Want Long-Lasting Boots? These Are the Qualities You Should Look For

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I’ve written before about the kinds of characteristics preppers should look for in a pair of shoes or boots. There are definitely a lot of factors to consider, including what kind of situation you’re prepping for and the environment you’re living in. And there’s a good chance that whatever benefits your choice of shoe has, there are going to be drawbacks as well. There isn’t any kind of footwear that is perfect for all situations.

With that said, perhaps the most important quality a prepper can for in a pair of shoes is durability. That’s because no matter what kind of shoes you buy, they’re probably not going to be collecting dust in your closet. You’re going to want to get your money’s worth, and use them. And if you’re going to be using them on a semi-regular basis, they had better still be in good condition in the event of a serious disaster. So if you’re in the market for a really durable pair of boots, here’s what you should be looking for.

The Sole And Heel

There’s only one characteristic that practically guarantees that the sole of your boots won’t wear down quickly. Your soles need to be made out of high density rubber. It’s also surprisingly difficult to find shoes with this trait, because most people in our society don’t spend a lot of time on their feet. They’re not walking several miles a day on pavement and concrete.

They sit at work, they sit at home, and in-between they sit behind the wheel. So they’re more concerned with how comfortable their shoes are, rather than how durable they are. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find shoes that have both qualities. The more dense your sole is the less comfortable it will be, because it lacks flexibility. So if you decide to buy really durable boots, make sure you invest in a really comfortable pair of inserts

But I digress. If you’re willing to overlook that, and you still want really long-lasting boots, you’re going to want a really tough and dense rubber sole. When you’re picking out boots, try to bend the sole. If you feel a lot of resistance, then it’s probably very dense. Also try knocking on the rubber with your knuckles. If it’s really tough, then it’ll probably sound like you’re knocking on wood, and it’ll probably sting your knuckles a little.

Also, consider the tread. It should have a significant surface area. If there’s a lot of space between the treads, then it will wear down faster. And skip boots that have air cushions in the soles. As the tread wears down, you’ll wind up with deep gaping holes that rocks will get stuck in.

The Upper

The upper portion of your boots are the most important. While soles can be replaced, uppers are more difficult to fix. Once they wear out you’ll have to buy new boots, so choose your upper carefully.

The longest lasting material for boots is also the oldest material to be used for footwear. You want leather, and not just any kind. It should be made out of full grain leather. You’ll know its full grain when you feel it. It has texture. Most leather boots on the other hand, are smooth.

Skip boots with uppers that are mixed with other materials like canvas or nylon. Those fabrics will wear out faster than the leather. They may breathe well, which will also help your boots last longer, but they’re not necessary. Leather also breathes fairly well, especially if you take my next piece of advice.

Look for pull-on boots, rather than boots with laces. That’s because the upper portion of these boots is mostly just one piece, so there aren’t many weak points. Boots that consist of multiple pieces of leather and fabric stitched together, have many ways of unraveling. Every stitch and eyelet is a liability. And yes, leather boots that can be pulled on will breathe very well.


Aside from that, you should consider the cost. Not all expensive footwear is long-lasting, but long-lasting boots that are new will probably cost at least $150. And it should go without saying that you should buy American. There are good brands overseas, but if a shoe company has managed to avoid moving its operations to another country, it means that it has a good reputation. People are willing to pay top dollar for their products no matter what, and they love their shoes for very good reasons.

Read More:

What Preppers Need most of All in Their Shoes

How To Retread Your Old Shoes With a Car Tire

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Learn How to Properly Sandbag Your Home Before the Next Storm Arrives

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Anytime a major storm is approaching, time is of the essence to prepare. We all see the same thing on the news, images of first responders and volunteers constructing sandbag barriers to hold back a potential flood. But have you ever seen that and asked yourself if you know how to build a sandbag barrier? I’d wager that most people don’t, because by all appearances, building up a wall of sandbags is a very simple task. It’s physically demanding, but not complex at all, so most people probably assume that if they ever had to protect their home from a flood, working with sandbags would come naturally.

However, just because a task is simple, that doesn’t mean that it lacks finer points. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to build a sandbag barrier. If you’ve never been taught the right way, check out the following video. It was produced by Australia’s SES, a volunteer organization that provides emergency services during disasters. In a few short minutes, it explains all of the most basic and important tips you need to know to protect your home during a flood.

That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about using sandbags to hold back minor floods. However, if you think that a storm is going to produce a more serious flood, you may need to build a much more extensive barrier; perhaps something that will fully surround the perimeter of your home.

If that’s the case, you should check out this video from Canada, which also offers a more in-depth analysis on sandbag construction.

Of course, the best way to ensure that your home will be safe from flooding is to have the tools you need in place, long before the flooding starts. If a major storm system is moving in, then people are going rush to the stores to buy things like sandbags, so they’ll be in short supply during an emergency. You should buy plastic sheeting and sandbags ahead of time. And if you don’t think that you’ll have access to sand, there are several varieties of bags that don’t require it. They work by absorbing large quantities of water, which form a barrier that can hold back the rest of the water.


80% of the population lives near a coast. If you haven’t prepared for hurricanes, get the step-by-step guide on how to prepare for any disaster.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

This Might Just Be the Coolest and Most Convenient Way to Extinguish a Fire

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Regardless of whether or not you’re a prepper, arguably one of the most important safety devices you should have in your home is a fire extinguisher. Fire presents a possible danger no matter where we live, and having a handy device to put out the flames is a must. And it doesn’t just make sense from a safety perspective. It makes a lot of financial sense too. Most fire extinguishers cost less than a hundred dollars, but can prevent thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

However, most people aren’t aware that there is an alternative to the classic red fire extinguisher that we’re all familiar with. Since the fire extinguisher design hasn’t changed much in decades, you might think that there isn’t room for improvement, but there is. Behold, the Elide fire extinguishing ball:

As you can see, the Elide Ball has a distinct advantage over an ordinary fire extinguisher, in that you can put the flames out from a further distance. The ball is designed to automatically burst after being exposed to flames for 3-5 seconds, and won’t go off without the presence of fire. It’s always ready to go, and doesn’t require any training or specific techniques. It uses a fire-retardant chemical called mono ammonium phosphate, which is typically used in ordinary fire extinguishers since it’s non-toxic. Also, the ball only weighs around 3 pounds, so it’s not difficult to throw.

The Elide Ball costs about $120, and is supposed to last 5 years. Since that costs more than a regular extinguisher, that’s really the only disadvantage with the device. So far there aren’t any well-known distributors for the Elide Ball in the United States, but it can be purchased on Ebay. Alternatively, there is a knockoff called the AFO Fire Ball, which can be bought on Amazon and costs half as much. But being a knockoff, it isn’t clear yet if that brand is as effective as Elide, so buyer beware.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Is Their Something About to Happen? Luxury Bunker Sales Going Through the Roof

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bomb shelter fallout shelterWhen ordinary people begin to accumulate survival gear and build bunkers in their back yards, it’s a sign of the times. It’s what ordinary people did throughout the Cold War, and it’s what a lot of ordinary people have been doing since 9/11. But when rich people start building bunkers and stockpiling food and weapons, it’s not just a sign of the times. It’s a sign that something may be about to go down.

That’s because the wealthy know and understand things that the rest of us often miss. If something bad were coming down the pike, they’d probably know it before we do. I’m not implying some grand conspiracy when I say that. I don’t rule out that there are elites in the world who would conspire against us, but I doubt that every single millionaire in the world is in cahoots to screw us over and leave us behind when things get ugly. The wealthy of the world are not a monolith.

But what they are is smart. With the exception of trust fund babies, no one gets rich by being simpleminded. Even the folks who get rich by leaching off of corrupt governments need to be cunning and savvy. Most however are entrepreneurs, and to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be sharp, and you must have a strong sense of cultural, geopolitical, and economic trends. And if you have a strong sense of where those winds are blowing, then you probably know if our world is on the cusp of something terrible. So when the rich start ducking for cover, so should you.

Which is alarming when you hear stories like this one from Kansas City, where a man is turning an abandoned nuclear silo into luxury bunkers:

Larry Hall, project manager and owner of the Luxury Survival Condo Project, says he feels safer with the doors closed.

He says he’s sold all 12 luxury condos in the former Atlas missile silo — which once housed a nuclear warhead — not far from Concordia, about two hours north of Wichita. He’s working on a second silo.

A full-floor unit is 1,820 square feet and costs $3 million. A half-floor unit, at 900 square feet, costs $1.5 million.

Survival is a unifying cause. Hall said his owners come from a variety of political beliefs and include people in international business, architecture, law and medicine. He said the owners don’t do interviews; efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

The facility is 15 stories deep, contains multiple generators and air scrubbers for a wide variety of contaminants, a remote-controlled sniper post on the surface, and three armories which contain weapons and body armor. But it’s luxurious too. There are fireplaces, hardwood floors, walk-in closets, televisions that stream images of the outdoors, and a climate controlled swimming pool.

However, that’s not the only luxury bunker that’s being built. Last year the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the rich, famous, and powerful including Bill Gates have been building bunkers all over the country. Some of these facilities are multi-million dollar endeavors.

Gary Lynch, GM at Rising S Bunkers, a Texas-based company that specializes in underground bunkers and services scores of Los Angeles residences, says that sales at the most upscale end of the market — mainly to actors, pro athletes and politicians (who require signed NDAs) — have increased 700 percent this year compared with 2015, and overall sales have risen 150 percent. “Any time there is a turbulent political landscape, we see a spike in our sales. Given this election is as turbulent as it is, we are gearing up for an even bigger spike,” says marketing director Brad Roberson of sales of bunkers that start at $39,000 and can run $8.35 million or more (FYI, a 12-stall horse shelter is $98,500).

Adds Mike Peters, owner of Utah-based Ultimate Bunker, which builds high-end versions in California, Texas and Minnesota: “People are going for luxury [to] live underground because they see the future is going to be rough. Everyone I’ve talked to thinks we are doomed, no matter who is elected.” Robert Vicino, founder of Del Mar, Calif.-based Vivos, which constructs upscale community bunkers in Indiana (he believes coastal flooding scenarios preclude bunkers being safely built west of the Rockies), says, “Bill Gates has huge shelters under every one of his homes, in Rancho Santa Fe and Washington. His head of security visited with us a couple years ago, and for these multibillionaires, a few million is nothing. It’s really just the newest form of insurance.”

Meanwhile, another Texas company is trying to build a survival retreat for 1,600 people that will include 400 condos, an equestrian center, a golf course, and even helipads. It’s expected to cost $300 million. And this US company is building earthship bunkers that range in cost from $100,000 to $1.5 million.

All of these different companies offer different explanations for why their wealthy clients want these shelters. They’ve been given reasons that range from terrorism to pandemics to civil unrest. However, if you go through all of the sources that I’ve mentioned, you’ll find that the rich seem to fear nuclear war and another world war the most.

And that should give one pause. If the rich tend to have a good sense of where the world is going, and they’re so worried about nuclear war that they’re building multi-million dollar shelters, then we should take note. They know that something bad is coming and they’re not taking it lightly. Neither should the rest of us.


Additional Resources:


Are You Ready Series: Nuclear Disaster Preparedness

What You Need to Know About Nuclear Attacks

How to Survive When a Nuke Is Dropped

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Five Worst Articles of Clothing to Wear in a Survival Situation

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necktieWhether you’re about to enter the wilderness or a bad neighborhood, or if you become aware of an impending disaster, you have time to dress appropriately for what’s coming. But as we all know, dangerous situations aren’t considerate. They don’t always wait for you to be prepared. And in those situations, there are certain articles of clothing that can get you killed.

I’m not going to say that you should never wear any of these things just on the off-chance that something bad could happen. I don’t know about you, but about 99.99% of my life is spent without danger. It would be crazy for me or anyone to completely abandon something convenient over such slim odds. But I will say that you should be aware of what these clothing options can do to you when things get rough and prepare accordingly.

Avoid Wearing These Clothing Garments in a Disaster Situation

Cotton Undergarments

They may be comfortable and breathable, but cotton socks, t-shirts, and underwear can be your undoing in the wilderness. That’s because cotton is a very poor material for maintaining warmth. It can absorb as much as 27 times its own weight in water, which means that if gets wet, it’ll take a long time to dry out. It will cling to your skin, and suck the heat from your body. It won’t matter if you’re wearing better materials like wool over the cotton. If your cotton undergarments get wet from excessive sweat or rain, you can succumb to hypothermia, even if the weather isn’t extremely cold.

Synthetic Fibers

Because of the poor insulating properties of cotton, most experienced hikers and backpackers will wear synthetic materials for their base layer, such as polyester or polypro. Although these materials are significantly warmer than cotton and dry out very quickly, they can also be quite dangerous around open flames. Most synthetic clothes aren’t fire-retardant at all. A small burning ember can ignite these materials, and in some cases they will burn uncontrollably. And what’s worse, is that as they burn they can stick to your skin.

High Heels

Of course, survival situations don’t always occur in the wilderness. Sometimes, what you have to worry about the most isn’t the elements, but other people. If someone tries to be violent with you, one of the worst things you can wear in that situation is high heels. You can’t maintain a decent fighting stance at all in high heels, and you certainly can’t run away easily either.


James Bond may look pretty damn cool when he’s fighting bad guys in a suit and tie, but in the real world, a necktie is a serious liability in a fight. There’s a reason why prison guards and security guards wear clip-on ties. If you have a necktie, you’re basically wearing a handle around your neck. Anyone can grab it, and either choke you or throw you around.

Flip Flops and Sandals

Honestly, flip-flops and sandals are some of the worst things you can wear in almost every situation outside of your own home. They offer little or no protection from the elements, and with a few exceptions, they offer no protection for your toes from blunt trauma. You can’t run as fast in them as you could in tennis shoes, and they don’t provide nearly as much ankle support as boots do. Worst yet, it’s very easy for this type of footwear to snag on something as you walk or run, and cause you to trip. For those reasons, they are bad choice to wear in a fight, and they are a bad choice to wear in the wilderness.

A way to circumvent this issue is to have alternate clothing options for bugging out tucked away in a bug out bag or stashed in your vehicle along with items to help you get home safely. As well, consider a few items hidden in your workplace preparedness supplies. Some alternate clothing choices are seasonal appropriate items that wick moisture away (this is helpful in both warm and cold climates). Having items that can be layered is a great option. Here are some ideas:

  •  If it is the winter season: Pack all cold weather essentials for maintaining body heat: Layered clothing, warm hat preferably with flaps over the ears, waterproof pants, mittens, etc.
  • Work gloves
  •  Have at least one change of clothing in your bag and two extra pairs of socks.
  •  A good pair of boots (hiking or combat boots) with a deep trench in the sole.
  • Rain suit
  • Poncho
  • Hat to keep the sun off your face.
  • Bandana

While we are safe a majority of the time, it’s that 1% we need to prepare for. Having a few items stashed away for these unexpected disruptions in your life will give you the added advantage you need to get through a shtf scenario unscathed.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Prepper Training: This is How to Prepare Your Body to Escape the Big City on Foot

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bugging out on footReadyNutrition Readers, this piece covers some of the basic fundamentals on road marching.  Yes, this is a typical military exercise, but it has several applications for you in terms of preparations and in training.  Road marches can be both physically demanding and challenging.  They should not be attempted without proper preparation, and if you have any underlying health conditions, consult with your doctor prior to doing them.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I prefer the large-frame Alice Pack of the US Army, the one I have been using for many decades, now.  It is both sturdy and affordable, and can meet a person’s needs from a training and a survival perspective.  That mentioned, it is up to you to find one that feels both comfortable and offers you the support you need to be able to move on the road or cross-country with weight on your back.

Don’t road march cold: you need to take the time to do some light calisthenics to warm your muscles up prior to the physical exertion.  The weight you will tote with you will vary according to your abilities and physical condition, as well as the needs of the exercise.  It is a training event: you need to keep it as such and hold it in that regard.  You need proper footgear and comfortable clothing, as well as a water supply.  You need to prepare for it the night before, with a good meal and plenty of rest and fluids prior to your start.

Your stretches can include (but not be limited to) the side-straddle hop (referred to as “jumping jacks,”) as well as half-squats, squats, hamstring and calf stretches, and so forth.  I prefer boots to support my ankles, although I have seen many people using tennis shoes and hiking shoes.  Whatever your preference, as long as it gives your arch the support it needs.

Start out small, with a lighter amount of weight.  That will be on you to gauge.  Start by doing a mile, and then work your way up.  A good conservative plan for a road marching “schedule” can be one per week with lighter weights and shorter distances.  As you “work your way up” you’ll want to make the road marches less frequent.  The reason being is you don’t want to damage yourself with a potential stress fracture or a hairline fracture from continuously pounding the pavement with your feet and heavy weight on the shoulders.  Shin splints are a common occurrence over time, as well.

Medically, they’re referred to as MTSS (medial tibial stress syndrome), and are pains within the connective muscle and tissue surrounding your knee and the outside of your tibia.  It is a chronic “dull” aching feeling that arises in about 15 to 20% of people who run, walk, or (in this case) march long distances.  Ice packs and rest can enable you to recover in a short period of time.  For any question of it, consult with your physician if the problem persists.

The road marches will strengthen your legs and back, and also develop your cardiovascular capabilities.  You should time every one of them, and attempt gains each time you undertake a march.  Gains would take the form of quicker times, or more weight carried.  You have to do it gradually.  Eventually, your end goal is to carry what you normally would in a rucksack if the SHTF and you were out in the woods.  Cross-country is markedly different from doing it on the side of the road due to the uneven terrain as well as other factors, such as water, thick vegetation, an abundance of rocks, etc.

Weather is also a factor, and in the warmer months great care must be taken to ensure you don’t dehydrate yourself.  Remember: thirst is a late sign of dehydration, and means you’re already depleted when you feel thirsty.  It would also be good to undertake these marches with a partner, so that if an emergency arises you have someone with you to rely upon for first aid or to go for help.

Your endurance will improve with time, and it also takes adjustment for your feet to become accustomed to both your pace and the work.  It is an excellent lower-body exercise that still manages to work your upper body.  It requires discipline, determination, and preparation to accomplish.  Eventually you will see results, and can road march 2 to 4 times per month successfully as part of your physical regimen.

Remember to take account of the water you will carry when you initially weigh your rucksack.  You can pick up a good fishing and game scale that will enable you to find out exactly how much you tote.  Try it out.  It is cost effective and will give you some good results.  Happy rucking!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Snow Camo: 12 Budget-Friendly Survival Essentials for the Cold Outdoors

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winter camo1I wanted to touch a little on winter camo and how to go about doing some things on both a budgetary and a practical side.  Firstly, it would not seem that winter camo would be all that important, and after all, I just did a piece recently on the Army issue winter camo top.

I also emphasized something that I wish to reiterate: you need synthetics on your exteriors, and cotton on your interiors.  You also need for the gear to be as close to white as possible.  This may necessitate cleaning it and bleaching it really well if that is possible.  It is worth it in the long run, especially if you’re in the role of a shooter.

12 Budget-Friendly Survival Essentials for Mock Winter Camo

Here’s some basics for you to pick up, if you’re not ready to go out and spend more than a grand as in the movie “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg.  All whites, remember:

  1. Thick sweat-top, preferably with a hood
  2. Baseball-type hat with a brim (not a meshed one, mind you, but solid cloth
  3. Winter pullover cap
  4. White scarf or wraparound for the face
  5. Gloves (go to Murdoch’s for the leather gloves at about $15, extra -large, and then the packages of cotton inserts (3) pairs for about $4.00). On this you want the leather and not synthetic, because if you are changing a mag, messing with a bolt carrier or a charging handle, or touching a hot barrel, they won’t melt and dissolve.)
  6. Already mentioned the Army white camo overtop in a previous article
  7. Army white camo bottoms run about $20 to $30 in the surplus stores, or you can pick up either extra large scrubs or karate pants at the thrift stores
  8. Synthetic “veil” for overtop of you, your weapon…shower curtains (the mesh thin kind work best), or drapes are good for this
  9. Unless you can find “Mickey Mouse” Army issue white Vib (inflatable) boots? Pick yourself up a pair of Army Issue rubber overshoes (they’re green, with 3 loops per boot) and spray paint them…make sure it’s with white paint that takes to rubber and plastic
  10. A mat to lay on…and you can wrap a sheet (synthetic, mind you) around it to whiten it
  11. A white gym bag/backpack-type bag
  12. Long Johns – make sure these are white

There’s a set of duds for you.  All of your stuff such as tops and pants should fit overtop of whatever you’re wearing.  On pieces of equipment to throw in that bag, you need the following: a rangefinder, a good set of binoculars or a scope, and a method to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, and elevation, like this.  Now I have an old West German (yeah, it’s that old!) barometer, and a really good thermometer that is also old, made out of glass, and as durable as rhinoceros hide.  I have an anemometer with the cups that actually checks the wind speed.

Remember: your low-tech stuff was made much better (more durable) than your high-tech stuff today.  Bring that wrist-compass/barometer/thermometer/toaster oven with you, but be advised: one EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) either from a weapon, or a solar flare will turn it into a non-working “fashion” bracelet in the blink of an eye.  Also, remember your issue Tritium compass, as you won’t have problems with the cold temperatures and it doesn’t require batteries.

Snowshoes are important and should be light and durable, like these.  They should be able to hold your weight and at least another 50 lbs. (including a pack, water, and a weapon).  Don’t forget your protective eyewear!  I prefer UV protective goggles, as these guys don’t fog up and they cling to your face better than regular sunglasses.  The eyes can’t be protected enough in the winter snow, as a lot of UV comes off of the snow in the form of reflected light.  Also, make sure you have enough veil to cover up your backpack, as you don’t want to appear to be a snowdrift with legs carrying around a green rucksack.

I’m sure there will be all kinds of suggestions.  Let us know what you have found that works as a suggestion for your fellow readers and for all of us.  We always value your productive comments and advice.  Stay frosty, and keep up that good fight in the winter wonderland!  JJ out.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

US Hasn’t Had Any Major Hurricanes in a Decade. Are You Still Prepared?

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hurricaneHurricanes are probably one of the most common disasters that preppers will face. They can destroy homes, cut off utilities, hinder essential services, block roads, and cause widespread panic among unprepared citizens who often strip store shelves bare before the storm arrives. One way to look at this, is that hurricanes provide a localized version of the social collapse scenarios that preppers often worry about. So if there’s a silver lining in this type of disaster, at least it gives us an opportunity to try out some of our preps in a real world disaster.

In case you haven’t noticed though, it doesn’t seem like there have been very many hurricanes lately. There have been a few small ones, sure. Aside from Hurricane Sandy however, which was a category 2 storm when it made landfall in the United States, these storms haven’t been making many headlines in recent years.

That’s because we haven’t been hit by a major hurricane in over 10 years. As shocking as it may sound, it’s been over 3900 days since a storm measuring category 3 or larger has hit the US, which is longer than any previous record by over two years. Florida hasn’t been hit by a hurricane of any size in 11 years, and America’s side of the Gulf Coast, which is notorious for hurricane activity, hasn’t been hit by anything in 3 years.

So where did all of these heavy hitting storms go? They still pop up in the Atlantic every year, but they keep losing steam before they reach our shores, and in many cases they don’t reach us at all. Scientists aren’t really sure why. As best as they can tell, we’ve just been ridiculously lucky.

Once our luck does run out however, the devastation could be far greater that what we’ve seen in previous years. Some researchers think that after more than 10 years without any major hurricanes, people living along our coastlines aren’t as prepared as they should be, and neither are their communities.

“Hurricanes are going to hit the U.S. again and people are going to be shocked by the magnitude of the disaster,” said Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The Associated Press reports Florida’s coastal communities have added 1.5 million people and almost a half-million new homes since 2005, the last time there was an onslaught of storms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that by 2020, the U.S. coastal population will have reached 134 million people, 11 million more than in 2010.

“Hurricane damage and destruction is a direct function of how much accumulated wealth there is,” Pielke said. “We’ve put a lot of stuff along the coast. If we’re in this 10-year drought, loss potentials in some places may now be two times higher than it was a decade ago.”

On top of that, there’s the simple fact that residents living in these areas may have let their guard down, and aren’t as prepared for hurricanes as they used to be. Plus you have millions of new residents living along the coasts who may not have much experience with hurricanes. When these storms start making landfall again, there’s going to be enough damage to make up for the past 10 years.

So if you happen to be living in an area that has been spared from hurricanes, don’t neglect your preps. Get ready for the next hurricane now before it’s too late.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Do You Live in a Flood Zone? You’ll Want to See This.

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flood-truck_RNLiving in a flood zone is a lot like living next to a time bomb. You have no idea when it’s going to go off. Though some areas are flooded on a routine basis, those communities tend to be more prepared for such events. The real danger lies in living in a 50 year or a 100 year flood zone. The threat is great enough that it will probably happen in your lifetime, but not so great that you can expect local authorities and the local infrastructure to handle it properly.

But regardless of where you live, if there’s any chance of water reaching your home, you’ll want to do whatever you can to prepare for that event. Aside from fires, floods can cause the most expensive damages to your home, and that’s assuming your home isn’t completely destroyed.

Thankfully, there is a rather unique method for guarding your home from flood water. Though it’s pretty expensive, it pales in comparison to the cost of flood damages. It’s called the Aqua Dam, and it made headlines last month when Texas was being inundated with flood waters.

According to the company that makes the Aqua Dam, it’s actually cheaper per square foot that sandbags, and is far easier and faster to install in an emergency. As an added bonus, the Aqua Dam can be used for storing potable water, which can be hard to come by if a storm damages local utilities. With attributes like that, I have a feeling that this product is going to be a hot commodity among preppers in the near future.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

A Nifty Tip for Keeping Your House Cool When the Grid Goes Down

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thermometerWhen most preppers imagine all the ways that a collapse of the power grid could hurt civilization, they usually think of our food distribution networks, water systems, financial networks, and the internet. But one thing that usually isn’t at the top of that list of concerns, is the heating and cooling of our homes.

That’s probably because we know that human beings have lived in extremely hot and cold climates for generations, and many of us just assume that if the grid goes down, we’ll find a way to deal with the temperature outside. This is no small matter however, especially when it comes to air conditioning. If it weren’t for the invention of AC, there would be tens of millions of people who never would have bothered moving to the Southern US or the Southwest. A city like Phoenix would never have 1.5 million people without affordable AC units in every home. If the grid went down now, a large swath of the American population would be living in a climate that they have no idea how to deal with.

And unlike heating, there really aren’t any comparable non-electric alternatives to cooling your home. If you lived in the northern climbs of the US, then you probably aren’t far from sources of firewood, but non-electric cooling methods never work as well as an AC unit. Swamp coolers work really well and use very little electricity, but that’s about as good as it gets. Plus, they only work well in low humidity environments.

While unpowered cooling methods simply can’t compete with AC units, there are still some methods of cooling your home that can take the edge off the heat. One of the newest methods involves a device called the Eco-Cooler, and it is incredibly simple.

The Eco-Cooler is nothing more than a board filled with half cut soda bottles. It works by compressing and cooling outside air before it enters your home. It’s just like when you exhale with an open mouth the air is warm, but when you purse your lips and blow, the air that comes out is cool.

eco-cooler youtube

The board is placed over a window; preferably one that is facing the wind. The air goes into the bottles, gets compressed and cooled as it’s pushed into the neck, and then cool air enters your home. The only concern that isn’t addressed in the building instructions, is the possibility of bugs entering your home through the holes. I’d wager that a mesh of some kind could be easily added over the holes, which might actually help compress the air even more.

As stated previously, it’s no match for the air conditioning unit that you probably have in your home right now, but in an emergency the Eco-Cooler can reduce the temperature inside your home by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad for a non-electric device that’s made out of trash.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Wattle and Daub: A Great Way to Build a House From Local Materials

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wattle and daub wikimediaBefore the 20th century, most people in the world had only one real option for building a house. It was a simple, though challenging option. They had to build their house out of whatever they could find in their local environment.

The process for building a locally sourced home was often uncomplicated and laborious, and the materials were usually quite simple. Depending on which part of the world these people were living in, this might include structures such as log cabins, sod houses, tents, or yurts. One of the most enduring structures that our ancestors built was the wattle and daub house, which has been used around the world for thousands of years, and continues to be used in some developing countries.

So what is wattle and daub? It’s a technique for building a house with walls that are made like a scaled up wicker basket (as seen in the photo above). Malleable branches are woven together (that’s the wattle) and oftentimes accompanied with a lumber frame, though a frame isn’t always necessary. Then the daub is smeared over the branches to fill in the cracks. This material varies widely by region, but usually consists of three ingredients:

  • A binder to hold everything together, usually clay and/or animal dung
  • An aggregate made of earth or sand
  • And some kind of reinforcement, such as straw or hay

Obviously, wattle and daub is no longer an ideal housing material. It doesn’t provide the same longevity, stability, or insulating qualities of modern home building materials. But just in case you need to build a cheap and easy structure after the SHTF, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to work with wattle and daub. If you’re looking for a quick introductory guide on building a house out of this stuff, check out the video below.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Retread Your Old Shoes With a Car Tire

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car tires wikimediaIn our throwaway culture, it’s no surprise that most shoes are poorly made. The average American is content to wear cheap tennis shoes that don’t last more than a few hundred miles of walking, and the shoe companies are more than happy to produce footwear that needs to be constantly replaced. And they get away with making these garbage shoes, because so many Americans live sedentary lives, and they don’t do a whole lot of walking in the first place.

But for those of us who do like to get off the couch every now and then, high quality footwear is a must. Personally, I could wear down a typical pair of Payless shoes in less than 6 months. It’s such a colossal waste of money to go through footwear like that.

However, even really high quality shoes and boots will wear down eventually. You can prolong their lifespan by having the treads replaced, which is sometimes fairly expensive. Or you can retread them yourself with an old car tire.

Most people have never considered doing this, but it’s a very cheap way to make footwear last a very long time. Consider the fact that your typical car tire is responsible for carrying thousands of pounds over tens of thousands of miles. If you could put that kind of rubber on the bottom of your shoe, there’s good chance that the tread will outlast the everything else.

So if you have a well worn pair of shoes or boots that you’d like to refurbish on the cheap, take a look at the video below. Since there isn’t any narration, afterward I’ll fill you in on a few important facts that you need to know.

The first thing you see these guys doing in the video is stripping the tread off the tire. As you can see, this is definitely a two man job, and can be done with a knife or a box-cutter, and a pair of pliers. This is an essential step, because modern car tires contain a belt of steel wires under the tread that is impossible to cut through without power tools. And even if you could cut through it, you don’t want all that steel to weigh down your shoes.

After tracing the shape of the boot print onto the tire, they sand down the back side of the tire tread and the surface of shoe tread. This will give the glue a better surface to adhere to. Unfortunately most people don’t own a belt sander as seen in the video, but a palm sander or a dremel tool with a sandpaper attachment would also work pretty well. I should add that it’s a good idea to wear eye protection throughout this process, and a disposable respirator wouldn’t hurt either.

Next is the part where the tread is glued onto the shoe. The guy in the video is not using ordinary shoe goo, and you shouldn’t either. That stuff is better suited for small repairs. The person who posted the video mentioned in the comments, that they’re actually using a product called Barge Cement, which is a popular adhesive for repairing shoes. And yes, hammering the tread does help it adhere to the shoe. Barge Cement is a strong product, but it’s also a bit tricky to work with. Read the instructions carefully and do your research before using Barge Cement. It will make the difference between a shoe that falls apart in a week, or lasts for years.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Evac Strategy: How To Create a Coordinated Bug Out Plan

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ReadyNutrition guys and gals, this article covers some things you can do to prepare when bugging out is the best option in a collapse/SHTF situation.  Such a concept is quite the conundrum and not what we wish to do.  Truthfully, there comes a time when you have to stand and face whatever it is that is coming against you, with no other options.  The actions you take will be dependent upon the situation you are facing, and no two families (although the threat may be the same) will face a challenge exactly identical in nature.  These are guidelines that you can use to help you organize if flight is the only option.

Establish Your Needs and Wants

Such a flight is best accomplished by a good estimate of what you are going to take with you, and what will need to be sacrificed.  Remember, a certain amount of what you may leave behind can be offset in terms of loss by what you cache or safely store before faced with the choice of rapid departure.  So how much can you transport?  What percentage of your supplies are you prepared to cede in order to escape?  Have you prioritized and organized what you are going to move out?  Have you inventoried your items and protected them? Are you aware of the dangers you may be facing when bugging out?

Repeating that concept aforementioned that your best preparation occurs before an event happens, you can cut down on the time, emotional distress, and overall misery by prepositioning a percentage of what you will take with you and storing it accordingly. Such can be referred to as a cross-loading plan, and it can make the losses you are about to sustain more easy to bear.

This free prepping resource can help you plan for short and long-term disasters and is also a best-selling prepper manual.

As it varies per family, this is the key concept here: you must determine (estimate) the percentage, broken down by specific items and their quantities of what you will take.

Efficient Bugging Out Requires Planning and Organizing 

1. Containers are a must! Durable plastic bins are the way to go, here.  Every family uses different types according to their needs.  Those gray bins with lids of varying sizes available in Wal-Mart or Target are fine, as long as you follow a few pointers:

*Most of these have predrilled “holes” in the handles that (even with the lid on) will enable water to enter if they are not blocked off if the water rises to the height of the bin.

*These bins do not come with gaskets to seal the outer edge of the lid where it meets the body of the bin

*You’re limited as to the weight you can stack (usually no more than 2-3 bins in height)

*Cold weather can crack them if they’re exposed to the temperatures and then struck or bumped with force

The higher the quality the higher the price; however, especially for your top 10-15% of your supplies, the extra price is worth it.  For the gray bins, I have found success with the holes by using JB Weld, a binary compound that forms when you mix the contents of two separate tubes of epoxy that cures into a strong “weld” of plastic.  You can find it in almost any hardware store or grocery store.  Regarding the contents, pick up some 3 mil contractor trash bags at the hardware store to pack your items within, and cinch the opening closed with the drawstring, then cover it over with duct tape.

Place an extra bag in the bin: if you should need to get into the bag quickly for whatever reason, it may be that you cannot reclose it as it was before.  The outer edges of the lid can be duct-taped and sealed to prevent water from entering.

Each bin should have a code letter or number and two corresponding inventory sheets: one inside of the bin and one on your person (a sheaf of master lists/copies).  In this manner you don’t have to scramble to obtain something if you need it.  When these bins are stored, they should be placed in an area of the house that you can back up a vehicle and load up from easily.  A garage or a secure shed are ideas. These are the items you want in the containers:

  • Water Purification Equipment (w/ extra filters)
  • Clothing for the anticipated environment
  • Shelter for the anticipated environment
  • Fire starter (reliable)
  • Food rations (freeze-dried goods, homemade MREs, etc. As well, keep these nutritional needs in mind) and game processing tools
  • Personal Medical Kits
  • Communications (HAM) and energy creation equipment (small solar charger packs, etc.)
  • Defensive equipment (lightweight and the ability to break down to hide in the pack)

2. Practice makes perfect. Equally important, you need to get the family involved and perform drills…as a family…and also as individuals, simulating if only one or two family members are at home.  Time yourselves for how long it takes to load up the vehicles, being specific for each one.  You should figure what bins are going with what vehicle.  Also, you want to further “triage” this by making sure your absolutely most critical supplies can be quickly offloaded from that vehicle in case an event renders it inoperable in the midst of your flight.

“Sensitive” items must be placed in the vehicle in a manner that they can be accessed immediately.  Weapons, ammunition, first-aid/medical kits, radiological survey meters (Geiger counters), water purification devices, “quick” meals (beef jerky, dried fruit, etc.,) and so forth are sensitive.  Other items may include (but are not limited to) radio and communications equipment, night vision devices, batteries and battery chargers, a small portable generator, etc.  The key here is to know what you have and where it is at all times in order to enable you to operate effectively without headaches.

3. Planning is key. Planning is one of the 5 P’s of Preparedness. You will also need a plan of travel and a destination.  Remember the military acronym “PACE,” standing for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency.  This applies to plans and routes.  What if Main Street is blocked by fallen power lines?  What if Elm Avenue is sitting under three feet of water?  You need alternate routes with which to depart, and your family must know them. As well, you need a Plan B for bugging out if all highways and roads are blocked? Do you have bicycles, 4 wheelers or motorcycles or will you be leaving on foot?

4. You must know where you are going. A rallying point is a predetermined location agreed upon to meet for a group if they are separating in either an involuntary situation that arises suddenly or in an instance where the separation is preplanned.  Communications (either by shortwave/ham radio, or Motorola) can facilitate ease of transition to and from these points.  All vehicles should have maps, kept in waterproof cases and readily available to the driver and passenger riding “shotgun” during the movement.

All of these items mentioned require a lot of planning and coordination beforehand, until they’re rehearsed and remembered.  When they “feel” smooth and can be done almost nonchalantly, then you’re at peak performance.  Remember, preserve yourself and your family members first, as you are irreplaceable.  Things come and things go in life.  You can always replace them.  Hopefully this will help you to minimize your losses if you have to flee, and give you the opportunity to preserve some of it – the most essential stuff – and keep it with you when you depart.  Take care of one another, first and foremost in all things, work your plan, and trust in it…and each other.  JJ out.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Preppers – Foot Care is a Top Priority

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I have a confession to make. I was born with extremely high arches and an obscene love of boots in all their variations. Although my feet don’t quite meet the standards for Pes Cavus (who’s literal translation is “hollow foot”), the footprint I leave behind, were I to stand on a piece of paper with a wet foot, is pretty close. The ball of my foot and my heel can be plainly seen, but there is only a thin line in the print from the outer side of my foot (lateral aspect) connecting the two. The opposite foot structure from mine is a completely flat foot.

foot arch types1Both of these variations in foot structure tend to run in families (sorry, kids, you got that from me) and can wreak havoc over time on “blue collar feet”. Being on my feet all day caring for animals, jumping out of semi’s and tractors, repeatedly pushing down with my foot on a shovel to turn earth or muck out stalls, hiking up and own the hills here in the Sierras, and carrying heavy sacks of feed on my shoulder while wearing improper footwear (for my foot structure) all added up.

I could tell you how to properly trim almost any animal’s hooves, the importance of properly fitting shoes on a horse, how to treat thrush, how to prevent and treat hutch burn in rabbits, and even how to treat bumblefoot in chickens. But until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with severe, chronic plantar fasciitis, I didn’t know a thing about my own feet, nor did I appreciate the importance of their care. Whether you’re farming or concerned about winter wilderness survival taking care of your feet should be one of your top priorities.

Foot Injuries vs Foot Conditions/Diseases

A foot injury is pretty self-explanatory. Something acute has happened- you’ve stepped on a sharp object, developed a wickedly painful blister, or broken a bone. Foot conditions, on the other hand, are usually things you’re born with that may or may not have any effect for some time. The problem is, it’s a cumulative effect, so addressing the underlying condition and caring for it properly before an issue arises, is much more affective than trying to resolve it after the fact.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is certainly the case in foot problems. There’s a myriad of conditions and diseases than can affect the foot, but for this discussion, I’m going to focus on the ones most often encountered by “blue collar feet”: plantar fasciitis, sesamoid injuries, and their treatments.

Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

pf 1Anyone can develop plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain, but you’re at greater risk if the arch of your foot is very high or very flat, are overweight, have very tight calf muscles that make it difficult for you to flex your foot back so that your toes are point up towards your shins, repetitive impact injury (like jumping out of semis and tractors), or a new or sudden increase in activity (like bugging out on foot or the increased farm work that spring season brings). It can start off as pain in the heel, especially upon waking (post-static dyskinesia). Oftentimes, the pain and stiffness in the heel will go away after a few minutes of walking.

As it progresses and is left untreated, the heel also becomes very painful after exertion. If you ignore these early warning signs, as I did, the pain can spread across the bottom of your foot from your heel to the ball of your foot, is constant, and is so painful that bearing any weight on your feet becomes impossible. It can affect one or both feet.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is literally the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot. To picture where this strong band of tissue is, imagine your bare foot print. The band looks something like a tree with the bottom of the trunk starting at the back of your heel print (called “the insertion point”), the trunk of the tree running up your arch, and the branches spreading out across the ball of your foot to each toe. Unlike other connective tissues in your body, the plantar fascia doesn’t stretch. Instead, it’s designed to absorb the high strains and stresses we place on our feet, but if too much stress is placed on it, it tears the tissue which causes stiffness and inflammation. Dr. Julia Overstreet, a podiatrist, high-risk foot and lower extremity specialist, has a very good video on the subject here.

Mild plantar fasciitis can be treated much like any other sprain or strain: over the counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), an ice pack, and rest. Many doctors recommend stretching the affected area by doing a calf stretch and plantar fascia stretch.

  • Calf stretch – Lean forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. To stretch the calf muscles and the heel cord, push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion. Hold the position for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. A strong pull in the calf should be felt during the stretch.
  • Plantar fascia stretch – This stretch is performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you in a controlled fashion. If it is difficult to reach your foot, wrap a towel around your big toe to help pull your toes toward you. Place your other hand along the plantar fascia. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is best done in the morning before standing or walking. (Source)

However, I completely agree with Dr. Overstreet that these exercises have little to no affect. The fascia doesn’t stretch, so you’re really just stretching the tissues surrounding them. This might work for very mild cases of plantar fasciitis, but it doesn’t work once you’ve allowed it to go beyond that.
Plantar fasciitis is a mechanical issue and as such should be treated with devices that help support the mechanics of your foot. That means finding an arch support that will fit your arch and keep it from being stressed. Low dye taping is an economical short-term treatment that can get you back on your feet long enough to get out of an emergency situation or to offer relief until you can see a podiatrist. Dr. David Hughes, podiatrist with The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group, has an excellent video on how to properly tape a foot in the low dye method for plantar fasciitis relief here.

A more permanent solution is to get a pair of OTC orthotics. Many think that the massaging gel foot inserts that you find at the pharmacy will help, but they won’t. Instead, go to a sports shoe store or a podiatrists office (you don’t need an appointment- many of them carry high-quality orthotics that they sell over the counter) and get your feet fitted for orthotics. Why get fitted? Because everyone’s feet are different, each arch is different, and the point is to get an orthotic that closely matches the arch of your foot to give it maximum support. You’re looking for something like this.

Examine Your Footwear

Now is a good time to examine your footwear, too. Shoes, like tires on your car, have a mileage life. Shoes will usually last about 300 miles. It doesn’t matter how pretty they still look on the outside- after 300 miles, the inner structure starts breaking down and will no longer support your feet. For maximum support, choose lace-up shoes. Slip-on shoes won’t hug your feet well enough to keep the arch support snug against your arch. There’s a reason the military provides all their soldiers with lace-up boots! This video gives you a good overview on how to evaluate the quality of the construction of a shoe or boot.

I love the convenience of my slip-on muck boots, but they had to go. My beautiful cowboy boots are now reserved for nights out on the town. Flip-flops and stilettos? Fuggedaboutit! You’ll probably need to remove the insole that came with your shoes. Most of them now have their own support and it will interfere with the custom fit of your new orthotic. Trying to put the orthotic in while the old insole is still in place will also make your shoes too small. If you find that your lace-up boots are too tight even after removing the old insole and replacing it with the new orthotic, you can try lacing them differently for a more comfortable fit. A video on alternative lacing methods can be found here.

Sesamoid Injuries

This is another common injury of “blue collar feet” that take a pounding. Most joint bones connect to each other, but some do not, like your knee cap. The sesamoid bone in your foot is like the knee cap of your big toe. It’s in the underside of your foot where the big toe connects to your foot. Bruising of the sesamoid in your foot is more common (I’m looking at you, stiletto pumps!), but sesamoiditis (inflammation of the tendons surrounding the sesamoids) happens over time with repeated stress. Ironically, it was the quality boots and the custom-fit orthotics that made me more susceptible to sesamoiditis (through no fault of either device).

I took advantage of the increased support and felt indestructible. I was jumping off of things and sitting in bent-knees, toes-flexed-backwards position for long lengths of time. By the end of the day, it felt like a fire had been lit at the base of my big toe and stretching it backwards, even a little, was very painful.

If I had fractured the sesamoid, the pain would have been immediate. Fortunately, the treatment for sesamoiditis and fracture is the same- first, stop doing whatever it is that made it hurt. Next, use NSAIDS, rest, and ice the area to bring the inflammation down. Taping the big toe so that it remains slightly bent down or wearing a soft J-shaped pad to cushion it can sometimes offer relief (but really, you should just stay off of it). If the symptoms persist, you may need to wear a short leg fracture brace for four to six weeks to let the fracture heal.


Whether you’re thinking about preps for your bug-out or your feet are putting in a hard day’s work, having the proper support for them and quality footwear is a must. Shoes wear out after about 300 miles and foot problems can stop you in your tracks. Knowing what to look for in the construction of quality footwear and how to take care of the unique structure of your feet will insure you remain mobile in emergency situations or can keep you earning a living. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”.  Stay tuned!

Ruby is a first generation Californian who grew up in the heart of the Central San Joaquin Valley farming community. She’s been involved in agriculture for 40 years and learned to preserve food, traditional home arts, to hunt and fish, raise livestock and garden from her Ozark native mother.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

A Few Tips for Surviving a Blizzard in a Stranded Car

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snowed in carWhen Winter Storm Jonas rolled into the East Coast, everyone knew it was coming, but that didn’t prevent some people from getting caught in the cold. For instance, 500 vehicles on a Pennsylvania turnpike got stuck in traffic during the storm, after several trailer trucks jackknifed on the road. It took 24 hours to clear the turnpike before stranded passengers could go on their way.

Fortunately, this wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, and National Guardsmen could still reach the drivers to deliver essential supplies. But even with their help it was no picnic, and it was still a dangerous situation for all involved. It just goes to show that when a storm is in your path, no matter where you live, you should prepare yourself and your vehicle for the possibility of being stranded in snowy weather. Obviously, the worst case scenario would involve being stranded in a remote area, where you don’t have the benefit of reaching help. Here’s a few of the most important things you should remember if that ever happens to you:

Should You Stay or Go?

Say your car malfunctions, gets stuck, or crashes in a remote area during a blizzard. If there’s nothing you can do to get the vehicle moving again, you have to make the tough decision of whether to stay in the vehicle or to leave and find help (it should go without saying that in this hypothetical scenario, you don’t have a cell phone signal). In most cases, you’ll want to err on the side of staying, unless you know for a fact that you can reach help by foot within an hour or two.

Don’t overestimate your abilities though. Nobody wants to face the possibility of staying in their car for several days or weeks, but many a stranded driver has died over the years, because they left to get help and succumbed to the elements. But before you even consider leaving the house, there’s a few things you should have stocked up in your vehicle.

Basic Supplies

There are some basic, common sense supplies you should have in the trunk or backseat and ways to prime your vehicle for bouts of cold weather. To prepare for being stranded in a vehicle, you need to think about all the things you would take if you were going camping, but minus the tent. Non-perishable food, water bottles, wool and polypro clothing, sleeping bag, hand warmers, tools, first aid kit, etc. The food you take should consist of really high calorie substances, loaded with fats, carbs, and proteins. Just make sure to keep your food and water inside a cooler to prevent them from freezing and swelling (canned foods may not be the best idea).

You’ll also want a bring portable camping stove of some kind, so you can melt snow into drinking water and warm up your food. It’s not uncommon for people to get stranded in their vehicles for more than a few days, and you may not have the space to store enough water for that time frame. Just remember that you can’t use the stove for warmth. Using stoves inside your vehicle could be very dangerous and could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s best to use the camping stove outside and have hand and foot warmers to maintain body heat.

Tools and Signaling

There are a few more items you should keep in your vehicle that you probably wouldn’t take on a camping trip. In all likelihood you won’t be inside your car for every moment of the day, so rubber boots are a must. You should always have road flares on hand, but in this case, you’ll need them to signal any search and rescue teams that might be looking for you. If you keep reflective emergency triangles in your car, those would also be useful for advertising your presence. And finally, you should consider a small or collapsible shovel for digging out your tires, as well as sand or kitty litter to give them traction.


If you decide to hunker down for the night, the first thing you’ll need to do is insulate your vehicle. If you have any newspaper, books you can tear up, or extra blankets, it would be wise to tape them to the windows. However, glass is already a decent insulator, so your highest priority should be to insulate the edges of the doors and windows, or wherever cold air might get in. You could also cut out the stuffing in the seat cushions or use the floor mats.

Alternatively, you can use the snow to your advantage. In 2012, a Swedish man survived alone in his car for two months, despite the temperature falling to -30C . Experts attributed his survival to the fact that his car was buried in snow, which created an igloo effect and kept him warm. It wouldn’t be bad idea to build up a wall of snow around the edges of the car. There is a catch however. If your car is completely walled off then nobody will see you. It would be crazy to completely bury your car, and don’t attempt this unless you have something colorful or reflective to let people know where you are.

Keeping Warm

If your engine is still running, it would be a good idea to turn it on periodically so you can build up some heat in your vehicle. If your car is properly insulated, you may only need to keep the engine idling for 15 minutes at a time, every hour or so. You’ll have to keep it up however, if you want to prevent the fuel lines from freezing over. Just remember to go outside every now and then and clear any snow out of your exhaust pipe. Failure to do so could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

On a final note, it’s best to avoid this kind of situation in the first place. None of us want bad weather to ruin our plans, but when a snowstorm arrives, you should really just hunker down at home and stay off the roads. Keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and make sure your gas tank is full, just in case you absolutely have to drive. Snowstorms aren’t just inconvenient. Any attempt to brave them could prove deadly.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Hardcore Survival: What To Wear in the Harshest Conditions

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winterThis article is going to give you some pointers on dressing for the winter weather to maximize your heat, minimize your moisture, and to enable you to be ready if the SHTF.  The article’s title holds the word “tactical,” and in this New Year I feel it is important to make this emphasis to you:

Every situation is either tactical or has the potential to become tactical in the blink of an eye.

Needs and Capabilities

Your needs and capabilities in this regard are going to vary in accordance with where you live (geographical/climate locale), and what you do during the course of the day.  Some may have an easier time with this, as they may be employed where they can wear what they want…few and far in-between as this may seem.  Others must wear a uniform or a suit and tie/business apparel.  No matter.  The first group (to paraphrase the band “Nirvana”) can “come as you are…as I want you to be.”  The second group will have to rely on the telephone booth akin to Clark Kent as he did when he “changed” into Superman.


Footwear is as varied as the imagination.  I prefer military footwear and wear it all the time.  I have a pair of desert winter boots with Vibram soles that I switch up with a pair of Rocky Gore-Tex issue boots.  The majority of the time these days, I have a good pair of rubberized boots with leather instep, Kamin waterproofs, a necessity here in Montana where it snows about every day.  With socks, I like a thin pair of cotton, covered over with a thick pair of wool.  The cotton absorbs the moisture from your foot, and the wool wicks it away.

Essential Layers

I layer with long johns, a decent synthetic type by Russell, and over these I wear nylon jogging-type/sports pants with a thin cotton underlining.  They lock in the heat and they do breathe.  Over this are the pants, and as I mentioned in previous articles, only cargo pants will do for me, my preference being Riggs by Wrangler.  This triple layer keeps layers of air circulating between them and also insulates me thoroughly from the cold.  Here it has been about 20 degrees F during the day, and 0 – 7 degrees F at night.

Topside I wear a cotton t-shirt with a synthetic/polypro long sleeve undershirt.  If you can find shirts with wicking ability, it can help your body maintain your core body temperature. Over this I have a sweatshirt with hood, and I wear an Army issue uniform top: they’re durable, and I like the newer generation tops because of the amount of pockets.  Over this I throw a nice Marmot Gore-Tex jacket, and then it’s just my gloves and a hat. Remember, folks: wearing a hat will keep warm heat from escaping on your head. This is very important! When I’m all suited up, JJ’s ready to go!

The Doctrine of Contrasting Colors

You all know about the importance of layering, and now let’s cover a few things from a tactical perspective: the doctrine of contrasting colors.

What if “big daddy government” morphs into that totalitarian state we can all foresee and dread?  You are on the run.  Here’s the principle: they’re looking for a guy with a red jacket, and he disappears into a public restroom.  As people come out, there is nobody with a red jacket, but you went right by them…because you stripped off your top layer, discarded it (hopefully you can recover it!), and emerged in a gray sweat top.  The key here is to be able to alter your appearance and “change up” on the target they are looking for…and expecting.  The mind and eyes tend to focus on a target and keep it in mind.  This is our honing instinct, and it is as old as mankind.

If you’re wearing tan khaki cargoes and a red jacket (does that classify you as a SF ’49er fan?), how much better if you emerge wearing black nylon sweats and a gray sweatshirt?  The colors must contrast; that is, bear a marked difference to one another in the combination you’re wearing them both before you’re followed and after you give them the slip.

Now I’m sure a lot are going to comment that it “doesn’t matter with infrared,” and “you can’t avoid the cameras.”  No, actually, it does matter.  The goons that are on the ground do not have all of that equipment in their hands and right in front of them.  Not yet.  There’s a disconnect between what Stanley the Tech-guy is reporting to him in his ear and what he sees on the ground.

In addition, you want to wear hats and gloves, maybe a good scarf or a balaclava to keep warm and also to break up your outline that gives a signature.  I want to put in a word about the Gore-Tex.  It is the best thing since sliced bread in my opinion.  I wear the civilian Gore-Tex jacket so as not to be so obsequious, although here in Montana camouflage is a year-round sight and in some areas can be easily confused with evening formal wear.

The important tactical consideration here with the Gore-Tex is that you want to stay warm and dry, and a fire may be “inconvenient” for you until the initial fervor of the disaster passes.  A good acid test is to dress in the manner I outlined and then lay in the snow for about 15 minutes with no ground pad or insulation between you and the snow.  If you can say you’re still warm even after 15 minutes, then you may have found a winning combination for yourself.  Layers also help enable your skin to breathe and to reduce heat that could potentially be trapped and elevate your temperature too high.

The cargo pants and Army top help you with the pockets to store things that are essential to you…small tools, fire starting equipment, and the like.  You want your ensemble to be as rugged and durable as it can be.  When it hits the fan, you don’t know when you’re going to have a change of clothing.  You’ll start it out “as is,” so to speak: what you’re carrying and wearing is what you’ll have, at least initially.  Remember: when you have to hide, a lot of times you’ll be hunkered down or in the prone.  You have to keep warm, dry, and insulated, especially if you must lay on the ground.

So whatever your environment, dress accordingly for that environment.  Remember this doctrine of contrasting colors, and choose your garments for their utilitarian functions rather than for style or appearance.  Take the time to consider any physical limitations and plan your wardrobe accordingly.  Always take the time to assess the situations in the news and what is happening around you, and be ready to do the Clark Kent to Superman change as soon as the balloon goes up and you have determined it’s genuine.  Have a great day, Guys and Gals, be prepared, and stay warmly-dressed, and “frosty” in your mind!  God bless!  JJ out.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Review: The Best Cargo Pants For Preppers

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pantsReady Nutrition Readers, this segment provides a recommendation for you to help you “fly by the seat of your pants,” so to speak, from a survival/wilderness perspective.  What’s in a pair of pants?  Paraphrasing Shakespeare as such, plenty can be in a pair of pants, if you look at them not just as clothing but actually as a part of your equipment.  I’m going to recommend to you what I use in the area of cargo pants, and tell you what I carry with mine.

Now some may point out that because of the nature of your work (uniform, business suit, etc.), that it is neither permitted nor convenient to have cargo pants every day.  Not so.  You may not be able to wear them every day, but remember going back to those segments I did on bug-out bags?  Even if you have to wear a set of scrubs in a hospital or a suit for your trial (hopefully as a lawyer, not as a defendant), you can pack your cargo pants of choice…ready to go…in your bug out bag (I prefer “go” bag).

Along with that pair of pants, it must be able to carry a variety of gear therefore – it’s got to have pockets. As well, a good belt is a must.  So, without further ado, here is what JJ totes in and on his cargo pants (the important stuff besides keys and wallet):

  • Left Cargo Pocket: Military cravat (aka “drive-on rag”) OG green; black Polartech hat; Djeep lighter; additional “sensitive” items.
  • Right Cargo Pocket: Leather shooting gloves, 1 pair triple-flanged earplugs in a case; balaclava (for the neck and face).  Flashlight (Coast-brand: uses 1 AA battery, with a clip for pocket and reverse-clip for hat visor).  Buck knife folder with clip.
  • Belt: 1 pouch to hold a mag; Gerber multi-tool; loop-lanyard Cordura clip for a thigh holster to attach to; Kydex clip-in holster.  The belt is a good leather belt, nice and thick, not bonded leather or woven, but solid…those deliver the best performance value in JJ’s experience.
  • Miscellaneous Items:  Salve (I use Carmex); 1 other “sensitive” item.

Looking For Durable Pants With a Lifetime Warranty? Look No Further

The cargo pants I prefer are a little more expensive than most and some may be skeptical about paying such a price until they actually see how they’re made: pure quality, plain and simple.  I use and love Wrangler Riggs Workwear, my model of preference being the Ranger Relaxed Fit type.  I prefer them in OG/olive green, although they have them in black and light tan.  The latter are a little thinner; the OG and the black are really thick, fantastic material.  They will run you $44.95 per pair.  They have a lifetime warranty on them.  In JJ’s experience, they are the finest pairs of cargo pants ever made, pound for pound and dollar for dollar.

The closest that I have seen to them is the US Army issue BDU trousers, and next are the ones by Carharrt; however, they are not that close.  The Army trousers are tough, but the two cargo pockets are not as nice.  The Carharrts (although well-made) are nowhere near these Wrangler Riggs when you feel the material for each side by side, and the latter has them beat across the board with the pockets.

The back pockets are edged and lined with Cordura nylon.  The pants themselves are 100% rip-stop cotton, an extremely tight weave, with a double layer in the front and heavily reinforced with seams and double stitching.  If you prefer a lock blade with a clip, the right front pocket has a leather reinforced semicircle stitched upon the edge of the pocket’s opening.

The cargo pockets have two snaps on each flap, left and right.  The female portion of the snap (the part you press to close the snap) is within the pocket’s flap: this keeps it from being scraped or knocked off.  On the exterior of the right cargo pocket are two small pouch-pockets that are perfect for a flashlight, knife, or other tool.  They are extremely tough, durable, and convenient to use.  During the winter months you can augment them with good thermal underwear, and during the summer months they’ll breathe because they’re cotton.

As I write this article, I am wearing a pair I have had for three years with hardly any signs of wear at all.  My advice is to buy them at least one size large (mine are two) because it is better to have them a little loose to accommodate layers underneath, and having them loose in the summer prevents constriction and chafing.  They carry all of my gear that I mentioned comfortably, and that is the kicker in addition to how durable they are.

I wear them all the time.  Boring?  Perhaps.  But at any given moment, I know where each and every item that I carry is located.  This in itself is worth the price to pay for them.  I have seen some that are name brands that are more expensive, but they don’t perform the same.  I buy my size periodically, and store them up in sealable garment bags with some desiccant in a place with low humidity or moisture.  Buy one every month to two months and in no time you’ll be able to build up a steady supply.

Their value to carry equipment at the ready is not able to be easily estimated.  I like to buy my cargoes a little long.  During the warm months, I cuff them up, and the bottoms sit upon the instep of my boots.  During the winter, I can unroll them and cuff them on the inside of my boots.  In Montana it is not looked at with any askance, as even businessmen in suits cuff their pants inside of high leather boots with rubber bottoms.  Sorel’s, Kamik’s, or Rocky Gore-Tex with a ton (800 – 1000 grams on average…I’m in the Rockies, after all) of Thinsulate are the equivalent of wing-tips or loafers in the cities, and the norm in Montana.

If you need to keep them in your “go” bag, set them up first: put a belt on them with your Leatherman/Gerber tool attached, and whatever “goodies” you prefer in the manner that I set mine up.  Then all you have to do is roll them up from the waist down to the bottom of the pants legs to make sure that things don’t fall out of the pockets, and voila!  You’re good to go!  Then stick them in your bag and you can make the change as soon as the SHTF, no matter where you are.  I’m sure someone out there is going to mention other things in addition to my stuff.  This is how I do it, and anything else is in my bag, never more than a few feet away from me.

The main focus was to recommend something that I use and love, something that I consider a piece of my equipment/gear, and completely necessary both for the area I live and for time of trouble.  I believe you’ll find them comfortable and exceptional in quality: a good investment for your needs.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Surviving Poverty Part 2: Staying Warm on the Streets

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street tent wikimediaThe homeless have to deal with a host dangers on a regular basis, though it’s difficult to say which is the most treacherous. Obviously food is a real concern. There’s also a higher risk of becoming sick or injured, and without money, a lower chance of those issues being treated effectively. And who could forget the possibility of being harmed by other people?

However, the most dangerous aspect of living without a house may be dealing with exposure. With wet and windy weather, hypothermia can easily kick in for people who are poorly sheltered and clothed, even at around 50-60 degrees. And according to some estimates, as many as 700 homeless people die from hypothermia in America on a yearly basis. This is a very real danger in most of the United States, so if being homeless is something you’re worried about, learning to deal with this risk should be at the top of your list.

And don’t just assume that you’ll be able to go to a homeless shelter on really cold nights. There’s a reason why hundreds of thousands of people are sleeping on the streets every day, and it’s not just because the shelters are often overcrowded. It’s also because many of these shelters are notorious for being unsanitary and dangerous. Though that isn’t always the case, you have to accept the fact that sometimes a shelter simply isn’t an option, and you should be preparing for that eventuality.

In the first part of this series, I explained that if you think homelessness is a real possibility in your future, it’s not a good idea to wait until the last-minute to prepare for it. Get the gear you need now before your rent/mortgage eats up all of your savings. You really don’t want to step out of your house with nothing to your name.

With that in mind, I’m going to explain what you need to survive the cold, including what kind of gear you should have if you can afford it, and what you should do if you have absolutely no money. Let’s take a look:

Sleeping Gear

The most important thing you’ll need is something to sleep on. All the gear in the world will be useless if your body is making contact with the ground. Whether it’s dirt or concrete, it will absorb every bit of heat in your body. Foam sleeping pads can be had for pretty cheap, though something that is self-inflating, waterproof, and abrasion resistant would be better. If space is a concern, consider getting something that you have to inflate with your lungs. Those sleeping pads are the most compact, and the air is an excellent insulator.

A standard sleeping bag is also a must. When combined with a sleeping pad, you can probably survive any temperature that doesn’t dip below freezing. It can also be used in lieu of a sleeping pad, though it is a poor substitute. Space is also an issue here. However, the more compact your sleeping bag is the less effective it will be. At one end of the spectrum are really thin and cheap bags that are good for cool summer nights and not much else. At the other end, you’ll find really expensive bags that are bulky, water-resistant, and can withstand sub-zero temperatures.

If you can’t afford anything, there are two materials that are your best friend: paper and plastic. It makes sense that the homeless frequently use those materials to survive the elements. They’re cheap, abundant, easy to manipulate, and they’re great insulators that work well together for a variety of situations. Stuff like cardboard and newspaper not only insulate, but they breathe as well. And when it rains, utilize shopping and garbage bags to keep yourself dry.

Another really cheap material is aluminum foil, which doesn’t really insulate but will do a great job of reflecting ambient heat. If you want something a little more durable though, consider the mylar space blankets, which are also made of aluminum and plastic and are very cheap. Just remember that when you’re dealing with plastic and aluminum, don’t wrap anything too tightly. Since they don’t breath they could cause you to sweat, which is the last thing you need in cold weather.


The most important article of clothing is the one that touches your skin. You’re really only as warm as your base layer, especially if you get wet for any reason. You can wear all the layers you want, but if you’re wearing a soaked cotton t-shirt under it all, you could die when the temperature drops. Wool, Gore-TEX, and polyprolyene are all good choices for your base layer. And make sure you take care of your legs and feet too. Long Johns and wool socks can make a huge difference. And while we’re on the subject of feet, you should really ditch the sneakers and look for boots that will at least protect your ankles from the cold.

Now if you don’t have any of that stuff, paper and plastic are going to come in handy again. It’s not uncommon for the homeless to stuff waded-up paper between their layers, and use black garbage bags as disposable raincoats. If your shoes aren’t water-resistant, it’s a good idea to wrap your feet in shopping bags to keep them dry. Of course, the plastic doesn’t breathe so if you do this for too long your feet will be very sweaty and cold when it comes time to take them off. Don’t do this unless you have a fresh pair of dry socks.

And regardless of what you have at your disposal, you need to stack on as many layers as you can without overheating. When you see a homeless person in the winter, you’re probably seeing someone who is wearing their entire wardrobe. They may have (relatively speaking) a lot of clothes that were donated to them, but they can stay warm by putting them all together, even if by themselves they’re not designed for cold weather. Keep this in mind when you find clothes or have them donated to you. Just because it doesn’t fit, doesn’t mean it’s useless. Everything that’s slightly too big for you could be the extra layer that saves your life.


A tent is an obvious solution for dealing with the weather, and every homeless person should have something to put over their heads, however it won’t work in all situations. You can’t just set up a tent in the middle of the sidewalk during business hours, and not expect local shops to call the cops. There are certain areas in some cities like abandoned lots and near railroad tracks where you can set up a tent, but at the same time it will make your presence very obvious. And much like sleeping bags, there is a balancing act between cost, weight, size, and effectiveness that you have to consider. At the very least, you should have one of those cheap plastic tarps. They make a great windbreak, and can protect your body and your belongings from the rain.

If for whatever reason you don’t have any form of cover, and you can’t make it to a homeless shelter, you’ll have to find an alternative with public access. Look for bridges and freeway overpasses, or alleyways that can block the wind. In cities where homelessness is common (and thus, it’s less likely for the police to crack down), many of these people will set up camp in front of businesses that have an overhang as part of the architecture, and then skedaddle in the morning before the business opens. Even finding a tree to sleep under is better than nothing.

However, you have to be careful in these areas, because there will likely be other people like you who are looking for shelter. However, some of them will not be like you, in that they may be dangerous. Some of these areas will be very secluded and poorly lit, so you have to stay on guard.

As a last resort, you might just have to change your sleep schedule. There’s a reason why the homeless are often seen sleeping all day, and it’s not necessarily due to boredom. Oftentimes they choose to stay up all night and walk around to stay warm, and do their sleeping during the day.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Surviving Poverty Part 1: How to Live in a Van

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camper vanThere’s been a few news stories floating around over the past few weeks that have a common theme. In San Francisco, a city with some of the highest rental costs in the nation, it seems that more and more people have been choosing to live in their vehicles. That may not sound very surprising, but what is odd is that these stories don’t involve struggling low-income workers.

Instead, these people are fairly well paid tech employees. The one that’s really been making the rounds on the internet, involves a Google employee who bought a box truck and sleeps in his company’s parking lot. It’s not that he couldn’t afford to rent an apartment per say, it’s that he couldn’t stand the thought of paying so much money for a place to sleep. If he decided to rent, he’d probably be close to breaking even.

You know there’s something very wrong in this country, when an employee for one of the most profitable companies in world would rather live in a truck than pay rent. It suggests that in some parts of America, you don’t have to be poor to be homeless. Just imagine what it’s like for the folks who really are poor, of which there are many.

On any given night in America, there are over a half a million people living on the streets or in their vehicles. As you can imagine, that’s not a good place to be in your life, but it happens. If you think that this is something that might happen to you one day in the near future (and who are kidding, it could happen to anyone these days) here’s a word of advice: Don’t wait until the last-minute, hoping for that next job interview to come through as you burn through your savings. If homelessness is a real possibility in your life, it’s something that you should be preparing for, not waiting for.

The more money you have at your disposal when you decide to leave your home, the easier your life is going to be without a house. If you have no money, you’ll be living on the streets with little more than the clothes on your back. It’s better to put your savings towards a van or a truck that you can live in. Unlike living on the streets, you can actually maintain a fairly decent standard of living with very little money. Here’s a few basics that you need to know to get started.

Choosing a Vehicle

The box truck chosen by that Google employee isn’t necessarily the best vehicle for the job, nor is it the most affordable. It is roomy, but it isn’t very discreet. Our society is incredibly fearful of homeless people, and depending on where you live it may be illegal to sleep in your car (check your local municipal codes. There may be a neighboring town that allows it). You want something that flies under the radar.

Camper vans are a pretty good choice since they’re already designed for living in, but they also look the part. Anytime a camper van is parked somewhere, it could raise a few eyebrows. An ordinary cargo van with at least a 6 foot bed may be a better choice, because you can convert it to a camper van without it looking like a camper van. And unlike a box truck, nobody will notice you moving from the driver’s seat to the back when it’s time to go to bed. Try to avoid white vans since again, our culture has deemed white vans to be “creepy.”

Ideally, a reliable van will be worth at least $5,000, but obviously you may not have that kind of money. Fortunately there are plenty of really cheap vans from the 90’s on Craigslist that can get the job done for less.  Even the ones in the $1000-$2000 range still have some life in them. Just don’t plan on doing any long distance driving.

When you’re looking for a van, think of it this way. How many more miles does it have left? That cheap van may only have 10,000 miles of life before it craps out, but if you keep your lifestyle local that might last you a couple of years. That’s a lot longer than most people stay homeless. And look for taller vans over longer vans. You’ll have more storage space, and it’ll be easier to find parking in urban areas. Something with a shell top is even better.


The best place to keep your van while you sleep is probably in a Walmart parking lot. Walmart will let you park there indefinitely, (though this usually only applies to their retail outlets, not grocery stores) because they know you’ll shop there. Otherwise you can also park on residential streets, but you have to plan ahead by looking for spots that are inconspicuous.

You have to find spots that look more public than private, and your van will likely go unnoticed on a street with lots of parked cars. It’s also a good idea to change spots every other night. And while we’re on the subject of going unnoticed, you should consider getting some curtains for all of your windows too. Not only will this keep the sun out, but it will also prevent people from seeing you inside.

Preparing For The Elements

Vans are notorious for being very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, and you shouldn’t completely rely on your vehicle’s heating/AC unit (more on that in a moment). Insulating your van is a must. Most people with little money may insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor with cardboard or blankets (magnets and paracord are a good idea). Others will go the full mile and deck out their van with some combination of fiberglass, foam, and foil backed insulation.


A good battery will be the backbone of your electrical system. You’ll have to find a deep cycle battery, because your car battery will quickly burn out if you keep charging and draining it (like using your vehicle’s AC all day when you’re not driving). You’ll probably need one with at least a 100 amp hour capacity, though you’ll have to consider how much power you’ll be using on a regular basis, and how often you’ll be able to charge it. Keep in mind that you’ll have to run AC and heating devices through this, as well as your computer and cell phone. (consider turning your smartphone into a wifi hotspot)

And remember, these batteries are super heavy, so you may need to buy several smaller ones and connect them in parallel. AGM batteries are probably your best bet since there’s no off-gassing, they last a long time, and they’re maintenance-free. After that, you’ll have to find an inverter to convert the DC batteries to AC for your electronic devices. Add the total wattage from all of your devices, and buy an inverter with a capacity that is at least 1.5 times higher.

If you have any friends that are willing to help out, you shouldn’t have any trouble charging the batteries at their house. The amount of power you’ll be using will be negligible for them, and it only takes a few hours to charge them (plus you’ll need an address for paying bills and ordering packages). Otherwise, you might want to consider mounting a solar panel on the roof.

Food and Water

Obviously, you don’t want to be eating fast food for the duration of this experience. Fortunately it’s not that difficult to prepare your own meals in a van. For starters you’ll need a really good cooler, and if it can be helped, it shouldn’t be one of those cheap plastic ones you see in the grocery store. A small Yeti Cooler will maintain a cool temperature for a really long time.

As for cooking, you should probably avoid electric stoves and microwaves. They will probably eat up your electricity at a faster rate than any other electronic device. Contrary to popular opinion, you can use those little camper stoves that run on butane or propane without coming close to asphyxiating in the tight quarters of a van. You just shouldn’t use those stoves to stay warm. Keep your cooking time to less than a half hour for each meal, leave a window cracked, and you should be fine. If you’re really paranoid you can put a carbon monoxide detector in the van, but I’m willing to bet that it will never go off.

And for water, you should probably store it in a mini water dispenser, or at least jerry-rig an ordinary container to dispense water. Just make sure it’s made of plastic and not glass, and secure it when you’re driving. And since you’re no longer connected to the grid, that means you’ll have to find water by other means. Unless you want to be seen taking a large jug to a public water fountain, just go to the grocery store. Most grocery stores have a water dispenser of some kind, and it usually costs far less than bottled water.

Bathroom Business

This is probably the most controversial subject for van living, and for good reason. Dealing with your waste while living in a van sounds really unsanitary. You could set up a composting toilet and pee in bottles, but depending on your situation it may be best to simply rely on public facilities. If you want something that is more reliable though, you should sign up for a 24 hour gym. Depending on where you live it’ll cost you anywhere between $30 and over $100 a month. It’s probably worth it though, since that will be the best place for you to take a shower and shave as well. Overall, it will make your van living experience a lot easier (and cleaner).


Though van living may sound incredibly dangerous since you’re not in the comfort of your home, it’s not as bad as it sounds. People who break into cars generally aren’t the kinds of people who are looking for a fight. If they were, they’d be breaking into houses, mugging tourists, or robbing banks. They’re looking for something easy, and if they know somebody is inside they’re probably going to run.

However, it’s still a good idea to have something you can protect yourself with like a bat, knife, tire iron, or heavy flashlight. Keeping a firearm at the ready in a vehicle is not recommended for legal reasons, though I’m sure the laws vary from state to state. Even where it is legal though, it’s going to be frowned upon by most cops you come across since society really doesn’t trust homeless people. And rest assured, this lifestyle will attract the attention of the law from time to time.


So there you have it. Those are a few of the basics for living in a van, though it is by no means a complete guide. Whole books have been written on the subject, and there are plenty of websites dedicated to vandwelling. If this is something that interests you, there is an abundance of research that is available, and you should take advantage of that. This isn’t something to take lightly, and you need to know what you’re doing. Hopefully now, you at least have an idea of what you’re getting into.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Tech Company Develops the World’s First EMP-Proof Wallpaper

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event-empIf you’ve ever done any research on the effects of an EMP, you’ve probably heard about a Faraday cage. If you’re not familiar with it, a Faraday cage is capable of blocking electromagnetic waves with a porous metal mesh. Since the metal is conductive, it disperses the energy in a way that prevents it from entering the interior of the cage. That makes it an excellent tool for protecting electronic devices from the effects of an electromagnetic pulse.

Unfortunately, Faraday cages aren’t always convenient, on account of them being heavy metal cages. However, a technology firm out of Utah known as Conductive Composites, has just invented a new material that could revolutionize the way you protect your electronics.

Conductive Composites  has created a method to layer nickel on carbon to form a material that’s light and mouldable like plastic yet can disperse energy like a traditional metal cage.

‘Our materials integrate game-changing conductivity and shielding performance as part of a multifunctional materials system, while preserving the basic weight, cost, structural, environmental, and manufacturing performance advantages of composites and plastics,’ the firm says.

In fact, it’s so light, thin, and flexible, that you could apply it like wallpaper to protect an entire room. The company claims that their material can even be incorporated into paints and concrete. These attributes have the potential to make it easier and more affordable than ever before to protect all manner of electronics, big and small. Conductive Composites has actually started prototyping a few products that are essentially portable “Faraday Cases,” the smallest of which isn’t any heavier than a rolling suitcase. And as an added bonus, these products could also be used to bolster cyber security efforts.

The cases range in size from suitcase-sized units for carrying smaller digital devices to wheeled portable enclosures that can house servers—providing what is essentially an EMP-shielded portable data center. The cases and enclosures are being marketed not just to the military but to consumers, corporations, and first responders as well.

The materials used in Faraday Cases can also be used to create ultra-lightweight antennas, satellite communications reflector dishes, and hundreds of other things that currently need to be made with conductive metal. And they could be a boon to anyone trying to prevent electronic eavesdropping—be it through active wireless bugs, radio retroreflectors used by nation-state intelligence agencies, or passive surveillance through anything from Wi-FI hacking to electromagnetic signals leaking from computer cables and monitors. And in some cases, they could make it possible to create the kind of secure spaces used by government agencies to prevent eavesdropping nearly anywhere.

That’s why the media has been referring to this technology as “NSA-proof wallpaper.” It has the potential to give the average person the same anti-surveillance technology that was previously only cost-effective for governments. Someday soon, turning your house into an EMP-proof, counter-surveillance bunker, may be no more difficult nor any more expensive than a home makeover.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

This Eco-Friendly Foldable Dome Home Is The Perfect All-Season Camper

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By Amanda Froelich

domehome1Do you value eco-friendly homes that are easy to transport, can endure types kinds of weather, and have much lower costs to maintain than traditionally constructed living spaces? If so, you’re bound to love the DOM (E) all-season home.

DOM (E), a foldable geodesic home, is truly the perfect solution for those who love to venture in life and live comfortably at the same time. The home is designed for both the sweltering desert heat and the frigid cold. Perhaps the best part? It can be transported easily.

According to its creators, the dome home is “easily foldable,” and is made from“environmentally friendly” construction materials. It also costs less to put up and tow around than other living structures.

dome7As No Rules Just Architecture (NRJA) shares, DOM (E)’s shape allows for great ventilation and conducts airflow with help from underground ducts. The top of the geodesic structure can gather rain, and it also obtains solar power from the blazing sun. In addition, the home “connects to the hot water tank, providing toilet facilities and kitchen with warm water.” 

The exterior of the home is constructed with concrete and liquid rubber. It’s well-insulated interior is made with an inviting birch plywood and allows for plenty of space to relax and enjoy life. It even has a fireplace for those who adore snuggling up with hot cocoa and watching flames in the winter.




This incredibly innovative and accommodating structure is one of the most intriguing eco-homes we’ve seen. It compares to the egg-shaped Ecocapsule Tiny Home that lets you live off-grid anywhere, and that one is on many peoples’ waiting lists.


What are your thoughts on this unique dome home? Would you consider living in a structure like this long-term? Comment below and share this article.


The Natural Blaze team is dedicated to the path of natural health and wellness. But we’re not just believers, we’ve experienced the healing properties of natural remedies first hand. That is why we are so deeply passionate to report natural health news, share wellness tips, and provide proven natural products to you.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Make the Perfect EDC Survival Kit

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edc survival kitWe all want to be ready for anything that life might throw at us, and truth be told, most preppers are already prepared to handle far more adversity than the average person. However, that’s only true when we’re in the comfort of our own homes, surrounded by the tools and supplies that can make life easier in any situation.

But what happens when you leave the house? Obviously, you can’t take everything with you when you go for a hike or take a trip. Think about every treacherous scenario that you’ve prepared yourself for, and try to imagine what it would be like endure it with only the tools that you can carry. Not so easy is it?

This is why you have to be very savvy about putting your EDC (every day carry) kit together. This kit should include everything that you can easily carry on your person in most situations, and it should be tailor-made for your needs and your environment. Don’t mistake it for what you would take with you if you were going backpacking or camping for the weekend. An EDC is what you can carry when you’re commuting or taking a day trip out-of-town, or perhaps even going to the grocery store.

There’s a very good reason for this distinction. Technically you could take a large backpack with a camping stove, tent, and sleeping bag with you everywhere you go, but would you?

Of course not. That’s why your EDC needs to be super light and convenient. If it’s not a burden to carry in everyday situations, then you’ll actually get in the habit carrying it in everyday situations.

So when you’re thinking about what items should go into your EDC, consider three factors: It should be small, it should light, and ideally it should be versatile. That’s really the key to a great survival kit. It should be filled with items that serve multiple purposes without taking up too much space.

For example, you could carry a Mylar blanket, which doesn’t just keep you warm when the chips are down. It can actually be used for 8 different survival applications. Another great example that is fairly new to the market, is the SOG credit card blade. Not only is there a 2-inch serrated steel blade, but it also comes with tweezers, a toothpick, can opener and compass. The best part is that it’s only the size of a credit card so it can easily fit in your wallet.

Of course, there are numerous items you could include in your EDC, so let’s start with a few that could fit in your pocket without any problems:

Or if you want to put together a small bag, consider the following:

This is by no means a complete list, but hopefully it can get you started on the right track. And if you really want to be inspired, you should take a look any of the countless altoid tin survival kits that can be found online. If you can make a kit that is that light and portable, you’ll never have a reason to not take your EDC everywhere you go. And that’s really the whole point of your EDC. It should be so easy to grab on your way out the door, that you don’t even have to think about it.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition