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The concept of preppers utilizing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for forward surveillance and other situations is not new. Until recently, the technology has been unattainable except for those with deep pockets. In recent years a decent consumer UAV with desirable features would cost thousands of dollars to achieve what DJI has done for a fraction of the cost in designing the DJI Mavic Pro. Out of the box, the Mavic Pro is extremely easy to fly, has collision avoidance technology, and a 4.3 mile range (the longest range offered by a DJI – even more than their most expensive UAV). If you combine this aircraft with a $22.00 app by Litchi Software, it adds an ability to pre-program a flight plan with waypoints, while varying your altitude, speed, and camera orientation to focus on points of interest (POIs) along its route. Additionally, if in the event that you lose signal, the Mavic can be programmed to hover in place or automatically “go home”, or to wherever the controller may be – if you happen to be on the move. The bottom line is that this craft is not a toy and with proper training, it has some serious tactical applications. I have detailed a series of flight testing below to show that the Mavic can successfully drop a small payload via parachute for very little cost.
Before I continue, I want to quickly get two things out-of-the-way. First, I have no connection at all to DJI and receive zero in return from them for writing this article. Secondly, you may be asking yourself, why do I keep referring to these machines as UAVs? The simple answer is that I believe the use of the word “drone” does not do a UAV justice. A drone can be a form of AI (a robot), or some other ground based machine or gadget. Back in the mid to late 80s, prior to the adoption of the term Unmanned Air Vehicle, the pioneers initially used the term “Remotely Piloted Vehicles”, or RPVs. I will use both RPV and UAV interchangeably as I believe these terms better define the Mavic. That said, I realize most people refer to them as drones as do I in other content that I produce.
Much like most advanced technology, the consumer use of UAVs was born from the pioneers in the US Government that began using them for surveillance and lethal applications in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The technology was cutting edge at the time, but rudimentary by today’s standards. Think of the difference between the first cell phones versus the smartphones of today.
Additionally, the concept of using UAVs to many in the Government was scary. In the beginning, they were inherently unstable and a lost signal would result in a crash. They could only be tested on military ranges or large swathes of private land, primarily with the sanction of generous landowners in the Southwest. As an added obstacle, some in the Government lacked foresight into the program capabilities and wanted to cut off funding as they believed these vehicles could never be stable or reliable enough to use in tactical situations. Thankfully, the ragtag team of pioneers persevered and were able to eventually produce one of the first stable
UAVs of its kind known as the gas-powered EXDRONE (I never liked the name). Launched from a rocket, or as I refer to it as a big bottle rocket, the EXDRONE had a rudimentary autopilot, with a fraction of the accuracy built into the Mavic Pro, that has a built-in GPS. It also had a real-time video feed, mostly unheard of at the time. Basically, a heading could be programmed into its system, but the EXDRONE required some old school flight planning including wind calculations. With some bright communication experts on hand to fine tune the antennas, the RPV range was extended from about 20 miles to 50 miles, and teams along the route could be deployed along high points to keep line of sight for the real-time video feed and take control as necessary utilizing a regular Futaba controller, which was the prevalent RC aircraft controller at the time (and still now to a certain extent). Each team would have its own portable base unit and use a 4×4 Sony video screen to navigate along the flight path. As a note, prior to the autopilot, the teams would need to fly it manually from the start and practice handing it off by giving notification to the forward team that they were turning off their Futaba in “3, 2, 1”…. At the same time the forward team would turn their controller on when the countdown ended. This “handoff” was the time when the RPV was at most risk. Lost communication would result in a crash. Again, the technology was rudimentary, but it was shown that forward surveillance could be achieved via UAV.
These pioneers had no idea that what they were doing would eventually provide a huge impact in keeping the world safe from terrorism. Given the limited technology, support, and budget, it was hard for them to see the eventual development of RPVs such as the Predator and its use of hellfire missiles to take out terrorist targets. In my view, we are still in the infancy of the UAV revolution. The technology is advancing faster than ever and there are still many yet untapped uses for these vehicles.
Some preppers may still be hesitant on the utility of RPVs such as the Mavic Pro. With a cost of $1000, it is not inexpensive, but given the possible uses in a SHTF scenario, it may be the best money you ever spent. Let’s first take a brief look at some of the specific features of the Mavic and why I think it gives you the best bang for the buck. I will follow with some tactical uses with a specific design I am testing to deploy a small payload. I am sure some of the smarter readers can think of other uses and I would be happy to see them in the comments.
Features of Mavic Pro – base cost $1000
27 Minute Flight Time/4.3 Mile Range – The Mavic comes with one battery that gives a 27 minute flight time after a full charge. This time is a little better than the average UAV. The 4.3 mile range is one of the furthest ranges out there in the consumer market. A reasonably priced special antenna boosting apparatus ($13.99/Amazon) can be used to boost the range of the transmitter, though given a 27 minute flight time limitation, flying out too far may drain out the battery on the return trip. In contrast, the DJI Matrice 100 has a 40 minute flight time, but it is over triple the price of the Mavic. Additionally, the range of the Matrice 100 is less than 3 miles. If budget permits, it would be optimum to obtain a few extra batteries, which cost $89 each. One benefit of using the Litchi software is that it will give an estimated flight plan time (assuming no wind) to prevent the battery from fully draining.
Lightweight, Foldable Arms and Props – The Mavic arms and props fold up nice and neatly to easily fit in a small backpack for deployment. Alternatively, there are many hardshell cases available on Amazon if better protection for the RPV and its accessories are required.
Software – The Mavic can be controlled using free DJI GO software or via Litchi. With DJI GO, there is currently no autopilot capability except auto takeoff and land. I enjoy the use of this software when just flying around the vicinity to have fun. It is not, however, recommend it for mission style sorties. For missions, the Litchi software is highly recommended. As mentioned above, a flight plan can be programmed into the aircraft so that you can concentrate on the real-time video feed to gather intelligence. As mentioned previously, altitude changes, POI camera focus, loitering, and speed changes are all standard Litchi features. In my view, Litchi is superior to the DJI app in with the exception of not having the ability to “Go Live”, namely on Facebook or YouTube (DJI allows live broadcasts). You can also store missions for future repeat use. Lastly, the software provides real-time verbal telemetry feedback (altitude, distance, battery power, etc.), which comes in handy if you might be focusing your attention on a POI. The Litchi learning curve is helped with tons of YouTube instructional videos.
Collision Avoidance – The Mavic, unlike many similarly priced competitor UAVs, has a collision avoidance system built-in. Even if you tried to manually fly it into an obstacle, the Mavic avoidance system would first beep as a warning and then stop.
Insurance – It is highly recommended to purchase DJI insurance ($99.00) which even covers damage from crashing into water. It can be used twice.
No Thermal Camera Capability – At the time of this writing, I do not know of any plans by DJI to offer a version of their Zenmuse thermal camera on the Mavic Pro. In my opinion, a thermal camera offering would put this RPV at the top of the heap for first responders and the military, giving them the ability to conduct night search and rescue operations. While the thermal cameras are not inexpensive (6-12k) for an average consumer, it would be a lot cheaper than using helicopters with FLIRs, and the Mavic noise signature would be virtually undetectable from above.
Payload Limited (not really built for payload deployment) – The Mavic is really not built to carry a payload. DJI has other UAVs for this purpose, but they are triple or quadruple the cost.
Battery Life is Average – With a 27 minute battery life between charges, any mission would be limited to a short-range, especially if you decide to embark on the payload experiment detailed below.
Tactical Applications for a Drone
Tactical Use Caveats – all uses assume a SHTF environment. My scenarios also assume you have a DJI Mavic Pro, not some toy that hovers 100 feet in the air. Additionally, keep in mind the FAA has an altitude limit of 400 feet above ground level (AGL), no fly zones, and it is illegal to fly at night:
Threat assessment for specific location(s) – The Mavic can provide valuable intel if you might be concerned of a specific location in your vicinity. With a preprogrammed flight plan, the UAV can circle the area from a safe distance and orient itself towards the POI. It can be programmed to remain there as long as the battery limit permits (approximately 27 minute flight time per charge).
Avoid/Monitor Civil Unrest – In a SHTF scenario, it is quite possible there would be civil disturbance as people run out of food, water, and medical supplies. Prior to making supply runs, the Mavic can scout ahead to determine if there are pockets of unrest blocking your route.
Avoid Capture by Hostiles – Much like the civil unrest scenario, the Mavic might provide some help in trying to avoid captors. In this scenario, you might have a further standoff or climb to a higher altitude to minimize UAV detection. The Mavic is pretty quiet and cannot be heard and is hard to see at 400 feet AGL. In a SHTF environment, if the altitude limits go out the window, it would allow for an even further standoff.
Zombie Horde Herding/Redirection – I actually have to give my 16 year son credit for this one. Given zombie affinity for sound, if flown low enough, the Mavic RPV could redirect a zombie horde away from you. In all seriousness, I am sure there are some readers that can think of real life diversionary tactics that might be applied utilizing the Mavic (I mean no offense to Zombies). I can see some kind of small battery operated sound generator, maybe on a timer, being attached and used as a diversion prior to an offensive (or defensive) operation.
Scout for Water/Food Supplies/Vehicles – Food, water, and other supplies will become harder to find in a disaster scenario. While large bodies of water might be easier to identify, the Mavic may be able to assist in finding some lesser known streams or tributaries. Additionally, while drones cannot be used for hunting, all bets are off in a survival situation. The Mavic can help to possibly locate wildlife and even herd them towards your location.
Disaster Surveillance (Inaccessible Area) – A survival situation can occur not only from nefarious individuals/governments, but also from natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes. In August of 1992 I was at ground zero in S.W. Miami Florida in my house with my mother and brother when Category 5 Hurricane Andrew hit. For anyone that was there, they would remember that it hit landfall at 4:30 AM and the worst of it lasted for about two hours. It was a relatively small hurricane, but it left $23 billion in damage in its aftermath (As a memento, I framed the front page of the August 25th Miami Herald publication, titled “Destruction at Dawn”, where the picture taken was about a mile from my house).
It was almost like a nuclear bomb hit, and it was this event that spurred me into a prepper mindset in my 20s. Communities were reduced to rubble. There were many dishonest people both within and from out-of-state who swooped in and took advantage of the less fortunate. It was sickening to see blocks of ice being sold for $50.00, and $300.00 generators being sold for thousands. The roads were not navigable due to flooding and debris. I think back quite often as to how a Mavic Pro could have helped us avoid a lot of dead ends, obstacles, and gridlock in trying to get out of the city, which would not restore full power for 6 months.
Small Payload Drop – In certain scenarios, small amounts of food, medical supplies, or communications can be dropped from a Mavic. By my best estimates, the Mavic has between a 1-2 lb. payload capability. I am currently flight testing it for payload stability and experimenting with a payload drop mechanism that does not require the addition of any electronics. If you use the idea below, I just ask that proper credit for the theory be given (a link to this article would be greatly appreciated). I have not seen too many YouTube videos with Mavic payload experiments, so I will share my idea as I believe we all benefit if someone has success. Here is a YouTube link to the maiden voyage where the Mavic drops a 1.5 lb. ham radio. It is recommended you have a detailed plan and be sure to consult some flight testing reference material. If you decide to experiment on your own, perform tests in small increments at low altitudes. Keep good notes, develop a flight test checklist, and be aware of your area. Most of all, expect that things will not goes as planned and both major and minor adjustments will be required:
Eight Design Payload Deployment Criteria
- Low cost, material readily available
- Max 2 LB payload (actual payload weight will be determined during flight testing)
- Use of parachute to drop from high altitudes, protecting the payload
- No servos or other added electronics
- Aircraft stability
- Avoid prop wash
- Simple to Fabricate
Theory – Before you crack up laughing at some of the materials, keep in mind that I have a method to my madness and an Aerospace Engineering degree with some UAV flight testing experience. Before the current technological revolution in UAVs, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the pioneers activated certain features during flight by extreme altitude drop (free fall). The solution offered below utilizes this same premise, mixing old theory with the new technology demonstrated with the DJI Mavic Pro. All of the items were purchased on EBay for less than $20.00. Keep in mind I have seen payload release systems that range from $100-$1000, all of which are servo actuated. These are great, but I do not know of any application that uses a payload mechanism without having to add some kind of electronic actuation.
Design – A Tupperware container will be attached to the four UAV arms via fishing line and zip ties. Eye hooks will be fastened to the four corners of the container, hung from the arms via four pieces of fishing line, each cut to 2 feet. The end result would be that the container with payload will fly approximately 2 feet below the UAV to avoid prop wash. Four lines were used for flight stability purposes. The payload will be attached to a parachute via zip ties and placed in the container.
A trap door will be fabricated at the bottom of the container with a release mechanism that uses gravity to release the payload. You can buy a 36” flare parachute on eBay or fabricate a parachute from bedsheets (36” is the size needed to safely drop up to a 2 LB payload – there are templates online). The payload will be dropped by using its own weight first by vertically rising at the fastest rate possible, then descending quickly to break the bond of the release mechanism. The trap door “release will be fabricated from a black office clip, zip ties, and an electrical connector. The trap door was made by cutting out three sides of the bottom part of the container, leaving one short side intact.
The reason for leaving one side intact is that it will act as a “hinge” to allow the payload to fall through. I also put duct tape around the edges of the cuts so the parachute would not get snagged. The free side of the trap door will be attached to the side of the container utilizing the zip ties, the electrical connector, and office clip.
The idea is that the weight of the payload, combined with a sudden upward or downward movement, will cause the electrical connector to release from the office clip, allowing the payload to deploy through the trapdoor at the bottom of the container. The payload I used is a Baofeng BF-F8HP ham radio. I attached it with the antenna via zip ties to the chute.
- The payload may be too heavy for the container and deploy before desired
- Wind may cause the payload to prematurely deploy
- The fishing line could break and get tangled into the props, causing catastrophic failure
- Sudden RPV turns or altitude change can prematurely deploy the parachute
- The setup may cause unstable flight
- Flight time most likely shortened
- Undue strain on electrical system
The key to success is to find the optimum payload weight so that the UAV can fly stable without premature deployment.
If it is too heavy, the payload will be deployed before it is desired since the mechanism works via gravity. If too light, it would not deploy at all. Once the optimum weight is found, quarters can be added or removed to balance it out depending on the payload.
As you can see, though the Mavic cannot carry huge payloads like some of its older brothers and sisters in the DJI line up, I believe you get the most bang for the buck if you want to utilize it in a SHTF scenario or even as a First Responder. With a little bit of ingenuity, I am sure others can come up with a fancier/prettier payload release for the system.
The post DJI Mavic Pro Unmanned Air Vehicle – The Ultimate Prepper X-Factor appeared first on The Prepper Journal.
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The post 17 Futuristic Weapons You’ve Got to See to Believe appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Is there a place for modern technology after TSHTF? Some would argue that there isn’t, but I believe that modern tech offers significant advantages over those that don’t have it. If you have a way to make electricity after the grid goes down and you have some high tech gizmos in your back pocket, you’ll be in a better position to survive and thrive because of it. Before we go any further those of you who know me are going to say, “Holy cow! Jarhead is saying use tech!” because most of you know how I feel about people’s reliance on GPS, smart phones, and other electronic gadgets. Let me qualify this article by saying that I’m not a Luddite. I happen to love technology because it gives us instant access to all the information in the world in the palm of your hand. (Most of us watch cute kitten videos instead of reading Plato’s Republic though). Having a piece of technology in your possession can sharply increase your odds of surviving or allow you to do something you might not be able to do without it, such as navigate through a city or see what’s over that hill without actually having to climb up and take a look. However, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a backup for your systems and a backup of a backup for your important systems. For example: you should know how to read a map and compass or do math in case your GPS or spreadsheet doesn’t work. But this article is about how to use technology as a force magnifier, so let’s get to it.
By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog
Electronics are only as good as the grid of course, but if you have a solar array set up, windmill, or other way of naturally producing electricity you can still benefit from having some electronic devices around. More on this later.
Potential Uses of Technology
If communication is cut off from the outside, you can still manage an internal network that would allow you to share information in your group. If you can set up a network using TCP/IP (which stand for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and is basically a way for computers to communicate), which most people do these days using a router inside your home, then you can have several devices talking to each other. I won’t get into a networking class, but having your devices able to communicate with each other is a powerful tool.
By the way – TCP/IP was developed by DARPA as a way for computers to communicate after a disaster such as a nuclear war.
Some things a computer would be good for is tracking crop schedules, how much food you have on hand, creating a database for parts such as nuts, bolts and the million other things that make up a compound, and you could keep track of the events in your compound for easy retrieval.
PDF’s (Printable Document Format’s) are great for storing and retrieving information. You can have books on a million topics, but instead of a library the size of Nebraska you can keep everything on one hard drive for instant retrieval. You might want to have the more important topics in book format as a backup, but you can never have too many books to reference!
Training videos are another option. You can take videos with your phone on how to do certain things in your compound such as stand guard duty, change a tire, cook a meal, shoot a bow and arrow, clean a gun, etc, and make them available to members of your community.
If you have surveillance equipment it can be run from your laptops. Small security webcams today use small amounts of electricity and it might be worthwhile to have a few cameras watching the front and back gates to let you know if there are unfriendly’s in the area.
Then there’s the entertainment factor to consider. We New-Age Homo-sapiens love to be entertained and today that’s delivered through the phone in our pocket or via a tablet or laptop. If you have movies downloaded to your laptop, tablet, or phone you don’t need to have an Internet connection in order watch it. This does take up space on your storage, so choose your movies wisely!
If you wanted to get fancy and had the know-how you could always set up a server (you could use a laptop for this) that would stream media from inside the Doomstead.
A laptop can have several uses. As mentioned earlier you can use it to manage your inventory. If you’re in a large compound or Doomstead, you’ll need some way to efficiently manage your materiel. Sure, you could do it by hand and I encourage you to have a paper backup, but you can’t beat a search query on a database for finding whatever it is you’re looking for.
I would recommend laptops over desktops because they have less electrical overhead. A desktop PC needs a monitor in addition to the CPU, which also consumes electricity. Laptops also have internal batteries, so if the power goes out unexpectedly it will stay on and you won’t lose any data. The idea is to keep your energy usage at a minimum.
The advantage of a tablet is that you can get some of the same functionality as a laptop with less electricity consumption. Here’s an article from PC World a few years ago comparing laptop and tablets (RAM, Display, Storage, Battery Life, etc.) Everything else aside if you’re looking at it from strictly a power consumption standpoint the tablet is probably your best option.
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I won’t get into the technical details here because my experience is most people don’t care what kind of RAM a device has. What matters is how much RAM it has and in the computing world more is better. If you have an old laptop at home the one single best thing you can probably do to speed it up is to add more RAM to it.
At the low end of the power consumption scale is the smartphone. Smaller screens, less processing power, but still handy even if you lose your cell connection. Why? Because your smartphone is essentially a small tablet when you strip away it’s cell phone capabilities. You can run different apps on it and it uses less electricity.
A short wave radio could allow you to communicate long distances if have one. During a crisis this might be an invaluable to find out what’s happening in the world. A good set of Walkie Talkies would be good for local communications. An example would be an OP outside the camp communicating with a command center.
As your ability to make electricity decreases so do the options for the electronics you’ll be able to run. If you’re in a well set up doomsday bunker with generators and enough fuel to run for two years, you’ll be ok for awhile. If you’re in a smaller community with just solar and/or wind and a battery bank to store the electricity you’ll want to be more conservative with your energy expenditure.
If you’re in a tipi (or tent) with a small solar panel and a deep cycle battery (this is basically my set up) then charging a tablet or cell phone would be pretty easy as long as the sun shines. In this case you might want to build a solar energy generator. The battery is relatively heavy, but once you have it in place it works great. Or you could Make your own USB solar charger if you’ve just got a cell phone you want to keep charged.
None of this really matters if the SHTF event is some kind of Carrington Event or other EMP event like a nuclear war of course. If that’s the case, I hope you have suitable plans for light, cooking, acquiring water, self protection and all the other things we talk about on this blog.
If you have the ability to create electricity in your bug-out/bug-in location having a set of well thought technology devices on-hand could allow you to do things others can’t (like communicate long distance) giving you an edge over others. The devices will be dependent on the amount of electricity you can generate, so keep that in mind during your planning phase.
What other uses are there for technology after TSHTF? I’ve only scratched the surface here, so shout out your ideas below. Questions? Comments? Sound off below!
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Dating a Non Prepper? Prepping is not an easy thing to admit to. After the damage done by Nat Geo’s terrible Doomsday Preppers show we were all turned into laughable nuts. Of course, that narrative is the one that the general public seems to be stuck on. Its normal to feel guarded and secretive about …
(Natural News) Deciding to become a prepper is not an easy decision. There is much involved, and not everyone gives ample consideration to the potential pitfalls and problems you can encounter once you’ve made the decision to become better prepared to face – whatever. A lot of times people just jump in with both feet thinking they know what they’re doing, only to discover some months later that all of their time and effort really hasn’t contributed much to their overall preparedness.
In Part I, we discussed a number of steps beginning and even seasoned preppers should take in order to avoid wasting time and money on a process that really is so important it could actually save your life in an emergency. We talked about not allowing the over-exaggerated 24-hour news cycle to force you into making bad prepping purchases and decisions; guarding against “fake news” that over-excites but does little to actually inform; looking out for scams; overspending on items you don’t really need and prepping for real-life scenarios that you could actually encounter. (RELATED: In plain sight: How to stay hidden during a crisis)
In Part II, we’ll examine additional things to watch for as you evolve in preparations to survive any number of circumstances, including natural- and manmade disasters, economic collapse and political turmoil (H/T Survival Prepper):
Protecting Your Online Communications There is going to be a boom in counterintelligence. With the advent of the NSA and other intel agencies overstepping their bounds the American people are going to change their motivations. The online presence of each individual is continuously growing. This means that security in the online world is becoming just …
Medical Preparedness A topic that many people attempt to avoid, medical preparedness is important. There are very few who spend lots of time on understanding how to be medically prepared for a disaster. Much of this has to do with the fact that to be a doctor you spend untold amounts of time in school …
25 Make Ahead Camping Meals It may seem like 25 make ahead camping meals wouldn’t be much of a topic for SHTF. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many opportunities for make ahead camping meals. The most obvious of course is the food storage department. The meals that are shelf …
SHTF Ammo Debate .308 or .223 On a subject like this there is an awful lot of conjecture. You find that many people have opinions but very few have factual data to support those opinions. Of course, either round would be a great on to stockpile. I think this article offers some insight that will …
What is “Gunsmithing”? It is the process of repairing or modifying firearms. You can do it on your own firearms without any problem, and you might be able to do it for friends and family, especially if you don’t get paid for it. But if you do it as a “business”, then you will need to be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).
There are three aspects necessary to do successful gunsmithing: Knowledge (what to do), Skill (capability to do it) and Tools (what to do it with).
Tools are perhaps the “easiest” aspect to achieve. After all, it is a binary condition. You have the tools you need or you don’t have them. If you need a tool and don’t have it, all you need to do is track it down, and be able to afford to buy it (or rent it or borrow it) or be able to make it.
Tools for Disassembly and Reassembly
Gunsmithing tools are often similar to “regular” tools, but sometimes there is that slight, critical difference. For instance, the “first” type of tool to consider is the lowly screwdriver. No you can’t go down to the big box store and buy their no-name cheap screwdriver set. Or go to the fancy tool store and buy their top-of-the-line screwdriver set. Most “regular” screwdriver sets have a limited number of sizes AND their blade shape is a blunt wedge (taper ground). And this is a recipe for disaster when working on firearms. They have a lot of screws, often of the slotted persuasion, and in a wide number of sizes. Your “standard” tapered screwdriver set probably won’t have a blade of the right thickness or width, and without this degree of fit, the screwdriver will mar up the slot. Even if by some lucky coincidence the screwdriver is the right size, the tapered sides of the blade have a tendency to cam the blade out of the slot, which messes up the top edge of the slot. And firearm screws are often blued so any marks you make tend to really stand out. If you are looking at a gun with buggered up screws, the odds are someone who did not know what they were doing (and had the wrong tools) has been monkeying around inside of it (or failed to get inside).
What you need is a screwdriver set with a wide number of sizes AND parallel sides (called “hollow ground”). Because of the number of sizes, the best choice is usually a set with one or more handles and a large number of bits. Kind of the “reference” for this class of tools is a Bownells Magna Tip Set.
Their beginner’s sets are not cheap, and their top of the line set with 75 standard, 4 Phillips, 17 hex (Allen), 11 Torx®, and 13 specialty bits for sights, scope mounts, grip bushings, Ruger ejectors, and other unique applications, along with 7 assorted handles, runs $320. You can get cheaper hollow ground sets, but they usually won’t have the variety of bits and may be of lower quality than the Brownells sets, but can still be quite adequate. It is a reasonable methodology to start out with a small set, and add additional bits as you need them, although when you find you need a bit, you “should” stop what you are doing until you can get the correct bit. But this is often unacceptable in the real world. If you are gunsmithing professionally, get every bit you can; otherwise, get any new bits you need every time you access a new firearm. If there is a bit which you use “a lot”, having a spare of that bit is wise. Note that if you don’t have the right sized bit, you can grind a bigger one to size.
You may find some Phillips screws, particularly in rifle stocks, and Allen (hex) screws have become fairly common. Thus having Phillips screwdrivers (or bits) and a set of Allen wrenches is recommended. Allen bits are available, but the “L” shaped wrenches tend to be more durable.
Another thing found in abundance in firearms are “pins”. These can be solid or “roll” pins. To get them out and back in, you need the “second” type of tool to consider, a set of punches in various sizes. For solid, flat end pins, you use flat face, constant diameter “pin” punches. For roll pins, roll pin punches with a little bump in the middle of the face are strongly suggested. If you will be doing a lot of roll pins, a set of roll pin “holders” would make things easier; since each holds the pin in position and drives it part way through. Occasionally you will have a pin with a rounded end, and a “cup” face punch is optimal for these. If you have a pin which is stuck or extra tight, a “starting” punch is often suggested, but I don’t trust these. They are tapered, and although they do reduce the chances of bending or breaking a punch, only the face is the correct diameter, and I’m concerned they could deform the pin hole. Pin punches come in various lengths; shorter ones tend to be more durable, but if not long enough to drive the pin all the way out, less useful. A non-marring (brass) pin punch set may be useful, but for me, the deformation they could suffer outweighs the low mar factor they offer. However, a non-marring “drift” punch of brass or nylon (or both) should definitely be included.
By themselves, punches are of limited use. When driving a pin in or out, you need a way to provide some impact force to the punch, and you need something to support what you are driving the pin out of, and a place for the pin to go without running into anything. These aspects are provided by a small hammer or mallet, with brass and sometimes rubber or plastic faces, and a “bench block” with holes you can drive the pins into.
To handle small parts, a selection of hemostats, large tweezers and precision “needle nose” pliers is in order. I also include a pair of parallel jaw pliers, a small Vise-Grip and a strip of thick, raw leather (to protect the part from the Vise-Grips) in my pliers assortment, but these are usually not required for normal disassembly or assembly. Assorted picks and probes can help you get gunk out of a tight space as well as help to manipulate small parts.
These are the “universal” basic disassembly/assembly tools. Specific firearms sometimes have specialized tools which make it easier (or in some cases “possible”) to disassemble or reassemble that firearm or class of firearm. If you will be working on that particular firearm, some of its specialized tools could be considered “basic”.
Tools for Maintenance and Testing
In order to keep a firearm functioning optimally, you need to maintain it. Maintenance usually involves cleaning it after use (or after it is exposed to an adverse environment). A cleaning kit is in order to clean out the bore. This includes some solvent, a caliber specific set of patches (squares of cloth), “mops” (fuzzy cylinders) and (soft) wire brushes, and a rod to push these items through the bore. Cleaning rods can damage the muzzle (and thus accuracy), so some sets have a bore guide included in them; some others use a coated rod or a very soft rod material. Some sets, particularly those intended to be carried with you, use a cable to pull the cleaning elements through the bore instead of a rod used to push. Alternatively, some people prefer to use a “bore snake” these days, claiming these pull-through combinations of mop and brush are quicker and safer (than rods). To clean the rest of the gun, a selection of brushes and cloths is in order.
The bore of a firearm is critical to its performance, so a way to check out its condition is necessary if you are considering acquiring a particular firearm. And for that matter, after you clean the bore, you want to check that you did a good job and that no damage has occurred over time. The reasonably priced way to do this is with a bore light; a lighted bulb which fits, or a drives a fiber optic tube which directs the light, into the bore. Alternatively, you can use a mirror, prism or “light pipe” to direct an external light source into the bore. For the well-heeled, there are even “bore camera” systems. If you see crud in there, you need to do (or redo) bore cleaning to get the crud out so you can see if there is any damage under the crud.
Once you get a firearm clean, you want to lubricate it with the appropriate grease and/or oil, and perhaps give it a wipe down with oil or other protectant to provide some protection against rust to the finish.
If the firearm is operating correctly for you, then it is sort of “self-testing”. If there is a new (to you) firearm for which you want to verify the functioning, or an existing one which it seems might be having problems, testing is in order. For testing feeding function safely, some “dummy rounds” are wise. Polymer dummies are cheap, but I prefer machined aluminum ones, or even better (if you can still find them these days), ones made of actual brass and bullets, but of course, no primer. Avoid ones which are “painted”, as the paint tends to flake off in the firearm. If you reload, you could even make your own; just mark them so you can tell them from active ammo at a glance. For testing the hammer and/or trigger function safely, a brightly colored “snap cap” (or six, for revolvers) would be useful. In order to verify a firearm is correctly headspaced and thus safe to fire, “GO” and “NOGO” gauges for that caliber are useful but costly. A complete set for a caliber, with GO (measures against the minimum factory specification), NOGO (measures against the maximum factory specification) and FIELD (measures against the maximum safe headspace after lots of use) will probably run $90 or more. You can buy the gauges individually, but do NOT mix brands of gauges for a caliber.
This is a good starting set of tools. Tune in next time for a discussion of Knowledge and Skills.
Are vices really and truly a must-have item? No. History is full of periods and survival situations, particularly during the exploration of the colder climates, when even people accustomed to “modern” conveniences went months and years without goodies.
Our vices aren’t necessary to our survival in many cases, but when you cut us off from them, hard times and adjustments just get harder.
The ramifications on families and partnerships in stressful but not life-threatening situations are out there to be viewed in rates of dissolution’s, divorce, separation, domestic violence, addiction-abuse, and suits and counter-suits. If you think a crisis will smooth those away, I have a bridge to sell ya.
We can add one more stress to those difficult times, or we can find alternatives (some of them long-term sustainable) and plan supplies and caches to make things as easy as possible.
Some of the top vices are going to be sugar and caffeine, with tobacco and alcohol right there with them. I can’t do anything to prepare a family to lose internet and TV besides make sure we have puzzles and games, but I can slow our transition away from some of our other vices.
Bad times are already stressful, and we’re already looking at making some hard adjustments. Things that we consume daily before we even feel human are worth stocking – in bulk and out of proportion to the rest of my supplies, really.
If I like coffee, I might also consider stockpiling tea. I can get gallons to the cup per dollar for tea, without taking up much if any more space than pre-ground or instant coffee.
If I’m in a warm enough climate, I might even go so far as to plan greenhouse or protected space for a yaupon holly for caffeine and tea camellia species. Herbal teas will lack the zing, but many tea herbs have the benefit of being perennials and hardy.
There are a wide range of trees that can be tapped for syrup, all of which (and honey) will boil down into candy or can be dried to crystals. Sugar beets and stevia are just two options for producing sweet syrups and flavor at home even outside sugarcane territory.
Everyday Cravings = Higher Priorities
While we tend to look at sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco as the common vices and see them high on bartering lists, they’re not the only things we’re doing without. Pure sugar is a fantastic preparedness item with both vice and food-preservation value, but we don’t all have a sweet tooth.
Our vices are our feel-goods.
They’re our comfort foods – be they salty or sweet or savory – activities, and even exercise or hobbies. All of those may be crimped in an emergency, whether it’s widespread or personal.
Know your actions, and those of family.
Just because my priority leads me to crunchy-salty goodies and chicken broth, and I am willing to scoff off sweets, without sweets my lover is pretty miserable. He is also annoying, gets antsy, and breaks down and goes to the store.
When determining priorities (and budgets), snag and stash the store receipts for a couple of weeks or months. Snag them ahead of holidays and in-family events as well. Do it in all four seasons.
They will rock-solid determine what you’re getting, and even when.
Just going by the shopping list and menu plan isn’t enough. I recently realized that a full third of our Walmart-supermarket spending is not on the lists. They’re not even impulse. They’re actually the things my lover ends up going to the store for because they aren’t on my radar as much.
Those are the kinds of everyday priority to watch for.
My vices, my parents, the kids’ – they’re taken into account with small, compact puzzles to bring out, stashed books, a portable hard drive of movies, little games, baking mixes, inexpensive instant pudding, Hershey’s syrup, and the ability to add crunch to our lives on a regular basis through familiar cold cereals, chips, crackers and dry cookies.
It didn’t actually add all that much to the preparedness budgets to do it, and it allows “treats” and normalcy in unrest, even if I never harvest anything else.
We can look at history and the way modern North Americans and Western Europeans eat to anticipate some of the food cravings we’re likely to see and can account for with our storage.
Meat – For most of us, meat is going to become a treat, just as it has been for most of human history. It will go back to being more of a flavoring, especially if a crisis drags on.
Anticipating that, I stock it.
I have no lost love for t-rats and MREs. I dislike canned meats pretty much across the board. But they’re in my pantries and caches, because the men in my life will dive after them, and I might wind up desperate enough to eat my share.
Things like pouches of bacon bits, canned hash, the less-expensive freeze-dried meats like crumbled sausage, and the TVP-soy products we can buy for long storage can at least give me and my guys some flavor and the hint of our usual meats.
Things like Slim Jim’s and small beef sticks can be used as a snack, presented as a whole to bite into, or sliced into cold pasta and wheat salads.
Non-Spoon Foods – Maybe somebody eats oatmeal and farina, soup for lunch, and Hamburger Helper or shepherd’s pie pretty much daily. Most of us are probably accustomed to picking up, cutting or stabbing something somewhere through there.
For parts of the growing season, we can adapt how we prepare fresh foods to create a fork-and-knife meal. Some fruit trees will also allow us to present a crunchy for weeks or sometimes a couple of months after harvest.
One advantage to MRE entrees like the feta chicken is that it’s not as gag-worthy, but also, it’s a nice, whole breast portion. You can flake it with a spoon, but you can also stick it on a bun or a bed of couscous.
Planning for pancakes and omelets, to turn Bisquick into pseudo-tortillas, stashing dry cookies in canning jars with oxygen absorbers, and stashing bigger pastas and spaghetti for fork meals will help alleviate the boredom with spoon meals.
Dairy/Cheese – Without dairy animals and specific skills, a long-term crisis will affect us hard and fast in the cheese category. We love fresh cheese. I’m lucky enough that we also really like Bega, and I buy it on sale cycles.
Local stores sell tins of mild cheddar chip sauce at a fairly reasonable price, and it can readily top potatoes or be used as a cracker spread or pretzel dip, even if chips are painful to store due to the bulk they require. Velveeta and Cheez Whiz live on shelves as-is, too. Cheese soup can season rice, potatoes and macaroni.
Powdered parm from the pasta aisle can at least impart some flavors and toast up on top of zucchini, or be used in pasta salad.
There are shelf-stable cheese sticks and slices from companies like Northwoods and those awful combo packets put out by Jack Links and others, but they’re almost as expensive as freeze-dried cheese (and soooo much worse tasting).
I also keep most of the cheese packets that come in our processed foods. I dislike them, but as mentioned in the article about canning jars, being able to whip them up to top or season something makes them well worth a few oxygen absorbers.
The canning jar article also talked about portion control, and how I accomplish it on a regular basis. That goes for both the annual “events” and the weekly-monthly allowances we put back.
If we’re accustomed to free-grazing coffee and tea (I am), we may very well start our path to ratcheting back by only pulling out enough for a day at a time instead of buying things in a giant tub. Maybe we only buy instant packets for a week or a month, and keep it somewhere *else* in the house or kitchen to keep us and our families from snagging out of habit. As we adjust to our new levels, we might bring it out more often.
Cool drinks are another place where we might portion things out.
Instead of mixing up a pitcher and trusting all the kids (and adults) to pour the same amounts, which is bound to lead to arguments (adults, too), maybe we stash a rotating couple of short juice bottles with the wider mouths. We mix up the pitcher, everybody gets their (labeled) bottles. Once that’s gone, that’s it. No discussion of “I only poured half a glass earlier” or “everybody’s pouring extra and I only got half a cup” or “I’ve only had one cup of coffee, but the whole tub is empty, and now I want my second cup with my cookie”.
And I’m serious – anticipate that stress and aggravation or just personalities will pull that crap out of adults as well.
Once things settle into a new normal, no big deal. But I can drink an entire pot of coffee without realizing it until it’s empty, and I’ve seen people mow through a bag of chips or pack of cookies one or two at a time without realizing just how many they’re having.
Portioning things out can also help us truly plan for daily, weekly and monthly uses.
Not everything needs to be strictly regimented, but some things are really easy, and would be easy to lean on early, until they’re all gone. That big stack of canned meats looks like a lot, but can drop fast.
A case of canning jars (or three) and a couple of boxes or kitty litter buckets labelled 1-12, cold or warm, lets us really and truly portion things out.
Pudding fits 3, 5 or 6-8 in a jar, and might be a monthly or quarterly allowance. We might stick our Lorna Doone’s and Cheez-Its in baggies before we put them in a Mylar bag, and take out only this week’s or month’s to jazz up a plate or have as a snack. Instead of just calling it “good” with a few dollar-store boxes of Slim Jims and pepperoni, a test run and then busting in and separating will help them last, in an appropriate amount.
Vices in a Crisis
Not all disasters are equal. Some are very personal, and some are widespread – localized, regional, national, international. Some are short term, while some leave a question mark and some we can anticipate being truly devastating and taking years to recover from.
Or stored supplies and our resupply-production plans should reflect those varying possibilities.
Regardless of the crisis, it’s likely to be stressful. Change itself is stressful. Combining the two is already a recipe for hard times.
Adding the dynamic of spouses and family, any partners, and the potential of neighbors and coworkers to still be contending with creates additional stresses and variables.
Regularly our vices are not all that good for us. It’s still not a great idea to go cold turkey on all of them immediately or shortly after a life-altering job loss, spouse/partner death that affects funds, natural disaster, long-term outage or rolling brown-outs, or big-time disaster.
At no other time in our lives are we likely to be so grateful for whatever our vice is – a couple little cookies and a cup of tea, strawberry syrup for topping pancakes, campfire tin-can cakes topped with applesauce, something nice and salty and crunchy, popcorn with Molly McButter, a cracker-cheese-meat snack or meal after a week of beans and various grains, a new puzzle or game, the ability to put our feet up and watch a show, or delighting Grandpa and the kids with some little Lego vehicle kits to then race across the dining room table.
With a little forethought and planning, we can readily and affordably still have and give our loved ones those feel-goods, to enjoy with a candlelit game of Tsuro or clustered around a screen watching old cartoons. They’ll offer breaks from reality, just as they do now, and help destress our lives a little.
Remember, and this is important, if you don’t have it once disaster strikes, can’t make it, or repair it, you have to go on without it. The planning stage is over once the SHTF, it’s implementation time now. Thinking about what you should of and could have done is pointless, save the reminiscing until later, […]
Triangulating your Position Navigation in the wild is intimidating. There is no getting around that. Its like anything else you know very little about. The consequences could be high and if you are uninformed you could be lost out there amongst the bears and wolves. Of course, that’s a terrifying thought. This article employs several …
(Natural News) Making the decision to become a prepper is not an easy one and, frankly, should not be made in haste. While most people have a natural instinct and will to survive – whether it be a natural disaster, global war or a societal collapse – not everyone is motivated to make the preparations necessary to survive.
It’s easy to see why. Millions live in denial that such events could take place in their lifetimes. Prepping requires a sizeable investment of time and money. Preppers must often alter their lifestyles in order to begin living more simply. Prepping tools must be mastered, medical skills honed, and making the decision to protect yourself and your family with a weapon must be carefully considered and accepted.
But once a person does decide to take on the responsibility, there are a number of common mistakes and pitfalls that await. Everything from paying too much for supplies to purchasing the wrong gear to falling for prepping gimmicks can throw you off your prepping schedule and set you back weeks, months or even years. (RELATED: World’s Ultra-Rich Buying Bug-Out Retreats In Anticipation Of Mass Social Uprising)
With that in mind, let’s go through some of the more common pitfalls of prepping, per the Survivalist Prepper:
There must be a million articles about the things you should do after the shit hits the fan, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article about things NOT to do… until now. I really enjoyed reading this article by Bob from Preppers Will and I’m happy to share it with you guys. The […]
9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living There is something so wonderful about these listicle style articles. I really like reading them. They are easy to digest and bring lots of great ideas to the forefront. This article is no different. These are not concrete things to be done like BUY CHICKENS GET SOLAR POWER Instead this …
The Post Collapse World Will Be Violent and Brutal Brutal is the key word with this article. If you have a weak stomach or if you are opposed to seeing violence and even death this article is gonna bring all of that to you both in video format and the linguistic. BE WARNED! Beyond that, …
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Tips for Using Emergency Generators A backup generator can be a godsend during power outages, but making sure you’re prepared takes more than just buying one and “waiting for a rainy day.” In addition to making sure you understand how much power your property needs to function, you’ll want to make sure you get a …
DIY Solar Oven Prototype 1 Cooking is an everyday part of survival unless you’re happy to crouch in the dark eating straight from a cold can of beans. Collecting firewood isn’t too hard – but in a long term survival situation, you’ll have to travel farther and farther to find the fuel you need, especially …
Best Animals to Hunt During SHTF Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! As with most topics we have a lot of what if’s? Food storage with preppers is a big deal and we think we have enough. We prepare for so long the amount we think we’ll need, but alas … Continue reading Best Animals to Hunt During SHTF
How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF SHTF isn’t just a modern phenomenon. Our ancestors survived many disasters. It’s best to learn their lessons. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a great example. In the mid-13th century, SHTF when a 24-year drought uprooted Native Americans throughout the U.S. Southwest. One band of the Mogollon (muggy-YON) people resettled …
According to the statistics, Americans consume more than 400 million cups of coffee per day. That adds up to over 146 billion cups a year. The United States leads the way in coffee consumption in the world. Can you get along without your morning cup, or afternoon cup or one after dinner? First, however, you […]
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Mastering Morse Code I am always a fan of old skills getting a nod in this new age. Something as archaic as Morse code you think would hold very little appeal. This article breaks down a little bit about the history of Morse code and how it came to be. It then gives some serious …
Spring Scouting for Deer Springtime is one of the best times to get out! After a winter of hiding and shivering its time to get back to work. This is a short article and a great video on scouting for deer. If you plan on having any hunting success the scout is so important. There …
Buying a Realistic Bugout Vehicle We have all seen those fantasy bugout vehicles with gun turrets and the like hanging off of them. They are heavily armored and look like something out a movie. Well the truth is for most of us a bugout vehicle like that is basically a fantasy. This article takes much …
I have been without a vehicle of my own for some time now, this was not good because it meant that when I was alone at home I had no transport in case of fire or accident. The X-Trail SUV we had we sold to one of our 3 sons. My Volvo wagon I gave to another son. My Youngest son bought a Triton Dual Cab Diesel 4WD with a drop side tray.
We replaced the X-Trail with a Hilux Dual Cab Diesel 4WD with a hard canopy. I just bought myself a Triton Dual Cab 4WD Diesel ute, and I am very pleased with it so far. We also have a property vehicle, a 4WD Lada, which we use only on the property for transporting fire wood and generally getting about, mending fences.
Making Time for Prepper Fitness Its always an ugly topic to face, fitness. No one really wants to get in Post Apocalyptic shape. One of the greatest enemies of prepper fitness is time. The greatest excuse is that there is no time in the busy day for a fitness plan. The next best excuse is …
I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo. I’m from parts of the country where the stuff takes over the edges of some roadways and chokes out some of the natural diversity found in some locations, usually locations with a lot of uses for wildlife and foraging. On the other hand, bamboo is really useful stuff. Whether somebody’s looking at a long-term, widespread, nation-altering event and wants the sustainable source of materials, or whether somebody’s just trying to save a few bucks to get ahead of the curve or save up for basic preparedness, a stand or two of bamboo has a lot to offer us. Even hitting some examples for inside and outside homes, gardens, and livestock I can’t even touch on all its uses. Feel free to list out what I miss at will, from its use as cups to the impressive BTUs bamboo can offer, furniture to bridges. It really is a handy material to locate.
I’m going to encourage you to drive around looking and knock on doors or don a blaze-orange vest and harvest from roadsides instead of planting bamboo. Try to wash off boots, vehicles, and tools after any harvest of wild species, especially in damp areas. There are all kinds of things from phrag grass to kudzu that will hitch rides, plus various diseases and pests we can transfer between locations.
The great *they* like to tell us that you’re supposed to harvest bamboo from as close to the ground plane as you can.
I don’t do that.
I prefer not to create future punji sticks and heel-catchers we can’t see from all the future leaf fall. Nor do I cut at knee-height.
I tend to cut up in the rib to head level. It eats up the earth space or footprint and takes longer to die back and be replaced, true. However, pretty much nobody is going to get speared when they kneel down, nobody’s going to snag a boot or toe, and nobody’s dog is going to gash its face.
What size bamboo you want is dependent on your task, but as you harvest, don’t just abandon the leafy bits.
Remember, bamboo is really just a big, thick grass. In most cases, the leaves make fine mulch and compost. You can also use trimmings as a fiber element for goats – especially goats that are getting rich tree and shrub fodders. Chickens and rabbits can have it as well.
There is a handy knife-type saw the Japanese and Koreans each have specifically for bamboo. I use mine for all kinds of harvests. However, for bamboo, I’m more likely to go with either style of long-handled pruners, a laminate or hardwood blade on a hacksaw, or the same on a sawsall – it depends on what’s waiting closest in my truck and sometimes how much I’m planning to harvest.
The hacksaw or pruners are handy for dropping, then immediately bucking off the tops and the leafy “branches”, and sorting as I go. I tend to always have good one-handed pruners in my pocket or bag(s), though, so there are times I alternate cutting and stripping instead.
I can’t do an article about bamboo and not talk about one of its best-known uses as a garden trellis material. However, because it is so well-known, I won’t beleaguer the point.
What I’ll say instead is that bamboo is fairly long-lived, but not indefinite, especially in the damp-soil conditions of a lot of gardens. It’s not as strong as steel. However, it is pretty tough, and it does last out a season or longer, easily. The thicker the bamboo, the longer it lasts. I will also point out that unless it’s the UV-resistant type, or painted, PVC is also going to crack under a lot of conditions – sometimes in a season, sometimes after two or three.
So if you’re able to find it for free, and are looking for a long-term sustainable material that can be whacked and added to compost or used as mulch when it’s failing, bamboo can be a super alternative to buying tomato cages or lumber for squash and bean trellises.
I also want to point out a handy trick. Instead of using just cord, or any cord at all, you can drill out holes near the tops of your poles, and use thinner stalks as a pin.
I prefer drilling bamboo while it’s green, first with a thin “standard” bit, and then either a larger drywall bit or a narrow auger, depending on the size hole and thickness of the bamboo.
You can use other lengths of bamboo as a spacer to create a wider tripod, or keep it snugged up tight for a teepee type structure.
The amount of “top” left above the holes and pin can change what the bamboo will do for you. You can lay out another thick piece or pieces across the tops to move water, form a longer bean trellis, or support a row cloth or plastic cover. Or, you can trim it nice and tight for a neater appearance and create fewer perches.
Other Garden Uses for Bamboo
Bamboo can be used in lots of other ways for our food production.
It has been used to create irrigation systems in both frigid and steamy-humid parts of the world for millennia. We can use it to create “gutter” or “PVC” style tiered raised beds for shallow-rooted plants.
It can be split or small branches can be stripped and bent while green to create exclusion nets or frames – to keep butterflies and thus their caterpillars off our plants, or to protect plants from dog tails, birds, or chickens. The same types of frames can be used to create feed-through graze boxes for chickens, preventing just how much of a plant they can reach and damage, which allows the plant to survive and grow back for continuous feeding.
It has also been used to create the framework for hoop houses.
Bamboo can be used to create our whole greenhouse, point in fact, and to build raised garden beds. By size and desired style, it can create everything from neat, tidy faces to woven wattle. It can be left raw and rustic, or have boards added to smooth the upper surface.
Again, this stuff isn’t cedar, it’s not CMU brick, and it’s not landscaping timbers. It will have to be replaced more frequently than those. However, it’s been used pretty much forever and it does offer that free, sustainable material instead of paying for something.
While we’re building our garden out of free, sustainable materials, we might also want to fence it. Bamboo can also help either lower those costs or eliminate them.
We can weave it in wattle style, or get artsy and cute. We can fill in gaps on rail fences to prevent dogs and rabbits from slipping through, or extend the height of fencing to deter deer.
We can place it tightly or weave nearly mats with it to help buffer winds and create snow fences as well, which lets us almost pick the places snow will pile up or spread the snow load out to create lower drifts over a larger area.
Housing & Enclosures
Bamboo can also keep our livestock housed and where we put them.
From bird cages to goat pens, and even for the live otter and primate trade in parts of the world, it’s been doing so for centuries.
We can create full sheds and barns out of it, using either the lap-roof, tile or thatching styles for roofs.
We can also create fish traps and boxes of various types. Those boxes can be used in our aquaculture and aquaponics systems to separate breeders and growouts without needing separate tanks, or to purge our fish before harvest depending on our feeding systems.
Bamboo can also be used to create the drop-out or crawl-out tubes for various types of BSF larvae or mealworms for our feed systems as well.
Around the world, from places like snowy Nepal to steam Thailand, bamboo gets used for long-term construction on a regular basis.
The most effective roofing style is the split-overlap that prevents drips, although roofing is also done with mats and thatching styles using bamboo stalks and leaves.
In many cases where load-bearing is of issue, you’ll find bamboo bundled into pillars and pillars closer than we use in 2×4 stick construction.
As mentioned with beds and trellises, construction isn’t going to last forever. However, folks have been using it for centuries and in places with high winds and snow loads, they’re still using it.
If we have running water, we can use some of those eons-old construction methods to make our lives easier.
Water wheels use running waterways to lift relatively small amounts of water up into aqueduct style irrigation systems or through channels or piping to cisterns – which either hold it, or are used to create pressurized tanks to then distribute that water elsewhere.
Bamboo is also used to build mills that Westerners are more accustomed to seeing. Those mills can be used to do work directly – like threshing and grinding grain – or to spin low-level turbines for pumps or generating energy.
Similar designs for slow-moving fish wheels exist as well, spinning in rivers and streams and using scoops to drop fish into catchments. They’re not super efficient, but like a yoyo, they’re fishing while we’re off doing something else.
Creativity – Corn Crib or Coop?
Even if we don’t see plans for something straight off, the flexibility of bamboo and our minds can help us cut costs.
There’s no reason a shelf system can’t be combined with a plan for hampers to create a drying rack for foods, herbs, tea, or seeds.
Likewise, with some modifications, a coconut caddy we see from the balmy East can be modified into a corn crib, or a hay feeder that will reduce wastes and costs – even now. That caddy and what we know about cages can be used to create a bird coop or rabbit hutch, or that hutch can be converted back to grain drying and storage or curing potatoes or sweet potatoes.
We aren’t limited to the styles we see, either. While slender wands aren’t as strong, we can use them pretty much anywhere bamboo would have been split.
We can also take inspiration from the uses for bamboo, and apply them to things we may have in excess in our area, like young stands of aspen, copious privet, or willow.
As much as I love bamboo for all the things it can do, it doesn’t really belong running loose in North America. While certain species are less invasive than others, and it can be controlled by mowing around it and keeping it contained, I caution against planting it. Some of that is the Seventh Generation outlook on life. Sure, even invasive stuff can be fairly easily controlled on a property now, with mowing or due to other plantings or the terrain. But what happens when we’re no long fit and able, and it’s no longer our property?
So while I love it, I highly encourage preppers and homesteaders and craftsmen to find a patch of bamboo, not plant it. They’re out there, California to Wyoming, Florida to Vermont. They’ll usually be found on a secondary highway or county road, routinely in damper areas along those roadsides, or near homes.
A camp can be considered any area you take over for an hour, a day or occupy for a few weeks. If for whatever reason, you had to abandon your home during a crisis, then you need to set up residence elsewhere, and it may very well be outdoors in which you have to survive. […]
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7 Essential Prepper Food Storage Containers Food storage is essential for preparing for almost any disaster or SHTF situation. What you store your food in can make a big difference in it’s shelf life and longevity. There is not just one best container for storing foods, many different types are better for different uses. Whether …
Editor’s Note: This post has been contributed by Patrick. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.
Fishing is a pastime that is enjoyed by millions of people.
There is nothing more relaxing for me than watching the sun rise while I cast a line into the water. However, there is much more to fishing than the fun part of it.
Around the world, fish feed more people than just about any other source of protein. This is part of the reason why a large percentage of the world’s population lives near the water. The waters of the world are bountiful sources of life for everyone.
I realized early in my survival career that fishing was one of the best ways to get calories when your body was craving for food.
Wild edibles are perfect for some vitamins and minerals, and they help you fill your belly. However, they do not provide much like calories or protein do. Hunting and trapping are challenging. But fishing is a more consistent way to get those calories and protein. Problem is, you do not always carry the gear that is ideal for fishing.
During my first survival challenge, fish gave me the fuel I needed to keep going. I went the first day without food as I spent my time building a shelter and purifying water. The next morning, I set out at dawn with a hand line and found a pond. I fished for about an hour before snagging one of the heaviest large-mouth bass I’ve ever caught.
The fire went out in the storm overnight, and everything was wet. It took me three hours to get the fire going again. After the fish was cooked and eaten, I felt the energy flow back into my body. I relied on fish for the rest of the challenge, cooked it in water to create a warm broth.
Alternative Fishing Methods
Remember that the rest of the world have other means of fishing aside from using a rod and reel. In most survival situations, you too do not usually have this gear handy. That means that knowing how to fish in other ways is vital to your survival.
In this article, I will cover a few effective alternative fishing methods as ways to fish without standard gear.
This method is the closest approach to using a rod and reel. You still have a line with a hook on the end and some bait or lure, you just don’t have the rod and reel apparatus.
With hand lining, you whip the line around in a circle with your dominant hand. The centrifugal force creates the momentum needed to launch it in the direction you choose. It can be hard to get distance, so weighting your line is important to help with your launch.
It is also good to have a spool of some kind to keep your line from tangling. A bottle or block of wood works well. Here’s how to do it:
- Wrap your line around the object towards one end and hold it on the other end.
- When you release the line through the air, keep your spool pointed in the same direction so it easily slides off.
- Then re-spool the line as you pull it back in.
For many people, this is the best way to use the little fishing kit you may have in your bug out bag.
A trot line is a passive method of fishing in which you set several hooks and come back later to collect your catch.
To build one, stretch out a long primary line. I typically make it about thirty feet long and tie loops in the line about every three feet. I then attach secondary lines that can be anywhere from one to three feet long. A baited hook is connected to the end of each secondary line.
It is best to tie one end above the surface and weight the other end so it sinks to the bottom. This allows you to cover every depth and also cover a wide area of the water.
There are two peak times that fishes are more likely to strike — around sunrise and sunset. Therefore, it is best to check your line just after these times to collect fish and add any bait needed.
Nets are one of the most common methods for catching fish worldwide. They allow you to actively or passively catch multiple fish at once.
I like using a gill net. It is set up vertically so any fish swimming through that area is caught. Passive fishing is ideal in streams, rivers, and tidal areas but can be effective in any water.
I tested out my gill net a while back in our pond and caught eleven fishes in just a few hours. An ideal net is weighted at the bottom and has floats along the top to keep it vertical. It can be tied between two trees, or a pole can be installed to hold up one side.
A throw net is another popular option. It can be used in any water and are active in nature. It is cast out and spun so that it expands as it flies through the air. Then it sinks and tangles the fish underneath so that they can be drawn into it.
It takes some practice to get the hang of using a throw net, but it can be extremely useful.
If you like fishing with a bobber, you may like jug fishing too.
A jug or large float is tied to a weighted line with live bait. The hook and bait drop to your desired depth and many people like to jug fish at the bottom for catfish.
You know that the line has a fish when the jug starts to move. You can either wade out to place the jug and wade back to collect it, or you can attach a drag line to draw it back from the shore.
This method works best in still lakes or ponds. Several jugs are usually set to cover more water.
Fishing with saplings is similar to fishing with a rod and reel except that there is no reeling action.
Long saplings are cut with a line attached to the narrow end. The thick end is driven into the mud along the bank, and the baited hook on the other end of the line is thrown out into the water using the same motion used with hand lining.
You can either watch the tip of the sapling for movement, or you can attach a small bell to the end to alert you of movement. Typically, several saplings are set in an area to cover more water.
I use this method to go after channel catfish in small, muddy rivers. The challenge is dragging in the fish. I suggest using leather gloves to avoid cutting your hands on the line.
There are a few fish traps that can be easily made in the wild for passive fishing.
Using a Plastic Bottle
This can be used in any body of water for smaller fish. All it requires is a clear, plastic bottle. Here’s how to do it:
- Cut the top of the bottle just below the taper.
- Reverse the top so the opening is facing down.
- Reattach the top using cordage to sew the pieces together.
- You can then cut the opening to your desired size and add bait inside the trap.
Fish will swim in the opening and will get confused trying to find their way out. You may want to use a weight to hold it in place.
Using Poles or Rocks
You can also use poles or rocks to create a large trap in the shallow water. Either shove poles vertically into the bottom, or pile rocks to create walls.
You want the shape of your trap to resemble a heart with an opening at the point of the cleavage. Then choose what to do next from these options:
- add bait
- throw rocks to scare fish into the trap
- just wait it out
The fish again swims into the narrow opening and gets confused trying to find the way back out. In larger traps like this, you may have difficulty catching the trapped fish.
Try throwing a bundle of tall grasses or other vegetation onto the fish and then scoop the whole bundle throwing it onto the shore. The vegetation traps the fish as you fling it aside.
Hungry? Be Creative
As you can see, there are several ways to catch a meal without using conventional gear.
Any of these fishing methods can be accomplished using items in your bug out bag along with garbage or debris you might find along your way. If your belly is rumbling and you have the time, get creative and try out one of these alternative fishing methods.
Always remember: all nets, lines, and traps should be pulled out of the water when you are done so that no fish dies unnecessarily.
The post Alternative Fishing Methods – When You Don’t Have Rod and Reel appeared first on The Prepper Journal.
IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100 Things are getting so cool now. This house is real and its solar powered for up to 4 hours a day. It comes with the solar panels. This is an absolute amazing find. The article takes a detailed look at this option. This is about the best option …
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Thoughts On What A Collapse Might Look Like | episode 143
This week Mike returns and we talk about what a collapse might look like.
Neither of us sees zombie apocalypse happening. And a real collapse is much scarier in many ways.
Many preppers think that a collapse will mean that the government will close doors and go away.
This is as far from the truth as possible. The government in its death throws will become a totalitarian one.
They will use all of its might and power against We The People.
They might very well pull out of the most rural areas. While holding the cities in its grip.
In the type of collapse we talk about in this episode there are two ways to live.
You either work the system or don’t get caught breaking the laws.
Outright rebellion will meet the full force of the united state’s Military.
We go over some strategies for both on how to survive. And most likely you will have to do a little of both to make it by.
We make it known that we have no tolerance for lone wolf dirtbags. The ones who say they plan to murder their neighbors and steal from them. They are not preppers and are the worst scum.
- Real Collapse vs Zombie
- Not the gov going away
- The gov getting worse
- working withing the system
- being sneaky sneaky
- Inside animals, quail, insects
- Wildcrafting, foraging
- Bitcoins to hide money
- Barter and pay cash
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The post Thoughts On What A Collapse Might Look Like | episode 143 appeared first on Survival Punk.
[NOTE: I am not a lawyer, or a representative of any law enforcement or government agency. The information provided here is the best I could find, but must not be taken to be legal advice. If you decide to engage in the described activity, you assume all responsibility of ensuring that this information is CURRENTLY accurate, and investigating the CURRENT state and local laws of your location. Furthermore, you assume all legal and physical liability resulting from your engagement in this activity.]
In the United States, if you want a particular firearm, and you are legally allowed to purchase that firearm by your Federal, State and Local governments, the easiest methodology is just to buy it. This has some potential downsides. If you buy it from a licensed dealer (a FFL – Federal Firearms License – holder), then you will need to go through a background check and fill out paperwork identifying you and the firearm, which is kept on file. You can only buy what some company decided to make or what is left on the shelf. Plus the price you pay will tend to be close to “list price” (or even higher if demand far outstrips supply). Alternatively, you may be able to avoid the bureaucracy and possibly get a better price if you can find a private party with the desired firearm for sale. Of course, then there is a risk of purchasing a stolen or defective firearm, or unintentionally violating some law with unpleasant consequences.
A third methodology is being pushed lately – making it yourself. Most often, this is the AR-15 style firearm, although the parts for others, including the AR-10 (Armalite), AR-308 (DPMS), 1911 (Colt), 10/22 (Ruger), AK47 and even some Glocks, seem to be available. Such a firearm is often referred to as a “Ghost Gun” because it does not exist in any firearms database. Can you really do this? Yes (most places in the U.S., as of early 2017 at least), although there are some potential “gotchas” which those pushing this methodology either don’t know or don’t care if you know.
Building your own firearms may be a pain, unless you like doing mechanical things like that, and might well cost you more than just buying the thing ready-made, especially if you have to buy the tooling. The advantages (other than pride and any fun you have) are that you can get exactly what you want, you will know how to repair and modify it, and you don’t need to have the background check or fill out the paperwork, either of which could ease confiscation some day. No, this is not paranoia; it is history. Look at the places that used to have guns allowed but then no longer allowed them, and note that those places implemented registration first. It is much easier to implement confiscation of something if the government knows where they all are… “Oh, but that can’t happen here”? Check out what happens in Chicago if you miss your yearly registration date.
The “Fine Print”
The receiver of a firearm (the main part which has or could have a serial number) is considered to BE the firearm. Everything else is “just parts”. Any item (in particular a partial receiver) which is in a condition where it “cannot be used as a firearm or readily converted into a firearm” is generally considered NOT a firearm and does not need to follow any “firearm” laws or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) regulations. These not (yet) firearm receivers are commonly referred to as “80% receivers”, although this is not a “technical” term, merely a marketing term based on a BATFE general principle that if 20% of the major work to make it a firearm remains to be done, it is not a firearm. It may seem silly to consider an AR-15 receiver as a “firearm” since by itself it does not look like and cannot be used as a firearm, but it does follow the principle since it is “easy” and “quick” to install the buffer tube, trigger group parts and attach the top part, and then you do have what is unquestionably a firearm. And be glad this is the way it is, since you don’t have to go through any annoyances to buy or ship or install other parts of the firearm.
In the case of the AR style firearms, “80%” means that the cavity in which the trigger, hammer and other trigger-group parts are mounted cannot be already milled out or partially milled out or even marked, and no trigger group pin holes can be marked, or partially or completely drilled. Since a legal 80% receiver is “not a firearm”, anyone can buy one (subject to State and Local laws) and it can be shipped (within the U.S.) by any method. Note that a source of these which has not submitted a sample to the BATFE and had it validated as “not a firearm” could possibly sell you one which the BATFE then decides IS a firearm, resulting in unpleasant consequences (as happened with EP Armory’s earlier 80% which had the trigger group cavity molded in a different color). Therefore, before buying an “80% receiver”, it is wise to ensure you are buying one which has been BATFE validated.
Anyone who meets all Federal, State and Local laws to own that firearm can “finish” an 80% receiver, and even mount all the parts to make it fully functional. There are, of course, some conditions other than the possession and weapon type laws of your location.
Conditions under Which a Non-Licensed Person Can “Manufacture” An ALLOWED Firearm
An “allowed” firearm is one which does not violate any of the restrictions implemented by the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1935) or any later law or regulation. “NFA” firearms include fully automatic weapons, “sawed off” shotguns, short-barreled rifles (SBR), and weapons with bores greater than 0.5″ which are determined to have “no sporting purpose”. Yes, most shotguns have a bore greater than 0.5″ and are allowed because they have been determined to have “sporting purposes”.
The manufacture of firearms as a business requires a license from the BATFE. In order to avoid any appearance of manufacturing firearms without a license, any firearm which is self-manufactured should be intended strictly for the personal use of the person making it. It you do any part of the manufacturing for someone else, or have anyone physically help you make it or do part of the work for you, again, the specter of manufacturing without a license raises its head.
The BATFE has its benefits and a number of competent and diligent people working for it. It is, however, a government agency, and sometimes a representative makes a statement they believe to be true (or wish were true), but which is not supported by the underlying laws and regulations. As a result, a number of statements about restrictions on self-manufactured firearms are floating around out there, which are not supported by the actual regulations and rulings. To get to the bottom of what actually is and is not allowed in three key areas (location and tool ownership, markings and transfers), I went to Richard Vasquez, former Assistant Chief of the BATFE Firearms Technology Branch, now a consultant to the firearms industry. He has access to and knowledge of the statutes, regulations and official ATF letters and rulings, which are what is validly enforceable.
There are a number of claimed restrictions on ownership and location of equipment used. Most appear to not be valid; that is, current regulations allow you to use any equipment you own or borrow or rent in any location as long as neither the equipment nor location is used by a licensed manufacturer of firearms. Personally, I would err on the safe side and not use any commercial equipment or a commercial location (say a machine shop I owned or worked at or could get access to outside of business hours). If this were ever questioned, it may eventually be decided that it was allowable, but the process to get that result could be annoying.
If you meet the requirements and laws to self-manufacture a firearm, then there are no Federal or BATFE requirements for a non-NFA self-manufactured firearm to have a serial number or any specified markings on it. As long as it is in the possession of the person who made it, and no subsequent laws say otherwise, it is legal for the maker to possess it and use it.
It is claimed that you can’t sell or transfer a non-serialized firearm, or even bequeath it to someone. This is not the case. Just be sure not to give even a hint that you are engaged in the “business” of manufacturing (that is, you have a valid reason why personal use of that firearm is no longer desirable or practical).
Note that because the receiver IS the firearm, any restrictions refer to the finishing and transfer of the receiver only, not the assembly or modification of the complete firearm, or transfer of any other part.
Warning: California residents, make sure you check out AB 857. It requires you to apply for a serial number from the CA DOJ before making any firearm after July 1, 2018, and apply for a serial number from the CA DOJ on any firearm without a serial number which you possess after that date, with possession of a firearm without a serial number becoming a crime in the state on January 1, 2019. What this says to me, is if you want to make any, do it before July, 2018, and if you do make or have already made any, ensure you add your own serial number(s) before July of 2018. What is not clear is what you need to do for a commercial firearm (probably pre-68) which legally never had a serial number.
The law mentions manufacture and assembling. This is troublesome, since the Federal definition of a “firearm” is the receiver, so “assembling” would seem to be meaningless (if it is a firearm already, nothing you can do to it makes it “more” of a firearm). But since California seems to include adding parts under this bill, then it would seem that not only the receiver, but the whole firearm has to be completed before July to avoid the state number requirement, and they might even be able to harass firearms owners who after the July date, change out any parts on their firearm legally completed and with a serial number prior to that date.
It also seems to require polymer receivers to have a specified amount of a specific metal in it, prohibits transfers which Federal law permits, and prohibits manufacture of “assault weapons”. And CA interprets this to be “evil-looking” weapons such as the AR style. Of course, check out all the other CA laws which seem to ban possession of magazines with greater than 10 round capability, redefine “bullet button” rifles which previously were “non-assault” weapons as “assault weapons” now, and require all “assault weapons” to be registered with the state. Pretty much all you can do (besides move someplace saner) is build your AR-15 “featureless” (without adjustable stock, pistol grip or thumbhole stock, vertical forward grip or flash hider) and then it is not an assault weapon by California’s flakey definitions.
How a Legal Self-Manufactured Firearm Can Mess You Up
Ok, let us say that you carefully followed all the rules and regulations, and you are fully legal. You are safe, right? This is not necessarily so. Let us say some busybody sees your legal firearm and decides it “looks illegal”, so they call the authorities. Police or other officials look at it, and with no serial number, it doesn’t look kosher to them either. They might treat you as if the firearm was illegal, and then you would have to prove it is legal. That is, that you legally obtained all the parts and they were all non-restricted, that at that time you were allowed to build that type of firearm, that you intended it for personal use, that you did all the work yourself, and that the equipment and location used were legal for making it. Oh, and that no State or Local laws were violated, and no import/export restrictions (use of foreign parts is limited to some degree, and ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations – prohibits export of most firearms parts) were violated.
The first should be fairly simple, just keep the receipts, making sure they have the date, identify the seller and purchaser, and describe what was purchased. Matching credit card statements or cancelled checks can be helpful.
Showing your intent is going to be rather more of a challenge. There is a period of time, beyond which if you still have the firearm, a reasonable case of intent of personal use can be made, but that time period is not defined anywhere. It might be wise to write a statement describing your intent, and get it notarized before starting construction.
A set of pictures or videos showing you doing each major step should be enough to show that you made it and identify the equipment and location.
It is important to keep good track of the significant dates when you manufactured the firearm, so the laws and regulations in effect at that time can be referenced. To avoid any import or export questions, buy American and keep it in America.
Tune in next time for a way to reduce the risks and annoyances of owning a self-manufactured firearm and a look at the various ways you can complete a receiver.
You don’t have to be an expert at every survival skill to survive a disaster–very few people have mastered all the skills. However, there are a handful of skills that everyone will need in a true SHTF scenario, especially if they’re on their own. In this article from Modern Survival Online, Ryan explains what he […]
Meat animals provide a way for you to become self sufficient – a reliable source of backyard food at your place that is an achievable goal for you!
5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever Grow a great survival garden with these perennial veggies and rest assured that they will grow and grow year after year! I found a great article that tells us 5 vegetables that you only need to plant once and they will keep coming …
The post 5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
300+ Shed, Barn, Chicken Coop and Storage Plans This is the mother load of free plans for sheds, barns, chicken coops, storage and pretty much any other plan you can think of! Spring is here so that means you need a great looking DIY greenhouse or fence plan to keep you busy. Whether you’re just …
The post 300+ Shed, Barn, Chicken Coop and Storage Plans (plus more!) appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Upon occasion, I have received questions asking about body armor for a SHTF scenario. That got me to thinking that the topic of body armor might make an interesting article for the site. So I decided that I would break down the different types of body armor (bullet resistant) and their ratings. I also thought I’d […]
The post What you NEED to know about body armor for preppers appeared first on Plan and Prepared.
When we embark on the road of preparedness, whether we aim small or plan to survive a nuclear holocaust, there are a million and five things to learn, build, do, and buy. It can be overwhelming at every stage. In fact, it can almost be more overwhelming at some of the intermediate stages than early on. You have great piles of stuff, but then you start thinking longer-term, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and the needs/wants just balloon all over. In some cases, the financial aspect alone is such a burden that people fall out and let go of the preparedness bug.
One thing that can help is to simplify the shopping list. In some case it’s about paring it down. In other cases, it’s about finding multi-purpose items.
The major benefit of the latter is that it can simplify things for beginners and old hands alike. When we pick something that can do multiple jobs right now, it gives us the ability to later expand to more specialized items as we’re ready. I’ll mostly focus on those items. I’ll also touch on some items I commonly see stocked deep that can get reduced or eliminated.
Pine Cleaner & Dish Detergent
Pine Sol is proof of a higher being or Mother Nature that loves us. Pine cleaner can be just about all things. It’s a disinfectant, and it doesn’t create color changes in fabric or wood. As such, pine cleaner can be used for:
- Floors (tile, linoleum, hardwood, carpet)
- Laundry (electric HE washers to hand-scrubbing)
- Toilets & bathrooms
- Kitchen and butcher area surfaces
- Dusting surfaces with rags
Happily, it also comes in a whole variety of scents for those of us who don’t actually like lemon or pine scented cleaners.
Pine cleaner also has a major case for being the be-all number-one cleaning product because it can be had in super condensed forms that you dilute as much as 10:1 and 25:1 by purpose.
Dish detergent is another one that can do a lot of jobs. As a pet owner and cook, little breaks the grease around the stove hood or sickness stains in carpets the way dish detergent will – and usually, especially with hot water and a decent scrubby sponge or brush, with the least amount of elbow grease of anything else I’ve purchased.
This is the stuff we count on to kill the raw chicken germs on our cutting boards and knives, and to prep jars for another year of canning – it’s fine as a surface cleaner for nurseries, kitchens, and sick rooms.
Dawn gets counted on to work pants from whatever my father and I picked up through the day. The incredible oil breaking compounds also save critters after oil spills. While it will upset the microbe communities, Dawn is safe to use for potted plants and garden beds, which lets us reuse the water we’ve pulled for cleaning and laundry.
Bleach has its place in the cleaning world and in preparedness, but usually in limited quantity. Plain, unscented bleach gets used 5-8 drops per gallon to help clean water for drinking – a single bottle will do hundreds or thousands of gallons of water.
However, that bleach has a shelf life, and the more unstable the temperatures, the faster it breaks down and loses its abilities.
Bonus fact: When you use bleach in hot water, you’re nullifying its purification abilities. It’ll brighten whites, but it’s the hot water killing germs in those cases.
Since you can wash anything in Pine Sol that you could in bleach, and get it sanitized to the same degree, consider keeping a little around for water supplies and cool-water post-wash dips for food service or sick room supplies, but you don’t really need a gallon a week or even a gallon a month.
Vinegar & Windex
Instead of stocking up on both window cleaners and vinegar, consider just going with vinegar. And if you’re not yet, give your windows and bathroom bright-work a scrub-down using sheets of newspaper or phone book pages instead of paper towels next time around.
Vinegar can be used full strength if needed, or diluted and combined in various ways for doing windows and mirrors. It can also be used to unclog shower heads, remove water spots, kill ants, deodorize drains (or, change the smell coming from them, anyway), and act as a fabric softener in laundry water.
And, of course, there’s the fact that we can use white vinegar for canning and cooking, something we’d never do with a window cleaner.
Windshield Glass Cleaner
If you do want to have and stockpile a separate, specific window cleaner, consider getting the tabs and concentrate packets that fuel stations use for restocking their squeegee buckets such as Kwik Blue, 303, or Bug Blitzer . They dissolve in even cool water, then can be transferred to a spray bottle for cleaning. They can cost pennies per gallon while storing very compactly.
Baking Soda & Epsom Salts
Baking soda had its own article as a prepper must-have item. Both were also mentioned in some of the barter articles. Between them, they do a lot of jobs in and on the body, in and around the home, out in the yard and garden, and on the road.
I could hardly write an article about do-it-all shopping and not include them, but they truly deserve 6-12 articles all their own.
Standard & Common Ammo/Firearms
As much as possible, I try to standardize at least ammunition if not actual firearms. I also try to pick up long-production-run and common firearms. Doing so means increased aftermarket parts and accessories at (more) affordable rates.
That allows us to use a step-up program.
I can buy a basic firearm, then a different/extra barrel or stock. I can upgrade as I’m able, using the reviews that abound for the more-common firearms, accessories and gear.
Being a freak, I also tend to take both magazine cost into account, as well as the variety of pouches and holsters with and without a rail/light system and-or the sling systems available for the firearms.
And then sometimes I pick a firearm because it has a wide range of magazines it will accept, as opposed to one that only takes its specific model, or the H&K AR model that is ever so slightly different and is thus restricted to H&K mags made just for it.
The same applies to ammo.
Rimfires like the 10/22 that aren’t picky about what type of ammo they get fed are also more likely to come home with me.
By sticking with common calibers, I can readily find an affordable round that shoots just like my preferred self- and home-defense ammo for practice. In some cases, it means I have a wider array of hunting, defense, and special-purpose rounds and-or bullets ready and waiting for me on the shelf.
Having commonly-used calibers also means that there’s a better chance even if somebody can’t use my magazine or stripper clip, they can reload theirs from mine if need be.
Bedding & Clothes
Cheat on your bed linens. If there’s a queen and a full bed, just buy queen sheets for both. You might have to tuck the sheets in further and tighter and more often for the full, but they mix and match. That means when a set or two rip, it’s no big deal. I have used king blankets and comforters on queens and full beds half my life. It works.
Fun fact about that king comforter: It folds up to fit either a full or a twin bed as a mattress pad just fine, and you can tuck it under queen bedding if needed as well most of the time.
That means that as age starts wearing mattresses, we can extend their lives. It also means that should somebody be sick or potty training, we can throw some garbage bags between the mattress and the comforter, and the bags won’t shift as much (and annoy the sleeper). Should somebody sneeze or giggle and dribble a little, we’re washing and drying a big blanket and sheets, not trying to clean, then cover a mattress, and inviting mold and mildew right into bed with us while it dries much slower.
Clothing can also be simplified with some regularity.
Shoes are pretty specific and socks need to fit a well, although with kids we can skip sizes and plan for 2-3 pairs of socks. Most other clothing has some leeway. If we make sure there are drawstrings and belt loops, we can tighten, add suspenders, pin up, and roll clothing.
Also, a hair elastic makes a hand sleeve garter for washing hands and dishes, or any other time rolled-up sleeves might try to un-roll or slide down.
As somebody who now gets her nephews’ hand-me-downs instead of us passing things to them, I can tell you that some oversized clothing is hazardous because it will catch and snag, but a M-L and a L-XL soul can share a lot of outerwear if it’s purchased in the larger size.
As we start seriously accumulating things, we need somewhere to put it.
Tip #1: Avoid the “I’ll sort it later” trap of a junk drawer, junk shelf, “Misc.” box, and a catchall laundry basket.
If you truly go through weekly and put things in their place, that’s cool. Most of us toss, say we’ll get it later, don’t, toss, repeat, toss, repeat, and a 5-15 minute job of sorting turns into an hour+ that we then really start dodging.
There are lots of options for holding our goodies, any of which let us sort things as they come home.
Laundry baskets of varying sizes are cheap, and pretty durable. Lined with a sheet, towel or garbage bag, the holes don’t matter. If at some point we need to, they allow us to re-line or remove the liner and plant in them. They can be doubled up into fish traps or holders, large baskets can be turned into cribs (lined! lined well!) or puppy crates, we can use them harvesting larger produce, and then we can sponge them with pine cleaner and turn them into something else all over again.
Accounting or banker’s file boxes with the separate lids aren’t as durable as storage totes, but most of mine actually keep their lids better than the storage totes. They readily fit on shelves and they’re a size that’s reasonable to carry whether they’re packed with papers, books, or (oops) canned goods. They stack well and uniformly across manufacturers.
It’s easy to pop up a lid instead of re-taping or doing the four-corners tucks, which will also help us keep our storage supplies fairly neat.
The downside to them, of course, is that they’re not water- or bug proof. We can line them with trash bags, and-or wet-pack our supplies in gallon and two-gallon Ziploc, but it still leaves the potential that at some point, the cardboard will dissolve into sodden mess. Still, apples to apples with standard cardboard boxes, they hold their own.
They’re less expensive than most moving boxes, but if there’s a liquor store, go with the free boxes there instead – those will be nice and sturdy, too.
Then there are the things like kitty litter buckets we might get for free or buy instead of a smaller container of litter.
While not appropriate for everything, they, too, hold a ton of weight, and multi-function when needed. Today they might be canned goods, medical stuff, or actual litter for winter weight and traction. Tomorrow they might be a water catchment system, a stacked vertical tower for the garden, or sub-irrigated gardening containers. Given another year, they might start holding bulk seeds or garden tool heads.
Like the file boxes, square buckets have an advantage in being a nice, standard size (which simplifies shelving) and not wasting as much space as a rounded and deeply V-ed storage tote or bucket would.
Defunct coolers are another that can make for nice storage containers. The downside to those is the space lost to insulating, but wheels, sturdy handles, and a flip-top lid can definitely be handy sometimes.
Simplified Shopping Lists
Hopefully these few examples were enough to start the brain churning for experienced preppers and beginners alike. From things like pasta that we can use to make a dozen different distinct dishes to having two firearm calibers, from what we stock for cleaning to the lawn-and-garden supplies, there are a million ways we can simplify our shopping and thus simplify our lives. Working off lists of multi-use items can be an affordable way to get started, or to fill in gaps we’ve started noticing after a trial run.
In some cases, we can buy one thing and cross eight others off our lists as a result. Other times, we might choose to hold off on some of the diversity we want to add.
By simplifying lists, we can also eliminate a little of the pressure on our storage spaces, and we may be able to identify and rectify gaps in our supplies when we sit down to compare what we have to what we use normally. It might also let us make a switch in our daily life that will save money in the long run, opening up the budget for extra seeds, Sevin dust, shoes, sugar and storage racks.
The post Practical Preparedness – Simplify Your Shopping List appeared first on The Prepper Journal.
Do You Really Have Enough Food? Preppers love to use calculators to figure out how long their food supplies will last. There are grain calculators, calorie calculators, personalized calculators for the size of your family – all sorts of calculators. But despite careful computation, there are a few factors that people frequently leave out of …
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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Kena K. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.
Everyone has different reasons for prepping. For us it was the combination of hearing about the increasing devastation of more natural disasters in the U.S. and abroad, and seeing how many people lost their jobs and homes during the economic recession. Initially, our thought was just to have some extra food in the cupboards in case I lost my job. We started by emptying out the closet in our extra bedroom, which allowed us to get rid of some of the extra “stuff ”we all seem to accumulate. Next, we purchased a few shelving units on sale, and secured them to the wall inside the closet. From there, we researched food items with longer storage lives like beans, instant rice, oatmeal, pasta, instant potatoes, honey and sugar and then started buying a little extra food each time we went to the store, focusing on sales to keep things cheaper. Once home with the the food, I wrote the “use by” date on the labels of the food before storing them in the closet so the items that expire soonest would be used first and those with the later expiration dates would be placed behind those to be used later.
As time went on our food storage grew and became more diverse. We began to compare our closet to a savings vault and the more food we put in it, the richer we felt. Coincidentally, the more we collected, the more interested we got in the whole prepping concept. I organized the food according to categories like beans, rice, oatmeal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned fish and meats, boxed meals, spices, baking items, drink mixes (coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot cider, instant milk, Gatorade, Tang, Kool-Aid, etc.) and so on. We not only thought of ourselves, we also planned for the possibility that other members of our family might have to leave their homes, so we downsized more of our “junk” to create more space, and collected more food.
The biggest challenge for me was storing water. I didn’t want anything to be so heavy it would fall on our heads, collapse the shelves, or worse to leak and ruin our food, so I boiled water and stored it in glass quart jars that I had saved from empty juice containers, and then dated the jars and placed them upright, underneath the shelving units where lucky for me, they fit perfectly. I also purchased and stored some plastic drinking water bottles. Since the minimum recommendation is to save one gallon of water per day, per person and pets, and since water is life, I found it difficult to determine how many days we should save for and where to find enough space to store it all. Eventually, I got creative and found other places throughout the house to store more water and we kept empty 5 gallon water containers with our camping gear so we could use them to gather more water, as needed.
At some point, we began to expand our storage items from just food into thoughts of our pets needs, first aid, extra indoor and outdoor clothes and shoes, towels and blankets, soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste and the like, again purchasing items on sale. We started going to garage sales to look for things like oil lamps and camping items. We made Bug Out Bags for ourselves should we need to evacuate at a moments notice and I even stored a few emergency items in my purse and in our vehicles. We have a camp trailer so we also got it ready with extra sleeping bags, food, hygiene items, books, puzzles, cards, and toys for the grandkids. It became a game to us, always thinking of things we might need and how to purchase them without spending tons of money. We bought things like tools, personal protection items, backpacks, cooking and camping gear for each other for our birthday and Christmas presents. During the winter when the weather was too bad to go outside, I used my time to copy our important papers, put family pictures in a small photo album, and wrote down their addresses, phone numbers and birthdays and anything else of importance I could think of (scars, blood types, etc). We stored some state and Forest Service maps in the glove box and our backpacks in case we had to travel or use the back roads. I also started collecting recipes for ways to use the freeze-dried foods we’d purchased.
In the spring we expanded our garden area and mostly planted food that we could freeze, dry or can. We felt really good growing our own food because we kept it organic and knew it would taste so much better in the winter than grocery canned foods. We read articles on sprouting and bought seeds so we could try it. Since we owned an acre of land outside the city limits we figured we should utilize our property to help us survive, so instead of a yard full of grass and ornamental trees, we opted for edible landscaping by planting a few fruit trees, berry plants, rhubarb and herbs. We even raised our own chickens for eggs and meat, and had rabbits and turkeys for awhile.
Keep in mind that none of this happened over night by any means. It was something that we started that grew over time. It grew because we saw the importance of it, turned it into a game and then had fun doing it.
What could possibly go wrong?
As our adult children came to visit they began to notice all the food we were collecting and they laughed saying if the Cascadia Fault line acted up, they would just bring their friends and come to our house since we were already so stocked up. I had read an article about someone who opened his property to a few friends who ended up bringing other friend after the Katrina hurricane in 2005 but no one brought anything to contribute towards the cause and soon the years worth of food that he had saved for himself was gone because he had to share it with everyone else. Remembering this, I told the kids that they were more than welcome to come and to think about what they could bring to contribute (food, bedding, towels, etc), and that we had indeed planned for them to stay with us if need be, but then I had to let them know that we did not have enough for their friends, so they would have to prepare for themselves or plan on going someplace else. I felt like I was being a bit mean, but when the SHTF, we all have to decide who can enter our domain and who can’t…and what we are willing to do in order to back that up.
That year for Christmas, I gave the kids a mini survival bag for the glove box of their cars that included things like a metal cup with a bit of food, a pocket knife, flashlight, fire starter, and hand warmers and a tiny address book that I wrote our address and phone number in, thinking that in an emergency they may not have cell service so it would be helpful to have important numbers written down with the hope they might be able to use a land line. I told them it was just a starter kit, and encouraged them to add to it.
After some time, I noticed it seems the kids have been paying attention. They have started to collect extra food in case the power goes out or they get sick and can’t go to work or get to the store. My 80 year old mother recently had to rely on the water and food she had stored for just such an occasion when she was unable to leave home due to a heavy snow storm. Fortunately she didn’t lose power, but if she had, she would have been OK because she had candles, a flashlight and an indoor propane heater on hand that we had given her. She had extra blankets and winter clothes too, all things we had given her or that she had gotten for herself. It was a big relief to know she was prepared as we do not live in the same town and are in fact divided by a mountain pass that may have been impossible for us to go over during the storm. Fortunately, she also has a kind neighbor who helped keep her walkway shoveled and some folks from her church who stopped by to check on her. I would prefer that we lived closer so we could help her more, but for now at least, that is not the case.
Whatever your reason, I hope this article inspires you to begin your prepping adventure. Keep it simple, make a game of it, and don’t spend a ton of money upfront if you don’t have it. Second-hand stores, Dollar stores, garage and estate sales, all have great deals. Online stores and military supply stores are great places to look for backpacks, camping supplies, military clothing and a whole host of other items without paying an arm and a leg for it like you might at a specialty-type store. There are numerous prepping articles full of great advice and helpful lists of whatever you might be interested in, like what to put in your first aid kit or your bug-out bag for example. There are also plenty of prepper-type stores online to buy freeze-dried and dehydrated food if you choose to go that way, and they tend to have different items on sale every month, which is how I am building up our freeze-dried and dehydrated items. You can even find a limited supply at some stores like Walmart. So, there are lots of options, and the more you get into it, the more you will want to do. Perhaps you can get others to join you – encourage your family, friends and neighbors to have extra supplies on hand “just-in-case” explaining you never know when you might get sick or when the power will go out. Let them know they don’t want to be the one stuck without gas, food or water. They wouldn’t want the power to go out and be sitting in the dark without some sort of light, heat, or a way to cook and clean. Invite your friends to go to a garage sale with you as a fun way to get started.
There is still so much I want learn like emergency first aid, tying knots, identifying edible mushrooms and wild foods. Reading books and watching survival-type shows is a fun way to be introduced to different ways to build shelter, make fires, use weapons and just live off the land, but of course nothing prepares you for this type of survival like taking a class and practicing your skills and I look forward to it all. I hope you do, too.
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This Could Save Your Life! Top Tips For Active Shooter Preparedness Sadly we have seen enough mass shootings in the recent years that many have created stiff protocols for how to react to these situations. This may be the best answer. Though it’s a sad admission that we need to learn how to react to …
The post This Could Save Your Life! Top Tips For Active Shooter Preparedness appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
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5 Homemade Rat Traps to Keep Your Food Storage Rodent-Free A rat in the pantry is a quick way to ruin your day. They can gnaw through containers like they arent even there and make short work of all your hard work. Luckily for us, the same drive that pushes them to infiltrate our homes makes …
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