranced while walking a shady wooded path strewn with a carpet of wild violets? It instantly creates an almost magical atmosphere, intoxicating with the sweet scent of the blooms. Makes me wonder what virtue of the violet gained it prominence on the Napoleonic Imperial Army’s emblem! It is certainly a plant full of offerings for us, be it for just sensory enjoyment or for practical purposes.

There are many varieties of wild violets, some more fragrant than others, but all are edible and beautiful. Johnny jump-ups, or Viola tricolor, are a well-loved cousin to the violet, also with many uses. (They are also the forefathers of the cultivated garden pansy, which are also edible.) The violets I collect are Viola odorata.

To add violets to your home herbal apothecary, collect the leaves and flowers in mid-late spring. Dry carefully as they are delicate, which is also why they don’t withstand the summer heat. The plant likes some shade and can often be found at the edges of woods, stream beds and thickets, where the soil is rich and moist. Flowers sprout up on their own stems apart from the surrounding orb leaves, which is interesting. Leaves are heart shaped and often curl a bit on the edges. The flowers can be yellow or white but are definitely most commonly found in a shade of purple – hence, violet! Because the violet doesn’t seed until autumn when a new stem with a seedhead emerges where once in spring the beautiful flower resided, you can harvest violets to your heart’s content, knowing that you aren’t restricting their reoccurrence! I like that!

Wild Violets

Violets are also rich in medicinal characteristics. In an infusion, the leaves and flowers have expectorant action, helpful with any mucus buildup in coughs and especially bronchitis, and also have an alterative action, helping your body to rebalance and cleanse – especially your nerves, lungs, reproductive and immune systems. Their anti-inflammatory action is helpful for any condition related to inflammation, with people noting results in conditions as varied as eczema and rheumatism. As a diuretic, it can aid the body in ridding the urinary tract of infection. There is ancient and not-so-ancient medical literature that cites violets – specifically the leaves- as a viable anti-tumor agent, be it fibrocystic tumors or cancerous tumors. Check it out.

Also consider extracting properties of the violet by making tinctures and violet oil. Remember when making an infused oil to dry your herb first so that the moisture from the herb doesn’t cause mold in the oil. Violet leaves would be a welcome addition to any wound-healing oil to be made into a salve, because of the antiseptic, dissolving, cooling and healing properties they harbor. Pink eye? Get some violet leaves and make a hot poultice!

Wild violets

As part of a beauty regimen, it is told that soaking a cup of violets in a cup of warm fresh goat’s milk overnight and then soaking a heated washcloth in the milk in the morning and applying it to the face and neck does wonders for the complexion.

As an edible, we have just eaten the flowers and leaves as we pick them, strewn them into salad for a touch of beauty and tastiness and also have dipped the flowers into beaten egg whites (with a smidge of water) and dipped in sugar to let dry into beautiful decorations for edible creations. You can also add the greens to a collection of spring potherbs, a vitamin and mineral-rich treat of the spring season! The leaves are especially rich in vitamins A and C. (100 g fresh leaves = 10,000 IU vit A and 264 mg it C) Yum! Don’t eat the roots of the violet, however, or you will wind up with a belly ache. I’m going to add a fun recipe I found in an old book of mine on wild foods. It’s something I plan to make before the violets disappear for the year!

Wild Violets

Violet Jelly
1/2 cup fresh purple violet petals
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
1 1/2 Tbs plain gelatin
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Whipped cream
Fresh spring violets

Add stemmed violets to a boiling syrup of the sugar and water. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Strain and measure out 2 cups of syrup. Soften the gelatin in the orange juice and add. Pour into a mold and jell in the refrigerator. Unmold and garnish with whipped cream and fresh violets.

Wild Violets

Happy Spring everyone! ~Carin
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Disclaimer: Of course we claim no responsibility for your experience with these herbs.  Everything we share is for information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional or medical advice. Do your own research!  Always consult a professional. Be wise. Consider always the chance of an allergic reaction. We are all unique in body chemistry.  We are NOT a medical professionals by any means, however we have saved our family a boatload of annoyance and money by being resourceful and using what is right at our feet – literally. See full disclaimer here.

Just For Fun on a Spring Day- Dandelion Petal Jelly!

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dandelionjelly

A couple weeks ago, a friend of a friend remarked during dinner about her enthusiasm for making dandelion jelly. “Tastes like honey…” was her commentary and since I love honey, I purposed to create this nectar of the dandelion at my first opportunity.  (In addition to jelly, you can create a syrup or wine from the blossoms as well.)

dandelion jelly

Dandelion Petals Have Some Medicinal Value

In my research, in most of my go-to resources, I could find no mention of any real medicinal value to the flowers, fresh or as an infusion (the leaves and roots are another story), until I dug into Healing Wise by Susun Weed.  (I think it is too funny that that is her name and she is an herbalist!) According to her, dandelion flowers are good for beautification, pain relief and heart health.  She says fresh blossoms steeped in boiling water for at least an hour are amazing for beautifying your face and dealing with just about any facial skin anomoly you might have – putting the strained flowers on your face first for a while and then rinsing off with the liquid w/o following with plain water.  I must try this!

She recommends making dandelion wine for a heart strengthener and claims that an infusion will rid one of aches of all kinds -head, back, stomach, cramps, etc.!  In addition, if you infuse an oil with the blossoms and then rub it into painful, sore and stiff areas, it should help with stiff necks, arthritic joints and such. I have infused St. John’s Wort in oil for this reason…hmmm – I think this year I will add in some dandelion heads!

Now, I’m not sure if any healing value is left after all the processing of a jelly, but it is fun to just know that this is a creation from a gift of nature.  These are my favorite ventures in life!

dandelion jelly

What To Do On A Sunny Day

Yesterday was the sunny, pleasant, relaxed day I was looking for to pick the flowerheads. Little did I know it would take me 3 hours(!!) to collect enough flower petals (a loosely-packed quart) to do a batch of jelly! This is one situation where you want to ask all hands on deck to help because otherwise, I’m just not sure the result justifies the time expense! But for me, I was just enjoying the sun and downtime as I picked enough flowers and de-bracted them.

dandelion jellydandelion jelly

Don’t Leave Any Green!

Dandelion greens are bitters, so that includes the bracts that hold in the flower petals…it is important that if you want a sweet product, that you remove all the green parts! This is very time consuming! I used my thumbnails and broke each base in half and then ran my thumbnail along the base of the flower head to release the petals. Another friend says you just have to develop a technique of twisting the bracts while squeezing them and the petals will just fall into your hand.

 

It takes a lot of flower heads to get a quart of petals and honestly, I just had to be done at one point and shook up my jar to expand the volume! (They had indeed settled down into the jar and gotten moist.)

dandelion jelly

Make the Infusion First

I then brought the petals indoors and boiled them in a pot with 2 quarts of fresh, non-chlorinated water for 10 minutes. I decided to let this infusion sit overnight for the best potency. In the morning, I strained twice, first through a double layer of cheesecloth and then through a coffee filter. I had 6 cups of liquid.

dandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jelly

Then Make Jelly!

Using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, I came up with the following recipe for 6 cups of dandelion tea:

3/4 cup fresh (if possible) lemon juice
zest from two lemons
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scooped into the liquid
3 cups sugar
2 Tbs. calcium water
2 Tbs + 1/2 tsp pectin

Then I just followed the general directions for using Pomonas. Altogether I got 5 1/2 pints and 8 4-oz jars. (About 4 1/2 pints)

dandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jellydandelion jelly

My honest first impression was that it tasted like lemon meringue pie!  This recipe jelled nicely and has a very pleasant delicate lemony-vanilla flavor.

I think this is going to be a very nice accompaniment to popovers!

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5 Knives EVERY Man Should Have – EDC Blades 101

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5 Knives Cover

I hear it all the time, “What’s the BEST Survival Knife David?” So today, I’m coming clean and going to share with you THE best survival knife in the world for any situation that you find yourself in. Ready!?

Okay… So What Makes a  Great Survival Knife?

Well there’s a lot of discussion and debate about this, probably because the term, “survival knife” means many different things to many different people.

Here’s the Problem…

A bushcrafter, hunter, doomsday prepper, tactical or military professional… or just regular folks – LIKE YOU and Me… are all likely to come up different conclusions about what constitutes the best survival knife, because of our experiences, expectations and how we see the world.

So let me ask YOU this… “What is THE Best Survival Knife?” 

Okay, Got your answer?

Yeah, I had mine to, until a good friend blew my mind one day – when he said to me, “David, the best survival knife is the one you have on you, when you need it most.”

Think about that for a moment…

This really makes a lot of sense. Because, if you are like me, you’re probably not always going to have your preferred, primary survival blade with you… or on you all the times.

So when a disaster, crisis or emergency strikes – and your primary survival knife is not available – the knife that you Everyday Carry ON Your Person becomes your primary survival knife. Make sense?

So I can’t stress enough that you need to have at least one or two everyday carry knives on you at all times.

For me, I have a 5 tier approach to everyday carry, survival cutting tools that I think you might find helpful…  HERE it is…

5 Knives - Neck Knives

The NEW Ultimate Survival Tips MSK-Mini Neck / Backup Blade and My CRKT Folts Minimalist Neck Knife

5 Tiers of EDC Survival Knives:

TIER 1 – Neck Knife – A good neck knife is my primary EDC blade because it travels unnoticed and invisible around my neck at all times. My personal choice in neck knives is the super light weight and capable CRKT Folts Minimalist or my new favorite (and soon to be released on Kick Starter) Ultimate Survival Tips: MSK-1 Mini neck knife.

 

 

5 Knives - 3 Pocket KnivesTIER 2 Pocket Knife – When I need a blade quick, I’m reaching for me pocket knife. Now for me, my pocket knife changes depending on the situation. If I just want a general general utility blade… either my Schrade First Response or Gerber Propel are coming along. But if I’m traveling or for some reason want more of a self defense blade, my Gerber Covert – OR – Mini Covert usually get the nod.

 

5 Knives - Leatherman WaveTIER 3 – Belt Sheath Knife – Next, because many folks wear belts, I recommend a small to medium sized belt sheath knife or multi-tool as your TIER 3 EDC.

For me, I carry my trusted, Leatherman Wave multi-tool on my belt. Now, beside having a great fine and serrated edged blade, my Leatherman wave has a pile of other tools that come in handy almost every day.

5-Knives-Card Sharp

TIER 4 – Wallet Knife – When I leave the house I ALWAYS have my wallet in my pocket… and a wallet always seemed like like a great place to keep a back up blade. So… in my wallet I carry an Ian Sinclar CardSharp 2 as my last ditch knife. It’s lightweight and thin, wicked sharp, and only takes up a credit card slot in my wallet… but easily folds into a very capable light duty knife. See my full review of this knife for more.

5 Knives-Primary Knives-Old Favs

Gerber LMF II, Ka-Bar Becker Bk-2 and OKC Blackbird SK5

TIER 5 – PRIMARY Survival Knife – My 5th and final tier for an everyday carry survival knife is my primary (or preferred) survival knife. This is the ONE knife I want with me if things go bad real bad.

My past favorites range from my Mora Light My Fire, OKC Blackbird SK5, Gerber LMF II… the newer Gerber StrongArm or my Becker BK-2

MY Favorite PRIMARY Survival Knife

5-Knives-UST MSK-1

Check Back Often for the Release of the Ultimate Survival Tips MSK-1 (Multi Scenario Knife)

I’m a bit biased, but now my preferred Worst Case Scenario knife is the blade I have been working on for over 2 years with my design partner Jeff Freeman – the Ultimate Survival Tips: MSK-1 Multi-Scenario Knife. When I can’t carry it on my belt it’s usually not far away, waiting quietly in my EDC backpack.

Bonus Tip:

Now here’s a bonus tip… For a super cheap – last ditch blade, take some heavy duty – duct tape to secure a standard – old school razor blade (with cardboard blade protector) to the inside of your wallet – or even – the inside your shoe under the insole…

But whatever you do, don’t forget about your EDC blades when entering weapon-free buildings or going through TSA check points… like I did one day with my Leatherman Wave – that almost cost me my tool and missing my flight.

Well, there you have it… a 5 Tier Approach to Everyday carry to ensure that you have a survival cutting tool on you at all times.

Thanks for hanging out… like, comment and share this post with others you think it will help… and remember… Be Prepared… Because You Never Know!

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

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

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

dangerous-book-for-menThe Dangerous Book for Men

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

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

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

DSC02590Survival Zombie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.57.34 PMSurvival Bandana

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

http://amzn.to/1RriRj6

IMG_5590editThe Boss of Survival MacheteLand

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://amzn.to/1Rrj1Hh

DSC02606Pocket Knot Cards

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

http://amzn.to/1ZLTkD8

IMG_5619editSurvival Multi-Tool – Leatherman Signal

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

http://amzn.to/1UDvDOe

Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool:

http://amzn.to/1Rrj4To

IMG_5649editThe King of Knife Sharpeners

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

http://amzn.to/1RrjaKQ

 

 

See the YouTube Video HERE!

How to “Eat Like a King” in the Wilderness – And NOT Die

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UST-Wild Edibles-berries

Wild plants are a great, free source of nutrition and energy while camping, hiking, or “surviving” in the wilderness. But eat the wrong plant and you could be sick as a dog or worse – die.  However, abide by these 5 Rules of Wild Edibles and you’ll eat like a King (or Queen) and live…

Rule #1:
NEVER eat anything that you are not 100% certain what it is, what parts are edible and when you can eat it.
Some plants have only certain parts that are edible.  Some parts of plants are only edible at certain stages of growth.
Many edible plants have poisonous look-a-likes, so be 100% sure before you eat something. If in doubt, leave it out.

Rule #2:
If you haven’t eaten it before a survival situation – don’t eat it.
Remember, you must be able to positively ID a plant – smelling, touching and tasting helps you remember correctly.
This also makes sure you don’t have a negative reaction when your life may be on the line.

Mints are easily identifiable by their square stems, heavily scented leaves and characteristic flowerheads.

Mints are easily identifiable by their square stems, heavily scented leaves and characteristic flowerheads.

Rule #3:
Focus on learning and using wild edibles that are:
*Most plentiful, common and readily available
*Safest to eat
*Easiest to identify

wild strawberries

Wild strawberries are easy to identify because they are just smaller replicas of the larger variety.

Rule #4:
Never eat plants that may have been treated or sprayed with chemicals –
an issue mostly in urban environments.

Rule #5:
Get a good field guide for a reference (and carry it with you as you learn):
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants – Lee Allen Peterson
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate – John Kallas
Edible Wild Plants (Pocket Naturalist Guide)

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2016 – Ultimate Survival Challenge – Level 1

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GET TRAINED – HAVE FUN – TEST YOUR SKILLS – COMPETE FOR $700+ in PRIZES

– REGISTER NOW –

The ONLY 3-Day – Family Friendly – Survival Training in the USA That Covers:

UST-Fall-Survival-Class-Underpaint-Final-1000pxThe Core 4: SHELTER – FIRE – WATER – FOOD +

+ Wilderness First Aid + Navigation with a Compass, the Sun and Stars + Hand to Hand Self Defense (And Disarming an Attacker) + Primitive and Modern Survival Weapons (Including Firearms) + Bug Out Basics + Choosing Survival Knives and Gear + FREE Food and Medicine (AKA Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants) + How to Survive ANY Crisis or Disaster + Family Survival Tips + How to “Process” and Cook Small Game Animals… AND MORE.

You’ll Even Craft Your Own Bow Drill Kit AND Make Fire With It – So FAR, We Have a 100% Success Rate With Our Students – Come On Out AND Help Us Keep a Perfect Record!!!

Only ONE Date in 2016 – SO DON’T MISS OUT!

LOCATION: Wellsboro, Pennsylvania USA

STARTS: Monday July 11th 2016 @ 1:00PM EST

ENDS: Thursday July 14th 2016 @ 2:00PM EST

COST: ONLY $295 / Person Until March 31st, 2016 (Regular Price $495)*

*EARLY BIRD Registration ENDS March 31st, 2016 / April 1st to April 30th – $395 / After May 1st – $495

The ULTIMATE SURVIVAL CHALLENGE – LEVEL 1 is a FUN yet INTENSE Training that Packs Over 40 Hours of VITAL Urban and Wilderness Survival Skills into 3 Days. Along the Way We Will Surprise You With Individual and Group Skills Challenges that Will TEST (and Reinforce) What YOU Have Been Taught AND Give You the Opportunity to Win Your Share of Over $700+ in Survival Gear and Prizes.

FAMILY FRIENDLY – We LOVE Families! Moms and Dads, Sons, Daughters (13 Years Old and Up) and Grandparents… All Will Enjoy our “SAFE” Friendly and Wholesome Training Style and Camp Environment – Where You Will Be Able to JUST Be Yourself, Enjoy the Beauty of the Pennsylvania Mountains and Be Encouraged Regardless of Your Skill Level.

Your Instructors: David (Founder of Ultimate Survival Tips) will be joined by Craig Caudill, founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School, and Clint Jivoin, Primitive Survival Skills Trainer and Writer for the American Survival Guide.

We’ve boiled down decades of experience to bring to you only the most practical and effective – survival methods, strategies and gear.

Survival Skills You’ll Discover:Side Photo Collage-Website-Promo-2

How to Build Primitive, Hybrid and Modern Survival Shelters

– 6 Steps to Increase Your Chance of Surviving Any Crisis

How to Find, Collect and Purify Water through Primitive and Modern Techniques

– 7 Priorities of Urban and Wilderness Survival

– Hand to Hand / Survival Self Defense and Disarming Basics

How to Obtain Food through Survival Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Methods

– Basic Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants

How to Start and Build a Sustainable Fire Using a Wide Range of Methods

BONUS Sessions Will Include:

– Everyday Carry, Bug Out Bag and Emergency Kit Essentials

How to Select the Right Survival Gear

– Primitive, Hybrid and Modern Survival Weapons

– And a Lot More…

PLUS! See Today’s Top Survival Gear and Knives

Don’t worry, even though this course is jam packed, you’ll have plenty of time to check out David’s extensive personal collection of TOP survival gear and knives. If you’re nice, he might even let you try stuff out so you can discover which gear is the best for you!

View from Our Survival Camp

View from Our Survival Camp Location

Where Is It?

This training is hosted in the Beautiful Endless Mountains of Wellsboro Pennsylvania.

NOTE: You will be provided with the location of the training AND what you need to bring following registration.

When Is It?

STARTS: Monday July 11th 2016 @ 1:00PM EST

ENDS: Thursday July 14th 2016 @ 2:00PM EST

Craig-NavCost / Food and Lodging:

Meals are provided and FREE tent camping is included adjacent to our primitive camp area where most of your training will take place.

The cost is $495 $295 per person through March 31st 2016*.

*EARLY BIRD Registration ENDS March 31st, 2016 / April 1st – April 30th $395 / After May 1st $495

Notes: There are restroom and shower facilities available to all at the training. If you have special lodging needs, we have modern lodging facilities available. Contact us for details.

Who Should Attend?

This training is open to men, women, and responsible supervised youth WITH parent or guardian (13 – 17 years old), law enforcement, first responders and military members OR anyone who wants to learn a wide range of essential survival skills in a short period of time – in a SAFE fun and family friendly environment.

Primitive ShelterWhat Should I Bring?

After you register, you’ll be provided with directions to the training location and everything else you need to know to have a fun, safe and fulfilling experience – including what gear you should bring.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL – $295 Per Person + A FREE Limited Edition Survival Knife for the FIRST 15 People to Sign Up**

**The first 15 people to sign up will get a limited edition, Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife (one of David’s favorite knives) engraved by the manufacturer to commemorate your survival training.

Don’t Wait – Register Now!

We are limiting class size to ensure that everyone gets adequate hands-on experience and one-on-one time with our instructors. I don’t want you to miss out – so don’t wait – register today!

10+ Crazy Survival Gifts, Gadgets and Gear – Volume #2

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v2-Cover-survival-camping-gifts-christmas-ultimate-gear-knife-gadget-best

IF you’re looking for MORE crazy, cool and downright useful NEW gear for everyday carry, survival, prepping, bushcraft, bug out or as a gift for someone on your list, who likes to be prepared… you’ve come to the right place.  Here are 10+ survival gadgets, gizmos, gifts and gear…

Gizmos-2-1

Swiss Card Lite – Includes 13 EDC Tools

     13 Emergency Tools – In a Credit Card Sized Pocket Tool
A credit card slot in your wallet, pack or purse is a great place to everyday carry the Victorniox Swiss Card Lite Pocket Tool. Made in Switzerland… the 13-Tool Swisscard Lite includes a small knife, scissors, rulers, tweezers, a straight pin, micro pen, a magnifying glass, 4-function screw driver, and an emergency LED light. Cost is around $30 US.

Swiss Card Lite: http://amzn.to/1PFQtdk

For a Survival Credit Card Tool… check out the Tool Logic Survival Card 2 with a cool knife, firesteel, emergency whistle, light and more… Cost is around $19 US.

Survival Card II: http://amzn.to/1O8jBE5

Shower-hand

Small and Lightweight

Sea Shower-2

Take a 7 Minute Shower Anywhere…

Ultra Light 4 Oz. Emergency / Camping / Bug Out Bag Shower
If you or your better half hate the idea of getting dirty, stinky and otherwise totally disgusting during an emergency, bug out or camping trip… consider the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. This little beauty is super small, weights just 4 ounces (or 114 grams), holds 10 liters of water, and gives you about a 7 minute shower. In full sun, the black bag will heat up the water it contains – so you don’t freeze your butt off. AND the 10 liter bag doubles as a water container in a pinch. Cost is around $35 US.

Pocket Shower: http://amzn.to/1O8jJmW

Gizmos-2-2

26 Survival Items for $13

Best $13 UltraLight Survival Kit
If $13 dollars US sounds about what your budget can handle for a basic, ready-made survival kit… You’re pretty cheap… but all hope is NOT lost. The LifeLine 26-Piece Ultralight Survival Kit comes to your rescue with some shelter, fire, water, food, navigation and first aid basics… It’s not perfect, but then again you don’t have a lot of money for a survival kit… But if you want a bit more in a on a pre-made kit – and have a few more bucks to invest… I recommend the Best Glide Be Prepared Pocket Tin, the Best Glide Adventurer Survival Kit or the Gear Pods Wilderness Kit – I’ve done full reviews (on YouTube) of all 3.

Gizmos-2-2b

3 Other Awesome Pre-Made Survival Kits…

LifeLine Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kTz0

Best Glide – Be Prepared Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kZXg

Best Glide Adventurer:
http://amzn.to/1O8l3X8

Gear Pods Wilderness Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8lgcL

Gizmos-2-3

ETON Scorpion II – Charges by Hand Crank, Sun or Outlet…

Bug Out Bag / Emergency Radio
If you’re looking for a durable, compact Bug Out Bag or emergency radio that is NOT dependent on batteries or the grid? Look no further. The ETON Scorpion II has a footprint about the size of my iPhone 6 (although it’s quite a bit fatter) and charges using USB, solar or it’s built-in hand crank. It sports a digital clock, AM, FM and Weather Band Radio, built in speaker, headphone jack, LED flashlight, carabiner (for hanging it on stuff) and a bottle opener (Hey, why not). AND it can even charge your smart phone – Cost is around $50 US.

Emergency Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8lkJD

And for a rugged bear bones, hand crank and solar radio with AM/FM and weather band… I’m pretty attached to my Ambient Weather Solar radio. Cost is around $15 US.

Mini-Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8loZZ

Gizmos-2-4

Ultimate Zombie Survival Kit

VSSL Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit
Meet the Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit by VSSL Gear. On the cap ends of the daunting black aluminum case there is a 3 mode LED light on one side and large compass on the other… that when replaced with the high tensile aluminum spike (found inside)…  transforms the otherwise harmless VSSL into a worthy Zombie eliminating tool. There’s also a medical mask to help protect you from whatever Zombified the Zombie in the first place. Cost is around $60 US.

Zombie Weapon Kit: http://amzn.to/1O8mzIG

Gizmos-2-4b

VSSL First Aid and Supplies Survival Kits…

Although the Zombie Weapon Kit is a novelty item… VSSL also makes an innovative and legit first aid kit and a survival kit called VSSL Supplies – Check out my full review on YouTube.

VSSL First Aid Kit:
http://amzn.to/1THTkBk

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8mO6L

Gizmos-2-5

Sweet $39 Bushcraft Blade by Condor Knife and Tool

Best $39 Bushcraft Knife?
The Condor Knife and Tool Bushlore is about the best sub $50, full tang, traditional bushcraft knife that I’ve found to date. It’s made in El Salvador from 1075 high carbon steel, has a wicked sharp, and tough, full fine edge drop point, blade, a beautiful hardwood handle and comes with a sweet leather sheath. Cost is… around $39 US.

Bushlore Knife:http://amzn.to/1THTzfH

Mora

Mora Light My Fire

Another Great Choice in Bushcraft Blades is the Mora Light My Fire. Although not full tang, Swedish-made Mora blades are tough for the price and the Light My Fire blade is made from nearly legendary Sandvik Stainless Steel and has a very useful ferro rod built into the handle that can be struck using the spine side of the blade to start a fire. Cost is around $29 US.

Mora Light My Fire: http://amzn.to/1O8mYLc

Phone

The Fre’ Power Protects and Powers My iPhone

How to Waterproof and DOUBLE the Battery Power of Your iPhone
If you’re looking for tough waterproof protection for your iPhone AND would like double your phone’s battery life – check out the LifeProof Fre’ POWER. The LifeProof Fre’ POWER solves some earlier issues that I experienced with the LifeProof FRE case… and has done a great job protecting my iPhone 6… AND doubling it’s run time when shooting videos in the field, or when I’m away from power for a couple of days. Costis around $90 US.

LifeProof Fre’ Power: http://amzn.to/1THU21e

Belt

My Rattlerstrap Belt is Almost 3 Years Old…

BEST Survival Paracord Belt
If you want your belt to be more than a pants holding, gear hanger, and think having over 100 feet of everyday carry 550 Paracord available in an emergency is a pretty keen idea… check out the RattlerStrap Survival Paracord belt.  I’ve been wearing my rattlerstrap belt nearly everyday for about 3 years now. The weave is still tight while it looks and functions like the day I got it. But save up your pennies kids. The cost is around $100 US.

Rattlerstrap Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8njh6

If $100 for a paracord belt is beyond your budget… the next best choice is the Bison designs double cobra, paracord survival belt at around $60 US
Bison Designs Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8noRG

See my full review on YouTube.

Cover1-IMG_3473

3-Mode – Bear Grylls Micro Torch Can Save the Day

Emergency Light Anywhere, Anytime
For emergency light anywhere, anytime, pack the Bear Grylls Micro Torch in survival kits, hang from zipper pulls or put on your key chain for reliable emergency light in a super small package. I’ve got several of these little gems kicking around and they’ve saved my butt more than once. Cost is around $7 US for this great stocking stuffer. See my full review on YouTube. (63)

BG Micro Torch: http://amzn.to/1O8nGrP

17+ Crazy Survival Gifts, Gadgets and Gear – Volume #2

Click here to view the original post.

COVER-best-survival-gear-gadgets-survival-camping-gifts-christmas-ultimate-gear-knife-gadget-best

IF you’re looking for MORE crazy, cool and downright useful NEW gear for everyday carry, survival, prepping, bushcraft, bug out or as a gift for someone on your list, who likes to be prepared… you’ve come to the right place.  Here are 10+ survival gadgets, gizmos, gifts and gear…

Gizmos-2-1

Swiss Card Lite – Includes 13 EDC Tools

     13 Emergency Tools – In a Credit Card Sized Pocket Tool
A credit card slot in your wallet, pack or purse is a great place to everyday carry the Victorniox Swiss Card Lite Pocket Tool. Made in Switzerland… the 13-Tool Swisscard Lite includes a small knife, scissors, rulers, tweezers, a straight pin, micro pen, a magnifying glass, 4-function screw driver, and an emergency LED light. Cost is around $30 US.

Swiss Card Lite: http://amzn.to/1PFQtdk

For a Survival Credit Card Tool… check out the Tool Logic Survival Card 2 with a cool knife, firesteel, emergency whistle, light and more… Cost is around $19 US.

Survival Card II: http://amzn.to/1O8jBE5

Shower-hand

Small and Lightweight

Sea Shower-2

Take a 7 Minute Shower Anywhere…

Ultra Light 4 Oz. Emergency / Camping / Bug Out Bag Shower
If you or your better half hate the idea of getting dirty, stinky and otherwise totally disgusting during an emergency, bug out or camping trip… consider the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. This little beauty is super small, weights just 4 ounces (or 114 grams), holds 10 liters of water, and gives you about a 7 minute shower. In full sun, the black bag will heat up the water it contains – so you don’t freeze your butt off. AND the 10 liter bag doubles as a water container in a pinch. Cost is around $35 US.

Pocket Shower: http://amzn.to/1O8jJmW

Gizmos-2-2

26 Survival Items for $13

Best $13 UltraLight Survival Kit
If $13 dollars US sounds about what your budget can handle for a basic, ready-made survival kit… You’re pretty cheap… but all hope is NOT lost. The LifeLine 26-Piece Ultralight Survival Kit comes to your rescue with some shelter, fire, water, food, navigation and first aid basics… It’s not perfect, but then again you don’t have a lot of money for a survival kit… But if you want a bit more in a on a pre-made kit – and have a few more bucks to invest… I recommend the Best Glide Be Prepared Pocket Tin, the Best Glide Adventurer Survival Kit or the Gear Pods Wilderness Kit – I’ve done full reviews (on YouTube) of all 3.

Gizmos-2-2b

3 Other Awesome Pre-Made Survival Kits…

LifeLine Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kTz0

Best Glide – Be Prepared Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kZXg

Best Glide Adventurer:
http://amzn.to/1O8l3X8

Gear Pods Wilderness Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8lgcL

Gizmos-2-3

ETON Scorpion II – Charges by Hand Crank, Sun or Outlet…

Bug Out Bag / Emergency Radio
If you’re looking for a durable, compact Bug Out Bag or emergency radio that is NOT dependent on batteries or the grid? Look no further. The ETON Scorpion II has a footprint about the size of my iPhone 6 (although it’s quite a bit fatter) and charges using USB, solar or it’s built-in hand crank. It sports a digital clock, AM, FM and Weather Band Radio, built in speaker, headphone jack, LED flashlight, carabiner (for hanging it on stuff) and a bottle opener (Hey, why not). AND it can even charge your smart phone – Cost is around $50 US.

Emergency Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8lkJD

And for a rugged bear bones, hand crank and solar radio with AM/FM and weather band… I’m pretty attached to my Ambient Weather Solar radio. Cost is around $15 US.

Mini-Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8loZZ

Gizmos-2-4

Ultimate Zombie Survival Kit

VSSL Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit
Meet the Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit by VSSL Gear. On the cap ends of the daunting black aluminum case there is a 3 mode LED light on one side and large compass on the other… that when replaced with the high tensile aluminum spike (found inside)…  transforms the otherwise harmless VSSL into a worthy Zombie eliminating tool. There’s also a medical mask to help protect you from whatever Zombified the Zombie in the first place. Cost is around $60 US.

Zombie Weapon Kit: http://amzn.to/1O8mzIG

Gizmos-2-4b

VSSL First Aid and Supplies Survival Kits…

Although the Zombie Weapon Kit is a novelty item… VSSL also makes an innovative and legit first aid kit and a survival kit called VSSL Supplies – Check out my full review on YouTube.

VSSL First Aid Kit:
http://amzn.to/1THTkBk

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8mO6L

Gizmos-2-5

Sweet $39 Bushcraft Blade by Condor Knife and Tool

Best $39 Bushcraft Knife?
The Condor Knife and Tool Bushlore is about the best sub $50, full tang, traditional bushcraft knife that I’ve found to date. It’s made in El Salvador from 1075 high carbon steel, has a wicked sharp, and tough, full fine edge drop point, blade, a beautiful hardwood handle and comes with a sweet leather sheath. Cost is… around $39 US.

Bushlore Knife:http://amzn.to/1THTzfH

Mora

Mora Light My Fire

Another Great Choice in Bushcraft Blades is the Mora Light My Fire. Although not full tang, Swedish-made Mora blades are tough for the price and the Light My Fire blade is made from nearly legendary Sandvik Stainless Steel and has a very useful ferro rod built into the handle that can be struck using the spine side of the blade to start a fire. Cost is around $29 US.

Mora Light My Fire: http://amzn.to/1O8mYLc

Phone

The Fre’ Power Protects and Powers My iPhone

How to Waterproof and DOUBLE the Battery Power of Your iPhone
If you’re looking for tough waterproof protection for your iPhone AND would like double your phone’s battery life – check out the LifeProof Fre’ POWER. The LifeProof Fre’ POWER solves some earlier issues that I experienced with the LifeProof FRE case… and has done a great job protecting my iPhone 6… AND doubling it’s run time when shooting videos in the field, or when I’m away from power for a couple of days. Costis around $90 US.

LifeProof Fre’ Power: http://amzn.to/1THU21e

Belt

My Rattlerstrap Belt is Almost 3 Years Old…

BEST Survival Paracord Belt
If you want your belt to be more than a pants holding, gear hanger, and think having over 100 feet of everyday carry 550 Paracord available in an emergency is a pretty keen idea… check out the RattlerStrap Survival Paracord belt.  I’ve been wearing my rattlerstrap belt nearly everyday for about 3 years now. The weave is still tight while it looks and functions like the day I got it. But save up your pennies kids. The cost is around $100 US.

Rattlerstrap Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8njh6

If $100 for a paracord belt is beyond your budget… the next best choice is the Bison designs double cobra, paracord survival belt at around $60 US
Bison Designs Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8noRG

See my full review on YouTube.

Cover1-IMG_3473

3-Mode – Bear Grylls Micro Torch Can Save the Day

Emergency Light Anywhere, Anytime
For emergency light anywhere, anytime, pack the Bear Grylls Micro Torch in survival kits, hang from zipper pulls or put on your key chain for reliable emergency light in a super small package. I’ve got several of these little gems kicking around and they’ve saved my butt more than once. Cost is around $7 US for this great stocking stuffer. See my full review on YouTube. (63)

BG Micro Torch: http://amzn.to/1O8nGrP

VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit – Rugged and Made in Canada

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VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

It’s VERY rare that I get excited about a survival kit anymore – but when I saw the NEW VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit online I said, “Yes! Finally an NEW Innovative and Original Approach to Survival Kits… AND rushed to get one in here.

When I knew that my VSSL Kits (yes, I got the supplies, first aid and zombie) arrived, I was so jazzed that I let the cameras roll to get my first impressions.

Birthed Via Kickstarter

VSSL Flashlight

3-Mode Flashlight

Birthed via Kickstarter the VSSL kits come in a 9″ long by 2″ diameter anodized aluminum case that is rugged and just plain looks cool. At the top of the cylinder there’s a nice 3-Mode LED flashlight that is the top cap and includes a high low and SOS beacon mode.

The bottom cap a ridiculously nice oil-filled compass that flips over to reveal a 4 hour beeswax candle.

Inside we have several marked round tins that contain essential survival gear and the kit even comes with round instructions that are coded to each tin that provide concise instructions how to use the contents of the kit.

VSSL Everything

Modular Tins

Here’s  a List of All the Gear Contained in this Kit:

• Dual mode (static and SOS) LED ‘flood’ beam lantern light, illuminates a large area (batteries included)

• Compass (oil filled)

• 4 hour pure Canadian beeswax candle

• Razor blade

VSSL Survival Guide

VSSL Survival Guide

• 6 Aquatabs® water purification tablets

• Wire saw (high tensile, 60lb working strength with handle straps)

• Aluminum beadless emergency whistle

• Waterproof matches

• Tinder Quik® fire starters

• Fishing Gear

• Signalling Mirror

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

• Marine grade rope (250lb breaking strength)

• Reflective trail markers

• P38 military GI Type can opener

• First aid supplies

• VSSL priorities of survival and instructions

Pros and Cons of VSSL Supplies Kit:

First Let’s Look at the Downside…

The flashlight switch is waterproof, super high quality and easy to use… but it’s also VERY easy to accidentally turn on. So you’ll want to flip the center battery around until you need the flashlight to make sure you don’t exhaust the batteries by accident.

VSSL Compass Cap

VSSL Compass Cap

Next – Although the compass is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a stock survival kit, it’s comes as the bottom of the VSSL… And because I don’t know how it’s going to hold up over time as the bottom… I’d switch it around with the flashlight top which has less glass exposed and use caution when placing the compass side down on hard, uneven surfaces – like rocks.

Next, the flashlight batteries are E90s – NOT standard AA or AAAs – but the smaller length of E90s ARE necessary to keep the flashlight size down… So I’d recommend carrying a spare set.

So I was able to fit an extra set of 3 batteries – one each in the Fishing, Water Purification and First Aid PODS… You may want to do the same.

Although the Tin PODs keeps everything neat and organized – they are not the most efficient way to fit the maximum amount of gear in the Aluminum VSSL container. But those with “Type A” / OCD personalities will love this kit – “as is” while those that tend toward the messy side will surely like to stuff more gear inside.

NOW on the Upside…

VSSL Supplies Kit Contents

VSSL Supplies Kit Contents

The VSSL is a Cool Looking, Rugged Aluminum and Water Resistant Main Container – with a high quality, bright – 3 Mode Flashlight (including an SOS beacon) and has one of the best pre-made survival kit – compasses I’ve ever seen built into the other cap.

VSSL is easily customizable – since you can buy empty or pre-loaded tins OR just shove your own gear inside.

VSSL is VERY well Organized with Individual Tins that include Basic Survival Gear AND has some basic but cool instructions that actually tell you how to use what’s in the kit.

AND as a BONUS – You could use any one of the tins to make char in the field (See my video on how to make char cloth).

VSSL Holds 11 -12 Ounces of Water

VSSL Holds 11 -12 Ounces of Water

Now I was just thinking… if this container keeps water out… could we remove the stuff inside and use it to keep water in… as a cup or even a canteen in a pinch…

So I just tried this… using the empty Supplies VSSL… with over 11 ounces of water. Now you can seal it inside… But I want to let you know that doing this could risk your flashlight… especially if you don’t put the black plastic battery cap on tight.

But it makes a pretty darn good cup and that’s a bonus for sure.

So who’s the VSSL for?

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

At just under $100 U.S. (at the writing of this article) VSSL’s cost may be resisted by the budget conscious, but for those who appreciate form and function the VSSL Supplies Survival Kit is a nice, basic kit for those that wants a practical, portable, and tough, preloaded kit for hunting, camping, backpacking, outdoor adventures, bug out bags, vehicles or general emergency preparedness or for those who what a good basic kit that they can tweak to meet their needs.

VSSL Gear also sells Empty VSSLs with flashlight and compass top and bottom that you can load with whatever you want. And in the future we’ll take a look at the first aid and Zombie VSSls. For another modular Survival Kit check out my review of the Gear Pods Wilderness Survival Kit.

Okay… so you can check out more, here are links to this VSSL kit and a few other VSSLs as well:

VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit

VSSL Gear – First Aid Survival Kit

VSSL Gear – Emergency Shelter Kit

VSSL Gear – Zombie Kit

VSSL Empty – Fill it with YOUR Stuff Container

VSSL Polished Aluminum Flask Light

30 Second Emergency – Bug Out Bag – Poncho Shelter

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Best Bug Out Bag Poncho

Well we all know that shelter is one of the “CORE FOUR priorities of survival… and that a good quality poncho (with grommet holes) is a “must have” everyday carry survival item for protection from the elements…. and a host of other useful purposes.

Survival Solutions-OPSEC-Poncho

Most Ponchos Are Too Small
But unfortunately, are often just too small to keep you shielded from the weather AND require some sort of twine or rope to set up. So today we’re going to take a look at the Survival Solutions – Oversized Emergency Poncho Shelter and show you how to set it up in about 30 seconds WITHOUT any twine.

Meet the O.P.S.E.C. Poncho
About a year ago I found the Survival Solutions – OPSEC poncho and have been using it as my standard bug out bag poncho ever since… because it preforms all the core tasks of a standard poncho AND can be transformed into a LARGE, camouflage, emergency shelter in less than a minute WITHOUT any cordage.

OPSEC-3

Poncho Even Fits in Cargo Pockets

OPSEC Poncho Longer Than Other Ponchos…
Made in the USA – the Survival Solutions poncho is crafted out of 70 denier, coated, ripstop nylon that is about 18” (or 46 centimeters) longer than a standard military style poncho yet it weighs only about 1.4 pounds (or 639 grams) … compared to a military surplus poncho that weighs around 2.2 pounds (or 1 kilogram). And it even fits in the cargo on my NON-military outdoor pants.

When not using the extra size of this poncho, it folds underneath and snaps securely out of the way.

Now the Extra Poncho Length Serves 3 Primary Functions…
First, it keeps you and your gear covered well even when you are carrying a big pack…

Second, it gives you up to an extra 7 square feet of ground or roof tarp…

OPSEC-Survival Solutions Poncho Shelter

Snap Extra Length Around Tree

And best of all… it allows you to set up an emergency shelter or camouflage hide in 30 seconds without any cord. Here’s how:

  • Find a downed tree or solid branch that’s 2 – 3 feet off the ground.
  • Wrap the extra poncho length around the fallen tree.
  • Fasten the poncho end to the tree using the 3 snaps.
  • Now, push a stick through each of 2 grommet holes to tightly secure the other end to the ground.

Incredibly Versatile Poncho…
A camouflage, emergency, poncho shelter that you can construct in about 30 seconds without any twine.

More Great Emergency Rain Gear
If you’re looking for a rugged, affordable,  standard-sized, rip-stop poncho with grommet tie downs and snaps – I can’t find a better deal than the Germany-Made Mil-Tec rain poncho.

And for the most rugged rain gear I’ve found to date, check out the Helly Hansen Impertec II Jacket and pants.

We’ve just taken a look at how to set up an emergency shelter in 30 seconds with the Survival Solutions – OPSEC poncho.

Links to Gear Mentioned in this Article:

BEST Survival Sling Bow – REVEALED – Lethal Hunting Tool

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790-survival-bushcraft-best-slingshot-sling-bow-war-archery-hunting-edc-hunt-pathfinder-big-game-marksman-daisy-trumark-barnett-base-jump

The Votes are in… Joe, Ahin and Todd have Spoken and ALL agree on the THE Best Survival Slingshot / Sling Bow in the WORLD… See if YOU Agree as they REVEAL the BEST (Most Lethal) Survival SlingShot / Sling Bow in the World for Hunting / Fishing / Bug Out and Everyday Carry…

In Ep. 5 of 5 – Sling Bow Wars – SPECIAL BONUS – See Who is Selected as the BEST “Shooter of the Day” and Gets to Blow Up the Pumpkin with Exploding Target Inside…  Kaboom!!!

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Here are LINKS to ALL 5 Episodes:
Ep. 1 – Pathfinder Pocket Hunter: http://youtu.be/BeOI3pTrsvM
Ep. 2 – Pocket Preditor SERE: http://youtu.be/t4hkGbuWabA
Ep. 3 – THE Survival Slingshot: http://youtu.be/UkV0irHGxJc
Ep. 4 – Chief AJ’s HFX Slingbow: http://youtu.be/HYeSUiy7Brc

Spoiler Alert!!!!

You’ll miss most of the cool shooting and skip to the voting if you watch Episode 5 before the others…

Ep. 5 – THE King of Sling REVEALED : http://youtu.be/Az2Bps0AQ1E

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Here’s a LIST of ALL the GEAR Shown in this Series:

David’s Arrow Release / Trigger:
http://tinyurl.com/Arrow-Trigger

Chief AJ’s HFX Hunting Fishing Sling Bow:
http://tinyurl.com/Chief-AJ-Sling-Bow-SB1
http://www.chiefaj.com/hfx_models.htm

The Survival Slingshot:
http://tinyurl.com/Survival-SlingShot-SB1

Pathfinder / Marksman Pocket Hunter:
http://tinyurl.com/Pocket-Hunter-SB1
http://tinyurl.com/Pocket-Hunter-Deluxe

Pocket Predator SERE Slingshot:
http://www.pocketpredator.com/two.html

Chief AJ’s HFX Hunting Fishing Sling Bow:
http://tinyurl.com/Chief-AJ-Sling-Bow-SB1

BIG Archery Targets (Field Points Only):
http://tinyurl.com/BIG-Target-SB1

BIG Black 20″ Block Target (Field Points, Broadheads & Expendables):
http://tinyurl.com/Block-Target-1

.38 Caliber Steel Shot (BULK / 500 qty.):
http://tinyurl.com/Shot-Ammo-SB1

Steel Animal Knock Down Targets:
http://tinyurl.com/Targets-SB1

Shooting Glasses:
http://tinyurl.com/Shooting-Glasses-SB1

Ammo Pouch:
http://tinyurl.com/Ammo-Pouch-SB1

10 Cent – Fire Tinder to Disinfect Wounds and Start a Blaze!

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fire-tinder-1d-790

Okay… well we all know that cotton balls make a great everyday carry, tinder for firestarting… The problem is that they only burn for about 10 to 20 seconds.

So many folks add petroleum jelly to extend their burn time.

Extend Burn AND Treat Wounds
But if you want to extend the burn time of your cotton balls AND add a valuable first aid item to your survival kit… Try using a dab of triple antibiotic ointment on your cotton ball instead of petroleum jelly.

fire-tinder-1a-790
Your antibiotic cotton balls will light with a spark and burn for 2 – 3 minutes giving you the time you need to build a sustainable fire.

fire-tinder-1c-790

PLUS your cotton balls can be used to clean and disinfect wounds in the field.

For your convenience, here are links to all the gear you’ll need for this project: